MEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL

#3 Illinois 91 #9 Ohio State 88 OT

#6 Alabama 80 LSU 79

#7 Houston 91 Cincinnati 54

Colgate 85 Loyola Maryland 72

St. Bonaventure 74 VCU 65

WOMEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL

#6 Baylor 76 #17 West Virginia 50

#24 Florida Gulf Coast 84 Liberty 62

NBA SCOREBOARD

Oklahoma City 128 Memphis 122….DESMOND BANE 7PTS

Golden State 131 Utah 119

Philadelphia 134 San Antonio 99

Miami 100 into Orlando 97

Atlanta 100 Cleveland 82

Boston 134 Houston 107

Minnesota 114 Portland 112

New Orleans 135 LA Clippers 115

Chicago 118 Toronto 95

NHL SCOREBOARD

Minnesota 4 Arizona 1

Carolina 2 Detroit 1

NY Islanders 3 New Jersey 2

Dallas 2 Columbus 1

Colorado 4 Los Angeles 1

Ottawa 4 Toronto 3

MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL – SPRING TRAINING

Chicago White Sox 1 Oakland 0

Texas 3 Colorado 1

LA Angels 1 Chicago Cubs 1

San Diego 10 Cincinnati 4

Seattle 5 Milwaukee 4

San Francisco 6 Arizona 3

Kansas City 8 LA Dodgers 4

Detroit 5 Baltimore 1

Boston 5 Minnesota 5

Atlanta 8 Tampa Bay 7

Houston 5 Washington 0

Philadelphia 6 Pittsburgh 5

NY Yankees 5 Toronto 1

NY Mets 7 St. Louis 5

MEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL: Selection Sunday: Gonzaga named top overall seed in tournament field

(AP) The biggest unknown leading into a March Madness bracket reveal more than a year in the making had little to do with bubble teams or top seeds. Instead, it was the not-so-simple matter of which programs would be healthy enough to play.

Kansas and Virginia, two programs hit with COVID-19 breakouts over the past week, made it into the bracket released Sunday by the NCAA selection committee, signaling both teams believe they’ll have enough healthy players to be ready for their tip-offs next weekend.

That there was any doubt about the Jayhawks and defending champion Cavaliers securing spots in the 68-team tournament was the most jarring reminder that the 2021 tournament itself is no sure thing.

“There were a lot of different things about this year’s selection process,” said committee chairman Mitch Barnhart, the athletic director at Kentucky.

A year after the tournament was canceled as the COVID-19 virus was mushrooming into a worldwide pandemic, all 68 teams will gather in Indiana for all 67 games beginning Thursday and ending April 3 and 5 with the Final Four. But all it takes is a single COVID outbreak to upend the finely calibrated beauty of that plan. More than one and the entire endeavor could crater.

There were no surprises among the four No. 1 seeds. Gonzaga, Baylor, Illinois and Michigan earned those slots – with the Bulldogs the 11-4 favorite to win it all and become the first team since the 1976 Indiana Hoosiers to finish a season undefeated.

The last teams to earn the 37 at-large bids — one more than usual because the Ivy League canceled play this year — were Drake and Wichita State, which play Thursday in a First Four game, and UCLA and Michigan State, two decorated programs with surprisingly low seeds that meet in another play-in game.

“Heck of a game to start the tournament,” Barnhart said, with tongue in cheek.

Four teams that didn’t make it — Louisville, Colorado State, St. Louis and Mississippi — have been put on stand-by. They could find their way into the bracket if a team in the field notifies the NCAA by Tuesday night that it must withdraw because of health concerns. After that, if a team pulls out, its opponent will advance via what is essentially a forfeit.

Fittingly for such an unpredictable season, some teams hoping to sneak in off the bubble were denied when Oregon State and Georgetown — coached by its own former superstar, Patrick Ewing — won their conference tournaments to steal bids they wouldn’t otherwise have won.

Another unexpected entry is a familiar face: Rick Pitino. The coach, ousted at Louisville after a sordid recruiting scandal that enveloped the program for years, led his new team, Iona, from the ninth seed in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference all the way to the league title and the automatic bid that comes with it. The Gaels open Saturday against Alabama. Iona played only 13 regular-season games because of COVID-19 concerns that sidelined the Gaels for weeks. It was that kind of season.

And if hoops fans needed any more evidence of how unfamiliar this tournament will feel, maybe it’s this: For the first time since 1976, Duke and Kentucky will both be missing from the tournament. Like Virginia and Kansas, Duke pulled out of its conference tournament last week because of COVID-19. The Blue Devils announced that marked the end of their season, before telling the NCAA that, yes, they’d be available for March Madness if asked. But no dice. The 13-11 record wasn’t enough.

Virginia and Kansas were never in doubt until the coronavirus hit both programs. The Jayhawks (20-8) will bring a No. 3 seed into the tournament’s West region — the NCAA stuck with the usual names of the regions — while the Cavaliers (18-6) will be a 4 seed in the same part of the bracket, and come in as the most unusual of defending champions.

They won it all in 2019, and were poised for the run at a repeat last March when sports got wiped off the map by the still-nascent pandemic.

A year later, sports are back, but the hoops the NCAA is jumping through to make this tournament go are a symbol of how far we are from normal.

The decision to place all the games in and around the Indianapolis area is a first-of-its-kind move. Also unique are the quarantine-like situations all teams will be under during their stay. Players will get their own rooms and teams will have their own floors in a cluster of hotels around the downtown convention center. That facility, usually a magnet for fan fests and coaching conferences, will turn into the main practice and meeting area for all the teams. Players will have to produce negative tests for seven days before arriving in Indianapolis to be eligible to play.

And if they’re not? In one of its most eye-grabbing tidbits, the NCAA announced that if a team is hit with the virus but still has five players who can pass the protocol, that’s enough to get on the floor for tip-off.

All just another piece of the puzzle for Americans to consider when they get back to a much-missed rite of spring — filling out their brackets, crossing their fingers and waiting for madness to begin.

Here’s the full list of matchups.

First Four

16 Norfolk State vs. 16 Appalachian State
11 Wichita State vs. 11 Drake
16 Mount St. Mary’s vs. 16 Texas Southern
11 Michigan State vs. 11 UCLA

West Region

1 Gonzaga vs. 16 Norfolk State/Appalachian State – March 20
8 Oklahoma vs. 9 Missouri – March 20
5 Creighton vs. 12 UC Santa Barbara – March 20
4 Virginia vs. 13 Ohio – March 20
6 USC vs. 11 Wichita State/Drake – March 20
3 Kansas vs. 14 Eastern Washington – March 20
7 Oregon vs. 10 VCU – March 20
2 Iowa vs. 15 Grand Canyon – March 20

South Region

Baylor vs. 16 Hartford – March 19
North Carolina vs. Wisconsin – March 19
Villanova vs. 12 Winthrop – March 19
Purdue vs. 13 North Texas – March 19
6 Texas Tech vs. 11 Utah State – March 19
3 Arkansas vs. 14 Colgate – March 19
Florida vs. 10 Virginia Tech – March 19
Ohio State vs. 15 Oral Roberts – March 19

Midwest Region

Illinois vs. 16 Drexel – March 19
8 Loyola Chicago vs. 9 Georgia Tech – March 19
5 Tennessee vs. 12 Oregon State – March 19
Oklahoma State vs. 13 Liberty – March 19
San Diego State vs. 11 Syracuse – March 19
3 West Virginia vs. 14 Morehead State – March 19
7 Clemson vs. 10 Rutgers – March 19
2 Houston vs. 15 Cleveland State – March 19

East Region

Michigan vs. 16 Mount St. Mary’s/Texas Southern – March 20
8 LSU vs. 9 St. Bonaventure – March 20
5 Colorado vs. 12 Georgetown – March 20
4 Florida State vs. 13 UNC Greensboro – March 20
6 BYU vs. 11 Michigan State/UCLA – March 20
3 Texas vs. 14 Abilene Christian – March 20
7 UConn vs. 10 Maryland – March 20
2 Alabama vs. 15 Iona – March 20

MEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL: Illinois gets No. 1 seed in Midwest after Big Ten title

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Kofi Cockburn and Ayo Dosunmu both scored 16 points, both grabbed nine rebounds and both made key plays in overtime to give No. 3 Illinois a 91-88 victory over No. 9 Ohio State on Sunday for its first Big Ten Tournament title since 2005.

Cockburn made the go-ahead free throw with 1:39 to play, Dosunmu made a 15-footer with 50 seconds to go and the Illini (23-6) sealed it at the free-throw line. Illinois has won seven straight overall, six in a row over top-10 foes and 14 of its last 15 overall to claim the conference’s automatic NCAA Tournament bid.

At times, Illinois appeared to be in complete control, but Ohio State (21-9) refused to give in to the weariness of playing four games in four days. Instead, the Buckeyes constantly fought back.

Duane Washington Jr. had a career-high 32 points and Justice Sueing added 22 for the Buckeyes.

MEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL: No. 6 Alabama adds another SEC title, edges LSU at tourney

(AP) Skip calling Alabama simply a football school anymore. The Crimson Tide have courted a new moniker they think fits so much better.

Just call them a Championship School.

Herbert Jones drove for a go-ahead layup with 19.5 seconds and No. 6 Alabama won the Southeastern Conference Tournament for the first time since 1991, holding off a late flurry to edge LSU 80-79 Sunday.

Coach Nate Oats and the Crimson Tide added to their regular-season title with a victory that should help Alabama at least match its highest seed ever in the NCAA Tournament – it was No. 2 in both 1987 and 2002.

Alabama, the reigning national champions in football, won its seventh tournament title overall, second in the SEC only to Kentucky’s 31. The Crimson Tide (24-6) hadn’t even reached this game since 2002.

Now they’ve joined Florida (2006-07) as the only SEC schools with both the league football and basketball titles in the same year. Alabama did it by adding two more SEC titles in basketball after Nick Saban’s squad won both the SEC and national championships a couple months ago.

Oats noted Alabama football set the new name Saturday, referring to the Tide on Twitter as a ” CHAMPIONSHIP SCHOOL.”

“So we don’t have to be a football school or a basketball school,” Oats said. “We just win championships. We’re a championship school.”

The basketball team now has its sights set on another title.

“I have full faith that we can take this thing, take the NCAA tournament by storm and win the whole thing,” Alabama guard and tournament MVP Jahvon Quinerly said.

Alabama still needed its defense after Jones went a long way down the lane for his shot.

Keon Ellis blocked a shot by LSU’s Javonte Smart and the Tigers took a timeout with just over seven seconds left to set up the final attempt.

After the inbounds pass went astray and nearly to midcourt, Trendon Watford’s 3 was well short of the rim. Aundre Hyatt’s putback hit the back of the rim and bounced out and LSU couldn’t get another good shot off in the scramble before the buzzer.

That set off yet another Alabama celebration – this time on the basketball court.

“I just know we had to stop them from scoring that last seven seconds, no matter what we had to do, who did it, somebody just had to get them stop,” Alabama senior guard John Petty Jr. said. “And we did. And we champs.”

Hyatt, meanwhile, was on the floor with his head in his hands. Watford was on his knees and slammed the court with a hand. Smart said he thought Hyatt’s shot went in, calling it “crazy” it rimmed out.

“This is a hard one to take, losing by one with that many opportunities to win the game,” Smart said. “We gave it all we got. We really wanted this win.”

Jones, both the SEC Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year, finished with 13 points and 11 rebounds.

Jaden Shackelford led Alabama with 21 points, and Ellis and Quinerly each had 14.

