INDIANA BOYS BASKETBALL SEMI-STATE MATCH-UPS
FORT WAYNE WAYNE (21-4) VS. KOKOMO (22-4)
PENN (27-1) VS. HAMMOND CENTRAL (26-1)
BROWNSBURG (21-4) VS. JENNINGS COUNTY (24-2)
BEN DAVIS (30-0) VS. BLOOMINGTON NORTH (19-5)
DELTA (18-9) VS. JOHN GLENN (17-10)
NORTHWOOD (25-2) VS. FORT WAYNE DWENGER (13-13)
SCOTTSBURG (21-5) VS. NORTH DAVIESS (24-5)
GUERIN CATHOLIC (18-8) VS. BEECH GROVE (17-6)
GARY 21ST CENTURY (21-5) VS. FORT WAYNE BLACKHAWK (24-3)
WAPAHANI (25-1) VS. LEWIS CASS (19-7)
BROWNSTOWN CENTRAL (23-4) VS. INDIANAPOLIS SCECINA (18-6)
PARKE HERITAGE (19-9) VS. LINTON-STOCKTON (27-1)
SOUTHWOOD (13-12) VS. FOUNTAIN CENTRAL (23-4)
MARQUETTE CATHOLIC (20-7) VS. KOUTS (17-9)
INDIANAPOLIS LUTHERAN (17-7) VS. LOOGOOTEE (20-7)
JAC-CEN-DEL (18-9) VS. ROCK CREEK ACADEMY (11-14)
MEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL- NCAA TOURNAMENT
NO. 8 MARYLAND 67, WEST VIRGINIA 65
NO. 13 FURMAN 68, NO. 4 VIRGINIA 67
NO. 7 MISSOURI 76, NO. 10 UTAH STATE 65
NO. 1 KANSAS 96, NO. 16. HOWARD 68
NO. 1 ALABAMA 96, NO. 16 TEXAS A&M CC 75
NO. 5 SAN DIEGO STATE 63, NO. 12 COLLEGE OF CHARLESTON 57
NO. 15 PRINCETON 59, NO. 2 ARIZONA 55
NO. 8 ARKANSAS 73, NO. 9 ILLINOIS 63
NO. 9 AUBURN 83, NO. 8 IOWA 75
NO. 5 DUKE 74, NO. 12 ORAL ROBERTS 51
NO. 2 TEXAS 81, NO. 15 COLGATE 61
NO. 7 NORTHWESTERN 75, NO. 10 BOISE STATE 67
NO. 1 HOUSTON 63, NO. 16 NORTHERN KENTUCKY 52
NO. 4 TENNESSEE 58, NO. 13 LOUISIANA 55
NO. 10 PENN STATE 76, NO. 7 TEXAS A&M 59
No. 2 UCLA 86, No. 15 UNC Asheville 53
FRIDAY, MARCH 17 (ROUND OF 64. ALL TIMES EASTERN)
NO. 10 USC VS. NO. 7 MICHIGAN STATE | 12:15 P.M. |CBS
NO. 14 KENNESAW ST. VS. NO. 3 XAVIER | 12:40 P.M. | TRUTV
NO. 14 UC SANTA BARBRA VS. NO. 3 BAYLOR | 1:30 P.M. | TNT
NO. 12 VCU VS. NO. 5 SAINT MARY’S | 2 P.M. | TBS
NO. 15 VERMONT VS. NO. 2 MARQUETTE| 2:45 P.M. | CBS
NO. 11 MISSISSIPPI STATE/PITT VS. NO. 6 IOWA STATE | 3:10 P.M. | TRUTV
NO. 11 NC STATE VS. NO. 6 CREIGHTON| 4 P.M. | TNT
NO. 13 IONA VS. NO. 4 UCONN | 4:30 P.M. | TBS
NO. 16 TEXAS SOUTHERN/FAIRLEIGH DICKINSON VS. NO. 1 PURDUE| 6:50 P.M. | TNT
NO. 11 PROVIDENCE VS. NO. 6 KENTUCKY | 7:10 P.M. | CBS
NO. 12 DRAKE VS. NO. 5 MIAMI | 7:25 P.M | TBS
NO. 14 GRAND CANYON VS. NO. 3 GONZAGA| 7:35 P.M. | TRUTV
NO. 9 FLORIDA ATLANTIC VS. NO. 8 MEMPHIS | 9:20 P.M.| TNT
NO. 14 MONTANA ST. VS. NO. 3 KANSAS ST. | 9:40 P.M. | CBS
NO. 13 KENT STATE VS. NO. 4 INDIANA | 9:55 P.M. | TBS
NO. 11 ARIZONA ST/NEVADA VS. NO. 6 TCU | 10:05 P.M. | TRUTV
SATURDAY, MARCH 18 (ROUND OF 32. ALL TIMES EASTERN)
NO. 5 SAN DIEGO STATE VS. NO. 13 FURMAN | 12:10 P.M. | CBS
NO. 4 TENNESSEE VS. NO. 5 DUKE | 2:40 P.M. | CBS
NO. 1 KANSAS VS. NO. 8 ARKANSAS | 5:15 P.M. | CBS
NO. 7 MISSOURI VS. NO. 15 PRINCETON | 6:10 P.M. | TNT
NO. 1 HOUSTON VS. NO. 9 AUBURN | 7:10 P.M. | TBS
NO. 2 TEXAS VS. NO. 10 PENN STATE | 7:45 P.M. | CBS
NO. 2 UCLA VS. NO. 7 NORTHWESTERN | 8:40 P.M. | TNT
NO. 1 ALABAMA VS. NO. 8 MARYLAND | 9:40 P.M. | TBS
NO GAMES SCHEDULED
WOMEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL – NCAA TOURNAMENT
ST. JOHN’S 66 PURDUE 64
TENNESSEE TECH 79 MONMOUTH 69
FRIDAY, MARCH 17 — FIRST ROUND
MARQUETTE VS. USF |11:30 A.M. |ESPN2
WEST VIRGINIA VS. ARIZONA | NOON | ESPN
GEORGIA VS. FLORIDA STATE | 1:30 P.M. | ESPN2
NORFOLK STATE VS. SOUTH CAROLINA| 2 P.M. | ESPN
HOLY CROSS VS. MARYLAND | 2:30 P.M. | ESPNEWS
UNLV VS. MICHIGAN | 3 P.M. |ESPNU
SOUTHERN UTAH VS. NOTRE DAME | 3:30 P.M. | ESPN2
SOUTHEASTERN LOUISIANA VS. IOWA | 4 P.M. |ESPN
HAWAII VS. LSU | 5:30 P.M. | ESPN2
CHATTANOOGA VS. VIRGINIA TECH | 5:30 P.M. | ESPNU
MISSISSIPPI STATE VS. CREIGHTON | 6 P.M. | ESPNEWS
SACRED HEART VS. STANFORD | 7:30 P.M. | ESPN2
GARDNER-WEBB VS. UTAH | 7:30 P.M |ESPNU
SOUTH DAKOTA STATE VS. USC | 8 P.M. | ESPNEWS
PRINCETON VS. NC STATE | 10 P.M. | ESPN2
GONZAGA VS. OLE MISS | 10 P.M. | ESPNU
SATURDAY, MARCH 18 — FIRST ROUND
TENNESSEE TECH VS. INDIANA | 11:30 A.M. | ESPN2
SAINT LOUIS VS. TENNESSEE | 1 P.M. | ABC
JAMES MADISON VS. OHIO STATE | 1:30 P.M. |ESPN2
MIAMI VS. OKLAHOMA STATE | 2 P.M. | ESPN
FLORIDA GULF COAST VS. WASHINGTON STATE | 2:30 P.M. | ESPNU
VERMONT VS. UCONN | 3 P.M.| ABC
TOLEDO VS. IOWA STATE | 3:30 P.M. | ESPN2
ST. JOHN’S VS. NORTH CAROLINA | 4 P.M. | ESPN
CLEVELAND STATE VS. VILLANOVA | 5 P.M. | ESPNU
ALABAMA VS. BAYLOR | 5:30 P.M. | ESPN2
MIDDLE TENNESSEE VS. COLORADO | 7 P.M. |ESPNEWS
DRAKE VS. LOUISVILLE | 7:30 P.M. | ESPN2
PORTLAND VS. OKLAHOMA | 9 P.M. | ESPNU
IONA VS. DUKE | 9:30 P.M. | ESPN2
EAST CAROLINA VS. TEXAS | 10 P.M. | ESPN
SACRAMENTO STATE VS. UCLA | 11:30 P.M. | ESPN2
INDIANA 139 MILWAUKEE 123
DENVER 119 DETROIT 100
SACRAMENTO 101 BROOKLYN 96
TORONTO 128 OKLAHOMA CITY 111
PHOENIX 116 ORLANDO 113
FLORIDA 9 MONTRÉAL 5
NY RANGERS 4 PITTSBURGH 2
TAMPA BAY 4 NEW JERSEY 3
COLORADO 5 OTTAWA 4
CHICAGO 2 NASHVILLE 1
BOSTON 3 WINNIPEG 0
EDMONTON 4 DALLAS 1
ARIZONA 3 VANCOUVER 2
CALGARY 7 VEGAS 2
LOS ANGELES 4 COLUMBUS 1
SEATTLE 2 SAN JOSE 1
MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL SCOREBOARD
CLEVELAND 5 CHICAGO WHITE SOX 1
KANSAS CITY 2 OAKLAND 0
ARIZONA 3 CHICAGO CUBS 1
LA ANGELS 3 MILWAUKEE 2
SAN FRANCISCO 0 SEATTLE 0
SAN DIEGO 7 COLORADO 1
TEXAS 3 LA DODGERS 1
TAMPA BAY 2 MINNESOTA 0
HOUSTON 3 ST. LOUIS 0
TAMPA BAY 5 ATLANTA 1
BALTIMORE 7 TORONTO 4
PHILADELPHIA 10 DETROIT 1
WASHINGTON 3 NY METS 0
PITTSBURGH 9 NY YANKEES 6
TOP INDIANA (RELEASES)
INDIANA PACERS BASKETBALL
GAME REWIND: PACERS 139, BUCKS 123
In March, statements are best made on the hardwood. And on Thursday at Fiserv Forum, the Indiana Pacers did just that.
If the Pacers (32-38) advance to the postseason, they will likely circle Thursday night’s victory over the Milwaukee Bucks (50-20) as their signature win.
Scoring a season-high 84 second-half points, the Pacers (32-38) beat the first-place Bucks (50-20), 139-123. The Pacers made 70.2 percent of their field goal attempts in the second half, including going 13 of 19 (68.4 percent) from 3-point range.
Indiana unleashed a 3-point barrage on the road, hitting 22 from beyond the arc total, while eight players finished in double-digit scoring.
Pacers rookie Andrew Nembhard led the charge by tallying 24 points — including 21 in the second half — while Aaron Nesmith made a career-high six 3-pointers en route to 22 points. Other Pacers scoring in double figures included Buddy Hield (20), T.J. McConnell (19), George Hill (15), Jalen Smith (14), Jordan Nwora (12) and Myles Turner (11).
McConnell also had 12 assists off the bench for his fifth double-double of the season.
The Pacers went 54-for-97 overall, including 22-for-46 from deep, while Milwaukee shot 52.8 percent from the field.
Two-time NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo led the Bucks, which had seven players score in double figures, with 25 points and nine rebounds. Point guard Jrue Holiday was next for the Bucks with 19 points and 11 assists.
With the win, the Pacers are now just a half game back of 10th in the Eastern Conference standings. The top six seeds in the East will automatically make the playoffs while places seven through 10 will advance to the Play-In Tournament.
The Pacers have 12 games left on their schedule.
Indiana has now won five of their last seven games and snapped a 10-game losing streak to the Bucks. Prior to Thursday, the Pacers had never won at Fiserv Forum since it opened in 2018.
“I liked the way we kept our poise, maintained our aggression,” Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said. “The guys were animated in this game because of the environment, because of the opponent, and they really wanted to compete at a high level. We figured out the formula as the game went along. I’m just really proud of them.”
The Pacers win came despite playing without All-Star point guard Tyrese Haliburton who sprained his ankle in practice on Wednesday, and without injured standout rookie Bennedict Mathurin, who sprained an ankle last week.
Milwaukee led 64-55 at halftime despite Antetokounmpo playing just over 10 minutes due to foul trouble.
The Bucks shot the ball well off the tip, making four of their first five shots to lead 10-3 two minutes into the game. That lead then ballooned to 21-8 following an 11-5 run where five different Bucks players recorded a made basket.
Indiana was able to cut into the deficit thanks to a 7-0 scoring string midway through the first quarter, on five points by Hield, but the Bucks matched the Pacers nearly shot-for-shot in the final six minutes of the opening frame to lead 40-30. Hield accounted for 12 of the Pacers’ points in the first quarter.
Indiana’s bench guards stepped up big to start the second quarter, as Hill – who was traded from the Bucks to the Pacers in February – hit two 3-pointers and McConnell got a bucket to go to narrow it to 43-38 with 10 minutes left in the half.
With 7:58 on the clock, Antetokounmpo was called for his third personal foul and didn’t return before halftime.
A 6-0 Pacers run on two points each from Smith, Nwora – who was also traded from Milwaukee to Indiana this season – and McConnell tied the game at 44 with 7:18 left before intermission.
The teams kept it within three points until the Bucks scored eight unanswered points, on six straight from Khris Middleton, to hold a nine-point lead at the break.
Indiana nearly scored more points in the third quarter than the entire first half, shooting 73.1 percent from the field for 49 points in the period.
Milwauke built its lead up to 14 points midway through the third quarter thanks to a 10-1 run where Antetokunmpo scored six.
However, the Pacers battled back, as Nembhard and Nesmith each drained a pair of 3-pointers, and Smith also added a trey, to cut it to 90-86 with 4:08 left in the third quarter.
In the final 2:04 of the third quarter, the Pacers went on an 11-0 scoring spree – led by four points by Hill and a 3-pointer by Nwora – to lead 104-101 going into the final frame.
The Pacers’ 49 fourth-quarter points are the most for that period this season and ties the most points for any quarter for this season.
In the fourth quarter, Indiana used runs of 7-2 and 10-2 to build a 127-113 lead with 6:02 remaining.
Turner put the exclamation point on the game by following up a 3-pointer with a posterizing dunk over Antetokounmpo to push the Pacers ahead 136-120 with 2:13 on the clock.
From there, the Blue & Gold coasted to the win.
The Pacers outscored the Bucks 26-13 in fast-break points but were outscored 68-56 in the paint and outrebounded 44-42.
“It’s a big win, but you’ve got to keep things in perspective,” Turner said. “It’s a game-by-game basis. We’re at the end of the year here and know these games matter. These games count. That’s our mentality going forward. It’s a big win for morale, but the job is not finished. We still have a lot of climbing to do.”
Indiana will return home Saturday to host the Philadelphia 76ers at Gainbridge FIeldhouse.
Stat of the Night
Indiana drained 22 3-pointers in the game, one three short of tying the franchise record set on Oct. 29, 2022, against the San Antonio Spurs. Eight different players hit a 3-pointer for the Pacers.
Inside the Numbers
– The Pacers beat their previous season-high for made field goals by one by recording 54.
–Indiana achieved a season-high 36 total assists as a team, one better than their previous high.
– McConnell finished with a +/- of +36 for the game. He had 10 points and eight assists in the second half alone.
– Nembhard’s 24 points are the second most he’s scored in a game. He had 41 against the Golden State Warriors on Dec. 5.
– Hill scored a season-high 15 points and had a +/- of +26 off the bench.
– Hield scored 12 points in the first quarter, which is his 28th double-figure scoring quarter this season.
– Nwora has scored in double figures in nine straight games. He has only played 12 games with Indiana.
You Can Quote Me On That
“I’m not gonna make too much of this, but this is a team that won a championship two years ago. They had all three of their great players out there. To go toe-to-toe with them is meaningful. You know, it’s not like winning a championship or anything like that, but the stage that we’re at – as we’re as we’re rebuilding this thing – these small steps that continue to lead us in a good direction are extremely important. You don’t know what it’s like until you play or coach in this environment and you’re looking down the barrel of Giannis and Holiday and Middleton. This is tough stuff here. I’m just really proud of the effort. I still think Milwaukee is probably the favorite to come out of the East along with Philly … who we play next.” – Carlise on the win
“Not a great first half, but a really special second half. Our level of aggression, our attitude, was much, much better just in terms of understanding how we needed to play to have a chance to hang in and get a win.” – Carlisle on adjusting in the second half
“This is our franchise’s first ever win in this building, which speaks to how difficult it is to win here and has been ever since this place opened – how great a team they are. This was special to have an opportunity to break through with some of our younger players playing key roles in the game. It’s a great win.” – Carlisle on the game
“The 3-point shot is such a potent weapon. If you’re going to beat a team like Milwaukee, you’ve got to be making at least your share of them. But you need to have a balance.” – Carlisle on the stellar 3-point shooting
“I’m gonna be very disappointed if Myles’ dunk isn’t on SportsCenter tonight. I mean, come on, man. This was spectacular.” – Carlisle on the poster dunk by Turner in the fourth quarter
“I just tried to be aggressive in transition, getting downhill all the way to the rim instead of settling for midrange shots. I just stayed aggressive and stayed confident in the second half and shots were falling from all three levels.” – Nembhard on his scoring performance.”
“He set the tone. I’ve been signing his praises all year and I will continue to do so throughout his career. Andrew is a special player. He proves it every night that whatever we need from him – off ball, on ball – he can run a unit really, really well. I feel like people think he’s a combo guard, but I feel like he can run a unit. … Everything we have asked from him this year’s he’s done. He’s guarded the best players on defense. He set the tone for us tonight.” – McConnell on Nembhard
“Having not won in this building ever, and not beaten them for a number of years, it felt good to come in here and see people play well and get a win. We can’t get too high or too low because we have Philly coming in on Saturday.” – McConnell on moving on to the next game
“I feel like it was a group thing, not just me. I always feel like, with the bench unit, when we’re down, our job is to come in and provide a spark. We did that tonight.” – McConnell on his performance and the bench
“It was big time. I had a lot of fun out there. It was great seeing all those guys I was with not too long ago, I spent a lot of time with them, but I was super happy we got that win. It’s big for me. I was able to play well with a lot of other guys. Guys stepped up and we had fun out there and got a big win against the best team in the league right now.” – Nwora on getting the win against his former team
“Having a presence. I think, first half, they hit pretty much every shot. We had no presence defensively and weren’t touching anyone. They were able to do what they wanted to do. We came in at halftime and said to take away things and be more physical and make guys make plays. I think that’s what we did.” – Hill on the team’s adjustments in the second half
“I knew I was going to be open for a lot of open threes because of the way they’ve played me in the past. My mindset going into the game was to get them up early, see them go in and be aggressive from the 3-point line throughout the game.” – Nesmith on his career-high six 3-pointers made
“He’s a very poised basketball player. It’s hard to speed him up. When he plays at his own pace, he’s really special.” – Nesmith on Nembhard
“I know how much it means. I went out there with that mindset that I’m going to go out there and help get this one for Jordan and George.” – Nesmith on playing against a former team
– It was the first game for Hill and Nwora against the Bucks since they were traded to the Pacers before the deadline.
– Chris Duarte also did not suit up for Indiana due to an ankle injury.
GAME PREVIEW: PACERS VS 76ERS
After stunning the East-leading Bucks in Milwaukee, the Pacers (32-38) will look to knock off another of the conference’s top teams on Saturday, when Joel Embiid and the 76ers (46-22) visit Gainbridge Fieldhouse for the second time in 12 days.
Indiana is coming off arguably its most impressive victory of the season, a 139-123 victory over the Bucks despite being without All-Star guard Tyrese Haliburton, who sprained his ankle in practice on Wednesday and is expected to miss at least three games. Even without Haliburton, the Blue & Gold’s offense was rolling, particularly in the second half.
The Pacers surged ahead thanks to a 49-point third quarter (the second-highest scoring third quarter in franchise history) and outscored Milwaukee 84-59 in the second half. It was an all-around effort, as eight different Pacers reached double figures. The Blue & Gold set a new season high with 36 assists and went 22-for-46 (47.8 percent) from 3-point range.
The win was crucial in the Pacers’ postseason push. Indiana moved to within a half-game of 10th place (and the final spot in the Play-In Tournament) with Thursday’s victory with 12 games remaining in the regular season. Indiana could potentially be in 10th when it takes the floor on Saturday if Washington and Chicago both lose on Friday.
Philadelphia, meanwhile, is chasing Milwaukee for the top seed in the East. Leading the way is Joel Embiid, one of the frontrunners in the MVP race. As of Thursday, Embiid leads the NBA in scoring at 33.5 points per game and ranks ninth in rebounding (10.2 per contest). James Harden, a former MVP himself, has proven to be a worthy wingman for Embiid, averaging 21.9 points and leading the NBA in assists at 10.8 per contest.
The Pacers saw firsthand what Philadelphia is capable of back on March 6, when the Sixers dropped 147 points in a victory at Gainbridge Fieldhouse. Embiid scored 42 points and Harden dished out 20 assists in the win, as the duo combined to go 26-for-28 from the free throw line.
The Sixers will be on the second night of a back-to-back on Saturday, as they are scheduled to play on Friday night in Charlotte before traveling to Indiana.
Pacers: G – Tyrese Haliburton, G – Andrew Nembhard, F – Buddy Hield, F – Aaron Nesmith, C – Myles Turner
76ers: G – James Harden, G – Tyrese Maxey, F – Tobias Harris, F – P.J. Tucker, C – Joel Embiid
Pacers: Kendall Brown – out (right tibia stress fracture), Chris Duarte – out (sore left ankle), Tyrese Haliburton – out (right ankle sprain), Bennedict Mathurin – out (right ankle sprain)
76ers: Jalen McDaniels – questionable (right hip contusion)
March 6, 2023: For most of the night, it felt like the scoreboard operator could barely keep up as the Pacers and 76ers — led by their respective All-Stars — traded basket after basket. The two teams combined for 157 points in the first half alone and continued to shoot the lights out into the fourth quarter.
But Philadelphia ultimately prevailed, using a 10-0 run in the fourth quarter to build a lead they would not relinquish in a 147-143 win over Indiana.
“As entertaining games in the NBA go, I don’t know how you get much better than this one,” Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle said.
Seven Pacers scored in double figures on the night, led by Tyrese Haliburton with 40 points and a season-high 16 assists. The All-Star guard scored Indiana’s final 14 points and finished the night 12-for-19 from the field, 5-for-10 from 3-point range, and 11-for-12 from the free throw line.
But Joel Embiid tallied a game-high 42 points, going 11-for-16 from the field and a perfect 19-for-19 from the free throw line, and James Harden added 14 points and 20 assists to lead Philadelphia to victory.
Philadelphia shot 58.5 percent from the field and went 35-for-38 from the free throw line in the win, offsetting an equally spectacular offensive performance by the Blue & Gold, who shot 58.9 percent on the night.
The Pacers need a win on Saturday to avoid being swept by the 76ers for the first time since the 2004-05 season.
No player in NBA history has ever averaged 20 points and 10 assists while shooting 40 percent or better from 3-point range over the course of a season, but three players have a legitimate shot of accomplishing the feat this season. Haliburton and Denver center Nikola Jokic currently are doing it, while Harden is right on the precipice with a .396 3-point percentage.
