WOMEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL – NCAA TOURNAMENT

Maryland 100 Alabama 64

Missouri State 64 Wright State 39

Oregon 57 Georgia 50

Indiana 70 Belmont 48

Louisville 62 Northwestern 53

Arizona 52 BYU 46

Texas A&M 84 Iowa State 82 OT

Texas 71 UCLA 62

MEN’S NCAA TOURNAMENT: NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 schedule 

Saturday, March 27 

2:40 p.m.: Midwest (12) Oregon State vs. (8) Loyola Chicago, at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, CBS 

5:15 p.m.: South (5) Villanova vs. (1) Baylor, at Hinkle Fieldhouse, CBS 

7:25 p.m.: South (15) Oral Roberts vs. (3) Arkansas, at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, TBS 

9:55 p.m.: Midwest (11) Syracuse vs. (2) Houston, at Hinkle Fieldhouse, TBS 

Sunday, March 28 

2:10 p.m.: West (5) Creighton vs. (1) Gonzaga, at Hinkle Fieldhouse, CBS 

NBA SCOREBOARD

Indiana 116 Detroit 111

Milwaukee 121 Boston 119

Toronto 135 Denver 111

Cleveland 103 Chicago 94

Charlotte 122 Houston 97

Dallas 128 Minnesota 108

Orlando 112 Phoenix 111

Memphis 116 Oklahoma City 107….DESMOND BANE 3PTS, 3REB, 2ASST

LA Clippers 134 San Antonio 101

Sacramento 110 Atlanta 108

Utah 118 Brooklyn 88

NHL SCOREBOARD

Ottawa 3 Calgary 1

Minnesota 3 Anaheim 2

Pittsburgh 5 Buffalo 2

Winnipeg 5 Vancouver 1

San Jose 4 Los Angeles 2

MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL – SPRING TRAINING

Oakland 14 Chicago White Sox 4

LA Angels 4 Kansas City 2

Colorado 9 Milwaukee 8

Texas 6 Cincinnati 5

Arizona 6 Cleveland 5

Chicago Cubs 6 Seattle 2

San Francisco 7 San Diego 3

Detroit 4 Philadelphia 1

Toronto 5 NY Yankees 0

Pittsburgh 6 Atlanta 3

St. Louis 3 NY Mets 0

Tampa Bay 7 Minnesota 6

Boston 2 Baltimore 0

Houston 11 Washington 8

TOP HEADLINES

HOW SWEET! No. 4 Indiana Advances to Sweet 16 With Win Over No. 12 Belmont

(IU RELEASE)

SAN ANTONIO – No. 4 seeded Indiana Women’s Basketball used another big second half to get past No. 12 seed Belmont, 70-48, at Bill Greehey Arena on Wednesday. The program advances to the Sweet 16 for the first time in program history.

KEY MOMENTS

The lead exchanged hands four times in the opening quarter as sophomore forward Mackenzie Holmes started off the game going 3-for-4 from the field with eight points and helping IU go out on top 15-12.

Indiana (20-5) dominated the second frame, outscoring Belmont 15-6. IU started on an 11-3 run to gain a 10-point lead and forced a Bruins timeout with five minutes left to play in the first half. Out of the huddle, the Hoosiers held Belmont to just two points for the remaining five minutes to take a 30-18 lead at the half.

Coming out of the locker room, Indiana took advantage at the foul line, going 9-for-10 in the third quarter. Berger and senior guard Ali Patberg moved into double figures (11) after hitting a combined 5-of-6 from the line to keep a 10-point lead at the media timeout, 37-27. Off the break, the Hoosiers went on an 8-1 run and led by as many as 18 points in the third.

Indiana kept the foot on the pedal in the fourth as they went on another 6-0 run to start the quarter. Gulbe got going offensively, as she got the offensive board and drew the foul with 6:54 left to play. She would lead the charge on the glass for Indiana, as she pulled down a career-high 15 rebounds. Indiana would lead as many as 26 in victory over the Bruins (21-6).

NOTABLE

The victory over Belmont marked the 20th win of the season. This is the sixth consecutive season that the Hoosiers have reached 20 wins.

For the first time in program history Indiana earned a spot in the Sweet 16 in the 64-team format. The Hoosiers previously made the semifinals in 1983 when the tournament field was comprised of 32 teams.

Four players scored in double-figure scoring for Indiana against the Bruins. Berger led the way with 17 points and had six boards and came up with three steals.

Patberg scored 13 points, had seven rebounds and one assist while Holmes added 13 points and senior guard Nicole Cardaño-Hillary added 10 points and five rebounds.

Gulbe grabbed an Indiana NCAA Tournament record 15 rebounds. The record was previously set by Denise Jackson in 1983.

Holmes added three blocks, which ranks second in the program’s NCAA Tournament records behind her five swats against VCU.

Indiana outrebounded the Bruins 42-34. 

The Hoosiers forced 12 turnovers which they converted into 14 points.

The Hoosiers held Belmont to just 31.7 percent field goal shooting. 

UP NEXT

Indiana will face No. 1 seed in the Mercado Region, NC State, on Saturday at 6 p.m. ET at the Alamodome. The game will air live on ESPN2.

INDIANA BOYS HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL: ALL-STATE/SUPREME 15 HONORS

“SUPREME 15”

Shamar Avance, Lawrence North

Brooks Barnhizer, Lafayette Jeff

Jalen Blackmon, Marion

Luke Brown, Blackford

Caleb Furst, Fort Wayne Blackhawk Christian

Luke Goode, Homestead

Curt Hopf, Barr-Reeve

Kooper Jacobi, Silver Creek

Trey Kaufman-Renn, Silver Creek

J.R. Konieczny, South Bend St. Joseph

Blake Sisley, Heritage Hills

Jayden Taylor, Perry Meridian

Pierce Thomas, Brownsburg

Brian Waddell, Carmel

Blake Wesley, South Bend Riley

Large school all-state

                Joey Bomba, Bloomington South

                Vincent Brady, Cathedral

                Blake Davison, Leo

                Gus Etchison, Hamilton Heights

                Langdon Hatton, North Harrison

                Jake Heidbreder, Floyd Central

                D.J. Hughes, Lawrence North

                Christopher Mantis, Lowell

                Quimari Peterson, Gary West

                Darrell Reed, Hammond

                Ian Scott, Plainfield

                Isaiah Stafford, Crispus Attucks

                Malik Stanley, Warren Central

                Isaiah Swope, Castle

                Harold Woods, Hammond

Small-school all-state

                Andrew Bennett, Shenandoah

                Zane Burke, Fort Wayne Blackhawk Christian

                Connor Davis, Parke Heritage

                Koron Davis, Bowman Academy

                Trey Flatt, Covenant Christian

                Brycen Graber, Barr-Reeve

                Lincoln Hale, Linton-Stockton

                Landen Jordan, Churubusco

                Lane Lauderbaugh, South Decatur

                Colson Montgomery, Southridge

                 Jackson Paul, Churubusco

                Carson Rich, Southwood

                Cody Samples, South Ripley

                Payton Sparks, Winchester

                Kolden Vanlandingham, Northeastern

                Cole Wireman, Kouts

Honorable mention

                Reggie Abram, Hammond

                Evan Altman, Brebeuf Jesuit

                Stephen Atkinson, Owen Valley

                Luka Balac, Munster

                Jurrien Ballard, Princeton

                Silas Bauer, Loogootee

                Blake Barker, Columbus North

                Ashton Beaver, Lafayette Jeff

                Joseph Bobilya, Guerin Catholic

                Brayden Bontrager, Lakeland

                Brett Bosley, Paoli

                Holden Bowsman, West Washington

                Jayden Brewer, Ben Davis

                Mason Brooks, North Putnam

                Camden Brown, University

                Grant Brown, Madison-Grant

                Brendan Carr, South Central (Union Mills)

                Jaylen Carson, Crispus Attucks

                Max Carter, Manchester

                Quentez Columbus, South Bend Adams

                Brevin Cooper, Northview

                Kyle Crim, Morristown

                Jadyn Curry, Beech Grove

                Marcus Davidson, Fort Wayne Blackhawk Christian

                Owen Dease, Evansville Reitz

                Kaleb Edwards, Guerin Catholic

                Champ Ellis, Union (Modoc)

                Jaylen Fairman, Jeffersonville

                Braydon Flagg, New Prairie

                Braden Flanagan, Sullivan

                Joshua Fleming, Rensselaer Central

                Nicky Flesher, Andrean

                Tyler Goecker, Trinity Lutheran

                Noah Gordon, Mt. Vernon (Posey)

                Weston Hamby, Manchester

                Brady Hunt, Delta

                Kaden Howell, Madison-Grant

                Tate Ivanyo, Morgan Township

                Greg Jenkins, Lawrence Central

                Jesse Johnson-Hall, Crawfordsville

                Trent Johnson, Mishawaka

                Noah Johnston, Twin Lakes

                Lynn King, South Bend Adams

                Jakeb Kinsey, Shenandoah

                Hunter Kneifel, Kouts

                Parker Kneifel, Kouts

                Austin Kramer, Southwestern (Hanover)

                Thomas Latham, New Haven

                Ty Lynas, Crawfordsville

                Tai McClung, Mississinewa

                Luke McClure, Churubusco

                Styles McCorkle, Greenwood Christian

                Miles McGowen, Mooresville

                Gabe McQuay, Tech

                Foster Mefford, Southwestern (Hanover)

                Dameriz Merriweather, Lawrence Central

                Chandler Moore, Evansville North

                Jake Moynihan, Seton Catholic

                Hayden Nern, Bluffton

                Andrew Oesterling, Oldenburg Academy

                Benny Ogayonne, Franklin Central

                Jaden Peetz, South Ripley

                Joe Phinisee, McCutcheon

                Logan Pinkerton, Covington

                Trey Reed, Washington

                Terrence Ringo Jr., Evansville Harrison

                Logan Rohrbacher, East Central

                Kyle Ross, Lake Central

                Coleman Sater, Edgewood

                Brayden Sexton, South Bend Adams

                Damon Shaw, Rossville

                Brett Sickafoose, Whitko

                Grant Simmons, Homestead

                Sam Smith, Northridge

                Lane Sparks, Greensburg

                Carter Stoltzfus, Northridge

                Landen Swanner, Mississinewa

                Caleb Swearingen, Northview

                Trevor Taylor, Bloomington South

                Naylon Thompson, Fort Wayne Bishop Luers

                Zack Troyer, Leo

                Drew Valentine, Speedway

                Logan Van Essen, Illiana Christian

                Isaac Vencel, Bloomington North

                Kobe Ward, Danville

                Brody Whitaker, Greencastle

                Logan Willoughby, Whiteland

                Brant Wilsey, Evansville Day

                Cale Wireman, Kouts

Underclass all-state

Supreme 15

                Tayshawn Comer, Cathedral

                Tae Davis, Warren Central

                Connor Essegian, Central Noble

                Travis Grayson, Chesterton

                C.J. Gunn, Lawrence North

                Jalen Hooks, Crispus Attucks

                Jalen Jackson, Carroll (Fort Wayne)

                Will Lovings-Watts, Jeffersonville

                Fletcher Loyer, Homestead

                Branden Northern, Silver Creek

                Billy Smith, Brebeuf Jesuit

                Braden Smith, Westfield

                Peter Suder, Carmel

                Leland Walker, North Central

                Jalen Washington, Gary West

Large school all-state

                Demetrious Allen, Leo

                Tucker Biven, New Albany

                Cade Brenner, NorthWood

                Markus Burton, Penn

                Ryan Conwell, Pike

                Jaxon Edwards, Cathedral

                Jamie Hodges Jr., Michigan City

                Armon Jarrard, Mt. Vernon

                Brauntae Johnson, Fort Wayne North

                Julian Norris, Evansville Bosse

                Brandon Rayzer-Moore, Jeffersonville

                Joe Reidy, Woodlan

                Jeffrey Simmons, Fishers

                Davyeon Turner, Tech

                Cael Vanderbush, Plainfield

Small school all-state

                Isaac Andrews, Wapahani

                Peyton Bledsoe, Loogootee

                Myles Colvin, Heritage Christian

                Josiah Dunham, Evansville Christian

                Gabe Gillespie, Andrean

                Baylin Graf, Bloomfield

                Brevin Hallatt, Blue River Valley

                Brit Harris, Marquette Catholic

                Aaron Humphrey, Tindley

                Christian Johnson, Parke Heritage

                Hunter Johnson, South Decatur

                Hagen Knepp, Barr-Reeve

                Jaylen Mullen, North Daviess

                Tyler Myers, Evansville Day

                Jackson Ullom, Monroe Central

Honorable mention

                Landen Babusiak, Hanover Central

                Ladaion Barnes, Hammond Morton

                Clark Barrett, Lafayette Central Catholic

                Jack Benter, Brownstown Central

                Landon Biegel, Oak Hill

                Steele Brasfield, New Palestine

                Clayton Bridwell, Twin Lakes

                Richards Brooks, Mishawaka Marian

                Brock Buckley, Covenant Christian

                Ryan Caddell, Evansville North

                Dakota Capps, Clarksville

                Luke Carroll, Hamilton Heights

                Jake Chapman, Tri-Central

                Colin Comer, Greensburg

                Drew Cook, Northview

                Chad Cox, Franklin County

                Austin Cripe, West Noble

                Jake Davis, Cathedral

                Caleb Dewey, Edinburgh

                Tyler Dostin, Danville

                Owen Duff, Carroll (Flora)

                Jamison Dunham, Pendleton Heights

                Brady Dunn, Christian Academy of Indiana

                Eli Edwards, Northwestern

                La’Traveon Enright, Indianapolis Washington

                Aidan Franks, Wapahani

                Riley Goodnight, Frankfort

                Jaxson Gould, Warsaw

                Brycen Hannah, John Glenn

                Ben Henderson, Harrison (West Lafayette)

                Jackson Hills, Sullivan

                Eli Hoffman, South Dearborn

                Drew Howard, Forest Park

                Zach Hubartt, Huntington North

                Logan Imes, Zionsville

                Tayven Jackson, Center Grove

                Amhad Jarrard, Mt. Vernon

                Karson Jenkins, Fort Wayne Snider

                Ashton Johnson, Fort Wayne South

                Mason Jones, Valparaiso

                Randy Kelley, Sullivan

                Nick Klaiber, Bloomington North

                Aidan Lambert, Fort Wayne Snider

                Andrew Leeper, Homestead

                J.J. Louden, Pike

                Jonah Lucas, Harrison (West Lafayette)

                Kaden Manna, Marquette Catholic

                Reece Marrs, Hebron

                Elijah Mattingly, Central Christian

                Luke McBride, Norwell

                Chrishon McCray, Avon

                Logan McIntire, North Harrison

                David Merriweather, Metropolitan

                Josh Mickens, Lawrence Central

                Carson Miller, Bremen

                Willie Miller, Lake Station Edison

                Dylan Moles, Greenfield-Central

                Brady Moore, Floyd Central

                Christian Nunn, Liberty Christian

                Blaine Nunnally, New Palestine

                Ashton Oviedo, Triton

                Connor Penrod, DeKalb

                Aaron Pickel, North Putnam

                Lawrence Pierce, University

                Jayden Pinkston, Tindley

                Hunter Pogue, North White

                Ian Raasch, NorthWood

                Nick Richart, Zionsville

                JaQualon Roberts, Bloomington North

                Matt Ross, Peru

                Brady Ruggles, Danville

                Luke Saylor, Heritage

                Gavin Schippert, Evansville Reitz

                Nick Schwarte, South Ripley

                Braeden Shrewsberry, West Lafayette

                James Smith, Crispus Attucks

                Kaden Stanton, New Albany

                Trey Steinhilber, Boone Grove

                Deaglan Sullivan, Mishawaka Marian

                Jahni Summers, Evansville Harrison

                Kyle Thomas, Cloverdale

                Gabe Trevino, Eastside

                Jordan Turner, Cardinal Ritter

                Jacob Vogel, Jennings County

                Matt Wagner, Evansville Bosse

                Breece Walls, Valparaiso

                Caleb Washington, Floyd Central

                Charlie Williams, Carmel

                Jakar Williams, New Haven

                Tyson Yates, Triton

Colts bring back Pro Bowl receiver Hilton on 1-year deal

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) Longtime Indianapolis Colts receiver T.Y. Hilton will re-sign with the Indianapolis Colts after agreeing to a one-year contract Wednesday.

Hilton and team owner Jim Irsay both confirmed the deal on Twitter posts. The deal is for $10 million with $8 million in guaranteed money.

The four-time Pro Bowler made it clear for months that he didn’t want to find a new team in free agency, but the two sides failed to reach an agreement before Hilton hit the open market.

Hilton was Indy’s third-round draft pick in 2012 and has spent his entire career with the Colts.

“One thing i kno about this city. Is that they love me. And i love them,” Hilton wrote on Twitter. “I listen to all the songs. I read all the tweets. I will cherish this forever. It’s only right i finish what i started. (hash)TYISHOME.”

The 31-year-old Hilton played in 15 games last season, caught 56 passes for 762 yards and five touchdowns in Philip Rivers’ final season.

Hilton has 608 receptions for 9,360 yards and 50 touchdowns.

Indy also announced Wednesday it had re-signed starting cornerback Xavier Rhodes and added offensive tackle Sam Tevi from the Los Angeles Chargers. The Colts announced Tuesday they also had re-signed running back Marlon Mack.

Jags sign QB Beathard, potentially setting up Minshew trade

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) The Jacksonville Jaguars signed former San Francisco 49ers quarterback C.J. Beathard on Wednesday, giving them an experienced backup if they trade Gardner Minshew.

Responding to a question about Minshew potentially being on the block last week, coach Urban Meyer said “at this point, no.”

Signing Beathard could change that. He started 12 games over four years in San Francisco, throwing for 3,469 yards, with 18 touchdown passes and 13 interceptions. He was a third-round draft pick from Iowa in 2017. NFL Network reported he signed a two-year deal worth $5 million.

Jacksonville is expected to select Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence with the No. 1 overall pick in next month’s NFL draft. The Jaguars also have 2020 sixth-round pick Jake Luton on the roster.

Luton started three games as a rookie, finishing with two touchdowns and six interceptions.

Minshew has started 20 games in two seasons, going 7-13. The 2019 sixth-round pick has thrown for 5,530 yards, with 37 TDs and 11 INTs, and has four game-winning drives.

“There’s a lot of anticipation about the first pick. I understand there’s a lot of conversation out there, but there’s been no decisions made,” Meyer said. “Gardner’s done some very good things here in Jacksonville and he’s a competitive maniac, which I really appreciate that about him.”

Snyder to buy out other Washington owners, pending approval

(AP) — Dan Snyder will soon be the sole owner of the Washington Football Team.

Snyder is buying out the team’s minority owners in a move that gives him total control and should end a lengthy, bitter court dispute along with any speculation that he’d be pushed to sell his boyhood team he bought in 1999.

An NFL spokesman on Wednesday confirmed that Snyder’s application for a debt waiver of $450 million was approved by the league’s finance committee and that the deal is pending approval from team owners. Three-quarters, or 24 of 32 teams, need to sign off during a vote at the annual league meeting next week to make it official.

Multiple messages seeking comment that were left for the team, a public relations firm representing Snyder and lawyers representing the minority owners were not immediately returned.

