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TOP NATIONAL HEADLINES
Texas Southern outlasts Texas A&M-CC 76-67 in First Four
DAYTON, Ohio (AP) Bryson Etienne scored 21 points and Texas Southern beat Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 76-67 on Tuesday night in the First Four of the NCAA Tournament.
The Tigers earned their third NCAA Tournament win in five seasons and will play top-seeded Kansas in the Midwest first round.
“I feel like anybody can go to any big school,” Etienne said. “We’re men just like them. We put our shoes on like them, pants, shirt. It’s March Madness, so madness can happen.”
PJ Henry hit a go-ahead free throw to highlight a 7-0 run in which Texas Southern (19-12) took the lead and never surrendered. He finished with 14 points and shot 10 of 13 at the free throw line.
“One of the things we talked about was playing extremely hard every second, every play,” Texas Southern coach Johnny Jones said. “It took that against that team to be able to finish down the stretch.”
John Walker III added 16 points. Brison Gresham grabbed 13 rebounds and scored six points as the First Four returned to the University of Dayton Arena for the first time in three seasons.
Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (23-12) led by as many as eight points in the opening period and four in the second half. The Islanders’ season ended after they won the Southland Conference tournament Saturday.
“We weren’t going to be able to finish things at the rim because they’ve got really good shot blockers,” Texas A&M-Corpus Christi coach Steve Lutz said. “At times we did that, but at times we really didn’t make good decisions at the rim.”
Trevian Tennyson led the Islanders with 18 points on 7-of-13 shooting while Simeon Fryer scored 12 and Terrion Murdix added 10.
The Tigers led 32-30 at halftime after trailing for over 10 minutes in the first half. Both teams shot below 40% from the field in the opening period, combining for 15 turnovers and seven steals.
Texas Southern held the advantage on the glass 45-37, including a commanding 25-13 edge in the second half.
The Islanders made just one of their last 11 shots as the Tigers held them to seven points in the final 6:04. Beginning the second half 5 of 7 from 3-point range, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi went 1 of 8 in the final 8:58.
Gresham, who transferred last offseason from Houston, grabbed his most rebounds in 14 games.
“He came in with zero ego and has shown a great deal of leadership with their basketball team and he’s a very impactful player defensively,” Jones said. “He’s one of those guys that gives you what is needed.”
HOT SECOND HALVES
Etienne scored his most points in 17 games and 13 of those came in the second half.
Henry had 12 in the same span. Texas Southern ramped things up and shot 44% in the second half after beginning 40% from the field.
“Any time we come out, we just try to play hard,” Etienne said. “We know guys are going to try to play hard against us, so we just try to prepare for that and exceed their energy.”
Texas A&M-CC: The Islanders shot 47.4% at the free throw line. They entered with a season average of 74.4% there.
“It wasn’t our night,” Lutz said. “We missed a lot of shots and free throws we normally make.”
Texas Southern: The Tigers forced nine turnovers and had four steals.
Texas A&M-CC: Season finished.
Texas Southern: Travels to Fort Worth, Texas, to play No. 1 Kansas on Thursday.
Big Ten lands three players on AP All-America first team
(AP) — Keegan Murray has given Iowa a first-team Associated Press All-American for the third straight year, and Kofi Cockburn has made it two in a row for Illinois – not bad for a couple programs that haven’t had a whole lot of them.
The Fighting Illini never had a first-team pick until Ayo Dosunmu made it last season when Cockburn was voted to the second team. And the Hawkeyes had not had a first-team selection since the 1952 season until Luka Garza, last year’s AP player of the year, made his second consecutive appearance in the five-man team.
Throw in Wisconsin’s Johnny Davis and the Big Ten was well represented Tuesday on the AP’s first team, which also included Kentucky big man Oscar Tshiebwe – this year’s player of the year favorite – and Kansas guard Ochai Agbaji.
“I’ve had to learn from a lot of guys last year just what it takes to be great at this level,” said Murray, a sophomore guard from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, who is fourth nationally in scoring at 23.6 points per game heading into the NCAA Tournament.
“I mean, it’s kind of like everything just got put together for me,” Murray added, “just all the hard work that we put in.”
The fifth-seeded Hawkeyes, who won the Big Ten Tournament title on Sunday, will open their NCAA tourney on Thursday against Richmond.
“We struggled earlier on this year a little bit and now we’re doing really well,” Murray said, “and it’s just a great feeling.”
All the first-team picks have their teams positioned to make a postseason run.
Cockburn, the bruising forward from Kingston, Jamaica, and the fourth-seeded Fighting Illini play Chattanooga on Friday, the same day Davis and the third-seeded Badgers open against Colgate. Tshiebwe has Kentucky seeded second going into Thursday’s game against Saint Peter’s. Agbaji and the top-seeded Jayhawks open against one of the play-in teams.
Davis is the Badgers’ third first-team All-American, joining Alando Tucker in 2007 and Frank Kaminsky in 2015, while Tshiebwe is the first for Kentucky since Tyler Ulis in 2016. Agbaji gives the Jayhawks a first-team pick for the third time in six years after Frank Mason in 2017 and Devonte Graham in 2018.
Just like Murray with the Hawkeyes, Agbaji already has some experience cutting down nets this season.
The Big 12 player of the year led Kansas past Texas Tech in the conference title game, adding tournament MVP honors to a growing collection of hardware that Agbaji has earned during his senior season.
“It’s great to see him do all these things. He’s accomplishing pretty much every goal he set out to accomplish,” Jayhawks teammate Christian Braun said, “and it’s awesome to watch him every day, you know, work hard and practice hard and do all these things, and then accomplish everything he set out to accomplish.”
Drew Timme of Gonzaga led the AP second team for the second straight year and was joined by freshman teammate Chet Holmgren. Jaden Ivey of Purdue gave the Big Ten another All-American, while likely No. 1 draft pick Jabari Smith of Auburn and Benedict Mathurin of Arizona rounded out the second team.
The Bulldogs, who are the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament for the second straight season, also had two second-team picks last year in Timme and Jalen Suggs. Another teammate, Corey Kispert, was a first-teamer last year.
Paolo Banchero of Duke was the only player from the ACC to be chosen for one of the first three teams, while the Blue Devils were the only team from the vaunted basketball conference to land in the final Top 25 poll this season. Banchero also will go down as the final All-American in a long list to have played for retiring Blue Devils coach Mike Krzyzewski.
Banchero was joined on the third team by Collin Gillespie of Villanova and E.J. Liddell of Ohio State, both of whom were honorable mention picks last season, and Walker Kessler of Auburn. James Akinjo of Baylor and JD Notae of Arkansas tied for the last spot on the third team, giving it six members rather than five.
David Roddy of Colorado State was the top vote getter among the honorable mention selections. Others to receive the honor include Armando Bacot of North Carolina; Johnny Juzang of UCLA; Alondes Williams of Wake Forest; Tari Eason of LSU; Zach Edey of Purdue; two-time pick Max Abmas of Oral Roberts; and Ron Harper Jr. of Rutgers.
Oscar Tshiebwe, Kentucky, 6-9, 255, Junior, Lubumbashi, Congo, 17.0 points, 15.1 rebounds (59 of 60 first-place votes, 298 points)
Johnny Davis, Wisconsin, Sophomore, La Crosse, Wisconsin, 19.7 points, 8.2 rebounds (57, 294)
Ochai Agbaji, Kansas, Senior, Kansas City, Missouri, 19.7 points, 5.1 rebounds (46, 270)
Kofi Cockburn, Illinois, 7-0, 285, Junior, Kingston, Jamaica, 21.1 points, 10.6 rebounds (42, 259)
Keegan Murray, Iowa, 6-8, 225, Sophomore, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, 23.6 points, 8.6 rebounds (39, 248)
Jabari Smith, Auburn, 6-10, 220, Freshman, Fayetteville, Georgia, 17.0 points, 7.1 rebounds (15, 187)
Drew Timme, Gonzaga, 6-10, 235, Junior, Richardson, Texas, 17.5 points, 6.3 rebounds (14, 159)
Jaden Ivey, Purdue, 6-4, 195, Sophomore, South Bend, Indiana, 17.4 points, 4.9 rebounds (9, 157)
Benedict Mathurin, Arizona, 6-6, 210, Sophomore, Montreal, Quebec, 17.4 points, 5.6 rebounds (7, 146)
Chet Holmgren, Gonzaga, 7-0, 195, Freshman, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 14.2 points, 9.6 rebounds (3, 144)
Paolo Banchero, Duke, 6-10, 250, Freshman, Seattle, Washington, 17.0 points, 7.8 rebounds (2, 110)
E.J. Liddell, Ohio State, 6-7, 240, Junior, Belleville, Illinois, 19.6 points, 7.9 rebounds (3, 104)
Collin Gillespie, Villanova, 6-3, 195, Senior, Huntingdon Valley, Pennsylvania, 15.9 points, 3.8 rebounds (4, 83)
Walker Kessler, Auburn, 7-1, 245, Sophomore, Newnan, Georgia, 11.7 points, 8.2 rebounds (0, 42)
James Akinjo, Baylor, 6-1, 190, Senior, Oakland, California, 13.4 points, 5.7 assists (0, 35)
JD Notae, Arkansas, 6-2, 190, Senior, Covington, Georgia, 18.4 points, 4.5 rebounds (0, 35)
Honorable Mention (alphabetical order)
Max Abmas, Oral Roberts; Armando Bacot, North Carolina; Tari Eason, LSU; Zach Edey, Purdue; Ron Harper Jr., Rutgers; Johnny Juzang, UCLA; David Roddy, Colorado State; Alondes Williams, Wake Forest.
AP source: Broncos pluck free agent DE Gregory from Cowboys
(AP) — The Denver Broncos and defensive end Randy Gregory have agreed on a $70 million, five-year contract that will prevent the Dallas Cowboys from keeping one of their top targets in free agency, a person with knowledge of the deal said Tuesday.
Gregory’s contract includes $28 million guaranteed. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the deal can’t be announced until Wednesday when the NFL’s business year begins.
The 29-year-old Gregory has had a suspension-filled seven years in the NFL but was coming off a productive and drama-free season. The Cowboys hoped the goodwill built in by standing by a troubled player would lead to a return.
Gregory chose the Broncos instead.
The addition of Gregory comes after Denver traded Von Miller to the Los Angeles Rams during the 2021 season. The Broncos sent 2021 sacks leader Shelby Harris to Seattle in the trade that landed quarterback Russell Wilson.
Harris and Gregory both had six sacks last season. Gregory matched his previous career high from 2018.
Dallas took a chance on Gregory in the second round of the 2015 draft after the former Nebraska standout tested positive for marijuana at the NFL combine. The first of Gregory’s four substance-abuse suspensions came after his rookie year. He returned from an indefinite suspension in 2020 after sitting out all of the 2019 season.
The Broncos entered the offseason needing help on the defensive line, and the need grew with the trade of Harris. Miller hinted at pining for a return to Denver on social media after winning a Super Bowl with the Rams. Miller was the Super Bowl MVP when the Broncos beat Carolina to finish the 2015 season.
Dallas is bringing back top defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence on a new contract that lowers his salary cap impact. The Cowboys figured they would use some of the cap savings on Gregory. Instead, they might have to consider other veterans. Help could come early in the draft as well.
The Broncos announced Tuesday they had agreed to terms with inside linebacker Josey Jewell on a two-year contract. General manager George Paton said at the NFL scouting combine two weeks ago that Jewell was fully recovered from a torn pectoral that ended his season in Week 2 last year.
Jewell started all 16 games in 2020, when he posted a career-best 113 tackles.
Browns release JC Tretter, union president; meeting Watson
CLEVELAND (AP) The Cleveland Browns released center JC Tretter, who was recently re-elected as president of the NFL Players Association, while the team accelerated its pursuit of controversial quarterback Deshaun Watson.
Tretter spent five seasons with Cleveland as a dependable leader and anchor of one of the league’s best offensive lines. The 31-year-old played through some serious leg injuries during while playing in 80 games.
Tretter also played a major role in the union setting protocols with the league during the COVID-19 pandemic. He was unanimously re-elected to a second term on Friday.
“For the past five seasons, JC has been a mainstay and iron man at center for us,” said Browns general manager Andrew Berry. “He came to our organization at a time of instability and was one of the key veterans that helped turn the tide over the past several years.
“His leadership – both within the locker room and the field – will be missed.”
Tretter posted “A letter to Cleveland” on Twitter thanking the people who work behind the scenes, the team’s training and strength and conditioning staffs and his teammates, singling out All-Pro guard Joel Bitonio.
“You are the heart of the Cleveland Browns,” Tretter said to Bitonio. “It has been my pleasure to play next to you for five years and I look forward to the day you are put in the ring of honor with the other Browns greats.”
Tretter’s release came as the Browns intensified their interest in Watson, who has played his last game with Houston. Cleveland has a scheduled meeting Tuesday with Watson, a person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press.
Watson met with New Orleans and Carolina on Monday, according to multiple reports.
The Browns are doing their due diligence and want to get to know Watson better, said the person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the matter.
Watson has a no-trade clause and would have to agree to be traded to Cleveland.
The Browns may have a little more to offer in quarterback Baker Mayfield, who had an injury-altered 2021 season. Cleveland general manager Andrew Berry has said several times this offseason that Mayfield is expected to return as the starter, but it appears the Browns could move from that plan.
The Texans are believed to be seeking at least three first-round picks for the talented Watson, who didn’t play last season after 22 women filed lawsuits alleging sexual assault and harassment. On Friday, a grand jury found no criminal wrongdoing by Watson, who is scheduled to be deposed in civil suits this week by the women.
Any trade involving Watson would certainly trigger backlash and the Browns are weighing all those factors in this pursuit of the three-time Pro Bowler. Cleveland received similar criticism in 2019 when it signed running back Kareem Hunt, who was seen on video shoving a woman and was suspended six games by the NFL.
Watson might face disciplinary action from the NFL under the personal conduct policy.
Earlier, the Browns and Patriots agreed to swap linebackers, with Mack Wilson going to New England and Chase Winovich headed to Cleveland, a person familiar said.
The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the trade can’t be announced until the league year starts Wednesday.
Wilson was a fifth-round draft pick in 2019. The 6-foot-3, 250-pound Winovich, drafted by New England in the third round that year, has 11 career sacks in 45 games. Shortly after the deal was agreed upon, Winovich posted thanks to the Patriots on Twitter.
“I am so grateful for my experience in New England.” Winovich wrote. “The love, spirit, and support have been absolutely unreal. This entire region will always hold the most special of places in my heart.
“The time is now for the next chapter of my journey.”
Rams’ Whitworth retires after 16 years capped by first ring
(AP) — Left tackle Andrew Whitworth is retiring after a 16-season NFL career capped by his first Super Bowl championship last month with the Los Angeles Rams.
Whitworth made his long-anticipated decision official Tuesday, just over a month after the Rams beat his former team, the Cincinnati Bengals, to win his first ring.
Whitworth turned 40 last December and became the oldest player to start at left tackle in the modern NFL. The two-time All-Pro selection protected Matthew Stafford’s blind side all the way to a 23-20 victory in the Super Bowl at the Rams’ own SoFi Stadium.
He spent his final five seasons with the Rams, who signed him shortly after hiring Sean McVay as their head coach in 2017. The massive offensive lineman was the cornerstone of McVay’s transformative offense in Los Angeles, leading the team to five consecutive winning seasons, four playoff berths, three NFC West titles, two Super Bowl appearances and one championship.
Whitworth also was selected the NFL’s Walter Payton Man of the Year last season for his extensive community work and mentorship to younger teammates, along with his excellent play.
Whitworth said as recently as December he hoped to play out the next year of his contract with the Rams in 2022. But the opportunity to go out at the pinnacle of his career proved too enticing to the lineman and his family. Whitworth and his wife, Melissa, have four children.
The four-time Pro Bowl selection’s career began with 11 seasons in Cincinnati, which drafted him in the second round in 2006. He started his career on the interior line before moving to left tackle in 2009 for the Bengals, soon establishing himself as an excellent all-around blocker and a top left tackle.
Whitworth is a Louisiana native who won a national championship at LSU before the Bengals drafted him in the second round in 2006.
One day before Whitworth’s long-expected announcement, the Rams re-signed Joseph Noteboom to a three-year, $40 million contract that could be worth up to $47.5 million through playing time incentives. Noteboom has spent the past four years largely as Whitworth’s backup, and he has been a capable replacement whenever Whitworth was slowed by injuries.
Whitworth’s retirement will save the Rams about $16 million against the salary cap, and the champs will need that room to bolster their roster for another title run. He was due a $3 million roster bonus on Saturday.
Packers announce Rodgers has signed contract extension
GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) Aaron Rodgers has officially signed a contract extension assuring the two-time reigning MVP will remain with the Green Bay Packers.
The Packers announced the extension Tuesday. Terms weren’t released, but NFL Network reported Rodgers will make over $150 million over the next three years.
“We are very pleased to be able to come to an agreement with Aaron that keeps him in Green Bay,” Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst said in a statement. “His play on the field and leadership in our locker room remain vital in our pursuit of another Super Bowl title. The agreement also allows us to maintain and enhance what we feel is already a very competitive roster.”
Rodgers, 38, had announced a week ago on Twitter that he was returning to the Packers for an 18th season but said no deal had been signed at that point. Immediately after the season, Rodgers had said he was unsure whether he would return to the Packers, request a trade or retire.
The structure of the four-time MVP quarterback’s contract is designed to help the Packers’ salary-cap situation for now. According to NFL Network, Rodgers’ cap hit this year would be $28.5 million, $18 million lower than it would have been without this new deal.
Green Bay entered this week about $46 million over the cap. The Packers released outside linebacker Za’Darius Smith and offensive lineman Billy Turner and extended the contract of outside linebacker Preston Smith this week as they worked to get below the cap in time for the opening of free agency Thursday.
Now the Packers will try to work on reaching a long-term deal with All-Pro receiver Davante Adams, who received a franchise tag last week. If they don’t reach an agreement by July 15, Adams’ salary for the 2022 season would be just over $20 million.
Rodgers has spent his entire NFL career in Green Bay, but his future with the organization had been the subject of speculation ever since the Packers traded up four spots to take Utah State quarterback Jordan Love with the 26th overall pick in the 2020 draft.
Rodgers skipped the Packers’ organized team activities and mandatory minicamp last year in a standoff with team management. He reported to training camp on time but expressed his concerns with the organization and said he wanted to have a voice in the team’s decision-making process.
But he said on multiple occasions over the last few months that his relationship with team officials had improved significantly.
Rodgers has earned MVP honors each of the last two seasons and has helped the Packers win three straight NFC North titles. The Packers lost in the NFC divisional playoffs last season after reaching the NFC championship game in the 2019 and 2020 seasons.
The Packers haven’t reached the Super Bowl since Rodgers led them to a title in the 2010 season.
Commanders re-sign safety Bobby McCain for 2 years, $11M
WASHINGTON (AP) The Washington Commanders agreed to terms Tuesday on a new contract with safety Bobby McCain, a deal that is worth $11 million over the next two seasons.
Agent Drew Rosenhaus confirmed the contract in an email to The Associated Press.
The 28-year-old started 16 games and played in 17 for Washington last season after joining the team in free agency a year ago. He finished with a career-high four interceptions and 63 tackles.
McCain spent his first six NFL seasons with Miami. Keeping McCain comes after Washington released veteran safety Landon Collins and lost starting right guard Brandon Scherff to Jacksonville in free agency.
The Commanders already made their big offseason splash by agreeing to acquire quarterback Carson Wentz in a trade with the Indianapolis Colts, trimming their available salary cap space to just under $5.9 million.
The number grew when Washington released Collins midway through an $84 million, six-year contract. Collins, who was often used as a third safety in more of a linebacker role while on the field with McCain and Kamren Curl, reportedly refused to take a pay cut to stay.
Overhauls are happening on either side of the ball for Washington, which lost pass-catching back J.D. McKissic to Buffalo, according to multiple reports. McKissic was a favorite of coach Ron Rivera and offensive coordinator Scott Turner, who is expected to receive a contract extension while turning his attention to his latest project of rejuvenating Wentz’s career.
Raiders agree to 1-year deal with Darius Phillips
The Las Vegas Raiders have made their first move of the free agency period, agreeing to a one-year contract with cornerback and returner Darius Phillips.
Phillips announced the deal on Twitter on Tuesday. He can’t sign the contract until the start of the league year on Wednesday.
ESPN first reported the deal and said Phillips will be paid $2.25 million this season.
New coach Josh McDaniels and general manager Dave Ziegler took over the team this offseason with hopes of building on a 10-7 season in 2021 that gave the Raiders their second playoff berth in the past 19 seasons.
