COLLEGE BASKETBALL-BIG 12 TOURNAMENT
Bears, Cowboys reach semis
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Second-ranked Baylor and No. 12 Oklahoma State both survived close calls before earning the right to square off in the Big 12 semifinals.
The Bears advanced by holding off Kansas State, 74-68. MaCio Teague scored 24 points and Davion Mitchell had 23, but Baylor couldn’t pull away after beating the Wildcats by an average of 40 points in their two regular-season meetings. Jared Butler sealed it with two free throws and finished with 18 points.
The Cowboys escaped with a 72-69 win over No. 10 West Virginia. Avery Anderson III hit the go-ahead bucket for the Cowboys with less than a minute to go, and Sean McNeil’s tying 3-pointer came a split-second after the final buzzer. Anderson and Big 12 player of the year Cade Cunningham had 17 points apiece for the fifth-seeded Cowboys, who have won seven of their last eight games.
In other Big 12 tournament action:
— Ochai Agbaji scored a career-high 26 points, Marcus Garrett added 17, and 11th-ranked Kansas held on after blowing most of a 20-point halftime lead to beat No. 25 Oklahoma 69-62.
— Matt Coleman scored 19 points, including the go-ahead free throws with 1.8 seconds left, and No. 13 Texas rallied in the closing minutes to beat No. 20 Texas Tech 67-66.
COLLEGE BASKETBALL-BIG TEN TOURNAMENT
Buckeyes, Terps advance
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Ohio State ended a four-game losing streak and advanced to the Big Ten semifinals.
Duane Washington Jr. and Justice Sueing each scored 16 points and the ninth-ranked Buckeyes fended off Minnesota’s late charge to win 79-75.
Ohio State scored the game’s first 13 points and led by 14 with 3:24 remaining before the Gophers went on an 18-5 run to get within one.
In other Big Ten action:
— Aleem Ford scored 17 points and No. 6 seed Wisconsin made a stop on the last play to escape with a 75-74 win over No. 11 seed Penn State.
— Eric Ayala scored 21 points, Aaron Wiggins added 19 and Maryland dominated Michigan State in the second half to take a 68-57 win.
— Ron Harper Jr. and Jacob Young scored 13 points each as Rutgers dispatched Indiana, 61-50.
COLLEGE BASKETBALL-BIG EAST TOURNAMENT
Hoyas eliminate Wildcats
NEW YORK (AP) — The top seed is done at the Big East tourney.
Dante Harris capped his 18-point performance by hitting two free throws with 4.7 seconds left to give Georgetown a 72-71 win against Villanova. The foul shots capped a perfect game from the line for the Hoyas, who went 23-for-23 to become the first team to shoot 100% on at least 20 attempts in the tournament.
The free throws ended the Wildcats’ string of three straight Big East tourney titles.
Elsewhere at the Big East tournament:
— With coach Greg McDermott back on the bench after a one-game suspension, No. 17 Creighton cruised into the semifinals with an 87-56 victory against Butler. Damien Jefferson scored 11 points in the first eight minutes and Marcus Zegarowski led the Bluejays with 18.
— Jared Rhoden hit six free throws in overtime to finish with 19 points and a career-high 16 rebounds, leading Seton Hall past St. John’s 77-69.
— UConn won its first Big East tourney game in eight years as Tyrese Martin had 14 points and 10 rebounds in a 94-60 dismantling of DePaul.
COLLEGE BASKETBALL-ACC TOURNAMENT
Duke done in by COVID-19 testing
GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) — Duke’s run through the ACC tournament has been ended by the pandemic.
The Blue Devils have pulled out of the event because of a positive coronavirus test and the resulting quarantining and contact tracing. The ACC announced that Duke’s game with Florida State was canceled, allowing the Seminoles to advance. It also puts the Blue Devils’ streak of 24 consecutive NCAA Tournaments is in jeopardy.
In other ACC quarterfinal action:
—Reece Beekman hit a 3-pointer as time expired to help No. 16 Virginia edge eighth-seeded Syracuse 72-69.
— Armando Bacot had 17 points and 13 rebounds while sparking a second-half surge that helped North Carolina beat No. 22 Virginia Tech 81-73.
— Jordan Usher scored 13 of his 15 points in the second half, including a game-clinching dunk as Georgia Tech ended Miami’s tournament run, 70-66.
COLLEGE BASKETBALL-SEC TOURNAMENT
Wildcats to miss NCAA tournament
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Kentucky’s men’s basketball season is over.
The Wildcats finish 9-16 by dropping a 74-73 decision to Mississippi St. in the second round of the SEC tourney. Iverson Molinar scored eight of his 21 points in the final 3:07 to erase the Bulldogs’ five-point deficit. Mississippi State made just 3 of 14 from 3-point range until Molinar sank 3s on two straight possessions to retake the lead at 72-71.
