BOYS BASKETBALL SECTIONALS THIS WEEK

RICHMOND

1              Tue        Muncie Central [0-20] vs. Anderson [9-10]

2              Wed      Mount Vernon (Fortville) [14-6] vs. Richmond [10-9]

3              Wed      New Palestine [14-8] vs. Greenfield-Central [13-9]

4              Fri           Pendleton Heights [8-14] vs. Winner Game 1

5              Fri           Winner Game 2 vs. Winner Game 3

6              Sat          Winner Game 4 vs. Winner Game 5

NEW CASTLE

1              Tue        Hamilton Heights [15-4] vs. Yorktown [14-7]

2              Tue        Jay County [7-10] vs. Delta [16-4]

3              Fri           Muncie Burris [9-10] vs. Winner Game 1

4              Fri           New Castle [7-15] vs. Winner Game 2

5              Sat          Winner Game 3 vs. Winner Game 4

GREENSBURG

1              Tue        South Dearborn [12-11] vs. Lawrenceburg [13-10]

2              Wed      Franklin County [7-13] vs. Batesville [8-14]

3              Wed      Greensburg [15-4] vs. Rushville [1-19]

4              Fri           Connersville [15-7] vs. Winner Game 1

5              Fri           Winner Game 2 vs. Winner Game 3

6              Sat          Winner Game 4 vs. Winner Game 5

SHENANDOAH

1              Tue        Union County [9-13] vs. Knightstown [0-20]

2              Tue        Hagerstown [5-17] vs. Eastern Hancock [17-5]

3              Wed      Northeastern [18-4] vs. Centerville [8-13]

4              Wed      Cambridge City Lincoln [8-12] vs. Shenandoah [21-3]

5              Fri           Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2

6              Fri           Winner Game 3 vs. Winner Game 4

7              Sat          Winner Game 5 vs. Winner Game 6

RANDOLPH SOUTHERN

1              Tue        Tri [4-17] vs. Union (Modoc) [3-17]

2              Tue        Seton Catholic [6-9] vs. Randolph Southern [6-14]

3              Fri           Blue River [12-10] vs. Winner Game 1

4              Fri           Union City [8-14] vs. Winner Game 2

5              Sat          Winner Game 3 vs. Winner Game 4

MEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL

#17 Oklahoma State 79 #16 Oklahoma 75

#21 Virginia 62 Miami, Florida 51

Western Kentucky 71 Florida International 59

Dayton 55 St. Bonaventure 52

Stephen F Austin 79 Central Arkansas 66

Radford 67 Hampton 52

St. Joseph’s 76 Richmond 73

St. Louis 78 Massachusetts 57

Winthrop 83 High Point 54

Campbell 63 Gardner Webb 57

Longwood 77 UNC Asheville 61

Nebraska 72 Rutgers 51

Nicholls 87 Northwestern State 71

Syracuse 72 North Carolina 70

Sam Houston 83 Houston Baptist 70

New Orleans 88 Incarnate Word 72

Lamar 66 Texas A&M – CC 47

Mississippi Valley 67 Grambling 63

Texas Southern 68 Alabama A&M 58

Jackson State 64 Arkansas Pine Bluff 58 OT

Prairie View 70 Alabama State 67

Oregon 80 Arizona 69

Colorado State 74 Air Force 44

WOMEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL

#1 Connecticut 63 Marquette 53

#7 Baylor 64 Texas 57

Butler 86 #24 DePaul 81

Fairleigh Dickinson 72 Sacred Heart 66

Long Island 83 Bryant 42

New Mexico 97 Utah State 65

Wagner’s 65 Central Connecticut 57

Air Force 75 Colorado State 68

Mount St. Mary 56 St. Francis PA 43

Alabama State 77 Prairie View A&M 53

Jackson State 84 Arkansas Pine Bluff 61

Oklahoma 88 Texas Tech 79

Central Arkansas 62 McNeese State 47

Seton Hall 59 St. John’s 43

Lamar 59 Incarnate Word 48

Kansas State 79 TCU 76 OT

Texas A&M-CC 50 Houston Baptist 43

NBA SCOREBOARD

Dallas 130 Orlando 124

Philadelphia 130 Indiana 114

New Orleans 129 Utah 124

Denver 118 Chicago 112

Brooklyn 124 San Antonio 113 OT

Cleveland 101 Houston 90

Portland 123 Charlotte 111

NHL SCOREBOARD

Carolina 3 Florida 2

Ottawa 5 Calgary 1

Vancouver 4 Winnipeg 0

Vegas 5 Minnesota 4

St. Louis 5 Anaheim 4

Toronto 3 Edmonton 0

San Jose 6 Colorado 2

MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL – SPRING TRAINING

Kansas City 8 Cleveland 6

Oakland 13 Cincinnati 5

San Francisco 1 Texas 1

LA Dodgers 10 Colorado 0

Chicago White Sox 4 LA Angels 4

Chicago Cubs 1 San Diego 0

Milwaukee 7 Arizona 1

Atlanta 5 Boston 3

NY Yankees 5 Detroit 4

Houston 7 Washington 6

Baltimore 4 Philadelphia 4

Miami 2 NY Mets 0

Minnesota 6 Tampa Bay 5

Pittsburgh 2 Toronto 2

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ASSOCIATED PRESS MEN’S BASKETBALL POLL

RankSchoolVotesPrev
1Gonzaga 24-01571 (59)1
2Michigan 18-11512 (4)3
3Baylor 18-114502
4Illinois 18-613505
5Iowa 18-712669
6West Virginia 17-6121010
7Ohio State 18-711634
8Alabama 19-611306
9Houston 20-3110912
10Villanova 15-49428
11Florida State 14-489711
12Arkansas 19-584720
13Kansas 18-878517
14Creighton 17-666913
15Texas 14-765014
16Oklahoma 14-75847
17Oklahoma State 16-6553NR
18Texas Tech 15-849418
19San Diego State 19-440622
20Loyola Chicago 21-436721
21Virginia 15-636215
22Virginia Tech 15-533516
23Purdue 16-8192NR
24Colorado 19-7150NR
25Wisconsin 16-910623

MEN’S COACHES BASKETBALL POLL

RankSchoolVotesPrev
1Gonzaga 24-0799 (31)1
2Michigan 18-1764 (1)3
3Baylor 18-17332
4Illinois 18-66704
5Alabama 19-65767
5West Virginia 17-657613
7Houston 20-355610
8Iowa 18-755412
9Villanova 15-45416
10Ohio State 18-75175
11Florida State 14-44859
12Creighton 17-638511
13Arkansas 19-537620
14Kansas 18-835919
15Oklahoma 14-73238
16Texas 14-725216
17Oklahoma State 16-624821
18Texas Tech 15-824017
19Virginia Tech 15-522415
20Virginia 15-621714
21San Diego State 19-418325
22Loyola Chicago 21-417922
23Purdue 16-8130NR
24USC 19-611918
25Oregon 16-59723

MEN’S RPI RANKINGS

RankSchoolRPIPrev
1Michigan 18-10.66371
2Gonzaga 24-00.65972
3Houston 20-30.63323
4Alabama 19-60.63034
5West Virginia 17-60.62895
6Clemson 15-50.62527
6BYU 19-50.62526
8Baylor 18-10.62328
9San Diego State 19-40.619510
10St. Bonaventure 13-30.617612
11Arkansas 19-50.616914
12Navy 15-20.616213
13Colgate 11-10.615011
14Kansas 18-80.614615
15Florida State 14-40.613716
16Boise State 18-60.612017
17Villanova 15-40.61059
18Colorado State 15-40.609519
19Wichita State 13-40.606520
20Missouri 14-70.605022
21UC Santa Barbara 17-40.604721
22USC 19-60.603724
22Oklahoma State 16-60.603725
24Ohio State 18-70.603618
25Colorado 19-70.603523

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RPI WOMEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL RANKINGS

RankSchoolRPIPrev
1South Carolina 19-40.68391
2Texas A&M 22-10.67842
3Bucknell 8-00.66925
4Louisville 21-20.66373
5Missouri State 18-20.66173
6Maryland 19-20.65128
7Stanford 22-20.64366
8North Carolina State 17-20.64279
9UConn 20-10.641410
10UC Davis 9-10.637911
11Kentucky 16-70.63107
12Baylor 19-20.630412
13Gonzaga 21-30.627713
14Georgia 18-50.623215
15West Virginia 18-40.622316
16Tennessee 15-60.620214
17Rice 15-20.618817
18South Dakota State 21-20.617518
19Arkansas 19-70.616720
20Michigan 13-30.613719
21Indiana 16-40.609221
22Delaware 19-30.6084NR
23Lehigh 7-50.6070NR
24Iowa State 15-90.604423
25UCF 13-20.603224
25Arizona 15-40.603222

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NFL NEWS: Watt Just Happened: J.J. Watt Agrees To Sign With Cardinals

(CARDS RELEASE)

A year after making an NFL splash by trading for a Houston Texan, the Cardinals stunned the league again Monday by bringing in another former Texans All-Pro.

Defensive end J.J. Watt, who ever since his release from Houston last month was rumored to go to a handful of places but never Arizona, ended up agreeing to sign with the Cardinals.

Watt made the announcement on Twitter, with the team putting out a release a few minutes later saying it is a two-year contract.

Multiple reports have the deal for the three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year for potentially $31 million, with $23 million guaranteed.

A year after making an NFL splash by trading for a Houston Texan, the Cardinals stunned the league again Monday by bringing in another former Texans All-Pro.

Defensive end J.J. Watt, who ever since his release from Houston last month was rumored to go to a handful of places but never Arizona, ended up agreeing to sign with the Cardinals.

Watt made the announcement on Twitter, with the team putting out a release a few minutes later saying it is a two-year contract.

Multiple reports have the deal for the three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year for potentially $31 million, with $23 million guaranteed.

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NFL NEWS: Report: Washington, Smith expected to part ways

The Washington Football Team and quarterback Alex Smith are expected to part ways in the coming days, sources told NFL Network’s Kim Jones and Ian Rapoport.

Smith helped Washington capture the NFC East crown in 2020 after spending two years recovering from 17 leg surgeries. His efforts netted him the Comeback Player of the Year award.

Despite his improbable return, Smith’s future in D.C. beyond the 2020 season always appeared bleak. He has no guaranteed money left on his deal and Washington could save $14.7 million against the cap by releasing him.

The 36-year-old also told GQ Magazine in February he didn’t feel like Washington’s brass wanted him on the team last season.

“When I decided to come back, I definitely threw a wrench in the team’s plan,” he said. “They didn’t see it, didn’t want me there, didn’t want me to be a part of it, didn’t want me to be on the team, the roster, didn’t want to give me a chance.”

Washington acquired Smith from the Kansas City Chiefs in March 2018, tabbing him as the replacement for Kirk Cousins. He went 11-5 as the starter, throwing 16 touchdowns and 13 interceptions while posting a passer rating of 82.6.

Smith played seven seasons for the San Francisco 49ers and five seasons for the Chiefs before moving to Washington.

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NFL NEWS: Report: 49ers called Panthers about potential Bridgewater trade

The San Francisco 49ers are among the teams that have called the Carolina Panthers to inquire about a potential trade for Teddy Bridgewater, sources told The Athletic’s Joe Person.

The 49ers have repeated their belief in Jimmy Garoppolo as the long-term starter throughout the offseason. General manager John Lynch previously said he has no doubts Garoppolo will start next season but signaled the need for a better backup option.

“So we – probably as a stated goal – we have to insulate ourselves better. We’ve got to have better options if (Garoppolo’s) not there,” Lynch said on Feb. 24.

Garoppolo has posted a 22-8 record with the 49ers but has missed 23 contests due to multiple injuries over the last three seasons. The 29-year-old managed to suit up for just six games in 2020.

Meanwhile, the Panthers have reportedly shown interest in upgrading after Bridgewater’s lone season with the club. Carolina has been linked to disgruntled quarterback Deshaun Watson and also reportedly offered Bridgewater plus a first-round pick for Matthew Stafford.

