NFL PLAYOFFS

New England 41 LA Chargers 28

New Orleans 20 Philadelphia 14

 

MEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL

#6 Michigan State 71 Penn State 56

#2 Michigan 80 Northwestern 60

Xavier 70 Butler 69

Villanova 90 Creighton 78

South Carolina 85 Missouri 75

St. Peter’s 72 Marist 63

Iona 88 Canisius 70

Rider 104 Niagara 84

South Dakota 87 Purdue Fort Wayne 73

Quinnipiac 80 Fairfield 78

Central Florida 76 E. Carolina 65

Dayton 72 Massachusetts 67

Northern Iowa 57 Drake 54

George Mason 84 Rhode Island 67

Memphis 83 Tulane 79

Oregon 81 USC 60

Oregon State 79 UCLA 66

 

WOMEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL

#1 Notre Dame 78 Wake Forest 48

#2 Louisville 61 Georgia Tech 44

#3 Connecticut 63 S. Florida 46

#5 Oregon 72 UCLA 52

#6 Stanford 78 Arizona 48

#8 North Carolina State 66 Virginia 38

#10 Oregon State 76 USC 52

#12 Syracuse 90 North Carolina 77

Georgia 66 #13 Tennessee 62

#15 Marquette 72 Georgetown 62

Ole Miss 55 #16 Kentucky 49

#21 South Carolina 76 LSU 53

Clemson 57 #22 Florida State 45

#25 Indiana 75 Wisconsin 68

Purdue 57 Northwestern 54

Central Florida 56 Cincinnati 55

Northern Iowa 64 Loyola Chicago 52

Detroit 42 Illinois Chicago 36

Kansas 61 Kansas State 54

Boston College 59 Pittsburgh 55

Seton Hall 79 Providence 73

DePaul 66 Villanova 59

Drexel 57 Delaware 40

Illinois State 72 Evansville 61

North Carolina Wilmington 75 Elon 70

Duquesne 60 George Mason 57

Bradley 61 Indiana State 45

James Madison 84 Northeastern 49

Massachusetts 74 LaSalle 60

Rider 55 Siena 52

Creighton 65 St. John’s 63

St. Joseph’s 66 St. Bonaventure 41

Texas A&M 70 Alabama 43

IUPUI 82 Oakland 53

Arkansas 83 Vanderbilt 62

Florida 58 Missouri 56

Drake 84 Valparaiso 53

Rutgers 62 Nebraska 56

West Virginia 66 Oklahoma 55

Missouri State 66 Southern Illinois 51

Washington State 74 Colorado State 48

Fordham 56 St. Louis 53

Western Illinois 92 North Dakota 80

Utah 58 Washington 43

 

NBA SCOREBOARD

Philadelphia 108 New York 105

Toronto 140 Washington 138 2OT

Milwaukee 133 Atlanta 114

Orlando 116 Houston 109

Golden State 119 Dallas 114

Denver 116 Portland 113

Cleveland 101 LA Lakers 95

 

NHL SCOREBOARD

Carolina 6 Nashville 3

Winnipeg 4 Anaheim 3

Columbus 7 NY Rangers 5

Vancouver 5 Florida 1

NY Islanders 5 Tampa Bay 1

Calgary 7 Arizona 1

 

TOP HEADLINES

Saints rally past Eagles 20-14, will host NFC title game

When the New Orleans Saints finally found their rhythm, they marched one step closer to the Super Bowl.

Using a dominant ball-control offense and a few gambles that paid off, the Saints got two touchdown passes from Drew Brees and two interceptions from Marcus Lattimore in a 20-14 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles.

Brees took the Saints on scoring drives of 92, 79 and 67 yards after falling behind 14-0. Lattimore clinched it when Nick Foles’ pass from the Saints 27 deflected off usually sure-handed receiver Alshon Jeffery with about two minutes remaining. A couple dozen Saints players surged off the sideline toward the end zone in celebration, while Jeffery fell face-first to the turf in agony.

“We were real calm and poised and we knew we were going to get things done,” Brees said.

New Orleans (14-3) will host the NFC title game next week against the Rams (13-4). Los Angeles, which fell 45-35 at the Superdome in November, will try again next week, with the winner going to the Super Bowl. The Saints’ win finished off a sweep of the divisional round by teams coming off byes.

Wil Lutz added two field goals for the Saints, who last got this far in 2009, when they won the Super Bowl.

Philadelphia (10-8) will not repeat as NFL champion; no team has done so since the 2004 Patriots.

“We were going down to win, but I just felt like we beat ourselves, honestly,” Jeffery said. “Hats off to those guys.”

Eagles coach Doug Pederson thought his team was on its way on that final drive to pulling off another stunning comeback win

“It just felt like the momentum at that point was in our favor,” he said. “It’s been that way all season, and we felt like that sort of magic was going to continue.”

This was really two games in one. Philly scored on its first two drives as the Saints could do virtually nothing right.

“Listen, they got off to a fast start, they’re a great team,” Brees said. “Nick Foles has done a phenomenal job for them. We knew it was going to be different than last time.”

After that opening period, it was all New Orleans, yet the resilient Eagles kept it close enough that when Lutz missed a 52-yard field goal with 2:58 remaining, they were only one-score behind.

Foles, the hero of last year’s Super Bowl run, got them in position for yet another late winning score – just like last week at Chicago and last February against New England for the championship.

Then, Jeffery couldn’t handle a second-down pass, and it was over.

“That’s a great championship team,” Saints coach Sean Payton said of the Eagles. “We remained confident.”

Brees had 2-yard touchdown passes to rookie Keith Kirkwood and All-Pro wideout Michael Thomas, who had 12 receptions for a franchise playoff-record 171 yards.

Thomas’ touchdown capped an 18-play, 92-yard drive in which the Saints actually covered more than 100 yards because of penalties. It lasted 11 1/2 minutes.

“What you saw from him today is what I see every day in practice,” Brees said of Thomas. “He’s a big-time player who wants to be the guy to make plays.”

Philadelphia had the ball for more than nine minutes in the first quarter, after which the Eagles had the ball about 13 minutes and never scored.