LSU (18-9) hadn’t won this tournament since 1980, and this was the Tigers’ first time in the final since 1993. LSU coach Will Wade said the final sequence wound up starting too far out but liked that they had the shot from 3 and two more up close.

“We just missed, a little bit short there at the end,” Wade said.

Watford finished with a career-high 30 points for LSU. Smart added 21 and Cameron Thomas had 18.

About 20 minutes before tip-off, Alabama and LSU players had to be separated at midcourt. That was just a preview of the taut battle to follow.

Alabama scored the first eight points of the game only to see LSU answer with a 15-5 run of its own to take a 15-13 lead on Thomas’ third 3 of the game. Alabama scored the final seven of the half and took a 40-37 lead into halftime.

Neither team led by more than four in the second half. Alabama was up 56-52 on a free throw by Jones. Smart hit back-to-back 3s with Thomas scoring on a layup, giving LSU a 60-56 lead midway through the half.

Shackelford answered with his own back-to-back 3s before Gary’s layup made it 64-60 with 8:20 left.

Shackelford hit his fifth 3 with 6:54 to go giving Alabama its biggest lead since the opening minutes at 69-63. But LSU, especially Watford or Smart, kept answering to set up the thrilling finish.

MEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL: No. 7 Houston takes AAC tourney with 91-54 win over Cincy

(AP) Quentin Grimes scored 21 points with five 3-pointers, Marcus Sasser had 16 points and No. 7 Houston beat Cincinnati 91-54 on Sunday in the third consecutive American Athletic Conference tournament championship game between the two teams.

The Cougars (24-3) were a lock for their 22nd NCAA Tournament berth even before leading the entire game to win their first conference tournament title since 2010, when they were still in Conference USA, and five seasons before Kelvin Sampson became their coach.

DeJon Jarreau, two days after a triple-double in the quarterfinal round, hit a 3-pointer for the first basket of the game to put to Cougars ahead to stay. He finished with 10 points.

Jeremiah Davenport had 11 points, all in the first half, and Mamoudou Diarra 10 for Cincinnati (12-11), which will have its NCAA Tournament steak end at nine appearances in a row.

Sasser had 14 of his points by halftime, when Houston led 41-27. Grimes then scored 10 points in a 12-0 run soon after the break, with the 6-foot-5 junior guard bookending the 2 1/2-minute spurt with a pair of 3-pointers, and in between making a jumper and a dunk.

The Bearcats had won the previous two AAC title game matchups before last year’s tournaments were canceled because of COVID-19 after Houston had won its second consecutive AAC regular-season title. This year, Cincinnati needed a third in a row to earn the league’s automatic berth.

Instead, this game got lopsided like their only regular-season matchup three weeks earlier, when Houston won 90-52 at home over the Bearcats. This was the most lopsided AAC tournament final game, surpassing SMU’s 15-point win over Cincinnati in 2017.

Cincinnati was 9-4 in games played after returning from a 25-day pause because of COVID-19 following a road loss to Wichita State on Jan. 10. The Bearcats got to their fourth consecutive AAC tournament title game with a 60-59 win over the top-seeded Shockers in their semifinal game Saturday.

WOMEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL: Baylor wins Big 12 and Florida Gulf is Atlantic Sun champ

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Queen Egbo scored 18 points and 11 rebounds and No. 6 Baylor beat West Virginia 76-50 to win the Big 12 Tournament on Sunday.

It is the ninth Big 12 Championship in the last 10 tournaments for top-seeded Baylor (25-2).

Dijonai Carrington added 14 and Moon Ursin had 12 points and 10 rebounds as the Lady Bears won their 17th straight game.

Kirsten Deans scored 15 and Kysre Gondrezick had 13 for West Virginia, which was trying to win their second Big 12 Tournament in the last four years.

West Virginia (21-6) went 17 of 63 (27%) from the field and Baylor was 33 for 66 (50%).

No. 24 FLORIDA GULF COAST 84, LIBERTY 62

KENNESAW, Ga. (AP) — Kierstan Bell scored 30 points and Florida Gulf Coast continued its dominance of the Atlantic Sun Conference with a win over Liberty in the tournament championship game, sending the Eagles to the NCAA Tournament for the seventh time.

FGCU (26-2), established in 1991 and a Division I member since 2011, won its 25th straight game, its 11th league title and seventh tournament championship, improving to 8-0 against Liberty.

Bell, a sophomore transfer from Ohio State is a big reason why. The first player to win A-Sun Newcomer and Player of the Year, the three-time Ohio high school player of the year became the first Eagle to surpass 600 points in a season in the second half, well after they had wrapped up the game. She hit six 3-pointers, grabbed nine rebounds, had seven assists, three steals and two blocked shots.

Emily Lytle’s 25 points and nine rebounds paced the second-seeded Flames (19-8), who made 17 NCAA Tournaments via the Southern Conference before joining the A-Sun in 2019 and reaching three straight title games, all against FGCU. The 2020 game wasn’t played because of COVID-19

NBA NEWS: Gilgeous-Alexander scores 30 as Thunder top Grizzlies

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 30 points and Aleksej Pokusevski had a career-high 23, helping the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Memphis Grizzlies 128-122 on Sunday.

Kenrich Williams added 17 points on 7-for-8 shooting for the Thunder, who trailed by as many as 12. Moses Brown had 13 points, and Ty Jerome finished with 12.

Gilgeous-Alexander, who missed Saturday’s 119-97 loss to the Knicks with a left quad contusion, went 8 for 17 from the field. The Thunder had seven players score in double figures and shot a season-high 57.5% from the floor, including 16 of 31 from 3-point range.

“I thought we showed really good resilience there,” Thunder coach Mark Daigneault said. “The first thing we weathered was right out of halftime, (the Grizzlies’ lead) went to 12 and got a little dicey. We just played through it, got a couple of stops. Turned the game a little bit and got it back under control.”

Ja Morant had 22 points and seven assists for Memphis, which lost for the third time in four games. Dillon Brooks scored 19 points, and Jonas Valanciunas had 16 points and 14 rebounds.

NBA NEWS: Warriors hold off NBA-leading Jazz to snap 4-game skid

Draymond Green had his 26th career triple-double with 11 points, 12 rebounds and 12 assists and the Golden State Warriors held off the NBA-leading Utah Jazz 131-119 on Sunday to end a season-worst four-game losing streak.

Green also had four steals in his second triple-double of the season. Stephen Curry had 32 points with six 3-pointers to go with nine assists.

“Now it matters what we do coming out of it,” Green said. “This could be a turning point.”

Andrew Wiggins added 28 points as Golden State returned home for a rare Sunday matinee at Chase Center, where the Warriors had played just one time over the previous 24 days.

Rudy Gobert had 24 points and a career-high 28 rebounds for Utah (28-10), which became the league’s last team to reach double-digit losses.

NBA NEWS: Sixers beat Spurs 134-99 in 1st game without injured Embiid

Tobias Harris grabbed the mic and welcomed fans back to Philly.

Then the 76ers put on a show to make up for the 368-day wait.

Ben Simmons flexed after a dunk, Dwight Howard exhorted 3,071 fans to get loud as they won free ice cream and fries, and the Sixers made their home court come to life again.

And they did it all without Joel Embiid.

Harris scored 23 points, Seth Curry had 21 and the 76ers won their first game since Embiid was lost with an injury, beating the San Antonio Spurs 134-99 on Sunday night.

It won’t always be this easy without their franchise player.

“We’re a great team when we have everybody,” Harris said. “This team needs everybody.”

The Sixers’ hold on the top spot in the Eastern Conference appears tenuous with Embiid out for at least two weeks with a bone bruise on his left knee. Embiid had emerged as an MVP candidate, averaging 29.9 points and 11.5 rebounds in 31 games until he was injured Friday at Washington. The Sixers were relieved the injury wasn’t worse than first feared.

“He was happy that it isn’t as bad as a lot of people thought it was, probably including himself,” coach Doc Rivers said. “Now that he knows all it takes is rehab, he has a game plan, we have a game plan and we’re moving forward with it.”

NBA NEWS: Butler scores 29 as Heat beat Magic for 4th straight win.

Jimmy Butler started Sunday night’s game against Orlando by winning the opening tip and ended it with a steal and win-sealing layup as the Miami Heat topped the Magic 102-97.

In between, the standout guard was pretty good, too, helping the Heat win their fourth straight and for a 10th time in 11 games.

“He has very disciplined gambles and I know that’s counterintuitive, but Jimmy’s a disciplined team defender” Miami coach Erik Spoelstra said of Butler, who had 29 points, nine assists, seven rebounds and five steals for the suddenly surging Heat. “He has a knack, that super-high IQ and that cat quickness that you can’t teach, and it surprises everybody.”

Tyler Herro came into the game listed as questionable because of a shoulder strain, but he came off the bench and contributed 22 points, eight rebounds and four 3-pointers. Ten of his points came in the fourth quarter.

Miami trailed by as many as six points in the second half and faced a four-point deficit at the start of the fourth. The Heat are 3-12 when trailing after three periods.

The teams traded the lead five times in the fourth period before the Heat pulled away in the final three minutes behind their defense and Butler’s scoring. A 7-0 run – started by a Butler jumper and a Herro 3 – gave Miami a 100-94 lead. Orlando missed five straight shots and went three minutes without a point.

Butler’s steal of a Michael Carter-Williams pass and subsequent layup with four seconds remaining sealed the win. Butler’s defense led to 23 Orlando turnovers and 26 points off those mistakes for the Heat.

NBA NEWS: Collins, Gallinari lead streaking Hawks past Cavs, 100-82

John Collins scored 22 points, Danilo Gallinari had 20, including a 3-pointer that helped Atlanta extend its lead in the fourth quarter, and the Hawks beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 100-82 on Sunday night for their fifth consecutive win under interim coach Nate McMillan.

The Hawks have their first five-game winning streak in more than four years.

McMillan said the Hawks are learning to finish games, including against Cleveland. The Hawks lost close games in the first two meetings of the season.

“We continue to show growth,” McMillan said. “We continue to understand how to finish, how to win these games and play in the fourth quarter.”

The Hawks led only 69-66 before opening the final quarter with 12 consecutive points to stretch the advantage to 15 points. Gallinari’s 3-pointer during the run gave Atlanta its first double-digits lead at 77-66.

“When you win a couple of close games, three or four in a row, it gives you confidence to keep doing that,” Gallinari said. “… You’ve got to believe you can do it every night.”

Gallinari said it’s too soon to say the Hawks, still one game under .500 at 19-20, are playing like a team ready to have success in the playoffs.

“It’s still a long process and a long season,” Gallinari said. “When you think about the strides we’ve made since the start of the season … the fact we’ve been winning those close games we were losing at the start of the season is a huge step.”

Collins set a season high with 13 rebounds. Trae Young scored 14 points.

NBA NEWS: Boston deals struggling Rockets 16th straight loss 134-107

Jaylen Brown scored 24 points and Jayson Tatum added 23 as the Boston Celtics coasted to a 134-107 win over the struggling Houston Rockets on Sunday night.

“It was a good win for us,” Brown said. “Everybody is back healthy now. So that was a good confidence booster for us.”

It’s the 16th straight loss for Houston, which was playing without John Wall and several others because of injuries. The losing streak is the second-longest in franchise history behind a 17-game skid in 1968.

It’s the fifth win in six games for the Celtics, who overwhelmed a team playing with only one of its regular starters in Victor Oladipo. He led Houston with 26 points on a night the Rockets made 16 of 50 3-pointers.