Bridgewater compiled a 4-11 record in his first season with the Panthers. He completed 69.1% of his passes and threw 15 touchdowns to 11 interceptions. The 28-year-old holds a $22.9-million cap hit for 2021.

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NFL NEWS: Veach optimistic Mahomes, Schwartz, Fisher can be ready for training camp

Kansas City Chiefs general manager Brett Veach says he’s optimistic Patrick Mahomes, Mitchell Schwartz, and Eric Fisher will be healthy for the start of training camp, according to The Athletic’s Nate Taylor.

Veach added there’s a chance Mahomes could be cleared before minicamp following his foot surgery, according to NFL Network’s James Palmer. The signal-caller underwent a procedure to alleviate his turf toe on Feb. 10, and the estimated recovery timeline is three months.

All three injuries impacted the Chiefs during their run to Super Bowl LV. Fisher missed the playoff finale due to an Achilles tear, while Schwartz recently underwent surgery after a back issue bothered him last season.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers stopped the Chiefs in their quest for back-to-back championships. Mahomes didn’t throw a touchdown pass during the 31-9 defeat while under constant pressure, with the Chiefs’ offensive line allowing three sacks and nine quarterback hits.

Veach is looking for both familiar and possibly new faces to step up on the offensive line.

“I think it will be a combination of what we have in-house and blending that with some new talent,” Veach said, according to team reporter Matt McCullen.

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NFL NEWS: Bears add former Texas HC Tom Herman to coaching staff

The Chicago Bears have hired former Texas head coach Tom Herman as an offensive analyst/special projects coach, the team announced Monday.

Texas fired Herman in January after the program went 7-3 in 2020. Herman compiled a 32-18 record in four seasons in Austin. His tenure as Texas’ head coach is viewed as a disappointment after he posted a 22-4 record at Houston.

Herman, 45, rose through the coaching ranks as a touted offensive coordinator with Texas State, Rice, Iowa State, and later Ohio State under Urban Meyer. He helped the Buckeyes win a national championship in 2014 and won the Broyles Award as the top assistant in college football.

Chicago also announced the hiring of Anthony Hibbert as its new assistant strength coach.

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NFL NEWS: Irv Cross, NFL player, pioneer Black analyst, dies at 81

(AP SPORTS)

 Irv Cross, the former NFL defensive back who became the first Black man to work full-time as a sports analyst on national television, died Sunday. He was 81.

The Philadelphia Eagles, the team Cross spent his six of his nine NFL seasons with, said Cross’ son, Matthew, confirmed his father died near his home in Roseville, Minnesota. The cause of death was not provided.

“All of us at CBS Sports are saddened by the news of Irv Cross’ passing,” CBS Sports Chairman Sean McManus said in a statement. “Irv was a pioneer who made significant contributions to the storied history and tradition of CBS Sports and, along with Phyllis George and Brent Musburger, set the standard for NFL pregame shows with `The NFL Today.’ He was a true gentleman and a trail blazer in the sports television industry and will be remembered for his accomplishments and the paths he paved for those who followed.”

From Hammond, Indiana, Cross starred in football and track and field at Northwestern. He was drafted in the seventh round by Philadelphia in 1961, was traded to the Los Angeles Rams in 1966 and returned to the Eagles in 1969 as a player coach for his final season.

The two-time Pro Bowl cornerback had 22 interceptions, 14 fumble recoveries, eight forced fumbles and a pair of defensive touchdowns. He also averaged 27.9 yards on kickoff returns and returned punts.

Cross joined CBS in 1971, becoming the first Black network sports show anchor. He left the network in 1994, and later served as athletic director at Idaho State and Macalester College in Minnesota. In 2009, he received the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Pete Rozelle Radio-Television Award.

“Irv was one of the finest gentleman I’ve been with,” Musburger tweeted. “We met at Northwestern where Irv played both ways for Coach (Ara) Parseghian, He later became my go-to mainstay on the NFL TODAY. No one ever had a bad thing to say about Irv. He led the way for African Americans to host NFL and other sports shows. Rest in peace my friend.”

The eighth of 15 children, Cross is survived by wife Liz; children, Susan, Lisa, Matthew and Sarah; grandson Aiden; brothers Raymond, Teal and Sam; sisters Joan, Jackie, Julia, Pat, and Gwen.

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COLLEGE FOOTBALL NEWS: Alabama Crimson Tide plan for full-capacity college football games at Bryant-Denny Stadium in fall

Alabama is moving ahead with plans to host full-capacity college football games at Bryant-Denny Stadium this coming season, athletic director Greg Byrne announced Monday.

Byrne tweeted a short statement after news earlier in the day that the school would be returning to in-person instruction without restrictions on classroom capacity in the fall. Byrne said they will continue to monitor medical guidelines “as we have all along.”

Alabama reduced its capacity to 20% last season as COVID-19 spread, infecting millions of Americans. Infections have dropped significantly of late.

Last Friday, the Centers for Disease Control reported a seven-day average of 66,348 infections in the United States, which was down roughly 10,000 from the previous week.

According to data from the New York Times, Alabama has among the lowest vaccinations rates in the country, with 13% of people receiving one shot.

Bryant-Denny Stadium, which boasts a capacity of 100,077, is scheduled to host seven football games next season, starting with the home opener on Sept. 11 against Mercer.

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MEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL: NOTES: Hoosiers Visit Michigan State on Tuesday Night

(IU RELEASE)

OPENING TIP

Indiana University is in its 121st season of competition in men’s basketball and completed its 50th season in Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall.  The Hoosiers will travel to Michigan State on Tuesday for their second meeting in 10 days. The Spartans captured a 78-71 victory on February 20.

GAME INFORMATION

Indiana (12-12, 7-10 B1G) at Michigan State (13-10, 7-10 B1G)

Tuesday, March 2 • 8 p.m. ET

Breslin Center • East Lansing, Mich.

TV: BTN (Brandon Gaudin and Robbie Hummel)

Radio: IU Radio Network  (Don Fischer, Errek Suhr,  Joe Smith)

Series History:  Indiana leads, 71-56

Last Meeting: MSU 78, at IU 71; 2/20/21

THE COACHES

Indiana Coach Archie Miller is in his fourth season of guiding the Cream and Crimson and is 67-55 with the Hoosiers and earned career win 200 against Penn State. He is 206-118 in 9+ years as a head coach, which includes 6 years at the University of Dayton. His Flyer teams made NCAA Tournament appearances in each of his last four seasons, including a trip to the Elite Eight in 2014. MSU is led by Tom Izzo who is 641-251 in his 26 years in East Lansing.

JACKSON-DAVIS LOOKING FOR POST SEASON HONORS

Sophomore forward Trayce Jackson-Davis ranks among B1G leaders in scoring, rebounds, field goal percentage and blocked shots.  He had his 22nd career double-double after posting a 21-point, 11 rebound effort at Rutgers. He had a career-high 34 points and added 9 boards in the first  meeting against Michigan State. He has twice been named Big Ten Player of the Week.  His most dominant performance this season was a 25-point, 17-rebound effort at Florida State. He is one of five finalists for the Karl Malone Award given annually to the top power forward in the nation and was named to the Wooden and Naismith Award Mid-Season Watch Lists.   He is averaging 19.8  points, 9.3 rebounds while shooting 52.1% from the floor and a team-high 32 blocks this season. He is the only Hoosier in the last 25 years to have 3 games of 25 points and 15 rebounds (at Minnesota, at Florida State, Nebraska). He is 3rd in the nation in FTs made (136) and 1st in FT attempts (205).  Both lead the Big Ten. He and Illinois’ Ayo Dosunmu are the only players in the league to score in double figures every game this season.

ODDS AND TRENDS

This will be the first time for IU in the Breslin Center since February 2nd when the Hoosiers upset the #6 Spartans, 79-75, in overtime.  The next three meetings between the teams took place in Bloomington. IU has played a national-high 5 overtime games this season (2-3), the most since they played 6 in 1998-99.  Jackson-Davis is  averaging 19.8 points and 9.3 rebounds overall and 19.4 points and 9.5 boards in league play.  the last Hoosier to average 20 points was Eric Gordon in 2008 at 20.9.  The last IU player to average 10 rebounds or more was D.J. White also is 2008 at 10.3.  The last Hoosier to average 20 points and 10 rebounds in a season was Steve Downing who contributed 20.1 points and 10.6 boards in 1973.  Alan Henderson was the last IU player to average 20/10 in Big Ten play (23.1/10.4) in 1994-95. Senior Aljami Durham became the 53rd player in school history to eclipse the 1,000-point mark at IU.  He had 15 points against Michigan and is now 52nd in IU history with 1,009 points.  Sophomore guard Armaan Franklin injured his right foot in the first half at Rutgers and hasn’t played since.  In the last game against MSU, the Hoosiers held a 19-6 lead in the first 8:45 of the game.  IU also led 48-39 with 12:59 left in the game.

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PURDUE MEN’S BASKETBALL

(PURDUE RELEASE)

No. 23 Purdue Hosts No. 25 Wisconsin in Key Late-Season Battle

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – The No. 23-ranked Purdue basketball team aims to continue its late-season surge with a pair of home games to conclude the regular season. The Boilermakers will host No. 25-ranked Wisconsin on Tuesday night in search of their 12th Big Ten win of the season.

With Friday’s win over Penn State, the Boilermakers will be seeded anywhere between 3 and 6 for the upcoming Big Ten Tournament and a win over the Badgers will go a long way toward possibly securing a double-bye in next week’s extravaganza in Indianapolis. Standing in the way are the defending Big Ten Champions that are one of the nation’s oldest teams. A win would give Purdue no worse than the No. 5 seed.

THE KEY TALKING POINTS

1) Purdue leads the series with Wisconsin by a 110-72 margin, including a 41-4 mark at Mackey Arena. Wisconsin won games in Mackey Arena in  1975, 2005, 2012 and 2014. The Boilermakers have won four straight home games against the Badgers by a combined 69 points.

2) According to KenPom.com, Purdue ranks 328th (out of 347 teams) in experience (1.04 years). The total is 14th in the Big Ten. Indiana is the next least-experienced team in the league at 1.36 years (283rd nationally).

3) Purdue has had its full arsenal of rotation players for just 15 of its 24 games this year, missing key personnel for nine games this year. Purdue has gone 11-4 in those 15 games with a full roster, losses coming on the road vs. Big Ten teams (Iowa, Rutgers, Illinois, Minnesota).

4) Four freshmen have earned Big Ten Freshman of the Week honors, the most in league history. Michigan (2012-13) and Ohio St. (2010-11) had 3.

5) A Purdue freshman has been named the Big Ten Freshman of the Week in six of a possible 14 weeks this season.

6) Purdue freshmen have scored at least 27 points in each of the last seven games (36.0 points per game).

7) Purdue is 1-of-6 teams nationally to rank in both offensive (25th) and defensive (15th) efficiency according to KenPom.com.

8) Purdue is one of just two Big Ten teams to have one or fewer home losses in Big Ten play (Purdue 6-1; Michigan 7-0).

9) Purdue has held 13 straight opponents to 72 or fewer points, the third-longest streak in the country (9-4 record).

10) Purdue will not leave the state of Indiana for the rest of the season, having posted a 12-1 record in games played in Indiana.

11) Over the last five years since the start of the 2016-17 season, Purdue has the most wins in the Big Ten (65). Michigan State is next at 63.

12) Purdue owns a 54-9 home record in Big Ten play since the 2014-15 season. Since that year, just one team, Michigan has beaten the Boilermakers twice at Mackey Arena. Michigan State, Indiana, Wisconsin, Nebraska and Northwestern are the five teams to not win in Mackey.