New Orleans, which routed Philadelphia 48-7 in November, gambled on its first play – and lost. Brees was a bit short on a deep pass to Ted Ginn Jr., and it was picked off by Cre’Von LeBlanc, one of several Eagles backups being used in the secondary due to injuries during the regular season.

“I just think we had to find our rhythm,” Brees said. “I tried to take a shot on the first play. Unfortunately, that didn’t work.”

After the first quarter, though, a lot worked for New Orleans.

Foles completed all five throws on a 76-yard drive capped by Jordan Matthews’ 37-yard TD catch . The Eagles, who quickly fell behind 17-0 in that previous Superdome loss, suddenly led 7-0.

Not long after, a 75-yard drive highlighted by a 30-yard pass to Jeffery ended with Foles’ short leap over the goal line for a 14-0 edge.

Indeed, the visitors were in control until Lattimore picked off Foles’ deep throw to Zach Ertz. The Saints showed plenty of moxie on their 79-yard march to a touchdown, faking a punt at their 30, with Taysom Hill running 4 yards for a first down. They also went on fourth-and-goal from the 2, and Philadelphia’s rapidly depleting defense surrendered Kirkwood’s 2-yard touchdown.

“When you just get that in guys’ minds that we’re going to be aggressive, that we’re going to play to win, it allows guys to relax and to cut loose,” Brees said.

With Brees finding the range and his receivers finding loads of room to roam, New Orleans crept to 14-10 at halftime on Lutz’s 45-yard field goal.

 

Michel scores 3 TDs, Patriots roll past Chargers 41-28

Tom Brady recognizes that there are some who believe the Patriots are nearing the end of their run of unprecedented playoff success.

New England took its first step toward possibly silencing those voices for a little longer.

Sony Michel ran for 129 yards and had three touchdowns and the Patriots beat the Los Angeles Chargers 41-28 in the divisional playoffs on Sunday to earn their eighth straight trip to the AFC championship game.

New England (12-5) will play at Kansas City in next week’s AFC title game. The Patriots beat the Chiefs 43-40 in Foxborough in Week 6. The Patriots finished 9-0 at home this season.

It is the 13th conference championship game appearance by the Patriots during the Tom Brady-Bill Belichick era.

“It’s going to be a good game,” Brady said of the rematch with the Chiefs. “They’re a good team. We played them earlier this year. I know everybody thinks we suck and, you know, we can’t win any games, so we’ll see. It’ll be fun.”

The Chargers (13-5) haven’t reached the AFC title game since the 2007 season.

Philip Rivers finished 25 of 51 for 331 yards, three touchdowns and an interception. He is 0-5 in games played in Foxborough, including 0-3 in the postseason.

Brady finished 34 of 44 for 343 yards and a touchdown. He improves to 8-0 as a starter against Rivers, who drops to 1-8 against New England all-time.

For Rivers, seeing Brady again pick apart the Chargers defense was another reminder that he was competing against one of the best quarterbacks in NFL history.

“He’s up there if not the all-time great, then one of,” Rivers said. “That argument can go on forever. … Was he rolling at the highest level today? I think we can all agree on that.”

James White tied Darren Sproles’ NFL postseason record with 15 catches, totaling 97 yards.

New England scored on its first four possessions of the game to build a 35-7 halftime lead.

Julian Edelman had nine catches for 151 yards. He said the run game opened up the field for the rest of the offense.

“It was awesome to get Sony out there trucking,” said Edelman. “Rex (Burkhead) was out there, he scored. And `Sweet Feet’ (James White) being `Sweet Feet’. Sony’s over there being a little horse. It was awesome.”

The Chargers added three touchdowns in the second half , but it was much too late.

Los Angeles lost for just the second time on the road (8-2) and first time outside Los Angeles this season. In their past four trips to the playoffs, the Chargers have lost in the divisional round.

“We got our butts kicked,” Los Angeles coach Anthony Lynn said.

Rivers seemed poised to keep Los Angeles in the game, connecting with Keenan Allen for a 43-yard score on Los Angeles’ first offensive possession. It was the longest touchdown of Allen’s career, including the postseason.

It turned out to be just a blip. The Chargers punted the four other times they had the ball in the first half.

The Patriots were efficient throughout the opening 30 minutes, going 5 for 5 in the red zone, 5 of 6 on third down and committing only one penalty.

New England didn’t go three-and-out for the first time until its fifth offensive touch of the day when it punted with 3:32 left in the second quarter.

But Ryan Allen’s 48-yard punt was fumbled by Desmond King , sending the ball rolling toward the sideline. The referees ruled the ball went out of bounds before New England’s Albert McClellan appeared to recover it. But the play was reversed after a challenge by Bill Belichick.

The turnover proved costly, with the Patriots scoring just four plays later when Michel crossed the goal line from 5 yards for his third touchdown of the half.

Asked if this victory proved at least some of the Patriots’ doubters wrong, Brady paused and smiled.

“I just like winning,” he said. “I just like winning.”

RUN PATRIOTS, RUN

New England established the run early, creating big holes in a Chargers defense that ended the regular season ranked ninth in the NFL, allowing just 106 rushing yards per game.

Michel carried 16 times for 105 yards in the first half.

He scored from 1 yard on the opening possession of the game. It capped a 14-play, 83-yard drive in which he rushed five times for 15 yards and had a 9-yard reception.

The Patriots added scoring drives of 67, 58, 87 and 35 yards.

 

No. 2 Michigan now 17-0 after 80-60 win over Northwestern

Zavier Simpson is Michigan’s gritty point guard, and Jon Teske is the 7-foot-1 center. Together, they anchor the Wolverines’ stellar defense.

When they suddenly start making 3-pointers as well, there’s not much an opponent can do.

Simpson scored a career-high 24 points and Teske tied a career high with 17, leading No. 2 Michigan to an 80-60 victory over Northwestern on Sunday night. Simpson made five 3-pointers and Teske made three. With the win, the Wolverines are off to their best start in program history.

Michigan (17-0, 6-0 Big Ten) started 16-0 on two previous occasions, including once before under coach John Beilein, in 2012-13.

“We’ve had some great teams, and I hate comparing great to great,” Beilein said. “But I do say that this team has the capacity – if we get that out of those two, I wouldn’t like to guard that.”

