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TOP NATIONAL SPORTS NEWS/RELEASES

AARON RODGERS SAYS HE WILL REMAIN WITH PACKERS NEXT SEASON

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) Aaron Rodgers is planning to come back to the Green Bay Packers for an 18th season, a move that keeps the reigning MVP off the trade market and answers the question that had dominated NFL offseason discussions.

Rodgers sent out a tweet Tuesday afternoon confirming his return.

“YES, I will be playing with the Packers next year,” Rodgers said. “However, reports about me signing a contract are inaccurate, as are the supposed terms of the contract `I signed.’ I’m very excited to be back.”

NFL Network and Pat McAfee, the host of “The Pat McAfee Show” on SiriusXM and YouTube, had both reported earlier in the day that Rodgers was staying with the Packers. Rodgers makes a weekly appearance on McAfee’s show during the season.

NFL Network reported that the 38-year-old Rodgers had agreed to a four-year, $200 million contract that includes $153 million in guaranteed money. McAfee disputed the terms and said the contract wasn’t signed yet, and Rodgers’ tweet backed up McAfee’s account.

Rodgers’ decision comes nearly a month after he won his second straight MVP award. The four-time MVP quarterback has spent his entire career in Green Bay.

He said he wanted to make an announcement on his future before the start of the free agency period that begins next week. The reports of his decision surfaced the same day the Packers placed the franchise tag on All-Pro receiver Davante Adams. Unless Adams signs a long-term deal before July 15, he will make just over $20 million in 2022.

Rodgers wanted to avoid a repeat of 2021, when his status was uncertain until the start of training camp after he skipped the Packers’ mandatory minicamp.

The questions about his future stemmed from Rodgers’ disagreements with team management at the time. Rodgers said on multiple occasions over the last few months that his relationship with team officials had improved significantly.

Rodgers’ plans had been the subject of much speculation ever since the Packers traded up four spots to take Utah State quarterback Jordan Love with the 26th overall pick in the 2020 draft. After referring to his future as a “beautiful mystery” late in the 2020 season, Rodgers skipped the Packers’ organized team activities and mandatory minicamp in a standoff with team management.

Rodgers reported for training camp on time but acknowledged his future with the organization was uncertain. At the time, he said he wanted to have a voice in the team’s decision-making process.

Rodgers recently has frequently offered compliments about the moves general manager Brian Gutekunst made to improve the team. Those moves included acquiring wide receiver Randall Cobb at Rodgers’ request. Rodgers said he got the sense there was better communication this season and that “I feel like my opinion mattered.”

“I think he put together a really nice team, a team that could have won a Super Bowl, and he deserves a lot of credit for some of the moves that he made,” Rodgers said after a January playoff loss to San Francisco. “I’m disappointed we couldn’t put it together for him and the organization tonight, and I’m disappointed it’s ending.”

Gutekunst agreed their relationship was in a good place.

“I feel really good about where we sit right now,” Gutekunst said before the NFL scouting combine.

Rodgers had a tumultuous 2021 season in a number of respects, particularly for comments he made about his vaccination status. When asked before the season whether he had been vaccinated against COVID-19, Rodgers replied, “Yeah, I’m immunized.” But after testing positive during the season, Rodgers acknowledged he was unvaccinated and said he instead had sought alternative treatments.

Rodgers also dealt with a fractured left pinky toe for much of the year, but continued playing at an All-Pro level. He threw 20 touchdown passes with no interceptions over his final seven regular-season games. He led the Packers to a 13-4 record and a third straight NFC North championship.

But his season ended with a disappointing playoff performance. The Packers scored a touchdown on the game’s opening series but never reached the end zone again in the home loss to the 49ers.

Packers coach Matt LaFleur, Gutekunst and president/CEO Mark Murphy said after the season they all wanted Rodgers back in 2022.

“I think we’ve got as good a shot as anybody to win a Super Bowl next year (with Rodgers),” Gutekunst said. “He’s the MVP of the league. That’s our goal. I think we have an opportunity to do it right now.”

LaFleur made a move seemingly aimed at keeping Rodgers when he brought back Tom Clements as quarterbacks coach. Rodgers had praised the 68-year-old Clements, who previously worked for the Packers from 2006-16 in roles that included quarterbacks coach (2006-11), offensive coordinator (2012-14) and associate head coach/offense (2015-16). Rodgers lauded Clements on multiple occasions over the last year.

Rodgers’ return would answer one giant question for the Packers as they head into a critical offseason. They’re well over the salary cap and have several key players with expiring contracts.

Gutekunst has said he believes the Packers could keep Rodgers and Adams while building a contending team around them. And they have done so.

“I think obviously everything around here kind of centers on the quarterback,” Gutekunst said before the combine. “It’s a big piece and a domino that kind of has to fall before we go down the other avenues. So, it’s important as we go through this and the puzzle pieces we have to try to make fit. That’s the first one to go.”

AP SOURCES: SEAHAWKS AGREE TO TRADE RUSSELL WILSON TO DENVER

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) The Denver Broncos have finally landed a worthy successor to Peyton Manning.

Six years and a day after Manning retired, Broncos general manager George Paton agreed to send a massive haul of players and draft picks to the Seattle Seahawks for nine-time Pro Bowl quarterback Russell Wilson, two people familiar with the negotiations confirmed to The Associated Press on Tuesday.

The people spoke on condition of anonymity because the blockbuster trade, which is pending Wilson passing a physical, can’t become official until the start of the new league year on March 16.

The teams cannot comment on the deal until then, but the Broncos cleverly tweeted a clip of Tom Hanks’ character in “Cast Away” drawing a face on the volleyball he named “Wilson.”

About an hour later, the Seahawks tweeted another clip from that movie in which Hanks’ scraggly, skinny character loses the volleyball at sea and hollers, ” Wilson, where are you? Wilson! Wilson! “

Denver was seen as the front-runner for Aaron Rodgers before the two-time reigning MVP agreed Tuesday to stay in Green Bay, presumably as the highest-paid player in NFL history. Not long afterward, Paton landed a Super Bowl-winning quarterback anyway, and one who’s five years younger than the 38-year-old Packers star.

The NFL Network reported the Seahawks agreed to send Wilson and a fourth-round pick to Denver in exchange for two first-round picks, two second-round picks, and a fifth-rounder, along with quarterback Drew Lock, defensive end Shelby Harris and tight end Noah Fant, the Broncos’ first-round draft pick in 2019.

Since Manning retired a month after winning Super Bowl 50, the Broncos have churned through 10 starting quarterbacks, including a different starter in each of the last five season openers: Trevor Siemian, Case Keenum, Joe Flacco, Lock and Teddy Bridgewater, who beat out Lock last summer.

The Broncos haven’t been back to the playoffs since Manning retired, but they appear to have a playoff-worthy roster. New coach Nathaniel Hackett, Rodgers’ former offensive coordinator, is building an offense around dynamic wide receivers Jerry Jeudy, Courtland Sutton, Tim Patrick and K.J. Hamler, tight end Albert Okwuegbunam and running back Javonte Williams.

And now he has the quarterback to make it all work, one who can stack up with the likes of Patrick Mahomes, Justin Herbert and Derek Carr in the tough AFC West.

Jeudy tweeted a frowning emoji upon word of Rodgers staying put, then he tweeted a smiling emoji when word broke that Wilson was headed to Denver.

The Seahawks had made it clear they weren’t interested in moving Wilson unless a transformational offer came along.

Seattle’s offseason had mostly been focused on adjustments on defense with coaching and scheme changes, and the belief that with Wilson still at quarterback the Seahawks would remain contenders in the stacked NFC West.

Last week at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis, coach Pete Carroll said that general manager John Schneider was receiving calls about Wilson’s availability but the Seahawks weren’t shopping him.

The trade, though, was the culmination of more than a year’s worth of buildup. Wilson first expressed his discontent with the franchise last offseason after Seattle won the division but lost in the first round of the playoffs.

The acrimony got to the point that his agent publicly expressed the teams Wilson would be willing to accept a trade to, but the quarterback and the Seahawks moved forward together for one more season.

This was always the offseason that seemed to make the most sense for a potential move with Wilson, however. He has two years remaining on his current contract and a salary cap hit of $37 million for the 2022 season.

Wilson was a third-round pick in 2012 out of Wisconsin. He won the starting job as a rookie after Seattle had signed Matt Flynn in free agency. The decision to go with Wilson was one of the smartest ever made by Carroll.

Wilson started 149 regular-season games and 16 playoff games before suffering a fractured middle finger on his right hand and missing four games last season, when he went 6-8. Seattle finished 7-10, the only losing season in Wilson’s tenure.

He struggled upon his return but finished strong, showing it was more of an injury-marred stretch than an indication he was in any sort of decline.

Wilson helped Seattle to its only Super Bowl title with a 43-8 thumping of Manning and the Broncos in Super Bowl 48, then lost to Tom Brady and the Patriots in the Super Bowl a year later. Overall, he’s 9-7 in the playoffs.

Lock is 8-13 with 25 touchdown passes and 20 interceptions over three seasons in Denver.

Unless the Seahawks package their newly acquired picks and try to land, say, Deshaun Watson from the Texans should he clear up his legal issues, it appears a larger rebuild may be in play for Seattle.

The Seahawks have major free agent questions with left tackle Duane Brown, safety Quandre Diggs, cornerback D.J. Reed and running back Rashaad Penny. There also have been questions about 31-year-old linebacker Bobby Wagner’s future in Seattle with the Seahawks facing a $20 million cap hit under his current contract.

And now they need a starting quarterback.

PACKERS GIVE FRANCHISE TAG TO ALL-PRO RECEIVER DAVANTE ADAMS

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) The Green Bay Packers are putting a franchise tag on Davante Adams to prevent the two-time All-Pro receiver from becoming an unrestricted free agent.

The Packers made the move Tuesday after MVP quarterback Aaron Rodgers announced he’s planning to return to Green Bay for an 18th season.

If the Packers hadn’t tagged him or signed him to an extension, any team would have had the opportunity to sign Adams when the free agency period opens March 16.

Adams and the Packers now have until July 15 to work out a long-term extension. If they don’t come to terms, Adams would play this season for just over $20 million because a player’s franchise tag tender is either the average of the five largest salaries from the prior year at the position – $18.4 million for receivers – or 120% of his previous season’s salary. The player receives the higher amount; in Adams’ case, he gets the 120%.

Adams could negotiate with other teams under the non-exclusive tag, but the Packers could match any offer, and if they didn’t they would receive two first-round draft picks.

Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst had said last month he would prefer not to use the tag on Adams.

“It’s obviously a tool that’s made available to us,” Gutekunst said at the time. “If we need to use it, we certainly will. I think we’d love to come to an agreement before that, but it is a tool to be able to protect one of your star players. But at the same time, that’s not the way – we kind of like to exhaust all options before we get to that point.”

Adams also didn’t seem happy about the idea of getting tagged when asked late in the season.

“I’m not sure how to answer that safely right now,” Adams said then. “So, we’ll just cross that bridge when we get to it. I’ll just say that. I like to be professional on here.”

Adams, 29, has earned All-Pro honors each of the last two seasons and was a unanimous selection in 2021. He set Packers single-season records for catches (13) and yards receiving (1,553) while also scoring 11 touchdowns.

He’s the only player in NFL history to have at least 110 catches, 1,350 yards receiving and 11 touchdown receptions in three separate seasons. Adams has joined Marvin Harrison and Larry Fitzgerald as the only players to have 600 catches, 8,000 yards receiving and 70 touchdown receptions over their first eight seasons.

The Packers still have plenty of other issues to address in their receiving corps. Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Equanimeous St. Brown and tight end Robert Tonyan are unrestricted free agents. Allen Lazard is a restricted free agent.

BUCS PLACE FRANCHISE TAG ON WR CHRIS GODWIN FOR 2ND TIME

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) Tampa Bay’s Chris Godwin will be one of the NFL’s highest-paid wide receivers after the Buccaneers placed the franchise tag on him for the second straight year.

The team announced the move Tuesday after failing to reach a long-term agreement with the 26-year-old, who led the Bucs with a career-best 98 receptions for 1,103 yards and five touchdowns despite missing the final three weeks of the 2021 season after suffering torn anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments in his right knee.

Godwin, who also sat out the playoffs after undergoing surgery, will earn $19.18 million under the franchise tag next season.

A third-round draft selection out of Penn State in 2017, Godwin has started 47 of 72 games he’s played with the Bucs over five seasons. He has 342 catches for 4,643 yards and 29 touchdowns.

CHARGERS SIGN 3-YEAR EXTENSION WITH WR MIKE WILLIAMS

COSTA MESA, Calif. (AP) Mike Williams will remain a valuable part of the Los Angeles Chargers’ offense for the next three seasons. The wide receiver signed a three-year, $60 million extension with the franchise on Tuesday.

The extension, including $40 million guaranteed, also came on what is deadline day for teams to place franchise tags on players. Williams was the Chargers’ top free agent they were hoping to retain.

The seventh overall draft pick by the Chargers in 2017 is coming off a career season when he set personal highs in catches (76) and yards (1,146). He also had nine touchdowns and averaged 15.1 yards per catch.

Williams is averaging 16.8 yards per reception over the past three seasons, tied for fifth in the league. He said at the end of the 2021 season he hoped to remain with the Chargers.

“I feel like I have built some lifelong friendships here with the guys in this organization, on and off of the field,” he said. “I like the organization, I like the people that I come to work with every day. Hopefully, things work out on both ends.”

Williams has shown versatility in his game throughout his five seasons. He was a red-zone target in 2018 before becoming more of a deep threat in 2019 and ’20. Last season with a new offensive scheme installed by coach Brandon Staley and offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi, he caught more passes on short routes but also had nine receptions of at least 40 yards, which led the AFC.

Of Williams’ nine touchdowns in 2021, five were go-ahead scores in the fourth quarter or overtime.

“I know that I’ve said this before, but every time he’s had an opportunity to make a play for us, he does,” general manager Tom Telesco said when the season concluded. “I didn’t see this as a one-year thing with Mike this year. His second year in the league, he had 10 touchdowns. His third year, he had 1,000 yards and led the league in yards per catch. Then … where we knew he was going to have more targets and that we were going to expand where we used him on the field, and he produced again – a career year in catches and yards.”

COWBOYS USING $11 MILLION FRANCHISE TAG ON TE DALTON SCHULTZ

(AP) — The Dallas Cowboys placed the franchise tag on tight end Dalton Schultz on Tuesday, buying time to agree on a long-term deal for one of Dak Prescott’s most reliable targets.

The one-year contract will be worth about $11 million. If Schultz signs it, the sides will have until July 15 to come to terms on a longer contract that would have less of a salary cap hit as Dallas looks for relief. Tuesday is the deadline for franchise tags.

The Cowboys entered the offseason about $22 million over the cap but saved about that much Tuesday by restructuring the contracts of Prescott and five-time All-Pro right guard Zack Martin. Releasing receiver Amari Cooper, a strong consideration for Dallas, would save another $16 million.

Schultz emerged as an important part of the Dallas offense early in 2020 when Blake Jarwin sustained a season-ending knee injury in the opener. Jarwin’s future now is in doubt because of a hip issue requiring career-threatening surgery.

A fourth-round draft pick out of Stanford in 2018, Schultz saw his production skyrocket in 2020 and 2021. He had a combined 13 catches in his first two years before finishing with 63 receptions for 615 yards and four touchdowns two seasons ago.

The TD count doubled to eight last season, when Schultz again had career highs in catches (78) and yards (808). Schultz was second on the club in catches, one behind receiver CeeDee Lamb.

Schultz was already considered a better blocking tight end than Jarwin before his offensive production went up. Jarwin played just nine games over two seasons since the undrafted player signed a $22 million, four-year contract. Jarwin also is a candidate to be released, with modest cap savings.

Jarwin’s status makes keeping Schultz a bigger priority. Sean McKeon, the only other Dallas tight end under contract, had four catches and a touchdown last season. Jeremy Sprinkle, an unrestricted free agent, had three grabs.

Schultz’s return will be important if the Cowboys decide to cut Cooper. Losing two significant targets would hurt Prescott with the Cowboys trying for an elusive playoff run after the NFC East champions were ousted in the wild-card round by San Francisco.

The Cowboys signed receiver Noah Brown to a one-year contract.

DOLPHINS PLACE FRANCHISE TAG ON TE MIKE GESICKI

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (AP) Mike Gesicki is getting a big raise from the Miami Dolphins. What remains unclear is if he’ll be getting a longer deal.

The Dolphins on Tuesday placed the franchise tag for the coming season on Gesicki, ensuring that the tight end will be back for 2022 instead of hitting the free agent market.

The NFL set the tag number for tight ends at $10.931 million for the season. Gesicki had made a total of $6.6 million in his first four seasons with the Dolphins, and it remains possible that he and the team could still work out a longer-term extension between now and mid-July.

By committing the nearly $11 million to Gesicki, the Dolphins’ available cap space right now is somewhere around $52 million. That remains fluid and could rise depending on other personnel moves that may be coming. Free agency officially begins March 16.

The Dolphins revealed two other moves Tuesday, saying they have tendered a pair of exclusive rights free agents in running back Salvon Ahmed and defensive back Elijah Campbell. Such deals – one year at the league minimum – can be offered to players with fewer than three accrued seasons and an expired contract and keeps those players from negotiating with other teams.

Gesicki had 73 catches last season, fourth-most in the NFL among tight ends and second-most on the team behind Jaylen Waddle’s 106. He has been extremely dependable, playing in 64 of a possible 65 games since getting taken by Miami in the second round of the 2018 draft. And his catch totals have gone up each season: His rookie total of 22 was followed by 51, then 53 and now 73.

“Mike knows how I feel about him,” Dolphins general manager Chris Grier said last week at the NFL combine. “I drafted him.”

It was not a surprise that the Dolphins used the tag on Gesicki. New head coach Mike McDaniel was speaking in current terms last week when asked about Gesicki, clearly indicating that he was figuring into his plans for the offense.

“We’ll use him the way it’s most appropriate for him,” McDaniel said.

Gesicki said in January, as the Dolphins’ season was ending, that he was not focusing on his contract status or the possibility of being tagged.

“I kind of just let it all play out because it doesn’t matter how much I think about it or don’t think about it, it’s not really up to me,” he said at the time. “I just kind of go about my business and kind of let everything fall where it may. I do appreciate this organization. I’m happy where I’m at.”

TITANS AGREE TO EXTENSION WITH PRO BOWL OLB HAROLD LANDRY

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) The Tennessee Titans finally have a strong pass rush they’re going to keep together.

The Titans announced Tuesday night they had agreed to terms on an extension for Pro Bowl linebacker Harold Landry III hours after declining to use the franchise tag. Terms were not announced.

Landry reportedly agreed to a five-year extension worth $87.5 million with $52.5 million guaranteed.

The deal keeps him off the free-agent market after he posted a career-high 12 sacks to rank 10th in the NFL and earn his first Pro Bowl nod. He had a team-high 14 tackles for loss, was second with a career-high 49 quarterback pressures and tied for second with 75 tackles. He has 4 1/2 postseason sacks for his career.

The linebacker led the Titans in sacks three straight seasons, and his 31 sacks in his first four seasons lead the team. Only Jevon Kearse, who had 37, has had more sacks in his first four seasons with the team since individual sacks became an official NFL statistic in 1982.

Landry has started 52 straight games, the sixth-longest streak among NFL defensive players, and played in 64 consecutive games since sitting out the first game of his rookie season.

He joined Cameron Hayward of Pittsburgh as the only players in the NFL with at least 250 tackles, 30 sacks and two interceptions over the past four seasons. He joined Micah Parsons, Aaron Donald and Heyward as the only NFL players with at least 75 tackles and 10 sacks in 2021.

The Titans took Landry in the second round in 2018 at No. 41 overall out of Boston College.

Tennessee’s defense ranked ninth with 43 sacks and was the NFL’s only unit featuring three players with at least eight sacks in 2021. Denico Autry had nine sacks and Pro Bowl lineman Jeffery Simmons had a career-high 8 1/2.

The Titans had just 19 sacks in 2020 after trying Jadeveon Clowney and Vic Beasley as free agent help. Clowney finished that season on injured reserve, while Beasley was released with zero sacks combined between the pair.

The Titans signed Autry and linebacker Bud Dupree as free agents last March with Autry proving to be a steal matching his career-high in sacks. Autry is under contract through 2023, while Dupree has four more seasons remaining.

Titans general manager Jon Robinson said at the NFL combine last week it was fun to watch how the pass rush came together.

“But it is a balance of trying to keep that thing together, and working through Harold’s contract and you know being mindful of players that we kind of have coming down the pike too that we want to try to keep there as well,” Robinson said.

Simmons is going into his fourth season, but the Titans can pick up the fifth-year option for the No. 19 overall pick in 2019 this spring. Simmons also earned his first Pro Bowl nod.

DEION SANDERS HAS 2 TOES AMPUTATED AFTER MEDICAL SETBACK

Deion Sanders had two toes on his left foot amputated due to blood clots stemming from a previous surgery.

The Jackson State head coach and NFL Hall of Famer revealed the severity of his foot injury in an episode of his “Coach Prime” documentary series that will air Tuesday night on Barstool Sports.

Sanders was hospitalized for around a month in the middle of last season when the Tigers finished 11-2.

He had a dislocated toe along with an inflamed nerve. His initial procedure was in September and he later returned to the field for practice using a golf cart and crutches. He roamed the sideline for a game with the help of a push scooter.

As he healed, his toes began to darken under the bandages.

“They were talking about the amputation of toes,” said Sanders. “Then they were talking about the amputation of my leg from the knee down. Then, they were trying to ensure I had life.”

The 54-year-old Sanders underwent several surgeries. He developed a femoral arterial blood clot. He also had compartment syndrome, where his leg swelled up, and doctors had to flay open his leg to drain fluid. Sanders later had his big toe and the second toe amputated.

JIM HARBAUGH SAYS DOOR IS CLOSED ON HIM RETURNING TO THE NFL

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh said Tuesday that the door is closed on his potential return to the NFL.

Harbaugh said he took a look at possibly coaching the Minnesota Vikings – interviewing with them last month on signing day – to find out if he wanted to be back in the league after seven seasons with the Wolverines.

“Ultimately, I decided this is where I wanted to be,” Harbaugh said during a news conference to discuss spring practice. “And really, a lot of gratitude for that.”

The Vikings made Harbaugh’s decision a little easier because they didn’t offer him the job. Minnesota ended up hiring Los Angeles Rams offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell.

Before the 58-year-old Harbaugh signed a new deal at Michigan, he told his boss and former teammate, athletic director Warde Manuel, that he would not revisit the possibilities of coaching in the NFL again.

“That’s how I felt, and how I feel,” Harbaugh told reporters.

Harbaugh is 61-24 at Michigan, including one desperately needed win over Ohio State last season.

The school reworked his five-year deal last month, putting him under contract through the 2026 season and guaranteeing he will make more than $7 million annually. Harbaugh will have $1 million contributed to his retirement plan each year and has a chance to make millions more with performance bonuses.

Looking and sounding upbeat in a news conference that lasted longer than most, Harbaugh insisted he no longer dreams of winning a Super Bowl and is focused entirely on helping the Wolverines win their first national championship since 1997.

“We could win the national championship, and that’s plenty good,” he said.

IRVING SCORES 50, NETS BEAT HORNETS TO SNAP 4-GAME SKID

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) Kevin Durant simply began clapping when asked about teammate Kyrie Irving’s 50-point performance Tuesday night.

“That was master class,” Durant said.

Irving hit nine 3-pointers and the Brooklyn Nets snapped a four-game skid with a 132-121 win over the Charlotte Hornets.

Irving became one of 22 players in NBA history with five 50-point games, according to Basketball Reference. His career high is 57 points on March, 12, 2015, while playing for the Cleveland Cavaliers in an overtime win against San Antonio.

“Younger players should watch this game and learn what it takes to score at that level,” Durant said.

Durant had a quiet night by his lofty standards, finishing with 14 points.

But he didn’t have to do much lifting with Irving taking control most of the game.

Irving, who has only been allowed to play in away games due to COVID-19 protocols in New York, finished 15 of 19 from the field and 9 of 12 from beyond the arc. He also was 11 of 13 from the line.

He became only the second guard in NBA history to have multiple 50-point games while shooting 75% from the floor, according to Stats. The other is Michael Jordan.

“It was special,” Seth Curry said. “He made great plays all over the floor. He didn’t force it. Catch and shoot, off the dribble and got to the rim, too. We needed that Kyrie.”

Durant said Irving had “that look in his eye” before the game, and the former Duke point guard agreed.

“It felt like a must-win night,” Irving said. “I’m not saying the other nights didn’t feel like that, but you have to go into that deep place where you aren’t distracted by anything that is going on.”

Added Durant: “Everything he does is so pure. It looked so easy tonight. I looked up and he had 10 points and it felt like he had taken two shots.”

Andre Drummond dominated inside, finishing with 20 points and 14 rebounds for Brooklyn, which got back to .500 on the season and moved into sole possession of eighth place in the Eastern Conference standings, breaking a tie with the Hornets.

Miles Bridges and Terry Rozier each finished with 30 points for Charlotte, which had its two-game win streak snapped. LaMelo Ball added 24 points and seven assists for the Hornets.

The Nets bolted to a 69-43 lead behind Irving’s 20 points in the first half. The Hornets didn’t help themselves, repeatedly committing turnovers with lazy passes, including two by Ball on back-to-back possessions.

Brooklyn stretched its lead to 34 points in the second half before the Hornets trimmed it to 13 with less than four minutes left in the game. But Irving, as he’d done throughout the second half, thwarted the rally by knocking down a jumper.

“He’s incredible. He’s a career highlight reel every time, every night,” said Nets coach Steve Nash. “We obviously have a special player on our hands and tonight, he was unbelievably efficient and difficult to defend. … Those were really big shots he made in the second half, but overall he’s just an incredible player, shot maker.”

The Hornets used a number of players to defend Irving, but simply couldn’t stop him.

“He made tough shots,” Hornets coach James Borrego said. “We double-teamed him, switched up our coverages and threw different looks at him, but we have to give him credit.”

HARDEN UP NEXT

The Nets travel to Philadelphia to face former teammate James Harden and the 76ers on Thursday night in what should be an interesting, if not entertaining, night.

Irving said he harbors no ill feelings toward Harden, who sought to leave Brooklyn.

“It’s fine,” Irving said. “It makes for good stories, it makes for good narratives and good build up for our league. It’s never too personal, but we understand as competitors we want to win the game. … But it’s not about us and any individual matchups, it’s about being a great team and building on what we set out to do.”

TIP INS

Nets: Durant was assessed a technical foul in the third quarter for pushing Rozier while trying to free himself up for an inbounds pass. … Curry picked up a technical for arguing a call.

Hornets: Jalen McDaniels, who had been out since Jan. 21 with an ankle injury, returned to action. He played nine minutes and had two points. … Montrezl Harrell was assessed a technical foul when he shoved Nic Claxton.

UP NEXT

Nets: At Philadelphia 76ers on Thursday night.

Hornets: Host Boston Celtics on Wednesday night.

MORANT, GRIZZLIES BUILD EARLY LEAD, ROUT PELICANS 132-111

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) Ja Morant had 24 points, eight rebounds and eight assists, and Jaren Jackson Jr. and Desmond Bane added 22 points apiece as the Memphis Grizzlies built an early lead and routed the New Orleans Pelicans 132-111 on Tuesday night.

The win solidified Memphis’ hold on second place in the Western Conference as the Grizzlies won for the second time in three games. Ziaire Williams finished with 16 points for Memphis, which set a franchise record with 42 fast-break points.

“Obviously getting stops on the defensive end helps us get out and run rather than taking the ball out of the net,” Morant said. “At that point, we’ve got a lot of guys who can push the break.”

CJ McCollum led the Pelicans with 32 points, going 13 of 21 from the field, including 5 of 10 from beyond the arc. McCollum also handed out 11 assists. Willy Hernangomez scored 17 points and Naji Marshall 16.

New Orleans, which had won four straight before Sunday’s overtime loss to Denver, played without leading scorer Brandon Ingram, who sat with right hamstring soreness. Ingram is averaging 22.8 points.

Memphis extended its lead to as many as 35 points in the third quarter, outscoring the Pelicans 35-26. With the Grizzlies holding a 112-84 lead entering the fourth, Pelicans coach Willie Green went deep into his bench and the reserves finished the game.

“I just felt like they were a step faster than us to pretty much everything,” Green said. “That one is on me. I have to do a better job preparing our team to go out and play against a really good team like Memphis. We (weren’t) ready to play.”

Asked where his team could have done better defensively, Green replied: “Everywhere. We could have been better everywhere. We have to have more resistance than we did tonight.”

The Grizzlies, who have had spotty success since the All-Star break, entered the game a half-game ahead of Golden State for second place in the Western Conference.

Memphis built an early 20-point lead before New Orleans answered with scoring from McCollum and Devonte’ Graham. The Grizzlies shot 55% in the first half, including 11 of 21 on 3-pointers.

That helped Memphis to a 77-58 lead at the half. McCollum had 25 points for New Orleans. Bane led Memphis with 18 points and Morant had 14.

Bane was particularly effective in the game, including converting 5 of 9 from outside the arc. He also added six assists as Memphis handed out 30 assists in the game.

Bane’s night included collecting his 300th career 3-pointer in only his second season.

“The simplest thing is he puts in so much great work to score in a variety of ways,” Grizzlies coach Taylor Jenkins said of Bane. “Off the bounce, but especially from the 3-point line.

“Every time he shoots it, I think it’s going in.”

McCOLLUM TRANSITION

Since joining the Pelicans after the trade deadline, McCollum has blended with the team. He has reached double-digit scoring in all 11 games and was averaging 23.8 points in the previous five games as the Pelicans moved into the postseason picture. Green called McCollum a pro and someone who has done the extra work to blend in with his new team. “It’s why he’s been successful for all these years, because he just stays consistent with what he does,” Green said.

LAST WORD

“We gave up 44, 33, 35-point quarters. You’re not going to beat nobody giving up that many points. They had 100 points (by) the third quarter.” – New Orleans guard Devonte’ Graham

TIP-INS

Pelicans: McCollum entered Tuesday’s game averaging 26.1 points, 6.1 assists and 5.7 rebounds in the 10 games since his trade to New Orleans from Portland. . Tony Snell started in Ingram’s place, his 10th start of the season, but first with New Orleans. . C Jonas Valanciunas, who played parts of three seasons with the Grizzlies, made his first return to Memphis after an offseason trade and received a warm welcome from the Memphis crowd.

Grizzlies: The 77 first-half points was three short of the franchise record of 80, scored in the second half against Oklahoma City on Dec. 2, 2021. … Memphis, which managed only five 3-pointers in a loss to Houston on Sunday, made seven from outside the arc in the first quarter and finished with 16. . The 44 points by Memphis in the first were the most scored in any quarter this season.

UP NEXT

Pelicans: Open a four-game homestand on Wednesday against Orlando.

Grizzlies: Host the New York Knicks on Friday.

THOMPSON SURPRISED BY FERRELL, LIFTS WARRIORS OVER CLIPPERS

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) Will Ferrell emailed Steve Kerr a while back, and the Warriors coach didn’t believe it was really the actor writing.

A few exchanges later, Ferrell was warming up with Golden State on a night the Warriors needed a little fun and lightheartedness to forget their recent funk.

Klay Thompson scored 20 points after the comedy star surprised him and teammates before the game, and Golden State snapped a five-game skid by beating the Los Angeles Clippers 112-97 on Tuesday.

“It was fun, and I’m glad we took advantage of it,” Stephen Curry said. “… I think we fed off the energy. I was actually surprised, his form, he actually had some good rotation on the ball, and endless energy. I don’t know how.”

Ferrell went through shooting, passing and dribbling while sporting a vintage-style headband and dressed in his Jackie Moon jersey from the 2008 hoops film “Semi-Pro.” It was a moment that was meant especially for Thompson – who dressed as Moon for Halloween three years ago and loves the movie.

“We exchanged a couple of emails and then concocted the plan,” Kerr said. “He’s a huge Klay Thompson fan and he knows how much Klay loves dressing up as Jackie Moon, so it was just kind of a natural fit and it felt like a good time to do it just to make everybody laugh in a tough stretch of the season.

“He was great. He came into our locker room, made the guys laugh. Everybody loved seeing him and hearing from him. He was hilarious.”

Jordan Poole also scored 20 points off the bench while Andrew Wiggins had 14 points and 11 rebounds for the Warriors, who took up the defensive intensity and energy to win for just the second time in their last nine games to complete a road-home back-to-back.

“We were locked in defensively tonight,” Poole said.

Nicolas Batum scored 17 points to lead the cold-shooting Clippers in a second straight defeat following a five-game winning streak. Los Angeles shot 35.5%, with Reggie Jackson finishing 2 of 14, Terance Mann going 2 for 9 and Ivica Zubac missing all six of his shots.

Golden State rested many regulars for Monday’s makeup game at Denver, with Curry, Thompson and Wiggins all sitting out – and it was a late return to the Bay Area at 1:45 a.m. The Warriors held it together late this time after losing big leads in each of their previous two home games, against Denver and Dallas.

Curry contributed 15 points, five assists and five rebounds, making just 1 of 6 3s, and Splash Brother Thompson began 2 for 9 and missed his initial four 3-point tries before connecting from deep early in the second.

Warriors rookie Jonathan Kuminga had 21 points, six rebounds and six of Golden State’s 33 assists.

Fellow rookie Moses Moody earned his eighth start after scoring a career-best 30 points in the makeup game at Denver on Monday.

The teams combined to shoot 15 for 50 in the first quarter and were tied at 21.

TIP-INS

Clippers: LA has lost the last three on the Warriors’ home floor since a 108-101 victory on Jan. 6, 2021. … Los Angeles was 12 for 45 in the first half, including 4 of 20 on 3s to fall behind 54-36 at the break.

Warriors: Curry became the Warriors’ all-time steals leader with 1,361. … F Otto Porter Jr. sat out a second consecutive game ill, while G Gary Payton II was sidelined for a third straight by left knee soreness. An MRI exam on the knee was clean, according to Kerr. … Golden State has won 17 of 21 at home vs. the Clippers.

GREEN GET CLOSER

Warriors defensive leader Draymond Green is expected back March 14 against the Wizards from a disk injury in his back that gave him an injured calf. He missed his 28th straight game.

“As many games as we can get is huge, obviously,” Curry said of getting Green back before the playoffs.

WISEMAN’S PROGRESS

Golden State offered encouraging news on second-year center James Wiseman, who has progressed in his rehab from right knee surgery enough that he’s ready to play for the G League Warriors in two games this week: at Stockton on Thursday and vs. the G League Ignite on Sunday at Chase Center.

WOMEN’S EMPOWERMENT

All fans received limited edition purple shoelaces featuring Women’s Empowerment Month-related phrases.

UP NEXT

Clippers: Host Washington on Wednesday to complete a road-home back-to-back, riding a 13-game home winning streak against the Wizards.

Warriors: Return to Denver to face the Nuggets again Thursday night, a second game over four days at altitude as Golden State has lost its last two in the Mile High City. A family that had hoped to see Curry play on Monday will be gifted tickets for Thursday by the Warriors, PR director Raymond Ridder announced on Twitter.

CAPS’ OVECHKIN TIES JAGR FOR 3RD ON NHL CAREER GOALS LIST

CALGARY, Alberta (AP) Alex Ovechkin scored twice and moved into a tie for third place on the NHL’s career goals list, and Nic Dowd scored the go-ahead goal as the Washington Capitals rallied in the third period and beat the Calgary Flames 5-4 on Tuesday night.

Ovechkin’s second goal, into an empty net at 18:12 of the third that gave Washington a 5-3 lead, was his 766th career goal, tying him with Jaromir Jagr for third place in NHL history. Wayne Gretzky leads the list with 894 goals, and Gordie Howe is second with 801.

“Obviously, it’s always nice to hear those kind of milestones, numbers,” Ovechkin said. “It’s pretty big, obviously, and how I always said, being with those names and in this company, it’s a pretty cool moment.”

The 36-yeaer-old Ovechkin has 36 goals this season and has scored in three straight games.

“I think guys are just excited for him,” said Washington coach Peter Laviolette. “We don’t talk about it much. I think everybody knows what’s going on and it’s awesome to be a part of.”

Connor Sheary and Anthony Mantha also scored for Washington (31-18-9), which won its third straight. Vitek Vanecek made 31 saves and improved to 13-7-5.

Adam Ruzicka, Oliver Kylington and Elias Lindholm scored for Calgary (34-15-7), which had its 13-game unbeaten streak snapped on home ice. The Pacific Division-leading Flames fall to 14-2-1 in their last 17 games overall. Dan Vladar, starting for the second time in three games with Jacob Markstrom getting a night off, had 22 saves and fell to 8-4-1.

After Lindholm’s second goal with 40 seconds left got Calgary within one, Ovechkin had a chance for a hat trick in the waning seconds, but his shot at the empty net was deflected by Lindholm.

“I was hoping so, but it hit his skates. It’s OK. I’ll take it tomorrow,” Ovechkin said.

Dowd thought he and his teammates were about to witness history.

“I couldn’t believe that one got blocked at the end, but it was awesome,” Dowd said. “Obviously, we’re super excited for him and guys are trying to find him all over the ice and just to be a part of it and simply watch it, he’s the best. So really happy for him.”

Washington faces the Edmonton Oilers on Wednesday night in the second stop of its three-game Western Canada road trip.

One night after the Flames showed their support for Ukraine by having Ukrainian-Canadian opera singer Stephania Romaniuk sing the Ukrainian anthem prior to Calgary’s game with the Oilers, a portion of the Saddledome crowd of 15,628, booed Ovechkin whenever he touched the puck, especially early in the game.

Ovechkin has historically been a vocal supporter of Russian President Vladimir Putin, and the Capitals’ captain’s Instagram account features a photo of him standing beside Putin. A picture of the two is also Ovechkin’s Instagram profile photo.

After the game, Ovechkin spoke only about the contest.

Tied 2-2 after 40 minutes, Calgary took its second lead of the game at 3:45 when Kylington’s slap shot deflected off Connor McMichael’s stick and got past Vanecek.

But the Capitals tied it at 8:21 on Mantha’s goal and took the lead just over three minutes later.

Getting the puck at the sideboards, Dowd made a nice cut to sidestep Lindholm, then from the face-off dot, ripped a shot into the top corner for his eighth goal and first in 10 games.

“We have a veteran team, so we’ve been there before,” Dowd said. “But that was one of the first game this year where we’ve been down a goal, we stuck with it in a tough building against a good team in their building, and did all the little things right, and we got rewarded for it at the end.”

The Capitals also trailed 2-0 in the second, but stormed back to tie it.

McMichael was stopped on a sharp pad save by Vladar, but Milan Lucic bobbled the rebound into the slot where Sheary buried his fourth goal in as many games. Sheary has a four-game point streak (four goals, two assists).

The Capitals pulled even at 13:23 on another turnover. Sean Monahan, in front of his own net, lost the puck to Evgeny Kuznetsov and the puck went right to Ovechkin, who beat Vladar.

“He has a good shot. I think he does pretty much the same thing all the time, but when he gets his chance he capitalizes,” Kylington said. “I think that’s special with him. A player like him, you have to play him tight. You have to minimize space for him out there and just be on top of him all the time.”

Calgary took the lead halfway through the first period on a 2-on-1 when Lindholm took a pass from Johnny Gaudreau and netted his 28th.

Ruzicka made it 2-0 at 8:54 of the second.

NOTES: The Capitals are 20-3-4 when Ovechkin scores. … It was the 1,000th game Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom played together. They are the first set of Capitals teammates to reach that milestone. Los Angeles’ Dustin Brown and Anze Kopitar are the only other active duo to accomplish the feat. … Calgary C Mikael Backlund played in career game No. 800, all with the Flames. That ranks him fifth in franchise history.

UP NEXT

Washington: At Vancouver Canucks in finale of a three-game trip.

Calgary: Host Tampa Bay Lightning in third game of a four-game homestand.

KANE, STROME SHINE AS BLACKHAWKS POUND DUCKS 8-3

CHICAGO (AP) Patrick Kane wants to keep playing with Dylan Strome. Skating on a line with the young center and Alex DeBrincat, he is making quite an argument for Strome at the moment.

Kane had a goal and five primary assists for a career-high six points, and the Chicago Blackhawks beat the banged-up Anaheim Ducks 8-3 on Tuesday night.

Strome had three goals and an assist, and DeBrincat finished with a goal and three assists. Jonathan Toews, Brandon Hagel and Ryan Carpenter also scored as the Blackhawks turned a fast start into their third win in nine games.

Strome, who turned 25 on Monday, could be on the move ahead of the NHL trade deadline on March 21. But he has 12 goals and 11 assists in his last 23 games, and his obvious chemistry with Kane and DeBrincat could lead new general manager Kyle Davidson to hold onto him for now.

“He’s been fun to play with,” Kane said. “I mean, like I said, he has the ability to make plays when he gets the puck. I think one thing that’s really noticeable lately is his ability to drive the net and create even more space for himself or his linemates.”

Kane is up to 10 goals and 18 assists in his last 16 games, and DeBrincat has scored in four straight games.

“Playing with some good players,” Strome said. “So whenever you’re on the ice with those guys, you’ve got to be ready.”

Anaheim opened a five-game trip with its sixth consecutive loss to Chicago. The Blackhawks also beat the Ducks 3-0 on Jan. 15, and the teams play again March 23 in California.

Trevor Zegras scored a power-play goal for Anaheim, which was coming off a 3-3 homestand. Jakob Silfverberg and Adam Henrique also scored, and Sam Steel had two assists.

“Absolutely unacceptable,” Ducks forward Derek Grant said. “It’s probably the worst we’ve played all season.”

The Ducks played without captain Ryan Getzlaf and fellow forward Isac Lundestrom. Getzlaf missed his second straight game with a lower-body injury, and Lundestrom was held out after he left the win against the Sharks with a lower-body injury.

John Gibson played just one period in his return from an upper-body injury that sidelined the All-Star goalie for Sunday night’s 3-2 overtime win over San Jose. He made eight saves on 13 shots before he was replaced by Anthony Stolarz, who finished with 16 stops.

The Blackhawks jumped all over the Ducks, scoring five times in the first period for the first time since Feb. 18, 2019, against Ottawa.

“For whatever reason, we chose not to manage the puck, and we chose to give (Kane) lots of room,” Anaheim coach Dallas Eakins said. “That led to a disastrous first period.”

Kane set up Strome and DeBrincat before scoring on his own at 13:53. Kane then found Carpenter in front on a delayed penalty, and Toews finished a 2-on-1 with Hagel for a short-handed goal with 28 seconds left in the period.

The Blackhawks got right back to work in the second. Hagel drove to the net and slid home a backhand for his 18th of the season, making it 6-0 just 19 seconds into the period.

Anaheim got on the board when Silfverberg scored in front at 4:31, and Zegras added his 16th of the season before Henrique redirected Cam Fowler’s point shot past Marc-Andre Fleury at 7:57.

But the Blackhawks turned away the Ducks’ rally when Kane made a slick backhand pass to a streaking Strome for his 14th goal with 5:10 left in the second. Strome completed his hat trick with 2:44 left, with Kane and DeBrincat each picking up another assist.

“Stromer, Kaner and Cat,” Blackhawks interim coach Derek King said. “I mean, yeah, they’ve been clicking right now.”

MAKING MOVES

Anaheim claimed Andrej Sustr off waivers from Tampa Bay. The 6-foot-7 defenseman had one goal in 15 games for the Lightning this year. He appeared in five games with the Ducks during the 2018-19 season.

UP NEXT

Ducks: At Nashville on Thursday night.

Blackhawks: At Boston on Thursday night.

2021-22 MAC WOMEN’S BASKETBALL POSTSEASON AWARDS ANNOUNCED

CLEVELAND, Ohio – On Tuesday the Mid-American Conference announced the 2021-22 Player, Coach and Freshman of the Year, as voted by the head coaches, of the Mid-American Conference.
 
The conference office also released the 2021-22 All-MAC Teams, All-Freshman Team, All-Defensive Team, Defensive Player of the Year and Sixth Player of the Year awards.
 
Akron’s Jordyn Dawson received numerous top honors after being named the 2021-22 MAC Player of the Year, Co-Defensive Player of the Year, earning a spot on the All-MAC First Team, and All-Defensive Team.  The redshirt senior from Huntington, West Virginia was phenomenal for her team this year, averaging 22.4 points per game which ranks 6th in the NCAA and tied for 3rd in the MAC.  Dawson also averaged 9.6 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 3.05 steals per game for the No. 3 seeded Zips.
 
Toledo Head Coach Tricia Cullop earned Coach of the Year honors after leading the Rockets to an impressive 25-4 (19-1 MAC) record.  The 19 wins are the most conference wins in a regular season.  Currently, Toledo is on an 11-game win streak and has reached the 25-win plateau for the 12th time in program history and the first time since the 2016-17 season.
 
The Bulls Georgia Woolley is the winner of the 2021-22 MAC Freshman of the Year Award. The Brisbane, QLD, Australia native played a large role in the Bulls successful 22-8, 16-4 (MAC) season. Georgia averaged 14.2 points per game while grabbing 4.9 rebounds per contest and solidified the Buffalo backcourt with teammate Dyaisha Fair.  
 
Ohio’s Cierra Hooks was named MAC Co-Defensive Player of the Year for the fourth time in her career as she averaged 2.9 steals per game.
 
Toledo’s Hannah Noveroske provided excellent depth off the bench for the 25-4 Rockets and was named Sixth Player of the Year.
 
Buffalo’s Dyaisha Fair joined Dawson and Hooks on the All-MAC First Team after averaging 23.1 points per game, while Toledo’s do-it-all Quinesha Lockett and Northern Illinois’ double-double machine A’Jah Davis, rounded out the team.
 
Graduate student Summer Hemphill of Buffalo earned All-MAC second-team honors along with Central Michigan’s Molly Davis, Eastern Michigan’s Areanna Combs, Miami’s Peyton Scott, and Toledo’s point guard Sophia Wiard.
 
Receiving third-team honors is talented freshmen Ally Becki of Ball State, Georgia Woolley of Buffalo, and Lauren Ross of Western Michigan, along with senior Kadie Hempfling of Bowling Green and redshirt junior Erica Johnson of Ohio.
 
Akron’s Reagan Bass, Ball State’s Thelma Dis Agustsdottir, Northern Illinois’ Janae Poisson and Chelby Koker along with Ohio’s Gabby Burris were selected for honorable mention recognition.
 
Nyla Hampton of Bowling Green repeated as an All-MAC defender while Dawson, Hemphill, Hooks, and Khera Goss of Toledo rounded out the All-MAC Defensive Team.

Akron’s Reagan Bass, Ball State’s Ally Becki, Bowling Green’s Amy Velasco, Buffalo’s Georgia Woolley, Toledo’s Jessica Cook and Western Michigan’s Lauren Ross make up the All-Freshman Team to conclude the 2021-22 postseason award lists.
 
MACtion moves to Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse in Cleveland, Ohio beginning Wednesday, March 9th at 11 AM EST when #8 Ohio faces #1 Toledo. Visit MAC Tournament Central for a complete bracket. 
 
MAC Women’s Basketball Player of the Year 
Jordyn Dawson, Akron, R. Senior, Forward
 
MAC Women’s Basketball Coach of the Year
Tricia Cullop, Toledo
 
MAC Women’s Basketball Freshman of the Year
Georgia Woolley, Buffalo, Freshman, Guard
 
MAC Women’s Basketball Sixth Player of the Year
Hannah Noveroske, Toledo, Junior, Center
 
MAC Women’s Basketball Co – Defensive Player(s) of the Year
Jordyn Dawson, Akron, R. Senior, Forward
Cierra Hooks, Ohio, Senior, Guard
 
Women’s Basketball All-MAC First Team
Jordyn Dawson, Akron, R. Senior, Forward
Dyaisha Fair, Buffalo, Junior, Guard
A’Jah Davis, Northern Illinois, Junior, Forward
Cierra Hooks, Ohio, Senior, Guard
Quinesha Lockett, Toledo, Junior, Guard/Forward
 
Women’s Basketball All-MAC Second Team
Summer Hemphill, Buffalo, Graduate Student, Forward
Molly Davis, Central Michigan, Junior, Guard
Areanna Combs, Eastern Michigan, R. Senior, Guard
Peyton Scott, Miami, Junior, Guard
Sophia Wiard, Toledo, Junior, Guard
 
Women’s Basketball All-MAC Third Team
Ally Becki, Ball State, Freshman, Guard
Kadie Hempfling, Bowling Green, Senior, Forward
Georgia Woolley, Buffalo, Freshman, Guard
Erica Johnson, Ohio, R. Junior, Guard
Lauren Ross, Western Michigan, R. Freshman, Guard
 
Women’s Basketball All-MAC Honorable Mention 
Reagan Bass, Akron, Freshman, Forward
Thelma Dis Agustsdottir, Ball State, Senior, Guard
Chelby Koker, Northern Illinois, Junior, Guard
Janae Poisson, Northern Illinois, R. Senior, Guard
Gabby Burris, Ohio, Senior, Forward
 
Women’s Basketball MAC All-Defensive Team
Jordyn Dawson, Akron, R. Senior, Forward
Nyla Hampton, Bowling Green, Sophomore, Guard
Summer Hemphill, Buffalo, Graduate Student, Forward
Cierra Hooks, Ohio, Senior, Guard
Khera Goss, Toledo, Sophomore, Guard
 
Women’s Basketball MAC All-Freshman Team (6 Players due to ties)
Reagan Bass, Akron, Freshman, Forward
Ally Becki, Ball State, Freshman, Guard
Amy Velasco, Bowling Green, Freshman, Guard
Georgia Woolley, Buffalo, Freshman, Guard
Jessica Cook, Toledo, Freshman, Forward
Lauren Ross, Western Michigan, R. Freshman, Guard

TOP INDIANA SPORTS NEWS/RELEASES

GARLAND SCORES CAREER-HIGH 41, LEADS CAVS PAST PACERS

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) Darius Garland scored a career-high 41 points, had 13 assists and hit a decisive pair of free throws with 14 seconds left to lead the Cleveland Cavaliers past the Indiana Pacers 127-124 on Tuesday night.

The Pacers went ahead 124-122 with 40 seconds remaining when Malcolm Brogdon was credited with a basket after Evan Mobley was called for goaltending. Mobley then tied the game on a putback, and Garland put the Cavs ahead with his free throws after Jalen Smith made an ill-advised foul on Garland.

“We have to make sure the guys know the situation,” Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said. “This is a kid (Smith) that cares so much. We told him you can mourn it for 10 minutes and then you have to forget about it.”

Dean Wade intercepted a pass by Brogdon on the Pacers’ next possession. Lamar Stevens hit a free throw, and Indiana’s Tyrese Haliburton missed a desperation heave at the buzzer.

Mobley finished with 22 points and 12 rebounds and Lauri Markkanen added 21 points for Cleveland, which has won two straight after losing six of its previous seven.

“It’s great to have a point guard like (Garland) that can score the ball and dish out dimes, it makes the game super easier,” Mobley said. “We can rely on him when it comes down to the wire or on a bucket or an assist.”

Garland said the entire team contributed to his big night.

“I was just playing my game,” Garland said. “My teammates told me to keep going and gave me all the confidence.”

Garland scored 21 points in the fourth quarter. Cleveland coach J.B. Bickerstaff said the Pacers tried multiple ways to slow down Garland.

“They tried to trap him, they switched on him, they put bigger bodies on him and he found ways to get it done,” Bickerstaff said. “We need every single bucket. He was primed for the moment and he carried us home.”

Haliburton led the Pacers with 25 points, and Duane Washington Jr., Jalen Smith and Goga Bitadze each scored 15.

Indiana led 98-90 after three quarters, but Cleveland scored the first nine points of the fourth to set up the back-and-forth finish.

“We fell victim to a great player that we were having a hard time getting under control all night,” Carlisle said. “When great players get going, it’s murder in this league to get a guy under control, especially a guy that quick.”

The Cavaliers led by as many as 12 in the first quarter. The Pacers rallied in the second to tie it 63-all at halftime.

“It was a hard-fought game and a disappointing loss,” Carlisle said. “Some of the things that happened down the stretch we’re just going to have learn from.”

TIP-INS

Cavaliers: Bickerstaff said he doesn’t know if Jarrett Allen will return before the regular season ends. Allen, who averages 16.1 points and 10.8 rebounds, broke his left middle finger during Sunday’s win over Toronto. He did not travel with the team, which started a three-game trip. … Caris LeVert, who was traded from the Pacers to the Cavs last month, missed his seventh consecutive game with a sprained right foot.

Pacers: Lance Stephenson was a late scratch with an ankle sprain. … Rookie Chris Duarte returned after missing the previous three games with a toe injury.

UP NEXT

Cavaliers: At Miami on Friday.

Pacers: At San Antonio on Saturday.

FEVER ACQUIRE DRAFT PICKS IN TRADE WITH DALLAS WINGS

INDIANAPOLIS – The Indiana Fever announced today the team acquired the No. 4 and No. 6 overall picks in the 2022 WNBA Draft, as well as the 2023 first round pick from the Dallas Wings. In exchange, Indiana agreed to trade center Teaira McCowan, the 2022 No. 7 overall pick and Chicago’s 2023 first round pick to Dallas.

The Fever now own the No. 2, No. 4, No. 6 and No. 10 overall selections in the first round of this year’s draft picks. If all picks are made by Indiana, the Fever would become the first franchise in WNBA history to make four first round selections in the same WNBA draft.

“We thank Teaira for all she did with the Fever franchise in her three years with the organization and wish her the best moving forward. This was a trade offer that made sense for both teams as we head into the 2022 regular season and we are now focused on 2, 4, 6 and 10,” Interim General Manager and Senior Advisor for Basketball Operations Lin Dunn said.

“I want to thank Teaira for her contributions to our team for the past three years and wish her well in Dallas as she returns to her home state to continue her career,” Head Coach Marianne Stanley said.

2021-22 BIG TEN MEN’S BASKETBALL POSTSEASON HONORS ANNOUNCED

Rosemont, Ill. – The Big Ten Conference has announced its men’s basketball All-Conference teams and individual award winners for the 2021-22 season. A total of 17 student-athletes were selected to the All-Big Ten teams selected by the coaches due to ties, and 15 student-athletes were recognized by the media. Additionally, 18 student-athletes were awarded honorable mention status.
 
The Big Ten also recognized 14 Sportsmanship Award honorees. The student-athletes chosen are individuals who have distinguished themselves through sportsmanship and ethical behavior. These student-athletes must also be in good academic standing and have demonstrated good citizenship outside of the sports-competition setting.
 
The awards are voted on by conference coaches and a select media panel. The complete list of All-Conference honorees and individual award winners is below.
 
2021-22 All-Big Ten Men’s Basketball Team
As selected by Big Ten coaches
 
FIRST TEAM
KOFI COCKBURN, ILLINOIS
KEEGAN MURRAY, IOWA
E.J. Liddell, Ohio State
Jaden Ivey, Purdue
JOHNNY DAVIS, Wisconsin
 
SECOND TEAM*
Trent Frazier, Illinois
Trayce Jackson-Davis, Indiana
Hunter Dickinson, Michigan
Zach Edey, Purdue
Ron Harper Jr., Rutgers
Brad Davison, Wisconsin
 
THIRD TEAM*
Alfonso Plummer, Illinois
Gabe Brown, Michigan State
Bryce McGowens, Nebraska
Malaki Branham, Ohio State
Trevion Williams, Purdue
Geo Baker, Rutgers
 
HONORABLE MENTION
Jordan Bohannon, Iowa
Fatts Russell, Maryland
Malik Hall, Michigan State
Jamison Battle, Minnesota
Payton Willis, Minnesota
John Harrar, Penn State
Sasha Stefanovic, Purdue
Tyler Wahl, Wisconsin
 
ALL-FRESHMAN TEAM
Moussa Diabate, Michigan
Max Christie, Michigan State
Malaki Branham, Ohio State
Bryce McGowens, Nebraska
Chucky Hepburn, Wisconsin
 
ALL-DEFENSIVE TEAM
Trent Frazier, Illinois
Trayce Jackson-Davis, Indiana
E.J. Liddell, Ohio State
Caleb McConnell, Rutgers
Eric Hunter Jr., Purdue
 
PLAYER OF THE YEAR:
Johnny Davis, Wisconsin
 
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR:
Caleb McConnell, Rutgers
 
FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR:
Malaki Branham, Ohio State
 
SIXTH MAN OF THE YEAR:
Trevion Williams, Purdue
 
COACH OF THE YEAR:
Greg Gard, Wisconsin
 
Unanimous selections IN?ALL?CAPS
*Additional honorees due to ties
 
2021-22 Big Ten Sportsmanship Award Honorees
Jacob Grandison, Illinois; Race Thompson, Indiana; Patrick McCaffery, Iowa; Simon Wright, Maryland; Eli Brooks, Michigan; Max Christie, Michigan State; Eric Curry, Minnesota; Derrick Walker, Nebraska; Ryan Greer, Northwestern; Justin Ahrens, Ohio State; John Harrar, Penn State; Sasha Stefanovic, Purdue; Clifford Omoruyi, Rutgers; Jordan Davis, Wisconsin.
 
 
2021-22 All-Big Ten Men’s Basketball Team
As selected by Media Voting Panel
 
FIRST TEAM
KOFI COCKBURN, ILLINOIS
KEEGAN MURRAY, IOWA
E.J. Liddell, Ohio State
Jaden Ivey, Purdue
Johnny Davis, Wisconsin
 
SECOND TEAM
Trent Frazier, Illinois
Trayce Jackson-Davis, Indiana
Hunter Dickinson, Michigan
Zach Edey, Purdue
Ron Harper Jr., Rutgers
 
THIRD TEAM
Alfonso Plummer, Illinois
Bryce McGowens, Nebraska
Malaki Branham, Ohio State
Trevion Williams, Purdue
Brad Davison, Wisconsin
 
HONORABLE MENTION
Xavier Johnson, Indiana
Race Thompson, Indiana
Jordan Bohannon, Iowa
Fatts Russell, Maryland
Eric Ayala, Maryland
Eli Brooks, Michigan
Gabe Brown, Michigan State
Jamison Battle, Minnesota
Payton Willis, Minnesota
Pete Nance, Northwestern
John Harrar, Penn State
Sasha Stefanovic, Purdue
Geo Baker, Rutgers
Caleb McConnell, Rutgers
Paul Mulcahy, Rutgers
Clifford Omoruyi, Rutgers
Tyler Wahl, Wisconsin
 
PLAYER OF THE YEAR:
Johnny Davis, Wisconsin
 
FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR:
Malaki Branham, Ohio State
 
COACH OF THE YEAR:
Greg Gard, Wisconsin
 
Unanimous selections IN ALL CAPS

NOTES: INDIANA OPENS BIG TEN TOURNAMENT AGAINST MICHIGAN

OPENING TIP

Indiana University is in its 122nd season of competition in men’s basketball and will open play in the 2022 Big Ten Tournament against the eighth seeded Michigan Wolverines. The Hoosiers will be looking to end a nine-game losing streak to the Wolverines after Michigan won the lone matchup by a score of 80-62 on Jan. 23 in Bloomington.

The streak began in the 2016 Big Ten Tournament Quarterfinals in Indianapolis when the Wolverines knocked off top seed IU, 72-69. Since that game, IU has won six straight in Gainbridge Fieldhouse, including a 64-56 win over Notre Dame in December.

GAME INFORMATION

2022 Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament Second Round

Thursday, March 10 • 11:30 a.m. ET

Gainbridge Fieldhouse (20,000) • Indianapolis, Ind.

TV: BTN (Kevin Kugler and Stephen Bardo)

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

Series History: Indiana leads 107-65

Last Meeting: MICH 80, IU 62 (Jan. 23, 2022 in Bloomington)

ON THE SIDELINES

IU Hall of Famer, All-American, Big Ten MVP and Indiana native Mike Woodson is the first Hoosier graduate to lead the program at the start of the season since Lou Watson in 1965. Woodson brings nine years of NBA head coaching experience (Atlanta Hawks and New York Knicks) back to his alma mater and worked for seven franchises as an assistant coach and won an NBA title in 2004 with the Detroit Pistons. He played 11 seasons in the NBA as a player and is the fifth all-time leading scorer in program history with 2,061 points.

Wolverines Coach Juwan Howard is in his third year at U-M.

DEFENSE LEADS THE HOOSIERS

The Hoosiers are the top-rated defensive team in the Big Ten according to KenPom (20th nationally). IU is first in the Big Ten in field goal percentage defense (39.0%) and first in conference games only (41.3%). They lead the league in defensive rebounds (27.5) and are second in blocked shots (5.0).

ALL-AMERICAN TRAYCE JACKSON-DAVIS

Junior/sophomore forward Trayce Jackson-Davis is averaging 17.4 points (7th in B1G), 8.2 rebounds (5th), shooting 57.8% from the floor (3rd) and contributing 71 blocked shots (2nd).

He has had nine double-doubles this season and 31 in his career with IU posting a 23-8 record in those games. He notched four straight double-doubles for the first time in his career after he had 23 points and 12 boards at Nebraska on Jan. 17.

Jackson-Davis now has scored 1,471 points as a Hoosier, rating 18th all-time in IU lore.

He was named second-team All-Big Ten by the coaches, media and AP this season and was a member of the league’s All-Defensive team. He was a third-team choice his freshman season and a first (media) and second-team pick (coaches) a season ago.

THOMPSON MAKING A NAME FOR HIMSELF

Redshirt Sr./Jr. Race Thompson has averaged 13.2 points and 8.3 rebounds in the last 10 games while shooting 36.8% from long distance and 55.4% from the field in that time. He ranks ninth in the Big Ten in rebounding (7.9).

He is second on the team in scoring (11.8ppg), steals (32), blocks (21) and FG percentage (55.6%). He and Big Ten Player of the Year Johnny Davis lead the Big Ten in most games recording at least eight points and six rebounds with 17 (credit Zach Osterman, Indy Star).

Thompson was named honorable mention All-Big Ten by the media and was IU’s Big Ten Sportsmanship Award winner.

X MARKS THE SPOT

Sr./Jr. Xavier Johnson has averaged 19.0 points and 6.4 assists in his last five outings. He has shot 45.0% from long range and made 28 of his last 32 free throws.

He had back-to-back 24-point games against Maryland and at Minnesota and was nearly perfect against the Terps when he made 7-of-7 field goals, 3-of-3 from long distance and made 7-of-8 free throws. He also added six assists. At Purdue, Johnson led IU with 19 points and a career-high 12 assists, the second most by a Hoosier since the 1996-97 season.

Johnson was named honorable mention All-Big Ten by the media.

ODDS AND TRENDS

The Hoosiers 10-of-13 shooting (76.9%) from long range against Penn State (Jan. 26) was their third best shooting effort from distance since 1996-97 (USF, 1998 and Kent State, 2002).

In the last 16 games, IU has dropped its turnovers over 5.0 per game at 10.0 per contest.

IU has held at least a four-point lead in 11 of its 12 losses. The only game where they did not lead was against Michigan (Jan. 23).

THREE BOILERMAKERS EARN AT-LARGE BIDS TO NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – The Purdue wrestling team added three members to its 2022 NCAA Championship travel party Tuesday as seniors Parker Filius and Max Lyon and sophomore Gerrit Nijenhuis earned at-large bids to the national tournament. Filius earned 1-of-5 extra bids at 141 pounds, while Nijenhuis and Lyon secured 1-of-4 at 174 and 184 pounds, respectively, pushing the Boilermakers’ NCAA contingent to seven.

Purdue’s seven national qualifiers marks the fifth straight season that head coach Tony Ersland will take at least seven to the NCAA Championships, the longest such streak in program history. The Boilermakers advanced seven in 2018, and a program-record eight in each of the last three seasons.

Both Filius and Lyon earn their third straight trip to nationals, while Nijenhuis advances to the NCAA Championships for the second straight year. The trio joins senior Devin Schroder, juniors Kendall Coleman and Thomas Penola and freshman Matt Ramos, who each secured automatic spots in the national field.

The Big Ten received 12 at-large bids, pushing the conference total to 100 qualifiers for the national tournament. The Boilermakers tied for the most at-large bids nationally, matching Cornell with three additional NCAA qualifiers.

Purdue is 1-of-23 teams nationally to earn at least seven qualifying spots in the national tournament, and 1-of-10 teams in the Big Ten.

The full seeds and brackets will be released tomorrow (Wednesday) at 6 p.m. ET via NCAA.com.

HOOSIERS SHUTOUT CINCINNATI

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Another quick start for the offense was backed up by a solid pitching performance for the Indiana baseball program in a 7-0 victory over Cincinnati on Tuesday (March 8) at Bart Kaufman Field.

Indiana (5-6) scored five runs in the first inning and two more in the fifth, and five pitchers combined to strike out 14 Cincinnati (6-5) hitters in the shutout victory. Freshmen Josh Pyne and Brock Tibbitts hit home runs in the game, as IU scored its seven runs on just five hits.

The pitching staff faced just two batters over the minimum, as it allowed just two hits and didn’t walk a batter over nine innings. The last shutout for IU came against Ohio State on May 24, 2021, in a game that the Hoosier pitching staff also allowed two hits.

Freshman Luke Hayden (2-0) picked up his second straight win as the midweek starter with three scoreless innings of work. He allowed just one base runner – a single – and stuck out a career-best five. Junior Nathan Stahl was the star out of the bullpen with three scoreless innings and four strikeouts. He allowed one hit and threw 41 pitches.

Offensively, Indiana walked nine times and collected five hits to score seven times. Pyne posted the third multi-RBI game of his career with a pair of RBIs, while Tibbitts, redshirt-junior Matthew Ellis, sophomore Hunter Jessee and freshman Carter Mathison each drove in one RBI.

For Cincinnati, Max Bergman came on to steady the game after the first two pitchers recorded just two outs. Bergman threw 4 1/3 innings and allowed two runs on four hits. He walked one and struck out three. Joe Powell collected both hits in the game with a pair of singles.

Scoring Recap

Bottom First

Indiana scratched across five runs without the benefit of a hit and saw three Bearcat pitchers. The first four batters reached base, as two walks and a hit-by-pitch loaded the bases. Matthew Ellis drew a walk to push the first run across and Phillip Glasser came in to score on a wild pitch. After Brock Tibbitts drew a walk to re-load the bases with one out, Josh Pyne and Carter Mathison each pushed runs across with walks. Hunter Jessee grounded into a fielder’s choice to make it 5-0.

Indiana 5, Cincinnati 0

Bottom Fifth

Tibbitts and Pyne hit back-to-back home runs with one out.

Indiana 7, Cincinnati 0

Up Next

Indiana will host Purdue Fort Wayne at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, March 9 at Bart Kaufman Stadium. The Hoosiers will then hit the road for a three-game series at Troy. First pitch of the series opener will be thrown at 7 p.m. on Friday, March 11.

FOUR-STAR RUNNING BACK SIGNEE GI’BRAN PAYNE DE-COMMITS FROM INDIANA

Four-star running back recruit Gi’Bran Payne requested and was granted his release from his letter of intent and has opened his recruitment. “As a person (and athlete) I thrive and prosper off of communication and genuine relationships,” Payne said in a Notes application post on Twitter. “With that said, I am looking to explore my options to make sure I am making the best decision for me and my future.”

The 5-foot-10, 190-pounder from LaSalle High School in Cincinnati is the No. 275 player and the No. 22 running back in the class of 2022 according to the 247Sports.com composite rankings. He was the second-highest rated player in Indiana’s class, which is the No. 21 rated class in the country even without him.

FIVE BOILERMAKERS HONORED BY BIG TEN CONFERENCE

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – The Purdue men’s basketball program capped off an impressive regular season by picking up six All-Big Ten honors, the league office announced Tuesday afternoon.

For their roles in Purdue’s 25-6 regular-season mark, Jaden Ivey, Zach Edey, Trevion Wlliams, Sasha Stefanovic and Eric Hunter Jr., each picked up All-Big Ten accolades.

In voting done by the league’s coaches, Sophomore Jaden Ivey was named to the first team, Zach Edey to the second team, Trevion Williams on the third team, Sasha Stefanovic was named to the honorable mention squad and Eric Hunter Jr., was selected to the All-Defensive Team.

Williams also became Purdue’s second recipient of the Sixth Man of the Year Award (D.J. Byrd – 2012) and Stefanovic, who is also a finalist for the Senior CLASS Award, was named the team’s Sportsmanship Award winner.

The media list was the same for the Boilermakers, with the exception of the All-Defense Team, in which the media does not vote on.

Since the 2015-16 season, Purdue has had a league-best six first-team All-Big Ten selections (A.J. Hammons – 2016; Caleb Swanigan – 2017; Carsen Edwards – 2018; Carsen Edwards – 2019; Trevion Williams – 2021; Jaden Ivey – 2022).

Jaden Ivey / Sophomore / Guard / South Bend, Indiana / First Team All-Big Ten

Recently named a second-team All-American by The Sporting News, Ivey averaged 17.5 points, 4.2 rebounds and 2.9 assists in Big Ten play.

He is the eighth Purdue underclassmen (freshman or sophomore) since 1950 to be named first-team All-Big Ten (Terry Dischinger, Dave Schellhase, Rick Mount, Glenn Robinson, JaJuan Johnson, Caleb Swanigan, Carsen Edwards).

One of two underclassmen (Duke’s Paulo Banchero) to score 500 points with 140 rebounds, 90 assists, 30 steals and 15 blocked shots.

Ivey needs just 84 points, eight rebounds and nine assists to become the second player in school history to have 600 points, 150 rebounds and 100 assists in a season (Caleb Swanigan – 2017).

Ivey has played his best against ranked teams, averaging 19.1 points, 5.7 rebounds and 4.4 assists while shooting 14-of-34 (.412) from long distance in six games. He was outstanding in a win over No. 18 North Carolina with 22 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists, then added 10 points, seven rebounds and seven assists against No. 5 Villanova.

Had one of the signature moments of the college basketball season in an 81-78 win over No. 16 Ohio State, hitting a fadeaway 25-footer as the clock expired for the buzzer-beating victory.

Three games later, he tallied 26 points with six assists and four rebounds to finish a season sweep of Illinois. He also had 25 points with four assists in a big win over a Rutgers team that had won four straight games against nationally-ranked teams.

Ivey tied a school record for most 3-pointers made without a miss with a 6-of-6 performance against Butler in the final edition of the Crossroads Classic.

Zach Edey / Sophomore / Center / Toronto, Ontario / Second Team All-Big Ten

Named second-team All-Big Ten after averaging 14.1 points, 7.7 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 1.2 blocks per game in just 20.1 minutes per contest.

One of five Big Ten players to reach those marks in conference play, but his 20.1 minutes played were the fewest by 11.7 minutes (Indiana’s Trayce Jackson-Davis; 31.8 minutes per game).

Per 40 minutes, Edey is averaging 30.7 points, 15.8 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game. Per 100 possessions, Edey is at a staggering 45.7 points and 23.5 rebounds.

Leads the country in offensive rating (128.1) and his career offensive rating is the best for a player nationally in the last 15 years.

He is one of four players nationally in the last 15 years to average at least 14.0 points, 7.0 rebounds, 1.0 assists and 1.0 blocks in under 25 minutes (A.J. Hammons, DeMarcus Cousins are two of them).

Leads the Big Ten and the country in field goal percentage (.667), which ranks tied for fourth in a season in school history.

His career 64.2 field goal percentage is second in school history behind Stephen Scheffler, and is fifth in the NCAA among active players.

Has recorded 55 dunks this season, the second most in school history (Joe Barry Carroll – 70).

Leads the team with eight double-doubles and has nine 20-point games. In games that he starts during his career, Purdue is 24-5.

Trevion Williams / Senior / Center / Chicago, Illinois / Third Team All-Big Ten / 6th Man of the Year

Named third-team All-Big Ten and Sixth Man of the Year after averaging 11.1 points, 6.9 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 0.9 steals in just 19.5 minutes per game. Shot 49.2 percent from the field and 50.0 percent (4-of-8) from 3-point range.

Ranks 7th on Purdue’s career rebounds list (857) and 28th on the career scoring chart (1,327). Needs just three rebounds to become the third player in school history (Joe Barry Carroll, Terry Dischinger) with three seasons of 230 or more rebounds.

Is 1-of-4 Purdue players (Walter Jordan, Robbie Hummel, Brad Miller) and 1-of-4 active players nationally to have 1,300 points, 850 rebounds and 200 assists.

Owns seven double-doubles (28 for career) and has scored 20 or more points five times this season.

Named a two-time Big Ten Player of the Week and his four career honors are the fifth most in Purdue history.

Sasha Stefanovic / Senior / Guard / Crown Point, Indiana / Honorable Mention All-Big Ten

Named Honorable Mention All-Big Ten after averaging 11.0 points, 2.9 assists and 2.5 rebounds with 47 made 3-pointers in Big Ten play.

His 218 career trifectas rank seventh in school history.

Finished the regular season with 79 3-pointers, good for second in the Big Ten and tied for 11th on Purdue’s single-season list.

Needs 52 points to become the seventh player in school history with 1,000 points, 200 rebounds, 200 assists and 200 made 3-pointers.

Has scored in double-figures in 17 games this season. Purdue is 16-1 when he scores 10 or more points and 34-6 during his career.

Leads the team with 104 assists and his 2.67 (104 / 39) assist / turnover ratio is just outside the top 10 in a season.

Eric Hunter Jr. / Senior / Guard / Indianapolis, Indiana / All-Defensive Team

Named to the All-Defensive Team after a strong conference season.

Averaged 7.8 points, 2.2 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game in Big Ten play and led the league in 3-point percentage (23-of-43; .535).

Was assigned the top perimeter player most of the season for the improving Purdue defense.

Tasked with guarding Wisconsin’s Johnny Davis in the second-to-last game of the year and held him to 5-of-13 shooting with three turnovers. Davis had 37 points in the first meeting.

Also limited Iowa’s second-leading scorer (Jordan Bohannon) to 10 combined points (2-of-8 3Ps, 4 turnovers) in two games.

Held Illinois’ Trent Frazier to 1-of-7 shooting (0-of-4 from 3) and two points and two turnovers in a Feb. 8, win over the Illini.

Northwestern’s Boo Buie was 3-of-10 from the field and 1-of-5 from long range with 11 points and two turnovers in a Feb. 16, victory.

Becomes Purdue’s league-leading 17th occurrence that a Boilermaker has been named to the All-Defensive Team.

BUTLER MBB AND XAVIER SET FOR BIG EAST TOURNAMENT FIRST ROUND MATCH-UP

BUTLER (13-18, #9 SEED) VS. XAVIER (18-12, #8 SEED) — BIG EAST TOURNAMENT FIRST ROUND

Wednesday, March 9;  4:30PM

Madison Square Garden; New York City

TV:  FS1 – Tim Brando & Bill Raftery

Radio:  1430AM – @MarkMinner & Nick Gardner (@n_gardner)

Varsity Network Radio App

Full Notes (PDF) — https://bit.ly/3F4viOr

Butler travels to New York City for the 2022 BIG EAST Tournament. The Bulldogs are the No. 9 seed and will open play with a first round match-up Wednesday against eighth-seeded Xavier. The winner of Wednesday’s match-up will face No. 1 seed Providence in Thursday’s quarterfinals.

THE SERIES: Xavier owns a 45-24 advantage in the all-time series between the programs, which has seen match-ups as conference foes in the Midwestern Collegiate Conference, a single season in the Atlantic 10 and since the 2013-14 season as members of the BIG EAST.

Xavier won the two regular season games this season. The teams also met in the 2021 BIG EAST Tournament first round with the Bulldogs pulling out a 70-69 overtime win.

Xavier Leads, 45-24

Streak: Xavier, W2

On Neutral Court: Xavier Leads, 4-2

LaVall Jordan (at BU) vs. Xavier: 4-7

First Meeting: Xavier, 28-26; 1/16/37 (at XU)

Last Meeting: Xavier, 68-66; 2/2/22 (at XU)

• This is the second consecutive BIG EAST Tournament that has featured a first round match-up between Butler and Xavier.

• Butler overcame a 19-point deficit to win 70-69 in overtime over Xavier in the 2021 BIG EAST Tournament; Chuck Harris led Butler with 21 points (all after halftime).

• According to KenPom, Butler played the 12th-toughest regular season schedule in the nation.

• Fifteen of Butler’s games this season have come against teams currently ranked in the Top 40 of the NCAA NET metric.

• Butler has had five different leading scorers over the team’s last six games; eight different Bulldogs have led the team in scoring this season.

• Bryce Nze enters the BIG EAST Tournament with 983 career rebounds.

• Nze averaged 20.0 points per game in the 2021 BIG EAST Tournament.

• Aaron Thompson averaged 16.0 points per game in Butler’s two match-ups with Xavier during the regular season; his 20 points vs. the Musketeers Jan. 7 were a season-high and one off his career-best output.

• Thompson is Butler’s leader in career assists; he broke Thomas Jackson’s record (540) Feb. 12 vs. Marquette.

• Thompson (154) is now ninth on Butler’s career steals list.

• Nze is averaging 10.0 rebounds per game over his last three games, which includes two double-doubles.

• Bryce Golden plans to utilize his “COVID redshirt season” and return in 2022-23.

• Bo Hodges is averaging 13.2 points and 7.2 rebounds in his 11 starts this season.

• The 25 points by Hodges Feb. 23 at Seton Hall were his high in a Butler uniform and the second-most by a Bulldog in a game this season.

• All six of Simas Lukosius’s double-digit scoring games have come against BIG EAST opponents and the Bulldogs are 5-1 in those games.

• