Falcons close to hiring Dimitroff as GM

ATLANTA - The Atlanta Falcons appear to be close to hiring New England Patriots director of college scouting Tom Dimitroff as their general manager, but no deal has been signed, a Falcons official said Saturday.

'We're talking,' Falcons spokesman Reggie Roberts said. 'Do we have a signed contract, which indicates we have a general manager? We don't have one.'

Roberts, who confirmed the talks are with Dimitroff, said there is no plan yet for a news conference.

Dimitroff is expected to take over the lead in the Falcons' search for a head coach, though the Falcons already have interviewed several candidates.

Dimitroff would replace Rich McKay, who will remain as team president.

Braves deal for Kotsay pending physical

ATLANTA - Oakland Athletics veteran Mark Kotsay may be the Atlanta Braves' starting center fielder in 2008, but only if his surgically repaired back first passes inspection.

The Braves may be prepared to send young reliever Joey Devine, a 2005 first-round pick, to Oakland for Kotsay. Kotsay first must pass a physical exam.

Kotsay, 32, would be viewed as a temporary bridge between the departed Andruw Jones and the team's future in center field, Jordan Schafer, who may be at least a year from the major leagues.

Georgia falls to Miss. State 60-49

STARKVILLE, Miss. - Jamont Gordon had 15 points to lead Mississippi State to a 60-49 victory over Georgia on Saturday.

Mississippi State (11-5, 2-0 Southeastern Conference) extended its season-high winning streak to six games. Mississippi State has won all six contests by at 11 points and has not lost at home since Dec. 13.

Georgia (9-5, 0-1) took a 28-27 lead in the second half, but didn't hold it.

A 3-pointer by Ben Hansbrough started an 18-2 run that would eat 10 minutes off the clock and put Mississippi State up by a comfortable 45-30 margin.

Tech leads early but falls to Hurricanes

CORAL GABLES, Fla. - No. 25 Miami overcame a slow start and poor shooting to win its Atlantic Coast Conference opener Saturday, 78-68 over Georgia Tech.

Sophomore James Dews scored a career-high 18 points and junior Jimmy Graham matched a career high with 13 for the Hurricanes (14-1, 1-0), who fell behind by 12 points early and then went on a 31-11 run.