Before Sunday, Teske had made five 3-pointers in 77 games at Michigan. Simpson had shot 28 percent beyond the arc over his 2 1/2 seasons with the Wolverines. They made eight of Michigan’s 11 3-pointers on Sunday.

“We were going to live with some Simpson 3s and some Teske 3s,” Northwestern coach Chris Collins said. “Give those guys credit.”

Northwestern (10-7, 1-5) was without leading scorer Vic Law, who was out with a lower-body injury. The Wildcats lost by two to the Wolverines last month – one of only two Michigan games this season decided by single digits – but this one was no contest.

Simpson’s hook shot off the glass gave the Wolverines an early 10-0 lead, and although Northwestern quickly battled back to within two, the game didn’t stay close for long. Michigan made 13 of its final 16 shots from the field in the first half and led 50-28 at halftime.

Dererk Pardon scored 20 points for Northwestern.

The Wolverines have matched the longest winning streak in school history. They won 17 in a row in 1985 before losing in the NCAA Tournament.

Michigan and Virginia are the only unbeaten teams remaining in Division I.

 

Nick Ward leads No. 6 Michigan State over Penn State, 71-56

Tom Izzo wasn’t impressed with much of No. 6 Michigan State’s double-digit victory over Penn State.

The Spartans built a big lead early and dominated at times in the paint in their 71-56 win on Sunday. From Izzo’s standpoint, that’s all they did well and that won’t be enough for the Spartans to be the team they want to be.

“Maybe we’re all talking too much about how good we are,” Izzo said. “We’re not that good.”

Playing without guards Joshua Langford and Kyle Ahrens, Michigan State’s offense suffered through spurts of inconsistency while also mounting the runs necessary to keep the game out of reach.

Nick Ward had 16 points and 11 rebounds, Matt McQuaid added 15 points and Cassius Winston chipped in 11 for the Spartans (15-2, 6-0 Big Ten), who have won 10 straight. They also beat the Nittany Lions (7-10, 0-6) for the 10th consecutive time.

Michigan State turned the ball over 17 times and shot 49 percent from the field.

“They missed some shots that I think they could’ve made,” Izzo said. “The turnovers were a joke.”

Kenny Goins added 10 rebounds for the Spartans, who only trailed for 10 seconds and led by as many as 21 with 6:44 to play.

The Spartans took control just over five minutes into the first half with a relentless possession.

Fueled by a pair of offensive rebounds from Goins and Xavier Tillman, the Spartans controlled the ball for nearly 40 seconds and took the lead for good when Winston pinpointed a bounce pass through traffic to Goins, who finished with a right-handed dunk. Goins’ jam sparked a 28-14 run for the Spartans, who led 40-24 at halftime.

 

Mabrey scores 18, No. 1 Notre Dame routs Wake Forest 78-48

With her off-campus roommate Arike Ogunbowale struggling, Marina Mabrey took over the scoring load for No. 1 Notre Dame in a wire-to-wire 78-48 victory over Wake Forest on Sunday.

“It happens to everyone,” Mabrey said after scoring 18 points while Ogunbowale, averaging 22.6 points a game coming in, was held to four points on 1-of-11 shooting. “I’m confident the next game she will be ready to go – she got the misses out of the way.”

Mabrey hit 7 of 11 shots, including 4 3-pointers, and had seven rebounds and four assists in 27 minutes. Ogunbowale, who scored 30 points Thursday in Notre Dame’s 82-68 victory over No. 2 Louisville, saw her 37-game double-digit scoring streak end despite playing a team-high 29 minutes.

“Sometimes you just have that kind of day,” Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw said. “Coming off a big game like Louisville, she just struggled to find her shot and her rhythm. But she did some other things (five assists).”

Jessica Shepard had 16 points while Brianna Turner had 14 points and 12 rebounds – her fifth double-double of the season – for the Fighting Irish (16-1, 4-0 Atlantic Coast Conference). They combined to go 13 for 18 from the field.

“Offensively, Bri and Jessica were really active today and Marina shot the ball well,” McGraw said.

Wake Forest coach Jen Hoover was impressed by the Irish.

“It’s hard to guard a team that has five players on the court who are so good offensively,” Hoover said. “They are much different (with Turner back from sitting out last season with an ACL injury). She’s such a rim protector.”

Christina Morra scored 13 points and Ivana Raca had 12 for the Demon Deacons (9-7, 0-3). Elisa Penna, Wake’s 6-foot-3 leading scorer coming in at 15.4 points per game, was held to just five points on 1-of-12 shooting, including 0 for 5 from long distance.

“I was really pleased with our defense, particularly on Penna,” McGraw said. “She’s just a great player, hard to guard. We mixed up who was on her – Brianna and Jackie did a good job on her and the others helped out as well. We did a good job finding her in the zone. That was No. 1 in the keys of the game.”

Ogunbowale made two free throws with 54 seconds left in the first half. Notre Dame took a 37-15 halftime lead after starting on an 18-0 run.

 

Ibaka’s 3-pointer helps Raptors survive Wizards in double OT

The Toronto Raptors began with a rush. They scored the first nine points against the Washington Wizards, built a 19-point lead in the first quarter and went ahead by 23 in the second quarter.

Near the end of the third quarter, Toronto still led by 17 points. Then Washington got hot and forced one overtime and then another.

Serge Ibaka’s 3-pointer with 15 seconds left in the second overtime allowed the Raptors to survive and earn their fifth straight win, 140-138 over the Wizards on Sunday.

“It shouldn’t come down to the last possession,” Kawhi Leonard said. “We need to close out games better.”

Leonard, who played a season-high 45 minutes, led Toronto with 41 points and 11 rebounds.

“Tonight he played like a superstar,” Ibaka said. “That’s how we need him to play and he did his job as a superstar. When we need him to step up and make big plays, he did them for us.”

Bradley Beal had his second triple-double of the season, collecting season highs of 43 points and 15 assists along with 10 rebounds. His 3-pointer with 20.4 seconds left in regulation tied it at 124 to force overtime. His jumper with 6.8 seconds to play in the first overtime tied it at 131.

Beal joined Oscar Robertson as the only players in NBA history with multiple games of 40 points, 15 assists and 10 rebounds in a season. Robertson had three such games in 1961-62.

