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Pittsburgh head coach Jamie Dixon shouts to his team during the first half during a second-round game in the NCAA college basketball tournament against Wichita State in Salt Lake City, Thursday, March 21, 2013. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

Pittsburgh head coach Jamie Dixon shouts to his team during the first half during a second-round game in the NCAA college basketball tournament against Wichita State in Salt Lake City, Thursday, March 21, 2013. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

College basketball

Pitt signs Dixon to extension through 2022-23

PITTSBURGH – So much for speculation that Jamie Dixon is leaving Pittsburgh.

Saying he wants to “finish his career” with the Panthers, Dixon agreed to a contract extension yesterday that will keep him signed through 2023.

There had been talk that USC was targeting Dixon, a Southern California native, for its open job.

The Panthers went 24-9 this season and finished fourth in their final year in the Big East but were blown out by Wichita State in the second round of the NCAA tournament on Thursday.

Dixon is 11-9 in the tournament, though Pitt has not advanced past the opening weekend since 2009, when it lost to Villanova in the regional finals.

Dixon is 262-86 in a decade with the Panthers, who are moving on to the ACC this summer.


Lechler signs with Texans

HOUSTON – The Houston Texans signed punter Shane Lechler.

Terms of the contract were not disclosed by the team yesterday. ESPN reported the deal was for three years and worth a maximum of $5.5 million, with a $1 million signing bonus.

The 36-year-old Lechler is the NFL’s career leader in gross average per punt (47.3 yards) and has led the league in gross average in four seasons. He also ranks seventh in career net punting average (38.8 yards).

He’s the second perennial Pro Bowler to join the Texans in two days. Safety Ed Reed was introduced at a news conference Friday after signing a three-year, $15 million deal.

Oakland drafted Lechler in the fifth round in 2000 and he’s spent his entire pro career with the Raiders.


Bears agree to one-year deal with Zbikowski

LAKE FOREST, Ill. – The Chicago Bears agreed to a one-year contract with safety Tom Zbikowski.

The Bears announced the signing yesterday.

The Notre Dame alum and professional boxer has appeared in 64 games with 25 starts over five seasons with Indianapolis in 2012 and with Baltimore from 2008 to 2011.

The 5-foot-11, 200-pound Zbikowski recorded 89 tackles, three interceptions, eight pass break-ups and two sacks during those seasons.

He has also appeared in eight postseason contests.

The Arlington Heights, Ill., native was selected by the Ravens in the third round of the 2008 NFL Draft out of Notre Dame.


Bengals sign backup QB Johnson

CINCINNATI – The Bengals have signed a quarterback, giving former Tampa Bay Buccaneer Josh Johnson a chance to back up Andy Dalton.

Johnson was Tampa Bay’s fifth-round pick in 2008 and played four seasons there, starting five games. He signed with San Francisco last year but was released before the season opener. He signed with Cleveland for the final game last season.

Johnson knows Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden from their time together at Tampa Bay. Coach Marvin Lewis says Johnson will be part of a competition for the backup role, which opened when Bruce Gradkowski signed with Pittsburgh.

The Bengals also re-signed tight end Richard Quinn, who was on the roster last season but did not play. Quinn was an unrestricted free agent.


Cards closer Motte likely to start season on DL

JUPITER, Fla. – St. Louis Cardinals closer Jason Motte probably will start the season on the disabled because of a mild muscle flexor strain in his pitching arm.

The Cardinals said yesterday that the right-hander had stopped throwing following the results of an MRI a day earlier.

Motte pitched an inning against the New York Mets on Thursday in Port St. Lucie, then told the team his forearm tightened up on the bus ride back to the Cardinals’ spring training complex.

“We’re certainly going to be as aggressive as we can with the rehab, but in terms of DL, I would say that’s likely going to happen,” General Manager John Mozeliak said.

Motte was 0-0 with one save and a 5.00 ERA in nine innings during spring training.

Setup man Mitchell Boggs will move into the closer’s role.


Yankees sign RHP Wang to minor league contract

TAMPA, Fla. – The New York Yankees have brought back a familiar face, signing pitcher Chien-Ming Wang to a minor league contract.

The Yankees said yesterday that Wang would report right away to the minor league complex.

Wang, who turns 33 later this month, was originally signed by the Yankees in 2000. He went 55-26 with them during five seasons, and was a 19-game winner in consecutive years.

Wang has been slowed by several injuries since then, starting when he injured his foot while running the bases in 2008.

The right-hander from Taiwan went 2-6 with a 6.68 ERA in 10 games with Washington last year. He spent the last three seasons with the Nationals.


Power wins pole and Simona is third in St. Pete

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Will Power won the pole for the IndyCar season opener at St. Petersburg.

The Penske Racing driver earned the top starting spot for today’s race on his final lap of the qualifying session. It’s the 30th pole of Power’s career, moving him past Dario Franchitti for seventh on IndyCar’s all-time list.

Takuma Sato qualified second yesterday and was followed by Simona de Silvestro in the highest qualifying effort of her career. The Swiss driver is making her debut for new team KV Racing Technology and had never before advanced to the Fast Six round of qualifying.

James Hinchliffe was fourth and followed by Helio Castroneves and rookie Tristan Vautier.

Failing to advance to the final round of qualifying were defending IndyCar champion Ryan Hunter-Reay and Ganassi drivers Franchitti and Scott Dixon.


Vettel takes pole at Malaysian GP

SEPANG, Malaysia – Three-time defending Formula One champion Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull won pole position at the Malaysian Grand Prix yesterday, edging the Ferraris of Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso just as the rain-affected qualifying ended.

It was the second pole in a row and 38th overall for the German, who finished third at the season-opening Australian GP last week after struggling with his tires.

Massa struggled for most of last year but has now qualified ahead of his more famous teammate Alonso, the two-time F1 champion, for the second straight race.

Australian GP winner Kimi Raikonen of Lotus appeared to have problems with his car, qualifying seventh.


Top American Querrey rallies for win at Sony Open

KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. – Sam Querrey won for the first time as the top-ranked American, rallying past Lukasz Kubot, 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 yesterday at the Sony Open.

The 20th-ranked Querrey moved ahead of No. 23 John Isner this week.

On a sunny, humid afternoon, No. 6-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga beat Viktor Troicki, 7-6 (6), 6-3. No. 8 Richard Gasquet defeated qualifier Olivier Rochus, 7-5, 6-2.

No. 18 Philipp Kohlschreiber lost to David Goffin, 7-6 (5), 4-6, 6-2.

In women’s play, defending champion Agnieszka Radwanska, seeded fourth, lost serve seven times and needed nearly 2½ hours to beat Magdalena Rybarikova, 7-6 (5), 2-6, 6-3. No. 9 Caroline Wozniacki lost to wild card Garbine Muguruza of Spain, 6-2, 6-4.

No. 5 Li Na beat No. 25 Varvara Lepchenko of the United States 6-2, 6-4. Seeded players had their opening matches after receiving first-round byes.

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