Phillips was originally a fifth-round pick out of Western Michigan by Cincinnati in 2018. He spent the past four seasons with the Bengals, playing 47 games and making 10 starts. He went on injured reserve in each of the past three seasons.
Phillips played only 99 snaps on defense last season, with eight tackles and two passes defensed. He went on injured reserve with a left shoulder injury after losing two fumbles on punts in an overtime loss to San Francisco in Week 14 and missed the Bengals’ playoff run.
Phillips started eight games at cornerback for Cincinnati in 2020 when he had 12 passes defensed and an interception. He had four interceptions in a reserve role in 2019.
Phillips adds depth to the secondary with Casey Hayward and Brandon Facyson set to hit the open market on Wednesday. Nate Hobbs played well in the slot as a rookie last season, while starter Trayvon Mullen missed 12 games with injuries last season.
Las Vegas had previously signed cornerback Cre’von LeBlanc this offseason, along with defensive tackle Andrew Billings and offensive lineman Jordan Meredith.
The Raiders also tendered a right of refusal contract worth $2.43 million to restricted free agent safety Dallin Leavitt.
Vikings continue defensive shuffle by adding LB Jordan Hicks
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) The Minnesota Vikings agreed to terms Tuesday on a two-year, $12 million contract with linebacker Jordan Hicks, continuing a revamp on defense to fit a new scheme and work around the salary cap.
Hicks spent the last three seasons with Arizona. Because the Cardinals released him last week, he was eligible to get a deal formally done with any team prior to the start of the new league year on Wednesday. Otherwise, players can’t sign with new clubs until then.
Hicks will likely slide into new defensive coordinator Ed Donatell’s system as an every-down linebacker next to 2019 All-Pro pick Eric Kendricks.
The 29-year-old Hicks was a third-round draft pick by Philadelphia in 2015 who played his first four seasons with the Eagles, winning a Super Bowl in 2017-18. He has started 51 straight games – plus one in the 2021 playoffs for the Cardinals – for the third-longest active streak by NFL linebackers.
The Vikings also kept up their defensive line shuffle by finalizing the release of nose tackle Michael Pierce for salary cap savings ahead of free agency. The seventh-year veteran played in only eight games for the team.
The move will save more than $6.2 million on Minnesota’s cap number. Pierce will leave a $4 million charge in dead money for the remaining prorated portion of the bonus he signed for in March 2020.
The Vikings reached a contract agreement late on Monday, according to multiple reports, with free agent and former Buffalo defensive tackle Harrison Phillips in a swap of run stoppers. Phillips will enter his fifth NFL season.
Pierce opted out of his first year with the Vikings due to COVID-19 concerns related to his chronic asthma, so his contract rolled over to 2021. The 6-foot, 340-pound Pierce played well when he was available, with three sacks in eight games while playing roughly half of the snaps.
He suffered a triceps muscle tear in practice and tried to play through it against Cleveland on Oct. 3, but he aggravated the injury and wound up missing the next seven games. Pierce also was sidelined for the final two games with an illness.
Minnesota’s biggest-money addition in free agency last season was defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson, who solidified the 3-technique position that had long been in flux. But a team that has had so many strong defensive lines over the years has seen this critical group suddenly dry up.
Donatell’s system uses a 3-4 alignment as the base package, but regardless of the role of the defensive end – in the new scheme or the old one under former head coach Mike Zimmer – the Vikings badly need some pass-rushing help.
Danielle Hunter still profiles as a standout at age 27, but due to two fluke injuries he has played in only seven of 33 games over the last two years. He has an $18 million roster bonus due on Sunday, a deal that appears bound for renegotiation.
Everson Griffen will become a free agent, with his playing future unclear. D.J. Wonnum, who had eight sacks last season, is the only other pass rusher with significant experience on the roster.
Outside linebacker Anthony Barr is Minnesota’s highest-profile player eligible to become an unrestricted free agent when the market formally opens for signings and trades on Wednesday afternoon. The Vikings previously gave a one-year extension to quarterback Kirk Cousins to lower his salary cap hit by $14 million and extended a one-year contract offer to restricted free agent kicker Greg Joseph that gives them the right to match any offer he were to get from another club.
Jags cut Jack, get help for Lawrence as free agency begins
The Jacksonville Jaguars cut linebacker Myles Jack one day after Atlanta linebacker Foyesade Oluokun agreed to sign with the team when the new league year begins Wednesday. Releasing Jack will cost the Jags $4.8 million in dead money and save them $8.35 million against the salary cap. The team also tendered restricted free agent safety Andrew Wingard and signed receiver Terry Godwin to a contract extension. Jacksonville previously added four potential starters around quarterback Trevor Lawrence to open the NFL’s legal tampering period before free agency. Receiver Christian Kirk, former All-Pro guard Brandon Scherff, oft-injured tight end Evan Engram and receiver Zay Jones agreed to sign with Jacksonville. The signings can’t become official until the new league year. They also are bringing in New York Jets defensive tackle Folorunso “Foley” Fatukasi. The six-man free-agent class could be key to the team’s turnaround. The Jaguars are expected to use the No. 1 pick in next month’s NFL draft on a pass rusher, likely either Alabama left tackle Evan Neal or Michigan pass rusher Aidan Hutchinson.
Chargers release oft-injured offensive tackle Bryan Bulaga
Bryan Bulaga was released by the Los Angeles Chargers on Tuesday after playing only one game last season.
The offensive tackle was beset by injuries during his two years with the Chargers, including a back injury in last season’s opener at Washington which sidelined him after playing the first half.
Bulaga played in only 10 games in 2020 and was in for every offensive snap in only five. His release saves the Chargers $10.75 million in salary cap space.
General manager Tom Telesco has been proactive with the new league year starting on Wednesday. Last week, wide receiver Mike Williams signed a three-year extension, and a deal is in place with the Chicago Bears to acquire edge rusher Khalil Mack for a pair of draft picks.
The Chargers have also agreed to terms with cornerback J.C. Jackson and defensive tackles Sebastian Joseph-Day and Austin Johnson, as well as reaching extensions with kicker Dustin Hopkins and quarterback Chase Daniel.
Los Angeles also tendered their three restricted free agents:- wide receiver Jalen Guyton, offensive tackle Storm Norton and tight end Donald Parham Jr.
Norton started 15 games at right tackle last season. Guyton had 17 of his 31 receptions in the final five games, including three touchdowns.
Parham had 20 receptions and three touchdowns last year, but missed the final three games after suffering a frightening concussion during the first half of the Dec. 16 game against the Kansas City Chiefs.
Titans release CB Jackrabbit Jenkins to clear cap space
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) The Tennessee Titans have released veteran cornerback Janoris “Jackrabbit” Jenkins after one season to clear approximately $6.9 million in salary cap space before the start of the new league year.
The Titans announced the move Tuesday along with a multi-year extension for center Ben Jones, keeping him from the free agent market that opens Wednesday afternoon.
Jenkins joined the Titans a year ago on a two-year contract. He started 13 of 14 games played and had one interception in the end zone in a big win over San Francisco in December. Jenkins also had 55 tackles, six passes defensed and a forced fumble.
The 10-year veteran has played for the St. Louis Rams, New York Giants, New Orleans Saints and the Titans and has 27 career interceptions. He becomes the fourth player released to create cap space, joining left guard Rodger Saffold, reserve lineman Kendall Lamm and running back Darrynton Evans.
A person familiar with the contract says the Titans also agreed to a one-year deal Tuesday with Houston defensive back A.J. Moore. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the contract cannot be finalized until the new league year begins. Moore played 55 games in four seasons.
Tennessee drafted a pair of cornerbacks in 2021, taking Caleb Farley in the first round and Elijah Molden in the third. Farley finished the season on injured reserve, but Molden had an interception and recovered a fumble while starting seven of 16 games played.
Jones has been a key piece of an offensive line that blocked for the league’s fifth-best rushing offense in 2021 and for Derrick Henry’s 2,027-yard season in 2020. Jones is one of only eight linemen to start at least 96 of 97 possible games in his six seasons with Tennessee, and his current streak of 40 straight is third among centers.
Since being drafted 99th overall in 2012 by Houston, Jones has started 160 of 161 possible games.
Braves sign new 1B Olson to $168 million, 8-year contract
ATLANTA (AP) One day after cutting ties with Freddie Freeman, the Atlanta Braves signed new first baseman Matt Olson to a $168 million, eight-year contract on Tuesday.
Olson was not eligible for free agency until after the 2023 season, but the World Series champions quickly locked down the 27-year-old slugger through at least 2029. The deal also includes a $20 million club option for 2030 with no buyout.
With a stunning bit of wheeling and dealing, the Braves addressed their potential hole at first base after failing to reach a deal with Freeman, who led the team for more than a decade and played a huge role in Atlanta capturing its first World Series championship since 1995.
The Braves dealt four top prospects to the Oakland Athletics for Olson, a 2021 All-Star coming off a season in which he had 39 homers and 111 RBIs while batting .271.
Olson will make $15 million this year, $21 million in 2023 and $22 million in each of the following six seasons.
It was the 10th contract of at least $100 million agreed to since the end of the World Series and the first since Major League Baseball’s 99-day lockout ended last week,
The payout is the largest in Braves’ history, surpassing the $135 million, eight-year deal that Freeman signed after the 2013 season.
Atlanta was not willing to make that sort of long-term commitment again to Freeman, who is 32. But, with a younger player who was willing to take less money per year that his predecessor is reportedly seeking, the Braves agreed to the sort of lengthy deal they weren’t prepared to give Freeman.
Olson, who turns 28 on March 29, flew from Arizona to the Braves spring training camp in Venice, Florida, where the team announced his new contract at an introductory news conference.
Olson knows he has some huge shoes to fill in Atlanta, where Freeman was a clubhouse leader and one of the team’s most popular players.
A career .295 hitter, Freeman surpassed 20 homers eight times with a career-high 38 in 2019. He has a pair of 100-RBI seasons on his resume, and three other years where he drove in more than 90 runs. He won the NL MVP award in 2020, finished in the top 10 of the balloting five other times, in addition to claiming three Silver Slugger awards and a Gold Glove for his defensive work.
Freeman has yet to sign with a new team, with speculation focusing on two big-money clubs, the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Yankees.
“Freddie is obviously an amazing player,” Olson told reporters. “It’s just not going to affect what I come here and do. I’m here to be Matt Olson. That’s all I can really control.”
Braves general manager Alex Anthopoulos moved boldly to bolster the lineup when it became apparent Sunday night that Freeman was likely to sign elsewhere.
Atlanta dealt four of its top 20 prospects, including outfielder Cristian Pache and projected catcher of the future Shea Langeliers. The Braves also surrendered pitchers Ryan Cusick, a 2021 first-round pick, and Joey Estes.
But it was all worth it to Anthopoulos when a new contract for Olson came together after a marathon negotiating session with his agent. B.B. Abbott.
Olson is a two-time Gold Glove winner with a .252 career average, 142 homers and an .859 OPS over six seasons. Last season, he finished eighth in AL MVP voting, establishing himself as one of the game’s top first basemen.
“A really exciting day for us,” Anthopoulos said. “We worked on it all day, all night. I haven’t gotten a whole lot of sleep.”
The GM said he was thrilled that Olson, a native of suburban Atlanta, will be a long-term part of a group of young stars that also includes Ronald Acuna Jr., Ozzie Albies, Austin Riley and Max Fried.
“For you wanting to commit, to be with us and be here, and be part of this core, is exceptionally exciting,” Anthopoulos said to Olson at the news conference. “Hopefully were going to continue to be a very competitive club.”
Others who agreed to nine-figure deals include Texas shortstop Corey Seager ($325 million), Tampa Bay infielder Wander Franco ($182 million), Rangers second baseman Marcus Semien ($175 million), Detroit infielder Javier Baez ($140 million), Toronto right-hander Jose Berrios ($131 million), Mets right-hander Max Scherzer ($130 million), Seattle left-hander Robbie Ray ($115 million), Blue Jays right-hander Kevin Gausman ($110 million) and Minnesota centerfielder Byron Buxton ($100 million).
Irving scores career-best 60 points, Nets rout Magic 150-108
Orlando, Fla. (AP) Kyrie Irving made it two nights in a row with a 60-point scorer in the NBA.
A 40-point first half hadn’t been seen in almost two decades.
“It just shows you we’re on our way to history,” Irving said.
Irving scored a career-high 60 points, most in the Nets’ NBA history, to lead Brooklyn to a 150-108 victory over the Orlando Magic on Tuesday night.
Irving shot 20 for 31, including 8 of 12 on 3-pointers, in 35 minutes. He made 12 of 13 free throws in matching the highest-scoring game in the NBA this season, done just a night earlier by Minnesota’s Karl-Anthony Towns against San Antonio.
“The night after Karl Towns had an incredible performance, and then to have Kyrie do it the next night, the league is in an amazing place right now,” teammate Kevin Durant said. “We’re seeing a lot of talent displayed every night, and this was one of the elite ones.”
Irving and Durant became the first teammates in NBA history to post 50-point performances in consecutive games. Durant scored 53 points in a win against the New York Knicks on Sunday.
Irving scored 41 points in the first half, the most in the first two quarters since Kobe Bryant had 42 against Washington on March 28, 2003.
“It was just about the team really, just getting in the flow,” he said. “That’s the true purity of this game, doing it efficiently on both ends of the floor and coming out with a W.”
The guard left the game after hitting a long 3-pointer with 8:33 remaining and Brooklyn leading 128-94.
Playing in only his 19th game of the season because he isn’t eligible to play home games because of New York City’s mandate requiring vaccination against COVID-19, Irving reached the 50-point mark by spinning a layup off the glass with 5:02 left in the third quarter.
“A few shots I probably shouldn’t have taken. Tough ones, with double-teams and triple-teams coming,” he said. “But as long as I can do it with a smile on my face and my teammates weren’t too angry with me, it was worthwhile.”
It marked the sixth 50-point game of Irving’s NBA career and the 16th 50-point game in the league this season, including two apiece by Irving, Durant, LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston’s Jayson Tatum.
He went on to pass Deron Williams’ Nets record of 57 points.
Irving scored 50 points last Tuesday in a 132-121 win at Charlotte. His previous career high was 57 points for Cleveland at San Antonio on March 3, 2015.
Irving had 16 points and three assists in the Nets’ 48-point first quarter, in which they shot 74% (20 for 27) including 5 of 6 on 3s.
“When a guy has a game going like that, there’s nothing he can do wrong,” said center Andre Drummond. “He was rolling, so it was fun to watch.”
The Nets led 86-56 after Irving’s 41-point first half. He was 14 for 19.
“There’s times he’s shooting over two people,” said Magic coach Jamahl Mosley. “You try to double-team him, he’s smart enough to know when to go and when not to go. He’s fast in transition so you can’t speed up and try to deny him. They’re setting backscreens. He’s crafty enough and he’s seen every coverage and he knows how to play with a pace. That makes it hard.”
Durant added 19 points in the Nets’ fourth straight win.
Cole Anthony had 19 points and seven assists for Orlando.
Nets: Brooklyn shot 16 for 27 from 3-point range, with Patty Mills hitting 5 of 7. . . . G Cam Thomas (back contusion) did not play, and G Seth Curry (left ankle) missed a second straight game. Coach Steve Nash said both players might be available Wednesday night against Dallas. … The Nets won three of four against the Magic this season. Neither Durant nor Irving played in the loss.
Magic: G Jalen Suggs did not play for the third time in five games after re-injuring his right ankle on Sunday night. … The Magic announced that F Jonathan Isaac will not play this season, marking the second straight season Isaac has missed entirely since tearing his left ACL on Aug. 2, 2020.
Nets: Play at home Wednesday night against Dallas.
Magic: Play at home Thursday night against Detroit.
Strus leads late rally, Heat hold off Pistons 105-98
MIAMI (AP) The game plan didn’t call for Max Strus to play Tuesday night. He was not in the Miami Heat rotation to start the game, only entering after halftime because Jimmy Butler left with a sprained ankle.
His impact wound up being massive.
Strus scored all of his 16 points in the fourth quarter, Tyler Herro finished with a game-high 29 off the bench and the Heat escaped with a 105-98 win over the Detroit Pistons on Tuesday night.
“Max, he stays ready, no matter what,” Herro said.
Strus scored 13 points in a span of 2:55 of the final quarter to help Miami rally. Bam Adebayo finished with 16 for the Heat and Herro hit the biggest shot of the night for Miami, a 3-pointer for a five-point lead with 1:59 left.
Jerami Grant led the Pistons with 22 points. Isaiah Livers scored 16, while Marvin Bagley III and Saddiq Bey each had 13 for Detroit, which closed the third quarter on a 19-0 run to put a serious scare into the Eastern Conference leaders.
“Everybody’s playing together,” Livers said. “We’re sharing the ball and that just creates happiness. Happiness goes a long way in the game of basketball.”
P.J. Tucker’s layup with 6:56 left in the third gave Miami what was its largest lead of the night, 68-54. That’s when things went bad for the Heat, in a hurry.
They missed their next 14 shots – eight of them from 3-point range – and Detroit simultaneously found its best stride of the night. Grant had nine points in the 19-0 run, and Livers’ 3-pointer with 1:45 left in the third capped the burst to give Detroit a 73-68 lead.
But Miami (46-24) would survive and put another half-game between itself and all its closest challengers in the race for the No. 1 seed in the East playoffs. Milwaukee is now 2 1/2 games back, Philadelphia 3 1/2 games back, Chicago four back and Boston 4 1/2 out.
“Just had to find a way,” Herro said. “We found a way, got the W and that’s all that matters.”
Butler had eight points on 2-for-9 shooting in the first half, limping through much of the second quarter. He didn’t return after halftime, diagnosed with a sprained right ankle.
Detroit played without No. 1 overall pick Cade Cunningham, who was held out and stayed behind at the team hotel with a non-COVID illness.
“He started feeling bad last night,” Pistons coach Dwane Casey said. “Came to shootaround looking like death, eating crackers. So, he’s in pretty bad shape.”
Pistons: Detroit didn’t have anyone reach double figures in scoring until Grant made a 3-pointer midway through the third quarter. … The Pistons had been 5-0 when leading road games entering the fourth quarter. … Casey remained on 99 wins in his three-plus seasons with Detroit.
Heat: Butler’s ankle will be evaluated again Wednesday. It’s his third known sprain of the season. … It was Herro’s 48th time scoring at least 20 off the Miami bench, which is exactly twice as many times as anyone else has. Goran Dragic did it 24 times. … Duncan Robinson scored 12. … Kyle Lowry took only three shots, missing them all.
Caleb Martin (knee) missed his third consecutive game for Miami. Excluding the two-way players, he was the only Heat player not available to play on Tuesday. The Heat have not had a game yet this season with all 15 of the players on standard contracts medically able to take part.
Unprompted, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra paid tribute Tuesday night to Pistons broadcaster George Blaha – who underwent a heart bypass procedure Tuesday and will miss the rest of the season. The need for the bypass was discovered during a routine checkup last week. “I want to wish him well and hope for a quick recovery. My dad went to college with him so they go way, way, way back,” Spoelstra said. Blaha intends to return for a 47th season of calling Pistons games next fall.
Rodney McGruder started 112 games in his first three NBA seasons, all with Miami. He started for the Pistons on Tuesday – just his eighth start in three seasons since leaving the Heat. McGruder started four games with the Los Angeles Clippers in 2019-20, then two for the Pistons last season and now two for Detroit this season.
Pistons: Visit Orlando on Thursday.
Heat: Host Oklahoma City on Friday.
Booker scores 27 in 30 minutes, Suns sink Pelicans, 131-115
NEW ORLEANS (AP) Devin Booker explained that his stirring and pivotal sequence of baskets against the New Orleans Pelicans was really just his way of following coaches’ instructions on clock management at the end of quarters.
Booker capped his 27-point performance with six points in a 33-second span at the end of the third quarter, and the Phoenix Suns cruised from that point to a 131-115 victory on Tuesday night.
The Pelicans were still within single digits when Booker used a sudden dribble toward the top of the key to draw a foul as he pulled up for a 15-foot jumper that went down as part of a three-point play. After a Pelicans miss, Booker added a decisive transition 3 from 26 feet to give the Suns a 98-85 lead heading to the fourth.
“It’s demoralizing because you’re right there, you’re looking to get over the hump and then he comes down and hits a couple shots like that,” Pelicans coach Willie Green said.
Booker said he was more concerned with making sure the Suns got at least two possessions in the final half-minute of the period.
“More important than making the shot with 33 seconds left was making sure you’re taking the shot with 33 seconds, playing the possession game,” Booker said, alluding to the NBA’s 24-second shot clock. “We’ve just been stressing on finishing quarters the right way.”