He didn’t have much to say about it, though, leaving the locker room before it opened to the media as the Wizards scrambled to make a flight to London for its next game.

Washington never led until early in the second overtime.

Leonard had 13 straight points in the fourth quarter and overtime. Toronto missed seven of nine from the field in the second OT and didn’t score for nearly 3 1/2 minutes, but Washington could only push ahead by three points during that stretch.

“We got lucky to get out of here with a win,” Raptors coach Nick Nurse said.

 

Curry scores 48, hits 11 3s as Warriors beat Mavs 119-114

A day after the Dallas Mavericks got the bad news that backup point guard and team sparkplug J.J. Barea was lost for the season, Stephen Curry brought more bad news – in the form of 11 3-pointers.

Curry scored 48 points and tied his season high for 3s in a game as the Golden State Warriors held off the Mavericks 119-114 on Sunday night.

“We just couldn’t get Curry under control,” Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said. “He was brilliant tonight.”

Curry’s 11 3s were the most ever by a Mavericks opponent. The last one was his most important, snapping a 114-all tie with 42 seconds to play. Both Curry and Warriors coach Steve Kerr credited Kevin Durant for switching play calls to get Curry shots rather than taking shots of his own.

“That was just (Durant) taking the initiative, knowing that I had a hot hand going,” Curry said. “Call it a decoy in terms of him being in the action, but allowing me to work. The way they were defending us, it just made sense tonight.”

Durant added 28 points for the Warriors, and Klay Thompson had nine of his 16 in the fourth quarter as the Warriors received a tough test from a Dallas team playing without its top two point guards, Dennis Smith Jr. and Barea.

Luka Doncic scored 26 points for Dallas and Harrison Barnes had 22. Jalen Brunson had 12 off the bench in 30 minutes, in place of the injured point guards.

After Curry’s shot, Draymond Green blocked Brunson’s drive at the other end and secured the loose ball. The Mavericks forced a miss, but Barnes turned the ball over in the frontcourt with 5 seconds left. Curry sealed the game with free throws.

“He had mismatches,” Durant said. “He was making shots over everybody tonight, so why run plays? Just give him the ball.”

Dallas missed its final eight shots from the field.

“You always can get better shots,” Doncic said. “We were in the bonus so we wanted to drive the ball. Today wasn’t the day.”

Devin Harris gave Dallas its first lead since the second quarter with a driving layup to make it 105-103 with 5:29 remaining. Harris followed that with a 3 for a five-point lead, capping an 11-0 run.

 

Jokic scores 40, leads Nuggets past Trail Blazers, 116-113

Nikola Jokic wanted to set an example for his teammates with high-energy, physical play.

He did that and much more.

Jokic scored a season-high 40 points, Jamal Murray fought through a bloody lip to add 24 and the Denver Nuggets beat the Portland Trail Blazers 116-113 on Sunday night.

“He was really aggressive from the jump,” Murray said of Jokic. “Whether it was Nurk (Jusuf Nurkic, Al-Farouq) Aminu, whoever was on him, he was going at them and they had no answer for him. He just kept scoring and took over the load for a while. We need those nights from him. So it was a huge, great night, but that’s not going to be his only 40-point performance.”

Jokic, who was serenaded at times with chants of “MVP!” from the crowd, said he sensed during pregame warmups that the team was a little flat and he determined he should go out and play aggressively to help set the tone for his teammates.

“I thought during warmups we were kind of loose and not focused, so I tried to pick up the energy,” Jokic said.

Jokic finished a point off his career high. He added 10 rebounds and eight assists, just missing his sixth triple-double of the season.

“Jokic is a hell of a player,” Portland coach Terry Stotts said. “He is a difficult guy to guard. He scores inside, scores outside and he passes. We didn’t do a very good job with him tonight, no matter who was on him.”

Murray’s lip was bloodied when he took an elbow to the mouth from Nurkic on a drive to the basket early in the third quarter. Murray hit both free throws before heading to the locker room. He was back in the game within minutes, and grabbed a rebound off his own missed shot in the final moments, hitting both free throws after he was fouled.

“It wouldn’t stop bleeding, obviously being warm and being in the game,” Murray said. “They just put some Vaseline on it but it was a task to stay on it.”

 

Cavs stun Lakers 101-95 to end 12-game losing streak

Cedi Osman scored 20 points, Collin Sexton added 17 and the Cleveland Cavaliers ended a 12-game losing streak with a 101-95 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday night.

Tristan Thompson had 15 points and 14 rebounds, and Alec Burks had 17 points and 13 rebounds as the short-handed Cavaliers split the two-game season series by forcing the Lakers into a halfcourt game.

Kyle Kuzma had 29 points and nine rebounds for the Lakers, who have lost two straight and five of their past seven. Brandon Ingram scored 22 points and Lonzo Ball had 13 points, eight rebounds and eight assists.

Los Angeles was 7 for 34 on 3-pointers and had 11 fast-break points.

Burks delivered an emphatic dunk after Ingram couldn’t handle a defensive rebound to help the Cavaliers re-establish control after Kuzma scored five straight to cut the Cavaliers’ lead to 84-79 midway though the four quarter.

Sexton drove for a layup and Osman hit a floater during a quick 6-0 run, which allowed the Cavaliers to hold off another late push by the Lakers. Kuzma hit a 3-pointer with 22 seconds remaining to trim the margin to 96-93, but Burks made both free throws with 16 to play.

The Cavaliers had a 10-0 run in the third quarter after Kuzma hit a floater to pull the Lakers within 51-50 early in the period. Burks and Osman hit 3-pointers to bookend the push, and Cleveland was able to sustain the 10-point margin going into the fourth by holding Los Angeles to 8-for-26 shooting.

 

Nadal, Sharapova advance in straight sets at Australian Open

Rafael Nadal has missed a lot of tennis since last September. He hasn’t missed a beat.

The No. 2-seeded Nadal had a 6-4, 6-3, 7-5 win over Australian wild-card entry James Duckworth on Monday in the first round of the Australian Open, his first match back on Rod Laver Arena since he had to retire in his quarterfinal match last year.

The 17-time major winner hasn’t played since retiring from his semifinal at the U.S. Open because of a knee injury, and then had surgery on his right ankle in November. He withdrew from a warm-up tournament in Brisbane in the first week of the season because of a muscle strain in his thigh.