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BUTLER MEN’S BASKETBALL: Harris Named BIG EAST Freshman of the Week

(BUTLER RELEASE)

After leading the Bulldogs to a 2-0 week, Chuck Harris has been named BIG EAST Freshman of the Week. The conference office made the announcement Monday, March 1.

For Harris, it is his second weekly freshman honor after also being recognized Dec. 28.

Harris had a game-high 20 points in Butler’s win over No. 8 Villanova Sunday. It marked his fourth 20-point game of the season. He went 4-of-9 from three-point range, adding five rebounds and four assists. In Wednesday’s win over Seton Hall, Harris had 14 points and tied career-highs with six rebounds and five assists.

For the week, he averaged 17.0 points, 5.5 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game, shooting 50 percent from the field.

Harris is only the third Bulldog to earn Freshman of the Week honors since the Bulldogs joined the BIG EAST prior to the 2013-14 season. He joins Kelan Martin (final week of the 2014-15 regular season) and Kamar Baldwin (twice during the 2016-17 season) on that list. He and Baldwin are the only Bulldogs to win multiple weekly honors.

Harris leads the Bulldogs in scoring this season, averaging 12.0 points per game. Among freshmen in the BIG EAST, only Marquette’s Dawson Garcia averages more (13.3).

The Bulldogs return to action Saturday at Creighton in the team’s regular season finale.

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BALL STATE MBB: Cards Have Home Finale Tuesday Night

(BALL STATE RELEASE)

The Ball State men’s basketball team finishes its home schedule Tuesday night after its two best offensive performances of the season. The Cardinals can win a third straight game for the second time this season. Eastern Michigan is playing out the string but won its second league game in convincing fashion on Saturday, a 91-57 rout over Northern Illinois.

The Cardinals have clinched a berth in the MAC Men’s Basketball Championship in Cleveland and are now playing for seeding. BSU enters Tuesday a half-game behind Miami for the No. 7 spot.

After Tuesday, the Cards are at Toledo in the regular season finale on Friday. That game will be a 7 p.m. game on CBS Sports Network.

The Starting 5  –  The Top 5 Storylines For This Game

1. CARDS AND EASTERN – THE SERIES

Tuesday’s home finale is the 108th meeting between BSU and EMU in hoops. Ball State leads the series by 21 games and has won the last three meetings. Eastern Michigan is 20-27 in Muncie. The BSU-EMU basketball history dates back to February 1947 when Ball State beat Eastern 73-32 in Ball Gym.

2. ‘STUPID’ IS AS ‘STOOPID’ DOES

In Saturday’s postgame presser, Ball State’s offensive output was described as “stupid.” Or maybe “stoopid.” Either way, the Cardinals are scoring and shooting at a high level in recent games. BSU dropped 90 in a blowout win over Kent State and then 97 vs. Central Michigan. Those are the two highest scoring outputs of the season and the highest since November 2018 (187 points vs. Tiffin, IUPUI). For the week, Ball State averaged 93.5 points on 55% shooting and shot 49% from 3-point range.

3. MAC PLAYER OF THE WEEK

Following last week’s offensive explosion, Jarron Coleman was the first Ball State player this season to be MAC Player of the Week. Coleman averaged 25.0 points and 6.0 assists and made 11 of his 17 3-pointers in the two wins last week. Coleman, a 6-5 guard from Indianapolis, has been back from injury for 10 games now. He is averaging 17.6 points and 4.8 assists over the last five games, compared to 6.4 points and 2.2 assists during his first five games.

4. CONFERENCE SOS

Ball State is finally getting games against the bottom third of the 12-team MAC. BSU played six games against the current top 4 in the league (2-4 vs. Toledo, Akron, Kent, Buffalo) and only three against the bottom 4 until this week. BSU is now 4-0 against the bottom third of the standings with a fifth game Tuesday night. Ball State will end up playing 17 conference home games, and will be the No. 7 or 8 seed in the championship bracket March 11-13.

5. SENIOR SALUTE

This game may be the final home game for three players who have been at BSU for four years and have 62 wins and counting. Brachen Hazen, K.J. Walton and Ishmael El-Amin will go through Senior Night ceremonies. The trio has been at BSU since 2017 and has won 54% of its games. Walton (Missouri) and Hazen (Arkansas) each came from SEC schools, while El-Amin has been a four-year Card. Both Walton and El-Amin crossed the 1,000-point career mark this year. The caveat with any senior ceremony across college basketball this year is that it’s essentially a ‘free’ year of eligibility and nothing is quite guaranteed. Nonetheless, these three men will be recognized Tuesday night.

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MIAMI MEN’S BASKETBALL: RedHawks Travel to Bowling Green for Tuesday Game

(MIAMI RELEASE)

TUESDAY’S GAME: Miami travels to Bowling Green for a 7 p.m. game on Tuesday, March 2 in the second meeting between the teams this season. The RedHawks have won their last three road games.

ABOUT BOWLING GREEN: Bowling Green enters Tuesday’s game with a 14-9 overall record and 10-7 Mid-American Conference mark. After dropping six straight, the Falcons are on a four-game win streak, winning all four on the road. BGSU is coming off an 83-71 win at Akron on Friday. Justin Turner leads the team and ranks second in the MAC in scoring at 20.1 ppg. Turner also dishes out 4.5 apg. Daeqwon Plowden follows at 12.9 ppg and a team-leading 7.7 rpg. Trey Digs (11.2) and Kaden Metheny (10.5) are the other two Falcons to average double figures in scoring.

THE SERIES WITH THE FALCONS: Tuesday marks the 146th meeting between Miami and Bowling Green with the RedHawks holding an 87-58 lead in the all-time series. The RedHawks have won the last two, both in Oxford, including a 96-77 win on Jan. 21 earlier this year. The Falcons’ last win in the series was the last meeting at the Stroh Center, an 78-76 win on Jan. 7, 2020. When playing in Bowling Green, the Falcons are 38-31 against the RedHawks. Miami’s last win at Bowling Green was on Feb. 26, 2019, 82-69.

TELEVISION: Saturday’s game will be televised on ESPN3.

RADIO: In its second year of its partnership with Van Wagner, the Miami Sports Network, powered by Pepsi, continues its coverage of Miami Basketball with a group of affiliates blanketing most of Southwest Ohio and Southeast Indiana. The radio broadcast also will be carried via the TuneIn App. Terry Bridge will call the action. Tune-in to one of Miami’s gameday affiliates:

WFMG-FM 101.3 (Richmond, Ind.)

WMOH-AM 1450 (Hamilton, Ohio)

WONE-AM 980 (Dayton, Ohio)

TuneIn App

REDHAWKS CLINCH SPOT IN MAC TOURNAMENT: Miami has secured a spot in the eight-team Mid-American Conference Tournament in Cleveland March 11-13. The RedHawks clinched a berth following a 74-66 win at Western Michigan on Feb. 25.

ROAD STREAKS: Miami has won three straight on the road, all coming during a six-day stretch. The RedHawks captured a 69-64 win at Northern Illinois (Feb. 20), a 96-54 win at Central Michigan (Feb. 23) and a 74-66 win at Western Michigan (Feb. 25). It is the first time since 2010-11 Miami has won three-straight road games. Miami tries to extend that streak to four on Tuesday at Bowling Green, which would equal its most-consecutive road wins since the 2008-09 season.

ROARING 20s: Over a six-game stretch from Feb. 6-25, four different RedHawks scored 20 or more points.

Junior forward James Beck came off the bench at Buffalo on Feb. 6 and poured in a career-high 24 points off 10-of-14 shooting from the floor, connecting on 71.4 percent of his shots. He was a perfect 4-for-4 from the free-throw line.

Junior guard Mekhi Lairy amassed a career-high 24 points against Akron on Feb. 12, tallying 12 points in each half. Lairy knocked down 8-of 14 field goals (.571) and was 6-of-7 from the free-throw line.

Senior forward Dalonte Brown tallied a season-best 21 points off 6-of-10 shooting from the field, including a 3-for-7 effort from three-point range at Toledo on Feb. 16. He also sunk all six free throws.

Sophomore guard Dae Dae Grant recorded 26 points off 8-of-18 shooting, including a 4-of-10 effort from three-point range, while knocking down 6-of-7 free-throw attempts at Northern Illinois on Feb. 20.

Grant followed with a 25-point effort at Central Michigan on Feb. 23. He was 9-of-14 (.642) from the field, including 7-of-12 (.583) from three-point range.

Brown and Lairy teamed up for a pair of 20-point scoring efforts in a 74-66 win at Western Michigan on Feb. 25. Brown was 7-of-14 from the field and 3-of-4 from the free-throw line, while Lairy was 6-of-17 from the field and 5-of-6 from the free-throw line. Both were 3-of-7 from three-point range.

BROWN REACHES 1,000 CAREER POINTS: Senior forward Dalonte Brown became the 37th member of Miami’s 1,000 Point Club on Jan. 12, 2021. Brown enters Miami’s next game with 1,183 career points and has moved into a tie for 27th on the list.

MORE ON BROWN: Dalonte Brown played in his 100th career game on Tuesday, Dec. 15 against Buffalo. He made his 100th career start against Toledo on Tuesday, Jan. 26. Entering Miami’s next game, Brown has played in 116 career games and made 109 career starts, which ranks seventh among MU career leaders.

FEBRUARY 23 HIGHLIGHTS

Miami set a program record for three-pointers in a game with 18 at CMU, eclipsing the previous record of 17 against Midway on Nov. 29, 2017. Six different RedHawks contributed to the record.

Sophomore guard Dae Dae Grant led all players with 25 points, including a 7-for-12 effort from three-point range. His seven treys tie for eighth among all-time Miami leaders in a single game.

The 96 points against the Chippewas match the season-best scoring effort the RedHawks had earlier this season against Bowling Green on Jan. 21.

The 58 first-half points for the RedHawks were their most in a half this season, besting a 55-point second-half effort against Bowling Green on Jan. 21.

Miami shot 52.1 percent from the floor and 51.4 percent from three-point range for the game. The RedHawks shot 61.1 percent from the field and 63.2 percent from three-point range in the opening half.

The 42-point win for the RedHawks in their 96-54 triumph at Central Michigan on Feb. 23 ties for the 19th-largest margin in a win and is third-largest margin of victory against a MAC opponent. It is Miami’s biggest win against CMU.

ODDS ‘N ENDS

Senior guard Milos Jovic joined the Century Club on Jan. 30 against Western Michigan, playing in his 100th career game. Entering the RedHawks’ next game, Jovic has played in 107 career games.

With 25 points at Central Michigan on Feb. 23, sophomore guard Dae Dae Grant notched his fifth 20-point scoring effort of the season and now has the top four scoring efforts for Miami this season. Grant also scored 28 points at Eastern Michigan (Jan. 23) and 27 points against Bowling Green (Jan. 21) and 26 points at Northern Illinois (Feb. 20).

Redshirt junior guard Isaiah Coleman-Lands has been stingy with turnovers and currently boasts a 2.70 assist/turnover ratio with 62 assists to 23 turnovers through 20 games. He ranks second in the MAC 26th nationally in assist/turnover ratio.

Averaging 10.7 turnovers per game, Miami ranks second the MAC in fewest turnovers and ranks 15th nationally. Miami has committed fewer turnovers than its opponent in 13 of its 21 games and the same number in four games this season. The RedHawks have had 10 or fewer turnovers in 12 of their 21 games, including a season-low four against Mount St. Joseph on Dec. 11.

UP NEXT: The RedHawks round out the regular season at Akron at 7 p.m. on Friday, Mar. 5.

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WRIGHT STATE MBB: Men’s Basketball set to host Milwaukee in HL Quarterfinals

(RAIDERS RELEASE)

The Wright State men’s basketball team begins postseason play at home on Tuesday night, as the No. 2-seeded Raiders host No. 8 Milwaukee inside the Nutter Center in the 2021 Horizon League Championship quarterfinals. Wright State clinched at least a share of the Horizon League regular season championship for the third consecutive season on February 20, and is the No. 2 seed, based off tiebreaker procedures. Milwaukee opened tournament play with a win over No. 9 IUPUI last Thursday to advance to a matchup with the Raiders.