Booker, who also had eight assists, had played just 30 minutes when Phoenix coach Monty Williams subbed him out to start the fourth and wound up giving him the rest of the night off. JaVale McGee made that decision easier by scoring nine of his 19 points in the first four minutes of the fourth quarter – including an off-balance tip-in of an alley-oop lob as he was fouled – to help the Suns widen their lead to as many as 23 points.
Mikal Bridges went 4 of 5 from deep and scored 20 for the Suns, whose accurate shooting and ability to capitalize on virtually every Pelicans mistake helped them secure their fourth victory in five games despite star guard Chris Paul’s extended absence with his fractured right thumb.
The Suns shot 53% (18 of 34) from 3-point range and converted 17 Pelicans turnovers into 33 points.
The Pelicans turnovers were “a killer against a really good team,” Green said.
Deandre Ayton added 18 points for Phoenix, which shot 55% (49 of 89) overall.
“When they don’t miss a shot, it’s pretty hard,” Pelicans forward Jaxson Hayes said. “They’re just hard to match up with.”
Herb Jones scored 22 for the Pelicans, who’ve lost five of six as they try to hang on to the final play-in spot in the Western Conference.
Guard CJ McCollum returned from a two-game absence while in health and safety protocols and scored 21 points, but also committed five turnovers. Jonas Valanciunas added 17 points and 12 rebounds.
The Pelicans were as close as 75-74 in the middle of the third quarter, but committed a turnover when they had a chance to take the lead and the Suns proceeded to sieze control. Ayton’s layup was followed soon after by Cameron Payne’s 25-foot transition 3 and then Booker’s final flourish.
Suns: Made all 15 of their free throws. … Payne, who has been starting in place of Paul, scored 14 points and had eight assists. … Torrey Craig scored 11 points. … Reserves combined for 43 points.
Pelicans: Jaxson Hayes scored 16 points, Trey Murhpy III scored 11 points, and Devonte’ Graham and Willy Hernangomez each scored 10. … Allowed 30 points in the first quarter for the sixth straight game. … Shot 50% (43 of 86) overall but 35% (12 of 34) from 3-point range. … Missed seven of 24 free throws. … Scored 13 points off of nine Suns turnovers. … Went 1-3 during a four-game home stand.
The Suns improved to their league-best record to 55-14 by also improving to 26-6 on the road.
“We just come together, man. It’s fun to be a part of,” Booker said. “Just everybody vs. us, just taking that approach to it, just enjoying the road games, just enjoying being the bearer of bad news coming through here. It’s something I think that we definitely own.”
Suns: Visit Houston on Wednesday night to wrap up a two-game trip.
Pelicans: Open a three-game road trip at San Antonio on Friday night.
Unvaccinated Yankees, Mets won’t be able to play at home
Unvaccinated players on the New York Yankees and New York Mets will be ineligible to play home games under the current private sector employer mandate, a government spokesperson told Stefan Bondy and Dennis Young of the New York Daily News.
The same COVID-19 vaccine mandate is also preventing NBA star Kyrie Irving from playing for the Brooklyn Nets at the Barclays Center.
New York City isn’t planning on handing out individual exceptions, and it also doesn’t matter that baseball is played outside, the spokesperson said, who added the rules could ultimately change based on where the pandemic is at.
The MLBPA and MLB clubs are looking into getting clarification on the difference between playing indoors and outdoors, reports Marly Rivera of ESPN. The union and teams believe the issue will be resolved by Opening Day on April 7, sources told Rivera.
“On behalf of the Yankees, (team president) Randy Levine is working with city hall and all other appropriate officials on this matter. We will have no further comment,” the Yankees said in a statement.
Major leaguers who don’t play because they are unvaccinated won’t be paid or accumulate service time under the new collective bargaining agreement.
Yankees star Aaron Judge is believed to be unvaccinated, according to Bondy and Young.
AP source: 1B Rizzo agrees to $32M, 2-year deal with Yankees
NEW YORK (AP) Anthony Rizzo is staying with the New York Yankees, agreeing Tuesday night to a $32 million, two-year contract, a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press.
The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the agreement was subject to a successful physical.
A three-time All-Star first baseman, Rizzo was acquired by the Yankees from the Chicago Cubs on July 29 and added a left-handed bat to a heavily right-handed batting order in New York. He hit .248 with 22 homers, 61 RBIs and a .783 OPS last season, including .249 with eight homers, 21 RBIs and a .768 OPS in 49 games for New York.
Rizzo also provided plate discipline and smooth fielding at first, where he has won a pair of Gold Gloves.
The deal makes it less likely the Yankees will sign former Atlanta All-Star Freddie Freeman. It also creates uncertainty for returning first baseman Luke Voit, the 2020 AL home run champion whose 2021 season was wrecked by injury.
Rizzo said in June that he had not received a coronavirus vaccine, adding “as we continue to get more data, I’ll continue to be more educated on it.”
Unless New York City changes its requirement, he will need to be vaccinated in order to play at Yankee Stadium. New York City currently mandates that every private sector employee be inoculated against the coronavirus.
Earlier Tuesday, Yankees star Aaron Judge refused to directly answer a question about his vaccination status. Unvaccinated players will also not be allowed to play in Toronto against the division-rival Blue Jays due to Canadian entry laws.
Both Rizzo and outfielder Joey Gallo, a strikeout-prone left-handed hitter, were New York’s primary acquisitions at last summer’s trade deadline. Before the deals, DJ LeMahieu had been getting significant playing time at first.
Rizzo began his career with San Diego in 2011, then went to the Cubs in 2012. He is a career .268 hitter with 251 home runs and 814 RBIs.
New York general manager Brian Cashman has been busy since the end of the lockout. The Yankees acquired former AL MVP Josh Donaldson, shortstop Isiah Kiner-Falefa and backup catcher Ben Rortvedt from the Minnesota Twins on Suday for catcher Gary Sanchez and third baseman Gio Urshela.
Ovechkin now 3rd on NHL goals list, Caps beat Isles in SO
WASHINGTON (AP) Alex Ovechkin danced around in the middle of the ice by himself after shooting the puck into the net once again.
He was not alone for long.
Seconds after Ovechkin scored his 767th goal to pass Jaromir Jagr for third on the NHL career list, he was surrounded by his Washington Capitals teammates while fans roared in approval. Chants of “Ovi! Ovi!” filled what has been his home arena for almost two decades, and they returned after a 4-3 victory against the New York Islanders that will be remembered more for Ovechkin’s latest milestone than the eight-round shootout that followed.
“I think everybody wants me to score that goal,” Ovechkin said. “Everybody involved with this milestone. I would say I’m very happy and thankful to be on this team for such a long time, especially with those guys.”
Ovechkin’s goal to move behind only legends Wayne Gretzky and Gordie Howie capped a turbulent stretch for the longtime Russia-born captain and the face of the Stanley Cup-winning hockey franchise in the U.S. capital. Amid his home country’s invasion of Ukraine ordered by Vladimir Putin, whom he has long supported, and with his wife and children stuck back home in Russia, Ovechkin got a brief chance on the ice to soak in the biggest individual accomplishment of his career.
“It’s been tough, but we’re athletes and we just have to do our job and focus in on the thing what we’re doing best,” Ovechkin said. “We just play hockey and enjoy our moment.”
Ovechkin’s moment came with 4:58 left in the third period when countryman Evgeny Kuznetsov won a faceoff to put the puck on his good friend’s stick. Ovechkin beat another good friend in Islanders goaltender Semyon Varlamov to finally break a tie with Jagr, whose unproductive Capitals tenure from 2001-04 made him unpopular among Washington fans.
The 36-year-old from Moscow has had no such issues at home, even since Putin invaded Ukraine last month. Booed at times during a trip across western Canada, Ovechkin got a standing ovation from Capitals fans who have cheered for him and chanted his name throughout his 17-year career in North America.
Ovechkin was quick to point out his sad reality that wife Anastasia and sons Sergei and Ilya Aleksandrovich were not among the crowd of 18,000-plus there to witness this goal.
“Obviously, it sucks when my kids didn’t see it, my wife didn’t see it, my parents, but they’re watching at home,” he said. “They’re happy, and that’s the most important thing.”
The next important milestone for Ovechkin is No. 800 -a plateau only Gretzky and Howe have reached in hockey history. Ovechkin needs 35 goals to pass Howe and 128 to break Gretzky’s record of 894 that was long thought to be unapproachable.
“You never know what’s going to happen in the future,” Ovechkin said. “You never know what’s going to happen tomorrow. I’m happy I did it and we did it as a team. Now it’s just a period of time, and if I can do it, I will.”
Ovechkin scored in the shadow of the Capitals’ 2018 Stanley Cup banner with Barry Trotz standing on the visiting bench. Trotz coached Washington to their first title in franchise history, and Ovechkin was playoff MVP.
There have been plenty of doubters over the years that Ovechkin could keep scoring like this in his mid-30s and catch Gretzky. Trotz is not one of them.
“The one thing that I’ve learned about Ovi over my time is that when you doubt Ovi or you say he can’t do it, he digs in,” Trotz said. “He just digs in and is determined on that. And I think over time he’s learned to train probably a little different. It’s pretty amazing.”
Ovechkin also is three goals away from reaching 40 for the 12th time in his NHL career. That would tie Gretzky for the most 40-goal seasons in history.
“For now, he just friend, teammate,” Kuznetsov said while sitting next to Ovechkin. “He’s so close to us, and we never even talk about (how he has) accomplished all those milestones. I’m pretty sure one day when I’m going to retire, I hope he’s going to be still friends with me, we’re going to sit somewhere and think about and remember some of those milestones.”
In a pre-taped congratulatory video message, Jagr joked that Ovechkin better keep this up because he hasn’t yet hung up his skates.
“Keep scoring, because, as you know, I didn’t retire from hockey yet and there’s a chance I might come back to the NHL and start chasing you,” said Jagr, who’s still playing at age 50 for the team he owns in the Czech Republic.
Ovechkin said Jagr would have been further up the list if not for a three-year stint in the Russia-basked KHL. But Ovechkin has also lost time to two lockouts and the pandemic that makes his climb even more impressive.
Under contract until age 40, Ovechkin at his current pace this season would need to average 29 goals over the next four years to pass Gretzky before his current deal expires.
NOTES: Washington rookie Axel Jonsson-Fjallby scored his first NHL goal and joked about Ovechkin, “I’ll probably beat him.” Anthony Mantha also scored in the first period and the shootout for the Capitals, who got 29 saves from Vitek Vanecek and are 5-0-1 in their past six games. … Brock Nelson, Kyle Palmieri and Anders Lee scored for the Islanders, whose winning streak ended at three. Lee’s goal with 1:59 left sent the game to overtime after Ovechkin gave the Capitals the lead.
Islanders: Visit the New York Rangers on Thursday night.
Capitals: Visit the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday night.
Russian request to freeze UEFA ban on its teams denied
GENEVA (AP) The ban on Russian soccer teams from European competition was upheld Tuesday by the Court of Arbitration for Sport. A separate ruling on Russia’s World Cup status is expected later this week.
The urgent CAS ruling on the European ban – an interim judgment pending a full appeal hearing in the weeks ahead – applied only to the Russian soccer federation’s legal action against UEFA, the governing body the sport in Europe.
A similar ban by FIFA is part of a separate Russian appeal to CAS. Russia had been scheduled to play Poland on March 24 in the World Cup qualifying playoffs.
Last week, FIFA awarded a bye to Poland. The Polish soccer federation and players had said they would refuse to play Russia.
CAS said the Russian appeals to freeze both FIFA decisions – the ban and giving Poland a bye – are “likely to be issued at the end of this week.”
Russian athletes and teams have been banned from dozens of sports since the country invaded Ukraine last month.
Tuesday’s verdict on the UEFA ban gives an indication of how the court might act in the FIFA case.
The CAS decision on the European ban was made by the president of the body’s appeals division, Corinne Schmidhauser, acting alone and without publishing the detailed reasons. Full appeal cases are expected to be decided by a panel of three judges.
The ban imposed by the UEFA executive committee on Feb. 28 – in a joint statement with FIFA – removed Spartak Moscow from the Europa League. Spartak’s opponent in the round of 16, German club Leipzig, was given a bye to the quarterfinals.
Russian under-21 and youth national teams for men and women were also scheduled to play European Championship qualifying games in the weeks ahead.
The Russian women’s team qualified for Euro 2022 and is currently barred from playing, though legal cases are likely to be resolved before the tournament opens in England on July 6.
The Russian appeal against UEFA cited future opponents as active parties, including the soccer federations of Belarus, England, France, Portugal and Spain.
The Russian appeal against FIFA also cites the soccer federations of Poland, Sweden and the Czech Republic. They are all in the same playoff bracket. The Swedes and Czechs have also refused to play against Russia.
Henrik Stenson to be Ryder Cup captain for Europe in Rome
(AP) — Henrik Stenson accepted the job as Ryder Cup captain on Tuesday and pledged his allegiance to Europe and his attention to do everything possible to win back the gold trophy.
Stenson is the first Swede and the fifth player from continental Europe to be captain, chosen by a five-member panel that included three previous captains.
Europe has not lost on home soil since 1993.
The 2023 matches will be at Marco Simone in Italy, and Europe faces a tough task. The Americans are coming off the largest rout ever over Europe, 19-9 at Whistling Straits, behind a team that had youth, talent, hunger and a little attitude.
Zach Johnson will be the U.S. captain.
The announcement of Stenson came later than usual – six of the last seven European captains were introduced before the end of January – because of the lingering presence of a Saudi-funded rival league.
Stenson was among those tempted by guaranteed riches of a “Super Golf League” that Greg Norman is trying to put together, backed by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund. The status of such a league is unclear with the entire top 10 in the world having said they are staying put.
“There’s been a lot of speculation back and forth,” Stenson said. “And as I said, I am fully committed to the captaincy and to the Ryder Cup Europe and the job at hand. So we’re going to keep busy with that and I’m going to do everything in my power to deliver a winning team in Rome.”
Because of the threat to the European tour and the PGA Tour, players who sign with a rival league were likely to abandon any participation in the Ryder Cup.
Stenson said the captain signs a contract with Ryder Cup Europe, but not the players or the vice captains. He said neither the players who make the 2023 team nor the vice captains are required to sign the contract. He did not elaborate on what the contract required.
“I’m fully committed to my role as a captain and working hard toward the result we want in Rome,” Stenson said.
Luke Donald also was a candidate, with Robert Karlsson and Paul Lawrie other possibilities.
Stenson always was a logical choice. The 45-year-old Swede known as the “Ice Man” is a former British Open champion who was the first to win the FedEx Cup on the PGA Tour and the Race to Dubai on the European tour in the same year.
He has played on five Ryder Cup teams and served as a vice captain under Padraig Harrington last September at Whistling Straits. It was an aging European team loaded with more experience than form – an average age of 34.5, with four players in their 40s.
“It’s going to be an interesting 18 months,” Stenson said. “Time will tell exactly how the team will formalize. But we have got the old guard. We have got the experience, the players who played a lot of Ryder Cups. We have the new talent that are up-and-coming and have shown some great signs and want to continue to do that.
“The door is open for anyone with a European passport.”
Stenson was not alarmed by the beating in Whistling Straits before the most one-sided gallery, with Europeans facing severe travel restrictions because of the COVID-19 pandemic. He noted a strong U.S. team coming off a win at Hazeltine in 2016, and Europe won handily in France.
“I know my players are going to be up for a challenge,” he said.
Stenson is popular on both sides of the Atlantic, known for his dry wit, occasional pranks and top performance. He played his first Ryder Cup at The K Club in Ireland in 2006 and holed the cup-clinching putt in a European rout.
He has missed only the 2010 and 2012 matches since then.
“He comes with all the credibility of what he has achieved, and as we all know a dry a sense of humor and a fantastic warm personality,” said Guy Kinnings, the European Ryder Cup director. “But he is also a ferocious competitor. He is hugely respected by the players and admired by everyone involved with the game and the Ryder Cup.”
TOP INDIANA SPORTS NEWS/RELEASES
The Colts are signing linebacker Zaire Franklin to a three-year deal with $4 million guaranteed and worth up to $12 million over the life of the contract.
Franklin played a career-high 200 defensive snaps for the Colts last season, making 29 tackles and an interception.
The New York Giants have started rebuilding their offensive line with free agency, agreeing to contract terms with Mark Glowinski.
A starter most of his four seasons with the Indianapolis Colts, Glowinski has agreed to three-year deal. The 29-year-old is expected to be slotted in at right guard.
The Colts have its first outside signing of the 2022 free agent period agreeing to terms with veteran cornerback Brandon Facyson to a one-year deal.
Game Rewind: Pacers 102, Grizzlies 135
Not much went the Pacers’ way on Tuesday night at Gainbridge Fieldhouse.
Memphis (48-22) used a 42-point second quarter to break the game open and led by as many as 43 in a 135-102 victory over Indiana (23-47).
The Grizzlies were without superstar guard Ja Morant due to a sore back, but Memphis has excelled even without Morant on the floor this season, a trend that continued in Indianapolis. The Grizzlies are now 13-2 on the year without their All-Star point guard.
“What they’re building there is what we’re building here,” Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle said after the loss. “They’re ahead of our schedule at this moment, but this is the direction that we’re going to take this. Going through nights like this is a part of it, unfortunately.”
Richmond, Ind. native Desmond Bane scored seven of Memphis’ first 11 points as the Grizzlies jumped out to an early lead. Tyrese Haliburton kept it close initially for Indiana, assisting on the first five Pacers field goals and then scoring the sixth.
The hosts took a brief lead in the latter half of the first quarter, as Jalen Smith’s jumper at 3:43 put the Pacers in front, 22-21. But Tyus Jones hit a three for the Grizzlies 13 seconds later, the start of a 10-1 Memphis run. The visitors took a 32-25 advantage into the second quarter.
Memphis was on fire to start the ensuing frame. The Grizzlies scored on their first 10 possessions — including eight points by Brandon Clarke and a pair of threes from Bane — to stretch their lead to 54-38.
The Grizzlies kept extending the margin from there. Memphis built the lead to 27 before two buckets by Terry Taylor in the final minute shaved four points off the margin. Steven Adams’ jump hook just before the halftime buzzer capped a 42-point quarter for the Grizzlies and gave them a commanding 74-49 halftime lead.
Things didn’t get much better after the intermission. Jaren Jackson Jr. scored seven points and Bane buried two more treys as Memphis opened the second half with an 18-6 run to push their lead to 37 with 6:54 remaining in the third quarter.
The Pacers locked down somewhat defensively over the rest of the frame, limiting Memphis to just 12 points over the remainder of the quarter. But they weren’t able to cut into the lead significantly and headed to the fourth quarter trailing, 104-70.
The Grizzlies pushed the lead as high as 115-72 in the fourth quarter, cruising to victory in the first of two meetings between the two teams this season.
“I think part of it’s a new team and the other part of it is just attention to detail,” Pacers guard Malcolm Brogdon said of the blowout loss. “Coming out, being ready to play, (having) urgency. That’s a really, really good team over there, with or without Ja Morant.”
Smith led Indiana with 15 points and eight rebounds in the loss. Fellow reserve Taylor added 14 points and eight boards.
Buddy Hield led the starters with 14 points and seven rebounds in the loss. Brogdon, back in the lineup after missing two games with a concussion, added 12 points, four rebounds, and six assists.
Rookie guard Duane Washington Jr. was the fifth and final Pacer to reach double figures with 13 points.
Bane led Memphis with 21 points and six assists, going 4-for-7 from 3-point range. Jackson added 19 points, eight rebounds, three blocks, and two steals, while Adams recorded a double-double with 13 points and 13 rebounds.
Four other Grizzlies also reached double figures in the victory: De’Anthony Melton (18 points), Clarke (13), Ziaire Williams (11), and Dillon Brooks (10).
The Pacers head to Houston on Friday before returning to Indiana for a two-game homestand. They will host Portland on Sunday afternoon before former Pacers Domantas Sabonis, Justin Holiday, and Jeremy Lamb return to Gainbridge Fieldhouse for the first time since being traded to Sacramento on March 23.
Inside the Numbers
The 33-point defeat was the Pacers’ largest loss this season. They lost by 32 to Charlotte in a 158-126 defeat on Jan. 26.
Memphis’ 42 points in the second quarter were the most allowed by Indiana in that frame this season.
The Grizzlies outscored Indiana 24-0 in fastbreak points in the first half and 33-9 on the night.
Haliburton finished with four points on 2-of-9 shooting in 30 minutes, his fewest points as a Pacer and just the second time in 14 games with Indiana that he failed to reach double figures. He did have a team-high eight assists.
Washington reached double figures for the sixth straight game. He has gone 18-for-34 (52.9 percent) from 3-point range over that stretch.