Fred Smith, Dwight Schar and Bob Rothman currently own 40.5% of Washington Football Inc. They sued Snyder in federal court in Maryland in November, seeking an injunction to allow them to sell their shares of the team.

This effectively settles that matter and puts Snyder completely in charge of the team, which Forbes most recently valued at $3.5 billion. Washington is in the midst of an organizational upheaval after dropping its name last year and launching an independent investigation into allegations of sexual harassment in the workplace by several former employees.

The NFL took over that investigation run by Washington-based lawyer Beth Wilkinson last summer. A league spokesman said that investigation is still ongoing, which is separate from Snyder buying out full control of the team.

Amid the allegations was a report that Snyder himself was involved, which he denied. Snyder separately vowed to change the “culture” around the organization and at the Super Bowl earned some support from Commissioner Roger Goodell for initiatives he and wife Tanya have already taken.

“The Washington football club has made a lot of changes already,” Goodell said. “They asked for this type of review, they asked for the recommendations on this, and Dan and Tanya have already begun making those changes for the football club. It’s good to see that.”

Those changes include hiring Jason Wright, the league’s first Black team president, and revamping gameday presentation. Petra Pope was hired to run a new dance team, which will replace cheerleaders. A new name – or making “Washington Football Team” permanent – is expected in time for the 2022 season.

Report: Suh finalizing 1-year, $9M deal to return to Bucs

Ndamukong Suh is running it back with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The veteran defensive lineman is closing in on a one-year deal worth $9 million fully guaranteed with the Buccaneers, a source told NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero.

The contract can reach as high as $10 million with incentives, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.

Suh has spent each of his last two seasons in Tampa Bay and has been an instrumental part of the team’s pass rush. He’s started all 32 games, recording 8.5 sacks and 33 quarterback hits.

He notched six sacks during the 2020 season, his most since 2015.

Suh expressed his desire to return to the Buccaneers before the kickoff of free agency in hopes of winning another championship.

The 34-year-old is just the latest member of the championship team to be brought back for the 2021 season. The Buccaneers franchise tagged Chris Godwin while also signing Shaquil Barrett and Lavonte David to long-term deals. Rob Gronkowski was also retained on a one-year deal.

Dallas Cowboys inform free agent Aldon Smith that they won’t re-sign him, source says

The Dallas Cowboys have informed free-agent pass-rusher Aldon Smith that they are not going to re-sign him after one season, a source told ESPN’s Ed Werder on Wednesday.

After serving an indefinite suspension from 2016 to 2019 for multiple off-field incidents and violations of the league’s substance abuse policy, Smith joined the Cowboys in 2020 on a one-year deal that could have paid him up to $4 million based on certain incentives.

The 31-year-old Smith finished the season with five sacks — including three in Week 3 against the Seattle Seahawks. He was second to DeMarcus Lawrence on the Cowboys with 33 quarterback pressures and had 48 tackles, 5 tackles for loss and 2 fumble recoveries, returning one for a touchdown.

The decision not to bring back Smith was reinforced by the Cowboys’ signing of veteran free-agent defensive end Tarell Basham.

NFL’S TOP 50 DRAFT PROSPECTS

(SPORTING NEWS)

1. Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson (6-6, 220 pounds)

Lawrence is locked and loaded as the top prospect at his position and in this loaded offensive skill class. He’s a generational talent with a great arm, athleticism and winning leadership skills.

2. Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU (6-1, 200 pounds)

Chase is a versatile, explosive playmaker who can line up anywhere to make big plays for an NFL team after taking a year off from making big plays with Joe Burrow during a national championship run.

3. DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama (6-1, 175 pounds)

Like Chase, Smith has a nice blend of speed, quickness and route-running that gives him a lot of big-play versatility. He parlayed that into a Heisman Trophy-winning campaign with dominance through the College Football Playoff.

4. Zach Wilson, QB, BYU (6-3, 210 pounds)

Wilson proved his stock behind Lawrence with a breakout season stamped by his big arm and accuracy. He also is a highly intelligent passer with a natural feel for reading defenses.

5. Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon (6-5, 325 pounds)

Sewell is a rock of a run blocker who also established himself as being plenty smooth enough with his feet in pass protection. He can start in the NFL on the left side for a long time.

6. Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida (6-6, 239 pounds)

Pitts has a high, explosive ceiling as an athletic, smart route-running pass catcher who right now has to be more of “move” option with blocking still a work in progress.

7. Micah Parsons, ILB, Penn State (6-3, 245 pounds)

Parsons is the latest product of “Linebacker U.” who lives up to the pedigree with his active sideline-to-sideline playmaking with good combination of run-stopping and coverage skills.

8. Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama (5-10, 182 pounds)

Waddle has a nice combination of field-stretching, possession and route-running qualities to make plays lining up anywhere in the NFL. It’s pretty close between him, Smith and Chase to give this class three elite wideout prospects.

9. Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State (6-3, 233 pounds)

Fields was a dynamic dual threat in Ryan Day’s offense. He fits in with the modern pro game because of his unique running ability to go with his confident downfield passing.

10. Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech (6-2, 207 pounds)

Farley kicks off the nice-sized cornerback theme in this class. Before opting out for 2020, he shot up to stardom in 2019, using his frame and hands well to win tough battles on routes and break up passes. He has shutdown potential in the NFL.

11. Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State (6-3, 225 pounds)

Forget that he dominated for only one season in FBS. Between his prototypical frame, efficiency and athleticism, Lance is a mighty fourth QB in this top-heavy class who checks all the boxes by meshing passing and running so well.

12. Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama (6-2, 203 pounds)

The son of the former Dolphins top cornerback has some of the same attributes. Surtain, with his pedigree, size and ball-hawking skills, has the potential to be a true shutdown corner in the NFL, too.

13. Gregory Rousseau, EDGE, Miami (6-6, 260 pounds)

Rousseau opted out of the ACC season to focus on working out for the NFL. It’s been just about raising his ceiling there as his floor or production immediately was high for the Hurricanes. He has great burst to the QB and finishes them off well, too.

14. Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern (6-4, 315 pounds)

Like Sewell, Slater opted out for his final college season. He’s pushing to match him as a tackle prospect with a strong all-around game and having flashed some elite athleticism in tougher matchups.

15. Kwity Paye, EDGE, Michigan (6-4, 272 pounds)

Paye is a freakish athlete based on his size and quickness with some versatility to also line up inside and rush the passer that way.

16. Alijah Vera-Tucker, G, USC (6-4, 300 pounds)

Vera-Tucker is a powerful inside presence and also some potential to play on the outside at right tackle if he can round out his game. His natural tools have gotten him notice to climb up draft boards.

17. Najee Harris, RB, Alabama (6-2, 230 pounds)

Harris comes from the program that produced Josh Jacobs and Derrick Henry and combines some of their attributes. He is strong and powerful to pound between the tackles but also quick and smart enough to be a big asset in the passing game.

18. Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech (6-5, 314 pounds)

Darrisaw isn’t as solid for run blocking as Sewell and Slater for now but he’s a smooth athlete ready for a fine transition into NFL pass protection.

19. Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, OLB, Notre Dame (6-2, 216 pounds)

Owusu-Koramoah is a linebacker built for the modern game with his range in pass coverage and ability to bulk up to turn his active playmaking into a force against the run.

20. Azeez Ojulari, OLB, Georgia (6-3, 240 pounds)

Ojulari isn’t as solid in coverage and run defense as Koramoah but he has unique attributes as a versatile pass rusher for any alignment on the second level.

21. Joseph Ossai, EDGE, Texas (6-3, 245 pounds) 

Ossai stands out as a pass rusher with an array of explosive moves plus the relentless to get after quarterbacks with consistent high efforts.

22. Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina (6-1, 205 pounds)

Horn, the son of former NFL wide receiver Joe Horn, offers great size for the position with playmaking instincts that make him an effective aggressive ballhawk.

23. Christian Barmore, DT, Alabama (6-3, 310 pounds)

Barmore combines strength and power with great technique from a program that got the best of his abilities in a 3-4. He has all the tools to remain very disruptive in the NFL.

24. Trevon Moehrig, S, TCU (6-1, 208 pounds)

Moehrig also has a nose for making plays on the ball. He is equally adept at flying upfield against the run and moving laterally in coverage.

25. Kadarius Toney, WR, Florida (5-11, 190 pounds)

Toney is a solid slot receiver with big-play attributes of being able to run well after the catch in open field and stretch the middle of the field, too.

26. Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson (5-10, 210 pounds)

Etienne’s open-field quickness and receiving skills are set up to make him a top-flight change of pace back in the NFL, but he also developed some better workhorse attributes from his surprise return season.

27. Mac Jones, QB, Alabama (6-3, 214 pounds)

Jones won’t provide much as a runner, but he makes for it with his strong, smart pocket presence, big arm and downfield efficiency after a Burrow-like meteoric rise. He also has ideal leadership and grinding qualities to get better mentally and physically.

28. Zaven Collins, LB, Tulsa (6-4, 260 pounds)

Collins can play either inside or outside and have an impact with his quickness, agility and range. He’s another intriguing athlete to help a team in pass coverage.

29. Terrace Marshall Jr., WR, LSU (6-3, 200 pounds)

Marshall took advantage of Chase not suiting up for LSU by showing off his unique combination of size and speed. He is a field-stretcher with the potential to develop into a big-play No. 1.

30. Nick Bolton, OLB, Missouri (6-0, 232 pounds)

Another linebacker, more speed and quickness near the top of this class. Bolton can develop into a greater asset against the pass, but he has a strong calling card with his sound tackling and run-stopping skills.

31. Patrick Jones II, EDGE, Pittsburgh (6-4, 265 pounds)

Jones was a highly productive all-around player for the Panthers, contributing equally as a run-stopping end and pass rusher. He’s ideal to start in a 4-3 for a long time as a dependable defender.

32. Jalen Mayfield, OT, Michigan (6-5, 319 pounds)

Mayfield needs to get more refined with his athleticism but his strength and pop for the outside stand out with his sturdy frame.

33. Teven Jenkins, OT, Oklahoma State (6-6, 320 pounds)

Jenkins is a strong and powerful prospect made to anchor right tackle in the NFL and his athleticism can only get better.

34. Jayson Oweh, EDGE, Penn State (6-5, 257 pounds)

Oweh is an amazing, borderline freakish athlete who can be devastating as a every-down pass-rusher with some polish in his game.

35. Jaelan Phillips, EDGE, Miami (6-5, 266 pounds)

Phillips has a nice wingspan as an athlete who gets after it against both run and pass. He delivered as a pass rusher with also some good dropback coverage assets. He has some untapped potential to put his game all together.

36. Eric Stokes, CB, Georgia (6-1, 185 pounds)

Stokes bring physicality and aggressiveness with his size to stand out and has room to grow in terms of technique and quickness.

37. Pat Freiermuth, TE, Penn State (6-5, 260 pounds)

Freiermuth is easily the most complete tight end in the class. He may not be the same game-breaking receiver as Pitts, but he is tough enough to consistent to win his battles whether route-running or blocking.

38. Dylan Moses, ILB, Alabama (6-3, 235 pounds)

Moses picked up where he left off in 2019 after a knee injury wiped out all of last season and took away his chance to be a surefire first-rounder in 2020. Moses has everything you want in an inside linebacker for a 3-4 or 4-3 with his range, instincts, speed and quickness.

39. Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota (6-2, 210 pounds)

Bateman an stretch the field and make big plays outside but also position himself possession-wise to be a consistent scoring threat in the red zone.

40. Wyatt Davis, G, Ohio State (6-4, 315 pounds)

Davis is the classic agile and nasty right guard made for picking up where he left off run blocking at an elite level for the Buckeyes.

41. Rondale Moore, WR, Purdue (5-9, 180 pounds)

Moore is a dynamo made to deliver big plays all over the open field whenever he gets the balls in his hands in the nFL. Moore has the potential to grow into a more polished all-around receiver, too.

42. Sam Cosmi, OT, Texas (6-7, 300 pounds)

Cosmi has been outstandingly agile protecting that other Sam — quarterback Sam Ehlinger. Cosmi is a massive prospect for the position with nimble feet to match.

43. Javonte Williams, RB, North Carolina (5-10, 220 pounds)

Williams combines the traits of a big power runner with those of an elusive smaller back who can turn the corner. His handle on all aspects of the passing game give him three-down potential like Harris and Etienne.

44. Carlos Basham Jr., EDGE, Wake Forest (6-5, 275 pounds)

Basham has natural explosiveness and instincts to get after and finish quarterbacks. There’s no doubt he’s relentless in trying to come up with game-changing plays, and the production proves it.

45. Creed Humphrey, G/C, Oklahoma (6-4, 312 pounds)

Humphrey combines athleticism with a mean hand punch. He has good line leadership qualities and can be fine as a long-term snapper in the NFL.

46. Levi Onwuzurike, DT, Washington (6-3, 290 pounds)

Onwuzurike is extremely active and athletic inside for a man of his size. He combines that with toughness and technique required to finish plays.

47. Jevon Holland, S, Oregon (6-1, 200 pounds)

Holland is an active rangy playmaker with the ability to get upfield and disrupt at the line of scrimmage but also drop back and make plays on the ball in coverage. He has nice size and a well-rounded skill set to play either spot.

48. Amon-Ra St. Brown, WR, USC (6-1, 195 pounds)

Brown is a tough, quick inside receiver in the JuJu Smith-Schuster mold of working the slot well.

49. Liam Eichenberg, OT, Notre Dame (6-6, 305 pounds)

Eichenberg uses his strength, power and hands well to win blocks. He seems better suited to the right side but he can boost his value with better footwork and technique.

50. Kyle Trask, QB, Florida (6-5, 230 pounds)

Trask wasn’t in the late first-round or early second-round conversation until his sharp final college season in which he displayed the confidence, arm, accuracy and athleticism to operate a talented passing game at a high level. He mostly made all the throws and good decisions.

NFL MOCK DRAFT 4.0

1. Jacksonville Jaguars — Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson

2. New York Jets — Zach Wilson, QB, BYU

3. Miami Dolphins (via Houston Texans) — Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU

4. Atlanta Falcons — Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida

5. Cincinnati Bengals — Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon

6. Philadelphia Eagles — Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State

7. Detroit Lions — Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama

8. Carolina Panthers — Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State

9. Denver Broncos — Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State

10. Dallas Cowboys — Alijah Vera-Tucker, OL, USC

11. New York Giants — Gregory Rousseau, EDGE, Miami

12. San Francisco 49ers — Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina

13. Los Angeles Chargers — Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern

14. Minnesota Vikings — Jaelan Phillips, EDGE, Miami

15. New England Patriots — Greg Newsome II, CB, Northwestern

16. Arizona Cardinals — DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama

17. Las Vegas Raiders — Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama

18. Miami Dolphins — Teven Jenkins, OL, Oklahoma State

19. Washington Football Team — Zaven Collins, LB, Tulsa

20. Chicago Bears — Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech

21. Indianapolis Colts — Trevon Moehrig, S, TCU

22. Tennessee Titans — Jalen Mayfield, OL, Michigan

23. New York Jets (via Seattle Seahawks) — Kadarius Toney, WR, Florida

24. Pittsburgh Steelers — Mac Jones, QB, Alabama

25. Jacksonville Jaguars (via Los Angeles Rams) — Kwity Paye, EDGE, Michigan

26. Cleveland Browns — Nick Bolton, LB, Missouri

27. Baltimore Ravens — Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech

28. New Orleans Saints — Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB, Notre Dame

29. Green Bay Packers — Jamin Davis, LB, Kentucky

30. Buffalo Bills — Christian Barmore, DT, Alabama

31. Kansas City Chiefs — Joe Tryon, EDGE, Washington

32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers — Najee Harris, RB, Alabama

Lower cap leads to more cuts than usual in NFL

(AP)

If it seemed as if NFL teams have been shedding contracts nearly as fast as signing them in recent weeks that’s because it’s almost true.

With a shrinking salary cap in a sport with few contracts that are fully guaranteed, teams have spent the weeks leading up to free agency and the first few days of the new league year getting out of deals signed in recent years when there was more money available to spend.

Whether it was Kansas City getting rid of banged-up and expensive starting offensive tackles Mitchell Schwartz and Eric Fisher, the Raiders cutting ties with Lamarcus Joyner and Tyrell Williams after building their free agent class around them, or Tennessee shedding starting defensive backs Adoree Jackson, Malcolm Butler and Kenny Vaccaro, veterans around the league have been sent to the chopping block.

In all, according to transactions data from SportRadar and contract information from Spotrac and Over The Cap, teams have released players with a combined total of approximately $600 million left on the deals they originally signed between the Super Bowl and the end of the first week of the league year. That figure excludes players who were on rookie or minimum level deals.

The cuts have come after the salary cap was reduced from $198.2 million in 2020 to $182.5 million in 2021 in response to the reduced revenues resulting from mostly empty stadiums last year because of the coronavirus.

The bloodletting could have been even more severe had the league and the NFLPA not agreed to spread those losses over multiple years.

“I think the unprecedented part being, for the first time in modern era, the cap decreases instead of increases,” Rams general manager Les Snead said. “But again, I think many people on this planet, not just us in NFL football, have had to make sacrifices, some probably harder than others over the past year.”

Cutting high-salaried players is nothing new in the NFL where most free agent contracts have teams often committing to paying lucrative signing bonuses and guaranteed money in the first couple of years of a deal and then deciding whether to keep the player or get rid of him to create salary cap room.

But the rate of it increased substantially this season because of the lowered cap with the total amount of contracts cut in the same time period equaling about $445 million in 2020 and $227 million in 2019.

One of the teams in a cutting mode was the Raiders. Coach Jon Gruden bragged in 2019 about the free agent haul he brought in after trading away stars Khalil Mack and Amari Cooper instead of giving them big extensions.

He said at the owners meeting that year that the Raiders wouldn’t have been able to get players such as Antonio Brown, Trent Brown, Williams and Joyner without those deals.

Antonio Brown didn’t even last with the team until the opener that season because of run-ins with general manager Mike Mayock and frustration over the type of helmet the league made him wear.

The other three all were sent packing this offseason with Trent Brown traded to New England as part of a 2022 pick swap with two years left on his $66 million, four-year contract, and Williams and Joyner cut this offseason with more than $38 million remaining on their contracts.

The Raiders also cut guard Richie Incognito and brought him back on a cheaper deal, and traded away starting offensive linemen Rodney Hudson and Gabe Jackson for mid-round picks when they refused to take pay cuts.

None of that was part of the original plan.

“If you go back two years and say where was the cap going to be this coming season, the answer would have been plus or minus $225 million,” Mayock said. “We’re looking at ($182.5 million). It’s simple math.”

Some players have come out of the situation more than whole. Adoree Jackson got a three-year deal worth a reported $39 million from the Giants after Tennessee refused to pay his $10.24 million fifth-year option.

Guard Kevin Zeitler got cut with $12 million left on his contract with the Giants and promptly signed a three-year, $22.5 million deal with Baltimore that pays him $10 million this season and guarantees him $16 million.

In one of the more curious cases, Miami cut Kyle Van Noy one year into his four-year, $51 million deal, leaving about $36 million unpaid. Van Noy then returned to New England on a two-year, $12 million deal and the Patriots will also get a fourth-round compensation pick in next month’s draft based on the deal Van Noy signed last March.