“Early in the game we had good flow and pace… and then the second and third quarters that kind of stopped,” coach Stephen Silas said. “So yeah, we’ve got to do better.”

The Rockets, who haven’t won since Feb. 4, have lost seven straight home games for the first time since 2006.

Boston was only up by four after one period, but pulled away by halftime. The Celtics had a 13-point lead early in the third quarter before using an 11-2 run, with nine points by Kemba Walker, to make it 79-57 with about 10 minutes left in the period.

“The game rewards you if you approach it the right way, and he does that for us,” Boston coach Brad Stevens said.

A 12-3 spurt later in the third left the Celtics up 104-72 entering the fourth. Tatum stood out in that stretch, starting the run with a step-back shot before getting a steal and finishing on the other end with a nifty behind-the-back move. He wrapped up the scoring in that quarter with a 35-foot 3-pointer at the buzzer.

“I didn’t think we were great early,” Stevens said. “They’re harder to play big, so we obviously went small the next 42 minutes.”

Brown and Tatum didn’t play after that and Boston Stevens cleared his bench with about nine minutes remaining and his team up 112-80.

Brown bounced back after making just 5 of 23 shots in Boston’s loss to Brooklyn on Thursday night.

NBA NEWS: Edwards scores 34, Wolves hold on to beat Blazers 114-112

Anthony Edwards scored a career-high 34 points and the short-handed Minnesota Timberwolves held on to beat the Portland Trail Blazers 114-112 on Sunday.

Ricky Rubio added 15 points, including eight free throws in the final seconds. Karl-Anthony Towns had 13 points as Minnesota started with just 10 players after rookie Jaden McDaniels was added to the health and safety protocols before the game.

The Timberwolves have won two of their past three games and are 2-6 under new coach Chris Finch.

“No matter if I’m playing good or bad, if it’s time for a big-time shot, I always want the ball no matter what,” Edwards said of his fourth quarter. “That’s just who I am, but it just happened to be a good game. I was just telling them to give me the ball and get out of the way.”

Damian Lillard scored 38 for Portland, which had won four of five and beat Minnesota 125-121 on Saturday. Gary Trent Jr. added 21 points for the Blazers, and Carmelo Anthony had 16 off the bench.

Neither team could pull away for three quarters, with the largest lead being just six points for the squads playing without several key players and on the second game of a back-to-back.

Portland was playing its 25th straight game without starters Jusuf Nurkic and C.J. McCollum. The Wolves still have second-leading scorer Malik Beasley on a suspension, D’Angelo Russell recovering from left knee surgery and two players in the health and safety protocols.

“From an offensive standpoint, it was a struggle for a lot of the night and particularly the first quarter,” Portland coach Terry Stotts said. “I thought we did a good job trying to fight through some shooting struggles throughout the game. . I thought we gave a good effort in the fourth quarter to get back into it, but the hole was too deep.”

NBA NEWS: Williams scores 23, Bulls beat Raptors 118-95

Rookie Patrick Williams had a career-best 23 points to lead the Chicago Bulls past the Toronto Raptors, 118-95 Sunday night.

Zach LaVine scored 15 to help the Bulls end a two-game slide. Coby White had 13 points and Wendell Carter Jr. added 12 points and 11 rebounds after the two were removed from the starting five for the first time this season.

Chicago maintained a double-digit lead for most of the second half and enjoyed a nice cushion after Denzel Valentine made three 3-pointers during a 9-0 run that pushed the lead to 96-78 with eight minutes left. Toronto, which had won 12 straight against Chicago, never got closer than 11 the rest of the night.

Norman Powell scored 32 points as the depleted Raptors, down five regulars, lost their fifth straight. Kyle Lowry had 20 points and eight assists before being ejected in the final minutes after picking up his second technical foul for arguing with officials.

Lowry said he didn’t think the pressure of fighting to stay in the playoff hunt – a new experience for the Raptors after several seasons of riding in the upper half of the Eastern Conference standings – or even his actions led to his ejection.

“I really didn’t do anything,” he said. “Sometimes I guess egos get bigger. … This is very unconventional but we’ve just got to find a way to get through it.”

Chicago coach Billy Donovan hinted at lineup changes a day earlier and followed through Sunday as Thaddeus Young and Tomas Satoransky each made their first starts of the season, bumping White and Carter from the opening five. Each of the new starters finished with 10 points.

NBA NEWS: Williamson, Ingram power Pelicans past Clippers 135-115

Zion Williamson mixed full-speed, behind-the-back dribbles, pin-point bounce passes and even an alley-oop lob into his usual repertoire of forceful finishes at the rim. That left the Los Angeles Clippers scrambling defensively while the Pelicans piled up points in a second straight lopsided victory.

Williamson scored 27 points to go with five assists, Brandon Ingram added 23 points and New Orleans routed the Clippers 135-115 on Sunday night.

“We were on the attack,” Pelicans coach Stan Van Gundy said. “And then because we had made some shots, I think, Zion got room to go to the basket – and we know if he gets room to go to the basket, I mean, you’re not going to stop it.”

Williamson bullied the Clippers near the basket, exploding forcefully to the hoop on dribble drives or in transition for layups amidst crowds of hapless defenders, or for rim-rattling dunks. He also handled the ball adeptly, with threaded bounce passes to set up Josh Hart’s 3 and Eric Bledsoe’s cutting layup, and a lob on Jaxson Hayes’ alley-oop dunk.

“Whatever the team needs me to do, that’s what I’m ready to do, whether it’s score, play defense, facilitate,” said Williamson, highlighting the point guard days of his youth. “Coach has really put me in a position to facilitate the game and really open up the game for myself.”

Ingram attacked Los Angles with slashing drives, pull-up jumpers and three 3-pointers, including one while being fouled for a 4-point play.

Lonzo Ball hit five 3s and finished with 20 points for New Orleans, which shot an NBA season-high 65.4% (53 for 81). Hayes highlighted his season-high 17 points with a tomahawk dunk in which he virtually jumped over Clippers guard Reggie Jackson before slamming the ball down off Jackson’s head.

“I was just trying to get the ball in the basket,” said Hayes, who rated the dunk among his top three since high school.

NBA NEWS: As he eagerly eyes next season, injured Golden State Warriors star Klay Thompson ‘getting better every day’

SAN FRANCISCO — Golden State Warriors swingman Klay Thompson acknowledged that 2020 was “the worst year of my life” and is hopeful he’ll be ready for the start of next season as he continues to recover from a torn right Achilles.

Speaking to the media for the first time since suffering the injury on Nov. 18, 2020, during a workout in Los Angeles, Thompson spoke at length about the rehab he has endured for the second consecutive season. Thompson has not played in an NBA game since June 13, 2019, after he tore his left ACL in Game 6 of the NBA Finals against the Toronto Raptors.

“It was probably the worst year of my life, guys,” Thompson said during a video conference with reporters prior to Sunday’s game against the Utah Jazz. “It feels good to be back here. I feel love when I’m back in the Warriors facility. My roots are here. [The pandemic] was not easy on anybody. Everyone had their own little trials and tribulations in 2020, but that was it for me — was losing my grandma Mary, tearing my Achilles, I still think about Kobe every single day.

“There’s not a day I don’t think about him. And not being able to have that last convo with him … it was a tough year, guys. Not only for me but I’m sure for all of you. I’m looking forward to the future, that’s for sure.”

When asked specifically about the possibility of playing at the start of next season, Thompson said that was his goal.

“Absolutely,” he said. “It could be a few weeks after, maybe a month after, but it’s definitely going to be geared toward the very beginning of the season.”

Thompson said he is no longer wearing the protective boot around his leg that he had been wearing since surgery to fix the Achilles. He hasn’t been able to start running yet, but he has been using an underwater treadmill “and that’s good for my psyche.”

“[The Achilles injury] just happened on a true dribble pull-up jump shot, a move I do 100 times a day,” Thompson said. “So, it was just an unfortunate series of events. Nothing I could have ever prepared for, nor prevented. I was working my butt off 10 months up to that point and you just got to go back to the drawing board. I knew I did it right away and it’s in the past but I’m getting better every day.”

Thompson admitted that the mental aspect of his rehab has been more difficult than having to work through the physical grind of a second straight season-ending injury.

“It’s way harder than any basketball game I’ve ever had to play,” Thompson said. “Way harder than any conditioning drill or practice. The mental toll is not very fun. You always guess if you’re going to be the same player you once were, so you have those natural thoughts, but you can’t let those overtake you and you got to realize that this is not unique just to me. So many athletes have been through this. Although I was used to playing 100 games a year for the first eight years of my career, this is just a new set of challenges, and with my style of play I feel like could be effective ’til my late 30s, so I’m not going to feel sorry for myself right now.

“I’m just going to keep buckling down and keep doing what I love to do.”

Thompson said he has taken comfort in knowing that current and former NBA stars have had a similar injury and still returned to their old form, including one of his former teammates, Brooklyn Nets star  Kevin Durant.

“From what I’ve read and what I’ve heard, you may lose 5 percent of your explosiveness, maybe 10 percent,” Thompson said.

Thompson said he also spoke to Hall of Famer Grant Hill to get some tips on how he handled his rehab from various ankle injuries in the prime of his own career.

After missing all of the 2019-20 season, Thompson said it was hard to accept the Achilles injury — and the realization that he would miss yet another full year.

“When it happened, in my mind I knew it happened, but I wasn’t even that emotional because my heart wouldn’t accept it at the time,” Thompson said. “I was hoping for a calf strain or something, but I was just doing what I always do every summer. I was in the weight room, I was getting shots up, I was doing two-a-days, the stuff fans don’t see. I was so eager to come back to the court after a year away.”

Thompson said the support he received from up and down the Warriors organization was important to him as he tried to shake off the disappointment.

“Luckily, for me, I got great teammates,” he said.

Warriors coach Steve Kerr was hopeful from the outset of the second injury that Thompson would spend more time around his teammates and coaches this season after spending parts of last year rehabbing in Los Angeles. Thompson has been more of a fixture on the Warriors bench this season — both at home and on the road — a move that has been beneficial to both Thompson and his teammates.

“It’s helped me tremendously,” Thompson said. “I’m at the point in my career where I can lend my voice and I know guys appreciate that, even just being there on the road, just showing I’m committed, I know that goes a long way as well. But it’s nice when you get to grind with your teammates in the gym every day and you still feel like you’re a part of it.”

The Warriors, who entered Sunday’s game with a 19-19 record, have struggled to find consistency without Thompson. Despite the ups and downs, Thompson remains confident that he can help the Warriors elevate back into title contention.

“I anticipate us being right back in contention,” Thompson said. “This year has been tough obviously with the pandemic and so many new players on the team. I love our group, though. I think we have a great group. These guys come to work every day, they’re eager to be great players. And we still have so much basketball left to play so although our record doesn’t reflect how good I think we are.”

Thompson also went out of his way to praise No. 2 overall pick James Wiseman. Wiseman has struggled to find a rhythm during his rookie campaign and was recently benched for the first half of Thursday’s loss to the LA Clippers after missing the first practice after the All-Star break because he missed two consecutive days of COVID-19 testing.

“James is going to be a perennial All-Star one day. He doesn’t know how good he is yet,” Thompson said. “Who does when they’re 19 years old? But he just has physical abilities and talent that you just can’t teach.”

Thompson understands his body might not be ready to play at his usual high level upon his return. Fortunately, there’s time between now and then.