You Can Quote Me On That
“Got to give them a lot of credit. They played physical, together, unselfish. They made everything difficult for us. Even when we got good shots, we had a tough night making them.” -Carlisle
“(Against) a team like that, you can’t defend live-ball turnovers. They do a good job. They’re a good team. They’re well coached, they play together.” -Hield on the Pacers giving up points in transition
“The protocol is actually pretty strenuous. There are four different stages, the last two stages you’re actually on the court. I worked out for about 30 minutes yesterday and then I played this morning for about 30 minutes and that’s about everything I did on the court.” -Brogdon on what he was able to do before returning from a concussion
“I hate losing, man. It’s hard to forget about this. You can try to flush it out (of) our minds, but it’s human nature especially as competitors (to dwell on it). It will be hard to sleep. We’ve got to watch film and see what went wrong.” -Hield on how he reacts to a blowout loss
Stat of the Night
The Grizzlies scored 32 points off 20 Indiana turnovers, while the Pacers managed just three points off 10 Grizzlies giveaways.
The Grizzlies snapped a five-game losing streak at Gainbridge Fieldhouse, picking up their first regular-season win in Indiana since Oct. 29, 2015.
Kentucky coach John Calipari, whose team will open play in the NCAA Tournament at the Fieldhouse on Thursday, sat courtside at Tuesday’s game.
Pacers rookie forward Isaiah Jackson was assessed a flagrant 1 foul and fouled out of the game after colliding with Brooks with 10:05 remaining in the fourth quarter.
The Pacers travel to Houston to face off against Jalen Green and the Rockets on Friday, March 18 at 8:00 PM ET.
Indiana Downs Wyoming, Advances to Second Round
DAYTON, Ohio – Jordan Geronimo rocked.
Did you expect that?
The Hoosier defense thrived.
Haven’t we seen this before?
And Trayce Jackson? He did what an all-Big Ten performer does on college basketball’s biggest stage.
The result — bring on Saint Mary’s.
Tuesday night’s 66-58 victory over Wyoming Tuesday night lifted Indiana (21-13) past the First Four hurdle and into a Thursday night main NCAA tourney draw opportunity in Portland, Ore.
Coach Mike Woodson’s locker room message to the Hoosiers via IU Basketball video was to the point.
“One down. One at a time. Total team effort. Stay the course. You’ve got to believe in each other and the process.”
And then, in the post-game press conference:
“Wyoming really pushed us, and our guys responded.
“Our defense was the key when we were struggling offensively to make shots. But we just kept grinding.”
In his first college season, Woodson directed the Hoosiers to their first NCAA tourney victory since 2016.
“This is for Hoosier Nation,” assistant coach Yasir Rosemond told Voice of the Hoosiers Don Fischer during the post-game radio show. “They’ve been waiting six long years. We hear it. We know what it means to win this game. This is March Madness and we’re happy to get a win.”
What IU’s performance lacked beauty — Rosemond called it an “ugly” game — it made up for in grit, defense and offensive rebounding. The Hoosiers had a 16-6 edge in second-chance points to overcome 2-for-13 three-point shooting.
“Wyoming likes to play ugly and slow,” Rosemond told Fischer. “Our guys fought through it.”
Geronimo, who missed last Saturday’s Big Ten tourney semifinal loss to Iowa because of a leg injury, was an above-the-rim force. He scored (15 points), rebounded (seven) and energized off the bench in 19 minutes.
“That’s what he brings to the table,” Rosemond told Fischer.
“It’s what Coach Woodson preaches, next man up. Our guys believe that. He believes in each and every one of those guys.”
Geronimo made Wyoming coach Jeff Linder a believer.
“He kept making winning plays,” Linder said.
Jackson-Davis has seen this before.
“I wasn’t surprised at all,” he said. “He’s an energy guy. He’s going to rebound. He’s going to go get things at the top of the backboard and dunk it hard.
“He’s performing at a high level. Without him, we probably would have lost.”
Added Geronimo: “I was surprised by how good I felt. I just trusted how I felt. I played how I usually play — just explosive.”
Jackson-Davis had 29 points and nine rebounds. In four postseason games, he has averaged 26.3 points.
“We know where our bread is buttered,” Rosemond told Fischer about getting Jackson-Davis the ball. “We were going into the big fella. He had a matchup we felt good about it. He did the job like he has all season.”
Xavier Johnson added 10 points, seven assists and four rebounds.
IU rattled a Wyoming team that thrived on minimizing turnovers into 13 of them in the first half. The result – an 11-2 edge in points off turnovers, and a 30-25 halftime lead.
By the end, Wyoming had 19 turnovers (eight above its average) that the Hoosiers converted into a 17-3 advantage.
“We’ve been great defensively all year,” Woodson said.
Wyoming (25-9) opened big with a 6-9 and 6-10 frontcourt, and a pair of 6-7 guards. IU countered with stifling defense to force the Cowboys into early 1-for-8 shooting.
A Johnson three-pointer pushed the Hoosiers ahead 9-3.
They continued to squeeze the life out of Wyoming’s offense. The Cowboys had a 2-for-14 shooting stretch, and a five-minute scoring drought.
Still, IU only led 13-8. Wyoming, with nasty defense of its own, rallied for a 13-13 tie as the clock ticked under six minutes.
The Cowboys took a 21-17 lead. The Hoosiers went ahead 22-21 on a Jackson-Davis three-point play.
Their defense flustered Maldonado into a series of turnovers that IU turned into points, including a rim-rocking dunk from Geronimo.
By halftime, Jackson-Davis had 14 points, Maldonado had seven turnovers and the Hoosiers had a 30-25 lead. They had a 12-0 edge on fast-break points and a 20-8 advantage in points in the paint.
IU took a brief seven-point second half lead, then used a third Geronimo highlight dunk for a 38-33 advantage. He added a basket and a three-pointer. Galloway followed his missed three-pointer for a layup and a 45-37 Hoosier lead.
Indiana went ahead by nine points and then 10, and then closed the Cowboys out.
“I told the guys, hey, it’s going to be a grind,” Woodson said. “It was one of those ugly games. Our defense was the key.”
Now comes No. 5 seed Saint Mary’s (25-7), the West Coast Conference runner-up with a victory over top-seed Gonzaga on its resume.
“I hope we have a heck of a crowd out there,” Woodson said. “I hope they travel. We travel pretty far.
“We still have to play the game. We can’t run from it. Saint Mary’s is a great program. They’ve had a hell of a year.”
Baseball Changes Weekend Schedule Versus Xavier
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – With wet weather projected all day on Friday, the Indiana baseball program has announced a schedule change for the weekend series at Bart Kaufman Stadium versus Xavier. The two teams will now play a single game on Thursday (March 17) and Saturday (March 19) and a doubleheader on Sunday (March 20).
The new schedule is as follows:
Thursday, March 17 – 6 p.m.
Friday, March 18 – no game
Saturday, March 19 – Noon (single game)
Sunday, March 20 – Noon (doubleheader)
Parking for the weekend will remain the same, with lots around Bart Kaufman Field remaining open for patrons to park. There will be no access to Lot 13 due to the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament.
For tickets, the Friday ticket will now be valid for entry on Thursday night. Saturday will be free to the public and Sunday’s ticket will be valid for both games of the doubleheader.
IU Concludes Three Rounds at Briar’s Creek
JOHN’S ISLAND, S.C. – The Indiana women’s golf team shot a 913 (299-309-305; +49) at the Briar’s Creek Invitational at The Golf Club at Briar’s Creek to finish 17th overall in the event.
The No. 47-ranked Campbell Camels ran away with the team victory after shooting an 853 (281-288-284; -11) over 54 holes. Nathalie Irlbacher of Boston College won the individual event title after shooting a 5-under par 211.
Briar’s Creek Invitational • John’s Island, S.C.
Golf Club at Briar’s Creek
Par 72 • 6116 yards
Live scoring via Golfstat
Team Standings: 17th/17 – 913 (299-309-305; +49)
Top Indiana Player: Áine Donegan – 220 (72-77-71; +4)
• Freshman Áine Donegan once again finished inside the top-20 of the individual standings after shooting a 220 (72-77-71; +4). She was the lone Hoosier to card a round under par during the tournament with her final round of 71 (-1). She converted two birdie attempts during the round on No. 3 and No. 7. She tied for 18th.
• Freshman Margaret Fernandez tied for 70th with a three-round score of 232 (74-76-82; +16).
• Junior Valerie Clancy finished one stroke behind Fernandez to place 76th. She fired a 233 (80-76-77; +17) for the week. She played one birdie (No. 1) in the final round.
• Senior Alexis Miestowski tied for 82nd after playing a scorecard of 235 (78-80-77; +19).
• Fifth-year senior Mary Parsons finished t-88th with a final tally of 237 (75-82-80; +21).
HOOSIERS IN THE STANDINGS
t-18. Áine Donegan – 220 (72-77-71; +4)
t-70. Margaret Fernandez – 232 (74-76-82; +16)
76. Valerie Clancy – 233 (80-76-77; +17)
t-82. Alexis Miestowski – 235 (78-80-77; +19)
t-88. Mary Parsons – 237 (75-82-80; +21)
Indiana will play its penultimate regular season of the 2021-22 season at the Chattanooga Classic from March 27-29 at the Council Fire Golf Club in Chattanooga. IU will close out the regular season as hosts of the IU Invitational from April 9-10 at The Pfau Course.
Purdue Opens WNIT Against Southern Illinois Wednesday Night
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – The Purdue women’s basketball team will make its return to the postseason for the first time since 2018 on Wednesday night for a WNIT First Round matchup against Southern Illinois. Tipoff from Mackey Arena is set for 7 p.m. on B1G+
Tim Newton and Jane Schott will call the game courtside for the Purdue Radio Network on 95.3 BOB FM.
Purdue (16-14) vs. Southern Illinois (21-9)
Time: 7 PM
Radio: 95.3 BOB FM
Live Stats: Purduestats.com
The Boilermakers make their 30th postseason appearance and fourth foray into the WNIT. Purdue’s first postseason tournament came in 1988 when the Boilermakers reached the championship game of the NWIT. The other two WNIT bids came in 2010 and 2018. By accepting a spot into the 2022 field, Purdue kept alive its streak of every senior class since 1988 playing in at least one postseason tournament.
• Purdue and Southern Illinois evenly split 10 previous matchups. The two sides have only played twice this century.
• Purdue has a record of 5-3 in the WNIT/NWIT, including a runner-up finish in the 1988 tournament.
• Jeanae Terry has made her mark in her first season in West Lafayette, climbing up to third in single-season history in assists (173). She is also tied for fourth in the nation with 14 games of at least five points, five assists and five rebounds this season (Caitlin Clark – 21).
• Purdue has already smashed the single-season record for 3-pointers made and attempted this season with 230 makes on 709 attempts.
• Cassidy Hardin vaulted herself up to fourth in Purdue single-season history with 76 triples (Katie Gearlds in 2006-07, McLaughlin in 2018-19 – 88).
• After a combined 4.1 points in the first 17 games, Jayla Smith and Ava Learn have combined for 12 points per game over the final 13 games.
• On the current roster, only Brooke Moore and Rokia Doumbia have postseason experience – Moore with Auburn in the 2019 NCAA Tournament and Doumbia in the WNIT with Arkansas in 2019.
• With a win, the Boilermakers will have 10 more wins than last year, tying for the third best improvement in program history.
• Rickie Woltman has averaged 8.6 points, 6.0 rebounds and 22.1 minutes per game since joining the starting lineup against Maryland
• Madison Layden is giving for the Boilermakers, she is one of just six players nationally to have accumulated 130 rebounds (134), 80 assists (80), 60 three-pointers (63) and 45 steals (49).
Sparks Named NABC District 14 Second Team
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The National Association of Basketball Coaches announced its yearly Division I All-District Teams along with District Coaches of the Year on Tuesday. All-District teams are voted on by all NABC coaches across NCAA Division I. Payton Sparks was named to the District 14 Second Team.
Sparks had a team-best 13.5 points per game and 8.5 rebounds per contest. Sparks tallied 418 points this season and is third as a freshman in all-time scoring, behind Bonzi Wells (474) and Ray McCallum (463). Sparks attempted 202 free throws this season, which is tied for 14th in the NCAA and leads the MAC. He attempted more free throws than any other freshman in the NCAA. Sparks finished second on the team with 15 blocks. He recorded 12 double-doubles on the season to lead all freshmen and finished second in the MAC. Sparks finished the season with 24 games scoring double figures and 13 games with double-digit rebounds. Sparks’ 8.45 rebounds per game is fourth in the MAC, while his 13.48 points per game is 17th in the conference.
Sincere Carry – Kent State
Ryan Rollins – Toledo
Mark Sears – Ohio
JT Shumate – Toledo
Jeenathan Williams – Buffalo
Jason Carter – Ohio
Enrique Freeman – Akron
Setric Millner Jr. – Toledo
Payton Sparks – Ball State
Ben Vander Plas – Ohio
Coach of the Year: Rob Senderoff – Kent State
Men’s Volleyball Plays An Away and Home Series Against Rival Ohio State This Week
NEW ERA: First-year head coach Donan Cruz has started the year off strong so far this season leading the Cardinals to five-straight wins which includes back–to-back victories over No. 1 Hawai’i… Prior to taking over the helm of the Cardinals, Cruz was a four-time National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) National Coach of the Year at Grand View University … Just the fourth head coach in the storied history of Ball State men’s volleyball, Cruz led the inaugural Grand View men’s team to a 13-13 mark in 2012 season, on his way to compiling a 211-55 overall record with the Vikings … He concluded his Grand View career with the best winning percentage in NAIA men’s volleyball history at .793.
ALSO NEW ON THE STAFF: Joining Cruz on the Ball State staff are Midwestern Volleyball Association (MIVA) standout and former Lewis University star Mike Iandolo and BYU men’s volleyball alumnus Christian Rupert … Iandolo was a two-time All-MIVA First Team selection and spent the last three season as the head coach at the University of Charleston … Rupert helped lead the Cougars to a pair of appearances NCAA Division I/II Men’s Volleyball Championship Match, and following a brief professional career, spent two seasons as a volunteer assistant at Princeton.
SCOUTING OHIO STATE: The Cardinals face their longest rival to date on Wednesday in Columbus, Ohio at 7 pm ET at the Covelli Center. Ohio State enters the contest with a 9-9 overall record and a 3-3 Mid-Western Intercollegiate Volleyball Association record while the Cardinals are still ranked No. 8 in the nation while owning a 13-2 overall mark and a 5-1 MIVA ledger. The Buckeyes and Cardinals have met 189 times since Feb. 17, 1968 with the Buckeyes owning a 101-88 advantage. The teams met three times in 2021, with each team winning away from home (3-2) during the regular season and then Ball State winning 3-1 in the MIVA quarterfinals in Worthen Arena. The Buckeyes are led offensively by Jacob Pasteur with 251 kills. Ohio State has lost its last three contests.
IN THE NATION: The Cardinals sits at No. 8 in this week’s AVCA Coaches Poll despite winning two on the road last week. The highest Ball State has ever been ranked was No. 5 and that was in the final poll in 1995. Graduate senior setter Quinn Isaacson still ranks first in the nation among his setting peers with 11.77 assists per set while Ball State as a team also holds the top spot for that same category (13.05). Senior middle blocker Felix Egharevba is second in the nation in blocks per set (1.447) and Kaleb Jenness is third in attacks per set (9.22) and second in kills per set (4.92).
CARDINAL RECAP: Ball State is coming off of a 2-0 weekend after spending its spring break on the east coast. The Cardinals took down NJIT by a score of 3-1 on Friday, March 11 before closing out play in New Jersey at Princeton as Ball State earned the 3-0 sweep over the Tigers on Saturday, March 12. At NJIT, Angelos Mandilaris tallied a 21-kill performance while Kaleb Jenness led BSU offensively at Princeton with 14 kills.
Women’s Basketball Heads To Marquette For First Round of the WNIT Wednesday
Game 33 | Ball State at Marquette
March 16 | Milwaukee, Wis. | Al McGuire Center | 2022 WNIT | 8 pm ET
Watch | Listen: Muncie Sports Station (92.5FM/1340 AM) | Live Stats
Head Coach: Brady Sallee | 10th Season
Record at Ball State: 183-131 (.582)
Overall Career Record: 319-241 (.570)
Location: Muncie, Ind.
Head Coach: Megan Duffy | 3rd Season
Record at MU: 64-25 (.719)
Overall Career Record: 108-45 (.705)
Location: Milwaukee, Wis.
– The Cardinals will be making their seventh WNIT appearance under 10th-year head coach Brady Sallee and 10th overall (all since 2002). The Cardinals are 6-9 all-time in WNIT play winning a first round game in 2018 over Middle Tennessee and then won two games to reach the final 16 of the 2013 event. Sallee has won a first round game in the WNIT three times against Minnesota in 2013 (54-51), Iowa in 2016 (77-72) and Middle Tennessee in 2018 (69-60).
– This marks only the fourth meeting all-time between the Cardinals and the Golden Eagles. Marquette owns a 2-1 record over Ball State winning the last meeting 97-41 in Muncie, Ind. in 1993-94.
– Brady Sallee and Megan Duffy are familiar with one another’s coach styles as Duffy used to be a head coach in the Mid-American Conference after spending two seasons at the helm of the Miami RedHawks (2017-19). The last time Sallee and Duffy faced off was on Jan. 19, 2019 in Oxford, Ohio with Duffy winning that contest, 60-57.
– It will be a homecoming of sorts for Brady Sallee when he arrives in Milwaukee. Marquette’s athletics director is Bill Scholl who was the athletics director at Ball State from 2012-14. Scholl was the athletics director that hired Brady Sallee 10 years ago.
– The Cardinals knocked off No. 4 Northern Illinois (60-54) and No. 1 Toledo (71-66) to make it all the way to the Mid-American Conference championship game for the first time since 2014. Unfortunately, Ball State came up short falling to No. 2 Buffalo by a score of 79-75.
Top 25 In The Nation:
The Cardinals rank in the top-25 in the nation in 3-point field goals attempted (6th-869), 3-point field goals made (11th-279), 3-point field goal percentage (14th-8.7), assists (20th-509) and assist turnover ration (25th-1.16).
Becki All-MAC Tourney Team:
Ally Becki became the first freshman in Ball State women’s basketball program history to earn a spot on the Mid-American Conference Tournament All-Tournament team and the first player to receive the honor since 2014 when the Cardinals placed two players on that list in former players Shelbie Justice and Brandy Woody. In the three tournament games Becki averaged 15.7 points per contest, while dishing out 15 assists, tallied eight steal and shot 52 percent from the field (13-25). Becki had a 15 point performance against the Huskies (3/9/22), 12 points against the Rockets (3/11/22) and 20 points versus the Bulls (3/12/22). She also had two blocks and made 13 3-point baskets.
– This will be Marquette’s 10th time competing in the WNIT, its most recent appearance coming in 2014. The Golden Eagles won the tournament in 2008 with an 81-66 win over Michigan State, and made a run to the championship game two years prior in 2006. In total, Marquette has played in 23 WNIT games, hosting nine of them.
– After finishing the 2021-22 campaign with a 21-10 overall mark, the Golden Eagles automatically qualified for the WNIT as the top-seeded BIG EAST team to not make the NCAA Tournament. Seton Hall is also a part of the field as an at-large bid.
– Coach Megan Duffy is off to the best coaching start through three seasons of any coach in program history. She boasts a 64-25 overall mark (.719) at Marquette.
– Lauren Van Kleunen earned All-Big East First Team honors. Van Kleunen leads Marquette in scoring averaging 13.3 points per contest.
– Marquette made it to the semifinal round of the Big East Tournament after defeating DePaul by a score of 105-85 in the quarterfinals on March 5 in Uncasville, Conn. the Golden Eagles then fell in the semis to UConn on March 6 by a score of 71-51.
IRISH TIE SCHOOL RECORD IN 18-0 WIN OVER DETROIT MERCY
SOUTH BEND, Ind. – The University of Notre Dame softball team scored early and often as it went on to tie a school record, defeating the Detroit Mercy Titans 18-0. The Irish tied the record for largest margin of victory, and most runs scored in a game, matching the record that was set against Robert Morris University March 11th, 1994. Eight of nine starters had hits in the contest as the Irish improved to 18-6 on the season. 15 different players crossed home plate in the victory.
Payton Tidd and Shannon Becker combined in the circle. Tidd earned the win, throwing 3.0 innings, striking out a pair. Becker worked the final 2.0 innings allowing just one hit to go with a strikeout. The two threw just 58 pitches in the victory. Detroit Mercy had just one runner reach second base in the contest.
Jane Kronenberger led the Irish offense, going 3-for-4 with three RBI, a double and scored once. Leea Hanks, Abby Sweet and Joley Mitchell all added a pair of hits. Hanks finished with a triple, Sweet a home run, as both swiped a base. Five players came in off the bench to get a hit, none louder than Bryn Boznanski’s three-run homer in the bottom of the fourth.