“Not easy to come back after a lot of months of competition, especially against a player playing super aggressive every shot,” Nadal said. “It’s very difficult to start after an injury – I know it very well. It’s very special to be back.”

Wearing a sleeveless top, he showed no signs of any issues against Duckworth. His only hiccup came when he served for the match in the ninth game of the third set and was broken at love. He returned the favor very quickly, though, to seal his spot in the second round.

Nadal has only lost twice in the first round at Grand Slams – to Steve Darcis at 2013 Wimbledon, and to Fernando Verdasco here in 2016 – and is aiming to be the first man in the Open era two win all four majors at least twice.

Maria Sharapova has the second-best record among active women’s players in first-round matches at the majors, and she gave an illustration of why that’s the case with a ruthless 6-0, 6-0 win over Harriet Dart.

The 2008 Australian Open champion got play started on Rod Laver Arena and needed only 63 minutes to advance.

In her 15th trip to Melbourne Park and her 55th Grand Slam tournament, she’s acutely aware of the toll that the sun and long early matches can have on a player’s title ambitions, so she gets straight to business.

The 22-year-old Dart, playing in the main draw of a major for only the second time after getting a wildcard to play last year at Wimbledon, only got a look at one break point in the match – when Sharapova served a double-fault in the second set. She got seven of her 29 points from Sharapova’s double-faults.

Sharapova said she was still feeling pain in her right shoulder despite sitting out the end of last season after the U.S. Open.

Stung by a first-round loss at Wimbledon last year, Sharapova said she couldn’t afford to feel any empathy for Dart.

“I mean, there is no time for that, I’m sorry to say … when you’re playing the first round of a Grand Slam,” she said. “I think I was just focused on not having a letdown.

“I think it’s very easy to be in a position where things are flowing, you know, you’re doing all the right things, she’s making a few errors, you’re comfortable, easy to get complacent, and, you know, complacency is not great. I was glad that I did the right things from the beginning till the end.”

Up next for Sharapova is Rebecca Peterson, who beat Sorana Cirstea, 6-4, 6-1.

Also advancing were 2017 U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens, No. 11 Aryna Sabalenka, No. 19 Caroline Garcia, No. 29 Donna Vekic and No. 31 Petra Martic.

Danielle Collins advanced to the second round of a major for the first time following a 2-6, 7-6 (5), 6-4 win over No. 14-seeded Julia Goerges, who won the title in Auckland to start the season.

Katie Boulter earned the distinction of winning the first 10-point tiebreaker under the Australian Open’s new system for deciding sets.

Boulter beat Ekaterina Makarova 6-0, 4-6, 7-6 (6), including 10-6 in the tiebreaker. The new rule was introduced to ensure matches don’t get too lengthy – previously the third set in women’s matches and the fifth set in men’s matches at the Australian Open had to be decided by a two-game advantage.

Fifth-seeded Kevin Anderson won his first match at Melbourne Park since 2015 when he beat Adrian Mannarino 6-3, 5-7, 6-2, 6-1. Also advancing on the men’s side were No. 19 Nikoloz Basilashvili and No. 26 Fernando Verdasco.

Defending champions Caroline Wozniacki and Roger Federer were scheduled to play night matches later Monday.

 

Alabama safety Deionte Thompson declares for NFL draft

All-America safety Deionte Thompson has joined a growing crowd of Alabama players leaving early for the NFL draft.

Thompson announced his decision Sunday on Twitter. He’s the sixth Crimson Tide underclassman to announce his decision to leave early.

Thompson was a consensus All-American in his first season as the starter. He made 79 tackles and had two interceptions and four forced fumbles.

Thompson, who has already graduated, says his experience at Alabama was “undeniably life-changing and an experience that I wouldn’t trade for the world.” He’s widely projected as a potential first-round pick.

Cornerback Saivion Smith announced Saturday that he’s turning pro. A day earlier, left tackle Jonah Williams, defensive lineman Quinnen Williams, tailback Josh Jacobs and tight end Irv Smith Jr. all declared for the draft.

 

AP Source: A’s, MLB meet with Heisman Trophy winner Murray

Representatives of the Oakland Athletics and Major League Baseball met Sunday with Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray, a day before the Oklahoma quarterback’s deadline to enter the NFL draft, a person with direct knowledge of the session said.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity Sunday because the meeting was not made public. Oakland executives remained confident as recently as the baseball winter meetings last month in Las Vegas that Murray would report to spring training this year and pursue baseball. MLB joined the efforts to persuade the dual-sport star, sending someone from its marketing group to the meeting, the source said.

The 5-foot-10, 195-pound Murray’s Sooners lost in a college football playoff semifinal Dec. 29 to eventual runner-up Alabama.

Drafted last June in the first round as the ninth overall pick, the outfielder signed with Oakland for $4.66 million. There was an agreement between the team and Murray that he would play football this year, then skip his senior season to begin his pro baseball career – and A’s manager Bob Melvin as well as executive Billy Beane and general manager David Forst closely followed Oklahoma football in 2018.

“I can’t put it into words. Just thankful,” Murray said after the draft. “That’s a huge deal, the organization letting me do that.”

Murray showed off his skills taking batting practice at the Coliseum in an A’s uniform back in June, greeted by “WELCOME TO OAKLAND” on the big scoreboard with his photo. Beane joked with super agent Scott Boras – who represents Murray – about the prized prospect committing to 15 years with the A’s, who reached the playoffs for the first time since 2014 before losing the AL wild-card game to the Yankees and the franchise is preparing to build a new ballpark near the popular Jack London Square neighborhood of the city.

This past season for the Sooners, he completed 260 of 377 passes for 4,361 yards and 42 touchdowns with seven interceptions and a passer rating of 199.2. He also rushed for 1,001 yards and 12 TDs.

 

SPORTS EXTRA

THIS DAY IN SPORTS HISTORY-JANUARY 14, 1973

LOS ANGELES – The big scoreboard in the Coliseum flashed the message over and over, “The Dolphins Are Super,” at the end of the Super Bowl contest today, and indeed the Miami team had played an almost perfect game in defeating the Washington Redskins, 14-7, for a perfect season and the championship. The game was watched by millions on national television. [Many television sets in the New York area were affected by atmospheric disturbances that interrupted the program.]