Also at the SEC tournament:
— Jarkel Joiner scored 18 points, Romello White had 17, seven rebounds and three blocks, and Mississippi beat South Carolina 76-59.
— Xavier Pinson provided 17 points and Dru Smith made two free throws with 15.2 seconds left to lift Missouri over Georgia, 73-70.
— Tre Mann scored 22 points and Noah Locke added 13 as Florida held off Vanderbilt 69-63.
Knicks blown out by Bucks
UNDATED (AP) — The MVP of last weekend’s NBA All-Star is off to a great start in the second half of the season.
Giannis Antetokounmpo posted his fifth triple-double of the season to help the Milwaukee Bucks trounce the New York Knicks 134-101.
Antetokounmpo had 24 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists in 29 minutes as the Bucks handed the Knicks their most one-sided loss of the season. The Bucks shot 57.5% against New York, which entered the night leading the NBA in scoring defense, field-goal percentage defense and 3-point percentage defense.
The Bucks have won seven of their last eight and now prepare to begin a three-game road swing.
Checking out Thursday’s other NBA action:
— Kawhi Leonard scored 28 points in three quarters and the Los Angeles Clippers routed Golden State 130-104 Thursday night, sending the Warriors to their season-worst fourth consecutive loss. Paul George added 17 points and Serge Ibaka had 16 points and 14 rebounds for the Clippers, who ended their own three-game skid to begin the second half of the season. Warriors guard Steph Curry was held to 14 points on 6-of-16 shooting.
— Tobias Harris scored 24 points and the Philadelphia 76ers beat the Chicago Bulls 127-105 despite missing stars Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons for contact tracing. Dwight Howard scored a season-high 18 and grabbed 12 rebounds. Furkan Korkmaz added 16 points, and Tony Bradley scored a season-high 14 on 7-for-7 shooting.
— Kyrie Irving scored 40 points to lead the Brooklyn Nets to a 121-109 victory over the Boston Celtics. James Harden had 22 points and 10 rebounds for Brooklyn, which improved to 25-13 with its 12th win in 13 games. Landry Shamet added 18 points and fellow reserve Jeff Green finished with 11. Jayson Tatum scored 31 points but Boston had its four-game winning streak snapped.
— Devin Booker returned from the knee injury that kept him out of the All-Star Game to score 35 points and the Phoenix Suns beat the Portland Trail Blazers 127-121 for their fifth straight victory. Chris Paul added 19 points for Phoenix. Second in the NBA behind the Utah Jazz, the Suns have won 14 of their last 16 games.
— Jimmy Butler scored 27 points and added 11 assists, Kelly Olynyk scored 20 and the Miami Heat beat the Orlando Magic 111-103 to move over the .500 mark for the first time this season. Tyler Herro scored 17 points, Kendrick Nunn had 13 and Goran Dragic added 11 for the Heat, who pulled away in the final 6 minutes. All-Star Nikola Vucevic finished with 24 points and a game-high 17 rebounds for the Magic, who have dropped six straight.
— Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 32 points and the Oklahoma City Thunder held on for a 116-108 victory against a Dallas Mavericks team that rested Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis. The Thunder made five of their first six 3-point attempts and built a 35-19 advantage after one quarter, then held off a late Dallas rally. Oklahoma City outrebounded Dallas 21-5 in the first period and finished the half making 10 of its 14 3-point attempts.
— P.J Washington had 20 points and nine rebounds, Terry Rozier hit some big shots down the stretch and the Charlotte Hornets beat the Detroit Pistons 105-102 to get back to .500 for the first time since Jan. 13. Rozier and Gordon Hayward each scored 17 points and Cody Zeller chipped in with 15 points and a key rebound for Charlotte. Jerami Grant had 32 points on 11-of-24 shooting for the Pistons.
— The Timberwolves clobbered the Pelicans, 135-105 as Jaylen Nowell hit six 3-pointers on his way to a career-best 28 points. Top overall draft choice Anthony Edwards scored 27 points and the Wolves rallied from an early 16-point deficit. Rookie Jadden McDaniels hit his first four 3s and finished with a career-high 20 points for Minnesota, which won for just the eighth time this season — and second time against New Orleans.
— De’Aaron Fox had 30 points, nine assists and seven rebounds, and the Sacramento Kings sent the Houston Rockets to their 14th consecutive loss, 125-105. Buddy Hield added 20 points, seven assists and six rebounds for Sacramento, which had dropped 11 of 13 before the All-Star break. Victor Oladipo had 23 points and eight assists but couldn’t help Houston end its longest losing streak in nearly two decades.