Others such as receivers Alshon Jeffrey and Adam Humphries are still looking for work after their contracts were wiped out and will be lucky to get similar deals now that they are back on the market.

RANKING THE SWEET 16

(ATHLON SPORTS)

1. Gonzaga

The undefeated Bulldogs just keep rolling and barely seem to be breaking a sweat while doing so. They thumped Norfolk State in the opener and breezed past Oklahoma by 16 despite not playing overly well (aside from Drew Timme’s career-high 30 points). They’ve won 25 in a row by double digits and don’t seem to be slowing down either, capable of putting together a run like the Golden State Warriors in their prime whenever they need to. On top of playing like the No. 1 overall seed, some of their biggest challengers are falling by the wayside as they look to become the first undefeated national champ since Indiana did so some 45 years ago.

2. Baylor

Prior to a COVID-19 pause in early February, the Bears looked like Gonzaga’s biggest challenger for the title. The team returned from the break a little wobbly and suffered a handful of losses that led to creeping doubts about whether this group was still in contention for that best team in the country moniker. Thanks to a bit of rest and a boost of energy from playing in the tourney, Baylor has returned to their early-season form. The Bears breezed past Hartford and looked like the real deal against a pesky Wisconsin team, finding an answer whenever they needed between outside shooting from guys like Matthew Mayer or the highlight-reel plays from Mark Vital and others. Their region has really opened up thanks to a few upsets and few would be surprised to see this group hang up a banner when all is said and done.

3. Alabama

Only one school can claim a bowl game victory and a Sweet 16 appearance and that’s what’s becoming an unstoppable juggernaut out of Tuscaloosa. Like their football brethren, Bama is led by a normally uber-explosive offense paired with an efficient defense that forces turnovers and applies pressure all over. Guard John Petty Jr. flies up and down the court and has a pretty stellar set of wingmen in Jaden Shackelford and 6-foot-8 forward Herbert Jones. Maybe just as important, head coach Nate Oats has been tweaking and adjusting along the way with noticeable results from one game to the next. The Tide, needless to say, are rolling and it’s not out of the picture that an elusive double-double happens in the two major college revenue sports.

4. Loyola Chicago

Is Sister Jean in for another magical run in the tourney? Things sure do seem to be trending that way after they knocked off a lot of folks’ pick to make the title game in rival Illinois. Center Cameron Krutwig (and his ‘stache) has been the star of the show and was especially masterful in the game to reach the Sweet 16 (19 points, 12 rebounds). He and guard Lucas Williamson (35 points in two games) were both on the team that made it to the Final Four in 2018 and just about every metric says this year’s group is even better over the course of the season. They’ve got a favorable path, an excellent coach and plenty of talent to keep America’s favorite nun and her Ramblers in the spotlight to the final weekend.

5. USC

Why is USC this high? Well it’s simple: the Trojans have the best player in the tournament on their roster by a wide margin in potential No. 1 pick Evan Mobley. Oh, and his brother Isaiah ain’t no slouch either as demonstrated in an absolute demolishing of Kansas to advance to the Sweet 16. Head coach Andy Enfield knows what it’s like to make a magical run in March but he’s got a ton more talent to work with this year in cardinal and gold. USC’s shooting has been lights out so far in Indy and if that keeps up, there are only a handful of teams that can put up a fight.

6. Oregon

We’ve got a much more limited sample size with the Ducks after their first-round game was a no-contest but it feels like the regular-season Pac-12 champs have things figured out. They had an early stumble after a COVID pause in early February but since then have played like a top team. Their offense was firing on all cylinders in a dominant win over a strong Iowa squad (LJ Figueroa made 3-pointers) and they sport one of the game’s most underrated head coaches in Dana Altman. The way Oregon moves the ball around will always make this team a difficult out and these Ducks seem like one of the few groups capable of derailing Gonzaga’s perfection on the entire left side of the bracket.

7. Michigan

Big Blue had one of the tougher paths to the second weekend among the No. 1 seeds plus the team is dealing with losing a key starter in Isaiah Livers. Yet the Wolverines have managed to somehow find themselves as the lone Big Ten representative still left dancing after dispatching LSU in a second-round thriller. Michigan’s bench has had a big role lately, contributing 26 points against the Tigers and 17 the game prior. The Wolverines have a likely lottery pick in Franz Wagner, a big double-double machine in Hunter Dickenson, and a host of guards who can get hot. Juwan Howard has done a fantastic job getting the program to their fourth straight Sweet 16 but knows there’s still work left to be done in Indianapolis.

8. Arkansas

The Razorbacks’ offense (82.4 ppg) typically gets the fans’ attention but the team’s defense has really turned things up the past two rounds, holding both Colgate and Texas Tech below their season averages while forcing a boatload of turnovers at the same time (they’re KenPom No. 11 in AdjD). Arkansas got hot at the end of the regular season and is giving off similar vibes now, especially with senior Justin Smith upping his scoring output. Eric Musselman is doing such a good job in turning around the program to reach an elusive Sweet 16 for the first time since 1996 that he’s already getting quite a bit of run for the open Indiana job down the road from the tourney.

9. Florida State

Length and athleticism. You know exactly what you’re facing when the Seminoles step onto the court and this year’s squad has an added feeling of a bit of unfinished business after the pandemic ended last year’s hopes of a national title. Leonard Hamilton, walking boot and all after an Achilles injury, remains a smooth operator on the sidelines and has to be pleased with the way his team has been shooting lately. Turnovers for this group will be key, as when the Noles are holding onto the ball they’re tough to beat. If they’re turning it over, well, even Hamilton knows that’s the team’s own Achilles on the court. Either way, few present the kind of matchup issues like FSU does as this team hopes to keep carrying the ACC banner even further.

10. UCLA

While the Sweet 16 doesn’t feature a ton of blue bloods, it does feature the most historically successful of them in the fresh powder blues. Mick Cronin has dealt with a number of key injuries but continued to get his guys to play hard on both ends, going from sneaking into the field to becoming a team few want to see in the next round. Johnny Juzang has been phenomenal in particular, delivering clutch basket after clutch basket while providing plenty of leadership between the lines. Maybe just as important is that the Bruins are going to get a bit of rest too after posting three wins in five days.

11. Houston

Despite suffering only three losses on the year, the Cougars needed a shocking collapse from Rutgers in order to even reach the Sweet 16. Quentin Grimes played a key role in that but the attention for most UH fans will be on running mate DeJon Jarreau, who is still dealing with a lingering hip injury (he did score 17 points in the Round of 32 victory). Kelvin Sampson is a veteran coach who knows what buttons to push but there’s at least a little doubt about how well tested this group is after posting just two wins over fellow tourney teams. If the Cougars can play up to their potential however, they’ve got a really good chance at making a run given how much the Midwest Region has opened up and might be the favorites to reach the Final Four and even the title game if they can make it past Syracuse.

12. Syracuse

Death. Taxes. Jim Boeheim in March. It seems like the Orange are perpetually a bubble team in the regular season but when the tourney comes around, that matchup 2-3 zone rears its ugly head and gets this team into the Sweet 16 or beyond (this is the third such time as a double-digit seed). Son Buddy Boeheim has led the way through the first two rounds but there have been contributions from all over from fellow guard Joe Girard to big man Marek Dolezaj. Unlike a few of their other power-conference peers, this is a much more experienced group and that could pay dividends as much as that favorable draw does.

13. Villanova

Of all the 5-12 upsets people were picking in their brackets, few became such a trendy first-round loser quite like the Wildcats did after a mediocre run of form since losing star guard Collin Gillespie. While it took a while for Jay Wright to figure things out, the results in Indy have shown that the roster is a lot deeper than first thought. Chris Arcidiacono (March Madness fans will recognize the last name) has stepped up since being elevated into the starting lineup and so has the entire team. Jeremiah Robinson-Earl has been a monster after the first weekend and the ball movement around him has been crisp and poetic as the team has regained its shooting touch. Villanova’s biggest obstacle is simply that the ‘Cats have to play Baylor next but if they can get past the Bears, the path to a Final Four return is there for the taking.

14. Creighton

The Bluejays enter the Sweet 16 for the first time ever after being counted out by just about everyone coming into the game. Whether it was the way they got run out of MSG by Georgetown in the Big East Tournament or how rocky things got after Greg McDermott received a suspension and made news for all the wrong reasons, a lot of folks cast plenty of doubt about the team making it this far in the dance. But they’ve been able to attack the rim behind the stellar play of Marcus Zegarowski and have begun to get the 3-point shooting to match. The only downside? They just have an undefeated and No. 1 overall seed to try and knock off next.

15. Oral Roberts

March Madness’ newest star? It’s undoubtedly Max Abmas. The nation’s leading scorer coming into the Big Dance has gotten buckets in a big way to help pull off a pair of remarkable upsets, leading Oral Roberts to become just the second No. 15 seed to reach the Sweet 16. But this isn’t a case of some Cinderella run, the Golden Eagles have been a pesky squad all season and capable of putting up some big numbers. Add in fellow sharpshooter Kevin Obanor and some strong defensive efforts down the stretch and the lowest seed left is still somebody teams don’t want to play. ORU has some familiarity with Arkansas too, having lost 87-76 in December. Abmas had an off night when that game took place in Fayetteville and is hoping for a different result in the postseason rematch.

16. Oregon State

A bumpy February has given way to an incredible March run for the Beavers, which sport a conference championship from the hottest league in the tourney. This group is really a sum of a whole bunch of parts, loose ends and previously unknown gems. Guard Ethan Thompson typically gets things going on both ends of the court, pumping in 26 points while also helping lock down future lottery pick Cade Cunningham in a win over Oklahoma State. Roman Silva, Warith Alatishe and Dearon Tucker patrol the frontcourt and bring plenty of size that opponents have to deal with no matter if the Beavers are locked in man or drop into a zone. Head coach Wayne Tinkle has been around the block more than a few times and has proven to be terrific on the whiteboard and at making just the right in-game adjustments. OSU was picked 12th in the preseason Pac-12 poll but has become an incredible story when the games matter most and is hoping to keep things going.

INDIANA PACERS BASKETBALL: Pacers 116, Pistons 111

(PACERS RELEASE)

Recap

It was only a matter of time before Caris LeVert put it all together.

Leading 111-109 with 5.7 seconds remaining, the newest Pacer iced the game with a cold-blooded 3-point shot from the right wing – his fourth of the night – to secure a hard-fought, 116-111 victory for the Blue & Gold (20-23) over the Detroit Pistons (12-31). The former Nets guard finished with a team-high 28 points, including 15 in the second quarter, to help break the squad’s six-game home losing streak.

“It felt big,” he said postgame of his shot in front of a home crowd. “It felt huge. It was huge to get the win tonight, especially when the game was up in the air down the stretch. I love fourth quarters. I love big moments.”

Edmond Sumner finished with a bench-high 18 points – 13 in the fourth alone to earn Indiana’s third win out of its last four contests. Malcolm Brogdon (16), Justin Holiday (14), and Domantas Sabonis (14) also finished in double figures for the Blue & Gold.

“The defensive end was giving me confidence on the offensive end,” Sumner said of his performance.

“I saw a few shots go in. T.J. (McConnell) was setting me up well. Once you see a few go in – I’m here for a reason, so my confidence is going to skyrocket.”

Indiana overcame another slow first-quarter start en route to its win. The squad made just three of their first eight attempts from the floor. Thankfully, the defense forced a rough offensive introduction of the Pistons. After Detroit nailed their first three shots, the Pacers’ defense held the Pistons to just one field goal over a 5:03 span. Domantas Sabonis’ layup at the 7:24 mark gave Indiana its first lead, 10-9.

But the shooting slump eventually caught up to the Pacers as Detroit took over the lead once more. Trailing 14-11, the visitors rattled off seven unanswered, including a three from Wayne Ellington from the right side, to earn an 18-14 lead with 2:38 to play.

Things appeared to head even more South for the squad as Detroit pushed the lead to 24-16 with 1:06 to go. However, the Blue & Gold finished the final minute strong. A pull-up jumper from T.J. McConnell followed by a triple from Sumner – Indiana’s first – closed the gap to 24-21 before the end of the first frame. The Pacers finished the period just 9-of-25 from the floor.

McConnell’s fast defensive hands combined with Goga Bitadze’s play in the paint illustrated a promising start for Indiana in the second. Consecutive buckets for the second-year center earned a 25-24 Pacers lead just over a minute into the frame.

Later on, LeVert began taking over. The former Michigan star’s trey earned a slim 35-34 lead for Indiana with 7:37 to go. Including his snipe, LeVert scored the next seven Pacers points. With 6:14 to play, he then dished the rock to Justin Holiday, who obliged with a 3-pointer from the right side. The string of shots gave Indiana a 42-39 lead.

LeVert continued to be Indiana’s main offense later in the frame. Leading 49-48, he found six straight uncontested points to push the Pacers lead to seven with 1:17 to go. After Jerami Grant notched a pair of free throws, LeVert found another bucket for a 57-50 lead with 55.3 to go. Grant added one more free throw to cut it to six before the break.

Indiana steadily pushed its lead to double digits, 63-53, in the opening minutes behind a pair of free throws from both LeVert and Sabonis. However, Detroit quickly climbed back into it.

With the Pacers leading 65-55, the Pistons used a 13-3 run, including a string of eight unanswered, to tie the game, 68-68, on Saddiq Bey’s euro-step layup at the 6:04 mark.

But the Pacers did not falter. Indiana quickly jumped ahead two possessions behind consecutive buckets from Justin Holiday and a three from Malcolm Brogdon. With 3:25 remaining, McConnell flicked a pass to a cutting Doug McDermott for an easy layup to give the Pacers a 78-72 lead.

Late in the third, the Pacers’ reserves managed to increase the margin by one more. Bitadze and Jeremy Lamb combined for consecutive 3-point shots to push the lead to 84-76 with 57.1 seconds to go. After Josh Jackson responded with a trey, McConnell found space in the paint for his signature turnaround jumper for the frame’s final points. The Pacers led 86-79 entering the fourth.

Although the Pacers held on through the opening minutes, Detroit kept chipping away. Eventually, the Pistons found Tyler Cook twice in the paint – once on an alley-oop slam – to trim Indiana’s lead to 92-90 with 8:55 to play. An Ellington jumper from the left elbow tied the ballgame just 0:32 later.

The Pistons briefly earned a 96-94 lead after Bey’s 3-pointer before Sumner caught fire. The former Xavier product recorded eight straight for Indiana, including two confident 3-point shots from the right side, that regained a 102-98 lead with 6:09 to go. He then added two assists to his stellar quarter to keep the Pacers’ lead at two possessions.

LeVert and Sabonis’ efforts on the offensive end stretched the lead to nine before consecutive buckets from Mason Plumlee and Grant cut the score to 111-106 with 2:17 to go. Coach Nate Bjorkgren called a timeout in an attempt to regroup the squad.

But Indiana remained cold from the floor. Despite several opportunities to extend the lead, the shots simply did not drop. Instead, Grant found a jumper, and Plumlee notched a free throw to trim the lead to 111-109 with 55.1 seconds to go.

With 34.5 seconds to play and the Pistons in control, Delon Wright drove the paint but was halted by Myles Turner. Wright fumbled the ball out of bounds, giving Indiana possession.

In no hurry, Brogdon probed the offensive zone. Sensing the hot shooter, the guard dished the ball to LeVert on the right wing. LeVert took two steps forward, hopped over the arc, and fired.

It sank without a thought.

With time on their side, Sabonis made his free throws to deflate Detroit’s sails for good.

Middleton, Bucks beat Celtics 121-119 for 8th straight win

MILWAUKEE (AP) Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo feared the worst when he saw Boston’s Daniel Theis all alone with the game on the line.

Antetokounmpo could breathe a sigh of relief a moment later when Theis’ 3-pointer bounced off the rim.

Milwaukee blew most of a 25-point lead before holding on for a 121-119 victory over the Celtics on Wednesday night. Theis’ last-second miss finished the Bucks’ eighth straight victory.

“Thank God he didn’t make it and we were able to get the win,” Antetokounmpo said.

Khris Middleton had 27 points and 13 rebounds for the Bucks, who have won 13 of 14 overall. Bobby Portis had 21 points on 7-for-10 shooting.

Boston lost for the fifth time in six games. Jaylen Brown had 24 points and 10 rebounds, and Kemba Walker scored 23.

After trailing 90-65 midway through the third quarter, the Celtics cut the margin to two on Brown’s 3-pointer with 1:32 left. Theis then drew an offensive foul on Antetokounmpo, and the Celtics had multiple opportunities to tie the game or go in front the rest of the way.

That’s when the Bucks’ defense stiffened.

Marcus Smart missed a 3-pointer with 1:06 remaining. Donte DiVincenzo blocked a layup attempt from Walker with about 35 seconds remaining. Brook Lopez blocked a Smart layup attempt with 2 seconds left.

“I think honestly, it may not seem it, but I think we did a great job of not tensing up,” DiVincenzo said. “I think we just made a few mistakes down the stretch, but I think it’s good for us to learn how to get better off of a win.”

After the Lopez block, Middleton knocked Smart’s ensuing inbounds pass out of bounds, giving the Celtics one last opportunity.

Smart found Theis all alone in front of the Celtics’ bench, but the shot bounced off the rim as the buzzer sounded.

“Lopez is playing off Theis and just protecting any cut to the rim, so Theis was the best option there,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens said. “He got a great look. He stepped in and shot it with authority, back-rimmed it, looked good.”

Antetokounmpo and Boston’s Jayson Tatum returned after the All-Stars missed games on Monday. Antetokounmpo rested during the Bucks’ 140-113 victory over Indiana because of a sprained left knee. An illness kept Tatum from playing in a 132-126 overtime loss at Memphis.

Mitchell scores 27, Jazz rout short-handed Nets 118-88

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) Donovan Mitchell showed no mercy against a Brooklyn Nets team missing most of its starting lineup.

“The biggest thing was trying to be aggressive, get downhill, make plays, get on the rim and finish,” Mitchell said. “That was just my mindset from the jump.”

Mitchell scored 27 points and the Utah Jazz routed the short-handed Nets 118-88 on Wednesday night.

The Jazz jumped to a 21-point lead in the first quarter against the depleted Nets, who never really threatened to make it a competitive game.

“Tonight, we really showed the mental fortitude throughout the entire game to continue keep our foot on the pedal,” Mitchell said.

Bojan Bogdanovic, who was mired in a 3-for-25 shooting slump from 3-point range, made 4 of 6 3-point attempts and scored 18 for the Jazz, who have won four of five.

“It felt great to see shots go in,” Bogdanovic said.

This matchup between Eastern and Western Conference contenders lost some luster when the Nets James Harden was scratched due to a sore neck. He joined teammates Kevin Durant (left hamstring strain) and Kyrie Irving (personal reasons) on the injured list.

“We want to play against guys like KD, Kyrie, James Harden – that’s what competitiveness is . but we’re not gonna change how we play or our mindset because those guys aren’t in the game,” Mitchell said.

Alize Johnson, who was signed to a 10-day contract on Monday, had a career-high 23 points and 15 rebounds. Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot added 14 for Brooklyn.

“That’s a great team. That’s the team with the best record in the league. We went out there severely undermanned. Most importantly, (our players) stuck together and played hard,” Brooklyn coach Steve Nash said.