Philadelphia is 7-3 on the season when playing on the second night of a back-to-back.
Broadcast Information (TV and Radio Listings >>)
TV: Bally Sports Indiana – Chris Denari (play-by-play), Quinn Buckner (analyst), Jeremiah Johnson (sideline reporter/host)
Radio: 93.5/107.5 The Fan – Mark Boyle (play-by-play), Eddie Gill (analyst), Pat Boylan (sideline reporter/host)
The Pacers return to Gainbridge Fieldhouse to host Joel Embiid and the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday, March 18 at 7:00 PM ET.
COLTS RE-SIGN CB TONY BROWN
The Colts on Thursday signed cornerback Tony Brown.
Brown appeared in 16 games for the Colts in 2022 and primarily played on special teams. The speedy 27-year-old’s 303 special teams snaps were second-most on the Colts, and his six special teams tackles were tied for sixth.
On defense, Brown recorded one sack and one tackle for a loss in 2022.
Brown initially signed with the Colts as a free agent last March. Prior to joining the Colts, Brown appeared in 33 games (four starts) with the Green Bay Packers (2018-2019) and Cincinnati Bengals (2020). He also spent time with the Las Vegas Raiders (2021) and Los Angeles Chargers (2018).
COLTS SIGN MINSHEW
The Colts have agreed to terms on a one-year, $3.5 million, fully-guaranteed deal that includes another $2 million possible in incentives with former Jaguars and Eagles quarterback Gardner Minshew
POSITION PREVIEW: INDY’S ROTATION COULD SHOWCASE FARM SYSTEM’S TOP ARMS
On March 31, the Indianapolis Indians will return to Victory Field to kick off a 2023 season projected to feature the Triple-A return of three top 10 prospects in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization and electric arms promoted from Double-A.
Luis Ortiz (PIT No. 4/MLB No. 74, Baseball America), Quinn Priester (PIT No. 5) and Mike Burrows (No. 9) headline the group.
Osvaldo Bido: In 2022, Bido was a mainstay in Indy’s rotation, ranking among International League leaders with 25 starts (T-4th) and 122 strikeouts (7th). The right-hander appeared in 32 total games, logging a 4.53 ERA (56er/111.1ip) to lead team qualifiers. His two breakout performances came in September, when he took a no-hitter into the sixth inning on Sept. 3 at Louisville and fanned a career-high tying 10 batters on Sept. 20 vs. St. Paul. He excelled following the All-Star break, compiling a 3.19 ERA (17er/48.0ip) in 12 appearances (nine starts) with 60 strikeouts. Bido’s 60 punchouts in the second half of the season were tied for the league lead with former Indians hurler Josh Lindblom. His strong finish to the campaign earned him Indy’s Most Improved Award. The 27-year-old has spent his entire career in the Pirates organization after being signed as a non-drafted free agent on March 14, 2017.
Mike Burrows: Burrows flourished in Double-A to start last season, earning himself a bid to the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game in Los Angeles alongside teammate Henry Davis. He went 4-2 in an Eastern League-leading 12 starts (T-1st) and also ranked among leaders with 69 strikeouts (7th) at the time of his promotion to Indy on June 16. In his 12 Triple-A appearances (10 starts), he went 1-4 with a 5.31 ERA (25er/42.1ip) and 42 strikeouts compared to only 12 walks. He showed glimpses of what’s to come in an excellent August, going 1-1 with a 2.20 ERA (4er/16.0ip) and 16 strikeouts in four games (three starts). The right-hander was selected by Pittsburgh in the 11th round (324th overall) of the 2018 First-Year Player Draft out of Waterford (Conn.) High School.
Wei-Chieh Huang: Huang was selected by Pittsburgh in the minor league phase of the Rule 5 Draft on Dec. 7, 2022 and is expected to be a regular in the Indians rotation. He spent the 2022 season in the Giants system with Triple-A Sacramento and went 3-2 with a 4.40 ERA (35er/71.2ip) and 89 strikeouts in 23 appearances (13 starts) The 29-year-old has pitched in 41 career Triple-A games, the most experience at the level by any pitcher in the Indians projected rotation. He was originally signed as a non-drafted free agent by Arizona on July 18, 2014 and went on to make his major league debut with Texas on April 23, 2019 at Oakland.
Carmen Mlodzinksi: Mlodzinski is currently rated as the No. 22 prospect in the Pirates organization. The right-hander spent the entire 2022 campaign with Double-A Altoona, where he went 6-8 with a 4.78 ERA (56er/105.1ip) and 111 strikeouts in 27 games (22 starts). His best month of the season came in June when he posted a 2.61 ERA (6er/20.2ip), 23 strikeouts and .187 average against in five games (four starts). Mlodzinksi’s lone Triple-A appearance came at the end of the 2021 season when he was promoted from High-A Greensboro to Indianapolis. The 24-year-old was selected by Pittsburgh in the second round (31st overall) of the 2020 First-Year Player Draft out of the University of South Carolina (Columbia).
Kyle Nicolas: The former Ball State (Muncie, Ind.) University starter will look to make his Triple-A debut with Indianapolis in 2023. Pittsburgh acquired Nicolas alongside right-hander Zach Thompson and outfielder Connor Scott from Miami in exchange for catcher Jacob Stallings on Nov. 29, 2021, and he has since made a splash in the organization. He is currently rated as Pittsburgh’s No. 14 prospect by Baseball America after going 2-4 with a 3.97 ERA (40er/90.2ip) and 101 strikeouts in 24 appearances (22 starts) with Double-A Altoona last year. He ranked among team leaders in games started (T-2nd), strikeouts (3rd) and innings pitched (3rd). The 24-year-old was originally selected by Miami in the third round (61st overall) of the 2020 First-Year Player Draft.
Luis Ortiz: The 24-year-old out of the Dominican Republic is one of Pittsburgh’s top-rated pitching prospects with a fastball that touches triple digits on the radar gun. The right-hander ascended from the organization’s No. 22 prospect last season to No. 4 after a stellar 2022 campaign. He spent the majority of the season with Double-A Altoona and ranked among Eastern League leaders with a 1.17 WHIP (2nd), .238 average against (3rd), 4.64 ERA (5th), 126 strikeouts (7th), 23 games started (8th) and 114.1 innings pitched (9th). On Sept. 1, Ortiz was promoted to Indianapolis and quickly earned the team’s first International Pitcher of the Week honor since Mitch Keller in 2019. In his second start with Indy on Sept. 8 at Omaha, he yielded a pair of unearned runs and three walks while striking out nine in 6.0 no-hit innings. Ortiz then had his contract selected by Pittsburgh on Sept. 13 and debuted with 5.2 scoreless frames at Cincinnati later that day. Ortiz was signed as a non-drafted free agent by Pittsburgh on Oct. 2, 2018.
Johan Oviedo: Pittsburgh acquired Oviedo along with infielder Malcom Nunez from St. Louis in exchange for LHP Jose Quintana and RHP Chris Stratton prior to the trade deadline on Aug. 2, 2022. Between Triple-A Memphis and Indianapolis last season, he went 4-2 with a 4.70 ERA (32er/61.1ip) and 64 strikeouts in 15 games (14 starts). He was named International League Pitcher of the Week (April 25-May 1) with Memphis after working 7.0 shutout innings on three hits with eight strikeouts on April 30 at Durham. He made five appearances (four starts) with Indy last season, surrendering only one run with 13 strikeouts in 11.1 innings. Oviedo has the most big-league experience of the group after registering a 3.21 ERA (20er/56.0ip) in 21 games (eight starts) between St. Louis (14 games/one start) and Pittsburgh (seven starts). The 25-year-old was originally signed by St. Louis as a non-drafted free agent on July 2, 2016.
Quinn Priester: The 22-year-old is coming off an excellent 2022 season in which he was honored as the Young Bucs Bob Friend Pitcher of the Year, given to the top-performing minor league pitcher in Pittsburgh’s organization. The right-hander spent most of last season in Double-A and went 4-4 with a 2.87 ERA (24er/75.1ip), 1.19 WHIP and 75 strikeouts. He was promoted to Indianapolis on Sept. 21 and tossed 5.0 shutout innings to earn the win vs. St. Paul in his Triple-A debut that night. In 19 starts between four minor league levels last season after returning from the injured list (oblique) on June 16, he compiled an organization-leading 3.29 ERA (33er/90.1ip), 89 strikeouts and .234 average against. Priester was selected by Pittsburgh 18th overall in the 2019 First-Year Player Draft out of Cary-Grove (Cary, Ill.) High School.
INDIANA MEN’S BASKETBALL PREVIEW
INDIANA BASKETBALL GAME NOTES – GAME 34 VS. KENT STATE
• The Indiana men’s basketball team advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the second-straight season and will face Mid-American Conference champion Kent State at 9:55 p.m. ET on March 17 at MVP Arena in New Albany, N.Y.
• IU has been selected for consecutive NCAA Tournaments for the first time since the 2015 and ’16 seasons. Hoosier head coach Mike Woodson is the second coach in program history (Mike Davis, 2000-03) to guide the program to two March Madness berths in his first two seasons.
• The Hoosiers will be making the program’s 41st trip to the NCAA Tournament, the sixth most in NCAA history.
March 17, 2023 • 9:55 p.m. ET • 2023 NCAA Tournament First Round
MVP Arena (23,500) • Albany, N.Y.
TV: TBS (Spero Dedes, Debbie Antonelli, A.J. Ross)
Radio: IU Radio Network (Don Fischer, Errek Suhr, John Herrick)
Series History: Indiana leads, 3-1
Last Meeting: IU 81, KSU 69 on March. 23, 2002 in Lexington
• The Hoosiers and Golden Flashes have met four previous times on the hardwood, including twice in the NCAA Tournament this century. Indiana holds a 3-1 series advantage but have split the two postseason matchups.
• IU topped KSU in the 2002 Elite 8 game by a score of 81-69 on the strength of 15-of-19 (78.9%) made 3-point field goals. The shooting percentage marked the highest in NCAA Tournament history for a team with 10-plus made triples in a single game.
Last Time Out
• Indiana fell to Penn State in the semifinal round of the 2023 Big Ten Tournament by a final tally of 77-73.
• Senior forward Trayce Jackson-Davis paced the Hoosier attack with 24 points on 11-of-14 shooting from the floor. He added 10 rebounds, seven assists, two steals, and one block.
• Jackson-Davis has produced as many games (2) with at least 20 points, eight rebounds, and five assists on 75.0% shooting or better as the rest of the Big Ten Conference.
• TJD was named to the Big Ten Tournament Team after averaging 24.0 points, 9.5 rebounds, and 7.0 assists per game.
• Sixth-year senior forward Race Thompson battled early foul trouble to finish with 10 points, four rebounds, and three steals. Freshman guard Jalen Hood-Schifino finished with 11 points and four assists.
Jackson-Davis, The All-American
• Since the calendar flipped to 2023, senior forward Trayce Jackson-Davis has averaged 23.0 points, 12.3 rebounds, 4.8 assists, and 2.8 blocks per game. His rebounding figure marks the second-highest tally in the NCAA during the 20-game stretch.
• Jackson-Davis was one of two players (Zach Edey, Purdue) unanimously selected to the All-Big Ten First Team for both the coaches and the media. TJD was also named to the five-player All-Defensive Team.
• The first team honor comes a season after earning second team accolades across all three voting outlets as a junior. Following his sophomore campaign, he was tabbed an All-Big Ten First Team performer by the media and a second team choice by the coaches. He was a third team honoree and was included on the All-Freshman Team after his rookie season.
• The last Hoosier to be named to an All-Big Ten Team in four-straight seasons since Kevin “Yogi” Ferrell (2013-16). He is the first Hoosier since Victor Oladipo (2012-13) to be named to the All-Defensive team in consecutive seasons.
• Over the last 25 years of basketball only Jackson-Davis (Jan. 2023), Tim Duncan, and Shaquille O’Neal have averaged at least 23.0 points, 14.0 rebounds, and 3.0 blocks per game in a calendar month (min. 5 games) in Division I basketball or the NBA.
• TJD posted three 30-pooint games in the month of January, including back-to-back games with 35 points at Illinois (Jan. 19) and 31 points against Michigan State (Jan. 22). He also grabbed at least 20 rebounds three times during the stretch of nine games.
NCAA Tournament History
• The Hoosiers rank fourth in NCAA titles (5), sixth all time in NCAA Tournament appearances (41), seventh in tournament victories (67), seventh in wins over No. 1 seeds (5), and ninth in tournament games played (102).
• Indiana’s 1976 championship capped off the last perfect season in NCAA history. The Hoosiers went 32-0, including an 86-68 victory over Michigan in the title game.
• IU holds a record of 67-35 (.657) in tournament play.
• Fifth-year senior forward Miller Kopp has knocked down a team-best 58 3-pointers this season, the second most of his career (65 in 2019-20). He is hitting the long ball at a 44.3% clip, the second-highest percentage on the team (min. 20 attempts).
• Kopp was selected as the Big Ten Sportsmanship Award Honoree for Indiana. In his final start at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall, Kopp broke the Big Ten record for conference games played with 99. He was one of three Hoosiers to appear in all 31 games this season and the only player to appear in the starting lineup each game.
2023 AP All-America Team
Zach Edey, Purdue
Trayce Jackson-Davis, Indiana
Brandon Miller, Alabama
Marcus Sasser, Houston
Jalen Wilson, Kansas
2023 NABC All-America Team
Zach Edey, Purdue
Trayce Jackson-Davis, Indiana
Brandon Miller, Alabama
Drew Timme, Gonzaga
Jalen Wilson, Kansas
2023 Sporting News All-America Team
Zach Edey, Purdue
Trayce Jackson-Davis, Indiana
Marcus Sasser, Houston
Drew Timme, Gonzaga
Jalen Wilson, Kansas
2023 USBWA All-America Team
Zach Edey, Purdue
Trayce Jackson-Davis, Indiana
Marcus Sasser, Houston
Drew Timme, Gonzaga
Jalen Wilson, Kansas
2023 NABC All-District Team
Hunter Dickinson, Michigan
Zach Edey, Purdue
Trayce Jackson-Davis, Indiana
Kris Murray, Iowa
Jalen Pickett, Penn State
2023 USBWA All-District TEAM
Souley Boum, Xavier
Boo Buie, Northwestern
Antoine Davis, Detroit Mercy
Hunter Dickinson, Michigan
Zach Edey, Purdue
Jalen Hood-Schifino, Indiana
Trayce Jackson-Davis, Indiana
Tyler Kolek, Marquette
Terrence Shannon Jr., Illinois
Tyson Walker, Michigan State
ROOKS ADVANCES TO NCAA QUARTERFINALS, ALL FOUR HOOSIERS ALIVE AFTER DAY ONE
TULSA, Okla. ––––– Session II capped off a successful first day of the NCAA Championships for Indiana Wrestling as resdshirt senior Graham Rooks moved on to the quarterfinals and all four Hoosiers remain alive in the tournament.
In Session II, Rooks won his Round of 16 match while Derek Gilcher and Jacob Bullock won their opening consolation round bouts. Washington lost his Round of 16 match but is still alive in the bracket as that was only his first loss of the tournament.
The Round of 16 featured another close bout for Rooks, who was the No. 20 seed taking on No. 4 Caleb Henson (Virginia Tech). Despite being the underdog, Rooks set the tone for the entire match.
He scored on an early takedown a little over a minute into the first period to start in the lead. Henson escaped to make it 2-1 and escaped again at the start of the second period to even the score.
Entering the third, Rooks escaped, shot and scored on another takedown to seal the match. That was enough to pick up a 5-4 decision victory and advance to the quarterfinals for the first time in his career.
After dropping his first match of the day, No. 18 Derek Gilcher bounced back in a strong way in his first consolation match against No. 31 Ashton Eyler (Lock Haven).
Gilcher opened the match with two first period takedowns to catapult him to a 4-1 lead after one period. Eyler’s second period takedown would be the last points he scored for the match and Gilcher cemented his win with an escape and a riding time point to make it a 6-3 decision.
With Gilcher’s win, he stays alive in the tournament and moves on in the wrestlebacks.
No. 23 Jacob Bullock got back on track in his consolation match, too. The senior heavyweight had a rematch with No. 26 Cory Day of Binghamton who Bullock had pinned at the Garden State Grapple back in December.
In the first period, Day struck first with an early takedown but Bullock immediately flipped position and tied the score with a reversal.
Bullock would score on four more takedowns and add the riding time point while only allowing escapes in a 11-5 decision victory.
No. 17 DJ Washington dropped his Round of 16 match in Session II in a 4-0 decision to No. 1 Carter Starocci (Penn State).
Washington will wrestle again tomorrow morning in the second round of the consolation bracket during Session III.
The NCAA Championships will continue on Friday with Session III beginning at 12 PM (ET) and Session IV starting at 8 PM (ET).
149 – No. 20 Graham Rooks:
-Round 1: No. 20 Graham Rooks (IU) def. No. 13 Kellyn March (NDSU): Dec. 4-3
-R16: No. 20 Graham Rooks (IU) def. No. 4 Caleb Henson (VT): Dec. 5-4
157 – No. 18 Derek Gilcher:
-Round 1: No. 15 Jacob Wright (Wyoming) def. No. 18 Derek Gilcher (IU): Dec. 3-2
-Cons. R1: No. 18 Derek Gilcher (IU) def. No. 31 Ashton Eyler (Lock Haven): Dec. 6-3
174 – No. 17 DJ Washington:
-Round 1: No. 17 DJ Washington (IU) def. No. 16 Sam Wolf (Air Force): TF, 17-2 (4:17)
-Round 16: No. 1 Carter Starocci (PSU) def. No. 17 DJ Washington (IU): Dec. 4-0
285 – No. 23 Jacob Bullock:
-Round 1: No. 10 Zach Elam (Mizzou) def. No. 23 Jacob Bullock (IU): Dec. 4-1
-Cons. R1: No. 23 Jacob Bullock (IU) def. No. 26 Cory Day (Binghamton): Dec. 11-5
-149 Quarterfinal: No. 20 Graham Rooks (IU) vs. No. 12 Shayne Van Ness (Penn State)
-157 Cons. Round 2: No. 18 Derek Gilcher (IU) vs. No. 17 Jarrett Jacques (Mizzou)
-174 Cons. Round 2: No. 17 DJ Washington (IU) vs. No. 18 Tate Picklo (Oklahoma)
-285 Cons. Round 2: No. 23 Jacob Bullock (IU) vs. No. 8 Sam Schuyler (Iowa State)
TEAM STANDINGS UPDATE (THROUGH SESSION II)
1. Penn State (26.0)
2. Iowa (21.5)
3. Missouri (17.5)
T-4. Minnesota (16.5)
T-4. North Carolina State (16.5)
T-31. Indiana (5.5)
INDIANA BATS COME TO LIFE IN 23-5 VICTORY OVER MOREHEAD STATE
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – A dominant offensive effort on Thursday afternoon, sparked by five home runs in the bottom of the fourth inning, carried the Indiana baseball team (12-7) to a resounding 23-5 win to clinch the series against Morehead State.
After having to claw its way back in the series opener, IU jumped all over the visitors early to the tune of nine runs in the opening two innings. Morehead State scored five unanswered before fourth-inning home runs from sophomore Brock Tibbitts, sophomore Carter Mathison, redshirt senior Matthew Ellis, sophomore Josh Pyne and freshman Devin Taylor broke open the game for good.
Ellis went 4-of-6 from the plate with 5 RBIs, one run and a double, finishing just a triple short of the cycle. Pyne and freshman Tyler Cerny each drove in four runs on the afternoon.
Freshman Connor Foley earned the victory (2-0) after tossing two innings of one-run ball in relief of fellow freshman and starting pitcher Brayden Risedorph. Senior Ben Seiler threw four innings of shutout baseball to record the save, striking out seven and walking just one.
Redshirt senior Phillip Glasser reached on a throwing error by the pitcher and worked his way to third before a fielder’s choice groundball off the bat of Josh Pyne drove in the game’s opening run.
Indiana 1, Morehead State 0
The Hoosiers batted around in the inning, adding eight runs to the tally in the second. Matthew Ellis’ bases-clearing triple down the right field line did the heavy lifting to break open the scoring. He would eventually come home to score on a wild pitch.
Indiana 9, Morehead State 0
With the rain coming down, the Eagles chipped into the lead. A walk, a pair of singles and a wild pitch brought four runners around to score.
Indiana 9, Morehead State 4
Junior Ryley Preece welcomed Connor Foley to the game with a solo home run over the wall in right field to bring the Eagles within four.
Indiana 9, Morehead State 5
IU found the sweet spot on the ball in the bottom of the fourth, scoring seven runs on five bombs including back-to-back shots from Pyne and Carter Mathison. Ellis and Pyne both hit two-run home runs while Taylor deposited his third solo home run of the series into the Hoosier bullpen in left field.
Indiana 16, Morehead State 5
The Hoosiers’ third inning of five-or-more runs came in the bottom of the sixth as IU eclipsed the 20-run mark for the first time this season. Singles from Glasser and Taylor as well as a sacrifice fly from Cerny opened the door for a two-run double from junior Morgan Colopy. His rocket down the right field line brought Mathison and Tibbits home to score.
Indiana 21, Morehead State 5
Cerny did the final damage of the afternoon, tripling to the gap in right field. Sophomore Jorge De Goti and senior Ethan Vecrumba both came around to score the game’s final runs.
Indiana 23, Morehead State 5
Indiana will go for its second-consecutive series sweep tomorrow afternoon at Bart Kaufman Field. First pitch is set for 4:00 PM with Morehead State. The game can be seen on B1G+ and heard on the Indiana Sports Radio Network.
PURDUE MEN’S BASKETBALL PREVIEW
TOP-SEEDED BOILERMAKERS BEGIN NCAA TOURNAMENT JOURNEY FRIDAY
Friday, March 17, 2023 | 6:50 p.m. ET
 Purdue (29-5) vs.  Fairleigh Dickinson (19-15)
Columbus, Ohio | Nationwide Arena (19,500)
TELEVISION: TNT | RADIO: Purdue Sports Network
ANNOUNCERS: Andrew Catalon, Steve Lappas, Jamie Erdahl
THE NOTES TO KNOW
• Earning the East Region’s top seed, the No. 3-ranked Purdue Boilermakers will begin their NCAA Tournament journey on Friday evening when it faces Fairleigh Dickinson. The Boilermakers enter March Madness as winners of five straight games and with the most wins by a major-college program entering the NCAA Tournament with a 29-5 record.
• Purdue has earned its fourth No. 1 seed in school history and its first since the 1996 season. Purdue is 6-3 all-time as the No. 1 seed advancing to the Elite 8 in 1994 and the Sweet 16 in 1988. Purdue is one of just two schools to earn top-5 seeds in each of the last seven NCAA Tournaments (Kansas).
• Purdue owns a 58-13 record since the start of last season. The 58 wins over a two-year span are the most in school history and Purdue needs one win to tie the season-school record of 30 (2018). Since the start of last year, Purdue’s 58 wins lead the Big Ten by 13 victories (Iowa – 45).
• Purdue is battle-tested, having won 17 games against the KenPom top-50, the most in the country (Kansas, Alabama, Texas – 14).