The score of the undefeated Dolphins’ 17th victory could easily have been a more decisive 21-0 or 17-0 except for a single botched Miami play near the end of the game. That play featured little Garo Yepremian, the soccer-kicking specialist from Cyprus, attempting the skills of the big fellows, passing and tackling. Yepremian tried futilely to throw a pass after his 42-yard field-goal attempt had been blocked.

This pass was intercepted by Mike Bass, the cornerback, who ran 49 yards for the Redskins’ only touchdown with 2 minutes 7 seconds left to play. The 155-pound Yepremian missed the tackle. This score put some suspense into a game that otherwise had generated little excitement because Miami was the dominant team from the start.

The Redskins had the ball one more time with 74 seconds remaining, but the Dolphin defense harassed Bill Kilmer, the Washington quarterback, and the final play was symbolic. Kilmer was dropped by Bill Stanfill and Vern Den Herder for a 9-yard loss on his 17-yard line.

Larry Csonka ran for 112 yards for Miami, 9 short of the Super Bowl record set by Matt Snell of the New York Jets in 1969, while Larry Brown, the Redskins’ No. 1 carrier, scratched out 72 in 22 carries. His average was 3.3 yards, a yard below his standard during the regular season. Brown’s longest run was for 11 yards while Csonka had one for 49 yards, the most yards the Redskins’ defense had given up on a single ground play all season.

Csonka’s running mate, Jim Kiick, scored the second Miami touchdown on a 1-yard run in the second period and Howard Twilley, the wide receiver, made the first on a dazzling play in the opening quarter. Twilley, cutting inside and then outside, caught a pass from Bob Griese on the 5 and scored to complete a 28-yard play. Twilley turned the defending back, Pat Fischer, all the way around on his fake.

Miami became the first team in the 53-year history of the National Football League to go through a season undefeated and untied. For the coach, Don Shula, a Super Bowl victory had been some time in coming. His two earlier qualifiers, the 1969 Baltimore Colts and last year’s Dolphins, had lost, to the Jets and the Dallas Cowboys. “I’m 0-2,” said Shula last week, “and on Sunday night I intend to be 1-2.” He made it.

The closest any N.F.L. team has come to a perfect season since 1973 was when Mike Ditka’s Chicago Bears went 18-1 in the regular and postseason in 1985 and January 1986. Don Shula’s overall Super Bowl record was 2-4.

 

ALSO:

1908 – Roger Hartigan scores century on cricket Test debut versus England in Adelaide (116).

1919 – John McGraw, Charles A Stoneham, and Judge McQuade buy the New York Giants.

1940 – Commissioner Kenesaw Landis gives free agency to 91 Detroit Tigers.

1940 – NFL Pro Bowl: Green Bay Packers beat NFL All-Stars 16-7.

1943 – Alex Smart (Montreal Canadiens) is first NHL player to score hat trick in his first game.

1951 – NFL Pro Bowl: first since 1942, Americans beat Nationals 28-27.

1961 – Chicago Bears’ Willard Dewveall becomes first NFL player to join the AFL.

1962 – NFL Pro Bowl: West beats East 31-30.

1964 – 14th NBA All-Star Game: East beats West 111-107 at Boston, Massachusetts.

1964 – Bapu Nadkarni 32-27-5-0 versus England, 21 maiden overs in a row.

1968 – Super Bowl II: Green Bay Packers beat Oakland Raiders, 33-14 in Miami, Florida; Most Valuable Player: Bart Starr, quarterback.

1971 – John Snow takes 7-40 for England to beat Australia by 299 runs.

1973 – Super Bowl VII: Miami Dolphins beat Washington Redskins, 14-7 in Los Angeles, California; Most Valuable Player: Jake Scott, Safety.

1974 – World Football League founded.

1975 – Anita Wold (Norway) sets women’s ski jump distance record-98 metres.

1976 – Ted Turner becomes CEO of Atlanta Braves.

1985 – Martina Navratilova is third to win 100 tennis tournaments (Jimmy Connors and Chris Evert).

1987 – Catfish Hunter and Billy Williams are elected to Baseball Hall of Fame.

1994 – Inna Lassovskaya triple-jumps ladies world record (14.61 metres).

1996 – Liselotte Neumann wins Chrysler-Plymouth Tournament of Golf Champions.

2002 – Barry Bonds agrees to a five-year, $90 million deal with the San Francisco Giants.

2007 – The Toronto Blue Jays and first baseman Lyle Overbay agree to a four-year contract worth $24 million to stay in Toronto.

2008 – The Board of Control for Cricket in India sells broadcasting rights to the Indian Premier league for US$1 billion.

 

SPORTS BIRTHDAY’S

1920 – Birth of Bertus de Harder; Dutch soccer star (Bordeaux).

1920 – Birth of Donald Beard; cricket player (New Zealand pace bowler in the 1950s).

1927 – Birth of Ivan Kalita in USSR; equestrian dressage (Olympics-silver-1968).

1936 – Birth of John Paul Cain in Sweetwater, Texas, USA; PGA golfer (1989 Greater Grand Rapids).

1936 – Birth of Ludmila Pinayevain USSR; 500m kayak (Olympics-gold-1964, 1968, 1972).

1936 – Birth of Reiner Klimke in Germany; equestrian dressage (Olympics-gold-1984).

1937 – Birth of Ken Higgs; cricket player (effective England pace-bowler in 15 Tests 1965-68).

1941 – Birth of C L “Gibby” Gilbert Junior in Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA; PGA golfer (1976 Danny Thomas).

1944 – Birth of Graham Vivian Marsh in Kalgoorlie, Australia; PGA golfer (1977 Heritage).

1951 – Birth of Gil Pak Jong in Korea; judo (Olympics-1976).

1959 – Birth of Paul Terry; cricket player (in Germany Two Tests England vs West Indies 1984).

1964 – Birth of Sergei Nemchinov in Moscow, Russia; NHL center (New York Islanders, Olympics-Silver-1998).

1965 – Birth of Dave Lowry in Sudbury, Ontario, Canada; NHL left wing (Florida Panthers).