Mitchell made five 3-pointers in three quarters of action. He has increased his efficiency of late, averaging 32.5 points over his last four games.

Evan Fournier hits winner, Magic beat Suns 112-111

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) If Orlando’s victory Wednesday night turns out to be Evan Fournier’s last game for the Magic with the NBA’s trade deadline approaching, the guard will depart with yet another memorable moment.

Fournier scored the last of his 21 points on a difficult driving layup over Phoenix center Deandre Ayton with 6.4 seconds left and the Magic beat the Suns 112-111.

Fournier, an unrestricted free agent at season’s end who has been the subject of recent trade talks, admitted he would be heartbroken if he’s dealt away from the franchise he has spent the past seven seasons playing for.

“I left my home (in France) where I lived with my parents when I was 13 and since then I never stayed in one place for more than two years, so the fact that I’ve been here for seven years says a lot,” said Fournier, who hit four 3-pointers and scored at least 20 points for the 12th time this season. “I had a son here, I got married and it means more than a lot. . If it’s the end, it’s the end, but I obviously love the franchise.”

Suns star Devin Booker made two free throws with 19.4 seconds left to give Phoenix a one-point lead, but he failed to answer Fournier’s winner when he missed a reverse layup attempt just before the final horn. The loss ended Phoenix’s road winning streak at seven, its longest since 2006-07. Phoenix is 14-6 on the road, tied for the second-most road victories in the NBA.

“We started off the right way, but we never got over that hump,” said Booker, whose Suns lost on the road for the first time since Feb. 3. “We pushed the lead to 10 to 12 a couple of times and messed around with the game. They stuck around and finished it the right way.”

Nikola Vucevic had 27 points and 14 rebounds for Orlando, and rookie Chuma Okeke made all six of his shots – four from 3-point range – en route to a career-best 17 points.

Leonard, Clippers dominate Spurs for 3rd straight victory

SAN ANTONIO (AP) Los Angeles Clippers star Kawhi Leonard gave Spurs fans little to boo about in his return to San Antonio.

Leonard had 25 points and the Los Angeles Clippers never trailed in beating the San Antonio Spurs 134-101 on Wednesday night.

Leonard was booed during pregame introductions and subsequently each time he touched the ball. The jeers were not as loud as his three previous visits to the AT&T Center and waned as the game progressed as the Spurs gave their fans little to root for and Leonard’s near-perfect outing gave them little to jeer about.

Not that it mattered to the ever-stoic Leonard.

“I doubt it,” Clippers coach Tyronn Lue said. “I think every game is the same to him.”

And it was.

The Clippers won their third straight and 11th by 20 points or more this season, but Leonard only saw room for improvement.

“We’re not there yet,” Leonard said. “Not there yet. That’s what’s on my mind.”

Marcus Morris added 20 points, Paul George had 17 points, and Lou Williams 16.

“You have to have that respect level for every player that steps on to the floor,” Spurs point guard Dejounte Murray said. “We were more focused on the obvious two, Kawhi and Paul George. We have to know who’s who on the floor and what they are capable of.”

DeMar DeRozan led San Antonio with 19 points, and Patty Mills added 16.

The teams meet again Thursday night in the finale of the two-game set in San Antonio.

Grizzlies top Thunder 116-107 to move a game over .500

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) Dillon Brooks matched a season high with 25 points, and the Memphis Grizzlies defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder 116-107 on Wednesday night in the opening game of a four-game trip.

Grayson Allen scored 20 points and Jonas Valanciunas added 16 points and 15 rebounds for the Grizzlies, who have won four of five to move one game above .500 for the season.

The Grizzlies trailed by 12 in the third quarter, but they closed out the quarter on a 33-12 run to take control for good.

“I hit them really hard at halftime about our undisciplined-ness, our inability to keep the Thunder in front of us — something that we talked about before the game multiple times,” Grizzlies coach Taylor Jenkins said. “We had a lack of competitiveness on the ball, we were turning the ball over, missing some shots, not getting set defensively.”

Memphis guard Ja Morant said the Grizzlies listened to their coach, and got to work.

“I just feel like we picked up our defensive effort,” he said. “We were able to get stops and play in transition, which we like to do — get out and run. And it opened up a lot for us on the offensive end, got our offense going.”

Moses Brown had 19 points and 12 rebounds, and Al Horford added 13 points, eight rebounds and six assists for the Thunder.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who leads Oklahoma City with 23.7 points per game, was out with plantar fasciitis in his right foot. Coach Mark Daigneault said before the game that there is no set timetable for his return.

“I don’t want to use long term because it’s vague, but it’s not day-to-day,” Daigneault said. “It’s going to be a more significant amount of time than day-to-day. This one is now an injury that we need to take a look at.”

The Thunder led 53-49 at halftime behind the play of centers Horford and Brown. Horford had 11 points, six rebounds and six assists at halftime, while Brown had 10 points and 10 rebounds in just 14 minutes.

Fox, Haliburton lift Kings past Hawks 110-108

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) De’Aaron Fox scored 37 points, Tyrese Haliburton made a pair of free throws with 36.6 seconds remaining and the Sacramento Kings beat the Atlanta Hawks 110-108 on Wednesday night.

Haliburton finished with 17 points and seven assists, Buddy Hield scored 14 and Richaun Holmes had 16 points and eight rebounds.

Clint Capella had 25 points and 17 rebounds for the Hawks, who have lost back-to-back games after winning their first eight under interim coach Nate McMillan.

Fox shot 13 of 20 and rattled Atlanta’s defense all night. He had 15 points in the first quarter, scored against a trio of Atlanta defenders inside the key with an up-and-under move in the third, then later added a turnaround 19-footer as the shot clock expired.

“I was just playing, seeing how they were guarding pick and rolls, how soft they were guarding the ball,” Fox said. “For me, it’s just continuing to try to grow as a player and become more efficient in what I do . and help my team win.”

It’s the 10th 30-point game for Fox this season.

“It feels like the game is really slowing down for him, which is similar to that pre-injury run we were on with him,” Kings coach Luke Walton said. “We’re clearly a better team when he’s playing like that. He’s really finding that comfort level out there and getting to his spots at his pace.

“It’s the shot that he wants to take and that’s what you love to see out of your offensive guys.”

McMillan blamed Atlanta’s inconsistent offense and lack of defense.

“I thought we really settled on the perimeter, and in that second half we didn’t continue to keep the pressure on their defense,” McMillan said. “Defensively, we never really established our defense where we were getting stops. Fox had his way pretty much most of the night.”

As good as Fox was, Haliburton made the difference down the stretch.

Porzingis scores 29, Mavericks beat Timberwolves 128-108

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) Kristaps Porzingis had 29 points and seven Dallas players scored in double digits as the Mavericks ran away with a 128-108 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday night.

Tim Hardaway Jr. added 21 points off the bench for Dallas, and Luka Doncic finished with 15.

Rookie guard Anthony Edwards led Minnesota with 29 points, including 18 in the fourth quarter. Karl-Anthony Towns had 22.

Dallas has won two games in a row, while Minnesota dropped its third straight.

“If we want to be the best team that we think in our mind that we can be, then these games are must-wins,” Porzingis said. “These are the types of games that we cannot let slip.”

The Mavericks are 14-5 in their last 19 games.

With Doncic quiet in the first half, Porzingis carried the scoring for Dallas. He had 17 points on 6-of-13 shooting as the Mavericks took a 56-55 lead into halftime.

Doncic, who averaged 39 points in his previous three games, was held to five in the first half on 2-of-9 shooting. His second basket came with 8.2 seconds left in the half, giving the Mavs a one-point lead.

Dallas struggled from the floor in the first half, connecting on just 37.5% of its shots (18 of 48). But the Mavericks’ offense clicked in the third quarter and they shot 52% from the field to push the lead to double figures.

“The start to the game was rough, but we hung in,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “We had a rough start to the second half and then got our bearings, got our footing.”

A three-point play by Jalen Brunson in the final minute of the third put the Mavericks up 85-73, their biggest lead to that point. Porzingis followed with a 3-pointer, his third of the night.

Raptors rout Nuggets 135-111 to end 9-game losing streak

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) Pascal Siakam scored 27 points and the Toronto Raptors broke a nine-game losing streak Wednesday night with a 135-111 rout of the Denver Nuggets.

Toronto built a 24-point lead in the first half and shot 50% (24 of 48) on 3-pointers overall to win for the first time since Feb. 26.

OG Anunoby scored 18 of his 23 points before halftime for the Raptors, and Norman Powell added 22.

Kyle Lowry, playing perhaps his final game for Toronto on the eve of the NBA trade deadline, finished with eight points, nine assists and five rebounds.

“A lot of people are wondering what’s going to happen. There are a lot of rumors out there,” Siakam said. “When you’re losing, that makes it even worse. My focus was on trying to win a game and I was trying to block everything else away.”

As for the prospect of breaking up the core of a team that won a championship two years ago, Siakam said: “That’s the NBA. There’s a lot of doubt going on, but there’s not much you can do. It’s kind of out of your control.”

Lowry had a plus/minus of plus-42, second-best in franchise history.

“He plays harder than anybody I’ve ever seen, and I can’t give him a higher compliment than that,” coach Nick Nurse said. “He’ll go down as maybe the greatest Raptor ever to date.”

Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray scored 20 points apiece for Denver, which lost for only the third time in 12 games. Michael Porter Jr. added 19 points and eight rebounds.

The Nuggets had won six straight road games, equaling a franchise record.

Terry Rozier scores 25 points, Hornets cruise past Rockets

HOUSTON (AP) Terry Rozier scored 25 points, Devonte’ Graham added 21 and the Charlotte Hornets beat the Houston Rockets 122-97 on Wednesday night.

The Rockets quickly returned to the loss column after snapping a 20-game losing streak Monday night. It was the NBA’s longest skid since Philadelphia’s record-setting 28-game rut across the 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons.

Charlotte won in Houston for the first time since Dec. 22, 2004, snapping a 15-game losing streak.

The Hornets were still adjusting their rotation in the second game without LaMelo Ball after the rookie suffered a fractured wrist that is expected to sideline him for the rest of the season. Graham started at point guard, hitting 6 of 9 from 3-point range.

“This is the Devonte’ we know,” Hornets coach James Borrego said. “We all know it’s in there. This is the guy we know, believe in and trust. We all believe in him, and tonight, he proved why he’s on this roster and why he’s such a big part of our group. He was fantastic.”

Malik Monk added 19 points off the bench for Charlotte.

“If things aren’t going right with the second unit, it’s all on me,” Monk said. “With LaMelo hurt, I take great pride in bringing a lot of energy off the bench.”

The Rockets were without Victor Oladipo, who missed the game for personal reasons. Oladipo has been heavily mentioned in trade rumors this week, leading up to Thursday afternoon’s deadline.

For Houston, John Wall had 20 points and seven assists, and Christian Wood added 11 points and 10 rebounds.

“We just have to play basketball and look at the film,” Wall said. “We have to play hard for 48 minutes to try to give ourselves a chance to win the game.”

Following a 26-26 tie at the end of the first quarter, Charlotte took a 58-55 lead into halftime, thanks in large part to 9-for-19 shooting from 3. The Hornets finished 18 of 38 from 3 in the game, good for 47.4%, just under their season-high 51.2%.

Charlotte opened the third quarter on a 10-2 run and entered the fourth with a 93-70 lead after outscoring the Rockets 35-15 in the third.

MLB steps up ball monitoring to suppress foreign substances

NEW YORK (AP) Major League Baseball is increasing its monitoring of baseballs in an attempt to suppress any use of foreign substances by pitchers.

Mike Hill, newly hired as executive vice president of baseball operations and disciplinarian, wrote in a memorandum to team officials on Tuesday that “players are subject to discipline … regardless of whether evidence of the violation has been discovered during or following a game.”

“Examples of prohibited conduct include, but are not limited to, handling foreign substances, advising a pitcher how to use or otherwise mask the use of foreign substances, interfering with the collection of game-used baseballs and failing to report observed violations of these rules by players or staff.”

Hill said team leaders may be held responsible for violations by staff.

In a two-page memo to owners, CEOs, team presidents, general managers and mangers first reported by ESPN and the New York Post, Hill outlined three new enforcement components.

-Gameday compliance monitors and electronics compliance officers will check for violations in dugouts, clubhouses, tunnels, batting cages and bullpens, and they will file daily reports to the commissioner’s office.

-Umpires, equipment authenticators and compliance personnel will submit baseballs that come out of play to the commissioner’s office for inspection and documentation, both suspicious equipment and randomly select balls. A third-party lab will be used for examinations, and suspicious balls will be traced back to pitchers.

-MLB Statcast data will be reviewed by the commissioner’s office to analyze spin rate changes among pitchers suspected of using foreign substances, comparing game data with career norms.

“As a reminder, all club personnel are prohibited from assisting players in the use of foreign substances and also will be subject to discipline by the commissioner, including fines and suspensions,” Hill wrote.

Report: Astros, McCullers agree to 5-year, $85M extension

The Houston Astros have locked up a big piece of their rotation, agreeing to a five-year contract extension with right-hander Lance McCullers Jr., a source told Mark Berman of Fox 26 Houston.

The deal is worth $85 million, sources told ESPN’s Jeff Passan. It doesn’t include any option years but does contain a limited no-trade clause, according to Jon Heyman of MLB Network.

Discussions between the sides reportedly started to gain steam Tuesday.

McCullers, who has spent his entire career with the Astros, was scheduled to become a free agent after this season. He and the team avoided arbitration in January by agreeing to a one-year, $6.5-million deal for 2021.

McCullers had a solid comeback season in 2020, posting a 3.93 ERA, 3.70 FIP, and 1.16 WHIP with 56 strikeouts across 11 regular-season starts after missing all of 2019 recovering from Tommy John surgery.

The 27-year-old owns a lifetime 3.70 ERA and 1.26 WHIP with 565 strikeouts across 508 2/3 innings. An All-Star and World Series champion in 2017, he’s been an important member of the Astros’ rotation when healthy but hasn’t always been durable; McCullers has never made more than 25 appearances or thrown more than 128 1/3 innings over a 162-game season.

McCullers looks set to become a pillar of a Houston rotation that’s beginning to transition away from veterans Zack Greinke and Justin Verlander.

MLB PREVIEW: CHICAGO WHITE SOX

CHICAGO (AP) Expectations are soaring on the South Side.

The Chicago White Sox come in with their sights set on a World Series championship perhaps as soon as this year following a breakthrough season.

They vaulted into the playoffs for the first time since 2008, then added to an already deep roster. After tying for second in the AL Central at 35-25 and ending a string of seven losing seasons, the White Sox see no reason why they can’t contend for a title.

“We want to win a ring,” ace Lucas Giolito said. “We want to win a World Series.”

The White Sox haven’t won it all since 2005. But they haven’t been in a position like this since then, either.

The White Sox hired Tony La Russa for a second stint 3 1/2 decades after firing the Hall of Fame manager. And they added some big pieces to their roster.

The most notable was the $54 million deal for closer Liam Hendriks, who happened to be on the mound for the final out when Oakland eliminated Chicago in Game 3 of their wild card series last year. Chicago also boosted the rotation by acquiring Lance Lynn from Texas.

The White Sox boast a powerful lineup led by AL MVP Jose Abreu and 2019 major league batting champion Tim Anderson. The rotation, led by Giolito, and bullpen are deep, too. But it’s not just the talent that impresses La Russa.

“Our guys upstairs have really fortified depth with the talent in every part of the team,” he said. “I’ve seen talent half-step it, as far as they think that’s all they need. You really need to practice right. … The workload this club is willing to take on is impressive.”

All that has the White Sox thinking big, with the opener at the Los Angeles Angels on April 1.

NEW LOOK

The White Sox went all in while other teams were cutting back.

The bullpen, anchored by Hendriks, could dominate. The trade for Lynn gave them a workhorse starter to go with Giolito and Dallas Keuchel. But the most eye-opening move? Hiring La Russa to replace Rick Renteria.

The White Sox stuck with him when news of a drunken-driving arrest broke shortly after his hiring. LaRussa hasn’t filled out a lineup card since the Cardinals won the World Series in 2011, and at 76, he is the oldest manager in the majors.

ROOKIES TO WATCH

Though the White Sox feature a loaded lineup, they are handing the designated hitter spot to a 22-year-old with no experience above Class A. Then again, they have big hopes for Andrew Vaughn.

The No. 3 pick in the 2019 amateur draft, he was viewed as one of the most polished hitters coming out of college. He combined to hit .278 with six homers and 36 RBIs that year in the Arizona Rookie League and at Class A Kannapolis and Winston-Salem. With no minor league season in 2020, the only action he saw was at spring training and summer camp.

BOUNCE BACK

Yoan Moncada eyes a return to his 2019 form after being slowed by COVID-19 last year. Moncada went from hitting .315 in 2019 to .225. He finished the pandemic-shortened season with six homers and 24 RBIs in 52 games, down from 25 and 79 over 132 games.

ROBERT’S ROLLERCOASTER

The White Sox are counting on Luis Robert to take his game to another level following a tantalizing rookie season.

The speedy center fielder won a Gold Glove as a rookie after signing a $50 million, six-year contract last winter. He got off to a great start at the plate, struggled in September and finished with a .233 average to go with 11 homers and 31 RBIs.

FOR STARTERS

The White Sox have a strong one-two-three punch at the top of the rotation with Giolito, Keuchel and Lynn. As for the other two spots?

Dylan Cease has the potential to dominate if he can harness his command after issuing 34 walks in 58 1/3 innings last year. Carlos Rodon and Reynaldo Lopez are also vying for a place in the rotation.

Michael Kopech could be a big part of it at some point, though he’s in the bullpen for now as he pitches for the first time since 2018. He missed the 2019 season recovering from Tommy John surgery and opted out last year.

Projected Lineup: 

LINEUP

SS    Tim Anderson (R)

3B    Yoan Moncada (S)

1B    Jose Abreu (R)

LF    Eloy Jimenez (R)

C      Yasmani Grandal (S)

CF    Luis Robert (R)

DH    Andrew Vaughn (R)

RF    Adam Eaton (L)

2B    Nick Madrigal (R)

BENCH

C        Zack Collins (L)

INF     Danny Mendick (R)

UTIL   Leury Garcia (L)

OF      Adam Engel (R)

ROTATION

RHP    Lucas Giolito

LHP    Dallas Keuchel

RHP    Lance Lynn

RHP    Dylan Cease

RHP    Michael Kopech

BULLPEN

RHP     Liam Hendriks (C)

LHP     Aaron Bummer

RHP     Evan Marshall

RHP     Matt Foster

RHP     Codi Heuer
RHP     Reynaldo Lopez
RHP     Jimmy Cordero

LHP     Garrett Crochet

MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL PREVIEW: NEW YORK METS

NEW YORK (AP) For the finishing touch on a recent spring training drill, Francisco Lindor and the New York Mets rehearsed their World Series championship celebration.

“You’ve got to practice it if it’s going to happen, you know?” slugger Pete Alonso said with a chuckle. “We were having fun, but you’ve got to have a vision and make it a goal before it turns into reality.”

While the Mets are hardly the first team to try that Jedi mind trick, they might be among the most presumptuous.

New York went 26-34 during the pandemic-curbed 2020 season, tied for last in the NL East, and missed the playoffs for the fourth straight year. The Mets have only three winning seasons in the past 12, and one pennant in the last two decades. The most recent of their two titles came in 1986.

