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Sports Log

Trump helps detained UCLA players return home

FILE -- President Donald Trump with President Xi Jinping of China during a welcome ceremony in Beijing, Nov. 9, 2017. Trump has confirmed that he appealed to President Xi Jinping of China on behalf of three basketball players from the University of California, Los Angeles, who were arrested last week in Hangzhou, China, on suspicion of shoplifting. (Doug Mills/The New York Times)
Doug Mills/The New York Times
President Donald Trump appealed to President Xi Jinping of China on behalf of three detained UCLA freshmen basketball players who were accused of stealing designer sunglasses during a team trip to China for a game against Georgia Tech.

UCLA freshmen basketball players LiAngelo Ball, Jalen Hill and Cody Riley, who had been detained in China on suspicion of shoplifting during the team’s trip abroad, returned home to Los Angeles Tuesday after President Donald Trump appealed to President Xi Jinping of China on their behalf. As he was leaving the Philippines following a 12-day trip to Asia, Trump told reporters that “I had a great conversation with President Xi” in the hopes the Chinese president would help the players after their arrest Nov. 7 in Hangzhou, China, for stealing designer sunglasses at a shopping mall. “It was a very, very rough situation, with what happened to them,’’ Trump said of the players, who were released on bail last Wednesday, reportedly confined to the team’s hotel and forced to miss UCLA’s contest against Georgia Tech in The China Game. Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott said the players, whose status remained uncertain for UCLA’s home opener against Central Arkansas on Wednesday night, did not face any sanctions from the league, but UCLA chancellor Gene Block said the school was still weighing its options. ‘‘I want to be clear that we take seriously any violations of the law,’’ he said in a statement.

Undefeated BC men top Sacred Heart

Deontae Hawkins scored 22 points and grabbed 8 rebounds, sophomore Ky Bowman chipped in 14 points, 7 assists and 4 rebounds while freshman Steffon Mitchell added 13 points amd 9 rebounds as the Boston College men’s basketball team improved to 3-0 after rallying from a 31-30 hafltime deficit to a 73-53 victory over visiting Sacred Heart Tuesday night at Conte Forum . . . Grayson Allen — Duke’s lone senior — scored a career-high 37 points, freshman Trevon Duval had 17 points and 10 assists as the top-ranked Blue Devils beat No. 2 Michigan State, 88-81, in the Champions Classic in Chicago.

. . . Auburn basketball coach Bruce Pearl said his team was set to make its first road trip of the season to play in the Charleston Classic Wednesday morning without center Austin Wiley and forward Danjel Purifoy, a pair of top players who were being held out while the school conducts an investigation into a scandal involving former associate head coach Chuck Person who was arrested on federal bribery and fraud charges

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. . . In the aftermath of last month’s mass shooting at a country music concert in Las Vegas, Marist College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., has dropped “Shooter” as the nickname for its costumed sports mascot for its Red Foxes men’s and women’s basketball teams. The school’s athletic department settled on “Frankie,” a nod to President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who was born in nearby Hyde Park.

Basketball

Owners put WNBA’s Liberty on block

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The New York Liberty, one of the WNBA’s original franchises, has been put up for sale by owner James Dolan and Madison Square Garden. It marks the second WNBA franchise to put up for sale in the past few months. San Antonio was bought by MGM Resorts International and the team was moved to Las Vegas, where the franchise will begin play next season under head coach Bill Laimbeer, who left the Liberty last month, leading to the promotion of New York assistant coach Katie Smith to head coach.

Soccer

Denmark qualifies for World Cup bid

Denmark qualified for next year’s World Cup, its fifth overall appearance and first since 2010, after Christian Eriksen’s hat trick led a 5-1 victory over Ireland in a playoff on Tuesday. . . . Weston McKennie, 19, became the third-youngest American to score in his US debut — behind Juan Agudelo (17) and Landon Donovan (18) — as the US battled Portugal to a 1-1 draw Tuesday night at Leiria in their first match since failing to qualify for next year’s World Cup.

Miscellany

Sock ends US drought in ATP Finals

Jack Sock, the No. 8 seeded player at the ATP Finals in London, defeated Wimbledon finalist Marin Cilic 5-7, 6-2, 7-6 (4) to become the first American in a decade to win in the event . . . The Arizona Coyotes traded goalie Louis Domingue to the Tampa Bay Lightning for forward Tye McGinn and goalie Michael Leighton, thus ending Domingue’s up-and-down tenure with the Coyotes last season as Mike Smith’s back-up.