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On the Air - September 5, 2007

SUMTER -- Former Clemson basketball standout Clarke Bynum, who once helped thwart a plane hijacking, has died, the school said Tuesday. He was 47.

Bynum died Monday after a long battle with cancer, Clemson athletic spokesman Tim Bourret said. The 6-foot-7 Bynum averaged five points and two rebounds in four seasons with the Tigers from 1980-84. He was an All-Academic selection in the Atlantic Coast Conference in his senior season.

However, Bynum may be better known for subduing a man who attacked a pilot in the cockpit of a British Airways jet in December 2000.

The passenger managed to grab the controls, sending the plane into two nosedives. But Bynum and other passengers burst into the cockpit and wrestled the man down, restraining him until the flight with 398 people on board could land.

Bynum was awarded South Carolina's highest honor -- the Order of the Palmetto -- and a presidential commendation from Clemson University in 2001 for his heroism.

After graduating from Clemson, Bynum worked in the family insurance business and served as chairman of the private high school he attended, Wilson Hall, where he remains the school's all-time scoring leader.

• BASKETBALL -- Tony Parker scored 36 points, leading Group D leader France past Italy 69-62 and handing the Olympic runner-up its second loss at the European championship.

Pau Gasol had 26 points and nine rebounds to lead world champion Spain over a stubborn Latvia side 93-77 in Sevilla, where Croatia (1-1) beat Portugal (0-2) 90-68 in another Group B game. Lithuania moved into the second round with a 95-75 win over Group C rival Czech Republic (0-2) before Germany (2-0) routed Turkey (0-2) 79-49 behind 24 points from Dirk Nowitzki.

• LOCAL BOXING -- In Tunica, Miss., York native Shane Benfield lost a 12-round decision to Tunica native DeAndrey Abron 119-109 at the Fitz Hotel and Casino on Saturday in a battle for the Northern American Boxing Association's light heavyweight title, which is administered by the World Boxing Organization.

Benfield, who was undefeated in the light heavyweight division of the WBO, fell to 17-1. He dominated the first two rounds, before taking a glove to the eye early in the third. The punch opened a gash above his eye and later in the round Abron caught him on the bridge of the nose, opening another gash.

"The referee wanted to stop the match, but I told him there was no way," Benfield said. "I fought the rest of the fight with blood running in my eyes; fighting almost blind. I feel like I got run over by a truck."

Benfield said it took eight stictches to close the cut on his nose and five for the cut above his eye.

• PRO BASEBALL -- Five months after Tribune Co. announced plans to sell the Chicago Cubs, the first-place ballclub is making much more noise on the field than its corporate owners have been about the slow-moving sale process.

But whether the Cubs make the playoffs or even manage to capture their first World Series in 99 years, an emerging lineup of deep-pocketed bidders has put Tribune in strong position to net a record sale price for the franchise.

• COLLEGE BASKETBALL -- Boston College coach Al Skinner has agreed to a contract extension through the 2012-13 season.

Skinner is 196-120 in 10 seasons at BC, including 164 wins and six NCAA tournament berths since the 2000-2001 season. The Eagles were 21-12 last season, losing to Georgetown in the second round of the NCAA tournament.

Skinner came to Boston College after nine years as coach at the University of Rhode Island. He was named Big East Conference coach of the year in 2001, when BC won 27 games.

MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL

Philadelphia at Atlanta TBS (30) 1 p.m.

Dodgers at Cubs ESPN (25), WGN (67) 8 p.m.

TENNIS

U.S. Open USA (54) 11 a.m.

U.S. Open USA (54) 7 p.m.

WNBA

Playoffs ESPN2 (28) 8 p.m.

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