Notre Dame got on the board first as Hanks tripled to left center and scored when Clark chopped a ground ball back to third to give the Irish the 1-0 lead in the first inning.
The Irish took a commanding lead in the bottom of the second, scoring seven runs. The inning started with three-straight singles to load the bases. Back-to-back walks scored two and a sacrifice fly to center field added the third run. Karina Gaskins drove a single the opposite way to drive in Carlli Kloss, and Tidd followed with a double to right field to score Hanks. Kronenberger drove a double back up the middle to score two and extend the lead to 8-0, Notre Dame.
Sweet and the Irish went back to work in the third, scoring four runs. Clark drove in the first run of the frame with a bunt single, and Sweet followed by driving a ball to the trees in left center to extend the lead to 12-0.
The Irish tied the school record in the fourth, scoring six runs. Miranda Johnson pinch hit to lead off the inning and reached on an error. Shelby Grimm doubled down the third base line and Mac Vasquez drove in the first run of her career with a single to through the right side. Macie Eck pinch hit, and singled up the middle, driving in the fifth run of her career, first this season. Boznanski drove in three more when she hammered a home run to left field. It was the sophomore’s first career hit. After a triple from Anna Holloway, Kronenberger singled to bring her in and tie the school record with 18 runs.
The Irish are back at Melissa Cook Stadium tomorrow night as they host the Western Michigan Broncos at 4 p.m.
NABC NAMES BREY AS DISTRICT COACH OF THE YEAR
The National Association of Basketball Coaches have announced their postseason awards for the 2022 men’s college basketball season. Glenn and Stacey Murphy Head Men’s Basketball Coach Mike Brey was named the District 2 Coach of the Year, while senior Dane Goodwin and freshman Blake Wesley earned second-team all-district honors.
Brey led the Irish back to the NCAA tournament this season, as Notre Dame finished second in the Atlantic Coast Conference standings with a 15-5 record – the most conference wins in program history. After December 20, Notre Dame won 18 of 23 games to earn the 13th NCAA appearance of the Brey era (since 2000-01).
Goodwin was among the most consistent and accurate shooters in college basketball this season. He is the only player in the nation shooting .500 from the field, .440 from three-point range, .850 from the free throw line and scoring over 13 points per game. He earned third-team all-ACC honors by the league last week.
Wesley established himself as one of the most balanced and talented true freshman in the country and is the only rookie to amass 450 points, 100 rebounds, 75 assists, 50 three-point field goals and 30 steals in college basketball this season. He hit the game-winning shot against Kentucky (which earned a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament) in December and lead the Irish in scoring with 14.6 points per game.
The Irish begin their run in the NCAA tournament on Wednesday, March 16, against Rutgers in the NCAA First Four at Dayton. The game will be broadcast on TruTV at 9:10 p.m. ET.
NABC District 2 Honors
Armando Bacot – North Carolina
Paolo Banchero – Duke
Buddy Boeheim – Syracuse
Kameron McGusty – Miami
Alondes Williams – Wake Forest
Keve Aluma – Virginia Tech
Dane Goodwin – Notre Dame
Wendell Moore – Duke
Dereon Seabron – North Carolina State
Blake Wesley – Notre Dame
Coach of the Year: Mike Brey – Notre Dame
NCAA TOURNAMENT PREVIEW: THE GREEN IS BACK
NORMAN, Okla. – The Notre Dame women’s basketball team is back in the NCAA Tournament, making the program’s 27th appearance to be exact. The Fighting Irish were named a five-seed in the Bridgeport Regional, but first must travel to Norman, Oklahoma for the first and seconds rounds. Up first, a matchup against 12-seed UMass on Saturday, March 19, at 7:30 pm ET on ESPN2. If successful, the Irish will advance to play the winner of four-seed Oklahoma versus 13-seed IUPUI. The second matchup will take place on Monday, March 21, at a later determined time.
Tickets are available and can be purchased online by clicking here.
Notre Dame will be competing in its 27th NCAA Tournament. Their streak of 24 straight appearances came to an end in March of 2021. It was the fourth longest active streak in the country and fifth best all-time.
The Irish are 67-24 all-time in the NCAA Tournament, as their 67 wins rank fourth all-time.
Notre Dame joins Louisiana Tech and USC with two NCAA titles behind UConn (11), Tennessee (8), Baylor (3) and Stanford (3). Notre Dame is one of three schools (Tennessee & UConn) to reach seven NCAA Title games. Their nine Final Four appearances are the fifth-most of any school behind UConn (19), Tennessee (18), Stanford (14) and La Tech (10).
The Irish have reached 10 Elite Eights and have advanced to 17 Sweet 16s.
COACH IVEY TURNAROUND IN YEAR 2
Just her 2nd year with the program but her first true full calendar year with the team – Coach Ivey already has the program back on the national scene in one of the biggest turnarounds. Around this time last year, Notre Dame finished 10-10 overall and didn’t make the NCAA tournament for the first time in a quarter of a century. Then Coach Ivey worked her magic.
Notre Dame is currently 22-8 overall and ranked 21st in the nation after starting the year unranked (was ranked as high as 14th). Only three other Power-Five teams posted a +12 win differential or higher from last year:
– Kansas +13
– Utah +15
– LSU +16
They went 13-5 in a loaded ACC and claimed the No. 3 seed, after being projected to finish in 6th place.
Notre Dame enters the NCAA Tournament with a NET ranking of No. 20 (an improvement of 36 spots from last year). The Irish are 3-3 against the NET top-25 and 7-6 against the NET Top-50. They have zero losses outside the top-100.
Coach Ivey boasts five ranked wins on the year which include No. 16 Georgia Tech on the road and No. 3 NC State at home.
AWAY FROM HOME AS THE FIVE-SEED
Notre Dame is 5-3 all-time as a No. 5 seed. Their best finish from this position was Sweet 16’s in both 2004 and 2008 – as the latter marked the last time they were a five-seed. 2009 (a seven-seed) was the last time Notre Dame didn’t host in the NCAA Tournament.
The Irish are 22-4 all-time in the First Round and 17-5 in the Second Round.
Notre Dame has never played UMass or IUPUI in the Big Dance, while they are 2-1 against Oklahoma –> last squaring off in the Sweet 16 in 2011.
CAN I HAVE THIS DANCE?
After the 2019 NCAA runner-up finish, Notre Dame made WNBA Draft history with all five starters being drafted in the top-20. The 2022 NCAA Tournament will be the program’s first since that major event.
When looking around at that roster, only senior Abby Prohaska has experienced what it takes to make deep runs in March. Prohaska was the lone guard option off the bench during the team’s 2019 NCAA Tournament run. So it will mark the NCAA Tourney debuts for Miles, Citron, Brunelle, Peoples, Mabrey and Westbeld. Ironically enough, Dodson’s last NCAA Tournament appearance was an Elite 8 loss to Notre Dame in 2019.
ACC ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
Guard Sonia Citron claimed ACC Freshman of the Week 6 times and then took the crown for ACC Rookie of the Year.
Citron tied 2019 alumna Brianna Turner for the program record with six ACC FOTW honors. Going back into the program’s Big East days, both Jacqueline Batteast (01-02) and Alicia Ratay (99-00) were each six-time winners as well.
In addition, she becomes the program’s third ACC Rookie of the Year in 9 years in the league, joining Maddy Westbeld (2021) and Turner (2015).
When it came to Freshman-Only ACC rankings — Citron ranked 2nd in scoring, 1st in rebounding and 3rd in assists – making her the only freshman in the top-3 in all three. In fact, Citron had the highest PTS+REB+AST/Game of any ACC freshman with her 20.7. Citron also boasted the most double-doubles of any ACC freshman with five.
Lastly, Citron is 1-of-2 freshmen in the entire country averaging at least 11 points, 6 rebounds and 2 assists and 1.5 steals. The other one being Harvard’s Harmoni Turner.
Maya Dodson has notched 14 double-digit scoring performances over the last 17 games. She’s raised her shooting percentage to .479, which ranks fourth in the league. In addition, she’s collected 21 blocks over the last six games.
Sonia Citron is coming on strong down the stretch – posting double figures in 14 of her last 15 games. She’s also recorded two double-doubles over the last five.
NANCY LIEBERMAN AWARD TOP-FIVE FINALIST
Pretty impressive that an 18-year old freshman played her way onto the Nancy Lieberman Award Top-5 finalist list.
Notre Dame’s point guard ranks 2nd in the NATION in assists per game, averaging 7.2/game. However, Miles is more than just stylish assists and great vision, she’s a dynamic playmaker.
Miles leads the ranked Irish in scoring (13.7), she’s 5th in the ACC in steals (1.9) and also reels in 5.5 boards/game.
Miles and Iowa’s Caitlin Clark are the only players in the country averaging at least 13 points / 5 rebounds / 7 assists.
And by the way, she boasts eight double-doubles on the year, which ranks 5th in the ACC. And of those eight, one of them is a triple-double, as Miles became just the 2nd Irish freshman in program history to do so.
FRESHMEN DUO SENSATION
Therefore, Notre Dame doesn’t just have one, but two super freshmen in Citron and Miles who will be the building blocks for years to come.
ESPN Women’s Hoops put both Miles and Citron on their midseason top-10 freshman list. Miles was ranked No. 2, while Citron checked in at No. 6. Notre Dame was the only program with two freshmen on the list.
In fact, Notre Dame is the only Power-Five school with two freshmen averaging double figures. Furthermore, there’s only one other school in Division I with 2 freshmen averaging at least 11 ppg – Pacific – Anaya James and Elizabeth Elliot.
A 6-1 guard, Citron does it all for Coach Ivey and is arguably the most versatile player on the team. She’s averaging 11.5 points while ranking 2nd on the team in rebounds (6.7), 3rd in assists (2.3) and 2nd in steals (1.6).
Then there’s Olivia Miles, who has already been detailed above. Ultimately, Miles ranks in the top-15 in the ACC in 6 different stat categories: Scoring, FG%, Assists, Steals, A/TO Ratio and Defensive Rebounds. Best of any Irish player.
ND’s 2 freshmen are its top two in Defensive-Rebounds/Game — Miles (5.0) & Citron (5.0) — as both rank in the ACC in the top-8. The two are also the team’s top two steal getters as Miles averages 1.9 while Citron checks in with 1.6.
DODSON ALL-ACC DEFENSIVE TEAM
Dodson’s teammates might joke she’s the grandma of the team but the emphasis was on the first half of the word – Grand. She’s averaging 2.8 blocks/game, which ranks 8th in the nation and leads the ACC. In addition, she’s collected 21 blocks over the last six games.
She’s also a difference-maker on the glass, ranking 30th in the nation in offensive rebounds/game with 3.6.
ELLIS NAMED A SECOND TEAM ALL-BIG TEN SELECTION
ROSEMONT, Ill. – Junior forward Max Ellis has been named a 2021-22 All-Big Ten Second Team selection, with graduate student goaltender Matthew Galajda, senior defenseman Spencer Stastney and sophomore forward Landon Slaggert earning All-Big Ten Honorable Mention accolades.
The 2021-22 All-Big Ten Hockey Team and Individual Award winners were selected by a vote of the Big Ten head coaches and a media voting panel.
Ellis has had a breakout season offensively for the Irish, scoring a team-high 16 goals and adding 12 assists for 28 points. Ellis’ 28 points also lead the team, while his 12 assists. A Hobey Baker Award nominee, Ellis earned Big Ten First Star of the Week honors on Nov. 23 after helping lead the Irish to a weekend sweep at then top-ranked Michigan. In Notre Dame’s game two overtime win in that series Ellis posted the first hat trick of his career, capped by scoring the overtime game-winning goal, marking the first visiting player to record a hat trick at Yost Ice Arena in 15 years (2006).
Galajda, a graduate transfer from Cornell and 2018 CCM/AHCA First Team All-American (East), is 17-7-0 on the season with a 1.98 goals-against average and a .930 save percentage. Both his goals-against average and save percentage rank eighth nationally and he has two shutouts on the season. He posted a career-high 40 saves in Notre Dame’s 8-2 win over Boston College on Jan. 19. A Hobey Baker award nominee, he was twice named the Big Ten’s Second Star of the Week (Feb. 22 & March 1) and twice earned Third Star of the Week honors (Nov. 16 & Oct. 26). Galajda, who is 77-22-9, ranks 21st in NCAA history with 77 career wins and is also tied for third in NCAA history with 21 career shutouts.
A fifth round selection (131st overall) by the Nashville Predators in the 2018 NHL Draft, Stastney is tied as Notre Dame’s second leading scorer with a career-high 27 points on seven goals and 20 assists. Stastney is averaging 0.54 assists per game, which ranks ninth in the Big Ten. In Notre Dame’s 21 games since the Irish returned from break on Jan. 1, he has five goals and 13 assists for 18 points, notching at least one point in 14 of the 21 games. He is the only defenseman in the country with multiple shorthanded goals this season (2). Stastney has also blocked 67 shots, which ranks third in the Big Ten. A 2022 Senior Class Award finalist, he was also named the Big Ten’s Third Star of the Week on Feb. 1.
About Landon Slaggert
Landon Slaggert has skated in 38 games this season, notching 11 goals and adding 13 assists for 24 points. His 11 goals are tied for third on the team, while his 24 points are tied for fifth. A member of the U.S. National Junior Team for a second consecutive season before the event was postponed due to Covid-19 protocols. A third round pick (79th overall) by Chicago in the 2020 NHL Draft, Slaggert also ranks tied for second on the team with three game-winning goals, including the overtime winner against Minnesota (Jan. 29).
2021-22 All-Big Ten Hockey Team and Individual Awards
As selected by Big Ten Coaches and Media Voting Panel
MATTY BENIERS, F, MICHIGAN
BEN MEYERS, F, MINNESOTA
Georgii Merkulov, F, Ohio State
Owen Power, D, Michigan
Brock Faber, D, Minnesota
Jakub Dobes, G, Ohio State
Brendan Brisson, F, Michigan
Matthew Knies, F, Minnesota
Max Ellis, F, Notre Dame
Luke Hughes, D, Michigan
Jackson Lacombe, D, Minnesota
Erik Portillo, G, Michigan
Thomas Bordeleau, F, Michigan
Kent Johnson, F, Michigan
Blake McLaughlin, F, Minnesota
Sammy Walker, F, Minnesota
Landon Slaggert, F, Notre Dame
Kevin Wall, F, Penn State
Nick Blankenburg, D, Michigan
Spencer Stastney, D, Notre Dame
Mason Lohrei, D, Ohio State
Drew DeRidder, G, Michigan State
Justen Close, G, Minnesota
Matthew Galajda, G, Notre Dame
Mackie Samoskevich, F, Michigan
MATTHEW KNIES, F, MINNESOTA
GEORGII MERKULOV, F, OHIO STATE
Luke Hughes, D, Michigan
Mason Lohrei, D, Ohio State
JAKUB DOBES, G, OHIO STATE
PLAYER OF THE YEAR:
Ben Meyers, F, Minnesota
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR (Defenseman or Forward):
Brock Faber, D, Minnesota
GOALTENDER OF THE YEAR:
Jakub Dobes, G, Ohio State
CO-FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR:
Luke Hughes, D, Michigan
Jakub Dobes, G, Ohio State
COACH OF THE YEAR:
Bob Motzko, Minnesota
Matty Beniers, F, Michigan
UNANIMOUS SELECTION IN ALL CAPS
Notre Dame awaits the NCAA Selection show, which will be broadcast on ESPNU at 6:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, March 20.
The 2022 NCAA Regional sites include Albany, New York (March 24 & 26), Allentown, Pennsylvania (March 25 & 27), Loveland, Colorado (March 24 & 26) and Worcester, Massachusetts (March 25 & 27).
The 2022 Frozen Four will take place April 7 and 9 at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts.
Sycamores overpower SEMO in home opening win
TERRE HAUTE, Ind. – Diego Gines and Josue Urdaneta both homered in support of strong pitching performances by Jake Ridgway and Luke Patzner as Indiana State topped Southeast Missouri State in the Sycamores 2022 home opener on Tuesday afternoon, 10-1.
Gines connected on his first grand slam to stake Indiana State (8-6) to an early 5-0 lead, while Urdaneta drilled a pair of two-run home runs late in the game to provide all the offense the Sycamores would need to snap SEMO’s (13-2) 11-game winning streak. Ridgway (1-0) went five one-hit innings in his third start of the season to secure the win, while Luke Patzner (S, 1) struck out seven Redhawks over the final four frame to close out the ISU win.
Gines finished the contest 4-for-4 with a season-high five RBI in the contest, while Urdaneta extended his hitting streak with his pair of home runs in addition to a career-high four RBI as the Sycamores offense connected on 14 hits in the contest. Jordan Schaffer, Randall Diaz, and Tyler Nelson added multi-hit games on the afternoon with Schaffer and Nelson both doubling in the win.
Ridgway took advantage of the early Sycamore lead to carry a perfect game into the fifth inning on the way to his first win of the 2022 season. The redshirt senior walked two and struck out a season-high seven batters shutting down the SEMO offense that entered the game hitting .312 from the plate as a team.
Patzner closed out the contest in an extended relief situation as the redshirt sophomore surrendered three hits and one run while striking out seven in his first save of the year.
SEMO was paced by Peyton Leeper’s RBI double in the contest, while Andrew Keck added a double to highlight the Redhawks offense in the game.
Ethan Osborne (0-1) took the loss after going the first two innings allowing four runs while striking out four. Matt Perego, Jeb Callaghan, Joseph Karrall, Fischer Rausch, and Noah Stone went the final seven innings in relief.
How They Scored
Jordan Schaffer scored on Sean Ross’ infield single in the bottom of the first as the Sycamores utilized a three-hit inning to take the early 1-0 lead.
Diego Gines connected on his first big fly of the 2022 season with a bases-clearing grand slam in the bottom of the third to give the Sycamores the 5-0 lead. Gines brought home Schaffer, Randall Diaz, and Josue Urdaneta with the blast.
Gines added to the Sycamores totals in the bottom of the fourth with a sacrifice fly to centerfield scoring Schaffer to put ISU up 6-0.
Josue Urdaneta put the Sycamores up 8-0 with a two-run home run over the right field fence in the bottom of the sixth inning scoring Randall Diaz.
Peyton Leeper put SEMO’s first run of the game across the plate in the top of the eighth with a RBI double scoring Ty Stauss to put the score at 8-1.
Josue Urdaneta connected on his second home run of the game in the bottom of the eighth inning, this time driving in Randall Diaz, to put ISU ahead 10-1.
News & Notes
Jordan Schaffer’s on-base streak hit 26 consecutive games as the redshirt senior infielder singled to open the bottom of the first inning.
Sean Ross’ RBI infield single in the bottom of the first inning ran his hitting streak to seven consecutive games following his 1-for-4 performance from the plate on Tuesday afternoon.
Jordan Schaffer was hit by pitches in both the third and fourth innings to run his Missouri Valley-leading total to 10 HBPs on the season.
Josue Urdaneta’s on-base streak ran to 14 consecutive games after drawing a walk in the bottom of the third inning. He continued his 14-game hitting streak in the bottom of the sixth inning with his first home run of the day.
Diego Gines became the eighth Sycamore to connect on a home run in the 2022 season as the redshirt sophomore drilled the 1-2 pitch over the left field wall in the third inning for ISU’s first grand slam of the year.
Urdaneta became the ninth Sycamore to leave the yard in the bottom of the sixth inning with a two-run shot scoring Randall Diaz. He added his second home run of the contest with a two-run shot in the bottom of the eighth scoring Jordan Schaffer.
Gines and Urdaneta’s homers marked the second time multiple Indiana State hitters connected on home runs in the same game in 2022 and first since February 25 against Merrimack.
Urdaneta’s multi-home run game was Indiana State’s first of the 2022 season and first since Jordan Schaffer connected on two home runs on May 28, 2021 against Evansville.
Urdaneta recorded his third stolen base of the 2022 season in the bottom of the fourth inning, tying him up with Tyler Nelson for the team lead. His steal marked ISU’s first stolen base since March 5 against Maryland.
Jake Ridgway recorded his season-longest appearance on the mound on Tuesday as the redshirt senior went 5.0 innings in picking up the win. He previously worked 4.0 innings in each of his previous two starts prior to today’s game.
Luke Patzner went the final 4.0 innings for his first save in a Sycamore uniform.
Diego Gines went 4-for-4 for his third multi-hit game of the 2022 season.
Randall Diaz went 2-for-4 for his fifth multi-hit game of the 2022 season.
Tyler Nelson went 2-for-4 for his fourth multi-hit game of the 2022 season.