— Tony Snell hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer and the Atlanta Hawks came back from a 15-point deficit in the final six minutes to beat the Toronto Raptors 121-120. Trae Young scored 37 points for the Hawks, who won their third straight. Norman Powell scored 33 points for Toronto and Chris Boucher had another big game off the bench with 29 points and nine rebounds.
Chiefs cut starting OTs Fisher, Schwartz to save cap space
UNDATED (AP) — The Kansas City Chiefs have released starting offensive tackles Eric Fisher and Mitchell Schwartz as they try to squeeze under the salary cap.
The moves Thursday will provide another obstacle in their quest to upgrade an offensive line ransacked by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the Super Bowl. The Chiefs were more than $22 million over the cap of $182.5 million that was set Wednesday.
The release of Fisher and Schwartz saves about $18.3 million, leaving them able to restructure other contracts — and potentially extend players — and create enough financial wiggle room to maneuver in free agency.
In other NFL news:
— New Houston Texans coach David Culley reiterated Thursday that the team has no intention of trading Deshaun Watson despite the star quarterback’s request to be dealt. Culley, who was hired in January to replace Bill O’Brien, was asked more than a half-dozen times about Watson’s future with the team and every time he made it clear that he expects Watson to be Houston’s quarterback this season. Culley says: “He is our quarterback.”
— The Chicago Bears have rewarded kicker Cairo Santos for a club-record season by agreeing to a five-year, $16 million contract, according to a person familiar with the situation. Santos took advantage of his opportunity after Eddy Pineiro injured his groin in August, making 30 of 32 field goals and 36 of 37 extra points. He set a franchise record for consecutive field goals made and gave the Bears the stability they’d been seeking since they cut Robbie Gould before the 2016 season.
—The Buffalo Bills have re-signed linebacker Matt Milano to a four-year contract less than a week before the starter was eligible to become a free agent. The signing comes a day after the Bills freed up more than $14.4 million in space under the salary cap by releasing receiver John Brown and defensive lineman Quinton Jefferson.
—Thomas Davis and Greg Olsen, two beloved NFL players who developed into iconic figures in the Charlotte community, officially retired together on Thursday as members of the Carolina Panthers. Davis and Olsen signed one-day contracts with the Panthers and were honored jointly during a 90-minute virtual ceremony at Bank of America Stadium that was broadcast live on the team’s website. Panthers owner David Tepper said they are “family” to the people in Charlotte and welcomed them back home.
Isles extend win streak; Caps keep pace
UNDATED (AP) — It’s a seven-game winning streak for the New York Islanders following a 5-3 win over the New Jersey Devils.
The Isles received production from their blueline as Adam Pelech and Noah Dobson scored, while Ryan Pulock collected two assists in the Islanders’ first game in front of home fans in over a year.
Matt Martin, Josh Bailey and Brock Nelson also tallied for New York, which kept its two-point lead over the Washington Capitals atop the East Division.
The Isles remain the only NHL team without a regulation home loss.
The Caps kept pace as Alex Ovechkin scored his 715th career goal to help them win their third straight game, 5-3 over the Philadelphia Flyers. Ovechkin moved two goals shy of matching Phil Esposito for sixth on the NHL’s career goals list.
Conor Sheary, John Carlson and Nic Dowd scored three straight goals to build a 4-1 cushion and help the Capitals win for the seventh time in the last eight games.
Elsewhere on NHL ice:
— Anthony Mantha scored a tiebreaking goal late in the first period and the Detroit Red Wings beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 6-4. Brayden Point scored twice in a 1:14 stretch late in the game to pull the Lightning within one before they gave up an empty-net goal to Vladislav Namestnikov. Tampa Bay entered the game 19-0-1 against the Red Wings over the last five years, and its 20-game point streak was the longest in franchise history against a team.
— Morgan Geekie scored his first two goals of the season and the Carolina Hurricanes used a rapid-fire scoring spree in the first period to defeat the Nashville Predators 5-1. Brock McGinn, Dougie Hamilton and Martin Necas also scored for the Hurricanes, who have won seven games in a row. James Reimer made 15 of his 32 saves in the first period and was denied his first shutout of the season when Nick Cousins scored with 4:32 left.
— Frank Vatrano scored 2:48 into overtime, Sergei Bobrovsky made 28 saves and the Florida Panthers beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 5-4 on Thursday night to sweep a two-game series. The Panthers scored three times in the third period to erase a 4-1 deficit before Vatrano tipped in a rebounded shot from Jonathan Huberdeau to win it. Patric Hornqvist, Ryan Lomberg, Owen Tippett and Aleksander Barkov also scored for the Panthers, who have won four of five.