1966 – Birth of Matt Brock; NFL defensive end/tackle (New York Jets).

1967 – Birth of Terry Wooden; NFL linebacker (Seattle Seahawks, Kansas City Chiefs).

1968 – Birth of Fred[ric] Honebein in San Francisco, California, USA; rower (Olympics-5th-1996).

1969 – Birth of David Webb; WLAF linebacker (Frankfurt Galaxy).

1969 – Birth of Martin Bicknell; cricket player (England pace bowler 1993).

1969 – Birth of Rico Smith; NFL wide receiver (Cleveland Browns).

1970 – Birth of Eric Charron in Verdun, Quebec, Canada; NHL defenseman (Washington Capitals).

1970 – Birth of Steve Cooke in Kanai, Hawaii; pitcher (Pittsburgh Pirates).

1970 – Birth of Tyrone Hughes; NFL cornerback (New Orleans Saints, Chicago Bears).

1972 – Birth of Kyle Brady; NFL tight end (New York Jets).

1972 – Birth of Michael Davis; NFL cornerback (Cleveland Browns).

1973 – Birth of Ed Howard; NFL wide receiver (Atlanta Falcons).

1973 – Birth of Lethon Flowers; NFL defensive back (Pittsburgh Steelers).

1973 – Birth of Rod Myers in Conroe, Texas, USA; outfielder (Kansas City Royals).

1974 – Birth of Hugues Legault in Montréal, Québec, Canada; 50m swimmer (Olympics-1996).

1974 – Birth of Kevin Jefferson; NFL linebacker (Cincinnati Bengals).

1974 – Birth of Michael Dritlein; WLAF wide receiver (Rhein Fire).

1974 – Birth of Nancy Napolski in Hinsdale, Idaho, USA; air rifle (Olympics-1996).

1975 – Birth of Marcel Koning; soccer player (FC The Hague/NEC).

1977 – Birth of Terry Ryan in Saint Johns; NHL left wing (Montreal Canadiens).

1980 – Birth of Ossama Haidar; Lebanese soccer player.

1980 – Birth of Cory Gibbs; American soccer player.

 

NBA STANDINGS

Eastern Conference
W L Pct Conf GB Home Road Div Conf Last 10 Streak
Toronto 33 12 .733 18-4 15-8 5-3 22-7 8-2 5 W
Milwaukee 30 12 .714 1.5 19-4 11-8 8-1 20-7 8-2 1 W
Indiana 28 14 .667 3.5 14-5 14-9 7-2 22-7 8-2 1 W
Philadelphia 28 16 .636 4.5 18-4 10-12 5-6 19-13 6-4 1 W
Boston 25 17 .595 6.5 15-5 10-12 6-2 17-9 6-4 2 L
Miami 21 20 .512 10.0 11-12 10-8 3-8 11-14 6-4 2 W
Brooklyn 21 23 .477 11.5 11-11 10-12 5-4 15-12 6-4 1 L
Charlotte 19 23 .452 12.5 14-8 5-15 6-2 17-12 3-7 3 L

Orlando 19 24 .442 13.0 12-11 7-13 3-4 13-10 5-5 2 W
10 Detroit 18 23 .439 13.0 11-10 7-13 4-4 12-16 3-7 1 W
11 Washington 18 26 .409 14.5 13-8 5-18 5-4 11-17 5-5 1 L
12 Atlanta 13 30 .302 19.0 7-11 6-19 5-4 10-21 4-6 1 L
13 Chicago 10 33 .233 22.0 5-16 5-17 2-7 7-18 2-8 7 L
14 New York 10 33 .233 22.0 4-14 6-19 2-8 6-24 1-9 4 L
15 Cleveland 9 35 .205 23.5 5-17 4-18 1-8 7-22 1-9 1 W
Western Conference
W L Pct Conf GB Home Road Div Conf Last 10 Streak
Denver 29 13 .690 18-3 11-10 6-0 18-8 8-2 1 W
Golden State 29 14 .674 0.5 17-6 12-8 6-2 17-10 7-3 4 W
Oklahoma City 26 16 .619 3.0 14-6 12-10 3-4 16-13 5-5 1 W
Portland 26 18 .591 4.0 18-7 8-11 2-6 14-15 7-3 1 L
LA Clippers 24 18 .571 5.0 14-7 10-11 7-1 17-12 5-5 2 L
Houston 24 18 .571 5.0 15-6 9-12 5-4 15-12 7-3 1 L
San Antonio 25 19 .568 5.0 18-5 7-14 4-5 18-14 7-3 1 L
LA Lakers 23 21 .523 7.0 14-9 9-12 5-2 16-14 3-7 2 L

Utah 23 21 .523 7.0 11-8 12-13 2-4 13-12 7-3 3 W
10 Sacramento 22 21 .512 7.5 13-10 9-11 2-8 12-18 4-6 2 W
11 Minnesota 21 22 .488 8.5 15-7 6-15 4-3 11-16 6-4 1 W
12 New Orleans 20 23 .465 9.5 15-6 5-17 5-4 11-14 5-5 1 L
13 Dallas 20 23 .465 9.5 16-5 4-18 3-4 12-18 4-6 1 L
14 Memphis 19 23 .452 10.0 11-9 8-14 4-4 13-14 3-7 1 L
15 Phoenix 11 33 .250 19.0 7-17 4-16 1-8 7-20 3-7 1 W

 

NHL STANDINGS

Eastern Conference
GP W L OTL Pts ROW GF GA Home Road L10
Tampa Bay Lightning 46 35 9 2 72 32 189 133 19-4-0 16-5-2 8-2-0
Washington Capitals 44 27 12 5 59 24 154 128 13-6-3 14-6-2 6-2-2
Toronto Maple Leafs 44 28 14 2 58 28 158 122 13-9-1 15-5-1 6-4-0
Columbus Blue Jackets 45 27 15 3 57 27 148 139 13-8-2 14-7-1 7-3-0
Boston Bruins 45 26 15 4 56 25 131 116 16-6-0 10-9-4 7-3-0
Pittsburgh Penguins 45 25 14 6 56 24 161 132 13-8-2 12-6-4 8-2-0
New York Islanders 44 25 15 4 54 23 134 117 11-7-3 14-8-1 8-2-0
Montreal Canadiens 46 24 17 5 53 22 138 139 12-9-2 12-8-3 6-4-0