Jordan Schaffer went 2-for-3 for his fifth multi-hit game of the 2022 season and 30th of his career.
Urdaneta posted his team-leading ninth multi-hit game of the 2022 season.
Indiana State’s 14 hits in the contest marked the fifth consecutive double-digit hitting effort by the Sycamores, ninth in the last 10, and 10th in the last 12 contests.
Indiana State’s pitching staff hit double-digit strikeouts for the fifth time in the 2022 season and first since March 5 against Maryland as the combination of Ridgway and Patzner struck out 14 SEMO batters in the contest.
Indiana State improves to 6-0 against SEMO all-time in the series.
The Sycamores snapped SEMO’s 11-game winning streak in the 2022 season with the win.
Indiana State closes out the two-game midweek series against SEMO tomorrow afternoon with first pitch set for 3 p.m. at Bob Warn Field. The game will be carried live on ESPN+, while live stats will be provided via GoSycamores.com.
Mastodons Host Dayton in 2022 Home Opener on Wednesday
FORT WAYNE, Ind. – The ‘Dons play Dayton on Wednesday (March 16) in a 3 p.m. first pitch.
Game Day Information
What: Purdue Fort Wayne (1-14) vs. Dayton (7-5)
When: Wednesday, March 16 | 3 p.m.
Where: Mastodon Field | Fort Wayne, Ind.
Live Stats: Link
Weather: High of 68, partly cloudy
Series History: Flyers lead 12-3
Scouting the Flyers: Dayton has series wins over North Carolina A&T, Evansville and Belmont. Dayton is led offensively by Keagan Calero’s .983 OPS along with a .341 batting average. He has 14 hits and 12 runs on the season. Starting pitcher Anthony Hattrup has a 0.79 ERA in 11.1 innings. In Hattrup’s 11 innings he has recorded 11 strikeouts. The Flyers have played two Horizon League teams, falling 14-0 to Wright State and 6-2 to Milwaukee.
Streak Time: Jarrett Bickel enters Wednesday’s game on a six-game hitting streak and seven-game on-base streak. He hit two home runs in the series at Saint Louis.
Anywhere In The Lineup: Jarrett Bickel and Jack Lang have both started games in three different defensive positions this season. Bickel has started 11 games at short, two at third and one at second. Lang owns 12 games at third, two in left field and one in right field.
New Faces: The 2022 Mastodon roster features 15 returners from last season and 18 newcomers.
Have A Day!: Braedon Blackford hit three home runs in a doubleheader against California Baptist (Feb. 26).
Lang Time: Jack Lang is eighth in the Horizon League in hits with 15.
Mitchell!: Mitchell Spencer is fifth in the Horizon League in ERA at 3.68. He is third in innings pitched at 22.0
Homer Time: Seven different Mastodons have a home run this season. This total includes five Mastodons who are in their first season with the ‘Dons: Braedon Blackford (3), Jarrett Bickel (2), Cade Fitzpatrick (1), Ben Higgins (1) and Isaiah Hart (1).
Homer Time X2: The ‘Dons have 11 home runs on the season, tied for second most in the Horizon League.
Look At Me, I Can Be…: Garett Lake is the only Mastodon to play every game at the same position for the ‘Dons. He has started in center in every game for the ‘Dons this year.
Miller Time: Justin Miller owns 146 career strikeouts, ninth best in program history.
Up Next: The ‘Dons welcome Youngstown State to Mastodon Field this weekend to open Horizon League play.
PERRY NAMED NACDA 2021-22 CUSHMAN & WAKEFIELD AD OF THE YEAR
CLEVELAND – The National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) announced the 28 winners of the Cushman & Wakefield AD of the Year Award (ADOY) today. The award spans seven divisions (NCAA FBS, FCS, Division I-AAA, II, III, NAIA/Other Four-Year Institutions and Junior College/Community Colleges).
The ADOY Award highlights the efforts of athletics directors at all levels for their commitment and positive contributions to student-athletes, campuses and their surrounding communities.
“As the intercollegiate athletics enterprise continues to evolve and institutions and their departments journey bravely into uncharted waters, we have a new wave of leaders who have answered the call,” said Bob Vecchione, NACDA Chief Executive Officer. “This year, 22 of our 28 Athletics Director of the Year honorees are being recognized with the award for the first time in their careers. Additionally, in the year that we celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Title IX, we are proud that all four ADOY winners at the Division III level are women. Thank you to our new title sponsor Cushman & Wakefield, for helping the NACDA family applaud the efforts of these athletics directors across the country. We are looking forward to gathering together in person once again to celebrate their achievements during Convention this summer.”
Cushman & Wakefield is in its first year of sponsoring the award. The ADOY Award program is in its 24th year and has recognized a total of 535 deserving athletics directors to date.
Perry served as the Horizon League Council chair during the 2020-2021 academic year – helping oversee and lead the conversation on a number of COVID related discussions as the league and membership navigated through a safe return to play. He also served on the 2021 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament Local Organizing Committee, helping successfully bring the entire tournament to the Circle City for the first-time in tournament history.
On the IUPUI campus, he was tasked with the safe return to competition after COVID, working with campus and local medical officials to bring sports back to the department. He also managed the departmental budget to ensure no staff reductions or furloughs were incurred. In competition, the IUPUI men’s cross country team captured a third straight Horizon League title this fall and the women’s basketball team is amidst a historic season, having garnered regular season and tournament titles and a first-ever NCAA Tournament berth. Along the way, the Jaguars defeated eventual Big Ten Champion Iowa for a first-ever win over a nationally ranked opponent and received votes in the AP poll late in the season.
Academically, IUPUI has continued its lofty standards with a 26th consecutive semester with a 3.0 GPA or better. More than 80 percent of the department’s student-athletes achieved a grade point average of 3.0 or better and 52 individuals had a perfect 4.0 GPA. IUPUI has continued to rank among the 98th percentile for all Division I programs in departmental grade point average.
Perry will be among those recognized in conjunction with the 57th Annual NACDA & Affiliates Convention at the Mandalay Bay Resort in Las Vegas, prior to the Featured Session on Tuesday, June 28 at 4 p.m.
Cushman & Wakefield is in its first year of sponsoring the award. The ADOY Award program is in its 24th year and has recognized a total of 535 deserving athletics directors to date.
Baseball Falls at Nationally-Ranked Notre Dame
The Valparaiso University baseball team received a home run by Kyle Schmack (Wanatah, Ind. / South Central) as part of a multi-hit game, but host Notre Dame scored six runs in the first three frames and added six in the eighth en route to a 12-1 victory on Tuesday afternoon at Frank Eck Stadium. The Fighting Irish entered the game ranked No. 6 by D1Baseball and in the top 10 in all six polls, including No. 1 by Baseball America and Perfect Game.
How It Happened
The Fighting Irish struck first in the opening inning as a hit, two walks and a sacrifice fly led to two runs. Two doubles in the second helped the Irish get into the Valpo bullpen and plate two more, bolstering the advantage to 4-0.
Valpo mounted its first scoring chance of the day in the third as the inning started in a promising manner with consecutive hits by Kade Reinertson (Huxley, Iowa / Ballard Community) and Alex Thurston (Fowler, Ind. / Benton Central). A sacrifice bunt by Alex Ryan (Lake Mills, Wis. / Lakeside Lutheran) advanced the runners, but Notre Dame went to the bullpen and wiggled out of the inning unscathed.
The Fighting Irish got two more in the sixth, this time in a two-run homer, to make it 6-0. Reliever Connor Lockwood (Libertyville, Ill. / Libertyville) locked down for the remainder of his outing, holding the Irish off the scoreboard in the fourth and fifth innings, his final two frames of work. He did not issue a walk over 3 2/3 innings and permitted just the two runs while scattering six hits.
Sophomore Grant Jablonski (Mishawaka, Ind. / Mishawaka) continued the solid start to the day for the Beacon bullpen in the sixth by retiring the side in order. Jablonski posted another zero in the seventh as Notre Dame stranded a pair.
Valpo got on the board in the eighth as Kyle Schmack (Wanatah, Ind. / South Central) belted a solo shot to center to make it 6-1.
After four straight scoreless innings from the Valpo relief corps, the Fighting Irish scored for the first time since the third in the bottom of the eighth. They plated six to widen the gap to 12-1.
Inside the Game
The home run by Schmack marked his second of the season and the fourth of his collegiate career.
Schmack had two hits, his fifth multi-hit output of 2022, the second most on the squad.
Thurston extended his hitting streak to 10. He became the first Beacon this season with a double-figure hitting streak, after two players (Schmack and Hannahs) did so a year ago.
Kaleb Hannahs (West Terre Haute, Ind. / West Vigo), who entered the day as the Missouri Valley Conference’s leading hitter, had a rare hitless day at the plate and saw his 10-game on-base streak come to an end.
Valpo (5-7) will begin a weekend series at Murray State on Friday at 3 p.m. in Murray, Ky. The game will air on ESPN+, and links to live video and stats will be available on ValpoAthletics.com.
Baseball Falls Twice in Doubleheader with Purdue Northwest
INDIANAPOLIS- The University of Indianapolis baseball team fell in a doubleheader with Purdue Northwest at Greyhound Park on Tuesday afternoon. With both losses, the Hounds fall to 5-9 on the season.
GAME 1 | PNW 7, UIndy 3 (7 innings)
The Pride found the scoreboard early with a stretch of three-straight innings (third through the fifth) where they were able to cross runs to take a small 4-0 lead.
UIndy finally pushed a run home in the fifth when Bo Minor took ahold of a pitch and sent it over the left field wall, his first of the year.
Chipping away slowly at the deficit, the Hounds produced two more runs in the sixth. An error on a Zack Williams at-bat led to the first run followed up by Denton Shelper hitting an infield groundout which led to an RBI. However, despite the late game heroics, PNW rolled in three across the plate in the top half of the seventh which ended up being the difference maker.
Seven different Greyhounds had one hit to lead the team on offense. The trio of Minor, Shepler, and Williams all garnered one RBI. Brandon DeWitt earned the start on the bump and was eventually tabbed as the losing pitcher.
GAME 2 | PNW 18, UIndy 7 (7 innings)
The Pride jumped out ahead with force by scoring in all but one inning. The Hounds answered with four single runs throughout the contest, but this was not nearly enough to catch up.
Shepler was a bright spot on offense, corralling a team-high three hits and four RBI’s which included a three-run homer in the final inning. Kase Lawson garnered the start on the mound and was tabbed at the losing pitcher.
The Greyhounds will take a short break before returning to the field on Friday, March 25 where they will travel to Lewis to battle the Flyers.
Win Streak Ends with Split at THE Spring Games
WINTER HAVEN, Fla.—The UIndy softball team saw its 15-game winning streak come to a close Tuesday in Florida. The fourth-ranked Greyhounds started the day with a 5-1 win over Saint Anselm before dropping a close decision to Le Moyne, 2-1.
GAME 1 | UIndy 5, Saint Anselm 1
For the second day in a row, the Greyhounds got a game-changing grand slam in the day’s opening contest. Less than 24 hours after Dominique Proctor delivered her first career salami versus Dominican, catcher Lexy Rees followed suit with a four-run bomb in the fifth inning. The timely blast broke a scoreless tie, plating Sydie Foster ( who earlier singled), Megan Nichols (single) and Emily O’Connor (walk) in the process.
The Hounds added another tally in the top of the sixth on an RBI double from Proctor. The Hawks managed to break up the shutout with a single unearned run in the sixth.
Ace Kenzee Smith upped her pitching record to 10-1 on the year, striking out a career-high 14 in the complete-game win. Nichols finished with a game-high three hits.
Saint Anselm College is the defending NCAA DII East Region champions. It was ranked No. 8 in the preseason coaches poll but is currently outside of the top 25.
GAME 2 | Le Moyne 2, UIndy 1
Tuesday’s capper was one of the more exciting games of the season to date. Trailing by two runs in the bottom of the sixth, the Hounds halved the lead with some clutch ABs. O’Connor led things off with a walk and was followed by a two bagger from Rees to put two in scoring position. UIndy broke the seal on a sac fly from Sydnie Perry, scoring pinch runner Emma Rutan, but ultimately stranded Rees at second.
Still down 2-1 in the bottom of the seventh, the Greyhounds had one more chance to tie or win it. Hanna Burris started the frame with a single to right to put the leadoff hitter aboard. She was sacrificed to second base by S. Foster, but there she would stay as the next two hitters were retired via strikeout.
Haylie Foster (10-1) took the loss in the circle – her first of the year – after giving up two runs and just three hits in 5 1/3 innings.
The Greyhounds get a day off from competition Wednesday before returning the to diamond on Thursday. UIndy will face in-region Wayne State at 2 p.m. ET, followed immediately by a matchup with Caldwell.
MARIAN SWEPT BY COUGARS IN SERIES FINALE
INDIANAPOLIS – The Marian baseball team suffered a pair of losses on Monday afternoon as they resumed their series with Mount Vernon Nazarene, losing the opening game 14-12 before falling in extra innings 3-1 in the night cap. Marian is now 9-13 on the year following the pair of defeats.
GAME 1 | Marian 12-14 MVNU
Mount Vernon began the game with a three-hit first inning off Marian starter Justin Johnson, as the freshman gave up the first run of the game. Johnson worked out of a jam in the second inning leaving the bases loaded, but in the third saw his command slip walking two and hitting one batter before giving up a three-RBI double.
Trailing 4-0 entering the home side of the third, Marian picked up a pair of hits from Trey Heidlage and Caden Mason, before getting an RBI double out of Dion Wintjes. Hironori Kato pushed in a run on a ground out to make it a 4-2 game before the end of the frame, but in the top of the fourth Mount Vernon tacked on one more as Davis Enfield allowed an inherited runner to score on an RBI single. The Knights got back within a pair in the home side of the fourth, getting a lead-off single from Matteo Porcellato with Bryce Davenport roping an RBI into the gap to bring in the senior.
Enfield tossed a strong fifth inning picking up a pair of strikeouts to keep the game a two-run difference, but in the sixth Mount Vernon broke loose for three runs, increasing the lead to 8-3. Jaxon Meyer shut down with a strikeout to leave the bases loaded, and in the home half a lead-off double from Porcellato started a rally, with Davenport driving him home two batters later. With two outs, AJ Bordenet slammed a triple down the right field line to bring in two more runs, with Wintjes cleaning up the inning with an RBI hit.
The bats continued to roll in the bottom of the seventh with the Knights pushing three more runners home, as Davenport and Heidlage picked up an RBI while the first baseman came around to score on a wild pitch. With a 10-8 lead at hand Marian was in the lead for the first time, but couldn’t hold it as Meyer walked the bases full. Jared Berger was tasked with getting the final two outs, but a single to left for his first batter started a hit cycle, with the Cougars plating six runs on four hits to take a 14-10 lead.
Marian got two back in the bottom of the eight on a double to center from Porcellato, and in the ninth got a hold from Michael Mates who picked up a strikeout and was the benefit of batters interference as Wintjes threw out a runner stealing. Needing two runs to tie Marian got a base runner out of Kameron Salazar’s single, but a strikeout and groundout ended the game as the Knights fell 14-12.
Porcellato went 3-4 in the game with a pair of doubles, while he, Wintjes, Davenport, and Bordenet had multiple RBI. As a team Marian had 17 hits in the first game. Meyer took the loss on the mound allowing three runs in his 1.2 innings of work, and Enfield led the team with three strikeouts.
GAME 2 | Marian 1-3 MVNU | 8 Innings
After the slugfest in game one, Marian and Mount Vernon were deadlocked in a pitchers dual in game two as Andrew Noelker and Jake Glover battled pitch for pitch. Both pitchers were benefited from double plays in the first as Noelker ended the frame with a strike-em-out, throw-em-out, while his opposition forced a 4-6-3 double play.
Both second innings went three-up, three-down, and in the third Noelker stranded two base hits as a double play helped his cause. After picking up their first hit in the bottom of the third the Knights looked to help their pitcher after he tossed a perfect fourth, getting singles from Porcellato and Jackson Hogg, but a strikeout stranded the pair. The fifth inning again went scoreless as Noelker tossed another flawless frame, while Marian couldn’t scratch out a run in the home side despite drawing two walks.
Marian had their best opportunity to score in the bottom of the sixth as JJ Rivera led off the inning with a double down the line, but the bats were unable to knock home the outfielder and take the lead. Noelker picked up two strikeouts in the top of the seventh as the second-year Knight finished his outing strong, and the Knights were unable to get the walk-off in the home side forcing extras.
In the eighth Daniel Brenneman came one to pitch and got an out while in his second batter, but the righty lost a battle to Andrew Miller giving up a two-run home run on a 1-2 count, putting Mount Vernon in the lead. MVNU tacked on one more with a Casey Kalman solo shot, entering the home half on top 3-0. Marian fought and rallied to scratch a run, loading the bases with one-out against. A fielder’s choice grounder off Hogg’s bat picked up the second out, but Davenport drew the bases-loaded walk to keep the inning alive. Heidlage stood tall in the box looking to extend the game, but down to his last strike the third baseman lined out to shortstop on a ball that would have tied the game, ending the night in a 3-1 defeat.
In the game two defeat Marian had six hits, with Rivera claiming two of them in his 2-4 day. Noelker did not factor into the decision in the loss going seven innings of scoreless baseball, allowing four hits and striking out five in his longest outing of the year.
Marian will look to snap their streak this weekend, as they go on the road to take on Goshen College with the series scheduled to begin on Friday at 2 p.m.
Davidson Adds Bevo Francis Top-25 Watch List, NABC First Team All-District Honors To Resume
Honors continue to pour in for Wabash College senior guard Jack Davidson. He was named to the Bevo Francis Award Top-25 Watch List and earned a place on the National Association of Basketball Coaches All-District 7 First Team on Tuesday.
Davidson helped Wabash earn one of four spots in Friday’s second NCAA Division III Men’s Basketball semifinal game against Elmhurst College. The Little Giants will play in the semifinals for the first time since winning the DIIIn national championships in 1982. Wabash won both the North Coast Athletic Conference regular-season and conference tournament titles to earn a berth in the NCAA tournament. The Little Giants defeated Berry College, Emory University, Williams College, and Illinois Wesleyan University to advance to the semifinal contest in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Wabash is 28-3 overall this season and owns a 24-game winning streak, the longest in school history.
The senior guard ranks third in the nation in scoring by averaging 25.7 points per game. He was named the North Coast Athletic Conference Player of the Year for the second time in his career and earned the U.S. Basketball Writers Association DIII Men’s Basketball Player on two different occasions this season. Davidson scored 97 points in three North Coast Athletic Conference Tournament games to lead the Little Giants to the title for the first time in school history to secure the school’s first NCAA Tournament berth since 1998.
Davidson leads the nation in three-point field goal shooting percentage by hitting 49.0 of his shots behind the arc. His 122 made three-point baskets is the most by an NCAA DIII player this season. Davidson ranks first in free throws made (200), total points this season (796), and seventh in free throw shooting percentage (90.8 percent) among DIII players. Davidson is the all-time leading scorer in Wabash basketball history with 2,443 points. He also owns Wabash career records for free throws made (708), games started and played (109), and is second in three-point field goals made (323) and assists (376).
The Clarence “Bevo” Francis Award is presented annually to the player who has had the finest overall season within Small College Basketball. Considerations will be season statistics and individual achievements, awards, personal character and team achievements.
NABC All-District honors are voted on by NABC-member coaches across NCAA Division III.
Davidson, Watson, Brumett Receive D3hoops.com All-Region Honors
Wabash College senior basketball players Jack Davidson and Tyler Watson earned places on the D3hoops.com Men’s All-Region 7 Team, announced Tuesday morning. Davidson was named the Region 7 Player of the Year in addition to receiving First Team honors. Watson was named to the All-Region 7 Third Team. Wabash head coach Kyle Brumett was also honored as the Region 7 Coach of the Year.
Davidson, Watson, and Brumett are part of a Wabash team that will play in Friday’s second NCAA Division III Men’s Basketball semifinal game against Elmhurst College. The Little Giants will play in the semifinals for the first time since winning the DIII national championships in 1982. Wabash won both the North Coast Athletic Conference regular-season and conference tournament titles to earn a berth in the NCAA tournament. The Little Giants defeated Berry College, Emory University, Williams College, and Illinois Wesleyan University to advance to the semifinal contest in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Wabash is 28-3 overall this season and owns a 24-game winning streak, the longest in school history.
Davidson ranks third in the nation in scoring by averaging 25.7 points per game. He was named the North Coast Athletic Conference Player of the Year for the second time in his career and earned the U.S. Basketball Writers Association DIII Men’s Basketball Player on two different occasions this season. Davidson scored 97 points in three North Coast Athletic Conference Tournament games to lead the Little Giants to the title for the first time in school history to secure the school’s first NCAA Tournament berth since 1998. He was named to the Bevo Francis Award Top-50 Watch List. The award is presented annually to the small college basketball player who has had the finest overall season.