• The Boilermakers are 7-0 in neutral-site games, having defeated four teams that are in the NCAA Tournament (West Virginia, Gonzaga, Duke, Penn State). In seven neutral-site games, Zach Edey is averaging 25.0 points and 12.1 rebounds per game.
• Purdue is 15-3 overall away from Mackey Arena, ranking 11th in offensive efficiency and 16th in defensive efficiency nationally away from home. Purdue’s 15 wins are tied for second nationally behind Iona’s 16 wins away from home.
• The Boilermakers are 12-4 against the NCAA Tournament field, including 4-0 against teams in the East Region (Marquette, Duke, Michigan State twice). Purdue’s 12 wins against the field are the third most nationally (Kansas, Alabama – 14).
• Purdue became the 10th Big Ten team in league history to win both the regular-season and tournament titles. Of the previous nine, five of the teams reached the Final Four (2019 – Michigan State; 2015 – Wisconsin; 2007 – Ohio State; 2005 – Illinois; 1999 – Michigan State).
• Purdue finished the season ranked No. 3 in the final AP Top 25 poll, matching its highest final ranking in school history (1988). Purdue spent the last 16 weeks this season in the Top 5, more than double its previous longest streak in the Top 5 (2022 season – 7 weeks). Purdue was unranked at the start of the season, but ascended to No. 1 faster than anyone in AP Top 25 poll history (34 days).
• Matt Painter will be coaching in his 15th NCAA Tournament, ranking eighth among active coaches. He is the youngest of the group at just 52 years old. Among the group, Kansas’ Bill Self and Gonzaga’s Mark Few are the next-youngest coaches at 60 years old.
• Purdue has finished in the top three of the Big Ten standings in seven of the last nine seasons, with three Big Ten titles (2023, 2019, 2017).
• Zach Edey has become the third player in the last 30 years to accumulate at least 700 points, 400 rebounds, 60 blocks and 50 assists in a season (Arizona’s DeAndre Ayton – 2017-18; Utah’s Andrew Bogut – 2004-05). He is one of two players in Big Ten history with at least 700 points and 400 rebounds in a season (Ohio State’s Jerry Lucas in 1960).
• Zach Edey has eight 30-10 games this season, the most for a major-college player in the last 20 years surpassing Marvin Bagley (Duke) and Kevin Durant (Texas). His eight 30-10 games are more than the rest of the Big Ten combined this season (6).
• Zach Edey is sixth nationally in scoring (22.3 PPG) and second in rebounding (12.8). He is one of five high-major players over the last 25 seasons to rank in the top 10 in both categories (Luke Harangody, Michael Beasley, Kevin Durant, Troy Murphy).
• Braden Smith has become the fourth freshman in Big Ten history to have at least 330 points, 140 rebounds and 140 assists in a season joining Michigan State’s Magic Johnson (1978), and Ohio State’s D’Angelo Russell (2015) and JaQuan Lyle (2016).
• Purdue’s freshman duo of Fletcher Loyer (371) and Braden Smith (333) have combined for 704 points, the third-highest freshman scoring duo in school history (2008 Robbie Hummel, E’Twaun Moore – 813 points; 2013 A.J. Hammons, Ronnie Johnson – 709 points).
PURDUE WOMEN’S BASKETBALL
BOILERS’ LATE RALLY FALLS SHORT IN NCAA TOURNAMENT
COLUMBUS, Ohio – After reaching the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2017, the 11th-seeded Purdue women’s basketball team saw its season come to an end in a 66-64 loss to 11th-seed St. John’s in the First Four on Thursday night. The Boilermakers scrapped their way back from a 15-point deficit, only for the Red Storm to score with 0.3 seconds remaining.
The second year of the Katie Gearlds era took the next step in the program’s reemergence on the national stage. Purdue went 19-11 on the year for its most wins since 2019 and posted its first winning record in Big Ten play since 2018.
Gearlds joined Purdue legends Lin Dunn and Carolyn Peck as the only coaches in in program history to post win improvements in each of their first two seasons.
The culture of tenacity and hard work instilled in the program was on full display as the Boilermakers battled and clawed their way back from a double-digit deficit for the third straight game.
Purdue was down 60-45 with 1:05 to play in the third quarter. The Boilermakers rolled off a 17-2 run that carried to the 30-second mark of the fourth, when Lasha Petree nailed a contested jumper to even the score at 64-64. The field goal gave Petree her 20th point of the game for her ninth 20-point performance of the year.
After a timeout to advance the ball, Red Storm (22-9) leading scorer Jayla Everett, who joined Petree with a game-high 20, shuffled her way through the lane and scored a contested layup with 0.3 on the clock.
Purdue shot 49% from the field and made six 3-pointers. Petree was joined in double figures by fellow transfer Caitlyn Harper with 14 points. Jayla Smith chipped in nine points off the bench with seven coming in the second half. Madison Layden went for six points and six assists with no turnovers.
The Red Storm shot 44.4% overall and went 11-of-23 from behind the arc.
Petree and Harper combined to score all of Purdue’s 13 points in the first quarter. The duo combined to go 6-of-9 from the field over the opening 10 minutes with eight points coming inside the paint.
Madison Layden hit a 3-pointer early in the second to start an 8-0 run that gave the Boilermakers a five-point lead, their largest advantage of the first half. Purdue shot 53% over the opening 15 minutes of the game.
St. John’s rallied with an eight-point swing of their own late in the second. Eight of the Red Storm’s 12 made field goals in the first half came from behind the arc. Purdue trailed 39-33 at the break.
The Red Storm added to the lead with an 8-2 run to start the third, before Smith scored in transition to end the run. After St. John’s made it a 15-point game, Smith converted a traditional 3-point play at the end of the period to start the comeback.
Purdue scored 14 of the fourth quarter’s first 16 points. Petree made a pair of 3-pointers to cut the gap to six points with 6:08 to play, before tying the game three minutes later on a jumper. The Boilermakers held the Red Storm to just 1-of-11 shooting during the run. The Boilermakers outscored St. John’s 16-6 in the fourth. Everett and Petree traded baskets in the final 90 seconds, before St. John’s escaped on the last second shot.
• St. John’s leads the all-time series 2-0.
• Purdue is now 47-26 all-time in the NCAA Tournament.
• Cassidy Hardin played her 142nd career game, breaking a tie with Dakota Mathias for the most appearances by a Boilermaker in men’s or women’s history.
• Jeanae Terry finished the season with the second most assists in a single campaign with 190 helpers.
• Terry became the first player in program history to finish a season with over six points, rebounds and assists.
• Petree tallied a season-high eight rebounds.
• Abbey Ellis went 77-of-84 at the line for a 91.7% clip, the third best single-season mark in program history.
Purdue heads into the offseason ready to welcome the No. 21-ranked recruiting class to West Lafayette along with a roster full of experienced veterans who got their first taste of March Madness.
WRESTLING PUTS 2 IN QUARTERS AFTER HECTIC DAY 1
TULSA, Okla. – Matt Ramos and Parker Filius punched their tickets to the quarterfinals of the 2023 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships in dramatic, come-from-behind fashion in Thursday’s second session in the BOK Center. Kendall Coleman lost his second and will fight through the wrestlebacks as Purdue accumulated 5.5 team points on day one.
The theatrics started with No. 4 Ramos, who kicked off the second session with a buzzer-beating win over N.C. State’s No. 20 Jarrett Trombley 5-4 in the second tiebreaker period. After failing to escape in the first tiebreaker, Ramos took the risk and chose neutral. The gamble paid off when, with only four seconds left in the match, the sophomore got the takedown to take the bout and punch is way into quarterfinals.
Not to be outdone, No. 12 Filius pulled off a classic March madness upset when he took down No. 5 Ryan Jack of N.C. State. The Havre, Mont., native trailed 5-1 going into the third period and racked up six points in the final frame to take the match 7-6. He needed a tough ride-out after his last takedown and he got it to earn his spots in the quarters for the first time in his career.
No. 12 Coleman opened his day with a win, but could not come up with his own upset in the second round as he lost a close match 3-0 to No. 5 Josh Humphreys of Lehigh. It was a 1-0 difference late in the third, but a scramble went against him and he will pursue the podium from the consolation ladder.
Freshman heavyweight No. 30 Hayden Copass added to the drama on the day for the Boilermakers by winning a 3-1 decision over Princeton’s Travis Stefanik in sudden victory. It was the first overtime match of his young career and his first NCAA tournament win. His run through the wrestlebacks came to an end in the next round with a 6-0 decision loss to No. 19 Jonah Nissenbaum of Duke.
The wrestling resumes tomorrow at 11 a.m. CT with the quarterfinal matches first and the consolation second and third rounds to follow. Session three matches will be broadcast on ESPNU and as is the case with each session this weekend, all the mats will be streamed live on ESPN+.
NCAA Wrestling Championships
T-31st Place – 5.5
125: #4 Matt Ramos (R-Sophomore)
Champ Round 1: #29 Nico Provo (Stanford) – W, D 3-2
Champ Round 2: #20 Jarrett Trombley (N.C. State) – W, TB2 5-4
141: #12 Parker Filius (Graduate Student)
Champ Round 1: #21 Cleveland Belton (Oregon State) – W, D 8-3
Champ Round 2: #5 Ryan Jack (N.C. State) – W, D 7-6
157: #12 Kendall Coleman (R-Senior)
Champ Round 1: #21 Andrew Clark (Rutgers) – W, D 9-4
Champ Round 2: #5 Josh Humphreys (Lehigh) – L, D 3-0
285: #30 Hayden Copass (R-Freshman)
Champ Round 1: #3 Greg Kerkvliet (Penn State) – L, Fall (0:34)
Cons. Pigtail: #33 Travis Stefanik (Princeton) – W, SV 3-1
Cosn. Round 1: #19 Jonah Nissenbaum (Duke) – L, D 6-0
WIMPEE PICKS UP COMPLETE-GAME SHUTOUT AS SOFTBALL SPLITS THE DAY
OXFORD, Miss. – The Boilermakers split the day in Oxford defeating Samford, 3-0 after falling to North Dakota State, 0-4 moving Purdue’s record to 13-11.
GAME TWO: Purdue 3, Samford 0
Purdue Softball shut out the Samford Bulldogs to close out Thursday’s games opening the Rebel Invitational.
The Boilermakers notched six hits with two singles from Tyrina Jones and Olivia McFadden and one single from Jordyn Ramos and Echazarreta. McFadden earned one RBI while Jones, Khloe Banks and Kiara Dillon all contributed one run.
Mo Wimpee performed a complete-game shutout totaling three strikeouts and holding the Bulldogs to four hits.
Purdue captured an early lead in the first inning when Olivia McFadden’s single batted home Tyrina Jones for the one-run lead. Purdue’s strong defense shut out the Bulldogs while Khloe Banks and Kiara Dillon both earned the Boilermakers a run by capitalizing on throwing errors.
GAME ONE: Purdue 0, North Dakota State 4
Despite the loss, Alex Echazarreta collected two strikeouts to reach the 200 career strikeouts milestone in the game.
Purdue registered six hits, including two doubles collected by Jade Moy and Khloe Banks. Tyrina Jones, Becca Edwards, Jordyn Ramos and Jade Moy each produced a single for the Boilermakers.
Alexa Pinarski is labeled the loss bringing her record to 1-2 despite her three strikeouts over the first 3.2 innings. Echazarreta entered the circle in relief and struck out her first batter faced, securing her 200th career strikeout in the process to end the inning. Echazarreta brought in one more strikeout over her 1.2 innings pitched before Kendall Klochack came in to finish the game.
Purdue fought hard until the end, but unfortunately the Bisons took an early two-run lead in the top of the first inning while the Boilermakers remained scoreless. In spite of Purdue’s six hits and five strikeouts, they were unable to earn a run while the Bisons secured the lead with one run in both the fourth and fifth inning.
Purdue will return tomorrow to face St. Thomas at 2 p.m. ET followed by Ole Miss at 7 p.m. ET. The Ole Miss matchup will be streamed on SEC Network +. The Boilermakers will close the weekend Saturday afternoon against Ole Miss.
BUTLER TO HOST NORTHWESTERN IN 2023 HOME OPENER
INDIANAPOLIS – Butler will host Northwestern at Bulldog Park this weekend. The three-game series shifted to a pair of games due to inclement weather in Indianapolis. The first home games of the 2023 campaign for the Bulldogs will now be played on Sunday and Monday. Action will start at 2 PM on Sunday and Monday’s tilt will feature a 1 PM first pitch.
Sunday, March 19 – 2 PM
Monday, March 20 – 1 PM
LHP Cory Bosecker vs. RHP Michael Farinelli
RHP Alex Voss vs. RHP Matt McClure
The Wildcats are 0-12 at the start of the season. First-year head coach Jim Foster continues to make changes to his coaching staff early in 2023. Foster hired former MLB relief pitcher Dennis Cook in March to help the program. Northwestern heads into the weekend with a 12.62 team ERA. Matt McClure and Michael Farinelli are each 0-3 this year with ERA’s over 10. Grant Comstock and Luke Benneche also have multiple starts on the mound for the Wildcats.
At the plate, Northwestern hits .245 as a team. Kevin Ferrer leads the club with 13 hits and Stephen Hrustich is the team leader in runs scored with 10. BU should keep an eye on Griffin Arnone and his team-best three home runs. Alex Calarco and Vincent Bianchina are also staples to the lineup. Calarco leads the club with a .273 average and Bianchina has four doubles on the year.
Northwestern opened the season with three games at Texas State. They gave up 12, 20 and 24 runs in San Marcos. Single games on the schedule against Gardner-Webb, Presbyterian and USC Upstate followed to end the month of February. Louisiana Tech and Saint Louis swept the Wildcats recently. Their last midweek loss came at UIC.
The Bulldogs have won three-straight home openers. They defeated Manchester 5-2 on March 2, 2022, DePauw 16-4 on March 9, 2021 and Western Illinois 3-2 on Feb. 22, 2020.
Butler vs. the Big Ten
The Bulldogs have recorded eight wins against Big Ten teams over the last decade. Two of those eight wins came against Northwestern. Butler split a pair of games against the Wildcats last year, losing 13-3 in game one but taking game two 11-10. They also defeated Northwestern 10-9 in 10 innings during the 2016 campaign.
Since 2013, Butler has faced Indiana 11 times, Purdue 10 times, Northwestern three times, and Michigan State, Rutgers and Illinois once. Five of the eight wins have been recorded against Purdue. BU swept the Boilers in 2015 winning two games in West Lafayette and winning game three in Indy.
Butler has not hosted a three-game series against a Big Ten opponent in over 40 years! They hosted a pair of games against Indiana in both 1988 and 1986.
BIG EAST Rankings
Butler leads the BIG EAST in base on balls (75), double plays (13), and triples (7). Billy Wurch is tied for the conference lead in sac bunts (3) and Cory Bosecker is second in strikeouts with 27.
The longest hitting streak of the season belongs to Joey Urban (7), but the longest current streak is a tie between Carter Dorighi and Dominic Milano (2). Milano, Garret Gray and Scott Jones have all reached base safely in four-straight games.
Butler will play a midweek game at Ball State next Wednesday at 3 PM. Head Coach Blake Beemer played at Ball State from 2010-13. He was a three-time team captain that guided BSU to 31 wins during his senior season.
NOTRE DAME WOMEN’S BASKETBALL
BREAKING: NOTRE DAME STAR OLIVIA MILES WILL MISS NCAA TOURNAMENT
Notre Dame’s path to its third national championship just got a lot tougher. After two-and-a-half weeks of speculation, the worst fears about Olivia miles’ availability for the NCAA Tournament have come true. Despite the best efforts of the Irish’s medical staff, the team will be without its best player for March Madness.
This is the second season-ending knee injury for the Irish in an otherwise excellent season. dara mabrey, another leader, went down for the season in January. While the Irish have done fine without her and and won a single ACC Tournament game without Miles, who suffered her injury in the regular-season finale, this team suddenly looks a lot more vulnerable.
There is little doubt that this will take some of the wind out of the Purcell Pavilion atmosphere when the Irish begin tournament play against Southern Utah. However, they have no choice but to press on. While this news definitely lowers the ceiling for this year’s team, especially with South Carolina likely looming later in Greenville Regional 1, you never know what could happen. That’s what this time is about after all.
NO. 3 NOTRE DAME OPENS NCAA TOURNAMENT PLAY WITH NO. 14 SOUTHERN UTAH
SOUTH BEND, Ind. — When No. 14 seed Southern Utah takes the floor at Purcell Pavilion on Friday afternoon, it will be the program’s first NCAA Tournament appearance. Contrast that with third-seeded Notre Dame, who will be playing in its 28th Tournament and its 25th Tournament game at home. But this is March, and anything is possible.
Notre Dame arrived here via a 25-5 season, one which included a regular season ACC title and a trip to the conference semifinals. Sonia Citron ran the point for an Olivia Miles-less Notre Dame team, putting up 28 points against NC State in the ACC quarterfinals. She now leads Notre Dame with 14.7 points per game and earned AP All-America Honorable Mention status on Wednesday. She will have to step up in the Tournament as well, as Notre Dame announced on Thursday that Miles will be out for the remainder of the year.
Karen and Kevin Keyes Family Head Coach Niele Ivey has an arsenal of additional players at her disposal, including a pair of standout freshmen in KK Bransford and Cassandre Prosper. Bransford was tabbed as a member of the ACC All-Freshman Team at the conclusion of the regular season, and Prosper has already turned into one of Notre Dame’s best defensive players. Despite not playing for the Irish until Dec. 29, Prosper ranks third amongst ACC freshmen with 15 total blocks this year.
The Thunderbirds are riding a six-game win streak into the NCAA Tournament, including a Western Athletic Conference championship in the program’s first year in the league. Head coach Tracy Sanders largely uses a six-person rotation, and they have some height. Megan Jensen, a 6-3 center, and Lizzy Williamson, a 6-5 center, have started a combined 62 games this year.
Scoring-wise, Southern Utah is led by guard Cherita Daugherty. The 5-10 senior out of Vancouver, Wash., is posting 15.3 points, 5.6 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game. She had 26 points in the WAC Championship. While Daugherty is on top, the Thunderbirds bring a relatively balanced scoring attack to the table. In total, six players average at least 8 points per game.
Notre Dame is 69-25 in the NCAA Tournament, 23-4 in the First Round, 22-2 in home Tournament games all-time. The Irish narrowly missed the Elite 8 last year, falling to NC State in the Sweet 16, 66-63. Friday’s game tips off on ESPN2 at 3:30 p.m.
NOTRE DAME SOFTBALL
IRISH CLOSE SPRING BREAK WITH 7-0 WIN AT EAST CAROLINA
GREENVILLE, N.C. – The University of Notre Dame softball team closed its spring break trip in North Carolina with a 7-0 victory over the East Carolina Pirates Thursday evening at Max R. Joyner Family Stadium. The Fighting Irish hung crooked numbers in two innings, while freshman Micaela Kastor held ECU hitless through five to earn the 16th victory of the season.
Kastor started in the circle, throwing her second complete game, first 7.0 inning CG. The freshman struck out a season-high nine hitters in the contest, allowing just three hits and walking four.
The Irish offense was led by a pair of two hit efforts. Leea Hanks finished 2-for-4 with two RBI, two runs scored and a double. Lexi Orozco added a 2-for-3 performance with a double, two RBI and scored a run. Payton Tidd and Mickey Winchell each added an RBI to go with a hit. Miranda Johnson finished with a base knock. Carlli Kloss added two runs scored, reaching base with a walk and a hit by pitch.
How It Happened
After two scoreless innings, the Irish broke the tie in the top of the third. Jane Kronenberger was hit by a pitch to start the rally as Winchell reached on an infield hit. The ECU defense threw it away at first, and couldn’t pick it up clean, allowing Kronenberger to score from first on the play, and Winchell to take third. After Kloss was hit by a pitch, Hanks delivered a double to center field to score both and extend the lead to 3-0. A fly out to deep left moved Hanks up and Orozco brought her in with a single to take lead at 4-0.
After a scoreless fourth, Notre Dame added on three more in the fifth. A walk to Kloss started the rally as she went first to third on a single to right. Gaskins brought a run in with a ground out and Orozco doubled to bring in another. Tidd extended the lead with a single of her own to bring in the third run of the inning, extending the lead to 7-0.
ECU got runners on in the sixth and seventh, but Kastor worked out of the jams to preserve the 7-0 win.
The Irish will take this upcoming weekend off before opening the home schedule Tuesday night. Notre Dame will host Miami (Ohio) at 5 p.m. at Melissa Cook Stadium.
NOTRE DAME WOMEN’S LAX
CHOMA’S CAREER DAY POWERS IRISH PAST VT
SOUTH BEND, Ind. – Notre Dame women’s lacrosse took down conference opponent Virginia Tech with a dominating 14-1 win.
The Irish offense was unstoppable as they tallied two hat tricks, a career high in goals, and tied a career high in points. Kasey Choma had a career day, scoring a personal high eight goals, which also matches her career high for points in a game.
Defense didn’t go unnoticed as they caused 13 turnovers and Lilly Callahan registered a 0.833 save percentage, making five saves while allowing just one goal. The Irish defense held Virginia Tech to its lowest goal total of the season and tied for its lowest in program history.
Madison Ahern and Jackie Wolak finished with four points apiece, Ahern with three goals and an assist and Wolak with two goals and two assists.
HOW IT HAPPENED
The Irish came out firing on all cylinders when they put up an 8-0 run in just the first quarter. The eight goal run featured hat tricks from both Choma and Ahern. The second quarter was much more even as the Irish extended their lead by two for a 10-1 score at the half. Choma was the lone goal scorer for the Irish in the second quarter as she scored both goals for the Irish, the tenth one coming with only seconds left before halftime.
Coming out of halftime, nothing was stopping the Irish, as Choma fired off an assist from Denes to continue the Irish lead. Wolak found the back of the net later in the quarter after throwing a couple of dodges to get past the goalie for an open opportunity. Anna Kenney added to the Irish advantage with just over a minute remaining in the third quarter for a 13-1 Irish lead. The fourth quarter had the Irish hold the Hokies scoreless again for a final score of 14-1. Choma capped off the scoring for the Irish to give herself a new career high in goals (8) and tie her career high in points (8).
NOTRE DAME NOTES
Notre Dame improves to 12-2 against Virginia Tech in the all-time series.
The one-goal from Virginia Tech is tied for the fewest goals it has scored in a game in program history.
The Irish have now held five of seven opponents to single-digits in the goal column.
Choma tallied her now fifth hat trick of the season,and Ahern tallied her third.
Choma established a new career high with eight goals and tied her career high in points.
Notre Dame will stay in South Bend, to take on the Liberty Flames on Sunday March 19. Opening draw is set for 1 pm at Loftus Arena. There will be live stats available and broadcast coverage on ACCNX.
NOTRE DAME MEN’S TENNIS
PREVIEW: ON THE ROAD FOR ACC PLAY IN FLORIDA
SOUTH BEND, Ind. – The University of Notre Dame men’s team has been in Florida for spring break and are set to play their first ACC road matches of the season. On Friday, the Irish will play the #58 ranked Miami Hurricanes in Coral Gables at 3 p.m. Miami is coming into the contest with an overall 8-6 record on the year and most recently taking a pair of losses in conference play at Wake Forest and NC State. The Hurricanes are led by a pair of ranked singles players who are #44 and #76 in the country.
Then a trip to the northern part of the state will be to take on the 17th-ranked Florida State Seminoles at 12:30 p.m. Sunday. They come into the match with a 10-5 record overall and went 2-1 last weekend with wins over #14 Wake Forest and North Carolina Central. The Seminoles are led at the top by the #4 ranked player in the country as well as having the #107 ranked singles player.
Notre Dame is led by freshman phenom Sebastian Dominko who is ranked #43 in the country and has won his last three matches, all over nationally ranked players. He and senior Connor Fu are ranked #43 in doubles after their 12-3 record at #1 doubles. Yu Zhang leads the team in singles wins with nine overall this spring.
NOTRE DAME SWIMMING
DIVERS TIE THURSDAY, SWIMMERS MAKE DEBUT FRIDAY AT NCAAS
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — It was the second day of the 2023 NCAA Women’s Championships on Thursday, but it was the first in which Notre Dame had participants. Two divers — sophomore Calie Brady and graduate student Allie Klein — were the women of the day, and they posted unusual results. Brady and Klein posted a tie — yes, a tie — for 33rd place in the women’s 1-meter event with a final score of 243.45. The complete results from the 1-meter can be found here.
Friday is a huge day for the Irish contingency at University of Tennessee, as senior swimmers Coleen Gillilan and Ellie Jew will make their respective meet debuts. Gillilan — who has qualified for the meet three times over her four-year career — will swim both the 100 butterfly (51.73) and 100 breaststroke (1:00.59). Jew is a first-time participant, and she will swim the 100 breaststroke. Her time of 59.73 from the 2023 ACC Championships was her first time breaking a minute in the event, narrowly getting her into the field at the pinnacle of collegiate swimming.
Both Brady and Klein will compete in the women’s 3-meter on Friday as well.
BALL STATE WOMEN’S BASKETBALL
WBB ADVANCES TO SECOND ROUND OF WNIT WITH WIN OVER BELMONT
MUNCIE, Ind. – The Ball State women’s basketball team (26-8) advanced to the second round of the Women’s National Invitation Tournament (WNIT) with its 101-86 victory over Belmont (23-12) Thursday night in Worthen Arena.
This is the first time since 2018 that Ball State has advanced to the second round of the WNIT. That year the Cardinals defeated Middle Tennessee, 69-60.
Under 11th year head coach Brady Sallee, the Cardinals have surpassed the second round of the WNIT four times (2013, 2016, 2018 & 2023).
The Cardinals had four players in double figures with three having 20+ points. Leading the way was redshirt senior Anna Clephane with a career high 31 points. Behind Clephane, was sophomore Madelyn Bischoff with a personal best 23 points. Graduate senior Thelma Dis Agustsdottir dropped in 20 points while firing off six 3-pointers. Agustsdottir now has 104 3-pointers which is a single-season program record passing current assistant coach Moriah Monaco (2016-17).
Rounding out the double-digit scoring was sophomore Marie Kiefer who ended the night with 10.
Also, the Cardinals’ 26 wins ties the program record for most wins in a season which was 26-9 in 2008-09 under the direction of former head coach Kelly Packard.
The stat sheet was similar in most categories, but it was the sixth man which was our home crowd tonight that allowed us to seal tonight’s victory.
The Cardinals got off to a slow start against the Bruins in the opening 10 minutes of action as BSU found itself trailing by 11 (23-12) to end the first quarter of play.
But as we know time and time again, Ball State is a strong shooting team and once the Cardinals start, they can’t stop. Ball State fought its way back into the contest after putting together a 17-6 scoring spree in the second frame. The run was capped off by a 3-pointer from Clephane to knot the game at 29 apiece.
The Cardinals had a lot of help, but it was Bischoff who shined in the first 20 minutes of play after going 3-of-3 from behind the arc and 4-of-5 from the field. Bischoff ended the half with a basket at the buzzer to give Ball State the 42-40 edge over Belmont at intermission.
After the break, Ball State continued to outpace Belmont playing a much quicker ball game than it appeared the Bruins were accustomed to. The Cardinals tenacious defense and unmatched offense eventually allowed BSU to build a comfortable 74-63 lead to end the third quarter of play.
In the final stanza, the Cardinals remained in control the last 10 minutes of the ball game to seal their destiny in the 2023 WNIT.
The Ball State women’s basketball team continues its quest for a WNIT championship when it competes in the second round at Memphis on Monday at 8 pm ET.
BALL STATE BASEBALL
BALL STATE WELCOMES TOLEDO FOR WEEKEND SERIES
MUNCIE, Ind. – The Ball State baseball team returns to the friendly confines of the Ball Diamond at First Merchants Ballpark Complex on Friday for a doubleheader against Mid-American Conference foe Toledo. First pitch for game one between the Cardinals and Rockets is scheduled for 1 p.m. and game three is scheduled for a 1 p.m. start time on Sunday.
The Cardinals are coming off a 2-1 series victory over the Western Michigan Broncos in the Mid-American Conference opener. Ball State enters Tuesday with a 10-6 over record and a 2-1 record in MAC play. Toledo boasts a 9-6 overall record and is 3-0 in conference action.
Gold Glove Peltier
At the conclusion of last season, Ryan Peltier was honored as the best defensive third baseman in the NCAA and received an ABCA/Rawlings Gold Glove. After being named the MAC Defensive Player of the Year and earning a spot on the All-MAC Second Team for back-to-back seasons, Peltier was awarded the first Gold Glove in BSU history. He was a 2023 Preseason All-American honoree from Collegiate Baseball Newspaper.
Peltier leads the Cardinals with a .419 batting average. He has pelted a team-best six homers and has a team-high 18 RBIs. His six home runs are tied for 63rd in the NCAA and fifth in the conference. He has a slugging percentage of .823. Peltier has scored 21 runs, which is tied for 75th in the NCAA and is second the MAC.
What Can Brown Do for You?
Ryan Brown was named the No. 49 prospect in college baseball by D1 Baseball. Brown was the only Mid-American Conference player selected to the top-100 list. He was also tabbed as one of the top mid-major prospects for the 2023 season. Brown also landed on the 2023 MLB Draft: Rising Righthanded Pitchers watch list. Last season, Brown earned recognition as a Collegiate Baseball Newspaper Freshman All-American along with the MAC Freshman Pitcher of the Year. He also earned a spot on the All-MAC Second Team.
Brown is currently fifth in the NCAA with 17.83 strikeouts per nine innings and tied for 11th in the NCAA with 35 strikeouts. He his 3-1 on the year and has thrown 17 2/3 innings. Opponents are hitting just .150 against him for the season.
Scouting the Cardinals
Matthew Rivera is second on the team with a .343 batting average. He has 11 RBIs, seven runs scored, five doubles, and two home runs. He has a slugging percentage of .657. Adam Tellier is third on the squad with a .322 average. He has 13 runs scored, nine RBIs, eight walks, five doubles, one triple, and one home run. Blake Bevis is hit just above .300 at .302. He is second on the team with 12 RBIs and second in home runs with three. He has scored 10 runs and has three doubles. Nick Gregory might only be hitting .202, but he leads the team with 17 walks. He has scored 15 runs and driven in three runs.
The Cardinal pitching staff is led by Trennor O’Donnell with a 1.77 ERA. He has 19 strikeouts in 20 1/3 innings of work. Tanner Knapp as added 16 innings in five relief appearances for the Cardinals. Knapp has 19 strikeouts on the year. Ty Johnson and Jacob Hartlaub are tied for second on the staff with 21 strikeouts.
Ball State vs. Toledo: The Series
The Cardinals and Rockets will me for the 145th time on Friday. Ball State holds an 82-62 advantage over Toledo. BSU has won four of the last five meetings, but UT won the last meeting 5-1, in Toledo. The Cardinals are 48-21 against the Rockets in Muncie. Ball State is 46-18 against Toledo under Head Coach Rich Maloney.
Scouting the Rockets
The Rockets are led by Owen Jackson who is tied for 24th in the NCAA with seven home runs and he is tops in the MAC. He is third on the team with a .317 batting average with 15 RBIs, 12 runs scored, and five doubles. Garret Pike leads the team with a .339 batting average, 17 RBIs, and 16 runs scored. He is second on the team with four doubles. Jeron Williams is second on the team with a .338 average with 14 runs scored, 12 RBIs, two doubles, two home runs, and one triple. Mayson Sykes rounds out the hitters above .300 with a .302 batting average. He has 12 RBIs, 10 runs scored, five home runs, three doubles, and one triple. Cal McAninch leads the Toledo pitching staff with a 2.12 ERA in 17 innings pitched. He has 15 strikeouts in his six appearances. Noah Johnson paces the team with a 3-0 record in 19 2/3 innings of work. He has a 3.66 ERA with 25 strikeouts.
1. Kent State – 12-4, 3-0
2. Toledo – 9-6, 3-0
3. Ball State – 10-6, 2-1
4. Eastern Michigan – 8-5, 2-1
5. Ohio – 4-10, 2-1
6. Akron – 5-10, 1-2
7. Western Michigan – 4-10, 1-2
8. Bowling Green – 3-10, 1-2
9. Central Michigan – 9-6, 0-0
10. Northern Illinois – 3-13, 0-3
11. Miami – 2-15, 0-3
INDIANA STATE BASEBALL
SYCAMORES MAKE 2023 HOME DEBUT WITH WEEKEND SERIES AGAINST MICHIGAN STATE
TERRE HAUTE, Ind. – Indiana State is scheduled to open the home portion of their 2023 season this weekend as the Sycamores welcome Michigan State to Bob Warn Field for a three-game series spanning March 17-19.
First pitch in Friday’s series opener is set for a 3 p.m. ET start time, while Saturday (2 p.m.) and Sunday (1 p.m.) close out the weekend. All three games are set to be streamed live on ESPN+.
The weekend series is a return trip that was originally scheduled between the two teams in 2020. However, prior to the teams taking the field, the 2020 spring baseball season was shut down due to the COVID pandemic.
Indiana State closed out its season-opening 16 game road trip on Tuesday with the Sycamores picking up a 7-3 win in 10 innings against the Fighting Illini. The midweek win at Illinois Field continued a six-game winning streak that equals ISU’s longest streak since 2021. Over the season-opening road trip, Indiana State added wins over Quinnipiac, Florida Gulf Coast, SEMO (twice), Memphis (three), and the Fighting Illini.
The Sycamores’ win at Illinois marked ISU’s first win at Illinois Field since 2007 as Jorge Pereira and Keegan Watson sparked a four-run 10th inning to propel ISU to the 7-3 victory. ISU loaded the bases with one out in the top of the 10th inning as Luis Hernandez and Parker Stinson both reached on infield singles, while Mike Sears was hit by a pitch. Pereira brought home the first run after getting hit by a pitch, while Keegan Watson connected on a three-run double down the right field line to provide the final margin.
Jared Spencer posted five strikeouts over the final 2.2 innings in picking up his second win of 2023. He retired the final eight Illinois hitters to highlight an ISU pitching staff day that tied a season-high with 14 strikeouts. Brennyn Cutts picked up the no-decision on the start after going two scoreless innings and striking out three. Cam Edmonson, Jacob Pruitt, Zach Davidson, and Joey Hurth also saw time on the mound in relief.
The Sycamores picked up their first Missouri Valley Conference weekly award earlier this week as Seth Gergely was honored as the MVC Player of the Week. Gergely hit a team-best .400 over the five-game stretch at SEMO and Memphis with two doubles, six RBI, and five stolen bases. Highlighting his week was a 3-for-3 effort with three RBI in the first game against SEMO, while adding runs in all three games at Memphis.
Grant Magill has had the hot bat at the plate for the Sycamores recently with a team-best .368 batting average with a home run and seven RBI over the last five games. Magill added his first home run of the year, a grand slam, in ISU’s 5-1 win over the Tigers. Luis Hernandez and Keegan Watson have also hit .300 over the last five games with Watson connecting on the decisive three-run double in the win over Illinois.
Spencer has been active on the mound over the last week with three appearances and two wins over six innings in relief. He’s added 11 strikeouts in appearances against SEMO, Memphis, and Illinois. Luke Patzner was also effective in relief, while Matt Jachec and Connor Fenlong are coming off career-best outings last weekend at Memphis.
Luis Hernandez continues to pace the ISU offense on the season with a .308 batting average. The sophomore has posted a team-high 20 hits and 13 run scored, while adding five doubles. Parker Stinson (.304) is also among the team leaders, while Mike Sears paces ISU in both home runs (4) and RBI (15).
Fifteen different Indiana State pitchers have seen time on the mound this year with Matt Jachec (26.0) and Connor Fenlong (25.1) sitting 1-2 in the MVC standings in innings pitched. Zach Davidson (2-1) is the team’s wins leader adding two victories in relief over the last week, while Jared Spencer has made a team-high nine appearances on the mound. The Sycamores have posted a 5.33 staff ERA and a 152:72 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
The Sycamores continue to be elite defensively. Indiana State entered the week third in the NCAA and first in the MVC in fielding percentage. The Sycamores are fielding at a .988 clip on the season with five players posting perfect 1.000 percentages with at least 20 chances.
Scouting the Opposition
Michigan State Spartans
Michigan State enters the weekend series with an 8-7 overall record on the year. The Spartans are on a three-game winning streak after topping Western Carolina (twice) and Kansas at the 2023 First Pitch Invitational held at Fluor Field in Greenville, S.C. The three-game winning streak snapped a three-game losing streak after falling at CofC, Air Force, and Wofford. All 15 Spartans’ games have been come on the road this season.
Brock Vradenburg (.469) and Trent Farquhar (.409) lead Michigan State’s offense as the Spartans are hitting .312 as a team in 2023. Sam Busch (.340) and Bryan Broecker (.302) are also hitting above .300 this year as the Spartans boast one of the top hitting teams in the NCAA Division I sitting 31st overall in batting average on the year. Vradenburg leads the team with six home runs and 23 RBI, while Farquhar has connected on a team-high nine doubles. Casey Mayes (5-of-7) and Jack Frank (4-of-5) are among the team’s stolen base leaders with 21 steals in 29 chances.
The Michigan State pitching staff has posted a 6.66 ERA on the year with 14 different pitchers making appearances so far in 2023. Wyatt Rush (3.97 ERA), Dominic Pianto (5.93 ERA), and Ryan Szczepaniak (8.10 ERA) have all made a team-high six appearances on the year. Andrew Carson (2-1, 4.76 ERA) and Joseph Dzierwa (2-1, 5.40 ERA) are among the team’s starting rotation on the season.
Michigan State was not ranked among the top six in the Big Ten preseason poll as announced by the conference office. Infielders Trent Farquhar and Mitch Jeff, and outfielder Casey Mays were all honored on the preseason Big Ten All-Conference team. MSU catcher Bryan Broecker was recently recognized on the Buster Posey National Collegiate Catcher of the Year Award Watch List.
Indiana State is the lone Missouri Valley school on Michigan State’s schedule in the 2023 season.
Indiana State – Michigan State History
Michigan State leads the all-time series against Indiana State, 3-1, dating back to the first contest between the two programs back in 1999. The first game of the series came in a neutral site competition in Lake Charles, La. with the Spartans topping ISU 14-9. The last three games in the series came in East Lansing, Mich. with the Spartans winning the first and third games in the series, while Collin Liberatore went 7.2 innings in ISU’s 2-1 win back on April 6, 2019.
Indiana State Baseball Season Tickets
Season tickets for the 2023 Indiana State baseball season are on sale now as the Sycamores continue to gear up for the upcoming season. ISU will play 19 games at Bob Warn Field this season starting on March 17-19 with a weekend series against Michigan State.
Overall, the Sycamores home schedule features nonconference contests against Michigan State (Mar. 17-19), Purdue (Mar. 28), Indiana (Apr. 4), Illinois (May 2), and Ball State (May 9). The conference slate features Valparaiso (Mar. 24-26), Illinois State (Apr. 7-9), Southern Illinois (Apr. 21-23), and Murray State (May 12-14).
PURDUE FT. WAYNE MEN’S VB
TWO RANKED TEAMS VISIT GATES THIS WEEKEND
FORT WAYNE, Ind. – Purdue Fort Wayne men’s volleyball will play a pair of ranked teams in the Gates Sports Center this weekend with No. 14 Charleston and No. 9 Loyola Chicago.
Game Day Information (Friday)
Who: No. 14 Charleston Golden Eagles
When: Friday, March 17 | 7 PM
Where: Fort Wayne, Ind. | Gates Sports Center
Live Stats: Link
Game Notes: Purdue Fort Wayne | Charleston | MIVA
Game Day Information (Saturday)
Who: No. 9 Loyola Chicago Ramblers
When: Saturday, March 18 | 5 PM
Where: Fort Wayne, Ind. | Gates Sports Center
Live Stats: Link
Game Notes: Purdue Fort Wayne | Loyola Chicago | MIVA
Know Your Foes
• Charleston has been one of the most impressive teams in the National Collegiate this season, starting the season 17-1 and moving into the AVCA Top 15 Poll for the first time in program history on February 13. The Golden Eagles’ only slip-up was a 3-0 loss to George Mason. UC is led by Lachlan Bray and Garret Schnitker, who are both averaging over 3.00 kills per set.
• Loyola Chicago is 16-2 with an 8-0 record in the MIVA. The Ramblers’ only losses this year came at Concordia and No. 3 Long Beach State. Loyola has won its last nine matches. Parker Van Buren and Cole Schlothauer are one of the most dangerous 1-2 combos in the country, averaging 4.10 and 3.51 kills per set, respectively. Dan Mangun is the reigning MIVA Offensive Player of the Week and AVCA National Player of the Week.
• Purdue Fort Wayne beat Charleston both times they met in 2016 and 2022. Both contests were 3-0 wins for the Mastodons. Jon Diedrich had 10 kills in last year’s match.
• Loyola Chicago leads the all-time series 41-23. Purdue Fort Wayne is 9-18 against the Ramblers at home. The Ramblers won the last match 3-2 in Chicago. Mark Frazier, Jon Diedrich and Bryce Walker all had 10+ kills.
Ryan Steponaitis (0.92), Bryce Walker (0.84) and Mark Frazier (0.77) are all in the top-15 in the MIVA in blocks per set.
Bryce the Beast
Bryce Walker has the best career hitting percentage among active MIVA players with a .344 clip.
Now Walk It Out
Bryce Walker’s career mark of 0.35 aces per set is the second-most among active middle blockers in the country and the most in the MIVA. This mark is also top-25 overall and third in the MIVA among all positions.
Zach Solomon is the MIVA career leader with 0.37 aces per set.
Last Time Out
Purdue Fort Wayne took on the three best teams in the country at the Outrigger Invitational, but lost all three 3-0.
The Mastodons have another match at home next week on Thursday (March 23) when MIVA foe McKendree visits the Gates Sports Center.
BASEBALL HOSTS PURDUE IN THREE-GAME SERIES THIS WEEKEND
EVANSVILLE, Ind. – The red-hot University of Evansville baseball team will get a big test this weekend, as Big Ten member Purdue will come to town for a three-game series. The series will begin on Friday at 3 p.m. at UE’s German American Bank Field at Charles H. Braun Stadium, and all three games can be heard live on the Old National Bank Radio Network and 107.1 F.M.-WJPS.
Evansville will bring a 10-7 overall record into Friday’s series opener after exploding for a 14-2 victory at Bellarmine on Wednesday afternoon. The Purple Aces launched four home runs and exploded for six runs in the fifth inning and seven more in the sixth inning to win their third-straight. Overall, UE has won 10 of the last 12 games.
Fifth-year first baseman Chase Hug continues to lead the UE offense with a .433 batting average. He launched his fourth home run of the year in the ninth inning on Wednesday to cap UE’s scoring, and is tied with teammates Eric Roberts and Kip Fougerousse for the team-lead with four home runs. Hug also sports a .595 on-base percentage this year, which ranks ninth-best in NCAA Division I baseball. He has reached base in all 17 games this year, and in 23 consecutive games dating back to last year.
On the mound, UE will turn to junior RHP Nick Smith (1-3, 5.70 ERA) to start Friday’s series opener. Smith struck out a career-high 12 men in his last home start against Bowling Green on March 4. He is coming off a tough-luck loss in his last start last Friday, as he suffered the loss in UE’s 2-0 loss at Middle Tennessee State. Pitching has helped power UE’s recent surge, as the UE pitching staff has posted a 2.29 ERA over the last nine contests, while not allowing more than four runs since UE’s 14-8 win at Southeast Missouri State to open the month of March.
The UE pitching staff will be challenged by a Purdue offense which ranks among the nation’s best this year. The Boilermakers currently rank 31st in the nation in scoring at 8.9 runs per game. Purdue stands at 9-7 overall after a 14-5 victory over Northern Illinois on Wednesday. The Boilermakers hit .304 as a team, and they are led in hitting by fifth-year infielder Evan Albrecht, who will bring a .407 batting average into this weekend’s series. Redshirt junior infielder Paul Toetz is not far behind with a .390 average, and he ranks 12th nationally in home runs this year with eight home runs in 16 games.
UE and Purdue have not met on the diamond since 2013, when the Boilermakers took two out of three games at Charles H. Braun Stadium. The two teams were supposed to meet originally in March, 2020, but the series was cancelled right at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The two teams were scheduled to play last year, but the game was rained out in West Lafayette.
The series is scheduled to continue on Saturday at 2 p.m. and conclude on Sunday at 1 p.m.
SMALL COLLEGE ATHLETIC SITES:
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FRANKLIN ATHLETICS: https://franklingrizzlies.com/
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ANDERSON ATHLETICS: https://athletics.anderson.edu/landing/index
TRINE ATHLETICS: https://trinethunder.com/landing/index
BETHEL ATHLETICS: https://bupilots.com/
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HANOVER ATHLETICS: https://athletics.hanover.edu/
MANCHESTER ATHLETICS: https://muspartans.com/
HUNTINGTON ATHLETICS: https://www.huathletics.com/
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ST. FRANCIS ATHLETICS: https://www.saintfranciscougars.com/landing/index
IU KOKOMO ATHLETICS: https://iukcougars.com/
IU EAST ATHLETICS: https://www.iueredwolves.com/
IU SOUTH BEND ATHLETICS: https://iusbtitans.com/
PURDUE NORTHWEST ATHLETICS: https://pnwathletics.com/
INDIANA TECH ATHLETICS: https://indianatechwarriors.com/index.aspx
GRACE COLLEGE ATHLETICS: https://gclancers.com/
ST. MARY OF THE WOODS ATHLETICS: https://smwcathletics.com/
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HOLY CROSS ATHLETICS: https://www.hcsaints.com/index.php
TAYLOR ATHLETICS: https://www.taylortrojans.com/
VINCENNES ATHLETICS: https://govutrailblazers.com/landing/index
TOP NATIONAL NEWS
NCAA MEN’S BASKETBALL ROUND-UP
PRINCETON, FURMAN PULL OFF UPSETS
Ryan Langborg banked in a driving layup with two minutes to go Thursday to give Princeton its first lead, and second-seeded Arizona missed its final seven shots as the 15th-seeded Tigers scored a shocking 59-55 victory in a South region first-round game in Sacramento, Calif.
Princeton (22-8) finished on a 9-0 run while overcoming a 12-point second-half deficit, posting an upset reminiscent of its 1996 first-round victory over defending champion UCLA. Pac-12 tournament champion Arizona (28-7) bowed out after scoring only four points in the final 8:05 to finish with its season-low point total.
Tosan Evbuomwan led Princeton with 15 points, seven rebounds and four assists. Princeton advances to play in Saturday’s second round against seventh-seeded Missouri.
Azuolas Tubelis had 22 points for Arizona, while Oumar Ballo posted a double-double with 13 points and 12 rebounds.
NO. 13 FURMAN 68, NO. 4 VIRGINIA 67
JP Pegues’ 3-pointer with 2.4 seconds left after a huge steal by Garrett Hein lifted the Paladins to a stunning upset over the Cavaliers in Orlando, Fla.
Pegues’ historic shot from the right wing gave Furman its first NCAA Tournament win since 1974 after rallying from a four-point deficit in the final 19 seconds. The Paladins (28-7), playing in their first NCAA Tournament since 1980, will face fifth-seeded San Diego State in the second round on Saturday.
Jalen Slawson had 19 points, 10 rebounds and four assists, while Marcus Foster added 14 points for Furman, which won for the 15th time in its past 16 games. Kadin Shedrick had 15 points and 13 rebounds for the Cavaliers (25-8), who have lost in the first round in three of their past four NCAA Tournaments.
NO. 1 ALABAMA 96, NO. 16 TEXAS A&M-CORPUS CHRISTI 75
Nick Pringle posted a double-double Thursday as the Crimson Tide overcame a poor performance from Brandon Miller to beat the Islanders in Birmingham, Ala.
Pringle totaled 19 points and 15 rebounds on 8-of-10 shooting in just 21 minutes of action for Alabama (30-5), which will face eighth-seeded Maryland in the second round on Saturday. Mark Sears added 15 points and Jahvon Quinerly went for 13. Miller, the Southeastern Conference Player and Freshman of the Year, went scoreless for the first time this season, with coach Nate Oats saying he has been playing through a groin injury.
Trevian Tennyson scored a game-high 20 points Thursday for Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (24-11), which shot just 34.7 percent (26 of 75) from the floor. Isaac Mushila contributed 16 points and 15 rebounds, while Owen Dease had 14 points.
NO. 5 SAN DIEGO STATE 63, NO. 12 CHARLESTON 57
Matt Bradley scored 17 points and the fifth-seeded Aztecs held off the 12th-seeded Cougars in Orlando.
Keshad Johnson, Jaedon LeDee and Aguek Arop scored eight points apiece for San Diego State (28-6), which will face 13th-seeded Furman in the second round on Saturday. Furman upset fourth-seeded Virginia earlier Thursday,
Ante Brzovic had 12 points and eight rebounds, Ryan Larson had 11 points and Dalton Bolon finished with 10 points for Charleston (31-4).
NO. 7 MISSOURI 76, NO. 10 UTAH STATE 65
D’Moi Hodge scored 23 points and had four steals as the Tigers defeated the Aggies in Sacramento.
Kobe Brown scored 19 points and grabbed eight rebounds for the Tigers (25-9), who won their first NCAA tournament game since 2010. DeAndre Gholston scored 11 points and Noah Carter added 10 for Missouri, which will play the No. 15 seed Princeton — who later shocked No. 2 Arizona — in the second round on Saturday.
Taylor Funk led the Aggies (26-9) with 16 points and seven rebounds. Dan Akin and Steve Ashworth scored 12 points each and Sean Bairstow added 10. Missouri held Utah State to 4-for-24 shooting from 3-point range and forced the Aggies into 15 turnovers.
No. 8 Maryland 67, No. 9 West Virginia 65
Julian Reese led the Terrapins with 17 points and nine rebounds in a tight win over the Mountaineers to tip off region action in Birmingham.
Hakim Hart had 15 points with four assists and scored the go-ahead basket as the Terrapins (22-12) ended the game on an 11-6 run. Scott had 11 points and eight rebounds and Young scored 10 points for Maryland, which reached the Round of 32 for the third time in the past four tournaments (2019, 2021).
The Mountaineers (19-15) lost despite Johnson’s career-high 27 points. Mitchell added 13 points and six rebounds.
No. 4 Tennessee 58, No. 13 Louisiana 55
Tyreke Key scored 12 points and the Volunteers led by as many as 18 points before escaping with a victory over the Ragin’ Cajuns at Orlando.
Jahmai Mashack added 11 points for the fourth-seeded Volunteers (24-10), who won for just the sixth time in their past 13 games. Tennessee will face fifth-seeded Duke in the second round on Saturday.
Jordan Brown recorded 16 points and seven rebounds and Kobe Julien added 15 points for 13th-seeded Louisiana (26-8), which had a five-game winning streak end. Jalen Dalcourt scored 11 points and Themus Fulks had 11 assists for the Ragin’ Cajuns.
NO. 5 DUKE 74, NO. 12 ORAL ROBERTS 51
Jeremy Roach tied his career high with 23 points as the Blue Devils ran away from the Golden Eagles for a wire-to-wire victory in Orlando.
It was the 10th straight win for the Blue Devils (27-8), who are moving on under first-year coach Jon Scheyer. Roach shot 9 of 17 from the floor and had just one turnover in 37 minutes of action. The veteran guard also had three assists and two rebounds.
Dereck Lively II provided the Blue Devils with a game-high 12 rebounds and six blocked shots. Oral Roberts (30-5) got 12 points from Max Abmas, who also had five assists and three rebounds.
NO. 1 HOUSTON 63, NO. 16 NORTHERN KENTUCKY 52
First-team All-America guard Marcus Sasser scored just five points before aggravating a groin injury, but the Cougars battled through it to win their tournament opener in Birmingham.
Freshman Jarace Walker led the Cougars (32-3) with 16 points while Jamal Shead battled a troublesome knee to contribute 13 points as Houston advanced to face ninth-seeded Auburn (21-12) on Saturday. Sasser’s status for this game is uncertain. After missing Houston’s AAC tournament championship game Sunday, he started and played most of the first half Thursday — but went to the bench shortly before halftime complaining of pain in his left groin and did not return.
Sam Vinson paced Northern Kentucky (22-13) with 15 points while Trey Robinson added 11. The Norse led for several minutes in the first half, forged a tie early in the second half and had multiple chances to re-take the lead — but finished 5 of 33 from 3-point range as they tried in vain to catch up late.
NO. 2 TEXAS 81, NO. 15 COLGATE 61
Sir’Jabari Rice shot Texas into the second round with a career-high seven 3-pointers, pushing the Longhorns past the Raiders in Des Moines, Iowa.
Rice had 23 points and six rebounds, and the Longhorns shot 56.5 percent from 3-point range while clamping Colgate’s prodigious perimeter offense. The Raiders missed 12 of 15 tries behind the 3-point line; Texas was 13 of 23.
Marcus Carr and Dylan Disu had 17 points apiece for Texas (27-8). The Longhorns will face Penn State on Saturday, looking for their first Sweet 16 appearance since 2008.
NO. 10 PENN STATE 76, NO. 7 TEXAS A&M 59
Andrew Funk drilled a career-best eight 3-pointers while scoring a game-high 27 points and Jalen Pickett added 19 points to boost the Nittany Lions over the Aggies in Des Moines.
Penn State (23-13) shot 48.2 percent from the floor while making 13 of 22 attempts from 3-point range. The Aggies (25-1) were as cold as the Nittany Lions were hot, struggling to a 33.9-percent effort from the field, including a 7-for-23 showing from deep.
The Nittany Lions, who are making their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2011, won for the sixth time in seven games and are set to face second-seeded Texas in a second-round game on Saturday. Thursday marked the program’s first tournament victory since 2001.
NO. 9 AUBURN 83, NO. 8 IOWA 75
Johni Broome recorded a double-double, and the Tigers held off a late comeback bid by the Hawkeyes to win their opener in Birmingham.
Broome finished with 19 points, 12 rebounds and five blocks for the Tigers (21-12), who will face top seed Houston or 16th-seeded Northern Kentucky in the second round. Wendell Green Jr. chipped in 15 points, while Tre Donaldson, K.D. Johnson and Jaylin Williams tallied 11 apiece.
Payton Sandfort finished with a game-high 21 points for the Hawkeyes (19-14). Kris Murray contributed 15 points and nine rebounds, and Filip Rebraca notched 14 points.
NO. 1 KANSAS 96, NO. 16 HOWARD 68
The defending national champion Jayhawks shifted into high gear in the second half to smother the Bison in Des Moines.
All-American Jalen Wilson collected 20 points and seven rebounds, freshman Gradey Dick had 19 points, 11 rebounds, four assists and three steals and the top-seeded Jayhawks (28-7) had five players with 10 or more points. The Jayhawks advanced to play eighth seed Arkansas on Saturday. Arkansas eliminated ninth seed Illinois 73-63 on Thursday.
Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Rookie of the Year Shy Odom had 15 points and eight rebounds for 16th-seeded Howard (22-13), which went 5 of 20 from 3-point range in the second half.
NO. 2 UCLA 86, NO. 15 UNC ASHEVILLE 53
Jaime Jaquez Jr. produced 17 points, eight rebounds and five steals as the Bruins dominated from the start and cruised to a victory over the Bulldogs in Sacramento.
Amari Bailey also scored 17 for UCLA (30-5), which raced to a 14-0 lead and made its first seven shots from the field. The outcome was never in doubt after that, as UNC Asheville (27-8) trailed by 21 at halftime and fell behind by 33 in the second half.
The Bulldogs’ Drew Pember, the Big South Player of the Year who came in averaging 21.2 points and 9.4 rebounds per game, finished with 13 points, two rebounds, two assists and six turnovers.
NO. 7 NORTHWESTERN 75, NO. 10 BOISE STATE 67
Boo Buie recorded 22 points, five rebounds and five assists the Wildcats, who never trailed while knocking off the Broncos in Sacramento.
Chase Audige added 20 points, six rebounds and four steals for the seventh-seeded Wildcats (22-11), who improved to 2-1 all-time in NCAA Tournament play.
Max Rice scored 17 points and Naje Smith had 14 points and 11 rebounds for 10th-seeded Boise State (24-10). Boise State dropped to 0-9 all-time in the NCAA Tournament, with the past four losses coming under current coach Leon Rice.
NO. 8 ARKANSAS 73, NO. 9 ILLINOIS 63
The Razorbacks survived a second-half slump to put away the Fighting Illini and advance to the second round in Des Moines.
Ricky Council IV scored 18 points and pulled down 10 rebounds to lead Arkansas (21-13), which trailed for only 1 minute, 20 seconds and led by as many as 17 in the second half. Davonte Davis scored 16 points, and Anthony Black had 12.
Ninth-seeded Illinois committed 17 turnovers but threatened late in the second half before another Arkansas surge. Terrence Shannon Jr. had 20 points for the Illini, while RJ Melendez and Coleman Hawkins added 10 apiece.
TAKEAWAYS FROM THURSDAY’S NCAA TOURNAMENT GAMES
Princeton uses defense to stun Arizona
Through Thursday’s action at the NCAA Tournament, the plucky underdog that has emerged is … Princeton?
The Tigers absolutely stifled Arizona late in Thursday’s game to mark the third straight tournament a No. 15 seed has knocked off a No. 2 in the opening round. Princeton held KenPom’s fourth-ranked offense in the nation scoreless over the final 4:45 in the second half to secure the dramatic come-from-behind win. Usually a 15-over-2 upset is marked by lights-out shooting from the underdog, but that was far from the case in Sacramento. Princeton made just 4-of-25 shots from beyond the arc, but held Arizona to an equally poor 3-of-16 performance – significantly below the Wildcats’ season average of 38%. The 55 points scored by the Pac-12 Tournament champions mark its lowest output of the season.
Princeton now advances to face another high-powered offense in No. 7 Missouri on Saturday. If the team defends with the same intensity as it did on Thursday, don’t be shocked to see a No. 15 seed make the Sweet 16.
Duke dominates former Cinderella Oral Roberts
No. 5 Duke held No. 12 Oral Roberts without a point for the first eight minutes of the game and cruised to a 74-51 victory over a trendy upset pick in the Golden Eagles. The Blue Devils, who are the nation’s tallest team according to KenPom, overwhelmed their mid-major opponent with their length. Duke scored 40 points in the paint, grabbed 42 rebounds, and blocked six shots, while also holding Oral Roberts to just 11 field goals inside the arc. Promising freshman Dereck Lively only scored four points, but his 12 rebounds and all six of his team’s blocks were vital in the win.
Despite holding just a five seed, the Blue Devils are evidently one of the hottest teams in the field, notching their 10th straight victory, with six of them coming by double-digits. Their main calling card over that stretch has been defensively, holding all but one of their opponents under 70 points, including forcing Oral Roberts into its second-lowest scoring output of the year. While their defense has been solid, their offense will need to be up to par should they play No. 4 Tennessee in the Round of 32, with the Volunteers ranking second nationally in field goal defense.
Furman rides 3-point shooting to upset Virginia
Furman hasn’t been shy about shooting the ball from deep all season, and it paid off big time in its upset victory over 4-seed Virginia. The Paladins made six of their 10 triples in the second half as they overcame a 12-point deficit in the final 11:54. Bob Richey’s squad outscored the Cavaliers 30-6 from long distance. Junior guard Marcus Foster led the 3-point barrage with four triples as all five starters made at least one attempt from deep. It was only fitting that Furman’s thrilling comeback was capped by a last-second three.
Virginia’s recent NCAA tournament resume under coach Tony Bennett continues to be difficult to understand. In three of the last four tournament appearances, the Cavaliers have fallen in the opening round despite being favored in each contest. The other appearance — Virginia’s national championship season of 2019.
TEXAS CAN’T MISS IN COMFORTABLE WIN
The opening-round matchup between Texas and Colgate Thursday featured the nation’s top 3-point shooting team in action. The pregame stats had shown that was the 15th-seeded Raiders, but it was a different story once the contest tipped off. The No. 2 Longhorns absolutely torched the nets from deep, connecting on a whopping 13-of-23 shots from beyond the arc. That 56.5% clip is a significant improvement from the team’s season average of 33.9%. The main figure in that red-hot shooting was sixth man Sir’Jabari Rice. The senior canned a season-best seven triples in the matchup. Perhaps even more surprising is that Rice actually went 0-for-10 from deep in his previous two games. If the Longhorns keep up that pace from 3-point range throughout the tournament, it’ll make an already tough team almost impossible to knock out.
FUNK’S FLAME-THROWING CARRIES PENN STATE
On a day when efficient shooting was hard to come by, No. 10 Penn State put on an elite offensive display to easily knock off No. 7 Texas A&M 76-59 to end off the 16-game Thursday slate. Led by guard Andrew Funk’s unconscious 8-for-10 mark, the Nittany Lions shot a crisp 59% from beyond the arc. Likely All-American guard Jalen Pickett was the leader of the offense, with a well-rounded stat line of 19 points, seven rebounds, and eight assists.
Penn State’s shooting is nothing new – the team is ninth in the country in 3-point percentage and scores over 43% of its points from deep, second-most nationwide. The worry was how that shooting would translate against a physical SEC team, but the Aggies’ perimeter defense left a lot to be desired. No. 2 Texas awaits the Nittany Lions, with the Longhorns coming off a game in which they held Colgate, the nation’s best 3-point shooting team, to a 3-of-15 mark. It’s already been a mega-impressive campaign for Micah Shrewsberry and Co., but knocking off a surging Texas squad would be icing on the cake.
UCLA STEAMROLLER IN FULL EFFECT
UCLA wasn’t interested in a plucky underdog keeping things close Thursday, and the Bruins ensured that wouldn’t happen right from the opening tip. The No. 2 seed in the West raced out to a 14-0 lead over No. 15 UNC Asheville and never looked back en route to a dominant 86-53 blowout. Many questioned how UCLA would look without the injured Adem Bona and Jaylen Clark, but Mick Cronin showed his squad’s depth in Sacramento. Kenneth Nwuba and Mac Etienne combined for 20 points, six rebounds, and three blocks in taking on the vast majority of minutes. That’s a great sign for the Bruins’ chances of making a deep run in the West this time around.
SASSER INJURY HANGS OVER HOUSTON WIN
It wasn’t the most comfortable victory for Houston, but the top-ranked Cougars held on and survived against No. 16 Northern Kentucky on Thursday. One thing was clear despite the win; it might be a short tournament for the top seed in the Midwest if Marcus Sasser can’t play Saturday against Auburn. The Cougars’ leading scorer aggravated a groin injury he suffered in last weekend’s AAC Tournament and didn’t play in the second half. The Houston offense looked very disjointed without Sasser, struggling to just 63 points for the game.
MISSOURI ENDS TOURNEY DROUGHT
For the first time since 2010, Missouri can celebrate a win in the NCAA Tournament. The Tigers ended a drought of 4,745 days with an impressive victory over Utah State on Thursday. The duo of D’moi Hodge and Kobe Brown combined for 42 points on an electric 8-of-14 shooting from beyond the arc to pace the Tigers’ offense. While there’s never been a question surrounding Missouri scoring the ball, the defense has been the team’s Achilles heel this season, ranking 160th in the nation in KenPom’s efficiency ratings. Those struggles were non-existent on Thursday, as the SEC program held the Aggies to just 4-of-24 shooting from beyond the arc. Making that number even more impressive is Utah State’s standing as the 10th-best 3-point shooting team in the country at 38.5%.
TENNESSEE WINS, FAILS TO SHOW OFFENSIVE IMPROVEMENT
Though it was anything but a strong offensive performance, No. 3 Tennessee survived No. 14 Louisiana by a score of 58-55. Entering the NCAA Tournament in a tailspin ever since losing starting point guard Zakai Zeigler, the Volunteers did nothing to dispel concerns about their scoring output of late. Their always-solid defense held the Ragin’ Cajuns to just 41% shooting from the field and forced 15 turnovers, but Tennessee coughed up 16 giveaways of its own, failing to pull away from its inferior opponent.
Truthfully, Tennessee’s performance Thursday wouldn’t have cut it against most higher seeds in the bracket. Leading scorer Santiago Vescovi put up just three points on three shots and failed to give the team a go-to option down the stretch. No matter how good the Vols’ defense plays against a red-hot No. 5 Duke team Saturday, failing to top 60 points won’t lead to a Sweet 16 berth.
AUBURN STUMBLES, THEN SHOWS CLUTCH CLOSING ABILITY
Auburn has struggled to hold onto leads at numerous points this season, and for a large stretch of the second half on Thursday, it looked as though that ugly habit was rearing its ugly head again. The Tigers saw a 17-point lead get cut to just four by Iowa with under four minutes to play in the contest. Auburn steadied itself during a timeout, and from that point on closed in nearly perfect fashion to secure the win. Wendell Green Jr. and the rest of the Tigers made Iowa pay for having to foul – making 11-of-12 free throws over that stretch.
SAN DIEGO STATE ENDS MOUNTAIN WEST WOES
It wasn’t very pretty, but No. 5 San Diego State finally got the Mountain West on the board with a 63-57 victory over No. 12 Charleston in a defensive battle. The victory snapped the conference’s 11-game NCAA Tournament losing streak, and was its first since Nevada in 2018. The Aztecs struggled mightily to score at points throughout the contest, making just four 3-pointers, but held the oft-shooting Cougars to just five long balls of their own. Still, Charleston had a chance to regain the ball down two points with under one minute to play, but a controversial foul call on San Diego State guard Matt Bradley’s 3-pointer as the shot clock buzzer sounded foiled that opportunity.
Bradley led the contest with 17 points, but the team’s star was its defense, holding a Charleston team that averages over 80 points per game to its lowest scoring total of the season. The Aztecs will square off against another hot-shooting mid-major squad in the Round of 32, with No. 13 Furman awaiting them after its stunning victory over No. 4 Virginia.
KANSAS SHOWS GREAT BALANCE IN BLOWOUT WIN
The defending champions fully looked the part on Thursday as Kansas put up 96 points in a blowout of No. 16 Howard. All five Jayhawks starters scored in double figures, with Jalen Wilson and Gradey Dick leading the way at 20 and 19 points, respectively. Kansas’ swarming defense also forced 18 Bison turnovers in the win — another reminder that the Jayhawks are among the most balanced teams in the country. Bill Self remained sidelined as he recovers from a heart procedure last week, but his veteran team showed they are a well-disciplined outfit that can easily execute the coach’s plans whether he’s on the bench or not. The competition will be stronger in either Arkansas or Illinois on Saturday, but there’s nothing from Kansas’ performance on Thursday that suggests anything less than a Final Four team this time around.
ALABAMA FLEXES DEPTH
There’s no question that Brandon Miller is one of the best players in college basketball this season and the undisputed leader of No. 1 Alabama. However, the Crimson Tide showed they are far from a one-man team on Thursday, as the rest of the SEC champions rose to the occasion in a comfortable win over Texas A&M-CC. Battling a groin injury, Miller was held scoreless in the contest for the first time all season, finishing 0-for-5 from the floor in 19 minutes of action. Despite that performance from the 6-foot-9 freshman, Alabama still nearly hit the 100-point mark with a 96-point outburst. Five different players hit double figures for Nate Oats’ program, led by 17 from Nick Pringle off the bench. Miller’s likely to rebound in the second round, and with the depth pieces firing on all cylinders, the Crimson Tide will be a very difficult out going forward.
NORTHWESTERN CONTINUES UNPRECEDENTED SUCCESS
Chris Collins only furthered his status as the greatest coach in Northwestern basketball history after his No. 7 Wildcats knocked off No. 10 Boise State 75-67. Seven years after leading the program to its first NCAA Tournament, Collins now owns both March Madness victories in school history. Led by their defense all season, the Wildcats held Boise State to just 40% shooting from the field, allowing only six 3-pointers. Offensively, their high-scoring backcourt paced them, with Boo Buie, Chase Audige, and Ty Berry combining for 55 points in the contest.
The next step toward Collins’ uncharted success at Northwestern would be a Sweet 16 berth. However, with a likely matchup against No. 2 UCLA on deck, that’s far from a sure thing. Still, Thursday’s result was a good sign for a Wildcats team that headed into the tournament having lost four of its last five games.
ARKANSAS GETS KANSAS AFTER CONVINCING VICTORY
No. 9 Illinois made it interesting late, but No. 8 Arkansas moved on to the Round of 32 with a rather convincing 73-63 victory in Des Moines. The Razorbacks led by as much as 17 points, in large part due to their 12 steals and 10 offensive rebounds, giving them 11 more field goal attempts than the Illini. Arkansas’ trio of Ricky Council, Davonte Davis, and Anthony Black combined for 46 of the team’s points.
Arkansas and coach Eric Musselman have now won at least one NCAA Tournament game in three consecutive seasons after back-to-back Elite Eight berths. However, the Razorbacks’ attempt to return to that stage won’t get any easier, as they’ll take on No. 1 seed Kansas in the Round of 32.
MARYLAND SHOWS RESILIENCY IN COMEBACK WIN
It wasn’t an ideal start to the tourney for Maryland. The Terrapins trailed by 12 points after nine minutes, committed five early turnovers in six possessions, and went scoreless for a near eight-minute stretch, yet they somehow took a two-point lead into halftime. Kevin Willard’s team deserves credit for regrouping before the break. Even though it wasn’t pretty, surviving and advancing is all that matters at this point of the year.
The loss is certainly one that will haunt Bob Huggins and West Virginia going forward, as the Mountaineers looked the better team throughout the contest. The Big 12 program connected on over 40% of its triples, snagged more rebounds than the Terrapins, and turned the ball over less – yet somehow the team is heading home instead of advancing to the next round.
WOMEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL
TTU WOMEN GET 8TH STRAIGHT WIN, BEAT MONMOUTH IN FIRST FOUR
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) Maaliya Owens and Jada Guinn each scored 18 points and Tennessee Tech won its eighth straight game with a 79-69 victory over Monmouth on Thursday night in the First Four.
Tennessee Tech (23-9), the No. 16 seed, advances to face top-seeded Indiana in the first round on Saturday. The Golden Eagles won their first NCAA Tournament game since 1990.
The Golden Eagles made 10 3-pointers in the first half – after averaging just 6.5 makes this season. Peyton Carter had four 3-pointers, Owens sank all three of her attempts and Jordan Brock also made three. Tennessee Tech finished the game 12 of 26 from distance.
Owens scored seven points in the third quarter and Tennessee Tech closed on an 11-5 run for a 54-44 lead. Monmouth got within six points with 4:31 left in the fourth on a 3-pointer by Ariana Vanderhoop. Reghan Grimes grabbed an offensive rebound at the other end and put it back and Tennessee Tech’s lead didn’t drop below eight points the rest of the way.
Brock finished with 16 points and Carter added 12 points for Tennessee Tech. Owens made four 3-pointers to set the program record for makes in a season. Guinn had six assists.
The Golden Eagles made eight straight field goals and closed the first half on a 12-4 run to take a 40-33 lead. Owens started the run of 10 straight points with a 3-pointer, Brock added a 3 on the next possession, Reagan Hurst sank a baseline jumper and Guinn converted a layup to close the run.
Vanderhoop scored 17 points and Lucy Thomas added 16 for Monmouth (18-16), which was trying for its first win in the tournament since 1983. Bri Tinsley, averaging a team-high 12.1 points per game, was held scoreless in the first half and finished with 11 points.
Monmouth won four games in four days to win the Colonial Athletic Association Tournament. The Hawks made history as the first No. 7 seed to win the CAA title after knocking off the number one, two and three seeds.
KINGS CLINCH FIRST WINNING SEASON SINCE 2006
Domantas Sabonis totaled 24 points and 21 rebounds for his league-leading 56th double-double as the Sacramento Kings clinched their first winning season since 2005-06 with a 101-96 victory over the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday night in New York.
The Kings won for the 10th time in 12 games to secure their first winning mark since going 44-38 in the season that also marks their last playoff appearance. Sacramento also improved to 12-4 in its past 16 road games and secured its 21st road win, the franchise’s most since 2003-04.
Sabonis reached his latest double-double late in the second quarter when the Kings began taking control. He shot 8 of 14, added five assists and four blocks. De’Aaron Fox added 18 points for the Kings.
Mikal Bridges scored 23 points but missed four shots in the final 2 1/2 minutes for the Nets. Spencer Dinwiddie added 18 points.
SUNS 116, MAGIC 113
Devin Booker scored 16 of his team-high 19 points in the second half as Phoenix snapped a three-game losing skid with a win against visiting Orlando.
Cameron Payne added 18 points off the bench for Phoenix, which secured the win after Josh Okogie blocked Paolo Banchero’s 3-point shot with 3.1 seconds remaining. Deandre Ayton and Chris Paul had 16 points apiece, and Okogie chipped in 15.
Markelle Fultz led Orlando with a game-high 25 points to go with nine assists and seven rebounds. Banchero had 18 points and eight rebounds, Cole Anthony added 17 points, and Wendell Carter Jr. and Franz Wagner scored 16 apiece.
RAPTORS 128, THUNDER 111
Pascal Siakam had 25 points and 14 rebounds and Toronto defeated visiting Oklahoma City.
Jakob Poeltl added 16 points and 12 rebounds for the Raptors, who have won two in a row and increased their home winning streak to six. Gary Trent Jr. scored 23 points, and Fred VanVleet and Scottie Barnes each chipped in 19. O.G. Anunoby scored 17.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 29 points for the Thunder, who had a three-game winning streak end. Jalen Williams scored 15 points.
PACERS 139, BUCKS 123
Andrew Nembhard scored 24 points and T.J. McConnell added 19 with 12 assists as visiting Indiana took down Milwaukee.
Aaron Nesmith added 22 points, Buddy Hield scored 20 with six assists and Myles Turner scored 11 while grabbing eight rebounds. Tyrese Haliburton (right ankle sprain) was once again unavailable.
Giannis Antetokounmpo tallied 25 points and nine rebounds in just 27 minutes due to foul trouble. Jrue Holiday added 19 points and 11 assists and Khris Middleton and Bobby Portis each contributed 16 points.
NUGGETS 119, PISTONS 100
Nikola Jokic piled up 30 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists and Western Conference-leading Denver snapped a four-game losing streak by pounding host Detroit.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope supplied 20 points and Jamal Murray had 19 points, 10 assists and six rebounds for Denver, which outscored the Pistons 61-36 in the second half and 33-14 in the fourth quarter. Michael Porter Jr. and Aaron Gordon scored 15 points apiece for the Nuggets.
Rodney McGruder scored 20 points for the Pistons, who have lost 13 of their last 14 games. He added eight rebounds, three assists and three steals. Jalen Duren had 15 points, 13 rebounds, four assists and three steals off the bench, while James Wiseman and Jaden Ivey contributed 14 points apiece.
NBA SUSPENDS JA MORANT 8 GAMES FOR VIDEO SHOWING GUN IN CLUB
MIAMI (AP) — Ja Morant will be back with the Memphis Grizzlies next week, after the NBA handed the All-Star guard an eight-game suspension without pay Wednesday and saying his displaying a firearm at a club in suburban Denver earlier this month was “conduct detrimental to the league.”
Morant missed his sixth consecutive game when the Grizzlies played in Miami on Wednesday night. He will miss the next two games — at San Antonio on Friday and home against Golden State on Saturday — then be eligible to return on Monday when Memphis plays Dallas, though he is not expected to play that night.
The games he already missed will count toward the suspension, and Morant will forfeit about $669,000 in salary.
“Ja’s conduct was irresponsible, reckless and potentially very dangerous,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement. “It also has serious consequences given his enormous following and influence, particularly among young fans who look up to him.”
Silver met with Morant in New York before announcing the league’s decision. Other league officials, as well as representatives from the National Basketball Players Association, were part of that meeting.
Grizzlies coach Taylor Jenkins said he doesn’t expect Morant to play Monday, saying the team is “going to be respectful of the time off he’s had.”
“There will be a quick ramp-up period after that,” Jenkins said. “Obviously, he hasn’t been playing basketball for almost two weeks now.”
The league’s investigation, which started almost immediately after the March 4 incident in which Morant livestreamed himself on Instagram, found that he was “holding a firearm in an intoxicated state” — but did not prove that the gun was owned by Morant “or was displayed by him beyond a brief period.”
The league investigation also did not find that Morant had the gun with him on Memphis’ flight to Denver, or that he possessed the gun while in any NBA facility. Police in Colorado said last week that they looked into the circumstances surrounding the video and concluded that there was no reason to charge Morant with a crime.
Morant spoke with ESPN for an interview that was to air later Wednesday night, and said the gun was not his.
“He has expressed sincere contrition and remorse for his behavior,” Silver said. “Ja has also made it clear to me that he has learned from this incident and that he understands his obligations and responsibility to the Memphis Grizzlies and the broader NBA community extend well beyond his play on the court.”
The Grizzlies played at Denver on March 3. At 5:19 a.m. the next day, Morant started a livestream from inside a strip club called Shotgun Willies in Glendale, Colorado. The video quickly went viral, and trouble escalated.
The Grizzlies initially said Morant would miss at least two games. Hours later, Morant said in a statement distributed through the agency that represents him that he takes “full responsibility” for his actions and that he was going to “take some time away to get help.” ESPN reported that Morant sought counseling at a facility in Florida; Jenkins said Wednesday that “the Florida piece is done for now.”
“There’s going to be ongoing stuff over the next couple days that he’s going to be probably be working on,” Jenkins said.
The two-game absence was followed by the team announcing last week that Morant would miss at least four more games, a stretch that concludes Wednesday.
“Now we know the plan moving forward,” Jenkins said.
Morant, a two-time All-Star, is averaging 27.1 points and 8.2 assists per game this season for a Memphis team that entered Wednesday in the No. 2 spot in the Western Conference.
This marked at least the second time in recent weeks that Morant was the subject of a league investigation. Morant’s actions were investigated after a Jan. 29 incident in Memphis that he said led to a friend of his being banned from home games for a year.
That incident followed a game against the Indiana Pacers; citing unnamed sources, The Indianapolis Star and USA Today reported that multiple members of the Pacers saw a red dot pointed at them, and The Athletic reported that a Pacers security guard believed the laser was attached to a gun.
The NBA confirmed that unnamed individuals were banned from the arena but said its investigation found no evidence that anyone was threatened with a weapon.
Morant and a close friend also are involved in a civil lawsuit brought after an incident at Morant’s home last summer, in which a 17-year-old alleged that they assaulted him.
“I don’t condone any type of violence,” Morant said in the ESPN interview. “But I take full responsibility for my actions. I made a bad mistake and I can see the image that I painted over myself with my recent mistakes. But in the future, I’m going to show everybody who Ja really is, what I’m about and change this narrative.”
And when Morant returns, the team knows there will be questions, as well as likely some hostile comments coming in road arenas. The Grizzlies plan to prepare Morant for those moments as best they can.
“We sit down and talk to him and we help guide him through this process,” Jenkins said. “That’s going to be our focal point, on the court, off the court. Support and accountability, that’s what we’re focused on, not just in this recent couple of weeks but moving forward. Obviously things are going to be different, but it’s going to be great to have him back with the team. The team’s going to be able to rally around him as he’s been rallying around a difficult situation. We’re going to take it one day at a time.”
REPORT: JORDAN IN ‘SERIOUS TALKS’ TO SELL HORNETS
Charlotte Hornets owner Michael Jordan is engaged in serious talks to sell a majority stake in the franchise to a group led by Hornets minority owner Gabe Plotkin and Atlanta Hawks minority owner Rick Schnall, sources told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
There’s momentum on a sale that would eventually have Plotkin and Schnall take over as the Hornets’ co-owners, though no deal is imminent, Wojnarowski adds. Jordan is expected to retain a minority stake in the team if the sale is completed.
The former NBA superstar sold a significant minority stake to Plotkin and Daniel Sundheim in 2020. Sundheim is part of the group working to purchase the team, sources told Wojnarowski.
Jordan, a North Carolina native, bought the Hornets in 2009 – then called the Bobcats – for $275 million.
Charlotte has made three playoff appearances in Jordan’s 13-year tenure as majority owner, with no postseason series victories.
LONZO TO HAVE 3RD KNEE SURGERY, COULD REPORTEDLY MISS ALL OF 2023-24
The Chicago Bulls announced Thursday that guard Lonzo Ball will undergo a third surgery on his left knee.
He is expected to miss most, if not all, of the 2023-24 season, sources told Shams Charania of The Athletic.
“My main focus has been on returning to the court and getting to a place where I can rejoin my teammates,” Ball said in a statement.
“This has been a frustrating process, but I’m confident these next steps are the best path forward. The support of my family, friends, fans and medical staff throughout my recovery is what keeps me moving forward. I can’t wait to get back to what I love doing most – playing basketball.”
Ball and the team are optimistic that the procedure will help get him back on the court again. The 25-year-old hasn’t played since January 2022 when he suffered a small meniscus tear in the same knee. He underwent two surgeries last year, the second one coming as he continued to experience pain.
The Bulls shut down Ball for the season Feb. 21 after he felt discomfort in his knee during basketball activities.
Chicago recently signed guard Patrick Beverley, who’s been in the starting lineup since the All-Star break. The Bulls are 31-37, chasing a spot in the Eastern Conference play-in tournament.
Ball averaged 13 points, 5.4 boards, and 5.1 assists in 35 games for Chicago last season.
PANTHERS SCORE TEAM-RECORD 7 GOALS IN 1ST, TOP CANADIENS 9-5
SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) Carter Verhaeghe scored twice in Florida’s franchise-record, seven-goal first period and the Panthers beat the Montreal Canadiens 9-5 on Thursday night.
Florida scored six goals in the second period against Boston on April 5, 2000. Against Montreal, the Panthers came just shy of tying the franchise record for goals in a game set in 1997, going scoreless in the third period.
The teams combined for 10 first-period goals to tie the NHL record for goals in a first period. It also was the fastest first 10 goals in an NHL game, with Florida getting the 10th goal at 13:18.
“I have never seen anything like that. In 25 years, never seen that many goals,” Florida coach Paul Maurice said. “There were more goals than chances to score and that is a rarity. All I can say is it affected the game for both teams and I do not think anything on video is useful to the game of hockey. It was almost Twilight Zone: Every puck went in.”
Aaron Ekblad also scored twice for Florida, helping the Panthers pull within three points of the final wild-card spot. They are 4-0-1 in their last five.
Ekblad, Colin White, Gustav Forsling, Ryan Lomberg and Sam Reinhart also scored for Florida as the Panthers led 7-3 after one. Florida padded its lead with goals from Ekblad and Matthew Tkachuk in the second period.
Montreal defenseman Mike Matheson scored 16 seconds in, and Florida led 2-1 just over three minutes later.
“If you came 30 minutes late, you missed it,” Tkachuk said. “Hope people did not get stuck in traffic. We definitely have some things to clean up but a win is a win. … We did score a ton of goals, so we did a lot of good things as well.”
Michael Pezzetta, Rem Pitlick, Anthony Richard and Rafael Harvey-Pinard also scored for Montreal.
Sergei Bobrovsky made 24 saves for Florida.
Montreal replaced goalie Sam Montembeault after Florida scored three goals on its first six shots of the game. Jake Allen came in and ended up giving up six goals on 17 shots before Montreal brought back Montembeault to finish the game.
“Big win and one of the wildest games I have ever been a part of,” Verhaeghe said. “We found a way and it turned out to be a good one.”
NOTES: Florida is the first NHL team to score seven goals in the first period since the Hartford Whalers on Oct. 19, 1985. … Florida sent G Alex Lyon to its AHL team in Charlotte to get some playing time this weekend. The Panthers brought up Mack Guzda to backup Bobrovsky.
Canadiens: At Tampa Bay on Saturday night.
Panthers: Host New Jersey on Saturday night. —
KREIDER SCORES TWICE IN 3RD AS RANGERS ICE PENGUINS 4-2
NEW YORK (AP) Chris Kreider scored the go-ahead goal in the third period and added an empty-netter, and Igor Shesterkin made 30 saves as the New York Rangers beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-2 on Thursday night.
Kreider scored at 11:45 by sliding the puck past goaltender Tristan Jarry with Penguins defenseman Brian Dumoulin draped all over the New York forward in the crease. Kreider then scored his 30th of the season into empty net at 19:10 to seal the win and give the third-place Rangers a 10-point lead over Pittsburgh in the Metropolitan Division.
“That was a tight game, good hockey,” said Kreider, whose 259 career goals leave him three behind Vic Hadfield for fifth on the all-time Rangers list. “We wanted to get behind their defense and establish the forecheck. We got pucks and bodies to the net all night.”
Mika Zibanejad and Tyler Motte also scored for the Rangers, who won for the eighth time in their last 10 home games. They are 11-4-0 in their past 15 at Madison Square Garden. Zibanejad’s goal was his 200th with the Rangers.
“We played hard tonight – a good, solid game,” coach Gerard Gallant said. “The lines are good. Everyone is working together.”
New York is 6-1-1 in its last eight home games against Pittsburgh, and the teams square off again Saturday night at The Garden.
New York did not take any penalties against the Penguins, denying Pittsburgh’s vaunted power play a single opportunity.
“Always good games against them. Intense,” Zibenejad said. “We know what’s at stake. That was a huge win.”
Penguins forward Jake Guentzel tied it 2-all at 9:09 of the third with his 30th goal after Motte put the Rangers ahead 2-1 late in the second.
Motte’s unassisted goal at 16:53 came just more than two minutes after Pittsburgh’s Rickard Rakell evened the game.
The goal was Motte’s first since returning to the Rangers in a trade with Ottawa on Feb. 19. Motte was a valuable contributor during New York’s postseason run last spring and has been part of an effective fourth line in recent games with Barclay Goodrow and Jimmy Vesey.
“We know our identity,” Motte said. “We get in on the forecheck and try to create offense and stay reliable defensively.”
Zibanejad opened the scoring with his team-leading 35th goal at 2:51 of the first, taking a banked pass off the left boards by Artemi Panarin before skating in on Jarry and rifling the puck past the Penguins netminder. It was the ninth time this season Zibanejad scored the opening goal. He has 21 points – including 13 goals – in his last 19 games. Panarin leads the Rangers with 55 assists and 75 points overall.
Vladimir Tarasenko also assisted and has points in nine of his first 17 games with the Rangers.
“It’s easy to play with Artemi and Mika,” said Tarasenko, acquired from St. Louis on Feb. 9. “I enjoy playing with them. And it’s nice to get a win, especially at home.”
Rakell tied it at 14:40 of the second with his 24th goal. It also marked Rakell’s 400th career point.
“I just didn’t think we had enough juice,” Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said. “We had our moments but we didn’t have enough urgency. We gave up too many odd-man rushes.”
Jarry made 31 saves in defeat.
The Rangers were coming off a 5-3 home win over Washington on Tuesday, while the Penguins lost at home to Montreal the same day.
The Penguins beat the Rangers 3-2 in overtime at home last Sunday and also downed New York 3-2 on Dec. 20 in Pittsburgh.
Penguins defenseman Jeff Petry didn’t return after absorbing an unpenalized elbow from Motte early in the first period.
Penguins captain Sidney Crosby assisted on both Pittsburgh goals. He leads the team with 83 points, ensuring the 35-year-old Penguins star will average a point per game for the 18th time in his 18 NHL seasons. In 81 career games against the Rangers, Crosby has 38 goals and 66 assists.
NOTES: The Penguins scratched defenseman Chad Ruhwedel and forwards Nick Bonino and Dalton Heinen. … The Rangers scratched injured defenseman Ryan Lindgren for the ninth straight game. … Since Dec. 5, when they turned their season around with a 6-4 comeback win at home over St. Louis, the Rangers are 28-9-5.
STALOCK’S 35 SAVES LEAD BLACKHAWKS OVER PREDATORS 2-1
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Alex Stalock made 35 saves to lead the Chicago Blackhawks over the Nashville Predators 2-1 on Thursday night.
Lukas Reichel and Joey Anderson scored for Chicago, which has won two straight.
Roman Josi scored late and Juuse Saros stopped 19 shots for Nashville, which had its three-game winning streak snapped. The Predators trail Winnipeg by four points in the race for the Western Conference’s second wild-card berth. Nashville has played three fewer games than the Jets.
“It seemed tonight like we didn’t have the energy, the normal energy and competitiveness that we’ve been playing with, and execution,” Predators coach John Hynes said.
Reichel was credited with the game’s first goal with 47 seconds remaining in the opening period.
The Blackhawks entered the Nashville zone on a 2-on-1 break. On the left side, Reichel’s pass attempt was blocked by the stick of sliding Predators defenseman Dante Fabbro. The puck deflected off Fabbro’s stick and on net. Saros stopped it, but Fabbro’s momentum caused him to crash into Saros and knock both the goaltender and the puck into the net in the process.
“The goal was a little lucky,” Reichel said. “It could be a nicer goal, but it doesn’t matter how.”
Stalock denied Matt Duchene on a penalty shot at 13:40 of the second period. Duchene fumbled the puck and did not get much on a wrist shot that was easily turned aside by Stalock.
“He ended up fumbling it, which was a big bonus for me,” Stalock said.
The penalty shot was awarded when Stalock was whistled for throwing his stick as Nashville’s Rasmus Asplund stickhandled behind the Chicago net.
“He was all alone in front so I had to be aggressive on him,” Stalock said. “He ended up going behind the net and (I’m) kind of down and out. It was a poke check and obviously it slips out of (my) hand, so it’s an automatic call.”
Stalock’s best save of the game came at 11:15 of the first, when he denied Philip Tomasino on a breakaway. Tomasino tried to snap a wrist shot between Stalock’s pads, but the goaltender was able to squeeze them together just in time.
Anderson added an insurance goal at 8:01 of the third off an assist from Boris Katchouk, who has four points in his last two games.
Josi spoiled Stalock’s shutout bid with 24.5 seconds remaining and Saros pulled for an extra skater.
“Most definitely a disappointing loss,” Josi said. “It felt like it just wasn’t our best game. We just didn’t generate enough.”
Nashville had earned at least one in 16 straight games against Chicago, going 13-0-3 during that span. The Predators won the season series 2-1, with both previous matchups played in Chicago.
Stalock improved to 2-6-1 against Nashville.
Blackhawks: Will visit Arizona on Saturday.
Predators: Host the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday.
SWAYMAN MAKES 36 SAVES NHL-LEADING BRUINS BEAT JETS 3-0
WINNIPEG, Manitoba (AP) Jeremy Swayman made 36 saves for his third shutout of the season and eighth overall in the NHL-leading Boston Bruins’ 3-0 victory over the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday night.
Trent Frederic, Pavel Zacha and Tomas Nosek scored to help Boston rebound from its first consecutive regulation losses of the season. The Bruins are 51-11-5.
“I thought we were a little too loose defensively in the first 40 minutes and I think (Swayman) had to be terrific, and he was terrific,” Boston coach Jim Montgomery said. “That might have been his best game of the year and he’s had a lot of good ones, just for his tracking, his control.
“He didn’t let any rebounds out. We gave up some significant opportunities that we usually don’t like to.”
Frederic opened the scoring at 50 seconds of the first period with his 15th goal of the season. Zacha added his 18th with 6:38 left in the first. Nosek scored into an empty net with six seconds left for his sixth of the season.
Boston killed five Winnipeg power plays.
“It’s just our four outworking their five, making sure I saw pucks and clearing out rebounds,” Swayman said. “They did a great job at that.”
Connor Hellebuyck stopped 21 shots for the Winnipeg. The Jets (38-28-3) are 2-2-0 in their last four games and 4-9-2 in their last 15.
“It’s really disappointing. We need these points,” Jets forward Adam Lowry said. “They’re so critical right now and we’re almost scoreboard watching every night right now. So, it would have been nice to see a few of those go in.
Bruins: At Minnesota on Saturday.
Jets: At Nashville on Saturday.
KINGS USE STRONG SECOND PERIOD TO BEAT BLUE JACKETS 4-1
LOS ANGELES (AP) Carl Grundstrom had a goal and an assist in Los Angeles’ four-goal second period, Pheonix Copley made 30 saves and the Kings beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-1 on Thursday night.
Drew Doughty, Anze Kopitar and Viktor Arvidsson also scored to help the Kings improve to 7-0-1 in their past eight games.
Kirill Marchenko scored for Columbus. Daniil Tarasov was pulled in the second period after allowing four goals on 27 shots, and Michael Hutchinson made nine saves in relief. The Blue Jackets have lost five of six.
After dominating the first period but having nothing to show for it, the Kings finally went up early in the second on Doughty’s fifth of the season. He used some nifty stick-handling to get into the slot before tapping in his own rebound.
Kopitar made it 2-0 less than three minutes later, and that was plenty for the Kings to move to a 2-0-1 start on their seven-game homestand.
Copley got his second shutout of the season and third of his career, while taking his record to an unlikely 21-4-3 in 31 appearances. Neither Copley nor Joonas Korpisalo have allowed more than two goals in the seven games since the Kings dealt away franchise icon Jonathan Quick to the Blue Jackets on Feb. 28. A day after going to Columbus, Quick was traded to Vegas.
Since returning from the All-Star break, the Kings are 12-2-2. They have not lost in regulation in nine home games during that stretch, with their lone defeat coming in a shootout against Nashville on Saturday.
NOTES: The Kings also had four goals in the second period of a 5-2 victory over the New York Islanders on Tuesday night. … Columbus goalie Elvis Merzlikins missed his third straight game as he remains in Latvia to be with his grandmother.
Blue Jackets: At Anaheim on Friday night.
Kings: Host Vancouver on Saturday night.
METS’ DÍAZ EXPECTED TO MISS SEASON WITH TORN PATELLAR TENDON
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. (AP) — New York Mets closer Edwin Díaz has a torn patellar tendon and is expected to miss the entire season after hurting his right knee while celebrating a victory in the World Baseball Classic.
Mets general manager Billy Eppler said Díaz would undergo surgery Thursday. Without going into specifics, Eppler said a general timeline for recovery from this type of injury is about eight months.
“There are instances where athletes have come back earlier, more around the six-month mark,” Eppler told reporters. “But those are a little bit more of the exception than the rule.”
Díaz, who turns 29 next week, retired the side in order in the ninth inning of a 5-2 victory over the Dominican Republic on Wednesday night that sent Puerto Rico to the World Baseball Classic quarterfinals. As Díaz and his teammates jumped together in the infield, the right-hander collapsed and reached for his right leg. He was taken off the field in a wheelchair.
Eppler said he spoke to Díaz several times and noted the right-hander was in “great spirits.”
“He’s a resilient human being,” Eppler said. “That’s why he the closer he is. The dude doesn’t get rattled.”
The Mets signed Díaz to a five-year, $102 million contract — the largest ever for a closer — after he produced a spectacular 2022 season. All player contracts are covered by insurance through the WBC that spans the length of time the player is out with an injury suffered during the tournament.
MLB UMPIRES WILL HAVE A NEW VIEW THIS SEASON — ON ZOOM
NEW YORK (AP) — Umpires will have a new view this season: on Zoom.
Major League Baseball struck a deal with Zoom Video Communications Inc. allowing on-field umpires to watch videos being evaluated by the replay operations center during contested calls.
MLB first adopted instant replay in September 2008 for home boundary calls and expanded it to a wide variety of decisions for the 2014 season. There were 1,434 video reviews last season that included 1,261 team challenges with 50.2% leading to overturned calls.
Until now, the on-field crew chief listened to the replay umpire in New York with audio only, joined by the umpire who made the initial call if different from the crew chief. The umps walked over to the side of the field through 2013 to listen on a headset, then from 2014-21 an attendant brought out a headset to the field for them. Last year, umps switched to a wireless belt pack and MLB for the first time allowed then to announce replays and decisions over ballpark public address systems.
On-field umps this year will have 12.9-inch iPad Pro tablets brought out to them by a technician. They will be connected to the Zoom contact center and the replay operations center so they can see what replay is being viewed. The replay umpire still gets the final call.
OHTANI LEADS JAPAN OVER ITALY 9-3, INTO WBC SEMIFINALS
TOKYO (AP) — Japan manager Kideki Kuriyama still gets a special tingle watching Shohei Ohtani. It’s been that way since Kuriyama managed the two-way star with the Hokkaido Ham-Fighters.
“When we see Shohei playing, not only the players but also the Japanese baseball fans, all the nation is feeling something extra,” Kuriyama said through a translator after Ohtani led Japan over Italy 9-3 on Thursday night to put the Samurai Warriors in their fifth straight World Baseball Classis semifinal.
Ohtani pitched shutout ball into the fifth inning and sparked a four-run third with a bunt single.
“These kind of moments, this is how I feel the sense of Ohtani,” Kuriyama said. “This is Shohei. This is Shohei. When he plays a must-win game like tonight, we see who Shohei is.”
Boston’s Masataka Yoshida homered and drove in the go-ahead run with a grounder, giving him a tournament-leading 10 RBIs. Kazuma Okamoto hit a three-run homer for Japan, which has outscored opponents 47-11 in five games and is batting .313.
Japan travels to Miami for a semifinal on Monday against Puerto Rico or Mexico. Cuba plays the other semifinal against the United States or Venezuela.
Pitching before an adoring crowd of 41,723 at the Tokyo Dome, Ohtani threw his fastest pitch since he joined the Los Angeles Angels in 2018, strlking out Vinnie Pasquantino on a 102 mph fastball in the second. That topped a 101.4 mph pitch that struck out Houston’s Kyle Tucker last Sept. 10.
NATIONALS PROSPECT CADE CAVALLI NEEDS TOMMY JOHN SURGERY
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Washington Nationals pitching prospect Cade Cavalli needs Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery and will miss the 2023 season, general manager Mike Rizzo said Thursday.
The team released a statement from Rizzo saying that an MRI exam showed that Cavalli sprained his ulnar collateral ligament.
The right-hander exited a spring training start against the New York Mets after 2 2/3 innings on Tuesday.
“While Cade will not pitch in 2023, he continues to be a very important part of our franchise’s future and we look forward to having him back on the mound,” Rizzo said. “We will provide an update on his surgery when it is available.”
The 24-year-old Cavalli was the No. 22 overall pick in the 2020 amateur draft after playing college baseball at Oklahoma. He made his major league debut in August against the Cincinnati Reds, then felt something in his shoulder while playing catch the next day and was shut down for the rest of last season.
He had been expected to be part of Washington’s starting rotation this season as the club continues to try to rebuild. Since winning the 2019 World Series, the Nationals have finished in last place in the NL East three years in a row.
NFL PLAYER ARMED IN SHOOTING BUT FIRED NO SHOTS: PROSECUTOR
CINCINNATI (AP) Cincinnati Bengals running back Joe Mixon was armed with a legal weapon when a teenage boy was shot near the player’s home earlier this month but he did not fire the gun or do anything illegal, authorities said Thursday as they announced the indictments of Mixon’s sister and her boyfriend.
Lamonte Brewer, whom authorities have identified as the shooter, remained at large Thursday, while Shalonda Mixon was apprehended Thursday afternoon by the Southern Ohio Fugitive Apprehension Strike Team, The Cincinnati Enquirer reported, citing U.S. Marshals supervisor Charles Sanso.
Brewer fired several shots and is charged with felonious assault, tampering with evidence and two weapons counts, Prosecutor Melissa Powers said at a news conference Thursday. Shalonda Mixon is charged with tampering with evidence and obstructing justice. Brewer faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted on all counts, while Shalonda Mixon faces up to four years. It was not known if either had an attorney to speak for them
Joe Mixon owns his gun legally and faces no charges, Powers said.
The March 6 shooting happened as several juveniles were playing dart wars, where teams shoot at each other with foam dart guns, Powers said. She added that Joe Mixon had been receiving death threats and was concerned when he heard people were running around nearby with weapons. She said the running back was in the yard with Brewer when the shots rang out, but Brewer – armed with a Zastava pistol, which resembles an AK-47 and fires the same round – acted independently.
Surveillance footage from Joe Mixon’s home captured the shooting and also showed Shalonda Mixon collecting shell casings from the yard before she and Brewer left the home, Powers said. She said Brewer and others should have been able to tell that the numerous youths playing the dart wars game were carrying toy weapons.
The shooting victim, a 16-year-old boy, was hit by at least one shot and was treated at a hospital. He has since been released.
Mixon’s agent, Peter Schaffer, said in a prepared statement Thursday that the prosecutor’s finding that the player did nothing wrong “is the conclusion we expected based on the facts that clearly show Joe is innocent.”
Schaffer said his client had returned home from California on the day of the shooting and – due to the threats – became concerned that night when he saw “a number of vehicles” had pulled up at his house and blocked the street. He also saw one person with what appeared to be “a long gun” and went outside to try to determine what was going on, not to confront anyone.
No one responded to a message left Thursday with the Bengals.
GEORGIA’S JALEN CARTER GETS 1-YEAR PROBATION, $1,000 FINE
ATHENS, Ga. (AP) — Georgia defensive tackle Jalen Carter was given 12 months’ probation and a $1,000 fine on Thursday after pleading no contest to misdemeanor charges of reckless driving and racing related to a crash that killed Bulldogs offensive lineman Devin Willock and a recruiting staff member.
Projected as one of the top players in next month’s NFL draft, Carter was sentenced in Athens-Clarke County Municipal Court, according to a statement from attorney Kim T. Stephens. Carter also must complete 50 hours of community service and a state-approved defensive driving course.
The state can’t bring additional charges against Carter, the statement said, adding that Carter entered the pleas “in order to resolve this matter in the most efficient manner possible.”
Athens-Clarke County Solicitor General Will Fleenor did not immediately return messages seeking comment.
The Athens-Clarke County Police Department had issued an arrest warrant for Carter on March 1, alleging that he raced his 2021 Jeep Trackhawk against a 2021 Ford Expedition driven by recruiting staffer Chandler LeCroy on Jan. 15. LeCroy, 24, and Willock died in the crash, which happened hours Georgia celebrated its second consecutive national championship with a parade and ceremony.
TITANS RELEASE OLB BUD DUPREE AFTER 7 SACKS IN 2 YEARS
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) The Tennessee Titans released outside linebacker Bud Dupree two years into a six-year contract, parting ways with the big free agent they acquired in 2021 to boost their pass rush, the team announced Thursday.
Dupree signed a five-year, $82.5 million contract in March 2021 after spending his first six seasons with Pittsburgh. The Titans signed Dupree despite the 6-foot-4, 269-pound linebacker tearing an ACL in early December 2020.
He was waived Wednesday night. Dupree becomes the latest veteran cut by Tennessee’s new general manager Ran Carthon, joining three-time Pro Bowl left tackle Taylor Lewan, wide receiver Robert Woods, center Ben Jones, kicker Randy Bullock and linebacker Zach Cunningham.
Dupree had been due the second-highest base salary on the Titans’ roster at $17 million, along with a bonus of $3.2 million. He was set to count $20.2 million against the cap, according to Spotrac.com. With a dead cap hit of $10.8 million, the Titans get a cap savings of only $9.35 million.
The linebacker started the season opener but struggled coming off the torn ACL. He had one sack in his first seven games and wound up on injured reserve with a hip injury. Dupree started only six of the 11 games he played in 2021, and he played in only 11 games in 2022.
Dupree, who had 39 1/2 sacks in Pittsburgh, finished with only seven sacks over 22 games with Tennessee.
VIKINGS BRING BACK RB ALEXANDER MATTISON
EAGAN, Minn. (AP) The Minnesota Vikings have agreed to terms on a new contract with running back Alexander Mattison, who has served as a reliable backup to Dalvin Cook over the last four seasons.
The Vikings finalized the deal on Thursday, a day after Mattison became an unrestricted free agent. The third-round 2019 draft pick out of Boise State has rushed for 1,670 yards and 11 touchdowns in his career, with an average of 4.1 yards per attempt. He also has 70 receptions for 526 yards and three scores.
Mattison has three career 100-yard rushing games in relief of Cook, who has a salary-cap hit of more than $14 million. For the first time in six seasons, Cook played in every game for the Vikings in 2022.
READY FOR LOVE: RODGERS’ EXIT WOULD MEAN NEW ERA FOR PACKERS
Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst valued Jordan Love’s potential enough three years ago to trade up in the draft and select him in the first round, catching the Hall of Fame-caliber quarterback already on Green Bay’s roster by surprise.
Love finally has a chance to show he was worth the gamble.
Four-time NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers said Wednesday on “The Pat McAfee Show” on YouTube and SiriusXM that he intends to play for the New York Jets in the 2023 season and is waiting for the Packers to trade him. Assuming that move is made, Love will take over as Green Bay’s starting quarterback.
“We’re excited about him,” Gutekunst said Feb. 28 during the NFL scouting combine. “I think I’ve expressed to a lot of people that he needs to play. That’s the next step in his progression.”
Love’s two predecessors set quite the standard.
The Packers have had three decades of Hall of Fame-caliber quarterback production from Brett Favre and Rodgers, who won a combined seven MVP awards during their time in Green Bay.
Love has spent the past three seasons backing up Rodgers, just as Rodgers took over after backing up Favre for three seasons. Rodgers said during his “Pat McAfee Show” appearance that he got the impression the Packers wanted to move on from him and make Love the starter.
“Jordan’s going to be a great player,” Rodgers said. “He’s a … great kid. He had a really good year this year, getting better on the look team. He’s got a bright future in front of him.”
Love has made only one career start, a 13-7 loss at Kansas City in 2021. His other most notable appearances came in the second half of a meaningless 2021 regular-season finale at Detroit and in relief of an injured Rodgers at Philadelphia last fall.
He has gone 50 of 83 for 606 yards with three touchdown passes and three interceptions since the Packers selected him out of Utah State with the 26th overall pick in the 2020 draft.
“I have complete confidence in his ability but also just his approach,” Packers coach Matt LaFleur said at the end of last season. “It’s been fun to watch him mature as a football player, as a man, over the course of these last three years. Just the way he walks around the building, his approach, his urgency, his fundamentals, everything that goes into being a quarterback, I think we’ve seen significant growth from him.”
It’s difficult to analyze Love’s performances because of the circumstances surrounding many of them.
Love didn’t realize he’d be starting at Kansas City until Rodgers discovered the Wednesday before the game he had tested positive for COVID-19. He threw two interceptions and one touchdown pass in the second half of a meaningless 2021 regular-season finale against Detroit when the Packers rested many starters because they already had clinched the NFC’s top seed.
His best outing came last season when he went 6 of 9 for 113 yards and a touchdown in relief of an injured Rodgers in a 40-33 loss at Philadelphia. The Eagles led 37-23 in the fourth quarter when Love entered the game, which impacted how they defended.
“I’d say I just feel more comfortable, more confident, just seeing things a little bit more clean and faster,” Love said four days after the Eagles game.
Love’s job could be particularly difficult if the Packers don’t add more playmakers.
Green Bay has a quality offensive line and one of the NFL’s top running back tandems in Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon, both capable pass catchers. The Packers drafted three wideouts last season, with Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs combining to score 12 touchdowns as rookies.
But they could lack veteran receivers and tight ends.
Allen Lazard, who had 60 catches for 788 yards last season, is an unrestricted free agent who tweeted out a farewell to Green Bay on Wednesday. Wide receiver Randall Cobb and tight ends Robert Tonyan and Marcedes Lewis also are free agents.
Love will have to draw on everything he picked up the past three seasons while backing up Rodgers. In his news conference after the Packers’ season finale, Rodgers was asked about Love’s readiness to take over in case the four-time MVP retired or got traded.
“You don’t know you’re ready until you’re in that position,” Rodgers said at the time. “I remember the day I was sleeping in San Diego and woke up to 50 text messages that Brett had retired. Then the emotions hit you. ‘Oh, man, now I’m the guy.’ But you’ve still got to go out there and find your stride with leadership and withstand the first year of different defenses throwing things at you and all the pressure that comes with everything.
“But I think he’s done a nice job of improving, working on the little things, done a nice job at practice. I think he’s got a chance to have a long future in the league.”
REPORT: EAGLES SIGNING MARCUS MARIOTA TO 1-YEAR, $5M DEAL
The Philadelphia Eagles have agreed to terms with quarterback Marcus Mariota on a one-year, $5-million deal that can reach $8 million with incentives, sources told Adam Schefter of ESPN.
Mariota went 5-8 in 13 starts for the Atlanta Falcons last season, throwing for 2,219 yards with 15 touchdowns and nine interceptions. He was benched for rookie Desmond Ridder in Week 14 and released by the Falcons after the season.
Gardner Minshew, the Eagles’ backup quarterback last season, signed a one-year deal with the Indianapolis Colts on Thursday. With Ian Book as the only other quarterback on the Eagles’ roster, Mariota is expected to back up Jalen Hurts for the 2023 season.
The 29-year-old Mariota was selected second overall in the 2015 draft by the Tennessee Titans. Mariota lost his starting job to Ryan Tannehill midway through the 2019 campaign and played two seasons with the Las Vegas Raiders before landing with the Falcons last March.
Mariota is 34-40 in 74 career starts, throwing for 15,656 yards with 92 touchdowns and 54 interceptions. He’s also rushed for 2,012 yards and 17 more scores during his career.
March 16, 2023
- Poles: Bears in better place after trade, free agency moves
- Jets sign versatile O-lineman Wes Schweitzer
- AP source: Browns agree to terms with DTs Hill, Hurst
- AP source: Giants reach deals with Ward, Slayton, Campbell
- 49ers sign CB Isaiah Oliver to 2-year contract
- Seahawks bring back Drew Lock, reach deal with Evan Brown
- NFL wants judge to send discrimination claims to arbitrator
- Poyer chooses friends, familiarity in re-signing with Bills
- Patriots sign OT Calvin Anderson, release veteran QB Hoyer
- NFL player armed in shooting but fired no shots: prosecutor
- Heinicke says he signed with Falcons to be Ridder’s backup
- Patrick Peterson eager to show Steelers he’s still elite
- Titans release OLB Bud Dupree after 7 sacks in 2 years
- Chiefs announce signings of OT Taylor, DE Omenihu to deals
- Vikings bring back RB Alexander Mattison
- Ready for Love: Rodgers’ exit would mean new era for Packers
- Packers re-sign CB/KR Keisean Nixon, TE Tyler Davis
- Agent: Orlando Brown, Jr. gets 4-year deal with Bengals
- OL Coleman Shelton returning to LA Rams with 2-year deal
- AP source: Eagles release CB Slay, work to restructure deal
- AP source: Eagles, DT Fletcher Cox agree on 1-year deal
- Chargers agree to terms with Morgan Fox, release Matt Feiler
- AP source: Saints, RB Jamaal Williams agree on 3-year deal
- Cardinals sign LB White, OL Froholdt to 2-year deals
- Panthers add free agent RB Sanders, TE Hurst to offense
- AP source: Browns, safety Thornhill agree to 3-year deal
- Broncos continue upgrades by signing special teams ace
- Vikings add ex-Cardinals CB Byron Murphy in defensive revamp
- End of an era: Cowboys release 2-time rushing champ Elliott
- Dolphins release CB Byron Jones after three seasons
- AP source: Commanders signing veteran QB Jacoby Brissett
- Safety Jordan Poyer agrees to 2-year deal to stay with Bills
- Titans place 2nd-round tenders on Teair Tart, Aaron Brewer
- Raiders re-sign safety Roderic Teamer
- Rodgers plans to play for Jets in 2023, awaits Packers’ move
- Patriots add WR JuJu Smith-Schuster with 3-year deal
- AP source: 49ers agree to 1-year deal with Clelin Ferrell
- Lions re-sign Cominsky to add to busy free agency week
- AP source: Buccaneers, Baker Mayfield agree on 1-year deal
- Aaron Rodgers says his intention is to play for New York Jets, he is waiting for Green Bay Packers to complete trade
- AP Source: Titans add DE Arden Key, OL Daniel Brunskill
- AP source: Lions add David Montogmery, Emmanuel Moseley
MICHIGAN RB BLAKE CORUM SAYS HE’LL BE BACK BY FALL CAMP
ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — Michigan All-America running back Blake Corum said his surgically repaired left knee has gotten strong enough that he’s been cleared to run on an anti-gravity treadmill next week.
Corum said Thursday that he is “100%” sure he will play in the season-opening game on Sept. 2 against East Carolina
Corum tore a meniscus and sprained a ligament in his left knee against Illinois on Nov. 19. After playing sparingly against Ohio State, he sat out when the Wolverines won the Big Ten title and advanced to the College Football Playoff semifinals.
Instead of entering the NFL draft, Corum decided to stay in school for his senior year.
“Feeling great all-around mentally, physically spiritually,” Corum told The Associated Press on Thursday.
The 5-foot-8, 210-pound Corum ran for 1,463 yards and 18 touchdowns last season and had 952 yards rushing and 11 touchdowns as a sophomore in 2021.
“I’ll be back definitely by fall camp,” he said. “I plan on doing everything in the summer workouts, depending on on what doctor says. He told me I shouldn’t be cutting until maybe June. I’m taking my time, but I will be ready by the season.”
Corum will be watching when his teammates face each each other in the Maize and Blue spring game on April 1 at Michigan Stadium.
|W||L||Pct||Conf GB||Home||Road||Div||Conf||Last 10||Streak|
|1 x-Milwaukee||50||20||.714||—||28-7||22-13||8-5||29-15||7-3||1 L|
|2 Boston||48||22||.686||2.0||26-9||22-13||9-4||29-16||5-5||1 W|
|3 Philadelphia||46||22||.676||3.0||26-10||20-12||7-6||27-15||7-3||6 W|
|4 Cleveland||44||28||.611||7.0||28-8||16-20||12-3||28-15||6-4||1 L|
|5 New York||41||30||.577||9.5||19-16||22-14||8-8||28-17||7-3||2 W|
|6 Brooklyn||39||31||.557||11.0||19-13||20-18||7-8||26-18||5-5||2 L|
|7 Miami||38||33||.535||12.5||24-13||14-20||9-5||19-23||6-4||2 W|
|8 Atlanta||34||35||.493||15.5||18-15||16-20||7-8||21-23||5-5||2 L|
|9 Toronto||34||36||.486||16.0||22-13||12-23||4-9||20-21||5-5||2 W|
|10 Washington||32||37||.464||17.5||16-17||16-20||7-5||19-24||4-6||1 W|
|11 Indiana||32||38||.457||18.0||19-16||13-22||7-6||22-20||6-4||1 W|
|12 Chicago||31||37||.456||18.0||18-16||13-21||6-8||23-22||5-5||1 L|
|13 Orlando||28||42||.400||22.0||16-19||12-23||5-8||15-28||3-7||2 L|
|14 Charlotte||22||49||.310||28.5||11-23||11-26||7-9||13-33||4-6||3 L|
|15 Detroit||16||55||.225||34.5||9-28||7-27||1-12||7-36||1-9||2 L|
|W||L||Pct||Conf GB||Home||Road||Div||Conf||Last 10||Streak|
|1 Denver||47||23||.671||—||30-6||17-17||10-5||32-13||5-5||1 W|
|2 Sacramento||42||27||.609||4.5||21-14||21-13||8-6||27-14||8-2||2 W|
|3 Memphis||41||27||.603||5.0||28-5||13-22||9-2||23-19||6-4||1 L|
|4 Phoenix||38||32||.543||9.0||23-12||15-20||9-3||24-17||6-4||1 W|
|5 LA Clippers||37||33||.529||10.0||19-15||18-18||7-7||21-21||5-5||4 W|
|6 Golden State||36||34||.514||11.0||29-7||7-27||6-9||23-19||6-4||1 L|
|7 Minnesota||35||35||.500||12.0||20-17||15-18||8-7||25-20||4-6||1 L|
|8 Dallas||35||35||.500||12.0||22-14||13-21||9-5||26-21||4-6||1 W|
|9 LA Lakers||34||36||.486||13.0||18-16||16-20||4-9||20-23||6-4||1 L|
|10 Oklahoma City||34||36||.486||13.0||21-15||13-21||7-7||20-23||6-4||1 L|
|11 Utah||33||36||.478||13.5||20-13||13-23||5-8||21-22||4-6||1 L|
|12 New Orleans||33||36||.478||13.5||22-13||11-23||8-4||22-19||3-7||1 L|
|13 Portland||31||38||.449||15.5||17-16||14-22||5-8||21-20||3-7||4 L|
|14 San Antonio||18||51||.261||28.5||12-24||6-27||2-11||7-36||4-6||1 L|
|15 Houston||17||52||.246||29.5||11-24||6-28||3-9||10-35||4-6||2 W|
|1 x-Boston Bruins||67||51||11||5||107||49||251||148||27-3-3||24-8-2||7-3-0|
|2 Carolina Hurricanes||66||44||14||8||96||40||222||168||24-8-2||20-6-6||6-4-0|
|3 New Jersey Devils||68||44||17||7||95||42||239||185||19-13-3||25-4-4||6-2-2|
|4 Toronto Maple Leafs||67||40||18||9||89||40||227||181||24-7-5||16-11-4||6-3-1|
|5 New York Rangers||68||39||19||10||88||35||226||191||19-11-4||20-8-6||6-3-1|
|6 Tampa Bay Lightning||69||41||22||6||88||38||241||210||24-6-5||17-16-1||4-4-2|
|7 Pittsburgh Penguins||68||34||24||10||78||33||223||220||19-10-5||15-14-5||6-3-1|
|8 New York Islanders||70||35||27||8||78||35||204||195||20-12-3||15-15-5||6-3-1|
|9 Florida Panthers||68||34||27||7||75||32||238||231||20-10-4||14-17-3||6-3-1|
|10 Washington Capitals||69||33||29||7||73||31||216||209||16-13-4||17-16-3||5-4-1|
|11 Buffalo Sabres||67||33||28||6||72||32||246||244||13-18-3||20-10-3||3-5-2|
|12 Ottawa Senators||68||33||31||4||70||31||214||223||19-13-2||14-18-2||5-5-0|
|13 Detroit Red Wings||67||30||28||9||69||28||200||219||17-12-4||13-16-5||2-7-1|
|14 Montreal Canadiens||69||27||36||6||60||23||195||257||14-17-3||13-19-3||2-6-2|
|15 Philadelphia Flyers||67||24||32||11||59||23||172||222||12-16-4||12-16-7||2-7-1|
|16 Columbus Blue Jackets||67||21||39||7||49||20||176||253||13-20-2||8-19-5||3-5-2|
|1 Vegas Golden Knights||69||42||21||6||90||38||224||195||21-14-1||21-7-5||7-3-0|
|2 Dallas Stars||69||37||19||13||87||34||237||189||17-9-8||20-10-5||6-3-1|
|3 Los Angeles Kings||69||40||20||9||89||34||237||224||22-9-3||18-11-6||8-1-1|
|4 Minnesota Wild||68||39||21||8||86||32||203||183||21-10-3||18-11-5||7-0-3|
|5 Colorado Avalanche||67||39||22||6||84||34||221||190||18-11-5||21-11-1||6-3-1|
|6 Edmonton Oilers||69||38||23||8||84||38||268||231||18-12-5||20-11-3||6-4-0|
|7 Seattle Kraken||68||38||23||7||83||38||236||217||16-14-4||22-9-3||6-3-1|
|8 Winnipeg Jets||69||38||28||3||79||37||212||197||21-12-2||17-16-1||3-5-2|
|9 Calgary Flames||69||31||24||14||76||29||216||210||16-14-3||15-10-11||4-4-2|
|10 Nashville Predators||66||34||25||7||75||30||189||192||17-12-3||17-13-4||6-3-1|
|11 St. Louis Blues||67||29||33||5||63||26||210||250||14-16-4||15-17-1||3-5-2|
|12 Vancouver Canucks||67||29||33||5||63||25||228||255||16-17-1||13-16-4||7-3-0|
|13 Arizona Coyotes||69||26||32||11||63||23||195||242||19-11-3||7-21-8||6-2-2|
|14 Chicago Blackhawks||68||24||38||6||54||22||173||240||14-18-3||10-20-3||3-6-1|
|15 Anaheim Ducks||68||22||36||10||54||19||175||277||11-17-3||11-19-7||5-2-3|
|16 San Jose Sharks||69||19||36||14||52||18||199||265||6-19-10||13-17-4||1-6-3|
TODAY IN BASEBALL HISTORY
1899 In Charlotte (NC), the Phillies take the field wearing new sweaters trimmed with green in commemorating St Patrick’s Day. The new look is a preview of the team’s new uniform colors this season which will feature white suits trimmed in green, a white cap with a green peak, and stockings of two-inch stripes of white and green.
1907 After yesterday’s alleged vicious attack on the groundskeeper’s wife by his troubled outfielder, Tigers owner Frank Navin makes an all-out effort to trade Ty Cobb. Indian skipper Nap Lajoie turns down a straight swap for former league batting champ Elmer Flick, calling the ‘Georgia Peach’ a problem player, and Connie Mack of the A’s, given his already strong outfield, shows only a passing interest.
1936 Twenty-one-year-old Joe DiMaggio makes his Yankee debut in a big way, collecting four hits, including a triple, in an 8-7 exhibition loss to the Cardinals at Miller Huggins Field in St. Petersburg (FL). The two-time American League MVP and future Hall of Fame outfielder will play 13 seasons with the Bronx Bombers, appearing in ten Fall Classics, in which the team wins nine World Championships.
1940 At Plant Field in Tampa, a capacity crowd sees the National League beat the AL in an interleague exhibition all-star game. The charity contest, which is heard nationally on the Mutual Broadcasting System, raises over $20,000 to help feed, clothe, and house the non-combatant citizens of Finland, whose country was recently attacked in November by the Soviet Union.
1946 In Dayton Beach, the only city that allows him to play, Triple-A Montreal Royals’ infielder Jackie Robinson makes his preseason debut at City Island Ball Park, which the municipality renamed after him in 1990. In the first-ever integrated spring training game, the former Negro League standout goes 0-for-3 against the Dodgers but is encouraged by the crowd’s reception.
1953 The Braves’ spring training game against the Yankees in Bradenton (FL) will prove to be the team’s last full one representing the city of Boston. During the sixth inning of tomorrow’s exhibition contest, the club learns of the National League’s approval of its shift to Milwaukee, unlike the Junior Circuit’s decision two days ago denying Bill Veeck permission to move his Browns to Baltimore due to the short amount of time left before Opening Day.
1953 The Milwaukee County Board, which oversees County Stadium, tears up their three-year deal with its minor league team and offers the ballpark to the Boston Braves at the reduced rate of $1,000 for the first two years. The city would receive five percent of the gate receipts and the majority of the concession sales for the first three seasons.
1965 Continuing to break barriers, Jackie Robinson becomes the first black to be a part of a national network broadcasting team when he signs on to announce games with ABC. The Hall of Fame infielder will make his Game of the Week debut next month at Fenway Park, teaming with Merle Harmon, the radio voice of the Milwaukee Braves.
1966 Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale play hardball when negotiating with the Dodgers. The duo signs movie contracts, showing they are serious about retiring from baseball if Los Angeles doesn’t agree to their salary demands.
1969 The Braves trade Joe Torre, a spring training holdout publicly feuding with team GM Paul Richards, to the Cardinals for 1967 National League Most Valuable Player Orlando Cepeda. The All-Star catcher/infielder will play six years in St. Louis, compiling a .308 batting average for the Redbirds that includes a major league-leading .363 in his 1971 MVP season.
1976 All clubs will comply within forty-eight hours to Commissioner Kuhn’s orders to open spring training camps as soon as possible, abruptly ending the 17-day work stoppage. The lockout, initiated by the owners over their concerns about free agency and the free-entry draft, will not impact the start of the regular season.
1977 In a decision seen as one of the most influential and precedent-setting cases in American jurisprudence regarding professional sports, a federal court rules in favor of Bowie Kuhn’s decision to void the 1976 sale of A’s players by Charlie Finley. The Oakland owner sued the commissioner for illegal restraint of trade when his deals to send Joe Rudi and Rollie Fingers to the Red Sox for $2 million and Vida Blue to the Yankees for $1.5 million were invalidated “in the best interests of baseball.”
1978 On St. Patrick’s Day, the Reds wear green uniforms, becoming the first team to start a tradition many other clubs will copy. After taking batting practice in their usual garb, Cincinnati, not promoting their green surprise, stun the Yankees and the spring training crowd taking the field sporting their iconic Irish look.
1986 During a Cactus League contest, an official scorer credits Carney Lansford with an unusual two-run inside-the-park homer in the fourth inning of the A’s 5-3 victory over the Indians in Phoenix. The infielder circles the bases when Mel Hall’s shirt gets stuck on the fence, preventing the outfielder from playing the ball, which is barely out of reach, with shortstop Julio Franco, closest to the play, unable to help because he is so incapacitated with laughter.
1999 In a rare dismissal of a manager in spring training, the Blue Jays fire Tim Johnson after deciding he has lost all his credibility, replacing him with Jim Fregosi. After claiming he had seen combat in Vietnam in the offseason, the former Toronto skipper reveals he lied about his military service, causing many players on his team to lose all respect for him as their field boss.
2001 Joe Randa agrees to a two-year contract extension keeping him in Kansas City until the 2003 season. The Royals’ third baseman batted .304 and knocked in 106 runs for the Royals in 155 games last season.
2005 During 11+ hours of the Committee on Government Reform hearing concerning the use of steroids in major leagues, Mark McGwire refuses to talk about the past and does not deny taking performance-enhancing drugs. Other players testifying included Curt Schilling, Sammy Sosa, Rafael Palmeiro, and former big leaguer Jose Canseco, whose recent book prompted the congressional hearing.
2008 The Dodgers lose to the Astros, 12-10, in their last contest at Dodgertown, the team’s spring training home since 1948. Eighty-one-year-old Carl Erskine, who pitched the first game at Holman Stadium 55 years ago, plays the national anthem on his harmonica before the contest.
2010 In a rare spring training ruling, major league baseball suspends a player due to an incident that occurs in an exhibition game. Cliff Lee, the Mariners’ much-hyped acquisition, is fined and suspended for the first five games of the regular season after throwing a pitch over the head of Chris Snyder in a Cactus League contest against Arizona.
2020 An Oakland fan named Justin, who tweeted a picture of himself wearing an A’s hat while in a hospital bed after testing positive for the Coronavirus, receives an invitation from team president Dave Kaval to throw out the first pitch on Opening Day at the Coliseum. In his Twitter post, the 39-year-old COVID-19 patient issued a plea to take the pandemic seriously, saying, “don’t be a moron, stay home!
Earl Averill burst onto the big league season with a rookie season many would consider their best. However, Averill was just getting started, and by the time he was finished, the Washington State native dubbed the Earl of Snohomish had crafted a Hall of Fame career.
Born May 21, 1902, in Snohomish, Washington, Averill broke into the majors in 1929 at the relatively late age of 26. He made up for lost time during his rookie year, starting the season as the center fielder and number three batter for the Cleveland Indians.
The compact 5-foot-9, 172-pound Averill quickly proved to be a line-drive machine, pounding out 198 hits that season en route to a .332 batting average, 18 homers, 96 RBI and 110 runs scored.
Averill posted similar numbers in 1930 with 19 homers, 119 RBI and a .339 average, then found his power stroke in 1931 with 32 homers, 143 RBI and 140 runs scored. During his first 10 big league seasons, he averaged 22 home runs, 107 RBI and 114 runs scored a season and hit .323.
“I thank the good Lord he wasn’t twins,” said Hall of Fame pitcher Lefty Gomez, whose Yankees battled the Indians in the American League throughout the 1930s. “One more like him probably would have kept me out of the Hall of Fame.”
Averill was traded to the Tigers on June 14, 1939, and the next year as a bench player he helped Detroit win the American League pennant. He retired after spending part of the 1941 season with the Boston Braves.
For his 13-year career, Averill hit .318 with 238 home runs, 2,019 hits and 1,224 runs scored. He hit over .300 in eight of his 12 full big league seasons, topping out at .378 in 1936 when he led the American League with 232 hits and 15 triples. Averill finished in the top four of the American League Most Valuable Player voting in three seasons and was named to six All-Star teams.
He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1975, and he passed away Aug. 16, 1983.
The story is so famous, it has become the first cautionary tale for every new big league general manager.
The Boston Red Sox, looking for bullpen help during the 1990 stretch drive, target the Astros’ Larry Andersen – a 37-year-old veteran of four teams who has posted earned-run averages below 2.00 for each of the two previous seasons.
In exchange, the Red Sox offer a 22-year-old Double-A third baseman who is batting .333 for the New Britain Red Sox but has only four home runs. But a little more than 400 days later, Jeff Bagwell wrapped up a rookie season in Houston where he hit .294 with 15 homers and 82 RBI – a season that would eventually win him the 1991 National League Rookie of the Year Award by a near-unanimous vote.
It was the beginning of a career that would take Bagwell to the Hall of Fame.
Born May 27, 1968, in Boston, Bagwell was the Red Sox’s fourth-round draft choice in 1989. He had received little attention as a high school player in Middletown, Conn., but found a place on the University of Hartford squad.
A lifelong Red Sox fan, the trade to the Astros devastated Bagwell – at first. But soon, Bagwell saw the trade as the platform that eventually launched his career.
After his Rookie of the Year season, Bagwell’s power numbers continued to climb before beginning an assault on the record books in 1994. That season, Bagwell hit .368 with 39 homers and 116 RBI in just 110 games in a season that was cut short by a strike, winning the NL Most Valuable Player Award. Suddenly, fans and media alike began to take note of the first baseman – the Astros moved him across the diamond before his big league career even began – with the shoulder-wide batting stance and fearless disposition.
Bagwell continued to put up astounding numbers in the next decade, scoring 100-or-more runs in eight of nine years from 1996-2004 and driving in more than 100 runs seven times in that span. He also averaged better than 113 walks a year during those seasons.
From 1996 through 2001, Bagwell totaled at least 30 home runs, 100 runs scored and 100 RBI per season. At the same time, Bagwell turned the Astros into an annual postseason contender – helping Houston advance to the playoffs six times from 1997-2005.
But early in the 2005 season, Bagwell removed himself from the lineup due to a right shoulder that had caused him four years of constant pain. The arthritic condition – produced by bone-on-bone wear and tear – left him virtually unable to throw a baseball.
Bagwell willed himself back onto the Astros’ roster for their 2005 run to the World Series, but called it quits after he was unable to appear in any games in 2006.
The final numbers: a .297 batting average and Houston club records of 449 home runs and 1,529 RBI to go with a .408 on-base percentage.
Bagwell was selected to four All-Star Games, finished in the Top 10 in the National League MVP voting six times, won three Silver Slugger Awards and also captured a Gold Glove Award in 1994.
Bagwell was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2017.
BASEBALL YEAR IN REVIEW
YEAR IN REVIEW : 1914 AMERICAN LEAGUE
Off the field…
The United States finally completed the construction of the Panama Canal. The fifty-one mile long waterway ran across the Isthmus of Panama, connecting the Atlantic (by way of the Caribbean Sea) and Pacific oceans. After the United States acquired territory in the Caribbean and in the Pacific as a result of the Spanish-American War (1899), U.S. control over a man-made canal seemed imperative. In 1912, “The Panama Canal Act” was passed (exempting tolls from American cargo ships engaged in coastwise trade) igniting a protest by Great Britain that was eventually repealed in 1914 through the efforts of President Woodrow Wilson.
In the American League…
Cleveland Naps shortstop Ray Chapman stumbled his way into an unwanted record on June 20th after committing four errors in the fifth inning during a 7-1 loss to the New York Yankees at League Park II.
During the second game of an August 24th doubleheader in Washington, Detroit Tigers pitcher Hooks Dauss combined with four Senators aces to hit a record seven batters for a Major League mark that remained unmatched until the 1971 season.
In September, New York Yankees shortstop Roger Peckinpaugh replaced Frank Chance to become the club’s all-time youngest skipper (twenty-three), and the seventh in its twelve-year existence. He later went on to win nine of seventeen games and eventually managed Cleveland in 1928.
In the National League…
On June 9th at the Baker Bowl, Pittsburgh Pirate legend Honus Wagner joined Cap Anson as the only other member of the “3,000 Hit Club.” Wagner collected the historic double off the Philadelphia Phillies’ Erskine Mayer in the ninth-inning of his two-thousand three-hundred thirty second game.
Pittsburgh and New York went head-to-head for a twenty-one innings on July 17th before Larry Doyle’s two-run home run sealed a 3-1 Giants victory over the Pirates. The Forbes Field marathon set a Major League mark as the longest “non-walk game” in the history of organized baseball.
Brooklyn Dodgers first baseman Jake Daubert tied a Major League mark on August 15th after recording four sacrifice bunts in the second game of a doubleheader sweep against the Philadelphia Phillies (8-4, 13-5). Daubert had also placed two sacrifice bunts in the first game after an ankle injury impeded his ability to run.
In the Federal League…
1914 debuted the short-lived Federal League after John T. Powers of Chicago convinced a group of entrepreneurs that the growing popularity of baseball could support a third major league. Eight teams entered the inaugural season with clubs based in Brooklyn, Chicago, St. Louis and Pittsburgh as well as Baltimore, Kansas City, Buffalo and Indianapolis which had been the home for AAA teams. All eight cities constructed brand new ballparks including the Chicago Whales who played in what would eventually be known as Wrigley Field.
To effectively compete, the owners lured eighty-one former Major League players (eighteen of which were active) and one-hundred forty Minor League players (twenty-five of which were active) into the Federal League Baseball Company, Inc.
On May 6th, Pittsburgh Rebel Ed Lennox collected the only Federal League cycle during a 10-4 win over the Kansas City Packers.
Around the League…
A joint committee representing both the American and National Leagues voted that a “runner touched or held by a coach while rounding third base was officially out” and that “coaches could now assist other members of their team, not just the base runners”. Pitchers were also allowed to stand on the rubber (vs. standing behind the rubber until ready to pitch) and base runners were no longer permitted to run on an infield fly. A motion to eliminate the intentional walk was also rejected along with an attempt to legalize Sunday baseball in Massachusetts.
In April, the twenty-five player limit was suspended in both the American and National Leagues. With uncertainty over who has signed with what teams, it was almost impossible to verify how many players could be on any club’s roster at any one time.
On April 22nd, a nineteen year-old pitcher named Babe Ruth made his debut in the International League with a six-hit, 6-0 win for Baltimore over Buffalo. The second batter he faced was Joe McCarthy, the manager he would later play for as a New York Yankee.
March 17, 1871 – Hesper, Kansas – The two way player that manned both the halfback and tackle positions at two schools Kansas in 1895 and Pennsylvania 1897 to 1899, John Outland entered into life. The National Football foundation voters selected the name of John Outland in 2000 to become an inducted player in the College Football Hall of Fame. The Outland Trophy was created in his honor to recognize the best collegiate lineman each season.
March 17, 1872 – Melbourne, Australia – Pat O’Dea the University of Wisconsin fullback from 1896 to 1899 was born. This fella has an interesting football story that you can find more about by clicking his name.
March 17, 1876 – Cimarron, New Mexico – The halfback/quarterback of the 1895 and 1897 to 1901 Columbia University Football teams, Bill Morley was born. Bill was part of a high powered and worrisome backfield for Columbia Lions opponents as they could score from anywhere per the National Football Foundation. Morley led the first Lions team to beat Yale, and the 5-0 victory was pretty much carried on Morley’s shoulders. Bill beat up the Eli’s pretty good with his crushing blocks and piercing runs. After playing one season at Michigan in 1895, Morley went on to receive All-America honors in 1900 and 1901 with Columbia. During his three Columbia seasons, Morley helped the Blue and White amass a record of 23-11-1. Bill Morley was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1971. Bill was picked as the first former player to coach the Lions and he notched up a 26-11-4 record during four seasons at the Columbia helm. His 1902 team finished 9-1, losing only to Yale.
March 17, 1905 – Youngstown, Ohio – The University of Pittsburgh’s great end from 1927 to 1929, Joe Donchess was born. The NFF says Donchess quit school in the fifth grade to earn money working in a steel mill. That could been the end of this student-athlete’s story right there but it’s thankfully not. Some five years later, an alumnus of Wyoming Seminary, found out about Donchess’ story and then promptly sent Joe off to that famous prep school. Donchess turned out to be an excellent student and a fast learner and made up three grades in one year. After graduating from Wyoming Seminary Joe attended Pitt and he excelled there both academically and in athletics. The Panthers were undefeated in 1929, and that coincided with the year Donchess was chosen as a consensus All-American. The Panthers were highly touted and went to the Rose Bowl that season, sporting four All-Americans and a label as one of the great teams in the history of Eastern football,” It may have all gone to the team’s heads as Pitt was dominated by the University of Southern California, in a 47-14 thumping. Donchess again played in the Rose Bowl in 1928 against Stanford, and again, despite a powerful team, Pittsburgh was the victim of a 7-6 defeat at the hands of the Cardinal. Joe Donchess received the honor due to his great legacy being placed into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1979.
When Herb Adderley reported to his first Green Bay training camp in 1961 as the Packers’ No.1 draft pick, he had the unenviable task of competing against future Hall of Fame running backs Jim Taylor and Paul Hornung for a starter’s spot. Midway through the season, however, Packers coach Vince Lombardi decided to try the former Michigan State star as an emergency replacement for injured starting cornerback Hank Gremminger.
Adderley, using his speed and marvelous instincts, quickly demonstrated he had what it took to be an NFL cornerback. The 6-1, 205-pound Philadelphia native took immediate command in the Packers’ defensive backfield and, within two years, had won All-NFL honors, acclaim he was to earn four more times in 1963, 1965, 1966 and 1969. A speed-burning ball hawk, Herb amassed 48 interceptions, returning them for 1,046 yards and a 21.8-yard average, with seven touchdowns during his 12-year career with the Packers (1961-69) and Dallas Cowboys (1970-72). He doubled as a kickoff return specialist during most of his Green Bay career and wound up with a 25.7-yard average on 120 returns. Included were a 103-yard return in 1962 and a 98-yard thrust in 1963.
Lombardi once admitted that he almost made a mistake with Adderley. “I was too stubborn to switch him to defense until I had to,” he confessed. “Now when I think of what Adderley means to our defense, it scares me to think of how I almost mishandled him.” Adderley played in five Pro Bowl games during the 1960s and was seemingly a fixture in post-season games. He played in four of the first six Super Bowl games, winning championship rings in three of them. He also played in seven NFL championship games in an 11-year span from 1961 through 1971. His teams – the Packers five times and the Cowboys twice – won every one. Herb’s 60-yard interception return for a clinching touchdown for the Packers in Super Bowl II was the only interception return for a touchdown in the first 10 Super Bowls.
NUMBERS IN SPORTS
7 – 16 – 22
March 17, 1932 – Howie Morenz, Number 7 the center of the Montreal Canadiens nets his 334th career point with an assist in a 10-4 win v New York Americans. With this he passed Cy Denneny, Number 16 of the Ottawa Senators as NHL leader for career points at the time.March 17, 1983 – Number 22, Mike Bossy fired home the 70th hat trick in New York Islander franchise history as the Isles dropped the New Jersey Devils 9-5.