— Jake DeBrusk returned after being benched one game for lack of effort and scored his first goal in almost a month, chasing Rangers goalie Alexandar Georgiev early in the second period and leading the Boston Bruins to a 4-0 victory. David Krejci scored his first goal of the season and Brad Marchand had two assists — one of them after sliding the puck through his own skates to set up Patrice Bergeron’s short-handed goal. David Pastrnak also scored for Boston, and Jaroslav Halak stopped 28 shots for his second shutout of the year.
— Evgeni Malkin had a goal and assist and the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the free-falling Buffalo Sabres 5-2 for their fourth straight victory. Jake Guentzel scored the go-ahead goal on the power play with 8:24 left in the second period. Brandon Tanev, Anthony Angelo and Bryan Rust also scored in a game the Penguins never trailed.
— Carl Soderberg and Alex DeBrincat scored power-play goals in the second period and the Chicago Blackhawks scored on four of their first eight shots in a 4-2 victory over the Dallas Stars. Thirty-seven-year-old defenseman Duncan Keith had his first goal in exactly a calendar year, Dominik Kubalik also scored and rookie Kevin Lankinen made 28 saves.
— Auston Matthews scored his NHL-leading 21st goal of the season 59 seconds into overtime and the Toronto Maple Leafs beat the Winnipeg Jets 4-3 to snap a three-game losing streak. Mitch Marner, William Nylander and Ilya Mikheyev scored in regulation to help Toronto regain the overall NHL lead at 19-7-2. Frederik Andersen made 23 saves, and Matthews and Marner each added an assist.
— Josh Leivo scored twice and Calgary beat the Montreal Canadiens 2-1. Jacob Markstrom stopped 17 shots, and Derek Ryan and Sam Bennett assisted on both of Leivo’s goals. Corey Perry scored for Montreal, which is 3-2-3 since Dominique Ducharme replaced the fired Claude Julien on Feb. 24.
Binnington gets extension
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Jordan Binnington has signed a six-year, $36 million contract extension with the St. Louis Blues, less than two years after backstopping them to their first Stanley Cup title in franchise history.
The 27-year-old Binnington is in his third season in St. Louis and played a key role in the Blues making a run from last place in the standings to winning the championship in the 2018-19 season. He won his first career start in January 2019 and finished the season with a 24-5-1 record.
Binnington proceeded to become the NHL’s first rookie goalie to win each of the Cup-winning team’s 16 playoff games.
He’s 9-6-3 this season and has an overall record of 63-24-11 with eight shutouts.
Indians seek trade for Hamilton
UNDATED (AP) — Outfielder Billy Hamilton won’t make Cleveland’s roster and the Indians are trying to find him another team this spring. Manager Terry Francona said the club told Hamilton that he wasn’t part of their plans. The Indians will try to trade the 30-year-old, who signed a minor league contract with a non-roster invitation to training camp last month. Hamilton had his best seasons with Cincinnati from 2013-18. He stole at least 56 bases four straight seasons. He spent last season with the New York Mets and Chicago Cubs.
In other MLB news:
—Ender Inciarte’s (EHN’-dur ihn-see-AHR’-tayz) attempt to win a starting job in the Atlanta Braves’ outfield is temporarily on hold as he recovers from a thumb injury. Inciarte is competing with rookie Cristian Pache for the starting job in center field. Braves manager Brian Snitker says Inciarte hurt his thumb when he “got fisted” by an inside pitch in a recent at-bat. Snitker says he does not know when Inciarte will be able to play. This is a crucial season for the 30-year-old Inciarte. He is entering the final year of a five-year, $30.5 million contract. Inciarte is a three-time Gold Glove winner.
Garcia sizzles late at Players Championship
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — A solid start turned into a brilliant one for Sergio Garcia, who finished birdie-birdie-eagle for a 7-under 65 and the first-round lead at The Players Championship.
Garcia holed a 15-foot birdie putt on the par-4 seventh, hit a 3-iron to 15 feet on the par-3 eighth, and closed it out with a 5-wood to 18 feet for eagle on his final hole.
Brian Harman is alone in second, two shots off the lead and one ahead of Matthew Fitzpatrick, Corey Conners and Shane Lowry.
Mississippi gov signs bill limiting transgender athletes
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves has signed a bill barring transgender athletes from competing on girls or women’s sports teams. Mississippi becomes the first state this year to enact such a ban, with more than 20 states considering similar bills. A federal court blocked an Idaho law last year.
Alphonso David, president of the LGBTQ civil rights organization Human Rights Campaign, said in a statement Thursday that the Mississippi law could lead to more bullying of transgender people.
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