Davidson leads the nation in three-point field goal shooting percentage by hitting 49.0 of his shots behind the arc. His 122 made three-point baskets is the most by an NCAA DIII player this season. Davidson ranks first in free throws made (200), total points this season (796), and seventh in free throw shooting percentage (90.8 percent) among DIII players. Davidson is the all-time leading scorer in Wabash basketball history with 2,443 points. He also owns Wabash career records for free throws made (708), games started and played (109), and is second in three-point field goals made (323) and assists (376).
Watson received D3hoops.com All-Region honors for the first time in his career. A First Team All-NCAC selection, he was also named to NCAC All-Tournament Team. Watson ranked second in the conference and is currently 31st in the nation in assists with an average of 5.4 per game. His total of 168 assists is a Wabash single-season record and ranks ninth among Division III players this year. Watson ranks 21st in the nation in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.71). He finished sixth in the conference in scoring with a 15.9 points-per-game scoring average.
Brumett is in his eighth season as the head coach of the Wabash program and his 16th season overall as a college basketball head coach. He owns a record of 126-75 with the Little Giants, winning his 100th game earlier this season. Brumett is 262-154 overall after stints with Lakeland and Defiance. This is Brumett’s first Regional Coach of the Year award.
Knight Garners First-Team NABC All-Region Honors
Anderson University men’s basketball senior Maurice Knight was named as a consensus all-region selection on Tuesday.
Knight garnered National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) first-team all-region honors and D3hoops.com second-team all-region recognition.
“The accolades keep rolling in for Maurice. This is no surprise,” Coach Owen Handy said. “Maurice has achieved at a high level on the court, and been a first-class representative of our basketball program and Anderson University.”
Knight scored 20.0 points per game, which ranks second in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference (HCAC). Among conference leaders, Knight also ranks third in blocking (1.04) and fourth in rebounding (7.8). He put together 2.4 assists per game and 1.2 steals per game.
Knight was named to the NABC/Reese’s Division III All-Star Game. The 6-foot-4 wing from Frankton was tabbed as the HCAC Player of the Year and the HCAC Defensive Player of the Year. Knight was selected as HCAC Athlete of the Week five times this season, which is tied for the most single-season selections by a men’s basketball player in conference history. He was also named to the D3hoops.com Team of the Week this season.
Baseball: Roadrunners Record Comeback Win against Anderson
Roadrunners Record Comeback Win against Anderson
The Anderson University baseball team dropped both of its games on Tuesday in Davenport, Fla.
In Game 1, Anderson (6-9) fell 25-13 to the Illinois Wesleyan University Titans (5-5). The Ramapo College Roadrunners (3-3) recorded a 12-11 comeback win against the Ravens
GAME ONE: ILLINOIS WESLEYAN 25, ANDERSON 13
Justin Reed – 2-for-4, one homerun, one double, two RBI’s, one stolen base
T.J. Price – 3-for-4, one homerun
Connor Gordon – 2-for-5, one homerun, two RBI’s
Charlie Jones – 2-for-5, three RBI’s, one stolen base
Grahm Reedy – two RBI’s, one stolen base
GAME TWO: RAMAPO 12, ANDERSON 11
Jed Downham – one homerun, two RBI’s
Grahm Reedy – 3-for-4, one double, one triple, two RBI’s, one stolen base
Jake Stank – one triple, three RBI’s
Tyler Smitherman – 2-for-4
The Ravens close out their Florida trip on Wednesday against the Ripon College Red Hawks (3-2). First pitch between the Ravens and Red Hawks is set for 10AM at Lake Myrtle Sports Complex on Field 6.
Softball: Nor’easters Edge Ravens in Extras
The Anderson University softball team was handed two losses on Tuesday in Leesburg, Fla.
Anderson (1-3) fell 5-1 to Ramapo College (5-0) in Game 1. In a game that involved the international tiebreaker rule, the Ravens then suffered a loss to the University of New England (1-5) by a score of 6-5 in 10 innings.
Game 1: Ramapo 5, Anderson 1
Jayden Brown: 2-4, 1 Run Scored
Lexi Rankin: 3.2 IP, 3 K’s
Kaitlyn Hawkins: 3.1 IP, 2 K’s
Game 2: New England 6, Anderson 5 (F/10)
Ashley Wheeler: 3-5, 2 RBI
Taylor Johnson: 2-4, 2 Runs, 1 SB
Ariel Lee: 1-4, 1 RBI
Alysa Marcin: 1-1
Alexis Kern: 9 IP, 3 K’s, 0 ER
The Ravens begin the Pioneer Classic on Saturday at Elizabeth Sports Park in Elizabethtown, Ky. Anderson battles Spalding University (4-2) at 10 a.m. The Ravens then challenge Case Western Reserve University (3-6) at 3 p.m.
Trine Women’s Basketball Sees Three Honored All-Region
ANGOLA, Ind. – The Trine University women’s basketball team saw three representatives receive All-Region awards by D3hoops.com. Senior Tara Bieniewicz [Chesterfield, Mich. / Dakota] was tabbed First Team All-Region, classmate Kayla Wildman [Rockford, Mich. / Rockford] was a Second Team All-Region honoree, and head coach Andy Rang was named Co-Coach of the Year in Region 7.
This is the third time in her career that Bieniewicz has been named an All-Region player after being recognized on the Third Team in 2020 and Second Team in 2021. Bieniewicz is averaging a team-high 11.3 points per game and shot 41.2% from three-point range. The senior has set records for most three-point field goals in a game (8-tied), most three-point field goals in a season (84) and most three-point field goals in a career (211). Bieniewicz is nearing the 1000-point mark with 976 entering this weekend and would be the 15th women’s basketball player in school history to do so. Along with her ability to score the basketball, Bieniewicz also brings in 3.0 rebounds per game, 1.4 assists per game and has 22 steals and 22 blocked shots.
Wildman has been mentioned as an All-Region player for the first time in the 2021-22 season. Wildman scores 8.8 points per game (second on the team) while shooting 34.4% from deep. She currently sits third in Trine women’s basketball history in most three-point field goals with 152 and is just two away from second-place in the record book. The senior guard helped guide the Thunder to a regular season Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA) title by leading the team with 11.0 points per game against league opponents. Wildman secures 2.9 rebounds per game, dishes out 1.4 assists per game and has notched 26 steals and 10 blocks this season.
Andy Rang and Brian Morehouse from Hope College will share the 2021-22 All-Region Coach of the Year honors after sharing the MIAA regular season title. Coach Rang has led the Thunder to the National Championship Semifinals for the first time in school history and has collected 28 wins thus far, a new program best. In his four seasons, Rang has the best winning percentage of any women’s basketball coach in school history with a record of 91-15 (.858). He is assisted by Associate Head Coach Rob Hoffman and Assistant Coaches Craig Taylor and Becky Johnson on the sidelines.
The Trine women’s basketball team hits the road for Pittsburgh on Tuesday, March 15 with the team send-off at 3 pm at MTI Center. The Thunder take on Hope in the National Championship Semifinals on Thursday, March 17 at 7:30 pm in UPMC Cooper Fieldhouse on the campus of Duquesne University.
PILOTS ALLOW 6 UNANSWERED IN EACH OF DOUBLEHEADER LOSSES
WINONA LAKE, Ind.– Bethel Softball were swept in their Crossroads League-opening doubleheader by Grace in 6-1 and 6-4 games, in which the Pilots held leads as late as the fourth inning in each. Haley Ragonesi recorded four hits on the day to lead the Pilots.
Game 1 Score: Grace def. Bethel 6-1
Game 2 Score: Grace def. Bethel 6-4
Records: Bethel (1-9, 0-2) | Grace (5-9, 2-0)
NAIA Top 25 Coaches’ Poll: Bethel – NR | Grace – NR
Location: Coach Phil Dick Field | Grace College | Winona Lake, Ind.
GAME 1 STAT TRACKER
Quinn Slattman: 1-3, 2B, R
Emmie Pugh: 1-3, 2B, RBI
Haley Ragonesi: 3-3
GAME 2 STAT TRACKER
Hannah Frady: 1-1, HR, RBI, R
Amber Asher: 1-3, 2 RBI
Haley Ragonesi: 1-3, 2B, RBI, R
Emmie Pugh: 1-3, SB, RBI, R
INSIDE THE BOXSCORES
The Pilots have held leads in seven of ten games this season.
Hannah Frady belted her first home run of the season in game two.
The Pilots led 1-0 in game one and 4-0 in game two before allowing six unanswered in each game after their at bat in the fourth inning.
The Pilots committed three errors in game two, leading to four unearned runs.
NEXT TIME OUT
The Pilots debut at Gardner Field on Thursday against No. 16 Marian with a doubleheader set to begin at 3:00 pm.
Shannon Named D3hoops.com First Team All-Region
Greencastle, Ind. – After leading the Tigers to a 23-4 record and an unprecedented fifth-straight outright North Coast Athletic Conference title, DePauw senior guard Mya Shannon (Morris, Ill./Morris) has been selected D3hoops.com First Team All-Region 7.
Shannon, the NCAC Player of the Year, led the Tigers with 14.6 points and 1.3 steals per game, while knocking in a team-best 38 3-pointers and shooting 39.6 percent from beyond the arc. She also was third on the team with 4.4 rebounds each contest.
In addition to the 23-4 finish, the Tigers made an 18th consecutive appearance in the NCAA Division III postseason which is the longest active streak and 22nd overall trip. They also were 15-0 in NCAC play.
Baker-Watson Selected as Recipient of NACDA’s Cushman & Wakefield Athletics Director of the Year
Greencastle, Ind. – Stevie Baker-Watson, DePauw associate vice president for student wellness and Theodore Katula director of athletics and recreational sports, has been selected as a recipient of the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) Cushman & Wakefield AD of the Year Award (ADOY).
The ADOY Award highlights the efforts of athletics directors at all levels for their commitment and positive contributions to student-athletes, campuses and their surrounding communities. Baker-Watson is one of 28 individuals recognized on all levels of college athletics and among four on the Division III level honored.
“As the intercollegiate athletics enterprise continues to evolve and institutions and their departments journey bravely into uncharted waters, we have a new wave of leaders who have answered the call,” said Bob Vecchione, NACDA Chief Executive Officer. “This year, 22 of our 28 Athletics Director of the Year honorees are being recognized with the award for the first time in their careers. Additionally, in the year that we celebrate the 50th anniversary of Title IX, we are proud that all four ADOY winners at the Division III level are women.”
Baker-Watson, who has served in the athletics director capacity since 2012, oversees an athletics program that supports 600 student-athletes and 23 varsity sports. Upon arriving at DePauw, she completed a comprehensive brand redesign for athletics and worked collaboratively with others on campus to develop the DePauw University athletics and recreation facilities master plan. In March 2013, DePauw broke ground on the first phase of improvements to the Lilly Center and the athletics campus, totaling over $26.5 million. She also successfully launched the Tiger Club, a fundraising affinity group for athletics.
During her tenure, DePauw has earned the Dennis M. Collins North Coast Athletic Conference All-Sports Trophy three times and finished second on four occasions. Since 2012, 14 DePauw student-athletes have been awarded NCAA Postgraduate Scholarships, while two individuals have been honored through the NCAA Woman of the Year program with Paige Gooch ’14 earning Top 30 recognition and Maggie MacPhail ’15 selected as one of just nine finalists from the three Divisions.
In 2018, she was selected NCAA Division III Adminstrator of the Year by Women Leaders in College Sports. DePauw was recognized in January 2022 as an honorable mention recipient of the NCAA/Minority Opportunities Athletic Association (MOAA) Diversity and Inclusion Award.
In June 2015, Baker-Watson also assumed the role of associate vice president for campus wellness managing a portion of DePauw Health, a collaborative relationship between DePauw University and Hendricks Regional Health to provide health and wellness services to all students.
Among her numerous committee appointments, Baker-Watson served a four-year term as a member of the NCAA Division III Management Council and chaired the committee in her final year. In August 2021, she was one of 28 individuals appointed to the NCAA Constitution Committee which was charged with identifying the core principles that define college sports. She currently serves on the NACDA Executive Committee and the MOAA Board of Directors.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Baker-Watson has helped lead the University’s response as a member of the University’s mitigation team and a chair of the health and safety pod. She was a co-recipient of DePauw’s COVID-19 Leaders Award for the 2020-21 academic year which recognized her significant and ongoing contributions to the health and safety of the campus and extra support needed for students.
Cushman & Wakefield is in its first year of sponsoring the award. The ADOY Award program is in its 24th year and has recognized a total of 535 deserving athletics directors to date.
Winners will be recognized in conjunction with the 57th Annual NACDA & Affiliates Convention at the Mandalay Bay Resort in Las Vegas, prior to the Featured Session on Tuesday, June 28 at 4 p.m.
FORESTERS SPLIT MONDAY’S DOUBLEHEADER AT TAYLOR
UPLAND, Ind.– In an old-age conference rivalry, the HU baseball team split their doubleheader at Taylor, 20-10, 0-5, Monday afternoon. Having split last week’s doubleheader, the Foresters wrap up the four-game series by going 2-2 against TU.
With the wind blowing out of Winterholter Field, game one was a slugfest. Daniel Lichty had the Taylor pitching staff rolled back on their heels by going 5-for-6 at the plate and driving in seven runs. He was a single away from hitting for the cycle having cranked out a pair of doubles, a triple and two homers.
Lichty’s first dinger was a solo shot in the sixth while his second blast, two innings later, knocked in three runs. Matt Wolff and Jarret Gray also went yard to bring HU’s homerun total to four for the contest.
In addition to the RBI they picked up with their homers, the pair drove in two more runs each. Satchell Wilson was also a force to be reckoned with at the plate as evidenced by posting three hits and three RBI.
As a team, HU racked up 19 hits with nine different Foresters logging at least one base poke.
While Huntington doubled up their hosts by game’s end, things were still up for grabs through the first six innings. Frame’s crew struck first in the top of the first only to have the Trojans (15-9, 5-3) climb on top 3-1 in their half of the frame. HU went off for six runs in the second and added another in the fourth but by the end of that inning, Taylor had knotted things up at 8-8.
After quiet bats in the fifth, Lichty finally gave the Foresters a permanent lead in the sixth with his first long ball. The final three innings saw HU outscore Taylor 11-1 which included another six-run outing in the seventh that put the game well out of reach.
Four different Foresters spent time on the mound with Joel Ledger earning the win. With two outs and two on in the fourth, the freshman southpaw was called up and calmly struck out the next batter to get his team out of the jam. He went on to toss 2.1 innings where he gave up three hits and two runs.
The nightcap had a whole different feel as the visitors managed just two hits and never found home to be blanked by Taylor for a second time, the first in the series’ first game.
Joey Butz took the loss after giving up all five runs, only three of which were earned, and a walk while striking out six in five innings of work.
The split moves HU to 6-10 overall, 4-4 in league play. Next up is a weekend series with Grace at Forester Glen.
Cougars Record Consecutive Shutouts Against MO Bap & IU South Bend
FORT WAYNE, Ind. – On Monday afternoon, the University of Saint Francis Cougars (6-4) continued their Spring Games in Kissimmee, Florida with a game against the Missouri Baptist University Spartans (2-8) followed by the Indiana University South Bend Titans (7-9), and won both games by scores of 4-0 and 3-0 for consecutive shutouts.
In the opening game against the Spartans, junior Mackenzie Rust took the mound to start for the Cougars and set the tone right from the start. The hurler retired the first nine batters she faced, and then her teammates went to work for her in the top of the third.
With one out, left fielder Elandra Shafer singled to spark a rally and then came around to score the first run on designated hitter Regan Peppler’s two-run single to put Saint Francis up 2-0. But the Cougars weren’t done there as catcher Tori Miller reached on an error scoring Peppler for a three-run lead.
Then in the fifth, the Cougars got an insurance run on a two-out RBI single from Tori Miller. That was more than enough run support that Rust needed as she rendered the Spartans hitless through six innings.
Rust did go back out to finish the game in the seventh and despite allowing her first hit of the game, went the distance for a complete-game victory as the Cougars took the opener 4-0.
Rust was dominant on the mound as she allowed no runs on just one hit while striking out six batters and not surrendering a single walk.
In the second game against the Titans, sophomore pitcher Erika Turpin started on the mound for the Cougars and also pitched well throughout. After escaping a second-inning jam, her teammates went to work on offense in the bottom of the frame.
Third baseman Dani Karr singled home right fielder Paige Oldham for the game’s first run, and then Karr came around to score on center fielder Grace Renbarger’s two-out RBI-single up the middle for a 2-0 lead.
Two runs was all the run support that Turpin needed as she followed with a strong performance off the heels of Rust’s shutout.
Saint Francis scored an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth, and then Turpin went out for the seventh and recorded the final three outs for a complete-game victory and shutout. Through seven innings pitched, Turpin allowed no runs on just five hits and also did not surrender a single walk.
The Cougars will wrap up the Spring Games in Florida Tuesday with a couple games against the West Virginia Tech Golden Bears (11-6) at 2:45 followed by the College of Saint Mary Flames (3-6) beginning at 6:00 pm.
Warriors Fail to Put Out Fire
LAKELAND, Fla. – The Indiana Tech softball team dropped two games against No. 21-ranked Southeastern on Monday afternoon at SEU Softball Field. The Warriors fell by scores of 6-0 and 6-5 (8 innings).
Game 1 | Indiana Tech 0, Southeastern 6
The Warriors couldn’t get on the board in the first contest. Hannah Middlebrooks pitched 3 innings, striking out one batter, Jaden Romero and Shaelin Bruner saw action as well, combining to strike out three batters. Meagan Barton and Micaela Iacovetti each recorded hits in the loss.
Game 2 | Indiana Tech 5, Southeastern 6
After giving up four runs in innings two and three, the Orange and Black stormed back, regaining the lead in the seventh inning before a sacrifice fly won the game for the Fire. Megan Berlin singled home Ashley Alvey in the 4th, Karra Leeger-Capraro homered to center field in the 6th, where Emma Kelley brought home Carly Basham on a sac fly and Maire Trouba brought home Megan Berlin. In the seventh inning, Leeger-Capraro doubled home Alvey, which would be the Warriors final run. Alvey pitched 7.2 innings, striking out six Fire batters.
Indiana Tech (4-10) will continue their Florida stretch as they’ll take today off before playing a doubleheader against Keiser (9-11-1) in West Palm Beach with first pitch being scheduled at 2:00 PM ET.
Grace sweeps Bethel in home opener
WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Grace’s softball team enjoyed its home opener thanks to a sweep of Bethel on Tuesday.
The Lady Lancers opened up Crossroads League play with a 6-1, 6-4 sweep of the Pilots at Coach Phil Dick Field.
Grace came from behind in both games, coming up big in the home debuts of co-head coaches Bo Coolen and Sam Coolen.
Grace scored all of its runs late to win the home opener. Bethel scored one run in the top of the first, and that 1-0 lead held through four innings.
Grace had a runner in scoring position three times in the first four innings, but the Lady Lancers were shut out until the fifth.
The Lady Lancers erupted with four runs in the fifth, however. Bethany Gardner put Grace ahead with a two-run double. A few batters later, Cassandra Hayes laced a two-out, two-run double to give Grace a 4-1 lead.
The Lady Lancers added two more runs with a two-out rally in the sixth. Carly Ruiz had a pinch-hit, run-scoring double, and Gardner followed that up with her second double to plate Izabela Duran.
Jeri Ellis took care of the rest from the mound. She pitched the complete game, surrendering just the lone run in the first inning. She allowed six hits with one walk and three strikeouts.
Gardner hit 3 for 4 from the leadoff position with three RBIs, and Hayes hit 1 for 3 with two RBIs.
Grace was quiet again to begin the second game. Bethel pulled ahead 4-0 after three innings, but the Lady Lancers were undaunted by the lead.
The Lady Lancers rallied to tie the score with a four-run outburst in the fourth, all coming with two outs. Bree Gardinier started the two-out rally with a double to the outfield.
Kaurich and Gardinier scored on the next at-bat, benefitting from an error by the Pilots. Ruiz then tied the score with another pinch-hit RBI to make the score 4-4.
The next inning
Grace took its first lead of the game, scoring on an unearned run thanks to an error by the Pilots.
In the bottom of the sixth, Grace upped its lead to two. Izabela Duran hit an RBI single to bring in Annie Spicer, making the score 6-4.
Bethel was retired 1-2-3 in the top of the seventh, allowing the Lady Lancers to secure the sweep.
Kierstin Fickas picked up the win after pitching the first five innings. She allowed four runs with six strikeouts.
