A Vietnam veteran came onto the court yesterday and held an American flag in front of Manhattanville (N.Y.) senior forward Toni Smith after the Division III player again refused to face the flag during the national anthem.

"She disgraced herself and she disgraced the flag," said Jerry Kiley, 56, of Rockland County, N.Y., who was ejected from the arena after he walked onto the court during the first break in play.

Kiley approached Smith as she lined up while another player prepared to shoot free throws. He was escorted out of the gym by school security and local police. There were no further protests in Smith's final home game of the regular season, a 63-53 victory over Stevens Tech.

As she has done all season, Smith turned 90 degrees away from the flag as the anthem was played prior to tip-off. Six of her teammates stood at attention with their hands on their chests, while three other teammates stood with their heads bowed and their arms at their sides.

Smith declined to be interviewed after the game.

The sociology major previously released a 250-word statement outlining the reasons for her protest, citing "the inequalities that are embedded into the American system" and "the war America will soon be entering."

Broadcasting

Oh, the Madness

NCAA tournament coverage on MTV instead of CBS? It could happen, CBS Sports President Sean McManus said.

If the United States goes to war with Iraq and major developments occur during the tourney, CBS might preempt its basketball telecasts. If that happens, McManus said CBS probably would shift the games to MTV, VH1 or TNN.

Those cable networks are owned by Viacom, as is CBS.

"That's a decision you have to make at the time of the crisis," McManus said. "If there is a war going on and there are important news elements to cover, that will take precedent over a sporting event."

Pro Basketball

MacCulloch's Condition

Philadelphia 76ers center Todd MacCulloch has been diagnosed with Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, a neurological disorder that causes damage to the peripheral nerves.

It's uncertain when he will return to action. MacCulloch is scheduled to see a specialist today. The disease is named after three doctors who first diagnosed it in 1886.

"A lot of people have CMT and are able to live normal lives, so that's a good thing," MacCulloch said. "It's not life threatening. It usually affects your peripheries and things like that. A lot of people live full, happy lives."

Tennis

Dent Tops Roddick

Taylor Dent overpowered defending champion Andy Roddick with his serve-and-volley game, beating him, 6-1, 6-4, in exactly one hour to win the St. Jude championship in Memphis.

"He just outplayed me," Roddick said. "I said all week I didn't feel at my best."

Meantime, Lisa Raymond defended her St. Jude title on Saturday with a comfortable 6-3 6-2 win over Amanda Coetzer. . . .

Top-seeded Carlos Moya won the $380,000 Copa AT&T in Buenos Aires, beating Guillermo Coria, 6-3, 4-6, 6-4.

Soccer

Inter Moves Into 1st

Inter Milan defeated Piacenza, 3-1, to join defending champion Juventus atop Italy's Serie A standings.

Inter has 48 points and shares first with Juventus, which won, 3-1, at last-place Como on Saturday.

In other games, it was: Bologna 2, Empoli 0; Brescia 2, Reggina 1; Lazio 0, Atalanta 0; Modena 1, Chievo 0; Udinese 2, AS Roma 1; and Parma 2, Perugia 1.

High Schools

Ceremony Postponed

LeBron James will have to wait to see his jersey retired until today.

James's final regular season game for Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary yesterday was postponed because of bad weather. But officials scheduled a new game.

Winter Sports

Snowboarder Dies

An American professional snowboarder fell to his death after losing his balance while sliding down the rail of a spiral staircase in Japan.

Jeffrey Anderson, of Mammoth Lakes, Calif., was trying to slide sideways on his rear down the rail of the hotel staircase at about 3:15 a.m. yesterday, a Nagano police official said.

Hockey

Hulse Suspended

Nashville defenseman Cale Hulse was suspended for one game by the NHL for his cross-check on Ottawa forward Peter Schaefer on Saturday.