Tuesday’s tip is set for 7 p.m. and will be streamed on ESPN+, where Chris Collins and Jim Brown will call the action. Raider fans can also tune in to WRZX 106.5 FM, where Scott Leo and Justin Kinner will have the play-by-play on the radio.

Last time out, Wright State split its weekend matchups at Northern Kentucky to close the regular season, falling in the opener 81-75 before a 77-71 victory on Saturday. Friday night, Loudon Love turn in the only double-double of the game, finishing with 16 points and 10 rebounds, while Grant Basile tallied 15 points of his own, while Trey Calvin and Jaylon Hall both had 12 points. Tim Finke finished with 11 points of his own and added eight rebounds. On Saturday, the Raiders were paced by Basile’s 21 points, including a stretch where he scored 10 consecutive Raider points early in the second half. Love tallied his 12th double-double of the season with 18 points and 11 rebounds.

Tanner Holden also finished with 18 points, adding six rebounds, while Finke had 10 points and eight rebounds of his own.

MILWAUKEE MATCHUP

Milwaukee has won two games in a row, taking the regular season finale over Oakland in 2OT before a win over IUPUI in the first round of the HL tournament. Prior to the wins, Milwaukee had lost five games in a row. Wright State handed Milwaukee a pair of loses on Feb. 12 (92-81) and Feb. 13 (92-82). The teams have now met 65 times overall, with the Raiders holding a 35-30 lead over Milwaukee in the overall series, including six in a row and 11 of the last 15 meetings. Loudon Love paced the Raiders in both regular season games, finishing with 21 points on Friday and 29 points on Saturday.

RAIDERS-MILWAUKEE IN THE POSTSEASON

The Raiders and Panthers have met five times in postseason play, most recently in the 2018 Horizon League tournament, with Wright State holding a 3-2 advantage. The last meeting prior to Tuesday night came on March 5, 2018, as the Raiders dispatched the Panthers 59-53 in HL semifinal action in Detroit, MI on their way to the 2018 Horizon League Championship and an NCAA berth.

PANTHER POINTS

Milwaukee is coming off of an 84-72 victory over IUPUI at home in the opening round of the HL tournament on Thursday night, with four players finishing in double figures.  A pair of Panthers set career highs against Wright State Feb. 12, with DeAndre Gholston leading the way with his 29-point outburst. Courtney Brown Jr. also stepped up with a career-high 14 points against the Raiders.

LOVE THE BACK-TO-BACK

Loudon Love earned his second consecutive Horizon League Player of the Year selection on February 23, becoming just the sixth player in League history to win two Player of the Year awards and only the third Horizon League player to garner multiple Player of the Year honors and also have been named the League’s Newcomer of the Year. It’s been 20 years since a Horizon League player has pulled off back-to-back Player of the Year honors, while Love joins former Xavier standout Byron Larkin and former Detroit Mercy standout Rashad Phillips on the pedestal with multiple Player of the Year awards and a Newcomer of the Year honor. The only other Wright State player to earn the Horizon League’s top individual honor other than Love was DeShaun Wood following the 2006-2007 season.

AWARDS SEASON

In addition to his Player of the Year honor, Loudon Love was also recognized on the Horizon League first team, joined by sophomore Tanner Holden, while redshirt-sophomore Grant Basile was a second team selection. Love and Tim Finke each earned All-Defensive Team recognition as well. Read more here.

ALL IN THE NAME OF LOVE…

Entering the postseason, Loudon Love has 1,770 career points and is fourth all-time in program history. Next up is Vaughn Duggins (3rd, 1,777pts) and Love is 80 points shy of surpassing DaShaun Wood for 2nd most all-time. Through 23 games, Love is averaging 16.7 points per game, and is adding a 10.3 rebounds/game average.

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DAYTON MEN’S BASKETBALL: Men’s Basketball Knocks Off St. Bonaventure 55-52

(DAYTON RELEASE)

OLEAN, N.Y. – The University of Dayton men’s basketball team closed the regular season with a hard-fought 55-52 win over the 2020-21 Atlantic 10 regular season champion St. Bonaventure Bonnies.

Dayton held SBU to a season-low 52 points, and 30% shooting from the field.

Ibi Watson led UD with 14 points (5-7 FG).  A pair of freshmen – R.J. Blakney and Mustapha Amzil – added nine each.  Senior point guard Jalen Crutcher scored just six points, fouling out with 3:51 left after playing a season-low 22 minutes.  Yet he was +15 in +/- efficiency ratings.

The Flyers finish the regular season 13-8 overall, and 9-7 in the A-10.

GAME BREAKDOWN

First Half:  St. Bonaventure 27, Dayton 26

Dayton jumped out to a 10-5 lead at the 15:51 mark, behind a pair of three-pointers by Ibi Watson.

SBU scored seven unanswered points to take the lead at the next media Brea, 12-10 with 11:54 left in the half.

Koby Brea broke a six-minute Flyer field goal drought, and it UD trailed by one (17-16) with 7:52 to go.

After scoring 10 points in the game’s first four minutes, it took Dayton nearly 12 minutes to get the next 10 due to eight turnovers.

The Flyers scored the last two buckets of the half to cut the Bonnie advantage to one 27-26 at halftime.

Rebounds were even (15-15) and UD held St. Bona to 38% shooting (while shooting 48% itself), but the Flyers committed 11 turnovers. Leading to 12 points off turnovers for the Bonnies.

Ibi Watson led the Flyers with seven points, with R.J. Blakney right behind with six.

Second Half:  Dayton 55, St. Bonaventure 52

UD scored the first seven points of the half to force a Bona timeout at the 17:36 mark with the Flyers ahead 33-27.

The Flyers led by eight (37-29) at the first media break with 16:18 to go.

A three-pointer by Zimi Nwokeji stretched the Dayton lead it to 11 (42-31) with 13:38 left.

Mustapha Amzil drained another trey to give Dayton its largest lead, 47-35, with 11:46 remaining.

Jalen Crutcher was charged with his fourth foul with the 12-point lead.

The Flyers led 49-40 with 7:19 to go, and when Crutcher fouled out with 3:51 left, led 52-46.

The Bonnies made it a two-point game with a three-pointer at the 3:05 mark.

After a Dayton timeout, UD ran a high pick play that resulted in Rodney Chatman in hitting Jordy Tshimanga on an alley-oop layup to make the score UD 54, SBU 50.

The Bonnies scored with 2:40 to cut it to a 52-50 game.

Ibi Watson made one of two free throws at the 1:02 mark. 

The Flyers got a stop on the next possession, took the clock down to 10.1 seconds, and then got another stop to pull out the win.

BY THE NUMBERS

Every Flyer who played, scored, and all but one pulled down a rebound.

UD’s top three scorers – Ibi Watson (5-7, 2-3), R.J. Blakney (3-4, 1-2) and Mustapha Amzil (3-3, 1-1) – combined to shoot 11-of14 from the field, and 4-of-6 from beyond the arc.

Five Dayton player grabbed at least five rebounds, led by Jordy Tshimanaga’s seven.

Jalen Crutcher had five assists.

The Flyers held the Bonnies to 22% shooting in the second half.

Dayton ended the regular season 9-3 against teams with a winning record, and 4-5 against teams with a losing record.

UP NEXT

Dayton will face Rhode Island in the second round of the Atlantic 10 Men’s Basketball Championship on Thursday, March 5.  Game time is 3:30 p.m. ET. 

The winner advances to play the tournament’s No. 2 seed, VCU in the quarterfinals on Friday.

Dayton is the seventh seed in the tournament.

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MEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL NEWS: Michigan leaps Baylor into second behind Gonzaga in Top 25

(AP SPORTS)

Michigan finally broke the stranglehold of Gonzaga and Baylor atop The Associated Press men’s college basketball poll, taking advantage of the Bears’ loss at Kansas to leap into the No. 2 spot behind the Bulldogs.

Michigan finally broke the stranglehold of Gonzaga and Baylor atop The Associated Press men’s college basketball poll on Monday, taking advantage of the Bears’ loss at Kansas to leap into the No. 2 spot behind the Bulldogs.

Gonzaga continued to hold down the top spot in the Top 25, just as it has all season, receiving 59 of 63 first-place votes among national media members. But the Wolverines picked up the other four to climb into second while the Bears, whose unbeaten season was foiled by the Jayhawks on Saturday night, dropped back to third place.

Illinois climbed one spot to fourth and Iowa gave the Big Ten three teams in the top five.

“We look at it like there’s room for improvement,” said Wolverines coach Juwan Howard, whose team pushed its winning streak to seven with an easy win over Indiana on Saturday. “Our guys have that kind of growth mindset, ‘What can we do better?’ I don’t think there’s ever such a thing as playing a perfect game, (but) one possession at a time, competing for 40 minutes, from start to finish, that’s been our mindset going into ballgames.”

Now the question is whether the Wolverines can hold onto its No. 2 spot. They have a showdown with the Illini on Tuesday night before wrapping up the regular season with a home-and-home series against Michigan State.

“No question, they deserve all of the whatever the word you want to use – accolades, praise. They deserve it all,” Hoosiers coach Archie Miller said. “They have a great spirit about them. That’s one thing you’d probably have to look at Michigan and just look at the way that they vibe and they play, both ends of the floor. They get after you, they play hard for one another, they have a great bounce to them, so you can tell they’re very together. That’s a big part of what they’re doing.”

West Virginia continued its steady climb, up four spots to No. 6 after its third consecutive win. Ohio State fell three spots to seventh after its loss to the Hawkeyes. Alabama, Houston and Villanova rounded out the top 10.

Florida State was next while Arkansas leaped eight spots to No. 12 after running its winning streak to six, including victories over then-No. 10 Missouri and the Crimson Tide. It’s the highest the Razorbacks have been ranked since Feb. 16, 1998.

Also making a big move was No. 13 Kansas, fresh off its win over the Bears; the Jayhawks have won six of seven after their record 12-year streak in the Top 25 came to an end, with the loss coming to then-No. 14 Texas in overtime.

Creighton dropped one spot to No. 14, followed by the Longhorns. Oklahoma and Oklahoma State were next, followed by Big 12 rival Texas Tech, with San Diego Staten and Loyola Chicago rounding out the top 20.

Virginia was No. 21, followed by Virginia Tech, Purdue, Colorado and Wisconsin. The newcomer Boilermakers and sliding Badgers give the Big Ten six teams in the Top 25, one fewer than the poll-leading Big 12.

MORE ON THE BEARS

Baylor has struggled since coming off a three-week pause for COVID-19 issues, needing a frantic rally to beat bottom-dwelling Iowa State before falling in Allen Fieldhouse. Bears coach Scott Drew was quick to congratulate the Jayhawks on the win, but he also made it clear that his team is still trying to find its legs after a long break.

“Anyone that’s had COVID would know, when you come back, you’re not 100%,” Drew said. “The people that didn’t and weren’t able to practice or work out, I would say that’s rust. And then the last thing I would say, it’s a chemistry game.”

IN AND OUT

Oklahoma State went from the first team out all the way to No. 17 on the strength of Top 25 wins over the Red Raiders and Sooners last week. Purdue entered at No. 23 after blowing out Penn State for its third consecutive win, and Colorado went from barely on the radar to No. 24 after back-to-back wins over then-No. 19 Southern California and UCLA.

They replaced the Trojans, Tennessee and Missouri. USC has lost three of its last four, the Vols have dropped three of their last five and the Tigers, who were No. 10 at the start of February, have lost four of their last five.

ON THE DOORSTEP

BYU was the first team out of the poll after the Cougars’ fourth straight win solidified their place behind Gonzaga in the West Coast Conference. Florida appeared on seven ballots after not appearing on any last week, and St. Bonaventure found its way onto eight ballots after the Bonnies edged Davidson in back-to-back games and routed George Washington.