Madison Bremer earned the save. She was almost perfect with one lone hit against her in two innings of relief.
Gardinier had 1 hit, 1 run and 1 RBI, Arnold drove in two runs, and Duran had 1 hit, 1 RBI and 1 stolen base.
TAYLOR ATHLETICS | Trojans Blast Their Way to League-Opening Split Against Indiana Wesleyan
MARION, Ind. – Taylor (4-9, 1-1 CL) used the long ball to split the league-opening doubleheader against the No. 8 Indiana Wesleyan Wildcats (16-4, 1-1 CL).
The Trojans won the first game, 7-5, on the back of home runs by Alexi Clay and Lexi Abruzzo.
The Trojans quickly erased an early one-run deficit in the top of the second, scoring four times in the frame. Maddi Evans started the inning with a walk and advanced on a Caitlyn Grim doubled before scoring on an errant IWU throw. After Abruzzo reached on a dropped third strike with two outs, Clay cashed in on the miscues by blasting the first pitch of the at bat over the fence in dead center. That gave the Trojans a lead they wouldn’t relinquish. The home run was Clay’s first and gave Taylor a lead it would not relinquish.
Taylor extended its lead in the third with Evans leading the inning off with another walk. Abruzzo belted a line drive homer to right with two outs to push the lead to 6-1. Her first career home run forced the Wildcats into an early pitching change.
Evans was solid pitching four-and-one-third innings of two run ball. She worked her way around three hits and five walks to get the win, which pushed her to 3-3 on the season.
Cassy Lewis took over in the fifth, and held the lead for the Trojans. In her season debut, Lewis kept the hot hitting Wildcats at bay until the seventh, when they struck for three runs before Taylor finished off the opening win.
The offense struggled in game two, being shutout in a 3-0 loss.
The Wildcats scored all three runs in the second, totaling four of their five total hits in the frame.
Mackenzie Noah pitched brilliantly allowing runners in only three-of-six innings pitched. Noah did not walk a single Wildcat and struck out two total batters.
Aleyah Rastetter led the way offensively in game two with a single and a walk in two at-bats.
The Trojans continue league play on Thursday at home against Grace (5-9, 2-0 CL).
TODAY IN BASEBALL HISTORY
1907 Ty Cobb quarrels with Bungy Cummings, a black groundskeeper who made a friendly gesture toward the Tiger outfielder. When the groundskeeper’s wife intercedes, the ‘Georgia Peach’ reportedly chokes her, and according to Charlie Schmidt, he allegedly stopped the assault by knocking out his teammate.
1908 Pirates legend Honus Wagner announces the upcoming season will be his last as a major league player. The 34 year-old Pittsburgh shortstop will lead the National League in batting average, hits, total bases, doubles, triples, RBIs, and stolen bases during his final campaign
Amazon Honus Wagner: A Biography
1932 Due to the economic depression gripping the nation, Babe Ruth signs a deal for $75,000, a five-thousand pay cut from last season, and 25 percent of the Yankees exhibition games’ net receipts. Legend has it the Bambino signed a blank contract, with the amount filled in later by Yankee owner Jacob Ruppert.
1953 The American League rejects Bill Veeck’s request to shift the Browns to Baltimore, voting 6-2 to keep the failing franchise in St. Louis. The lack of support from his fellow owners, except for Charles Comiskey of the White Sox, is an effort to oust the independent-minded maverick from the Junior Circuit.
1961 The state of New York approves a bond issue for constructing a 55,000-seat stadium on the site of the 1939-40 World’s Fair in the Queens Flushing Meadow area. The Mets’ future home will be named Shea Stadium to honor William Shea, an attorney who was instrumental in bringing the National League back to New York.
1994 Former major league starter Eric Show dies of an accidental drug overdose in his room at the Rancho L’Abri, a private rehab center located in San Diego (CA). The 37 year old right-hander finished his 11-year career with Oakland, pitching the first ten years with the Padres, where he established the franchise record for most career wins (100) when he left the team as a free agent in 1990.
2001 Slammin’ Sammy Sosa signs a four-year contract extension keeping the Cub right fielder in the Windy City until 2006. The prolific home run hitter has averaged nearly sixty home runs (179 HRs/3 years) during the last three seasons.
2006 🇲🇽 At Angel Stadium in front of 38,284 enthusiastic fans, Oliver Perez and seven relievers combined to lead Mexico to a stunning defeat of Roger Clemens and the United States, 2-1. The second-round loss eliminates Team USA from the inaugural World Baseball Classic.
2006 Roy Halladay (12-4, 2.41) agrees to a $40 million, three-year contract extension which could keep the ‘Doc’ with the Blue Jays through the 2010 season. The 2003 American League Cy Young winner’s season was cut short after getting drilled by a line drive hit by Ranger Kevin Mench, resulting in a broken leg.
At the 5:00 p.m. EST airing of the show Daily News Live!, the Mets begin transmitting Sportsnet New York, which will become better known as SNY. The club modeled the team-owned network after similar regional cable television ventures by the Red Sox (NESN, 1984) and the Yankees (YES, 2002).
2010 The Red Sox announce 19-year-old prospect Ryan Westmoreland has undergone a five-hour surgical procedure to remove a cavernous malformation in his brain. The highly touted minor league outfielder received the diagnosis at Mass General after leaving spring training earlier this month.
2010 Former L.A. outfielder Willie Davis, the team leader in hits, extra-base hits, and runs, is fondly remembered by his family and friends, including many teammates, at a memorial service in Dodger Stadium. The 69-year-old, known as 3 Dog, was found dead in his home last week.
2015 The Grapefruit League game between the Phillies and Twins marks the first time two current Hall of Fame players have managed against each other. Minnesota manager Paul Molitor, enshrined in 2004, opposes Philadelphia skipper Ryne Sandberg, an inductee a season later.
BASEBALL’S BEST PITCHERS
Mordecai Peter Centennial Brown
Inducted to the Hall of Fame in: 1949
Primary team: Chicago Cubs
Primary position: Pitcher
“I always felt if I had had a normal hand, I would have been a greater pitcher.” – Mordecai Brown
For any other pitcher, a right-hand mangled in a childhood accident might have derailed a career before it started.
But for Mordecai “Three-Fingered” Brown, the incident on a local farm became the genesis of a Hall of Fame career.
“It was a great ball, that downward curve of his,” said Ty Cobb, owner of the game’s best career batting average, of the curveball that evolved from Brown’s misshapen fingers. “I can’t talk about all of baseball, but I can say this: It was the most deceiving, the most devastating pitch I ever faced.”
Born Mordecai Peter Centennial Brown on Oct. 19, 1876 in Nyesville, Ind., Brown’s life changed when – as a five year old – he got his right index finger caught in a machine designed to separate grain from stalks and husks. The digit was sliced off, leaving only a stump. The next year, Brown damaged the hand again in a fall – breaking the remaining fingers. The bones healed, but the fingers were left at permanently odd angles.
Brown, however, showed baseball aptitude into his teen years and hooked on with semi-pro teams near his home. By 1901, Brown was dominating hitters with Terre Haute in the Three-I League. He surfaced in the big leagues with the Cardinals in 1903, but struggled to a 9-13 record while trying to harness his movement-laded pitches.
The Cubs acquired Brown following the 1903 season, and the next year – at the age of 27 – Brown found success with a 15-10 record and 1.86 earned-run average. Over the next seven seasons, Brown averaged almost 24 wins a season while leading the Cubs to the World Series title in 1907 and 1908. In 1906, Brown posted a 1.04 ERA for a Cubs team that won a record 116 games – the lowest National League figure of the modern era among qualifying pitchers.
In 1908, Brown won the replayed game against the Giants following the “Merkle Boner” game, giving the Cubs the pennant. In nine career World Series games, Brown was 5-4 with a 2.97 ERA.
He pitched for the Cubs through 1912 before moving to Cincinnati. Brown then jumped to the upstart Federal League in for the 1914 and 1915 seasons before ending his career back with the Cubs in 1916.
His final totals: 239-130, with a 2.06 ERA and 55 shutouts.
Brown passed away on Feb. 14, 1948. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1949.
BASEBALL’S BEST HITTERS
Adrian Constantine Anson
Inducted to the Hall of Fame in: 1939
Primary team: Chicago White Stockings
Primary position: 1st Baseman
He never played a game in baseball’s “modern” era. But Adrian Constantine “Cap” Anson was one of the great modernizers of the game, bringing strategy and leadership to the National Pastime.
Anson, born April 17, 1852 in Marshalltown, Iowa, spent a year at the University of Notre Dame before making his big league debut in the first year of the first pro league: The National Association of 1871. Anson was a 19-year-old third baseman for the Rockford Forest Citys, and the 6-foot, 227-pound strapping right-hander hit .325 with a league-leading 11 doubles. The next season, Anson hit .415 for the Philadelphia Athletics of the NA, driving in 48 runs in just 46 games.
In 1876, Chicago White Stockings president William Hulbert – looking to add talent to his club – negotiated a deal with Anson and other stars. Hulbert then helped form the National League, and that summer Anson hit .356 to lead Chicago to a 52-14 record and the first NL title.
Anson would play 22 seasons for the team that became the Cubs, hitting at least .300 in 20 of those years. He moved across the diamond to first base in 1879, and led the league in RBI eight times between 1880 and 1891, winning batting titles in 1881, 1887 and 1888.
When he retired after the 1897 season at the age of 45, Anson owned big league records for games, hits, at-bats, doubles and runs. He finished with 3,435 hits, becoming the first player ever to cross the 3,000-hit line.
Anson also managed Chicago for 19 seasons, winning five National League pennants as a player/manager while accumulating almost 1,300 career victories. He helped usher in popular strategies such as the hit-and-run and the pitching rotation.
After leaving Chicago following the 1897 season, Anson managed the New York Giants for 22 games in 1898 before ending his big league career. In his later years, he ran several semi-pro teams and ventured into the vaudeville circuit.
Anson passed away on April 14, 1922. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1939.
|COLLEGE BASKETBALL – MEN||TIME ET||TV|
|NCAA FIRST FOUR: (16)BRYANT VS (16)WRIGHT STATE||6:40PM||TRUTV|
|NIT FIRST ROUND: MISSISSIPPI STATE AT VIRGINIA||7:00PM||ESPN2|
|NIT FIRST ROUND: TOWSON AT WAKE FOREST||7:00PM||ESPN+|
|NIT FIRST ROUND: DAYTON AT TOLEDO||7:00PM||ESPN+|
|NIT FIRST ROUND: UNI AT SAINT LOUIS||8:00PM||ESPN+|
|NIT FIRST ROUND: NICHOLLS AT SMU||8:00PM||ESPN+|
|NIT FIRST ROUND: IONA AT FLORIDA||9:00PM||ESPN2|
|NIT FIRST ROUND: LONG BEACH STATE AT BYU||9:00PM||ESPN+|
|NCAA FIRST FOUR: (11)NOTRE DAME VS (11)RUTGERS||9:10PM||TRUTV|
|COLLEGE BASEBALL||TIME ET||TV|
|COASTAL CAROLINA AT NC STATE||7:00PM||ACCN|
|COLLEGE SOFTBALL||TIME ET||TV|
|PENN STATE AT PITTSBURGH||5:00PM||ACCN|
|FLORIDA STATE AT ALABAMA||7:00PM||SECN|
|ATLANTA AT CHARLOTTE||7:00PM||BALLY SPORTS|
|PHILADELPHIA AT CLEVELAND||7:00PM||NBCS-PHI|
|DENVER AT WASHINGTON||7:00PM||ALT|
|DALLAS AT BROOKLYN||7:30PM||ESPN|
|PORTLAND AT NEW YORK||7:30PM||MSG|
|PHOENIX AT HOUSTON||8:00PM||ATTSN-SW|
|LA LAKERS AT MINNESOTA||8:00PM||SPORTSNET|
|OKLAHOMA CITY AT SAN ANTONIO||8:30PM||BALLY SPORTS|
|CHICAGO AT UTAH||9:00PM||NBCS-CHI|
|BOSTON AT GOLDEN STATE||10:00PM||ESPN|
|MILWAUKEE AT SACRAMENTO||10:00PM||BALLY SPORTS|
|TORONTO AT LA CLIPPERS||10:30PM||BALLY SPORTS|
|BOSTON AT MINNESOTA||7:30PM||TNT|
|COLUMBUS AT OTTAWA||7:30PM||BALLY SPORTS|
|TAMPA BAY AT SEATTLE||10:00PM||TNT|
|NEW JERSEY AT CALGARY||10:00PM||MSG+|
|W||L||PCT||CONF GB||HOME||ROAD||DIV||CONF||LAST 10||STREAK|
|1 MIAMI||46||24||.657||—||25-9||21-15||11-2||30-13||7-3||1 W|
|2 MILWAUKEE||43||26||.623||2.5||24-12||19-14||9-3||26-18||7-3||1 W|
|3 PHILADELPHIA||41||26||.612||3.5||19-15||22-11||6-8||25-16||7-3||1 L|
|4 CHICAGO||41||27||.603||4.0||25-10||16-17||9-4||26-17||4-6||1 L|
|5 BOSTON||41||28||.594||4.5||24-12||17-16||9-6||30-16||7-3||1 L|
|6 CLEVELAND||39||29||.574||6.0||21-11||18-18||8-5||23-18||4-6||1 W|
|7 TORONTO||38||30||.559||7.0||17-15||21-15||7-5||23-19||6-4||4 W|
|8 BROOKLYN||36||33||.522||9.5||14-18||22-15||9-6||26-18||5-5||4 W|
|9 ATLANTA||34||34||.500||11.0||22-13||12-21||8-5||21-22||6-4||3 W|
|10 CHARLOTTE||34||35||.493||11.5||16-17||18-18||5-7||21-22||5-5||2 W|
|11 WASHINGTON||29||38||.433||15.5||17-17||12-21||6-7||22-21||3-7||4 L|
|12 NEW YORK||28||40||.412||17.0||13-19||15-21||4-10||14-26||3-7||2 L|
|13 INDIANA||23||47||.329||23.0||15-20||8-27||2-13||11-34||3-7||2 L|
|14 DETROIT||18||51||.261||27.5||11-23||7-28||5-8||14-28||4-6||4 L|
|15 ORLANDO||18||52||.257||28.0||8-25||10-27||2-11||10-34||5-5||2 L|
|W||L||PCT||CONF GB||HOME||ROAD||DIV||CONF||LAST 10||STREAK|
|1 X-PHOENIX||55||14||.797||—||29-8||26-6||7-4||32-9||6-4||2 W|
|2 MEMPHIS||48||22||.686||7.5||24-10||24-12||8-5||31-14||7-3||4 W|
|3 GOLDEN STATE||47||22||.681||8.0||29-7||18-15||10-3||28-16||5-5||4 W|
|4 UTAH||42||26||.618||12.5||24-11||18-15||13-1||28-15||6-4||1 L|
|5 DALLAS||42||26||.618||12.5||23-12||19-14||12-2||30-15||8-2||2 W|
|6 DENVER||41||28||.594||14.0||20-13||21-15||5-9||25-19||7-3||1 W|
|7 MINNESOTA||40||30||.571||15.5||22-12||18-18||11-4||27-18||8-2||2 W|
|8 LA CLIPPERS||36||35||.507||20.0||20-14||16-21||7-7||21-24||6-4||1 L|
|9 LA LAKERS||29||39||.426||25.5||20-17||9-22||3-11||16-26||2-8||2 L|
|10 NEW ORLEANS||28||41||.406||27.0||16-20||12-21||5-8||19-23||5-5||1 L|
|11 PORTLAND||26||41||.388||28.0||17-18||9-23||1-12||11-30||3-7||1 L|
|12 SAN ANTONIO||26||43||.377||29.0||13-22||13-21||4-7||16-23||3-7||2 L|
|13 SACRAMENTO||25||45||.357||30.5||16-20||9-25||5-7||17-28||3-7||1 W|
|14 OKLAHOMA CITY||20||48||.294||34.5||9-26||11-22||4-8||14-30||2-8||6 L|
|15 HOUSTON||17||51||.250||37.5||10-22||7-29||3-10||9-34||2-8||2 L|
EIGHT TEAMS IN EACH CONFERENCE QUALIFY FOR THE PLAYOFFS.
X – CLINCHED PLAYOFF SPOT, Y – CLINCHED DIVISION, Z – CLINCHED CONFERENCE
|1 FLORIDA PANTHERS||60||41||13||6||88||39||248||175||26-6-0||15-7-6||6-3-1|
|2 CAROLINA HURRICANES||59||41||13||5||87||40||198||139||23-4-2||18-9-3||7-2-1|
|3 TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING||59||38||15||6||82||36||200||171||19-5-4||19-10-2||6-4-0|
|4 TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS||60||38||17||5||81||36||223||181||21-7-2||17-10-3||6-3-1|
|5 NEW YORK RANGERS||60||38||17||5||81||34||184||157||20-5-3||18-12-2||6-4-0|
|6 PITTSBURGH PENGUINS||61||36||16||9||81||34||198||164||17-9-5||19-7-4||5-4-1|
|7 BOSTON BRUINS||60||37||18||5||79||35||182||161||18-10-2||19-8-3||8-1-1|
|8 WASHINGTON CAPITALS||61||33||18||10||76||30||201||172||15-11-5||18-7-5||6-3-1|
|9 COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS||60||30||27||3||63||26||199||222||17-12-3||13-15-0||4-4-2|
|10 NEW YORK ISLANDERS||57||24||24||9||57||23||155||161||14-12-4||10-12-5||5-4-1|
|11 DETROIT RED WINGS||60||24||29||7||55||21||175||228||16-12-4||8-17-3||2-7-1|
|12 NEW JERSEY DEVILS||60||22||33||5||49||20||182||214||14-14-3||8-19-2||5-5-0|
|13 BUFFALO SABRES||60||20||32||8||48||18||162||212||11-16-4||9-16-4||4-6-0|
|14 OTTAWA SENATORS||59||21||33||5||47||20||157||194||11-18-2||10-15-3||3-7-0|
|15 PHILADELPHIA FLYERS||59||18||30||11||47||18||148||206||11-15-6||7-15-5||3-5-2|
|16 MONTREAL CANADIENS||60||16||36||8||40||14||150||230||8-18-2||8-18-6||6-3-1|
|1 COLORADO AVALANCHE||61||43||13||5||91||40||236||170||24-3-3||19-10-2||6-3-1|
|2 CALGARY FLAMES||59||36||16||7||79||34||204||143||18-5-5||18-11-2||6-3-1|
|3 ST. LOUIS BLUES||59||34||17||8||76||32||211||165||20-7-3||14-10-5||5-3-2|
|4 NASHVILLE PREDATORS||60||35||21||4||74||33||194||167||18-11-0||17-10-4||7-3-0|
|5 LOS ANGELES KINGS||62||33||21||8||74||30||178||176||15-13-3||18-8-5||5-4-1|
|6 EDMONTON OILERS||60||33||23||4||70||30||200||192||17-12-0||16-11-4||5-4-1|
|7 MINNESOTA WILD||58||34||20||4||72||29||218||193||17-7-1||17-13-3||3-6-1|
|8 VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS||62||32||26||4||68||28||195||190||16-13-3||16-13-1||3-7-0|
|9 DALLAS STARS||58||32||23||3||67||29||170||173||20-8-1||12-15-2||5-4-1|
|10 VANCOUVER CANUCKS||61||30||24||7||67||27||179||177||14-11-4||16-13-3||7-2-1|
|11 WINNIPEG JETS||61||28||23||10||66||27||189||190||16-11-2||12-12-8||6-3-1|
|12 ANAHEIM DUCKS||63||27||25||11||65||23||183||201||16-11-4||11-14-7||2-6-2|
|13 SAN JOSE SHARKS||59||26||25||8||60||24||156||185||14-13-4||12-12-4||4-3-3|
|14 CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS||61||22||30||9||53||19||162||210||11-15-5||11-15-4||4-5-1|
|15 ARIZONA COYOTES||60||20||36||4||44||19||159||216||9-20-1||11-16-3||7-3-0|
|16 SEATTLE KRAKEN||61||18||37||6||42||16||159||220||10-17-3||8-20-3||2-6-2|
EIGHT TEAMS IN EACH CONFERENCE QUALIFY FOR THE DIVISIONAL PLAYOFF FORMAT. THE TOP THREE TEAMS FROM EACH DIVISION MAKE UP THE FIRST SIX SPOTS. THE TWO REMAINING TEAMS WITH THE HIGHEST POINTS, REGARDLESS OF DIVISION, QUALIFY FOR THE FINAL TWO WILD CARD SPOTS.
X – CLINCHED PLAYOFF SPOT, Y – CLINCHED DIVISION, Z – CLINCHED CONFERENCE