Buffalo Sabres 45 23 16 6 52 20 131 130 14-6-3 9-10-3 3-6-1
10 Carolina Hurricanes 45 22 18 5 49 21 123 130 13-7-4 9-11-1 7-3-0
11 New York Rangers 45 18 20 7 43 13 126 157 11-6-5 7-14-2 3-6-1
12 Florida Panthers 44 17 19 8 42 15 138 160 8-6-5 9-13-3 3-5-2
13 New Jersey Devils 44 17 20 7 41 16 128 148 12-5-4 5-15-3 5-5-0
14 Detroit Red Wings 47 17 23 7 41 15 133 160 9-12-4 8-11-3 2-6-2
15 Ottawa Senators 46 17 24 5 39 17 143 178 11-9-4 6-15-1 2-7-1
16 Philadelphia Flyers 45 16 23 6 38 14 123 160 8-10-3 8-13-3 1-7-2
Western Conference
GP W L OTL Pts ROW GF GA Home Road L10
Calgary Flames 47 30 13 4 64 30 173 133 15-4-4 15-9-0 8-1-1
Winnipeg Jets 45 29 14 2 60 28 156 128 17-6-2 12-8-0 6-4-0
San Jose Sharks 47 27 13 7 61 27 167 141 16-4-4 11-9-3 8-1-1
Vegas Golden Knights 48 28 16 4 60 27 146 127 15-4-3 13-12-1 8-1-1
Nashville Predators 47 27 16 4 58 26 145 122 15-7-0 12-9-4 5-3-2
Dallas Stars 46 23 19 4 50 23 121 122 14-6-2 9-13-2 5-4-1
Colorado Avalanche 45 20 17 8 48 20 151 144 9-6-5 11-11-3 1-7-2
Minnesota Wild 44 22 19 3 47 22 124 125 11-8-3 11-11-0 5-4-1

Anaheim Ducks 46 19 18 9 47 16 112 140 10-7-8 9-11-1 0-6-4
10 Vancouver Canucks 47 21 21 5 47 20 136 148 10-9-2 11-12-3 5-4-1
11 Edmonton Oilers 45 21 21 3 45 19 126 144 11-10-1 10-11-2 3-7-0
12 Arizona Coyotes 45 20 22 3 43 18 116 130 8-12-2 12-10-1 5-4-1
13 St. Louis Blues 43 19 20 4 42 19 121 134 11-13-2 8-7-2 6-4-0
14 Chicago Blackhawks 47 16 22 9 41 16 137 171 8-10-6 8-12-3 4-3-3
15 Los Angeles Kings 46 18 25 3 39 17 105 136 11-13-1 7-12-2 5-5-0

 

BIG 10 MEN’S BASKETBALL

Big Ten
Conference Overall vs
W-L Pct Hm Rd W-L Pct Hm Rd Nt Top 25
Michigan 6-0 1.000 4-0 2-0 17-0 1.000 12-0 3-0 2-0 4-0
Michigan State 6-0 1.000 3-0 3-0 15-2 .882 9-0 4-1 2-1 3-1
Maryland 5-1 .833 3-0 2-1 14-3 .824 10-2 3-1 1-0 2-1
Minnesota 3-2 .600 2-1 1-1 13-3 .813 8-1 1-2 4-0 2-1
22 Indiana 3-2 .600 2-0 1-2 12-4 .750 10-0 1-4 1-0 1-2
Wisconsin 3-2 .600 1-2 2-0 11-5 .688 6-2 3-2 2-1 1-1
Purdue 3-2 .600 2-0 1-2 10-6 .625 7-0 1-4 2-2 2-4
Iowa 3-3 .500 2-1 1-2 14-3 .824 10-1 1-2 3-0 3-2
Nebraska 2-3 .400 2-0 0-3 12-4 .750 9-0 1-3 2-1 0-1
16 Ohio State 2-3 .400 1-1 0-2 12-4 .750 8-2 2-2 2-0 0-1
Rutgers 1-4 .200 1-2 0-2 8-7 .533 7-3 1-4 0-0 1-2
Northwestern 1-5 .167 1-2 0-3 10-7 .588 8-3 0-3 2-1 0-3
Illinois 0-5 .000 0-1 0-3 4-12 .250 4-3 0-4 0-5 0-4
Penn State 0-6 .000 0-3 0-3 7-10 .412 5-3 1-5 1-2 1-4

 

BIG 10 WOMEN’S BASKETBALL

Big Ten
Conference Overall vs
W-L Pct Hm Rd W-L Pct Hm Rd Nt Top 25
Rutgers 5-0 1.000 2-0 3-0 13-3 .813 8-0 4-1 1-2 1-0
Maryland 4-1 .800 2-1 2-0 15-1 .938 8-1 5-0 2-0 1-0
25 Indiana 4-1 .800 2-0 2-1 15-2 .882 8-0 5-1 2-1 1-0
Purdue 4-1 .800 3-0 1-1 13-5 .722 10-1 2-2 1-2 2-2
23 Michigan State 2-2 .500 2-0 0-2 12-3 .800 9-0 2-2 1-1 3-1
17 Iowa 2-2 .500 2-0 0-2 11-4 .733 8-0 2-3 1-1 1-2
Michigan 2-3 .400 2-0 0-3 11-6 .647 7-0 2-5 2-1 2-4
Penn State 2-3 .400 2-1 0-2 9-7 .563 8-4 1-3 0-0 0-2
Northwestern 2-3 .400 2-1 0-2 9-7 .563 6-3 2-3 1-1 2-2
Nebraska 2-3 .400 1-2 1-1 7-9 .438 5-3 1-6 1-0 0-4
18 Minnesota 1-3 .250 1-1 0-2 12-3 .800 10-1 2-2 0-0 1-1
Ohio State 1-3 .250 1-1 0-2 5-8 .385 5-2 0-4 0-2 1-3
Wisconsin 1-4 .200 1-1 0-3 10-7 .588 7-2 1-4 2-1 0-3
Illinois 1-4 .200 0-2 1-2 9-7 .563 7-3 2-3 0-1 1-0