“I’ll be honest with you guys, I don’t expect to come back and just [go] balls to the wall, 38 minutes a night, guarding the best player running around 100 screens,” Thompson said. “I’m going to get to that point, I guarantee that. But I’ve talked to [Warriors director of sports medicine and performance] Rick Celebrini about a lot, it might be 20 minutes to start the season, 18 minutes, like a minutes restriction. We’ll see where I’m at.”

NFL NEWS: Record-setting Saints QB Brees announces retirement at 42

(AP) Saints quarterback Drew Brees, the NFL’s leader in career completions and yards passing, has decided to retire after 20 NFL seasons, including his last 15 with New Orleans.

“Til the very end I exhausted myself to give everything to the Saints organization, my team and the great City of New Orleans,” Brees said in social media post on Sunday. “We shared some amazing moments together, many of which are emblazoned in our hearts and minds and will forever be a part of us.

“I am only retiring from football. I am not retiring from New Orleans,” he added. “This is not goodbye.”

The post also included a short video in which his four young children exclaimed, “Our dad is finally going to retire so he can spend more time with us!”

The decision comes after the 42-year-old quarterback won nine of 12 regular-season starts while completing 70.5% of his passes in 2020, and then won a wild-card round playoff game before New Orleans’ season ended with a divisional-round loss to eventual Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay.

Brees missed four games this season with multiple fractured ribs and a collapsed lung. It marked the second straight season Brees had to miss part of a season with an injury after missing just one game because of injury in the previous 13. In 2019, Brees missed five games because of a thumb injury on his throwing hand that required surgery.

Saints coach Sean Payton said Brees had plenty of other injuries or ailments during his Saints tenure, but willed himself to play through them whenever possible.

“Over the years his durability and availability is quite amazing. I can recall so many of these different injuries,” Payton said. “He’s as courageous and as tough a player as I’ve ever been around.”

Brees is the NFL’s all-time leader in yards passing with 80,358, although that mark will be under threat next season by 44-year-old Tom Brady, who has 79,204 career yards passing. Brees’ 571 career touchdown passes rank second behind Brady’s 581.

While Brees had dropped hints about his intentions, saying he considered himself to be on “borrowed time,” he declined to confirm his plans until now.

His retirement brings an end to a career that came to embody resilience and renewal on multiple levels.

Brees’ most prolific seasons came after he underwent major reconstructive surgery in early 2006 to repair a career-threatening throwing shoulder injury.

He joined the Saints shortly after, at a time when New Orleans was still coping with widespread devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina in August 2005. When Brees moved to New Orleans, he bought and renovated a historic home in the city’s Uptown neighborhood, just a block away from Audubon Park.

The storm had forced the Saints to play all of their 2005 games outside New Orleans, and the Saints finished that season 3-13.

One season later, with then-first-year coach Sean Payton calling plays and Brees executing them, the Saints won 10 regular-season games and a divisional-round playoff game in a rebuilt Superdome – a storybook run that didn’t end until a loss in Chicago in New Orleans’ first ever NFC championship game. That would be the first of nine seasons in which Brees led the Saints to the playoffs.

The franchise’s only Super Bowl appearance and championship came in the 2009 season, with Brees, selected as the game’s MVP, memorably celebrating with first child Baylen in his arms as confetti floated around them.

Brees’ 32 completions (on 39 attempts) tied a Super Bowl record, just one of numerous times the 6-foot-1 quarterback, drafted by the San Diego Chargers out of Purdue in the beginning of the second round of the 2001 draft, etched his name in NFL record books.

Indeed, a hallmark of Brees’ career has been his decision-making, timing and accuracy.

Brees not only holds the NFL’s single-season record for completion rate at 74.4% in 2018, but also holds the second-highest mark at 74.3 in 2019 and third-highest at 72% in 2017.

His 70.5% rate in 2020 ranked ninth all time, giving Brees six of the top nine season completion rates in NFL history.

Payton’s offenses were more passing oriented in some seasons than others for a variety of reasons related to personnel, the types of defenses the Saints faced and the way games played out.

But when Brees had to throw, he piled up yardage whether the Saints were a playoff team or not.

Brees eclipsed the 5,000-yard mark in five seasons, with his career-best 5,476 yards coming in 2011. That mark ranks second all time, one yard behind Peyton Manning’s 5,477 yards with Denver in 2013. Brees’ five 5,000-yard seasons all rank in the top 11 all time.

Brees also has been the unquestioned face of the franchise and leader in the locker room throughout his time in New Orleans. Teammates have often remarked that Brees was usually the first player to arrive at the team’s training headquarters and last to leave.

Payton often spoke of his collaborative relationship with Brees in formulating the offensive game plan and routinely letting Brees call his own plays, particularly during hurry-up drives.

“Since I’ve been here Drew has been nothing but a good teammate, a good guy, great leader, and I respect him so much in all facets of his life,” said center Erik McCoy, a two-year pro who grew up watching Brees and wound up snapping him the ball the past two seasons.

“The way that he came into work every day. He was always locked in. He was always on point. He was always sharp. … I feel like that has kind of molded me.”

While Brees was popular in San Diego during his first five NFL seasons, he became synonymous with New Orleans after signing with the Saints. He participating in marketing campaigns for the city’s tourism industry and professed his affection for the community in countless interviews. Between his Brees Dream foundation and his own personal work, Brees has donated or committed more than $35 million to charitable causes in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast region, according to his marketing agent, Chris Stuart.

“No one has ever scored higher as far as their combination of athletic achievement and involvement in a community,” said political pundit, Louisiana native and New Orleans resident James Carville, asserting that Brees is to New Orleans what Ted Williams was to Boston and Michael Jordan to Chicago. “In more ways than one, he’s arguably the most significant New Orleanian of the 21st century.”

NFL NEWS: LB swap: McKinney traded by Texans to Dolphins for Lawson

(AP) Benardrick McKinney was traded Sunday by the Houston Texans to the Miami Dolphins for Shaq Lawson in a swap of linebackers.

McKinney played in only four games last year because of a shoulder injury, but missed just two starts with Houston from 2016 to 2019 while totaling at least 95 tackles each season, and made the Pro Bowl in 2018.

He was a second-round pick by the Texans in 2015.

Lawson, a 2016 first-round pick by the Buffalo Bills, spent four seasons with them. He had four sacks in 14 games in his only season with Miami.

On Wednesday, the Dolphins released another veteran linebacker, Kyle Van Noy, after one season with the team.

NFL NEWS: Report: Patriots trade Cannon to Texans

The New England Patriots are trading right tackle Marcus Cannon to the Houston Texans, sources told the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.

The teams will also swap picks in the fourth, fifth, and sixth rounds, a league source told Jim McBride of the Boston Globe.

The deal clears $7,056,250 off the Patriots’ salary cap in 2021 while eating $2,566,668 in dead money, according to Over The Cap.

Cannon, 32, opted out of the 2020 season due to COVID-19 concerns.

New England drafted the TCU product in the fifth round of the 2011 draft. He’s played in 115 games with 69 starts over nine seasons.

The move comes as new Texans general manager Nick Caserio, a former Patriots executive, attempts to fix a roster that finished 4-12 last campaign.

Cannon’s presence should bolster Houston’s offensive line entering next season. It could also produce a battle for the starting right tackle job between Cannon and former first-round selection Tytus Howard. The nine-year veteran may also be in line for a move to guard.

Meanwhile, New England recently traded for tackle Trent Brown. He’s projected to contend for a starting spot alongside Michael Onwenu and Isaiah Wynn.

Earlier Sunday, Houston reportedly acquired pass-rusher Shaq Lawson from the Miami Dolphins for linebacker Benardrick McKinney.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL NEWS: Aaron Jones staying with Packers on 4-year, $48 million deal

Pro Bowl running back Aaron Jones has agreed to a new deal with the Green Bay Packers and won’t be exploring free agency.

Drew Rosenhaus, Jones’ agent, confirmed that his client had agreed on a four-year deal worth $48 million that includes a $13 million signing bonus.

“We anticipated bigger offers in free agency, but Aaron wanted to stay with the Packers,” Rosenhaus said via email.

ESPN and NFL Network first reported the terms.

Jones tweeted a picture of himself in a Packers uniform with the message “Let’s run it back (hash)GoPackGo” on Sunday. Rosenhaus sent out a tweet congratulating Jones on his new deal.

The move removes one of the biggest names from the market at the start of a week in which NFL teams can begin negotiating with free agents. The Packers faced the possibility of having both of their top two running backs – Jones and Jamaal Williams – leaving via free agency in the same offseason.

Green Bay instead will have Jones back to lead a rushing attack that also will feature A.J. Dillon, a 2020 second-round pick from Boston College, even if Williams heads elsewhere.

Jones, 26, rushed for 1,104 yards and nine touchdowns and also caught 47 passes for 355 yards and two touchdowns last season. That came after a 2019 season in which he had 16 touchdown runs and three touchdown catches.

Jones and Jim Brown are the only players in NFL history to rush for at least 3,000 yards and 35 touchdowns while averaging at least 5 yards per carry over their first four seasons. The 2017 fifth-round pick from UTEP is one of only three players to rush for at least 2,000 yards and 25 touchdowns over the past two seasons, joining Tennessee’s Derrick Henry and Minnesota’s Dalvin Cook.

Now that Green Bay has signed Jones, the Packers’ top remaining free agents are All-Pro center Corey Linsley, cornerback Kevin King and Williams. The Packers have posted a 13-3 regular-season record and have lost in the NFC championship game each of the past two years.

MLB NEWS: Reds’ Gray likely to miss Opening Day with back injury

The Cincinnati Reds will likely be without ace right-hander Sonny Gray on Opening Day after an MRI revealed mid-back muscle soreness on Sunday.

The Reds are playing it safe with Gray to hopefully ensure he’s fully healthy when able to pitch, even if it’s not until a week into the season.

“The way we’ve all kind of thought about it was, do we take five or six days right now and completely try to knock it out so you’re a week behind to start the season or eight days or whatever it ends up being? Or do you just keep going and maybe it turns into a larger issue and then maybe you miss 10 starts,” Gray said, according to Bobby Nightengale of the Cincinnati Enquirer.

Gray pitched against the Kansas City Royals on March 4, and he threw about 40 pitches in a bullpen session after being scratched from his next start. His back flared up – as it has whenever he’s pitched at full intensity throughout March – leading to him being shut down.

“It just keeps spasming when I rotate and when I throw,” Gray said. “Going through (the routine) and throwing is all fine. When I get on the mound and I really crank on it, it just kind of spasms up a little.

“I think now we’re just going to treat the root of the issue, why. Not treat the spasm, but why is it spasming? I think we found some answers as to why it is. It’s nothing crazy.”

He’s hoping to return before spring training ends to ramp-up prior to his eventual regular-season debut.

The 31-year-old was Cincinnati’s Opening Day starter in 2020, so the Reds will be looking to someone else on April 1 against the St. Louis Cardinals. He’s gone 16-11 with a 3.07 ERA and 1.12 WHIP over 42 starts since joining the Reds in 2019.

Luis Castillo, the team’s Opening Day hurler in 2019, is the top candidate to draw the club’s first start of 2021, Nightengale notes.

PGA NEWS: Thomas emerges from crowded leaderboard to win Players Championship

Justin Thomas fended off Lee Westwood and Bryson DeChambeau to win his first Players Championship by one shot Sunday.

Thomas began the day trailing the 54-hole leader Westwood by three and failed to get anything going early. He was 1-over through eight holes despite giving himself plenty of birdie opportunities.