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MEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL NEWS: No. 11 Seminoles extends Hamilton’s contract through 2025

(AP SPORTS)

No. 11 Florida State has extended coach Leonard Hamilton’s contract through the 2024-25 season.

The school announced the extension Monday, with the deal set to keep Hamilton on the FSU sideline until he is 76 years old. It will pay about $562,500 for the remainder of this season and then about $2.3 million for each of the next four seasons.

Those figures are separate from numerous performance incentives such as $150,000 for winning an Atlantic Coast Conference regular-season or tournament title, $275,000 for reaching a Final Four and $500,00 for winning a national championship.

Hamilton, 72, is the winningest coach in program history in his 19-year run with FSU and a three-time ACC coach of the year. That included last season, when the Seminoles won the league regular-season title for the first time and were declared tournament champions after the league called off the remaining rounds amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

FSU has also been to seven of the past 11 NCAA Tournaments, including a run to a regional final in 2018 and the Sweet 16 a year later.

Florida State, which also won the ACC Tournament in 2012, is atop the league standings again entering the final week of the regular season. The Seminoles next host Boston College on Wednesday.

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BIG 10 MEN’S BASKETBALL: Illinois and Rutgers Earn Weekly Big Ten Men’s Basketball Honors

Illinois and Rutgers Earn Weekly Men’s Basketball Honors

Rutgers’ Geo Baker named Player of the Week;

Illinois’ Andre Curbelo named Freshman of the Week

Player of the Week

Geo Baker, Rutgers

G – Sr. – 6-4 – Derry, N.H. – Proctor Academy – Major: Human Resources Management

  • Scored a season-high 20 points, dished out a season-high 10 assists and grabbed five rebounds in Rutgers’ 74-63 Senior Night win over Indiana. Added two steals and a blocked shot in the game.
  • Tied a career-high with six three-pointers against Indiana to become the first college player in the country this season to register at least six three-pointers and 10 assists in the same game. Became the first player in Rutgers history to record six three-pointers and 10 assists in regulation during a Big Ten game.
  • Marked the second double-double of his career and his first since 2017.
  • Earns the first Player of the Week accolade of his career; was also named Freshman of the Week on Dec. 18, 2017.
  • This marks the first time since Rutgers joined the Big Ten in 2014-15 that a Scarlet Knight has been named Big Ten Men’s Basketball Player of the Week.

Freshman of the Week

Andre Curbelo, Illinois

G – 6-1 – Vega Baja, Puerto Rico – Long Island Lutheran (N.Y.) – Major: Recreation, Sport and Tourism

  • Averaged 13.0 points, 7.7 rebounds and 3.7 assists in games at Michigan State, vs. Nebraska and at then-ranked No. 23/No. 24 Wisconsin.
  • Shot 15-for-28 from the field (.536 pct.) and 8-for-10 from the free throw line (.800 pct.) on the week.
  • Registered the first double-double of his career and nearly notched a triple-double in Illinois’ win vs. Nebraska, scoring 10 points, grabbing 12 rebounds and dishing eight assists against the Cornhuskers.
  • Notched 17 points against then-ranked No. 23/No. 24 Wisconsin, marking the most points he has scored in a conference game this season. Added seven rebounds, two steals and an assist in the win.
  • Earns the first Freshman of the Week accolade of his career.
  • Last Illinois Freshman of the Week: Adam Miller (Nov. 30, 2020)

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MEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL NEWS: American Athletic Conference Announces Weekly Men’s Basketball Awards

IRVING, Texas – The American Athletic Conference has announced the winners of the league’s weekly men’s basketball honors for the 15th week of the 2020-21 season.

PLAYER OF THE WEEK

Quentin Grimes, Jr., Guard, Houston

Grimes averaged 27.5 points, 3.5 rebounds and 2.0 steals in a pair of Houston wins last week. The junior guard had 22 points in the first half of a win over USF on Feb. 28.

FRESHMAN OF THE WEEK

Moussa Cisse, Center, Memphis

Cisse averaged 8.5 points, 6.5 rebounds and 1.0 blocks while shooting 53.8 percent from the field in two wins for the Tigers. He had 11 points and seven rebounds in a close win at Cincinnati on Feb. 28.

HONOR ROLL

Jeremiah Davenport, So., Guard, Cincinnati

Davenport helped lead the Bearcats to a 2-1 week by averaging 16.7 points, 5.0 rebounds and 2.3 assists.

Boogie Ellis, So., Guard, Memphis

Ellis averaged 15.0 points and 6.0 rebounds in a pair of wins for the Tigers.

Khalif Battle, So., Guard, Temple

Battle recorded 22 points, six rebounds and four assists in a win for the Owls at USF,

Jaylen Forbes, So., Guard, Tulane

Forbes averaged 24.5 points and 6.5 rebounds in a pair of games last week. The sophomore guard scored 37 points against Cincinnati on Feb. 26, the most in the conference this season.

Elijah Joiner, Sr., Guard, Tulsa

Joiner led the Golden Hurricane with 22 points, six rebounds and four assists against Cincinnati on Feb. 24.

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WOMEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL: UConn, Stanford, Texas A&M and South Carolina named top seeds in second women’s basketball committee top 16 reveal

The NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Committee announced that UConn, Stanford, Texas A&M and South Carolina would be the No. 1 seeds if the season ended today. The second top-16 reveal by the committee this season took place factoring in games played through Saturday, February 27.

The announcement of the 64-team, 2021 NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship bracket will take place on Monday, March 15 during the ESPN Selection Show (7 p.m. ET).

NC State, Maryland, Arizona and Baylor were the No. 2 seeds. The nine through 16 seeds included Louisville, UCLA, Georgia and Indiana on the three line, while Tennessee, Kentucky, Oregon and Arkansas were tabbed as No. 4 seeds.

In addition, it was announced that the four regions for the 2021 championship are going to be referred to as the Alamo Region, Hemisfair Region, Mercado Region and River Walk Region. With all games being held in San Antonio and the surrounding area, the committee felt it created a unique opportunity to brand each region of the bracket in ways that showcase the deep history and cultural heritage of the host city.

“As the season turns the calendar to March, it was exciting as a committee to see the movement of teams from the first reveal several weeks ago and to start to get a sense of the same in-depth team discussions we will be having in less than two weeks,” said Nina King, senior deputy athletics director and chief of staff at Duke and chair of the Division I Women’s Basketball Committee. “We will be watching closely as conference tournaments get underway.”

UConn, 20-1 overall and 17-0 in Big East Conference play, maintained its place as the No. 1 overall seed from the first reveal on Feb. 15. The Huskies are currently riding a 10-game winning streak.

Stanford, 21-2 overall and 18-2 in Pac-12 Conference play, has also won 10 straight games.  The Cardinal endured a stretch this season of not playing a home game at Maples Pavilion from Nov. 25 to Feb. 5.

Sunday’s announcement by the committee came on the same day that No. 3 overall seed Texas A&M was hosting No. 4 overall seed, South Carolina in a key Southeastern Conference matchup.  Texas A&M, 21-1 overall and 12-1 in SEC play, entered that game with a nine-game winning streak, while South Carolina, 19-3 overall and 14-1 in SEC play, has won two straight games since dropping a 75-67 decision to Tennessee on Feb. 18.

For the 19th consecutive year, an ESPN channel will broadcast all 63 games of the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship taking place March 21 through April 4. While specific game times and channels will be announced later for all preliminary-round games, viewers can expect games to be played in the traditional championship broadcast windows, with every game of all rounds carried in full national on ESPN networks. This year will mark the 26th straight year (since 1996) that ESPN has served as the championship’s exclusive television home. All games will be available online via the ESPN app.

NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Committee – February 28 – Top-16 Ranking*

UConn (No. 1 seed – Alamo Region)

Stanford (No. 1 seed – River Walk Region)

Texas A&M (No. 1 seed – Mercado Region)

South Carolina (No. 1 seed – Hemisfair Region)

NC State

Maryland

Arizona

Baylor

Louisville

UCLA

Georgia

Indiana

Tennessee

 Kentucky

Oregon

Arkansas

*Ranking and regional assignments based on games played through Saturday, February 27

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WRIGHT STATE WBB: Wright State, Northern Kentucky face off in HL Quarterfinals Tuesday

(RAIDERS RELEASE)

The No. 1-seeded Wright State women’s basketball team begins the Horizon League Championship with a home matchup against No.8-seeded Northern Kentucky in the quarterfinals on Tuesday afternoon. Tipoff is set for 2 p.m. 

Wright State is coming off a 56-61 loss to Green Bay on the final day of regular-season play, Feb. 13. Despite the loss, the Raiders earned a share of the Horizon League regular-season title with Milwaukee. Angel Baker’s 24 points paced the Raiders while Emani Jefferson and Jada Roberson each added nine. Shamarre Hale pulled down a game-high eight rebounds for the Raiders. ­Wright State finished the afternoon shooting 31.7 percent from the floor, while Green Bay finished shooting 37.5 percent. The Raiders connected on seven three-point shots to the Phoenix’s five. Wright State tallied nine second-chance points while holding Green Bay to just four. For the 21st consecutive contest, Wright State won the battle on the boards 39-35 overall.

Meanwhile, Northern Kentucky defeated HL newcomer Robert Morris 68-54 in the opening round of the Horizon League tournament to advance to the quarterfinals. Lindsey Duvall tallied 29 points against the Colonials to lead the Norse, while Kailey Coffey and Ivy Turner each turned in 10 point showings. The Norse shot 53 percent from the field against the Colonials, while also pulling down 37 rebounds to RMU’s 23.

Wright State swept the weekend series against the Norse this season back on February 12 and 13, and now has 13 consecutive victories over Northern Kentucky.

Wright State received five Horizon League honors, headlined by Coach of the Year selection Katrina Merriweather. The honor is the second in three seasons for Merriweather, and the third time overall, joining her 2016-17 and 2018-19 Coach of the Year selections. Merriweather recorded her 100th career coaching victory on January 8 and has since tallied nine more wins heading into the postseason. Angel Baker was named to the All-League First Team for the second consecutive season and Tyler Frierson was named to the All-League Third Team. Emani Jefferson was named to the All-Freshman Team, while Frierson rounded out the awards with her selection to the All-Defensive Team for the second time in her career.

Quarterfinal round winners will advance to Indianapolis for the semifinals on March 8 and the championship on March 9. Complete information on the 2021 Horizon League Championship can be found here.

SCOUTING THE OPPONENT

Lyndsey Duvall leads all Norse players in scoring this season, averaging 16.8 points per game, 7.8 rebounds per game, and has tallied 23 total assists.

Northern Kentucky allowed opponents to score 64.4 points this season but the Norse hold a 65.4 to 56.8 advantage in scoring offense. NKU also ranks in the top third of the League in field-goal percentage defense (28.4 percent) and rebounding (38.3).

The 2019-2020 season saw Northern Kentucky advance as far as the Semifinals in the 2020 Horizon League Tournament Championships before falling to No.2-seeded Green Bay, 50-49.

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MEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL: No. 17 Oklahoma State completes sweep of No. 16 Oklahoma

As freshman star Cade Cunningham soaked in the cheers following Oklahoma State’s win over Oklahoma on Monday night, the home fans at Gallagher-Iba Arena chanted, “One more year!”

He’s not coming back – he was introduced with the seniors and is projected by many to be the top pick in this year’s NBA draft. And when the game was on the line, it was easy to see why he’s on his way out. Cunningham scored 13 of his 15 points in the final 10 minutes to help the 17th-ranked Cowboys defeat No. 16 Oklahoma 79-75.

Cunningham had 40 points in Saturday’s 94-90 overtime win at Oklahoma. This time, the 6-foot-8 point guard was a decoy much of the night but finished strong.

“Cade just takes the pressure off the rest of us,” Oklahoma State guard Bryce Williams said. “He’s got so much pressure on him, but it’s not really pressure to him. He can handle the situation. But he’s got a team behind him that can back him up every day.”

Kalib Boone had 17 points and nine rebounds, and Williams scored 14 for the Cowboys (17-6, 10-6 Big 12), who won their fifth straight game overall and earned their third consecutive win over a ranked opponent.

Oklahoma State coach Mike Boynton said Monday’s scenario was strange.

“We just played this game,” Boynton said. “We literally just played this game. We played 45 minutes worth of it 56 hours ago. Both teams are good. Both teams made adjustments from Saturday to today.”

Brady Manek had 20 points and Austin Reaves added 19 for Oklahoma (14-8, 9-7), which lost its third straight after climbing to No. 7 in the AP Top 25.

“The main message is keep fighting, stay mentally locked in and just honestly listen to coach Krug (Lon Kruger),” Reaves said. “That’s really the main thing, and that’s what we will get back and do.”

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MEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL: NIT moves 2021 event to Texas, interrupting 83-year NY run

The NIT is moving the entire 2021 event to Texas, taking the semifinals and championship game out of New York’s Madison Square Garden for the first time in the 83-year history of college basketball’s oldest postseason tournament.

The pandemic is also reducing the field to 16 teams from the usual 32, and all games are set for the Dallas area. The two venues are the University of North Texas in Denton and an arena in Frisco that is home to a G League team affiliated with the Dallas Mavericks.

First-round games will be played March 17-20, with the quarterfinals March 25. The semifinals are set for March 27, followed by the championship game the next day. Specific arenas for each round weren’t announced Monday.

The field for the NIT will be announced after the NCAA Tournament is set March 14.

The NIT champion has been crowned in New York every year since the tournament started in 1938. Earlier rounds normally are held at the venues of designated home teams.

Last year’s cancellation because of COVID-19 was the first in the event’s history. The Texas Longhorns won the most recent NIT in 2019.

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BUTLER WBB: Butler UWBB Upsets #25 DePaul 86-81

(BUTLER RELEASE)

CHICAGO – The Butler Bulldogs ended the 2020-21 regular season in style by posting an 86-81 win over #25 DePaul at Wintrust Arena. The victory was Butler’s first-ever win against the Blue Demons and doubled as the team’s first road win of the season.

How It Happened

All five Butler starters scored in double figures and Emilia Sexton would hit three 3-pointers off the bench to give Butler the offense they needed to knock off #25 DePaul. Upe Atosu was incredible with a game-high 22 points and a team-best five assists. She had 20 points after three quarters of action and would help BU handle the DePaul full-court press over the course of the game.

Okako Adika hit 7 of her 11 field goal attempts on Monday night to end the game with 17 points. Her 3-pointer with 1:36 to play in the fourth quarter gave Butler a five-point lead and was critical in the outcome.

Adika and Tenley Dowell were each perfect from 3-point range. The ‘Dawgs hit 10 3-pointers tonight just two days after making 14 from behind the arc against #1 UConn. Dowell’s third 3-pointer of the game broke a 76-76 tie with just four minutes to play in regulation. She would end the game with 13 points, five rebounds and two steals.

Nyamer Diew and Genesis Parker were also pieces to the puzzle, helping head coach Kurt Godlevske collect his third win over a nationally-ranked opponent (all on the road). For Godlevske it was win No. 90 in his career, solidifying his spot in program history as the fourth winningest coach at BU.

Diew was huge at the end of the third quarter giving BU five points that pushed the lead to 70-65. She scored 10 in the game and was also the team leader in rebounds with eight. Parker hit one 3-pointer and attacked the rim to post 11 points.

Butler opened the contest going 3-for-3 from the field and quickly found themselves on top 8-4 just two minutes into the game. The two teams went to the bench at the first media timeout deadlocked at 11-11 and the first would come to a close with the teams tied at 19-19.

The home team got going offensively at the start of the second quarter and would open that frame on a 7-0 scoring run. Parker hit from long range to stop the scoring spree and Adika would follow with a 3-pointer of her own to make the score 34-29 at the media timeout.

A second 7-0 DePaul scoring run would come after the stoppage, but the Bulldogs responded with the next five points to keep it close. That stretch helped Butler outscored DePaul 11-3 at the end of the second quarter, but the Blue Demons still led by a point 41-40.

Neither team could pull away in the third and with 6:09 left in the quarter a lengthy delay would come down as a result of a faulty scoreboard in Wintrust Arena. After a 10-minute pause, the teams would pick up right where they left off. Sexton buried a 3-pointer to give BU a 61-60 advantage and Diew would end that frame with five-straight including a buzzer beater from the right elbow.

DePaul would not go away in the fourth, in fact they opened the final 10 minutes on an 8-3 scoring run. Butler went scoreless for over three minutes, but kept their composure and would lead 75-73 at the final media timeout. Adika gave them the lead at that moment and Dowell would break the 76-76 tie with a three from the wing. Atosu added a steal and a score to put Butler up by three (81-78) and Adika’s final triple helped secure the win with 1:36 left at Wintrust.

Any chance of a comeback was crushed with 33.8 seconds left on the game clock. The ‘Dawgs advanced the ball with a timeout, but turned it over with just a three-point lead. DePaul got three chances on their next trip down but would miss a 3-pointer, a lay-up and a jumper. Diew pulled down the rebound and Parker would add some insurance to give Butler their biggest win of the season.

Stat of the Game

The only stat that matters to the Bulldogs tonight is the final score. The 86-81 win over #25 DePaul goes down as the first in program history.

Inside the Box Score

– Butler shot 54% from the field and 45 percent from 3-point range.

– BU won the points in the paint battle 42-34.

– There were 14 lead changes and 13 ties tonight; BU led for 19:00.

– Butler dished out 17 assists on 33 made field goals.

– The ‘Dawgs only missed one free throw (10-11).

Up Next

Butler will play as the No. 10 seed in the upcoming BIG EAST Tournament and will play either St. John’s or Providence on Friday, March 5.

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NBA NEWS: Atlanta Hawks fire coach Lloyd Pierce

ATLANTA — Hawks coach Lloyd Pierce was fired on Monday, given the hook less than halfway into a season that carried heightened expectations before being hampered by injuries.

Atlanta president and general manager Travis Schlenk announced the move in a short statement released by the team.

Assistant Nate McMillan will serve as the team’s interim coach, Schlenk also announced Monday evening. McMillan, who was added to Pierce’s staff in the offseason, has extensive experience as a head coach, boasting a 667-591 (.530) record in 16 seasons with the Seattle SuperSonics,  Portland Trail Blazers and Indiana Pacers.

McMillan has been fiercely loyal in his support of Pierce, and McMillan met with him and the rest of the Hawks’ coaching staff shortly after Pierce was fired. Pierce voiced his support for McMillan accepting the interim job, which was important to McMillan, sources told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

The Hawks are 14-20 and 11th in the Eastern Conference following a 109-99 loss at the  Miami Heat on Sunday night. It was the Hawks’ 11th loss after holding a fourth-quarter lead. The teams play again in Miami on Tuesday.

Pierce, 44, gave no indication that he thought he was in trouble after Sunday’s loss. He even ran the Hawks’ practice on Monday morning in Miami.

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NBA NEWS: Korkmaz, Milton come off bench, spark 76ers rout of Indiana

Shake Milton shook off a defender with a crossover that sent the 76ers into a frenzy, and Furkan Korkmaz buried 3-pointers that sent them on their way toward a romp.

This win belonged to the bench.

Milton scored 26 points, Korkmaz had 19 and the reserves sparked the Philadelphia 76ers to 130-114 win over the Indiana Pacers on Monday night.

“The ball was hopping,” Milton said. “Everybody was getting a feel for it.”

The Sixers followed one of their worst losses of the season to the struggling Cleveland Cavaliers on Saturday with a smackdown of the mediocre Pacers. Joel Embiid had 24 points and 13 rebounds on a sore left ankle. Ben Simmons had 18 points and six rebounds.

The All-Stars got their numbers.

The reserves got their highlights.

Milton sank three 3-pointers and Korkmaz hit six 3s in a game in which they got some time, turning it into a rout.

Korkmaz and Milton blew the game open for the Sixers in the second quarter and built a 20-point lead. Korkmaz, averaging 7.6 points, and Milton 13.4, about crushed those numbers in the quarter. Milton was 4 of 6 for nine points; Korkmaz sank four 3-pointers and scored 13.

“It’s what we need,” 76ers coach Doc Rivers said. “We’re still working with that group, trying to figure out what we can run that fits us the best.”

Embiid passed out of a couple of double-teams to find Korkmaz — nicknamed both Furky and Korky, you pick — and he buried 3s that opened up a double-digit lead.

Milton — in a move that would have made Allen Iverson proud — hit a crossover on Myles Turner that left him stumbling toward the basket. Milton buried the 21-footer that sent the bench into a towel-waving frenzy. Public address announcer Matt Cord even chuckled when he said Milton’s name for the basket.

Matched up mostly against Embiid, the bad night continued for Turner when he was roasted by Embiid.

“I say this respectfully, but that’s a matchup I’ve dominated since I got to the league,” Embiid said.

Milton hit fellow reserve Matisse Thybulle on an alley-oop and found Embiid for an 11-footer to give the Sixers a 72-55 lead at the break. The Sixers’ bench scored 26 of their 39 points in the second and made five of their six 3s.

The Pacers had no answers.

“When a bad play happens, we can’t let it snowball and let if affect other things that we do,” Pacers coach Nate Bjorkgren said.

The Sixers, who still have the best record in the East at 23-12, were stunned by the Cavs in OT on Saturday. Rivers said the Sixers treated that one like a “walkthrough.”

They woke up against a Pacers team that has lost four straight games. Malcolm Brogdon returned from a one-game absence because of a sore right knee and led the Pacers with 20 points.

“This is not a losing team or a losing culture,” Brogdon said. “This is not what we’re used to.”

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NBA NEWS: Williamson pushes Pelicans past NBA-leading Jazz, 129-124

Zion Williamson showed no fear of renowned Jazz rim protector Rudy Gobert and spearheaded a relentless – and effective – assault on the Utah basket.

Williamson had 26 points, 10 rebounds and five assists, and the New Orleans Pelicans held off a late Utah comeback bid to beat the NBA-leading Jazz 129-124 on Monday night.

“My mindset was, whatever I can do to give my teammates energy, I’m going to do it,” said Williamson, whose dominant third quarter gave New Orleans a double-digit lead heading into the fourth. “After the first two quarters of me kind of reading their defense, I really got a feel for it and I just was on the attack.”

And the defenders he attacked included the 7-foot-1 Gobert, a two-time NBA defensive player of the year.

“Rudy Gobert is a phenomenal defender and phenomenal shot-blocker. So, it’s not easy making shots over him,” Williamson said. “Honestly, I looked to draw the foul initially, but somehow I finished those shots.”

Brandon Ingram scored 26 points and Lonzo Ball added 23 points to go with eight assists, seven rebounds and two blocks, giving New Orleans three starters with 20-plus points.

“Any time we all pay like this, I definitely like our chances,” Ball said.

Pelicans reserve JJ Redick scored 17 points, highlighted by a pair of four-point plays on 3-pointers as he was fouled.

Bojan Bogdanovic hit seven 3s and finished with a game-high 31 points for Utah (27-8), which was outscored 74-56 in the paint in losing for just the eighth time this season, but also the second time in three games.

“We’ve got to own the paint and we didn’t do that in any way shape or form,” said Utah guard Donovan Mitchell, who scored 21 points. “This is a tough loss. I think we’re all pretty upset about this because it’s stuff that we knew. It wasn’t like we were tired. It wasn’t like they did anything (unexpected). We just didn’t have the urgency, and that can’t happen.”

Ball, however, said the Pelicans “knew we can get to the rim against pretty much anybody. It’s one of our strengths.”

New Orleans led by as many as 17 in the second half and was still up 14 when Ball’s 3 made it 122-108 with 3:54 left.

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NBA NEWS: Harden’s triple-double helps Nets escape in OT against Spurs

While Kevin Durant has to sit down, James Harden keeps stepping up.

Harden had 30 points, 15 assists and 14 rebounds and the Brooklyn Nets overcame a collapse in the final seconds of regulation to beat the Spurs 124-113 in overtime on Monday night, snapping a 17-game losing streak in San Antonio.

Harden had his seventh triple-double in 22 games with Brooklyn since being traded from Houston, where he plays again Wednesday.

“Honestly, I just try to find ways to impact the game and not just scoring the basketball,” Harden said. “We have a number of guys that can put the ball in the basket. Just being a distributor of getting guys shots, getting guys easy buckets.

“I feel like it’s my job. Just playing the game right way, not forcing anything, trying to make the right play, trying to get guys shots. That’s kind of my mindset every single game and it’s been working.”

Despite recent injuries to Durant and Kyrie Irving, Brooklyn remains second in the Eastern Conference at 23-13.

“He’s a brilliant basketball player,” Brooklyn coach Steve Nash said. “He makes others better. He can get to the line. He can finish in the paint and he’s always a threat from 3. He literally can do almost everything there is to do out there. He’s been a great leader for us.”

Irving added 27 points and Bruce Brown had 23 for Brooklyn, which bounced back after a loss to Dallas on Saturday ended its eight-game win streak.

The Spurs closed the fourth quarter on a 10-0 run to force overtime, with 3-pointers by Lonnie Walker IV and Patty Mills and a driving layup by DeMar DeRozan.

“I thought they were great,” San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said. “Really worked hard. They have dug down deep all year and never gave up.”

Spurs point guard Dejounte Murray tied the game at 108 to close regulation after initially losing the ball near the 3-point line while attempting to drive to the paint. Murray was able to gather the loose ball behind him, quickly turning and rising to hit a 21-footer with Harden defending as time expired.

“We felt like we gave up that lead too easily down the stretch,” Irving said. “Just a few miscues, a few miscommunications. Just things that we want to clean up. We’ve just got to take this one on the chin. I don’t want to call it laziness, but just our focus level wasn’t matching the intensity in terms of where San Antonio was trying to get back in the game.”

Brooklyn scored the first eight points of overtime to regain command and went on to win a regular-season game in San Antonio for the first time since Jan. 22, 2002.

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NBA NEWS: Jokic dominates with 39 points as Nuggets beat Bulls 118-112

Nikola Jokic dominated with 39 points and 14 rebounds, and the Denver Nuggets beat the Chicago Bulls 118-112 on Monday night.

Jokic finished with nine assists, just missing his 50th career triple-double. The three-time All-Star came up huge in the fourth quarter, scoring 17 to help the Nuggets come away with the win after blowing a 15-point lead.

“That’s the luxury of having an MVP candidate,” coach Michael Malone said. “I see all these conversations about who would you want to start a franchise with. I’ve never seen Nikola’s name mentioned, and I’m dumbfounded by that. My nominee – I’ve got a write-in nominee. Nikola Jokic is a guy I’d like to build a franchise with, like we’ve done here in Denver and had great success with.”

Jamal Murray scored 24. Michael Porter Jr. added 17 points and 15 rebounds, and the Nuggets won for the third time in four games.

All-Star Zach LaVine led Chicago with 23 points and grabbed nine rebounds. Coby White added 20 points and 10 rebounds.

The Bulls performed better down the stretch in this one after getting dominated late in a loss to Phoenix on Friday. But they dropped their second straight after winning three in a row.

“I thought we certainly played a lot better against these guys the last eight minutes than we certainly did against Phoenix, with all the turnovers,” coach Billy Donovan said. “I think just the totality of the game, the way we came out, was disappointing.”

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NBA NEWS: Cavs get 101-90 win to hand Houston 12th straight loss

Collin Sexton scored 39 points and the Cleveland Cavaliers handed the hapless Houston Rockets their 12th straight loss with a 101-90 victory on Monday night.

The Cavaliers have won a season-high four straight after losing their previous 10 games.

“It gives our guys belief that they can,” coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. “Our guys put in a lot of work (and) because of their continued belief in one another… that puts us in a position to get the wins we’ve gotten the past few games.”

Cleveland had a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter before John Wall scored all of Houston’s points in a 6-2 run that cut the deficit to 95-89 with 3 minutes left.

The Cavaliers scored the next four points with the help of a steal by Darius Garland to push the lead back to 10 a minute later.

“We’re hot right now. So we just have to keep playing like we did the last four games,” said Cedi Osman, who had 11 points after missing the last game with back spasms.

It’s Houston’s longest losing streak since dropping 15 in a row in 2001 and the first time the Rockets have lost five straight at home since March 2006. Wall’s performance was the only thing that kept the Rockets in this one. He had 23 points by halftime finished with a season-high 32.

Houston led by one early in the fourth quarter after a 3-pointer by Ben McLemore when the Cavaliers used a 13-0 spurt to take a 90-78 lead midway through the period. Osman had two 3-pointers in that stretch and Sexton added five points.

Bickerstaff was impressed with Sexton’s performance.

“I saw a determination,” Bickerstaff said. “He was not going to let us lose.”

Sexton has scored 22 points or more in nine straight games.

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NBA NEWS: Carmelo Anthony has 29 and Blazers down Hornets 123-111

After Portland’s Carmelo Anthony scored 29 points against Charlotte, he exchanged jerseys with Hornets rookie LaMelo Ball, who had 30.

It was a bit of mutual Melo admiration.

Anthony had six of Portland’s franchise-record 24 3-pointers and the Trail Blazers snapped a four-game losing streak with a 123-111 victory on Monday night.

“I try to embrace the next generation of guys and the young players,” Anthony said of the jersey exchange. “It was fun playing against (Ball) tonight. I’ve been watching him since he was in high school. Just being across from him tonight, getting a chance to really see his game up close in person, getting to see him and what kind of person he is, so it was only right that we did that tonight.”

At one point Ball hit a 3-pointer and did Anthony’s signature 3-to-the-dome gesture.

“He can do it. He can only do it one time, but he can do it,” Anthony laughed. “I blessed him, let him know that he can carry it on.”

Ball said: “Pretty much it’s just all love and respect both ways.”

Damian Lillard had 21 points and 10 assists and Robert Covington contributed a season-high 21 points and 10 rebounds for the Blazers, who got off to a sluggish start but led by as many as 19 points in the final quarter. Lillard also had six 3s.

The Hornets have not won in Portland since March 2008. The Blazers are 25-6 against Charlotte in Portland.

Portland had fallen into sixth place in the Western Conference, a half-game back of San Antonio. But the Blazers were hoping a quick three-game homestand before the All-Star break puts them back on track

The Hornets had just nine players available for the game, with top scorer Gordon Hayward (hand contusion) and Cody Zeller (hip contusion) both unavailable. Devonte Graham missed his sixth straight game with left knee soreness.

“That’s all we have, this is our roster. These are the active bodies and we will continue to fight with what’s available,” Hornets coach James Borrego said. “That’s all we can do.”

Charlotte, playing the second of a back-to-back, was coming off a 127-126 victory at Sacramento the night before. P.J. Washington scored a career-high 42 points.

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MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL NEWS: Sigh and Cy: Bieber tagged, Bauer sharp in Dodgers debut

Shane Bieber’s final start last season was rough. His first one in 2021 wasn’t too much better.

The AL Cy Young winner gave up four runs and didn’t make it through his scheduled two innings on Monday as the Cleveland Indians lost to the Kansas City Royals 8-6 in Goodyear, Arizona.

But while he wasn’t thrilled with his outing, Bieber wasn’t disappointed either. He committed to throwing certain pitches and working on areas he’d like to improve.

“There’s some positives to take away from today in learning how to shape the slider how I want to,” he said. “I started to figure it out in the second inning. I just got to look at the positives. It’s spring training. Go out there and get the next one.”

Bieber led the majors in wins, ERA and strikeouts last year, completing a rare triple crown during the pandemic while becoming Cleveland’s fifth Cy Young winner since 2007.

The right-hander was dominant until the playoffs, when the New York Yankees tagged him for seven runs in 4 2/3 innings in Game 1 of the wild-card round. The Indians were swept out of the wild-card round the next day.

Bieber’s arrival at camp was delayed after he tested positive for COVID-19. Last week, the 25-year-old said he was feeling fine and eager to build on his strong third season in the majors and erase the “sour taste” left by his postseason flop.

Bieber coasted through the first against Kansas City, retiring the Royals in order with former Indians first baseman Carlos Santana hitting a grounder for the final out with an uncharacteristic first-pitch swing.

“I looked at him and I said, `What’s wrong with you? You never do that,'” Bieber said. “He looked back and said, `spring training, bro.’ He was trying to punk me, that’s for sure.”

In the second, Jorge Soler and Michael Taylor singled before Emmanuel Rivera delivered a two-run double to center. Bieber bounced back with a pair of strikeouts, but Nick Heath hit a single to put the Royals up 3-0.

Bieber has prided himself on pitching deep into games, but he got away from that some last season while trying to be too perfect.

“That’s really my identity,” he said. “At the end of the day that’s something I’ve really relied on and held close to my center for me for a long time as a pitcher is just being able to go deep into ballgames and eat up innings.

“With the shortened season, every run, every pitch seemed so elevated. I found myself, (catcher) Roberto (Perez) and I kind of found ourselves going for more swing-and-miss and missed bats and found ourselves in more crucial situations than we would have liked,” he said. “Going into this year, that’s something I’d like to continue to improve on and get back to my old ways.”

Ryan McBroom homered, doubled and drove in three runs for Kansas City.

AROUND THE CACTUS LEAGUE

ASTROS 7, NATIONALS 6

Ryan Zimmerman appeared in a game for the first time in almost exactly a year — he sat out the pandemic-shortened 2020 regular season because of concerns about his family’s health — and hit one of Washington’s three consecutive homers off Houston righty Steve Cishek in the third inning.

“I’ll be sore, like I always am,” said the 36-year-old Zimmerman, who walked in his first plate appearance and played three innings at first base.

“You can’t mimic a sprint to first base. Or there’s a couple foul balls near our dugout that I had to run full-speed over there for,” he said. “So that’s the good thing about this first week to 10 days: You get that sort of soreness out. … Mentally getting back into that rhythm, that’s the most important part for me.”

The two-time NL All-Star, expected to back up Josh Bell this season, hadn’t played since an exhibition on March 10, 2020.

“The biggest thing for him is to keep him healthy and keep him going,” manager Dave Martinez said. “Just seeing him on the field again, we were all excited to have him back.”

Josh Harrison and Yadiel Hernandez also went deep off Cishek as the Nationals built a 6-2 lead in their Grapefruit League home opener. The Astros, who are managed by ex-Nationals skipper Dusty Baker, came back to win by scoring five runs in the ninth.

Former Washington outfielder Steven Souza Jr. hit a two-run homer for Houston.

DODGERS 10, ROCKIES 0 (6 INNINGS)

Trevor Bauer, pitching for the first time since signing a $102 million, three-year contract, debuted in Dodger blue with two scoreless innings. He gave up one hit, struck out two, walked none and threw a wild pitch.

Bauer won the NL Cy Young Award with Cincinnati last year. The right-hander threw sharp curveballs for his pair of strikeouts.

“All my pitches are pretty much where I want them to be,” Bauer said.

Los Angeles reliever Kenley Jansen struck out two in an inning.

Colorado starter Dereck Rodriguez allowed two runs in two innings.

ANGELS 4, WHITE SOX 4 (5)

Albert Pujols went 2 for 2 and drove in two runs, Shohei Otani got two hits and scored twice and Mike Trout had a hit and walk for Los Angeles. Angels newcomer Alex Cobb pitched a scoreless first.

Adam Eaton had a double and sacrifice fly for Chicago.

BRAVES 5, RED SOX 3 (7 INNINGS)

Atlanta rookie catcher William Contreras, brother of Cubs two-time All-Star catcher Willson Contreras, drove in three runs and Ozzie Albies scored twice.

Boston newcomer Garrett Richards allowed two runs on three hits and two walks in two innings. He was pulled with one out in the first after loading the bases and walking in a run and throwing 23 pitches — this spring, teams can end an inning after a pitcher has thrown 20 pitches. Richards came back for the second inning.

Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts has a sore right shoulder and hasn’t played yet. Manager Alex Cora said Bogaerts pushed himself during his offseason program and should resume throwing in the next couple of days.

ORIOLES 4, PHILLIES 4 (7)

DJ Stewart homered off Philadelphia starter Aaron Nola. Baltimore leadoff man Austin Hays got two hits.

Well-traveled Matt Joyce homered in his first spring game for the Phillies.

YANKEES 5, TIGERS 4 (7)

New York catcher Gary Sanchez, a two-time All-Star who batted just .147 last year, hit a long home run over the batter’s eye screen in center field.

Yankees starter Gerrit Cole gave up one run on three hits and a walk in one inning. Jameson Taillon followed with a scoreless inning.

Detroit newcomer Wilson Ramos homered and singled. New York minor leaguer Chris Gittens hit a grand slam.

TWINS 6, RAYS 5 (6)

Tampa Bay starter Tyler Glasnow gave up two runs on two hits and three walks in 1 2/3 innings.

Brent Rooker homered and drove in two runs for Minnesota.

MARLINS 2, METS 0 (7)

Starter Sandy Alcantara and four Miami relievers combined on a five-hitter. Jesus Aguilar hit a two-run homer.

Francisco Lindor was 0 for 2 in New York’s spring opener. Brandon Nimmo had two hits.

PIRATES 2, BLUE JAYS 2 (7)

Anthony Alford, claimed by Pittsburgh off waivers from Toronto last August, homered off Robbie Ray.

Rowdy Tellez doubled for the second straight day for the Blue Jays.

ATHLETICS 13, REDS 5 (7)

Matt Olson, Pete Kozma and Buddy Reed each hit two-run homers for Oakland. Nik Turley pitched the last inning for the A’s and allowed three runs.

Scott Heineman and Alfredo Rodriguez connected for Cincinnati.

GIANTS 1, RANGERS 1 (6)

Kyle Gibson pitched a scoreless first inning for Texas. Charlie Culberson got two hits and scored for the Rangers.

Joey Bart had two hits for San Francisco. Nick Tropeano pitched a scoreless first.

CUBS 1, PADRES 0 (7)

Chicago starter Kyle Hendricks struck out two in two scoreless innings. Javier Baez had one of the Cubs’ two hits.

San Diego starter Chris Paddack fanned three in two hitless innings.

BREWERS 7, DIAMONDBACKS 1 (8)

Corbin Burnes and Freddy Peralta each threw a scoreless inning for Milwaukee before Jordan Zimmermann gave up a run. Manny Pina had two hits, including a homer, and drove in two runs.

Arizona starter Merrill Kelly struck out five in two innings.

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MLB NEWS: Mets to honor Seaver with 41 patch on jerseys this season

The New York Mets will honor the late Tom Seaver by wearing a “41” patch on their home and away jerseys this season.

The Mets announced Monday they’ll pay tribute to the Hall of Fame pitcher by putting his number on the right sleeves of their uniforms.

Seaver died Aug. 31 at age 75.

The right-hander is the Mets career leader in wins, ERA and strikeouts. He earned three Cy Young Awards during his 12 seasons with New York and pitched the Mets to their first World Series championship in 1969.

Seaver also played for Cincinnati, the Chicago White Sox and Boston in a 20-year career. Overall, he had 311 wins, a 2.86 ERA and struck out 3,640.

The Mets retired his number in 1988 and he was inducted into the baseball Hall of Fame in 1992.

In 2019, the Mets changed the address of Citi Field to 41 Seaver Way. The team plans to unveil a Seaver statue at the ballpark this year.

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MLB NEWS: Tatis gets no-trade, hotel suite, right to buy luxury suite

Fernando Tatis Jr. gets a full no-trade provision through 2028 as part of his $330 million, 14-year contract with the San Diego Padres.

After that he will have the ability to block a trade to 13 teams for the remainder of the deal.

However, the 22-year-old Tatis already has two years of major league service, so if he remains in the major leagues he would acquire the right after 2028 to block trades under the collective bargaining agreement as a 10-year veteran who has been with his team for five years or longer.

His contract calls for a $10 million signing bonus payable within 30 days of approval of the contract by the commissioner’s office and a $1 million salary this year, his last season before he would have been eligible for arbitration.

He gets $5 million in 2022, $7 million in 2023 and $11 million in 2024, the three seasons he would have been eligible for arbitration.

Tatis receives $20 million each in 2025 and 2026, the first two seasons after he would have become eligible for free agency, $25 million apiece in 2027 and 2028, and $36 million in each of the final six seasons.

He also gets a hotel suite on all road trips, and the right to purchase a premium luxury suite and four of the best available premium season tickets for all Padres’ home games.

Tatis’ deal, announced Feb. 22, exceeds in length the $325 million, 13-year agreement in November 2014 between Miami and Giancarlo Stanton, who was traded to the New York Yankees in December 2017, and the $330 million, 13-year contract ahead of the 2019 season between Philadelphia and Bryce Harper.

He has baseball’s third-largest agreement by amount, trailing Mike Trout’s $426.5 million, 12-year contract with the Los Angeles Angels that started in 2019 and Mookie Betts’ $365, 12-year deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers that begins this season.

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TENNIS NEWS: Federer to skip Miami Open so he can ‘slowly work his way back’ on tour

Roger Federer is withdrawing from this month’s Miami Open so he can spend extra time preparing to “work his way back out on tour,” his agent told The Associated Press on Monday.

The 20-time Grand Slam champion has not competed in more than a year after having two operations on his right knee during last season.

Federer, who turns 40 in August, is scheduled to make his return to the tour next week in a hard-court tournament at Doha, Qatar. He posted a photo of himself on Twitter last Friday with the caption: “The countdown to Doha begins.”

That will be his first event since he reached the semifinals at the Australian Open in February 2020.

As of now, he also is slated to participate in the hard-court tournament at Dubai, United Arab Emirates, that begins March 14.

Federer also had been on the entry list for the Masters 1000 stop in Miami, where play starts on March 24.

But his agent, Tony Godsick, wrote Monday in an email to the AP that Federer will not play there.

“After Doha and maybe Dubai, (Federer) will go back and do a training block to continue to slowly work his way back out on tour,” Godsick wrote.

Miami Open tournament director James Blake did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Federer beat John Isner 6-1, 6-4 in the final to win the Miami Open in 2019, the last time it was held. The tournament was one of dozens that were called off last year when the professional tennis tours went on hiatus for several months because of the coronavirus pandemic.

That was Federer’s fourth title at the hard-court event, following trophies he collected there in 2005, 2006 and 2017.

Federer is currently No. 5 in the ATP rankings. He has spent 310 weeks total at No. 1, an ATP record tied by Novak Djokovic on Monday.

Federer’s 103 tour-level titles are the second-most in the professional era of men’s tennis, trailing only Jimmy Connors, who won 109.

NBA STANDINGS

Eastern Conference
Atlantic Division
 WLPctGBHomeRoadDivConfLast 10Streak
Philadelphia2312.65715-38-96-218-65-51 W
Brooklyn2313.6390.513-610-73-211-99-11 W
New York1817.5145.010-78-101-312-107-33 W
Boston1717.5005.510-57-122-413-104-62 W
Toronto1717.5005.58-79-103-412-96-41 W
 
Central Divison
 WLPctGBHomeRoadDivConfLast 10Streak
Milwaukee2113.61814-47-98-012-75-55 W
Indiana1518.4555.57-108-83-29-113-74 L
Chicago1518.4555.57-118-72-27-86-42 L
Cleveland1421.4007.59-95-122-410-94-64 W
Detroit925.26512.06-103-150-76-143-73 L
 
Southeast Division
 WLPctGBHomeRoadDivConfLast 10Streak
Miami1717.50010-77-103-39-117-36 W
Charlotte1618.4711.09-87-105-19-95-51 L
Atlanta1420.4123.08-96-111-39-123-72 L
Washington1319.4063.06-97-101-65-147-31 L
Orlando1322.3714.58-115-114-19-124-64 L
 
Western Conference
Northwest Division
 WLPctGBHomeRoadDivConfLast 10Streak
Utah278.77115-212-63-212-57-31 L
Portland1914.5767.09-610-82-39-96-41 W
Denver1915.5597.59-710-87-113-96-42 W
Oklahoma City1420.41212.56-118-92-66-154-61 L
Minnesota728.20020.04-123-162-44-151-98 L
 
Pacific Division
 WLPctGBHomeRoadDivConfLast 10Streak
LA Lakers2411.68611-713-41-217-65-52 W
LA Clippers2412.6670.512-612-65-214-76-41 L
Phoenix2211.6671.011-611-52-213-78-22 W
Golden State1916.5435.012-67-103-39-86-41 L
Sacramento1321.38210.57-126-92-46-101-91 L
 
Southwest Division
 WLPctGBHomeRoadDivConfLast 10Streak
San Antonio1713.5678-99-44-512-126-41 L
Dallas1716.5151.58-89-84-18-108-22 W
Memphis1515.5002.07-108-53-58-105-51 W
New Orleans1519.4414.010-75-124-38-134-61 W
Houston1122.3337.55-96-134-58-110-1012 L

NHL STANDINGS

GPWLOTLPtsROWGFGAHomeRoadL10
Washington Capitals211254281173697-3-25-2-26-3-1
Boston Bruins191252261059505-1-07-4-26-4-0
New York Islanders211164261156497-0-24-6-26-2-2
Philadelphia Flyers181143251161546-2-25-2-16-2-2
Pittsburgh Penguins20118123860657-1-04-7-16-4-0
New York Rangers1979317650524-6-23-3-14-5-1
New Jersey Devils1778216745522-6-15-2-14-5-1
Buffalo Sabres19610315444572-7-24-3-12-7-1
 
 GPWLOTLPtsROWGFGAHomeRoadL10
Vegas Golden Knights181341271356409-2-14-2-07-3-0
St. Louis Blues221282261172714-6-28-2-05-4-1
Minnesota Wild191261251261495-3-07-3-17-2-1
Colorado Avalanche191171231157485-3-06-4-15-4-1
Los Angeles Kings2097422860563-2-36-5-16-2-2
Arizona Coyotes2199321756646-6-33-3-04-4-2
San Jose Sharks1989218459732-3-06-6-24-4-2
Anaheim Ducks22611517546663-6-33-5-22-6-2
 
 GPWLOTLPtsROWGFGAHomeRoadL10
Toronto Maple Leafs231742361781559-3-18-1-17-2-1
Edmonton Oilers2414100281479726-7-08-3-07-3-0
Winnipeg Jets211371271369578-4-15-3-06-4-0
Montreal Canadiens2096523965603-5-06-1-52-5-3
Calgary Flames231011222959704-4-06-7-23-6-1
Vancouver Canucks25914220872855-6-24-8-03-5-2
Ottawa Senators24815117766925-6-13-9-06-4-0
 
 GPWLOTLPtsROWGFGAHomeRoadL10
Florida Panthers211344301267607-3-36-1-15-3-2
Tampa Bay Lightning191441291469399-1-05-3-17-3-0
Carolina Hurricanes211461291072586-1-18-5-06-3-1
Chicago Blackhawks231274281173686-3-16-4-37-3-0
Columbus Blue Jackets23810521762775-4-33-6-23-5-2
Nashville Predators211011020949647-4-03-7-05-5-0
Detroit Red Wings24714317751784-6-23-8-14-5-1
Dallas Stars1666416646454-1-32-5-12-5-3