But a top-to-bottom offseason overhaul under new owner Steve Cohen wrought changes everywhere from the front office to the back of the rotation and the last spot on the bench. The biggest prize was Lindor, the superstar shortstop acquired from Cleveland along with right-hander Carlos Carrasco in a blockbuster trade. All-Star catcher James McCann signed as a free agent, and New York filled rotation holes by bringing back hometown righty Marcus Stroman and adding newcomer Taijuan Walker.

With one of baseball’s most dominant pitchers already in the fold, two-time Cy Young Award winner Jacob deGrom, the Mets certainly look like contenders.

“We can play,” Lindor said.

Preseason plaudits are nothing new, though. For a couple of years now, New York has boasted a dangerous lineup and quality players at the top of the roster.

It hasn’t yielded much success on the field.

“I think this is the most talented team that we’ve had in a long time,” said outfielder Michael Conforto, taking on a larger leadership role. “But there always seems to be this hype around either our pitching staff or the young hitters that we have, or whatever it may be. And I’ve seen that, you know, it’s not that we didn’t work hard, but you can fall into this mode of thinking that you’re better than you are. And you’re not good unless you win a lot of games – that’s just plain and simple. And we haven’t done that yet.

“It’s easy to see the talent that we have, but I think it’s important that we don’t allow that talent to be our worst enemy,” he added. “I think a lot of times, talent can make you complacent. … We need to put in the work.”

NEW LOOK

The difference this season, the Mets believe, is a better backup plan for injuries and inevitable hiccups.

Under new team president Sandy Alderson, who was New York’s general manager from 2010-18, the club placed a long-overdue focus this winter on building depth in every area. While the Mets missed out on premium free agents Trevor Bauer, George Springer and Brad Hand, veteran reserves such as outfielder Kevin Pillar, infielder Jonathan Villar and center fielder Albert Almora Jr. were acquired, along with viable fill-in options on the mound like Joey Lucchesi and Jordan Yamamoto.

“There’s just a lot of versatility,” second-year manager Luis Rojas said.

Noah Syndergaard is targeting a June return to the rotation after sitting out last season following Tommy John surgery. Stroman accepted an $18.9 million qualifying offer to return for one year after missing the start of last season with a calf injury and then opting out due to COVID-19 concerns.

Offensive sparkplug Jeff McNeil shifts back to second base, probably his most natural position, because Robinson Cano was suspended for 162 games by Major League Baseball after testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug for the second time during his decorated career.

There are 18 newcomers on the 40-man roster, a big reason computer-based projection models peg the Mets as favorites in a rugged division ruled by three-time defending champion Atlanta.

“This is going to be a big year for us,” Alonso said. “It’s going to be a challenge but I think that we’re extremely depth-y and we can win in a lot of ways on offense.”

That depth could be tested immediately, with Carrasco slowed this spring by a sore arm and valuable right-hander Seth Lugo likely out until at least May following surgery to remove a bone spur from his pitching elbow. New bench bat Jose Martinez is expected to miss about four months with a knee injury.

GLOVE WORK

New York was one of baseball’s worst defensive teams last year, and while Lindor and McCann provide upgrades, J.D. Davis presents a question mark at third base and the lack of a designated hitter in the National League this season makes breakout bopper Dominic Smith, a first baseman by trade, an indisputable liability in left field.

“While some of our players aren’t defensive geniuses, we think that the overall blend that we have is pretty good,” Alderson said.

LATE IN THE EVENING

The bullpen got augmented, but middle-relief issues remain. New reliever Trevor May was signed to help set up closer Edwin Diaz, who was much better last season after a miserable Mets debut in 2019.

WIN NOW

Lindor, Conforto, Syndergaard and Stroman can all become free agents following this season. Meanwhile, deGrom turns 33 in June and can opt out of his contract after 2022. The team is in talks with Lindor about a long-term deal, but he says he won’t negotiate during the season. Conforto could be on deck.

Projected Lineup: 

LINEUP

SS     Francisco Lindor (S)

CF     Brandon Nimmo (L)

2B     Jeff McNeil (L)

1B     Pete Alonso (R)

LF     Dominic Smith (L)

RF     Michael Conforto (L)

C      James McCann (R)

3B     J.D. Davis (R)

BENCH

C      Tomas Nido (R)

SS     Luis Guillorme (L)

OF    Albert Almora Jr. (R)

OF    Kevin Pillar (R)

UT    Jonathan Villar (S)

ROTATION

RHP     Jacob deGrom

RHP     Carlos Carrasco

RHP     Noah Syndergaard*

RHP     Marcus Stroman

LHP     Joey Lucchesi
RHP     Taijuan Walker

BULLPEN

RHP     Edwin Diaz (C)

RHP     Trevor May

RHP     Dellin Betances

RHP     Jeurys Familia

RHP     Seth Lugo

RHP     Robert Gsellman

LHP     Aaron Loup

LHP     David Peterson

MAJOR LAGUE BASEBALL PREVIEW: TORONTO BLUE JAYS

TORONTO (AP) Already loaded with young talent, the Toronto Blue Jays spent big this winter to add outfielder George Springer and infielder Marcus Semien, a pair of playoff-tested veterans with MVP credentials.

Inspired by those two signings, brash Blue Jays shortstop Bo Bichette is talking title.

“If we go home without a trophy, that’ll be disappointing,” Bichette said.

A World Series winner with Houston in 2017, Springer admired Toronto’s young core from afar while with the Astros, taking note of youthful sluggers Bichette, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., and Cavan Biggio.

Now that Springer has seen the Blue Jays youngsters up close, he’s even more impressed.

“They’re very advanced,” Springer said. “They’re advanced in their preparation, advanced in how they work, understanding what they need to do. I know it’s early but I’m very excited.”

The Blue Jays were among the busiest teams on the free-agent market. Besides signing Springer to a team-record $150 million, six-year contract and Semien to an $18 million, one-year deal, Toronto also gave contracts to a trio of right-hander relievers; a $5.5 million, one-year deal with likely closer Kirby Yates; a $3 million, one-year contract with Tyler Chatwood, and a $1.75 million, one-year contract with David Phelps.

Toronto also acquired left-hander Steven Matz in a trade with the New York Mets.

“It’s an exciting time to have the Blue Jays adding pieces,” Semien said. “With this young group and the new pieces we have, we’re just going to have to learn how to play together and it’ll be a beautiful thing.”

Infielder Joe Panik was with the Blue Jays in 2020, when they finished 32-28 and qualified for the expanded postseason. Panik, who won the World Series with San Francisco in 2014, said he’s enjoyed watching the Jays develop from youthful upstarts into pennant contenders.

“Our time to win is now,” Panik said. “We know we have the talent, we have the experience. Now’s the time, our window of opportunity is open.”

PITCHING QUESTIONS

While the offense looks stacked, the Blue Jays don’t have a dominant pitching staff to match. Left-hander Hyun Jin Ryu is the dependable ace, but there are questions about what Toronto will get from Matz, left-hander Robbie Ray, and right-hander Tanner Roark.

An NL All-Star in 2017, Ray posted an ugly 6.62 ERA with Arizona and Toronto last season. Ray re-signed early in the offseason and has worked with Blue Jays pitching coach Pete Walker. So far, the results are encouraging: Ray had a 2.18 ERA through three spring starts.

NEW LOOK

Springer will likely make most of his starts in center field, while Semien is moving from shortstop to second base to accommodate Bichette. Guerrero moved from third base to first base in 2020 and will play mostly first this season, with Cavan Biggio moving from second to third. Yates replaces Ken Giles as closer, with newcomers Chatwood and Phelps joining holdovers Rafael Dolis and Jordan Romano in set-up roles.

ROOKIES TO WATCH

Catcher Alejandro Kirk, 22, hadn’t played above Class-A before last season but excelled at the alternate training site and reached the majors in September, even making a postseason start at DH. Kirk continued to impress this spring, starting 5-for-10 with four RBIs in six games. Barring injury, or the Blue Jays carrying three catchers, keeping Kirk could mean losing three-year veteran Reese McGuire, who is out of options.

ONE MORE WITH MONTOYO

The Blue Jays picked up the 2022 option on manager Charlie Montoyo’s contract midway through camp. Montoyo replaced John Gibbons after the 2018 season and is 99-123 as Toronto’s manager.

“He’s very steady in-game,” general manager Ross Atkins said. “His instincts are incredible. I couldn’t be happier working alongside him.”

LOST IN MIGRATION

Still unable to play in Canada because of COVID-19, the Blue Jays will begin the season at their spring training facility in Dunedin, Florida. If Toronto still isn’t an option once the heat and thunderstorms of summer arrive, one alternative could be a return to Buffalo, New York, their “home” in 2020. The hope is that mass vaccinations on both sides of the closed U.S.-Canada border will allow the Blue Jays to go back to Toronto before season’s end.

Projected Lineup: 

LINEUP

CF    George Springer (R)

2B    Marcus Semien (R)

SS    Bo Bichette (R)

LF    Teoscar Hernandez (R)

DH   Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (R)

2B    Cavan Biggio (L)

LF    Lourdes Gurriel Jr. (R)

1B    Rowdy Tellez (L)

C      Danny Jansen (R)

BENCH

C      Reese McGuire (L)
IF     Santiago Espinal (R)

OF    Jonathan Davis (R)

OF    Randal Grichuk (R)

ROTATION

LHP    Hyun-Jin Ryu

LHP    Robbie Ray

RHP    Nate Pearson

RHP    Tanner Roark

RHP    Ross Stripling

BULLPEN

RHP    Kirby Yates (C)

RHP    Jordan Romano

RHP    Rafael Dolis

LHP    Ryan Borucki

RHP    Shun Yamaguchi

RHP    Julian Merryweather

RHP    Tyler Chatwood

LHP    Steven Matz

INDIANA WOMEN’S BASKETBALL: Grace Berger Named WBCA All-Region Finalist

ATLANTA – Junior guard Grace Berger has been named an all-region finalist for the 2021 Women’s Basketball Coaches Association NCAA Division I Coaches’ All-America team, announced on Wednesday. Berger is one of 10 finalists in region 4 and is among 52 other candidates to earn spots on the 10-member WBCA All-America team. 

Berger leads the nation this season with three triple doubles and the team’s second leading scorer with 15.3 points per game this season. An All-Big Ten first team honoree and Cheryl Miller Award Top 10 watchlist, the Louisville, Ky. native also averages 6.7 rebounds and a team-high 4.7 assists per game. She also grabs 1.1 steals per game and holds a +2.2 assist-to-turnover ratio. Berger is shooting 44.3 percent from the field and 74.8 percent at the free throw line and has scored in double figures in 20 of 24 games this season.

UNC freshman big man Day’Ron Sharpe declares for NBA draft

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) North Carolina freshman big man Day’Ron Sharpe is entering the NBA draft.

The 6-foot-11, 265-pound Sharpe announced his decision in a social media post Wednesday after averaging 9.5 points and 6.9 rebounds in 19.3 minutes per game off the bench.

He has shown the ability to be a dominant rebounder with a good passing touch and a strong frame, a combination that has him widely viewed as a first-round prospect even as he’s a still-developing talent.

“I feel that I’m now ready for the next level,” Sharpe said in a statement. “I’ve made it this far and there’s no reason for me to stop now!”

The UNC basketball program’s Twitter account also acknowledged Sharpe’s decision, wishing him luck at the next level.

“I loved coaching him,” coach Roy Williams said in a statement. “He has a tremendously high motor. He’s naturally one of the greatest rebounders I’ve ever coached and a young man I truly just enjoyed.”

Sharpe had a season-high 25 points in a January win against Notre Dame, followed by a season-best 16 rebounds in the next game against Miami.

His decision marks the second departure from North Carolina’s deep front line this week. Seven-foot freshman Walker Kessler announced earlier that he plans to transfer.

The Tar Heels reached the NCAA Tournament but lost last week to Wisconsin in the first round.

Playmaker Tre Mann declares for NBA, says goodbye to Florida

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) Florida point guard Tre Mann, the program’s best one-on-one playmaker since Jason Williams more than two decades ago, is leaving school early and turning pro.

Mann is expected to hire an agent and does not intend to return to college. The 6-foot-5 sophomore from Gainesville led the Gators with 16 points a game and 83 assists this season and was the team’s second-leader rebounder, averaging 5.6 a game. He also shot 40.2% from 3-point range.

He elevated his play down the stretch, averaging 20.9 points over Florida’s final seven games. His four consecutive 20-plus-point games matched the longest streak by a Florida player over the past 25 years (Nick Calathes, Matt Walsh).

“I would like to thank Coach White and his staff at the University of Florida for believing in me and helping to shape me into the man and player I am today,” Mann said Wednesday in a statement. “Thank you to all my teammates who shared the Gator uniform with me for the last two seasons.

“Thank you to my family for always providing me with love and support. No words can ever describe how grateful I am to you.”

Mann tested the NBA waters after his freshman season, in which he averaged 5.3 points off the bench. He ended up returning to Florida and becoming the team’s best player following Keyontae Johnson’s collapse in early December.

Coach Mike White revamped his offense following Johnson’s still-unexplained crumple to the court and health condition, switching from a dribble-drive scheme designed to take advantage of Johnson’s slashing strengths to a heavy dose of ball-screen action that proved to be a perfect fit for Mann.

Mann’s quickness, ball skill and range made him difficult, maybe even downright impossible, to guard. His step-back jumper became a go-to shot late this season.

NBA scouts surely noticed, seeing a still-growing playmaker who looks ready for the next level. White seemingly saw it coming, too.

“You want these guys to realize the dream,” White said earlier this month. “All these guys want to play at the highest level, and if any one of these guys have a realistic shot in the spring and they’re getting positive feedback from the NBA, I’ll be the first one to tell them, `Hey, man, if you feel like you get something and we can get something guaranteed, go.’

“I’ll be the first one to open the door for you and, `Hey, get out of here.'”

Mann boosted his scoring average 10.7 points from Year 1 to Year 2, matching the biggest single-season jump by a Florida player (Joakim Noah) in the last 25 years.

Noah was the ninth overall pick in the 2007 NBA draft. Mann is currently the No. 15 prospect in ESPN’s draft rankings.

Iowa, Maryland and Nebraska Earn Baseball Weekly Honors

Huskers’ Chick named Player of the Week; Hawkeyes’ Wallace earned Pitcher of the Week; Terrapins’ Savacool tabbed Freshman of the Week 

Player of the Week
Cam Chick, Nebraska

2B – Jr. – Columbia, Mo. – Hickman

  • Delivered a 1.333 slugging percentage to help the Huskers take the Iowa series at Duane Banks Field for the first time since 2013
  • Went 4-for-8 at the plate, with three runs scored, nine RBI, two doubles and two home runs
  • Recorded three of the Huskers’ 13 hits on Saturday, including a grand slam to highlight a seven-run third and a two-run shot in the sixth
  • Wins his first career Big Ten Player of the Week award
  • Last Nebraska Big Ten Player of the Week: Joe Acker (March 10, 2020)

Pitcher of the Week

Trenton Wallace, Iowa

P – Jr. – Rock Island, Ill. – Davenport Assumption

  • Pitched seven shutout innings with eight strikeouts in a 4-0 victory over Nebraska on Friday
  • Allowed only two hits and issued three walks
  • Improved to 2-0 with a 1.00 ERA in three starts with 26 strikeouts over 18 innings
  • The Academic All-Big Ten honoree wins his first career Big Ten Pitcher of the Week award
  • Last Iowa Big Ten Pitcher of the Week: Grant Judkins (Feb. 24, 2020)

Freshman of the Week
Jason Savacool, Maryland

P – Baldwinsville, N.Y. – Baker 

  • Tossed a complete game against Penn State on Monday, retiring the final nine batters he faced to clinch the series win for Maryland 
  • Allowed just five hits, did not walk a single batter and struck out three in 92 pitches
  • Becomes the only pitcher to throw multiple complete games during their freshman season in Autonomy Five Conference baseball since 2015
  • Wins his second Big Ten Freshman of the Week award
  • Last Maryland Big Ten Freshman of the Week: Jason Savacool (March 10, 2021)

BIG 10 HOCKEY NOTEBOOK

• Four Big Ten teams were selected to participate in the 2021 NCAA Division I Men’s Ice Hockey Championship, with Michigan, Minnesota, Notre Dame and Wisconsin earning bids. Both the Golden Gophers and Badgers received No. 1 seeds in their respective regionals, marking the first time the Big Ten has earned two No. 1 seeds since 2014.

• Big Ten Tournament Champion Minnesota returns to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2017 and the 38th time in program history. The Golden Gophers will be the No. 1 seed in the Loveland Regional in Loveland, Colo., and will face No. 4 seed Omaha on ESPNU at 10 p.m. ET on Saturday, March 27 at the Budweiser Events Center. Minnesota has reached the Frozen Four 21 times.

• Big Ten Champion Wisconsin is the No. 1 seed in the Bridgeport Regional in Bridgeport, Conn., and will face No. 4 seed Bemidji State on ESPN2 at 1 p.m. on Friday, March 26 at Webster Bank Arena. Wisconsin is making its 26th NCAA Tournament appearance and its first since 2014. The Badgers have reached the Frozen Four 11 times.

• Michigan is the No. 2 seed in the Fargo Regional in Fargo, N.D., and will face No. 3 seed Minnesota Duluth on ESPNU at 4 p.m. on Friday, March 26 at Scheels Arena. The Wolverines are making their 38th NCAA Tournament appearance and their first since 2018. Michigan has reached the Frozen Four 25 times, including its most recent appearance in 2018.

• Notre Dame returns to the NCAA Tournament for the fifth consecutive season and the 12th time in program history. The Fighting Irish will be the No. 4 seed in the Albany Regional in Albany, N.Y., and will face No. 1 seed Boston College on ESPNEWS at 1 p.m. on Saturday, March 27 at the Times Union Center. Notre Dame has reached the Frozen Four twice in the last three seasons, finishing as the runner-up in 2018.

• The Hobey Baker Award Committee announced its top 10 finalists for the 2021 Hobey Baker Memorial Award, naming Minnesota’s Jack LaFontaine along with Wisconsin teammates Cole Caufield and Dylan Holloway to the group. The Hobey Baker Award is given annually to the top NCAA Division I men’s ice hockey player in the nation. LaFontaine currently leads the nation with 21 wins (21-6-0) and ranks second nationally with a .936 save percentage and a goals-against average of 1.74. Caufield leads the nation with 28 goals and 49 points in 30 games. The unanimous Big Ten Player of the Year paces the country at 1.63 points and 0.93 goals per game, the highest goal-scoring average in the country since the 2005-06 season. Tied for fourth in the nation with 34 points on 11 goals and 23 assists, Holloway ranks third in the nation with a 1.55 points-per-game scoring average. The Hobey Hat Trick will be announced on April 1, 2021 and the Hobey Baker Award winner will be announced on Friday, April 9, 2021.

• Senior goaltender Jack LaFontaine of Minnesota was named the Most Outstanding Player of the Big Ten Tournament after going 3-0-0 in postseason action with 196:35 minutes, 103 saves and a .936 save percentage. A full list of all-tournament honors and tournament results can be found on Page 2.