However, as the final pairing of Westwood and DeChambeau struggled to create separation, Thomas went on a run. A birdie on No. 9 kickstarted a four-hole stretch that the 27-year-old played in 5-under par. It was an eagle on No. 11 that gave Thomas the outright lead, which he didn’t relinquish the rest of the way.

He made a nervy par putt on the island green at 17 and then flirted with danger with his last drive of the week, but he made par on 18 to seal his 4-under 68 in the final round and secure his 14th PGA Tour title.

Thomas earned $2.7 million for his efforts at TPC Sawgrass, the largest winner’s check on the PGA Tour.

Westwood, who got off to a disastrous start by playing his first eight holes at 2-over, had a chance to force a playoff but made par on the par-5 16th and three-putted No. 17. He managed to birdie his last hole to shoot even par and finish alone in second.

DeChambeau wasn’t much better than his playing partner. He carded an ugly double-bogey on No. 4 and faced an uphill battle from then on. The long hitter eagled No. 16 to give himself an outside chance but ultimately ended up two shots short.

The PGA Tour heads to Palm Beach Gardens, Florida next week for the Honda Classic.

NASCAR: Truex earns 1st victory of 2021 with win at Instacart 500

(AP) — Martin Truex Jr. pulled away in the final laps Sunday at Phoenix Raceway for his first NASCAR Cup Series victory of the season and 28th overall.

Truex beat the four championship finalists from last year. He had failed to advance into the season-ending finale for the first time in four years and could only watch as Chase Elliott beat Joey Logano, Denny Hamlin, and Brad Keselowski for the title at the desert oval. All four tailed Truex across the finish line.

Phoenix Raceway will again host the championship race in November.

“To come here and win this, I wish it was November,” Truex said. “Hopefully, we can come back in November and have a shot at the championship.”

The 40-year-old Truex struggled earlier this year, finishing 25th at Daytona. But he’s raced much better in recent weeks, finishing third at Homestead and sixth at Las Vegas last week.

He was dominant during the final half Sunday and became the first driver from last year’s 16-car playoff field to qualify for the postseason. Truex blew past Logano on the final restart with 25 laps remaining and was never challenged again.

It was a good day for Toyota and Joe Gibbs Racing, which had the winner in Truex and Hamlin in the third spot.

Kyle Larson — who raced to his first victory with Hendrick Motorsports last week in Las Vegas — had to start at the back of the field after a pre-race inspection failure. He worked his way back to the front and briefly led about halfway through the race.

But soon after he made a critical error, getting flagged for speeding on pit road. He had to pass through pit road as a penalty, causing him to fall to the back of the lead lap in 22nd place. He finished seventh.

Logano — who led 143 laps — won the second stage after leading the final 35 laps during a long stretch of green-flag racing. But he couldn’t hold back Truex, who won his ninth race with Joe Gibbs Racing.

Hamlin was fast early in the race, leading for 31 laps until the competition caution midway through the first stage. But he fell back a few spots after a pit stop that allowed Ryan Blaney a window to get to the front of the field. Blaney won the 75-lap first stage after leading 35 laps.

FANS IN STANDS

Truex enjoyed getting the win in front of some fans in Phoenix. The track allowed about 20% of the grandstand to be filled. Phoenix was the site of the last “normal” race last March before COVID-19 shut down the sport for about two months.

“Most we’ve seen in a while and the more the merrier. We love having them, we miss seeing them, we miss seeing them in the infield, we miss pre-race, we miss practice, we miss qualifying just like everyone else,” Truex said.

NOTES

Six drivers — three from Hendrick Motorsports — had to start at the back of the field, including Elliott, William Byron, Larson, Cody Ware, Quinn Houff, and Garrett Smithley. Larson, Byron, and Ware went to back because of pre-race inspection failures, Elliott and Houff had unapproved adjustments and Smithley was a replacement driver. … Lyn St. James was the honorary starter. St. James is one of just nine women to qualify for the Indianapolis 500.

UP NEXT

NASCAR makes the long trip across the country for a race at Atlanta Motor Speedway next weekend. Kevin Harvick won at the track last season.

INDIANA BASEBALL: Indiana Completes Four Game Sweep of Penn State

(IU RELEASE)

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – The Indiana University baseball team completed the four-game sweep of Penn State, 2-1, at Bart Kaufman Field in Bloomington, Ind. on Sunday afternoon.

The Hoosiers have won seven-straight games, pushing the team’s record to 7-1 on the season overall and in Big Ten play. Penn State fell to 2-6 on the year and in league play.

KEY MOMENTS

• The Hoosiers took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the third inning on an RBI fielder’s choice off the bat of INF Paul Toetz.

• RHP Gabe Bierman notched the quality start for the Hoosiers, tossing six, one-hit innings. He allowed just one earned run and struck out six.

• With the game tied at 1-1 and runners at the corners, INF Jeremy Houston laid down a great bunt on the squeeze play, scoring the runner from third to give IU the one-run lead.

• Out of the bullpen, RHP John Modugno (1-0) earned the win, pitching 1.2 innings of relief. He allowed no runs on just one hit with one strikeout.

• RHP Matt Litwicki earned his second save of the season, recording the final four outs of the game. He didn’t allow a baserunner while striking out a pair.

NOTABLES

• The four-game sweep is the first for Indiana in a Big Ten series since taking all four from Michigan State on May 15-17, 2008.

• The sweep is the first of a Big Ten opponent for IU since a three-game series against Rutgers on May 16-18, 2019.

• OF Drew Ashley extended his on-base streak to 33-games dating back to the 2019 season with a single in the bottom of the third inning.

• INF Brennan Rowe made his collegiate debut and recorded his first hit in his first at-bat, a single to center in the bottom of the third.

UP NEXT

• The Indiana Hoosiers will host the Purdue Boilermakers for a three-game series starting on Friday, Mar. 19 at Bart Kaufman Field in Bloomington, Ind.

INDIANA BASEBALL: Richardson’s Walk-Off Homer Leads Hoosiers Past Penn State

(IU RELEASE)

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – The Indiana University baseball team earned a dramatic, come-from-behind victory over Penn State, 6-5, in seven innings on Sunday afternoon at Bart Kaufman Field in Bloomington, Ind.

With the team’s sixth-straight win, the Hoosiers improve to 6-1 on the season and in Big Ten play. Penn State falls to 2-5 on the year and in league play.

KEY MOMENTS

• After a two-out walk and stolen base from INF Cole Barr in the bottom of the first, INF Paul Toetz plated the game’s first run with an RBI single up the middle to give IU an early lead.

• Down 5-1 in the bottom of the fifth, INF Grant Macciocchi blasted his first home run as a Hoosier, hitting an 0-2 offering out of Bart Kaufman Field over the bullpen in left field.

• Three batters later after a strikeout and the second double of the day from Richardson, Barr notched another RBI with a single through the left side to cut the PSU lead to 5-3.

• In the bottom of the seventh, Macciocchi earned a one-out walk and was joined on base after DH Drew Ashley singled to right to bring the winning run to the plate.

• On an 0-1 count, Richardson hit a towering shot over the fence in left field, winning the game with his second homer of the season, a three-run shot.

• RHP Connor Manous (1-0) earned his first win of the season out of the bullpen. The right hander tossed 2.1 shutout innings, striking out three while not surrendering a hit.

NOTABLES

• The walk-off homer was the first for the Hoosiers since Matt Lloyd’s winner against Minnesota on Apr. 27, 2018.

• Ashley extended his on-base streak to 32-games dating back to the 2019 season with a single to right field in the bottom of the seventh inning.

UP NEXT

• The Indiana Hoosiers will host the Purdue Boilermakers for a three-game series starting on Friday, Mar. 19 at Bart Kaufman Field in Bloomington, Ind.

INDIANA GOLF: Hoosiers Tied for Fifth After First Round of General Hackler Championship

(IU RELEASE)

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. – Indiana men’s golf ended the first round of the General Hackler Championship tied for fifth place after a strong performance on the back nine on Sunday at the Dune Golf & Beach Club. The Hoosiers are led by freshman Drew Salyers, who carded a 3-under-par 69 to sit in a tie for 11th place.

TOURNAMENT INFORMATION

General Hackler Championship • Myrtle Beach, S.C.

The Dunes Golf & Beach Club

Par 72 • 7,233

Live Scoring via Golfstat

Team standing: T5th/ 15 Teams • 284 (-4)

CHIP-INS

• The teams began on split tees, going off No. 1 and No. 10. Indiana started on No. 1.

• Four of the five in the Indiana lineup shot better on the back nine.

• Freshman Drew Salyers turned in the second-best round of his young career, carding a 3-under-par 69 on Sunday to end the day tied for 11th place. He already owns the best round for anyone on the team this year as he shot a 68 in the final round of the Mobile Bay Intercollegiate. Salyers collected three birdies and birdied or parred every hole but one. He was strongest on the back nine as he shot 2-under.

• Ethan Shepherd was also strongest on the back nine, as he shot 2-under to finish the round tied for 16th. Shepherd had four total birdies on the day.

• Harry Reynolds is tied for 34th place after carding an even-72. After shooting a 1-over-37, he improved by two strokes on the back nine. Reynolds had four birdies on Sunday.

• Senior Mitch Davis and freshman Clay Merchant are both tied for 47th after carding a 1-over 73. Davis ran in to some trouble with a double bogey on No. 2, but recovered nicely with the aid of four birdies. Merchent was even at the turn, before carding a 1-over on the back nine.

INDIANA CROSS COUNTRY: Hoosiers Set For Season Finale At NCAA Cross Country Championships

(IU RELEASE)

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Indiana Cross Country will conclude its shortened season at NCAA Cross Country National Championships on Monday Mar. 15. The women’s 6k is set for 12:50 p.m. ET while the men’s 10k will go off at approximately 1:40 p.m. ET.

The championships will be held in Stillwater, Okla. at the OSU Cross Country Course. The meet is hosted by Oklahoma State and the NCAA has limited the number of spectators that can attend. More information can be found here.

New this season, the NCAA Championships will broadcast live on ESPNU. Coverage of the championship races will begin at 12:30 p.m. ET

For the second straight season Bailey Hertenstein was the runner-up of the women’s 6k at the Big Ten Championships that were ran in January. She ran a time of 20:15.2 to lead all Indiana runners. Sarah Schmitt was the second Hoosier over the finish line as she placed 10th in a time of 20:46.5. Hertenstein earned All-Big Ten first team honors while Schmitt received second team accolades.

The Indiana men saw five Hoosiers in the top-15 as they crossed the finish line. Three Hoosiers finished eighth through 10th as Ben Veatch led the way with an eighth place finish in a time of 24:18.2. It was Matthew Schadler in ninth with a time of 24:19.1 while Jake Gebhardt crossed tenth and secured a time of 24:20.5. Arjun Jha placed 11th overall and fourth in the Indiana lineup with a time of 24:21.6. Skylar Stidam rounded out the top-15 by placing 13th in a time of 24:22.9. All five Indiana runners took home All-Big Ten Second Team honors.

During the 2019 NCAA Cross Country Championships, Hertenstein battled back after a fall to claim All-American honors. The men finished in 13th as a team while the women came in 19th.

INDIANA SOFTBALL: Benson Plays Hero In Extra Innings To Lift Hoosiers Over Rutgers

(IU RELEASE)

LEESBURG, Fla. –  A walk-off double from freshman Brooke Benson in the 11th inning lifted Indiana Softball (7-5, 7-5 Big Ten) over Rutgers (2-10, 2-10 Big Ten) on Sunday afternoon,6-5, to complete to three-game series sweep over the Scarlet Knights. Gabbi Jenkins came up with a clutch steal at home to tie the game through 10 innings. 

KEY MOMENTS

• With one on, Emily Goodin finished the first inning strong with two straight strikeouts to strand the Rutgers runner on first.

• Following a hit-by-pitch for Jenkins in the bottom of the first, she picked up where she left off on Saturday night and stole second to get in scoring position. A RBI single by Hannah Davis plated Jenkins for the first run of the ball game.

• Pinch running for H. Davis, Juvia Davis stole second and third before Bella Norton knocked a sacrifice fly to left field that plated J. Davis. The Hoosiers took a 2-0 lead at the end of the frame.

• Rutgers tied the game in the fifth by loading the bases with one out. Norton came up with a clutch catch from Lacefield to get the second out and keep the game tied. A walk by Goodin brought another run across home late and the lead shifted 3-2 Scarlet Knights.

• Taylor Lambert beat out a single to third base to start the bottom half of the fifth. Lambert got in scoring position by stealing second. H. Davis reached first on a fielding error and Lambert advanced to third, putting runners on the corners. H. Davis stole second prior to Norton laying down a RBI bunt and was able to reach on a fielder’s choice.

• With game tied up at 3-3, H. Davis scored on a wild pitch to put Hoosiers up 4-3 with just one inning remaining.

• The Scarlet Knights bats came alive with a two out double to left field. A throwing error tied the game at 4-4. Indiana and Rutgers headed to extras.

• Getting out of a pinch in the eighth, Annika Baez laid down a sacrifice bunt that advanced Macy Montgomery to third. Brooke Benson doubled to the third baseman which kept Montgomery on base, but two foul outs ended the inning.

• Rutgers pulled ahead 5-4 in the ninth, but Jenkins continued her clutch base stealing by taking the third base bag. Needing a run to extend the ball game with two outs, Jenkins made a dash for home plate and was called safe to tie the game at 5-5.

• The Hoosiers retired the side once again in the 11th and they were now down to their final three outs.

• Benson hit the walk-off double in the bottom of the frame to bring Grace Lorsung home for the Indiana victory, 5-4.

NOTABLES

• Freshman Brooke Benson came up with her first walk-off of her career with a double down the left field line in the 11th inning. Benson ended the day with a team-leading two hits and one RBI.

• Bella Norton led the Hoosiers in RBI with two. Norton also recorded a hit.

• Gabbi Jenkins picked up another three stolen bases, including a steal of home which tied the game in the 10th inning. Jenkins now has 12 on the year and this is the third-straight game she has stolen at least one bag.

• Aaliyah Andrews, Benson, Hannah Davis, Taylor Lambert, Grace Lorsung, and Norton recorded hits for Indiana on Sunday afternoon.

• Emily Goodin went 6.2 innings, allowing three runs on four hits and tallied six strikeouts on the day. Goodin is now 5-4 on the year.

• Amber Linton pitched 4.1 innings in the circle, tallying a strikeout and two runs on three hits.

• 11 innings is the longest the Hoosiers have gone this season. The 11 was also the longest since Apr. 21, 2019 when Indiana went 13 innings in a 4-3 loss to Wisconsin. 

UP NEXT

Indiana will take next weekend off before hosting their first home stand of the 2021 season where they face Michigan Mar. 26 through Mar. 28. A single game will be played on Friday at 4 p.m. followed by double header on Saturday beginning at 12 p.m.. The series finale is also slated for a 12 p.m. on Sunday. 

PURDUE BASEBALL: Nisle Homers Again but 3-Run Innings Not Enough vs. Michigan

(PURDUE RELEASE)

GREENVILLE, S.C. – Ben Nisle homered for the second day in a row, connecting for a three-run blast that doubled as his 100th career hit, but No. 19 Michigan scored the final nine runs of the game to rally past Purdue baseball 11-6 Sunday in the finale of a four-game series.

The Boilermakers (1-7) scored three times in the third and fifth innings to build a 6-2 lead. But the Wolverines (7-1) strung together two walks and four hits in the bottom of the fifth to seize back the momentum with a five-run frame. Jake Marti’s two-out, two-run single – which took a big hop over sliding second baseman Evan Albrecht – plated the game-tying and go-ahead tallies.

Joe Pace struck out five of the eight batters he faced, including the side in order in the sixth inning. While Purdue’s bullpen was unable to stabilize the action until it was too late, Pace (1-0) led the way as Michigan relievers finished the game by posting four consecutive zeros.

The Boilermakers loaded the bases with two outs in the third inning and then capitalized on U-M’s wildness, all three run scoring with Nisle at the plate before he put the ball in play. Skyler Hunter scored on a wild pitch. Moments later, a passed ball allowed Albrecht to score. Miles Simington also raced down the line after the Michigan catcher threw the ball into no man’s on the left side of the infield. The Wolverines recovered in time to be in position to tag out Simington at the plate, but the ball popped free from the pitcher’s glove as Simington slid into the plate.

Tyler Powers singled to open the fifth inning. He and Simington were aboard when Nisle homered over the mini Green Monster in left field for the second time in the series. Kyle LaPlante followed with a double and Purdue loaded the bases via a pair of walks but could not cash in for additional runs.

Walks to Michigan’s No. 3 and 5 hitters ignited the rally in the bottom half of the frame, setting the stage for the 6-7-8 hitters to deliver the big hits. Nolan Daniel (0-1) recorded a big strikeout with runners on second and third for the second out of the inning, but he was unable to win his matchup with Marti.

Jett Jackson once again recorded more strikeouts (5) than hits allowed (2). He struck out the side in the first inning, but also gave up a solo home run. The only other hit he surrendered was of the infield variety to the final batter he faced in the bottom of the fourth. He was lifted after 82 pitches and 15 batters faced, retiring nine of them.

The Boilermakers return to action Friday when they begin a three-game series at rival Indiana. First pitch at Bart Kaufman Field is set for 3 p.m. ET. It will be Purdue’s seventh trip to Bloomington since IU’s stadium opened in 2013.

SUNDAY NOTABLES

• Ben Nisle homered for the second day in a row, going deep in consecutive games for the second time as a Boilermaker (first since March 2018). He finished the series 6-for-15 with four extra-base hits and did not strikeout in any of his 16 plate appearances.

• Skyler Hunter drew a career-high three walks, extending his reached base safely streak in Big Ten play to 14 consecutive games. He also recorded his second outfield assist of the series. The center fielder threw out a runner at third base on a fly out in the fourth inning, registering his ninth career outfield assist. It proved to be a key out because an RBI double followed. Meanwhile, Hunter has more walks (7) than strikeouts (6) over the first eight games. Entering the season, the switch-hitter had drawn just 51 walks in 177 career games.

• Miles Simington singled in his first at-bat to extend his hit streak to nine consecutive games dating back to finale of the 2020 season. He finished the series 5-for-14. Evan Albrecht (4-for-15) and Nisle also hit safely in all four games of the series.

• Landon Weins retired all five batters he pitched to, striking out U-M’s No. 5 and 6 hitters with the bases loaded after an intentional walk in the seventh inning. He followed that up with a 1-2-3 frame in the bottom of the eighth.

• Catcher Steve Ramirez threw out base stealers at both second and third base but was only credited with one caught stealing. He teamed up with pitcher Nick Alvarado and second baseman Evan Albrecht for a strike ’em out throw ’em out double play to end the sixth inning. Albrecht made an impressive pick and tag at the bag. Ramirez also cut down a runner at third to end the first inning, but the home plate umpire eventually ruled that the pitch was strike three to the batter.

• Purdue scored more runs Sunday than it had in its previous six games combined. Nine of the team’s 17 tallies over the first eight games have been scored as part of three-run innings. The Boilermakers held the lead Sunday for the first time since the ninth inning walk-off to finish their season-opening victory. Purdue pitchers had gone 55 consecutive innings without working with a lead.

• The Boilermakers were dealt the toughest draw in the league over the first three weekends of in the Big Ten’s conference-only schedule. Purdue’s first three opponents – Nebraska (5-2), Michigan (7-1) and Indiana (6-1) – are a combined 18-4 as the Huskers and Hoosiers were finishing games Sunday.

PURDUE SOFTBALL: Purdue Falls in Florida Finale

(PURDUE RELEASE)

LEESBURG, Fla. – Despite a home run by Rachel Becker in the fifth inning, Purdue softball (4-8) could not overcome a three-run deficit created in the second inning by Nebraska (6-6). With the 3-1 outcome, the Boilermakers close out the Big Ten bubble tournament in Leesburg, Florida.

The day was highlighted by Rachel Becker’s first home run of the season and second of her career.

As a team, Purdue recorded six hits and 21 putouts, including four double plays. In the circle, senior Sydney Bates recorded her second loss of the season after pitching 6.1 innings of work and tossing two strikeouts.

The Boilermakers most dangerous opportunity came in the bottom of the first after loading the bases with just one out on the board, however the Nebraska defense was adamant, keeping the Purdue from capitalizing on their chance to get out to an early lead.

Up Next

Purdue is set to host its first home series for the first time since April 28, 2019. Purdue will face Iowa in a four-game series beginning March 26-28.

BUTLER BASEBALL: Purdue Fort Wayne Holds Off Butler 9-6

(BUTLER RELEASE)

INDIANAPOLIS – The Purdue Fort Wayne Mastodons won the weekend series against Butler by posting a 9-6 victory at Bulldog Park on Sunday afternoon. BU got home runs from James Gargano and Freddie Matos in the getaway game, but a five-run fourth inning from the visitors proved to be the difference in the outcome.

Gargano led off the game for Butler with a bomb over the wall in left field to cut into the 2-0 deficit the ‘Dawgs faced after the top half of the inning. PFW scored two in the first, one in the second and five in the fourth to build their lead. Butler got two runs back in the fourth off singles from Kollyn All and Matt McElwain. Matos hit his two-run home run in the seventh and Aaron Steinhart would score Nick Ortega in the eighth for the final run of the game.

The win went to Jacob Myer (2-0) while the loss was pinned on Jon Vore (0-1). Myer threw 6.1 innings and struck out three. The Mastodons would use two other arms in relief before handing the ball off to Ryan Robison for the four-out save (3).

Joe Graziano, Cory Bosecker, Alex Voss and John MacCauley all touched the rubber for BU. Voss had two great innings out of the pen. He struck out three and only allowed one hit.

Butler will get back to work next weekend with a three-game series at Evansville.

NOTRE DAME BASEBALL: LONG BALL LEADS NO. 25 IRISH TO SERIES SWEEP OVER NO. 21 VIRGINIA

(NOTRE DAME RELEASE)

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — The 25th-ranked Notre Dame baseball team used the long ball once again Sunday afternoon as they finished off the series sweep with an 8-3 win over No. 21 Virginia at Disharoon Park. With the win, the Irish won their fifth-straight game and their seventh of the last nine to begin the season.

“So proud of our team this weekend,” said head coach Link Jarrett. “I thought all phases of our game were well played. Kavadas three-run home run in the first was a great momentum builder following two good at-bats by Putz and Miller.”

For the second time in the series, the Irish (7-2, 7-2 ACC) belted three home runs in a game. Niko Kavadas and Jared Miller hit their second long balls of the series while Zack Prajzner hit his first of the season. The Irish finished the day with 16 hits, the most in a game since May 14, 2019 against Northwestern.

“Tyell was very solid in the middle of the game and Kohlhepp did exactly what we knew he could do to finish the game,” said Jarrett. “It was a powerful performance. Good to see Prajzner with a home run and another base hit. I am proud of how hard we battled all weekend.”

On the mound, the Irish used a three-pitcher combo to hold the Cavaliers (7-8, 2-7 ACC) to the lowest run total of the series. Aidan Tyrell picked up his first career win while Tanner Kohlhepp earned his first save with the Irish. Kohlhepp tossed 4.2 innings of scoreless relief while allowing just two hits.

HOW IT HAPPENED

For the fifth time this season, Notre Dame started the game with runs in the first inning to grab an early lead. Back-to-back hits by Carter Putz and Miller gave Kavadas two runners in scoring position. He took a fastball the other way that cleared the wall in left for his second home run of the series and fifth of the season. With the blast, Notre Dame held a 3-0 advantage after the first frame.

The Cavaliers got two runs back in the third inning and had two runners in scoring position. Tyrell came on from the pen and was able to get out of the inning without giving up the lead.

Notre Dame was able to get those two runs back in the top half of the fifth inning. Back-to-back hits to start the inning got runners on the corners for Kavadas. He sent a fly ball to the warning track in right that was caught but plenty deep to score Putz from third. With two away, Brooks Coetzee singled through the right side to score Miller and put the Irish back up by three at 5-2.

The Cavaliers chipped away in the fifth, scoring a run and put two runners in scoring position with two outs. Kohlhepp was on from the pen and he induced a fly out to right to limit the damage to just one run and kept the Irish in front.

Just as they have done most of the series, the Irish got the run back and it was the long ball once again. On the first pitch of the seventh inning, Miller crushed his second home run of the series over the wall in center and the Irish held a three-run advantage once again.

The Irish added another run in the eighth off another solo home run. Just like Miller in the seventh, Prajzner took the first pitch of the eighth inning over the wall in center for the solo blast. It is his first home run of the season and the third of the game for the Irish.

One more insurance run in the ninth for the Irish as Coetzee delivered another two-out hit, this time to score David LaManna.

STATS OF THE GAME

Notre Dame hit three home runs for the second time in the series

Niko Kavadas belted his second home run of the series and fifth of the season.

Jared Miller also hit his second home run of the series and third of the season. Miller also tied a career high with four hits.

Zack Prajzner recorded his first home run of the season.

Carter Putz tied a career high with three hits.

UP NEXT

The Irish return to campus and prepare for their first home game since May of 2019. They will open the 2021 home slate with a three-game series against the Duke Blue Devils on Friday, March 19 at Frank Eck Stadium. Friday and Saturday’s game will be broadcast on ACC Network Extra while Sunday’s game will be aired on the ACC Network.

NOTRE DAME HOCKEY: IRISH FALL IN B1G QUARTERS

(ND RELEASE)

NOTRE DAME, Ind. — The Fighting Irish dropped a 6-3 contest to Penn State in game one of the 2021 Big Ten Tournament on Sunday afternoon at the Compton Family Ice Arena.

Colin Theisen and Jesse Lansdell staked the Irish to a 2-0 lead early in the first period but led by Connor McMenamin’s two goals, the Nittany Lions responded with three goals in the second period and held on for the win.

Ryder Rolston scored his first career goal for the Irish late midway through the third period.

Notre Dame (14-13-2) went 2-for-3 on the power play, while Penn State was 1-for-3.

In net, Dylan St. Cyr made 33 saves, as did Oskar Autio for the Nittany Lions.

Notre Dame sits on the NCAA bubble and the NCAA Division I Men’s Ice Hockey Championship bracket will be announced on Sunday, March 21 at 7 p.m. EST on ESPNU.

How It Happened

The Irish started fast, with Colin Theisen opening the scoring at 2:10 of the first period while the Irish were on the power play and then Jesse Lansdell making it a 2-0 game just 31 seconds later.

Theisen put back a rebound on the doorstep following an Alex Steeves shot, with Landon Slaggert earning the second assist on the play.

Lansdell made a quick deke to get to the slot and finished with a backhander high past Autio for his fourth goal of the season and his second in as many games.

With just 1:08 left in the first Christian Sarlo got the visitors on the board to make it a 2-1 game after one. 

Connor McMenamin then tied it up, 2-2, at 3:19 of the second. McMenamin netted his second of the period at 10:10 before Tim Doherty made it a 4-2 game at 14:55 of the second.

Theisen had a chance down low early in the third, but his shot was sticked aside.

At 8:20 of the third Chase McClane extended Penn State’s lead to 5-2.

The Irish got one back when Ryder Rolston tapped in his first career goal following an end to end rush and pass by Jake Pivonka with 7:04 remaining. The power play tally came with St. Cyr pulled for the extra attacker as well.

Notre Dame continued to mount pressure with St. Cyr pulled, but was unable to get within one before Chase McLane netted an empty-netter in the final minute.

Notes

Senior Matt Hellickson skated in his 146th-consecutive game, dating back to the first game of his freshman season.

With an assist, Alex Steeves extended his point streak to seven games (5-5-10).

Steeves has now posted at least one point in 22 of 29 games this year.

With an assist, Landon Slaggert extended his point streak to seven games (3-7-10).

VALPO BASEBALL: Valpo Falls on Sunday, Splits Weekend Series

(VALPO RELEASE)

The Valparaiso University baseball team’s bullpen did a quality job of keeping the squad within striking distance, but a four-run first inning for Middle Tennessee State held up as the Blue Raiders collected a 5-0 victory in Murfreesboro, Tenn. on Sunday afternoon. The hosts salvaged a split in the weekend series after Valpo swept Saturday’s doubleheader.

How It Happened

The first three batters reached for Middle Tennessee, and Easton Rhodehouse (Gilbert, Ariz. / Highland) was summoned from the bullpen in a challenging spot with the bases juiced and nobody out in the bottom of the first.

All three inherited runners came around to score, and by the time the third out of the frame was recorded, the Blue Raiders held a 4-0 edge.

When given the chance to start a clean frame, Rhodehouse bounced back to work a scoreless second. His exit gave way for Nathan Chasey (Ames, Iowa / Gilbert [Indian-Hills CC]), who worked three shutout frames while scattering three hits, issuing one walk and striking out five.

Nolan Lebamoff (Fort Wayne, Ind. / Carroll [Kankakee CC]) yielded a single tally over his two innings, then Alex Rodriguez (Bourbonnais, Ill. / Bradley-Bourbonnais) flipped a scoreless bottom of the eighth in his second collegiate appearance.

While Valpo pitching and defense settled in after the shaky start, the offense was held in check throughout the day. Middle Tennessee starter Zach Keenan permitted just three hits over eight scoreless frames while striking out 11 and walking none. Valpo had just four hits for the contest and Blue Raider pitching issued no walks.

Inside the Game

Valpo was shut out for the first time this season as each team recorded a whitewash in this series with those games decided by identical scores of 5-0. This marked the first time Valpo was held off the scoreboard since March 8, 2020 at Georgia Southern.

All four Valpo hits were singles.

Chasey extended his scoreless streak to six innings over four appearances as he has not permitted a run this season. The right-handed junior college transfer has allowed just five hits and one walk while striking out 11.

Valpo pitching allowed five runs or fewer in all four games of the weekend series and has done so in seven out of 10 games so far this season.

Up Next

Valpo (3-7) will continue its tour of Conference USA this coming weekend with a visit to Bowling Green, Ky. to take on Western Kentucky. The three-game series is slated to begin at 5 p.m. on Friday.  

MIAMI BASEBALL: RedHawks Fall at Memphis, 4-2

(MIAMI RELEASE)

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Miami University baseball team wrapped up its three-game series with the University of Memphis Tigers. The RedHawks (7-7) fell 4-2 to the Tigers (6-7) as Memphis took the Sunday victory.

HOW IT HAPPENED:

In the bottom of the fourth, the Tigers scored twice, taking a 2-0 lead.

In the top of the fifth, Brian Zapp hit a solo shot to left field, cutting the RedHawk deficit in half to make it 2-1.

In the bottom of the sixth, the Tigers homered to go back up by two runs. They also scored in the bottom of the seventh to take a 4-1 lead.

Nate Stone doubled in the ninth inning, eventually scoring on a groundout to give the RedHawks a scoring play to end the game.

GAME NOTES:

Will Vogelgesang was 2-for-3 with a pair of singles, continuing his strong weekend.

Zapp went 1-for-4 with a solo home run, cutting the Tiger lead in half in the fifth inning.

Tyler Bosma pitched five innings, striking out seven while allowing just two runs.

Stone was 1-for-3 with a double and a walk while scoring the team’s second run.

WHAT’S NEXT:

The RedHawks have their home opener on March 19 at 5 p.m., facing off against the University of Toledo. This will also be the RedHawks’ first MAC game of the season.

OHIO STATE MEN’S HOCKEY: BUCKEYES FALL TO NO. 6/7 WOLVERINES IN B1G TOURNAMENT QUARTERFINALS

(OSU RELEASE)

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State men’s hockey team ended its season with a 4-0 loss to No. 6/7 ranked Michigan in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten Tournament Sunday night in Compton Family Ice Arena in Notre Dame, Ind. The Wolverines, the tournament’s No. 3 seed, advance to take on No. 2 Minnesota Monday.

Against the No. 6 seed Buckeyes (7-19-1), the Wolverines (15-9-1) scored once in both the first (on the power play) and second periods and added a goal early in the third. The Buckeyes had a five minute major power play in the final 10 minutes of regulation but were unable to convert and Michigan scored into an empty net just after the power play expired to extend the lead to four. The Buckeyes put 26 shots on net in the game, with the Wolverines posting 39 shots on goal.

Quoting head coach Steve Rohlik

“I was really proud of these guys. No one knows what this group has gone through. To be here and have the opportunity to play in this tournament; again, I’m just proud of the group and proud of these six seniors. They don’t get enough credit for the footprint they are leaving at Ohio State. They are as important of a class as we’ve had. They were going for four tournaments in a row and we just couldn’t get the job done.”

Ohio State vs. Michigan

In the First … The Wolverines opened the scoring in the final minute of the opening stanza, as Brendan Brisson one-timed a shot on the power play at 19:23. The Wolverines outshot the Buckeyes 13-6 in the stanza.

In the Second … At 11:21 Michigan doubled its lead, as Cam York redirected a Luke Morgan pass from in close. The Wolverines, who had the only power play chance of the period, had the shot advantage, 15-7.

In the Third … At 2:53 the Wolverines took advantage of a change by the Buckeyes that led to an odd-man rush, with Eric Ciccolini finishing the play for a 3-0 UM lead. At 9:57 a Michigan skater was assessed a major for grasping the facemask. The Buckeyes, who skated with the net empty for part of the power play, put seven shots on net during the major but were unable to convert. Ten seconds after the major expired Brendan Brisson scored into the empty net at 15:07 after a turnover. Shots were 13-11 in favor of the Buckeyes in the period and Ohio State had the only power play.

Shots … The Buckeyes were outshot, 39-26, in the game. Tommy Nappier had 35 saves in the Buckeye net, allowing three goals in 58:19. Ohio State had 15 shot blocks, led by Ryan O’Connell and CJ Regula with two each.

Special Teams … Michigan was 1-for-2 on the power play and Ohio State was 0-for-1.

TODAY IN SPORTS HISTORY-1997

The buzzer sounded, an achievement Dean Smith called his “so-called record” was secured and Serge Zwikker took off across the basketball court. An instant after North Carolina’s 73‚56 victory over Colorado today increased Smith’s career total to 877, one more than Adolph Rupp of Kentucky, Zwikker, the Tar Heels’ 7- foot-3-inch center, took the basketball from the hands of a Colorado guard, held it over his head and carried it into history until he was stopped by security. It was the first time the Tar Heels were stopped all day.

North Carolina had advanced to the round of 16 of the National Collegiate Athletic Association tournament for the 15th time in 17 years. It had overcome a first-half groin injury to Vince Carter, its third-leading scorer. It had held Colorado’s dangerous Chauncey Billups to 11 points. It was energized, once more, by Ed Cota, the freshman who has become the latest in Smith’s succession of New York point guards.

Before March 7, Cota had made two 3- point shots this season. He made 2 of 2 today, including one that started a 13‚2 Carolina spurt after Colorado remained within a point early in the second half. With Cota’s calm direction, the Tar Heels continued to move forward until their tallest player started to leave the floor with the historic ball. A tournament official stood in his path. “She wanted the ball pretty bad,” Zwikker said. “She said, “We’re going to give it to him later.’ We said, “We’re going to give it to him now’.”

An achievement even Smith once thought was unreachable this season an opinion that was not disputed when the Tar Heels lost their first three Atlantic Coast Conference games was followed by an understated presentation in a small dressing room. “I just said, “Coach, here’s the ball,'” Zwikker remembered. “He said, “Thank you very much. This ball represents a lot of history.'”

The sense of history tonight could be felt throughout Joel Coliseum. A collection of former Tar Heels, which included stars such as Bobby Jones and role players such as Warren Martin, sat near the Carolina bench. “And there were a lot more who wanted to come,” said Bill Guthridge, Smith’s longtime assistant. “But we couldn’t get tickets for them.” Smith carefully listed nine assistants, from Ken Rosemond and Larry Brown through his current staff members Dave Hammers and Phil Ford. “I’ve named all the assistants,” he said. “I can’t name all the players. I could, but it would take me a while.”

Dean Smith retired in 1997 with a record 879 victories and a 36- year legacy that transcended triumphs and defeats. Because of the coaches and players they trained or taught, he and John Wooden of U.C.L.A. are widely considered the greatest coaches in their sport in the past half-century.

ALSO

1869: The Cincinnati Red Stockings, the first baseball team composed completely of professionals, played their initial game, routing Antioch College, 41‚7. The Red Stockings, paid an average annual salary of $950, and a total payroll of $11,000 finished the year 51‚0‚1.

1991: Sergei Bubka of the Soviet Union became the first athlete to pole vault 20 feet when he cleared 20 feet 1û4 inch in an international meet in San Sebastian, Spain. The vault bettered the world indoor record of 19 feet 111û4 inches he set one month before. He soared to an outdoor record of 20‚13û4 in 1994.

1970: Bobby Orr of the Boston Bruins became the first defenseman in the N.H.L. to score 100 points in a season when he collected two goals and two assists in a 5‚5 tie against the Detroit Red Wings at Boston Garden. Orr changed the game by becoming the first truly offensive-minded defenseman. He led the league in scoring twice, which was unprecedented for a back-of-the-ice player.

TODAY IN BASEBALL HISTORY

1945       Former minor leaguer Bert Shepard, who had his right leg amputated after the Germans gunned down his fighter plane east of Hamburg on his 34th mission as a WW II P-38 fighter pilot, begins a successful tryout with the Senators. Although the southpaw will pitch in only one game for Washington, the retired Army Air Force pilot will hurl an impressive five and one-third innings of one-run ball against the Red Sox in August, striking out the first batter he faces and giving up just three hits.

1960       The Southern Association announces the New Orleans Pelicans, for the first time since 1901, will not be part of the Double-A circuit. The franchise, a minor league affiliate of the Yankees in 1958, will be replaced by the Little Rock Travelers.

1971       Bernice Gera files a civil rights suit against MLB when her contract to umpire in the New York-Penn League becomes void after six days without an explanation. In an eventual landmark 5-2 decision, the New York Court of Appeals will uphold a previous court’s ruling, agreeing with the 39 year-old housewife’s contention that she had been discriminated against unlawfully.

1974       In Yuma (AZ), Ron Bryant, a twenty-four-game-winner for the Giants last year, is hurt in a pool accident during spring training. The promising southpaw’s record will drop to 3-15 this season, and the Redlands, California native’s career will end in 1975 after a brief 0-1 stint with St. Louis.

1975       The Dodgers sign their once arch-nemesis Juan Marichal as a free agent. After two-regular season outings that include a loss to Cincinnati, the former San Francisco superstar and future Hall of Famer will retire in mid-April.

1977       In a nine-player spring training swap with Pittsburgh, the A’s send Phil Garner, Chris Batton, and Tommy Helms to the Pirates for Tony Armas, Mitchell Page, and four pitchers, including Doc Medich and Dave Giusti. Pittsburgh’s acquisition of infielder Phil Garner, the key player in the deal, will move a very disappointed Bill Robinson back into a utility role after he worked all winter to get ready to be the team’s everyday third baseman.

1999       The Yankees name Don Zimmer as the club’s interim manager while Joe Torre receives prostate cancer treatments. The team’s bench coach compiled an 885-858 (.508) record during his managerial stints with San Diego, Boston, Texas, and Chicago.

2000       In spring training action, six Red Sox pitchers combine for a perfect game, beating the Blue Jays in Fort Myers, 5-0. Boston starter Pedro Martinez pitched the first three innings, Fernando De La Cruz tossed the next two frames, with Dan Smith, Rheal Cormier, Rich Garces, and Rod Beck all going one inning apiece.

2008       In front of 12,224 fans, a near-sellout at the new Olympic venue in Beijing, the Dodgers and the Padres played to a 3-3 tie in the first major league game ever played in mainland China. In the seventh inning, the crowd hears “Take Me Out to the Ballgame,” but not knowing the lyrics, listens without singing.

2008       Five days after unilaterally renewing his contract for the upcoming season, the Pirates sign Ian Snell (9-12, 3.76) to a three-year deal reported to be worth $8 million. The 26 year-old right-hander, eligible for salary arbitration after the 2009 season, has compiled a 24-26 record with the struggling ball club over the past three seasons.

2012       The website Baseball-Reference.com opts to leave a blank space next to 2011 on its National League MVP list instead of identifying Ryan Braun as the award’s winner. The Brewers outfielder, who received a 50-game suspension scheduled to the start of the 2012 season, became the first player to successfully challenge a drug test result when an arbitration panel overturned the ruling due to the improper handling of the specimen taken last Fall.

2014       The Yankees begin a two-game spring training series against the Marlins at Rod Carew Stadium in Panama to honor Mariano Rivera’s legacy, a native of the nearby fishing village of Puerto Caimito. The contests are the first to be played in the isthmus nation by major league teams since the Bronx Bombers faced the Dodgers in exhibition games in 1947.

NBA STANDINGS

Eastern Conference
Atlantic Division
 WLPctGBHomeRoadDivConfLast 10Streak
Philadelphia2712.69217-310-96-220-68-25 W
Brooklyn2613.6671.015-611-74-213-99-14 W
Boston2018.5266.512-58-133-514-116-41 W
New York2019.5137.011-79-121-313-116-41 W
Toronto1722.43610.08-99-133-512-143-75 L
 
Central Divison
 WLPctGBHomeRoadDivConfLast 10Streak
Milwaukee2414.63215-59-98-014-78-23 W
Indiana1720.4596.57-1110-94-210-113-71 W
Chicago1720.4596.58-139-72-28-105-51 W
Cleveland1424.36810.09-105-142-510-114-63 L
Detroit1028.26314.06-104-180-77-172-83 L
 
Southeast Division
 WLPctGBHomeRoadDivConfLast 10Streak
Miami2118.53811-810-105-412-129-14 W
Charlotte1918.5141.011-88-105-111-96-43 W
Atlanta1920.4872.010-99-113-313-127-35 W
Washington1423.3786.07-127-111-65-164-63 L
Orlando1326.3338.08-135-134-49-152-88 L
 
Western Conference
Northwest Division
 WLPctGBHomeRoadDivConfLast 10Streak
Utah2810.73716-212-83-213-65-51 L
Denver2216.5796.09-813-87-114-107-31 L
Portland2216.5796.011-711-93-412-114-61 L
Oklahoma City1722.43611.58-129-102-69-166-41 W
Minnesota930.23119.55-144-163-56-162-81 W
 
Pacific Division
 WLPctGBHomeRoadDivConfLast 10Streak
Phoenix2512.67612-713-54-216-78-21 L
LA Lakers2513.6580.512-813-51-417-84-61 W
LA Clippers2515.6251.513-612-96-215-84-61 L
Golden State2019.5136.013-67-133-510-114-61 W
Sacramento1523.39510.59-126-113-48-113-71 L
 
Southwest Division
 WLPctGBHomeRoadDivConfLast 10Streak
San Antonio1916.54310-109-64-612-145-51 L
Dallas2017.54110-810-95-111-117-31 W
Memphis1718.4862.08-129-63-58-124-62 L
New Orleans1722.4364.012-105-124-39-145-52 W
Houston1126.2979.05-116-154-58-130-1016 L

NHL STANDINGS

East
 GPWLOTLPtsROWGFGAHomeRoadL10
New York Islanders2919644217866412-0-27-6-29-0-1
Washington Capitals271764381594878-3-29-3-28-1-1
Pittsburgh Penguins2717913514897911-2-06-7-17-3-0
Boston Bruins251474321270607-3-17-4-34-4-2
Philadelphia Flyers251393291283837-5-26-4-15-5-0
New York Rangers2611123251072715-6-26-6-15-5-0
New Jersey Devils25813420862822-10-26-3-21-7-2
Buffalo Sabres26616416458882-9-24-7-20-8-2
 
West
 GPWLOTLPtsROWGFGAHomeRoadL10
Vegas Golden Knights2518613718835610-2-18-4-08-2-0
Minnesota Wild261781351783649-3-08-5-17-2-1
Colorado Avalanche261682341678609-4-17-4-17-2-1
St. Louis Blues281495331388924-7-310-2-24-3-3
Los Angeles Kings2711106281079784-3-47-7-23-4-3
Arizona Coyotes2812124281070857-7-35-5-14-5-1
San Jose Sharks251111325775893-5-18-6-25-4-1
Anaheim Ducks29815622763954-10-34-5-32-5-3
 
North
 GPWLOTLPtsROWGFGAHomeRoadL10
Toronto Maple Leafs30199240191027910-5-19-4-15-5-0
Winnipeg Jets271782361791789-4-18-4-17-2-1
Edmonton Oilers301812036181008710-8-08-4-06-4-0
Montreal Canadiens271287311286745-5-17-3-63-3-4
Calgary Flames2813123291276827-4-16-8-25-3-2
Vancouver Canucks31131622811861009-7-24-9-05-4-1
Ottawa Senators3110201218831246-6-14-14-04-6-0
 
Central
 GPWLOTLPtsROWGFGAHomeRoadL10
Carolina Hurricanes2720614116956810-1-110-5-08-2-0
Tampa Bay Lightning2619524019976010-1-09-4-28-1-1
Florida Panthers271854401793788-3-310-2-16-2-2
Chicago Blackhawks2914105331289927-4-27-6-35-4-1
Columbus Blue Jackets3011127291080997-5-54-7-23-5-2
Dallas Stars2499624869646-4-43-5-23-5-2
Nashville Predators281116123967967-7-04-9-13-6-1
Detroit Red Wings29817420864975-7-33-10-14-5-1