• Four Big Ten teams appear in the USCHO.com and USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine polls this week. Minnesota leads the conference at No.2/2, followed by Wisconsin at No. 4/4 and Michigan at No. 8/8. Notre Dame is No. 18 in the USCHO.com poll and is receiving votes in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine poll.

• The Big Ten Conference announced the hockey All-Big Ten teams and individual award winners on March 16 as selected by the conference’s coaches and a media panel. Wisconsin’s Cole Caufield was named the unanimous Big Ten Player of the Year, while also earning Scoring Champion honors with 43 points in 24 conference games. Minnesota’s Jack LaFontaine was named the Goaltender of the Year, while Michigan’s Cam York was tabbed the Defensive Player of the Year, which is awarded to a defenseman or forward. The Wolverines’ Thomas Bordeleau collected Freshman of the Year laurels, while Wisconsin’s Tony Granato was selected as the Coach of the Year. The full list of honorees can be found on Page 3.

• Michigan’s Strauss Mann and Minnesota’s Jack LaFontaine were named among the nine finalists for the 2021 Mike Richter Award, which honors the most outstanding goaltender in NCAA men’s hockey. The eighth annual award winner will be announced at the 2021 NCAA Men’s Frozen Four in Pittsburgh.

• Five Big Ten skaters were named finalists for the 2020-21 Senior CLASS Award: Minnesota’s Jack LaFontaine, Brannon McManus and Scott Reedy, Notre Dame’s Matt Hellickson, and Penn State’s Alex Limoges. An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School, the Senior CLASS Award honors the attributes of senior students in four areas: community, classroom, character and competition. The Senior CLASS Award winner will be announced during the 2021 NCAA Men’s Frozen Final Four in April.

• Thirty-one Big Ten standouts headline a group of 106 NCAA players and recruits featured in NHL Central Scouting’s updated “Players to Watch” list for the 2021 NHL Draft. Michigan and Wisconsin tied for the lead among all schools with eight players listed, while Notre Dame followed in fifth with six. Michigan’s trio of freshmen – Matty Beniers, Kent Johnson and Owen Power – all earned “A” ratings as first-round candidates and lead a group of 11 current NCAA freshmen featured on the list.

NHL ref’s career over, ‘make-up’ calls in hockey spotlight

(AP) — The NHL announced Wednesday that Tim Peel’s career as a league referee is over after he was picked up by a TV microphone saying he wanted to give the Nashville Predators a penalty, an incident that put the notion of “make-up” calls squarely in the spotlight.

Peel will “no longer will be working NHL games now or in the future,” the league said. The 54-year-old Peel had planned to retire next month, but his early exit sparked discussion across the league about the approach and mindset of officials tracking the games.

“Watch what happens at the end of games,” said Carolina coach Rod Brind’Amour, a former center who played more than 1,600 NHL games. “It seems to always get a power play, the team that’s behind. I think it’s just human nature. It’s hard. I know they’re not trying to do that. I don’t believe that that’s how they go about it. It’s just human nature to maybe look for the team that’s down, but it seems to happen all the time.”

NHL vice president of hockey operations Colin Campbell said “nothing is more important than ensuring the integrity of our game” and that Peel’s conduct “is in direct contradiction to the adherence to that cornerstone principle that we demand from our officials and that of our fans, players, coaches and all those associated with our game expect and deserve.”

The NHL determined it was Peel’s voice on the TV broadcast of the Predators home game against the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday night after Nashville forward Viktor Arvidsson was issued a minor tripping penalty five minutes into the second period.

“It wasn’t much, but I wanted to get a (expletive) penalty against Nashville early in the,” the unidentified official was heard saying before the audio cut off. Peel worked the game with referee Kelly Sutherland.

“There is no justification for his comments, no matter the context or intention,” Campbell said.

Winnipeg coach Paul Maurice, who is in his 23rd NHL season behind the bench, said make-up calls were much more common in the past.

“If they absolutely blow a call, I think the referees just leave it there and I don’t think they bring it into the rest of the game,” Maurice said. “I haven’t felt that they’ve felt he need to even it up. I think that was more true 20 years ago.”

Sabres’ winless streak hits 15 as Penguins roll to 5-2 win

PITTSBURGH (AP) The Pittsburgh Penguins are tired. They’re hurting. And in a way, they’re scrambling.

Nothing a visit from the reeling Buffalo Sabres can’t fix.

Sidney Crosby picked up his 13th goal of the season, Tristan Jarry stopped 26 shots and the Penguins extended Buffalo’s winless streak to 15 games with a 5-2 victory on Wednesday night.

Evan Rodrigues, Kris Letang, John Marino and Zach Aston-Reese scored also for the Penguins, who recovered from a sluggish three-game set against New Jersey in which they managed just one victory by pouncing on the undermanned and overmatched Sabres.

“We’re a close group, a very resilient group,” Marino said. “We’ve had a lot of come-from-behind wins, a lot of bounce-back wins (like tonight). It says a lot about the guys in the room.”

Buffalo goalie Dustin Tokarski, making his first NHL start in more than five years with Carter Hutton out due to a lower-body injury, finished with 37 saves and kept the Sabres in it until late in the second period, when Marino and Aston-Reese scored just over 2 minutes apart to give the Penguins all the cushion required.

Rasmus Dahlin scored his second goal of the season and Victor Olofsson beat Jarry on a penalty shot in the third period, but the NHL’s worst team remained in a tailspin.

The Sabres and Penguins complete a consecutive-night, two-game set Thursday.

Buffalo’s 15-game winless streak (0-13-2) is a record for futility since the shootout was introduced during the 2005-06 season, and the league’s longest stretch without a victory since Arizona went 15 games between wins from Feb. 21-March 21, 2004. The Sabres have been outscored 63-30 during their slide.

“Frustration has to be the first and the foremost,” Buffalo center Curtis Lazar said. “As a team and as a whole, we have to understand playing skill-based hockey isn’t going to cut it. … Make every team earn every chance they get. … It’s on us. It’s on us to right the ship here.”

Copp scores 4, Jets defeat Canucks 5-1

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) Andrew Copp scored four goals to lead the Winnipeg Jets to a 5-1 victory over the Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday night.

Copp had a pair of power-play goals in the second period and two more goals in the third to give the Jets (20-11-2) their second-straight win over the Canucks.

Mark Scheifele also scored for the Jets.

Nils Hoglander scored for the Canucks.

Connor Hellebuyck stopped 38 shots for Winnipeg. Thatcher Demko had 31 saves for the Canucks (16-18-3).

NOTES: Bo Horvat returned to the Canucks lineup after missing much of the third period Monday. He took a slap shot to the foot early in the period and couldn’t put weight on his left leg as he headed to the dressing room. . Jets defenseman Tucker Poolman played his 100th NHL game.

An opening day of emotions and a few surprises at Match Play

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) Jon Rahm and Patrick Cantlay thrust their fists in celebration with birdies on the final hole to win, the kind of emotions typical for a final round. In the Dell Technologies Match Play, every day can feel like Sunday.

The opening round of group play Wednesday featured 16 of the 32 matches going the distance, Rory McIlroy suffering his worst loss in 10 years and some of the best moments belonging to newcomers to this fickle event.

That starts with Antoine Rozner, the 28-year-old from Paris who only got into this World Golf Championship by winning the Qatar Masters two weeks ago with a 60-foot birdie putt on the final hole.

Clinging to a one-shot lead over U.S. Open champion Bryson DeChambeau, a tree blocking the 54 yards that separated him from the flag, Rozner hit a bold flop shot that settled 8 feet behind the hole. Finishing with a flair, the Frenchman holed the putt for a 2-up victory over DeChambeau.

“I think it’s one of those shots you’ve just got to go ahead and hit it,” Rozner said. “I turned out to hit that shot really well, went super high over the trees. Super happy that it was close because that put a lot of pressure on Bryson on the last chip. So yeah, very happy.”

Next up was Bob MacIntyre of Scotland, dropping two eagles over the final five holes in a 2-and-1 victory over Kevin Na. The second one was at the par-5 16th, where MacIntyre holed a bunker shot to seize control.

With the talent pool in golf as deep as it has ever been, it’s hard to call any match an upset.

That doesn’t mean players weren’t upset.

McIlroy was so discouraged walking off after 13 holes that he declined to talk about his match for the second straight time in this event. The previous occasion was in 2019 when he lost to Tiger Woods in the knockout stage on the weekend.

This loss was to Poulter, who did so much right – a 7-iron to a dangerous pin to 8 feet on No. 9, a 4-iron from 247 yards to 7 feet for eagle on the par-5 12th – that McIlroy couldn’t afford to do much wrong. And he did plenty.

McIlroy found the water on a hole with no water hazard at No. 5 – his driver bounced off a path, over the fence and into the swimming pool of a house. He had a 12-foot birdie to win a hole and three-putted to lose. And the match ended on No. 13 when McIlroy’s eagle chip from behind the green went all the way into the water.

It was his biggest loss in Match Play since Ben Crane beat him, 8 and 7, in the second round of 2011.

Justin Thomas (2) joined DeChambeau (5) as the top seeds who lost their opening matches. Collin Morikawa (4), Xander Schauffele (6), Patrick Reed (7) and Tyrrell Hatton (8) had to settle for ties.

Thomas fell 5 down to Matt Kuchar on the front nine, too big a hole from which he could rally. Coming off a victory in The Players Championship, he wound up losing to Kuchar on the 16th hole.

“I’m not sure that many people would have been picking me this week,” said Kuchar, who has gone more than a year since his last finish in the top 10.

EARLHAM BASEBALL: Baseball upended at Anderson

SCORES: Anderson 14, Earlham 4 (7 inn.)

LOCATION: Anderson, Indiana – Doc Brandon Field

RECORDS: Earlham 7-4 / Anderson 7-4

RICHMOND, Indiana – A six-run third inning by Anderson University helped propel the host Ravens to a 14-4 win over Earlham College baseball, in a seven-inning contest on Wednesday afternoon at Doc Brandon Field.

Anderson led 6-3 after two innings, with Earlham remaining within striking distance of the Ravens thanks to Austin Hatfield’s RBI double in the first inning and a two-run home run to left field off the bat of Nathan Lancianese in the second.

The Ravens took command of the game in the third with six runs on two hits, two walks, a hit-by-pitch, and a Quaker error, with Jason Hall-Manley’s two-out grand slam home run keying the frame.

Earlham got one run back in the fifth when Maxwell Fries drew a bases loaded walk to force Marc Gendreau across the plate. Anderson answered with two in the bottom of the sixth, with both runs scoring on TJ Price’s sacrifice fly to right field. With the Ravens holding a 10-run lead after Earlham batted in the top of the seventh, the game was halted.

Quaker starter Dillon Fischer was charged with the loss in a two-inning outing, with Ethan Khandaker, Phoenix Guzzi, and Joey Gerbus all getting relief innings on Wednesday. Lancianese led the Quakers at the plate with his 2-for-3 performance with a run and two RBI, with four other players each recording one hit.

Hall-Manly led Anderson with his 3-for-4 effort at the plate with three runs and five runs batted in.

NEXT UP:

Earlham baseball completes its five-game road swing on Saturday, March 27, when it travels to Franklin, Indiana, to face the Franklin Grizzlies in an HCAC doubleheader. First game starts at 12:00 p.m.

NOTRE DAME SOFTBALL: IRISH COMBINE FOR NO-HITTER TO OPEN HOME SLATE

(ND RELEASE)

NOTRE DAME, Indiana — Notre Dame Softball (13-8, 6-6 ACC) won its home opener Wednesday with a 8-0, six-inning no-hitter over Valparaiso (5-12).

Senior pitcher Alexis Holloway (7-3) earned the win, while senior Morgan Ryan and junior Payton Tidd also saw time in the circle to combine for the no-hitter, the Irish trifecta’s second combined no-hitter of the season (Feb. 14 vs. Alabama State).

At the plate, graduate student Chelsea Purcell led the Irish going 3-3 on the day, including a three-run homer in the third inning, her second shot outside the walls this season. In total, nine different Notre Dame batters recorded hits, as the team totaled 14 in just six innings. Senior Abby Sweet, freshman Karina Gaskins and sophomore Leea Hanks each contributed two hits on the day.

HOW IT HAPPENED

Holloway hurled a leadoff strikeout before stranding one on base to end the first, and Sweet led off the home half of the inning with a double. With junior Emma Clark’s subsequent single, graduate student Katie Marino delivered a sacrifice hit to bring Sweet home. Later, junior Quinn Biggio singled to bring Clark home, and the Irish went into the second up 2-0.

Holloway strung together three-consecutive swinging strikeouts to make quick work of the second, as Purcell led off for the Irish with a single, advancing to third on a Holloway sac bunt. Later, Sweet singled to bring Purcell home, and the inning ended at 3-0.

Valpo was again sat down in order in the third, and Gaskins fired a single to begin the bottom of the inning. With junior Shelby Grimm entering as a pinch runner, Biggio walked before Purcell sent her home run to score all three. Unable to add further runs, the inning ended at 6-0.

Both teams went scoreless in the fourth, as Ryan entered to pitch for Notre Dame, and Valparaiso was retired in order. In the fifth, Ryan and the Irish stranded one on base, keeping Valpo scoreless.

Hanks led off for the Irish in the fifth, singling and advancing on the subsequent Purcell single. Senior Sarah Genz entered to pinch hit, singling to push Purcell to second, while Hanks was tagged out on the play. Sophomore Miranda Johnson also entered as a pinch hitter, and delivered an RBI single to score Purcell, ending the inning up 7-0.

Tidd entered to pitch for the Irish in the sixth, delivered a strikeout en route to stranding one on base with no runs. In the bottom of the sixth, Marino walked, taking second on a wild pitch. Later, sophomore Macie Eck entered to pinch hit and walked. Hanks then doubled to score Marino and end the game 8-0.

UP NEXT

The Irish remain home to host NC State in a four-game series March 26-28. All four games will be broadcast on ACC Network Extra.

INDIANA STATE FOOTBALL: Sycamore Football Releases Full 2021 Fall Schedule

(ISU RELEASE)

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. – The Indiana State football program announced its schedule for the fall 2021 season Wednesday. The 11-game slate includes five games at Memorial Stadium, an FBS matchup with Northwestern and an eight-game Missouri Valley Football Conference contests. 

Indiana State will open the season on a Saturday when the team hosts regional rival Eastern Illinois August 28 in a week zero matchup. Kickoff with the Panthers is set for 6 p.m. ET.

Following a bye week, ISU will return to action on September 11 when the team travels to Evanston, Ill. for a meeting with the Wildcats out of the Big Ten Conference. Indiana State will also make a return trip to Eastern Kentucky on September 18 to wrap up nonconference play.

As usual, the Sycamores will play four games at home against MVFC foes. This season Indiana State will play host to South Dakota State (Sept. 25), Western Illinois (Oct. 9), Youngstown State (Oct. 23) and Southern Illinois (Nov. 13). The meeting with Youngstown State will serve as Homecoming for ISU.

Indiana State will play MVFC road games at South Dakota (Oct. 2), Missouri State (Oct. 16), North Dakota State (Oct. 30) before wrapping up the regular season at Illinois State (Nov. 20).

For information on season tickets, fans can contact the Indiana State Ticket Office at 877-ISU-TIXS during normal business hours or via email at ISU-Tickets@indstate.edu.

2021 Schedule

Aug. 28 – vs Eastern Illinois (Week Zero)

– Bye Week –

Sept. 11 – at Northwestern

Sept. 18 – at Eastern Kentucky

Sept. 25 – vs South Dakota State

Oct. 2 – at South Dakota

Oct. 9 – vs Western Illinois

Oct. 16 – at Missouri State

Oct. 23 – vs Youngstown State (Homecoming)

Oct. 30 – at North Dakota State

– Bye Week –

Nov. 13 – vs Southern Illinois

Nov. 20 – at Illinois State

IUPUI WSOCCER: JAGUARS PLAY YOUNGSTOWN STATE TO SCORELESS DRAW

(JAGS RELEASE)

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – The IUPUI women’s soccer team threw everything but the kitchen sink at Youngstown State on Wednesday (Mar. 24), but still came up empty as the Jaguars played the Penguins to a scoreless double overtime draw, 0-0. IUPUI fired off 23 shots and had a 14-2 margin on corner kicks, but couldn’t get anything past the Penguins as YSU goalkeeper Zeeyana Jivraj made eight stops to keep the Jags off the board and also benefited from a team save.

IUPUI was credited with 64 percent of the game’s possession and 81 percent of that came in their attacking half of the field.

“While this was not the result we wanted, I am so proud of these young ladies and the effort we put in today,” head coach Chris Johnson said. “We put it on them for 110 minutes and gave up very little at the other end. We need to be more efficient with our opportunities and we will work on that this week.”

IUPUI (4-0-2) forward turned goalkeeper for the time being Carlie Werner made three saves in her goalkeeping debut to earn a clean sheet. Youngstown State (0-6-1) was held without a shot until the 84th minute and Werner made clean work of the three shots on frame she did see. Offensively, IUPUI got shot attempts from 11 different players as Elizabeth Bueckers fired a team-high four attempts and Valentine Pursey and Autumn Weeks both registered three tries. In some instances the Jags were unlucky and in others they were just unable to finish from deep inside YSU territory.

Woodwork and goal line clearances helped keep IUPUI scoreless for the second time this season while the defense dialed up its fifth shutout in six games.

IUPUI managed just five attempts in the first half, but came out on the attack from the opening whistle of the second half. Senior Miranda Ricks hit the post in the 64th minute and Weeks pinged the crossbar in the 67th minute. Bueckers gathered the rebound of Weeks’ shot, but pushed an attempt wide of target. Grace Moore had a free kick at the end of regulation fly over the bar and both Bueckers and Morgan Rymer put shots on target in the first overtime period. Moore also had an attempt stopped in the second overtime as IUPUI’s four corner kicks were just four shy of tying the program’s single-game record.

The 23 shot attempts were easily a season-high and tops since attempting 24 against Belmont in September 2019.

Werner did her job behind the typically stingy defensive unit that also did its collective job. Natalie McNally, Jillian Steinbrink, Moore and Rymer kept things clean in front of Werner, who earned the starting nod through an impressive showing in goal on Monday with both AP Woodall and Emily McGrath sidelined.

Collectively, the IUPUI defense dropped its goals against average to 0.31 on the season, having yielded just two total goals in six matches.

“I’m proud of my team and the defensive line I had in front of me,” Werner said. “I couldn’t have done this without them. This situation played into the crazy year we’ve had, but I will do anything for this team and play wherever they need me and that happened to be in goal today. I’m just proud to be a part of this team and knew I had to give my all in this time of adversity.”

IUPUI will return home to host Northern Kentucky at 4:00 p.m. on Tuesday, Mar. 30 at the on-campus Michael A. Carroll Stadium. That match will be broadcast on ESPN+ as Greg Rakestraw (pxp) describes the action. Fan attendance will be limited to player guests only and fans are asked to read the department’s attendance policy before attending. IUPUI will honor its senior class on the field immediately following that contest.

IUPUI MSOCCER: JAGUARS BULLIED ON THE ROAD AT MILWAUKEE, 4-0

(JAGS RELEASE)

MILWAUKEE, Wisc. – The IUPUI men’s soccer team was unable to get much of anything going on Wednesday (Mar. 24) as the Jaguars fell on the road at Milwaukee, 4-0. The Jags yielded a trio of first half scores to the Panthers and never really got off the mat as Milwaukee outshot the guests 17-6 overall and 10-2 on frame. Logan Farrington had two goals and an assist in the victory and MKE’s Raul Medina setup three of the four scores. Paolo Gratton also tallied twice in the win.

Junior Riley Shives paced the IUPUI attack with three shot attempts while Quinn McCallion registered six saves in net in defeat. MKE’s Nick Chiappa recorded a pair of saves in the shutout win.

“Regardless of the result, we have always been able to walk away from the field and know that cumulatively our best effort to work hard and compete for each other and against our opponent was there. We can’t walk away from this one with that feeling,” head coach Brian Barnett said. “Credit to Milwaukee for handedly seizing that opportunity in a pivotal game in their season as they seek a top four finish in the (Horizon) league.

“As it’s said, sports don’t build character, they reveal it. We’re going to find out exactly who each other is in the final two weeks of the season.”

Milwaukee (4-4-1) went ahead in the 11th minute when Farrington got on the receiving end of assists from Medina and Joshua Kidder for the game’s first goal, one touching a shot past McCallion for his fourth score of the year. Ten minutes later, Farrington returned the favor by setting up Gratton for an insurance score on a breakaway. Farrington capped the first half scoring when he scored off another assist from Medina. McCallion made a brilliant diving stop of an initial attempt, resulting in a corner kick. On the ensuing corner, Farrington got free at the far post and headed Medina’s service home.

As if the momentum wasn’t wholly on the Panthers side, the hosts pumped in a fourth goal in the game’s 49th minute when Gratton tallied off assists from Medina and David Cox.

Head coach Brian Barnett continued to trot out different combinations as Kirezi Freddy was awarded his first start of the year in the midfield and freshman Owen Jarrell made his first career start in the defensive third. Tylin Broaders and Daniel Herrera came off the IUPUI bench to make their season debuts, but ultimately, the Jags were unable to scratch offensively.

IUPUI’s best look of the game came in the 62nd minute when Tommy Patacca got on the business end of service, but had his header fly just right of target. Shives tried to break-up the shutout in the closing minutes as well, but had an attempt in the 86th minute plucked by Chiappa.

EVANSVILLE WSOCCER: Women’s Soccer Picks Up Result Against Valpo

(EVANSVILLE RELEASE)

EVANSVILLE, Ind. – After two weeks off the University of Evansville women’s soccer team picked up a double overtime, 0-0, draw against Valparaiso, Wednesday at Arad McCutchan Stadium.

The Purple Aces looked sharp on both sides of the pitch, but where not able to find the back of the goal. UE put up 10 shots, outshooting the opponent for the first time this season, while holding Valpo to just four total shots.

Evansville came out hot in both halves, recording five shot attempts with one on goal in the first half and four in the second.

Emily Ormson recorded two shot attempts, which included a missed penalty kick at the 66-minuite mark. Monique Landrim also added two shot attempts in her 46 minutes of action.

The Aces defense continued the lockdown mentality and stretched their streak of holding teams scoreless to 342 minutes.

Evansville schedule to next take on Drake at 1 p.m. CT on March 28 in Des Moines, Iowa.

MIAMI SOFTBALL: RedHawks Capture 13-5 Win at Dayton

(MIAMI RELEASE)

DAYTON, Ohio—Nine runs over the final two innings catapulted the Miami University softball team to a 13-5 six-inning win at the University of Dayton on Wednesday afternoon. The RedHawks, who scored 13 runs off 13 hits, move to 12-6 on the season, while the Flyers drop to 5-12.

HOW IT HAPPENED:

Miami took a 4-0 lead with a run in the first inning and three in the second inning. The RedHawks’ first two runs came when Dayton walked in freshman Karli Spaid and when senior Morgan Lott stole home. A Spaid double then scored freshman Karlee Juarez, before Spaid scored on a junior Allie Cummins single.

The Flyers came back to take a 5-4 lead, scoring two in the third inning and three in the fourth inning.

Miami pushed ahead in the top of the fifth inning off a Juarez two-run double to plate senior Mackenzie Moore and sophomore Kate Kobayashi. Lott then scored off a passed ball to hand the RedHawks a 7-5 lead.

An explosive sixth inning punctuated a strong offensive performance as Miami scored six runs off six hits. Kobayashi started off the sixth-inning scoring with an RBI double to plate Cummins, while Spaid capped things off with a two-run double that plated Juarez and junior Riley Coyne to give MU a commanding 13-5 lead.

Miami kept the Flyers off the board in the bottom of the inning to capture the win.

NOTES:

Juarez was 4-for-5 at the plate with three RBI and two runs.

Cummins went 3-for-5 with one run and one RBI

Spaid was the other RedHawk with a multi-hit game, going 2-for-4 with three RBI and two runs.

Freshman Taylor Turner picked up the win in the circle for Miami.

UP NEXT:

Miami returns home to host Central Michigan in a four-game weekend series. The RedHawks and Chippewas start the weekend with a 3 p.m. game on Friday, March 26.

MIAMI VOLLEYBALL: Miami Seizes Five-Set Win Against Ball State

OXFORD, Ohio—In a gritty five-set battle where four sets were decided by three or fewer points, the Miami University volleyball team pulled out a 25-13, 23-25, 23-25, 25-22, 15-13 win against Ball State University on Tuesday night at Millett Hall. Miami picked up a key win to move to 11-8 on the season and in Mid-American Conference play, while the Cardinals dropped to 8-11.

HOW IT HAPPENED:

Miami used a 13-1 run spurred by a trio of kills from senior Sarah Wojick and a pair of service aces from senior Abigail Huser to take a commanding 17-5 lead in the first set. The RedHawks hit a solid .333 in the opening set to cruise to a 25-13 win.

The second set was a much closer battle. The Cardinals led by as many as four, the last at 18-14. Miami chiseled away and closed within one at 18-17, 21-20 and 24-23, but Ball State took the second set off a kill to even the match at one set apiece.

In the third set, the teams went back and forth through the early goings. The Cardinals pushed their lead to four, the last coming at 18-14. Miami battled back and used a 6-1 run that included a pair of kills from junior Sophie Riemersma and a service ace from junior Gaby Harper to take a 21-20 lead. BSU, however, came back to take the third set, 25-22.

A block by seniors Avarie Powell and Morgan Seaman put the RedHawks up 10-9. Miami pushed its lead to 20-14, but the Cardinals clawed their way back to close within two a few times down the stretch, the last at 24-22. A Wojick kill clinched the fourth set for the RedHawks and sent the match to a deciding set, 25-22.

Miami used a 4-1 spurt that included a key service ace from Wojick to push ahead to an 8-5 advantage in the fifth set. Ball State came back to take a 10-9 lead. The teams traded punches until two big kills and a block from Wojick lifted Miami to a 15-13 set-five win to seize the match.

NOTES:

Four RedHawks were in double figures for kills, led by Riemersma with 18 and followed by Harper (15), Wojick (15) and Powell (13).

Seaman recorded 53 assists, the fifth time this season she has had 50 or more assists.

Huser paced Miami with 17 digs, while Harper was the other RedHawk in double figures for digs with 15.

Powell had four blocks for Miami, while Wojick tallied a career-high three solo blocks.

UP NEXT:

Miami hits the road for a pair of weekend matches at Central Michigan to close out the regular season. The RedHawks face CMU at 6 p.m. on Friday, March 26 and at 2 p.m. on Saturday, March 27.

WRIGHT STATE WSOCCER: Raiders fight, fall to Golden Grizzlies Wednesday

(WRIGHT STATE RELEASE)

Despite a hard-fought effort, the Wright State women’s soccer team fell to the visiting Oakland Golden Grizzlies, 1-0 on Wednesday evening.

With the loss, Wright State falls to 3-4-0 overall and 3-4-0 in Horizon League play while Oakland improves to 5-2-1 overall and 5-2-1 in conference play.

The Raiders looked to score first as Olga Massombo’s shot in the 7th minute connected with the left post and went wide. Less than two minutes later, Oakland looked to break the scoreline as Jackie Reilly’s shot went high over the top of the net. Neither team was able to break the score as the final seconds ticked away for halftime.

Lauren Borchert looked to attack early just a minute into the second half as her shot to the center of the net was saved. Oakland looked to make its mark in the 57th minute, as Jessika Seward recorded her second save of the day. The Golden Grizzlies found the advantage with just 10 minutes left as Macey Wierenga’s shot from nearly 20 yards out connected with the back of the net.

BY THE NUMBERS

Both teams tallied nine shots for the contest, with Wright State finding a 6-2 advantage in the first half. The difference came to shots on goal as the Golden Grizzlies tallied five to the Raiders two.

Lauren Borchert and Olga Massombo each tallied a team-leading three shots for Wright State. Borchert recorded one shot on goal for the Raiders.

In goal, Seward tallied four saves for Wright State while Oakland recorded just two.

UP NEXT

The Raiders remain at home for their final contest at Alumni Field during the 2021 spring season. Wright State welcomes Youngstown State for a 1:00 p.m. contest.

WRIGHT STATE MSOCCER: Wright State falls to Green Bay Wednesday

The Wright State men’s soccer team dropped its final home contest of the shortened 2021 spring season to the visiting Green bay Phoenix Wednesday afternoon, 2-0 at Alumni Field.

Wright State drops to 3-3-1 overall and 3-3-1 in Horizon League play, while Green Bay improves to 3-2-1 overall and 3-2-1 in conference play. Wright State is now in fifth place in the Horizon League standings heading into the final two games of the season. This year’s Horizon League Tournament is taking the top four teams only, based on league points per match.

Wright State looked to score early as just three minutes into the contest Joe Kouadio’s shot went high. Just seconds later, Zion Beaton’s shot went wide left. Green Bay tallied its first goal of the contest in the eighth minute as Ezau Millan found his way around a charging Sebastian Jimenez to give the visitors a 1-0 lead. Brayden McNitt looked to tallying the tying goal in the 15th minute but his shot to the center of the net was saved by Yoder.

After the two teams played scoreless the rest of the first half, the Phoenix found the back of the net again in the 58th minute on a nice finish by Bernard Assibey Rhule. Rhule found an opening after a nice assist from Ezau Milan.

BY THE NUMBERS

Wright State outshot Green Bay 20-7, both teams tallied four shots on goal. The Raiders had an 11-1 advantage in total shots at halftime.

Zion Beaton led the Raiders with seven shots (one on goal), Presten Manthey tallied six shots of his own. Brayden McNitt and Joe Kouadio each tallied two shots for the Raiders. Blake Pittser, Alex Hummel, and Reece Allbaugh each added one shot for Wright State.

UP NEXT

The Raiders hit the road and face the newest member of the Horizon League as they take on the Robert Morris Colonials on Tuesday, March 30. Kickoff is set for 10:00 a.m. from Moon Township.

DAYTON BASEBALL: Baseball Scores 20 Runs In Win Over Eastern Kentucky Wednesday

(DAYTON RELEASE)

RICHMOND, Ky. – The University of Dayton baseball team hit six home runs on its way to a 20-13 victory over Eastern Kentucky in Richmond, Ky. on Wednesday night.

The Flyers improve to 5-14 with the win and posted the team’s highest run total since Feb. 25, 2017 when they fell to USC Upstate 21-20. Dayton got home runs from graduate student Alex Brickman, graduate student Eddie Pursinger, senior Mitchell Garrity, senior Michael Cleary, senior Mariano Ricciardi, and junior Marcos Pujols.

Every starter on offense scored at least one run, and seven hat at least one RBI in the offensive explosion. Garrity led the team driving in four runs and Ricciardi reached base five times, leading the team with three hits.

ON THE MOUND

Freshman Eli Majick made his first career start for the Flyers, getting the first out of the game, but also allowing six runs, five earned on four hits. He was relieved by senior Jared Howell, who would go the next 1.1 innings, allowing two runs, one earned, on one hit and three walks.

Graduate student Tyler Jones would come in in the second inning, getting out of a bases loaded jam and allowing just one unearned run over 1.1 innings on the mound. Jones allowed one hit and struck out one. Junior Bryce Hellgeth would take the Flyers through the next three innings, allowing two runs and striking out five Colonels.

Senior Jonathan Brus entered in the seventh inning for UD and pitched two hitless innings for the Flyers, striking out three in two scoreless frames. Junior Dylan Keller finished the game in the ninth inning, striking out two to close it out.

SCORING PLAYS

Top 1: (4-0 Flyers)

Senior Mariano Ricciardi led off the game with a walk, and following a groundout junior Marcos Pujols hit his second home run of the season to give Dayton an early 2-0 lead. Senior Riley Tirotta followed that up with a double and with one on graduate student Alex Brickman clubbed his team-leading fifth home run of the season to give UD its fourth run of the inning and the advantage early on.

Bottom 1: (7-4 Colonels)

Majick struck out the first batter of the game, but the next hitter reached on an error. A two-run home run cut the lead to two. A single and a hit by pitch put two runners on and a wild pitch advanced them both into scoring position. Back-to-back home runs made it 6-4 EKU and Howell entered the game. A walk and a single put a runner on third and a sacrifice fly to right field gave the Colonels their seventh run of the inning.

Top 2: (11-7 Flyers)

Junior Jay Curtis led off the inning with a single and senior Michael Cleary and Ricciardi hit back-to-back home runs, with each being the first home run of the season for the pair to tie the game at 7-7. Walks by junior Benjamin Blackwell and Pujols put two on and one batter later Brickman walked to load the bases. Graduate student Eddie Pursinger brought home the eighth run of the game on a hit by pitch. Senior Mitchell Garrity would then clear the bases with a one-out triple to make it 11-7.

Bottom 2: (11-8 Flyers)

Two walks and a hit by pitch loaded the bases and a second hit by pitch from Jared Howell brought home EKU’s eighth run of the game.

Bottom 3: (11-9 Flyers)

A one-out double put one on in scoring position and after a groundout to Blackwell, an error by Pujols at first base brought home a run, making it 11-9 Dayton.

Top 5: (13-9 Flyers)

Garrity led off the inning with a walk, stealing second and advancing to third on an error. Cleary would also walk and steal second to put two in scoring position and two batters later Blackwell would drive in two more runs with a single to right center to extend Dayton’s lead to four.

Bottom 5: (13-10 Flyers)

EKU led off the inning with a double and a single to left center brought home the tenth run of the game for the Colonels.

Bottom 6: (13-11 Flyers)

A one-out infield single, followed by a stolen base put a Colonel in scoring position, and a single to right field brought home another run and cut Dayton’s lead to two.

Top 7: (20-11 Flyers)

Garrity led off the inning with his second-straight game with a home run to make it 14-11 and after Curtis was hit by a pitch, Cleary reached on a throwing error by EKU’s pitcher. Three straight RBI singles by Ricciardi, Blackwell, and Pujols made it 17-11 and Pursinger hit his third home run of the season, scoring Blackwell and Pujols as well and extending the UD lead to nine runs.

Bottom 9: (20-13 Flyers)

Keller led off the inning with a strikeout before walking the next batter. A passed ball moved the runner to second and an error by Blackwell put runners on the corners. Another passed ball scored the first run of the inning and the game was given its final score on an error by Ricciardi at second.

UP NEXT

Dayton will return home to begin a series against Kent State starting Friday. The Flyers will play Friday at 3 p.m. and Saturday at 1 p.m. at Woerner Field before heading to Kent State for a doubleheader Sunday.

OHIO STATE SWIMMING: 14 OHIO STATE BUCKEYES SET FOR NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS

(OSU RELEASE)

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State men’s swimming and diving team will travel to Greensboro, N.C., and the Greensboro Aquatic Center to compete at the 2021 NCAA Championships Wednesday through Saturday. ESPN3 will provide digital broadcast coverage for preliminary and finals sessions each day. ESPNU will also air a two-hour, recap show at 7 p.m. Eastern, Tuesday, April 6.

Ohio State’s men will be seeking a second consecutive Top 10 NCAA finish after placing ninth in 2019, the last year for the championships. The Buckeyes, third two weeks ago at the Big Ten championships, will feature a team of 14 competitors this week: 10 swimmers and four divers.

Greensboro was the host site of the women’s NCAA championships last week with Ohio State’s women’s team having its best-ever championships with a seventh-place finish while scoring 215.5 points.

Buckeyes at the NCAA Championships:

Sem Andreis – A junior from Bologna, Italy who spent one year at New Philadelphia (Ohio) High School – Woody Hayes’ high school – and won two Ohio State sprint titles … qualified for this NCAAs in the 50 free and the 100 free … 2021 Big Ten champion in both events … has nation’s ninth-fastest 50 free time (a school-record 19:05 time at Big Ten’s) and 13th fastest time in the 100 … qualified for the cancelled 2020 NCAA championships in the 50 free and on both freestyle relays.

Hunter Armstrong – A sophomore from Dover, Ohio who transferred to Ohio State from West Virginia University … qualified for this, his first NCAA championships, in the 50 free, 100 free and 100 backstroke with Top 20 times in all three events … fourth nationally in the 100 back and school record-holder in 44.92 (2021 Big Ten’s) … 16th nationally in 50 free (19.17) and 17th in 100 free (42.37) … swam seven events at 2021 Big Ten championships and every finish was on the podium, including second in the 100 back and third in the 100 free.

Joey Canova – The senior diver from Gaithersburg, Md. … will compete on the 1- and 3-meter events … the 2021 Big Ten Conference co-Diver of the championships (Andrew Capobianco; Purdue) … helped Ohio State’s divers outscore every other team in a unique diving-only championships held at Purdue University … led all divers with 80 points scored … won the 3-meter, placed fourth on the 1-meter and eighth on the platform to help the Buckeye divers score 321 points toward the team’s swimming and diving championship total.

Charles Clark – Charles is a true freshman from Sandusky, Ohio who is competing in his first NCAA championships … qualified in the 1,650 freestyle with an Ohio State school record time of 14:45.24, good for 11th nationally … set the school record in the 1,000 during that 1,650, going out in 8:56.80 … placed third at Big Ten’s in 1,650 free and fourth in the 500 free.

Paul DeLakis – Veteran NCAA competitor and a senior from Eau Claire, Wisc. … an eight-time individual event qualifier to the NCAA championships … has Top 5 times nationally in the 200 IM (1:41.71), 200 freestyle (1:31.90) and 200 breaststroke (1:51.78) … the 2021 Big Ten champion in the 200 IM and the 200 free and was second in the 200 breaststroke … holds Ohio State record in the 200 breaststroke (1:51.65) … swam in the championship finals in the 200 free (fifth) and 200 breast (sixth) at the 2019 NCAA championships and earned first-team All-America honors.

Jacob Fielding – A junior diver from Los Angeles … qualified for 2021 NCAA championships on all three boards, the second consecutive championships for him to do so … competed on platform as a freshman in 2019 … has competed in the championship final on all three boards at 2020 and 2021 Big Ten championships … at 2021 NCAA Zone C championships (Lexington), placed 4th on 1M, 2nd on 3M and 5th on platform after finishing 6th, 7th and 5th, respectively, at 2021 Big Ten championships.

Justin Fleagle – A true freshman from St. Mary’s, Ohio, who is competing in his first NCAA championships … swam on three relays at the 2021 Big Ten championships, including the runner-up 200 medley relay and runner-up 400 free relay … was ninth at Big Ten’s in the 100 fly.

Jason Mathews – Jason is a junior from the Columbus suburb of Westerville, Ohio … this is his third consecutive year qualifying for the NCAA championships individually in both the 100 and 200 breaststroke events … has sixth-fastest 100 breaststroke time nationally in 51.30, an Ohio State school record time set at 2021 Big Ten championships … placed fourth in both the 100 and 200 breaststrokes at the 2021 Big Ten championships.

Hudson McDaniel – A junior from Ashland, Ohio … qualified for NCAAs in the 100 breaststroke with the nation’s 12th fastest time of 51.59 … this will be his first NCAA championships swims, although he did qualify individually for the 2020 NCAA championships in the 100 breaststroke … placed fifth at 2021 Big Ten championships in the 100 breaststroke.

Colin McDermott – One of only two Ohio State senior swimmers competing at this NCAA championships … Colin is from Granville, Ohio … qualified in the 100 backstroke and 200 backstroke events … ninth in both events at 2021 Big Ten championships … does have NCAA championships experience as he swam the leadoff leg of the 200 medley relay at the 2019 NCAA championships.

Shaw Satterfield – Another true freshman making his first NCAA championships appearance … is from Cary, N.C., about an hour away from Greensboro … swam on Ohio State’s runner-up 800 free relay at 2021 Big Ten championships … placed 11th in the 200 free at Big Ten’s.

Jacob Siler – A senior diver from Knoxville, Tenn. with plenty of NCAA championships experience … has qualified for 2021 NCAAs on all three boards for the third consecutive year … won the platform event at the 2021 Zone C championships with 734.55 points and was fifth on 1-meter, seventh on 3-meter … has been Top 8 at the Big Ten championships on all three boards in 2020 and 2021, including second on platform and third on 3-meter this year.

Thomas Watkins – A sophomore from Wellington, New Zealand, who is competing in this first NCAA championships … qualified individually in the 200 backstroke with a team-best time of 1:41.15 … fourth in the 200 back at the 2021 Big Ten championships … also 12th at Big Tens in 100 backstroke and swam a leg on the Big Ten runner-up 800 free relay.

Lyle Yost – A sophomore diver from Shaker Heights, Ohio … qualified for the NCAA championships on all three boards for the second consecutive year, although this will be his first championships …  Top 8 on all three boards at Big Ten championships in 2020 and 2021 … the 2020 Big Ten Diver of the Championships after winning on platform, taking second on 1-meter and third on 3-meter … sixth, seventh and fifth on the 1-meter, 3-meter and platform, respectively, at the Zone C championships.

This is Ohio State’s 80th NCAA championships appearance.

Ohio State’s rich swimming and diving tradition includes the third-most NCAA titles: 11.

Ohio State’s NCAA team titles were a long time ago, but no doubt they are the foundation of the history, tradition and excellence of the program, which competes in one of the finest aquatic facilities on any college campus: the McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion.

The Buckeyes come into the NCAA Championships as the No. 12 ranked team nationally by the CSCAA.

Ohio State has finished among the Top 20 teams at the NCAA Championships in 11 of the last 12 championship meets.

Ohio State has swimmers and/or divers competing in 12 of 16 individual events at this championships.

Ohio State has multiple entries in eight of 16 individual events, including all three diving events plus the 50 free, 100 breaststroke, 100 backstroke, 100 free and 200 backstroke.

All four Buckeye divers will compete on the 1- and 3-meter events and three – Jacob Fielding, Jacob Siler and Lyle Yost – will be competing on platform as well.

All five Ohio State relays qualified for the NCAA championships with four of them posting Top 10 qualifying times.

Ohio State Director of Swimming and Diving Bill Dorenkott is in his fourth year overseeing the Ohio State men’s team (and 13th with the women). He has won five women’s Big Ten championships as a coach: two at Ohio State (2020 and 2021) and three times at Penn State (2002, 2005 and 2006).

Dorenkott has been named the Big Ten’s women’s swimming coach of the year in each of the past two years (2020 and 2021).

Justin Sochor is in his eighth season as Ohio State’s diving coach. He was the 2016 and 2020 Big Ten men’s diving coach of the year and his divers have won four individual Big Ten titles and one NCAA championship (Zhipeng Zeng on platform, 2016).

XAVIER MSOCCER: Men’s Soccer Falls to Creighton on Wednesday Afternoon

(XAVIER RELEASE)

CINCINNATI –  Xavier men’s soccer dropped a 3-0 match vs Creighton on Wednesday afternoon at the XU Soccer Complex. The Musketeers moved to 3-6-1 (0-4-1 BIG EAST), while the Bluejays improved to 4-4 (4-2 BIG EAST).

• Bryce Curran led the Musketeers in shots with three (two on goal). Jacob Bernsen added two shots.

• Both teams recorded eight shots in the match. Creighton held a 5-3 advantage in shots on goal.

• Xavier held a 13-3 advantage in corner kicks and committed one more foul (13-12) than the Bluejays.

• Matthew Rosenberg (2-6-1) made one save in goal for the Musketeers in 83 minutes of action. Eddie Walsh made one save in the final seven minutes of the match.

• The Musketeers return to action on Saturday, March 27 at DePaul. First touch is set for 2 p.m. ET from Wish Field.

TODAY IN BASEBALL HISTORY

1910       Hugh Chalmers, the president of the Chalmers Motor Car Company of Detroit, announces his Model 30, one of the most luxurious autos of its day, will be awarded to the player with the highest batting average this season. The prize leads to controversy when Nap Lajoie goes 8-for-9, beating out seven bunts, with the Browns’ Red Corriden purposely playing deep at third base to raise the Indian infielder’s final average to .384 in an attempt to surpass Ty Cobb for the batting title.

1914       Babe Ruth makes the first start of his professional career when he defeats the world champion Philadelphia Athletics, 6-2, in an exhibition game played in Wilmington, N.C. The 19 year-old Red Sox rookie left-hander had faced 29 batters in relief, allowing just six hits to earn a spot in manager Jack Dunn’s rotation.

1935       The Cubs sell 32 year-old right-hander Pat Malone to the Yankees. The former 20-game winner (1929, 1930) will go 12-4 in 1936 but will post only a 19-13 record in his three-year tenure with the Bronx Bombers.

1945       Tryouts are granted to pitcher Terris McDuffie and first baseman Dave Thomas when a group of blacks appears at the Dodger offices in Brooklyn. The two players will work out at Ebbets Field in front of Branch Rickey on April 7.

1959       Infielder Bill White, along with third baseman Ray Jablonski, is traded to the Cardinals by the Giants in exchange for pitching prospect Don Choate and right-hander Sam Jones. Although southpaw ‘Toothpick Sam’ will have three solid seasons in San Francisco, including a 20-win season, the Redbirds’ new first baseman will become a perennial All-Star and Gold Glover during his eight-year tenure in St. Louis.

1962       The Cubs, who haven’t had a manager since 1960, tap Elvin Tappe to be the team’s first head coach of the campaign after he posted a 42–54 record last year, the best by far of the four who led the club as members of Chicago’s college of coaches. After getting off to a 4–16 start as the skipper, the 35 year-old veteran returns to the bench, playing 26 games as a backup catcher for the ninth-place team.

1963       The Reds sell journeyman pitcher Johnny Klippstein to the Phillies. After going 7-7 over two seasons with Philadelphia, the 37 year-old box salesman will help the Twins win the pennant in 1965, posting a 9-3 record.

1981       The Phillies trade Bob Walk to the Braves for outfielder Gary Matthews. The team’s new center fielder will play outstanding defense along with three solid seasons at the plate for Philadelphia, while Atlanta’s new right-hander will compile a 12-13 record with a 4.85 ERA during his three-year tenure with the club.

1985       The news is terrible for the Cubs when Circuit Court Judge Richard L. Curry rules that the existing laws banning night games are constitutional. The Chicago’s west-side club brought suit after giving up a home playoff game last season due to Wrigley’s lack of lights.

1989       The Pirates and Indians swap shortstops with Jay Bell going to the Steel City and Felix Fermin joining the Tribe. Pittsburgh’s new slick infielder will serve as the team’s starting shortstop for the next eight seasons.

1997       The Indians send Kenny Lofton (.317, 14, 67) and Alan Embree (3-1, 2.79) to the Braves for Marquis Grissom (.262, 10, 57) and David Justice (.337, 30, 88). The deal saves $5.8 million in salaries for Atlanta and helps the team to sign hurlers Greg Maddux ($57.5 million, five-year) and Tom Glavine ($34 million, four-year).

2006       Acknowledging he may never play again, Jeff Bagwell announces he will start the season on the disabled list and seek consultation to determine if removing bone spurs from his shoulder would help prolong his career. The 37 year-old first baseman must stay on the injured list all season for the Astros to collect $15.6 million of the $17 million guaranteed contract from an insurance claim filed in January.

2008       In Japan’s Tokyo Dome, the Red Sox beat the A’s, 6-5, in the earliest major league opener ever played. Manny Ramirez’s tenth inning double gives Hideki Okajima the victory, who used to pitch in this stadium for the hometown Yomiuri Giants.

2008       Miguel Cabrera (.320, 34, 119), acquired by the Tigers in a trade at the winter meetings with the Marlins, agrees to a $152.3 million, eight-year deal to play with the team. The All-Star third baseman had previously agreed to an $11.3 million, one-year contract in January.

TODAY IN SPORTS HISTORY-1979

SALT LAKE CITY-Michigan State grounded The Bird with a touch of Magic and a magnificent zone defense tonight to win its first National Collegiate basketball championship and end Indiana State’s chance to achieve an unbeaten season. Despite a heavy load of personal fouls that created serious problems down the stretch, the Spartans held fast to an early lead and beat the Sycamores, 75‚64, in the final of the 41st National Collegiate Athletic Association tournament before 15,410 persons in the Special Events Center of the University of Utah. The loss was the only one for Indiana State in 34 games this season. Michigan State finished with a 26‚6 record.

Earvin (Magic) Johnson, who played the entire second half with three personal fouls, was his usual spectacular self, scoring 24 points for the winners. Larry Bird, the big man for Indiana State with a three-year career average of more than 30 points a game, was kept to only 19 points, his lowest scoring game in five N.C.A.A. tournament contests. There was no beating the Michigan State defense during this tournament and there was little any team could do to stop the fast offense triggered by the magic of Johnson’s passing.

This defense stopped Bird after no other team could do so in this tourney. The 6‚9 senior had scored 22, 29, 31 and 35 points in his four previous tourney games. What’s more, Michigan State closed down the Indiana State passing lanes, and held Bird to only two assists. “We defended him with an adjustment and a prayer,” said Jud Heathcote, the Michigan State coach. But while Heathcote was praying on the bench, Johnson, Greg Kelser, Ron Charles, Jay Vincent and Terry Donnelly shared the work of defending inside at the baseline. They crowded Bird like a flock of vultures every time he approached the baseline on offense. Bird’s mates just could not get the ball to him very often and when they did, Bird would hesitate, something he rarely does.

Indiana State’s man-to-man defense didn’t appear to bother Johnson. He made one of the games’ most exciting moves when he drove the baseline around Alex Gilbert only to be facing Bird, standing his ground under the basket. Kelser was coming down the lane to Johnson’s left and the Michigan State sophomore faked a pass to Kelser. Bird took the fake and moved just a bit to defend Kelser coming into the basket. Johnson kept the ball and made an easy layup. Such spectacular play may have been Johnson’s last for Michigan State. It is expected the Lansing, Mich., athlete who stayed home to play college ball will declare hardship and be drafted into the pros for next season.

ALSO-1973

ST. LOUIS-Bill Walton put on one of the greatest performances in college basketball tournament history tonight leading his University of California, Los Angeles team to its seventh straight National Collegiate Athletic Association championship. His record 44 points was only part of his total effort as U.C.L.A. defeated an exciting Memphis State team, 87‚66, for its 75th consecutive victory over 21û2 seasons and its ninth N.C.A.A. title in the last ten years.

But Walton’s amazing work was toned down when, with 2 minutes 51 seconds remaining, the 6-foot 11-inch red-haired Bruin fell hard to the floor and hurt his left knee and ankle. He limped off the floor to an ovation from the 19,301 fans. This most mobile of the present college basketball big men has always played with pain in his knees. He tapes them before every game.

Walton’s outstanding effort, hitting on 21 of 22 field goal shots, taking 13 rebounds and controlling both boards, was even more noteworthy because he played with three personal fouls from the start of the second half and picked up his fourth after 10 minutes and 33 seconds more. The fouls didn’t hamper his motion in beating Memphis State’s big men. He continued to play physically hard and in constant contact with the Tigers’ who were trying their best to draw that fifth personal and send Walton to the bench. When he was hurt, U.C.L.A. had finally taken command of the game and was leading, 75‚62.

But earlier, when Walton drew his third personal with 4:14 to go in the first half and U.C.L.A. led at 37‚31, Wooden benched him for the remainder of the first half. Memphis State suddenly was playing a normal team of mortals and gained a 39‚39 tie at intermission. Wooden, however did not remove his big junior hero after he drew that fourth personal. The coach didn’t dare do that. U.C.L.A. could easily have lost its slim lead-61‚55-at the time. Without Walton, this U.C.L.A. team is just another good team- maybe not even good enough to beat Memphis State.

Ronnie Robinson, Larry Kenon and Wes Westfall, Memphis State’s tall men who worked on Walton in pairs and relays, just couldn’t handle the big fellow from La Mesa, Calif., who zipped back and forth across the lane at the low post as if he was under 6 feet tall. He took in high and low passes from Greg Lee, Keith Wilkes, Larry Hollyfield and others and scored by out-reaching his defenders. He took rebounds jumping over the Tigers. Gene Bartow, Memphis State coach, said: “We couldn’t contain Walton. I’ve never seen a player so dominating as Walton.”

Bill Walton’s 44 points broke the previous individual scoring mark of 42 points in an N.C.A.A. title game, which had been set by Gail Goodrich, also of U.C.L.A., against Michigan in 1965. Bill Bradley of Princeton (see March 20) and Austin Carr of Notre Dame (see March 7) scored more points in non-championship games of the tournament.

1944: St. John’s University, coached by Joe Lapchick, upended DePaul, 47‚39, at Madison Square Garden to become the first back-to-back winner of the National Invitation Tournament. The Redmen, as they then were called, won a third N.I.T. title by defeating Bradley in 1959.

1917: The Seattle Metropolitans of the Pacific Coast Hockey Association became the first United States team to win the Stanley Cup in the pre-N.H.L. days by beating the Montreal Canadiens, three games to one. It was the first time the Cup went south of the Canadian border since being donated in 1893.

1946: Hank Iba’s Oklahoma A&:M team defeated the University of North Carolina, 43‚40, for the Aggies’ second straight N.C.A.A. title. Bob Kurland, the first dominant 7-footer in basketball, scored 23 points as A&:M became the tournament’s first two-time champion.

NBA STANDINGS

Eastern Conference
 WLPctConf GBHomeRoadDivConfLast 10Streak
Philadelphia3113.70519-412-98-222-79-13 W
Milwaukee2914.6741.518-511-99-018-79-18 W
Brooklyn3015.6671.517-613-95-216-108-21 L
Charlotte2221.5128.512-810-135-111-96-42 W
Miami2222.5009.012-1110-115-413-145-54 L
New York2222.5009.013-89-141-615-145-51 W
Atlanta2222.5009.011-911-133-313-128-22 L
Boston2123.47710.013-78-163-515-134-62 L
Indiana2023.46510.58-1212-115-313-135-51 W
10 Chicago1924.44211.59-1610-83-39-114-62 L
11 Toronto1826.40913.09-109-163-512-161-91 W
12 Cleveland1727.38614.011-126-153-513-124-61 W
13 Washington1527.35715.08-147-131-65-192-82 L
14 Orlando1529.34116.010-145-154-410-172-81 W
15 Detroit1231.27918.57-125-190-98-193-72 L
 
Western Conference
 WLPctConf GBHomeRoadDivConfLast 10Streak
Utah3211.74417-215-93-213-66-43 W
Phoenix2914.6743.015-814-65-219-87-31 L
LA Clippers2916.6444.015-614-106-217-95-53 W
LA Lakers2816.6364.514-914-72-519-105-53 L
Denver2618.5916.512-914-97-114-117-31 L
Portland2518.5817.014-911-93-415-126-42 L
Dallas2319.5488.511-912-105-114-137-32 W
San Antonio2219.5379.010-1212-74-612-154-63 L
Memphis2120.51210.011-1310-73-510-145-53 W
10 Golden State2222.50010.513-89-143-612-133-72 L
11 New Orleans1924.44213.013-106-144-311-165-52 W
12 Sacramento1925.43213.510-129-133-48-116-42 W
13 Oklahoma City1925.43213.58-1311-123-611-175-51 L
14 Houston1231.27920.06-166-154-58-151-91 L
15 Minnesota1034.22722.55-165-183-67-203-73 L

NHL STANDINGS

East
 GPWLOTLPtsROWGFGAHomeRoadL10
New York Islanders3321844619987313-1-28-7-28-2-0
Washington Capitals31207444181069210-4-210-3-28-2-0
Pittsburgh Penguins332011242171059013-3-17-8-17-2-1
Boston Bruins281684361477667-3-19-5-35-3-2
Philadelphia Flyers31151243414971117-6-38-6-13-6-1
New York Rangers3114134321394827-6-37-7-15-4-1
New Jersey Devils3012144281275934-11-28-3-25-3-2
Buffalo Sabres316214164661112-11-24-10-20-9-1
 
West
 GPWLOTLPtsROWGFGAHomeRoadL10
Vegas Golden Knights30227145221006713-2-19-5-07-3-0
Colorado Avalanche31208343201067112-4-18-4-27-1-2
Minnesota Wild31201014120927812-3-08-7-17-3-0
St. Louis Blues32161153714971044-7-312-4-24-3-3
Arizona Coyotes33141453311831018-8-36-6-24-4-2
Los Angeles Kings3213136321291906-4-47-9-24-5-1
San Jose Sharks3113144309891065-6-28-8-25-4-1
Anaheim Ducks349196248741155-11-34-8-33-7-0
 
North
 GPWLOTLPtsROWGFGAHomeRoadL10
Toronto Maple Leafs322010242201078311-6-19-4-14-6-0
Winnipeg Jets332011242201099210-5-110-6-15-4-1
Edmonton Oilers342113042211169712-8-09-5-07-3-0
Montreal Canadiens3114893713100876-5-28-3-74-2-4
Vancouver Canucks371618335131001209-9-27-9-16-3-1
Calgary Flames34151633314891028-5-17-11-24-5-1
Ottawa Senators35122032710921328-6-34-14-04-4-2
 
Central
 GPWLOTLPtsROWGFGAHomeRoadL10
Tampa Bay Lightning32246250231177413-2-011-4-28-2-0
Carolina Hurricanes31217345171047810-1-311-6-07-1-2
Florida Panthers32208444191079110-4-310-4-16-4-0
Chicago Blackhawks33151353513981088-4-27-9-33-6-1
Columbus Blue Jackets33131373311861067-6-56-7-25-3-2
Nashville Predators33151713112791038-7-07-10-15-4-1
Dallas Stars291011828981776-5-64-6-23-3-4
Detroit Red Wings33101942410711067-8-33-11-13-6-1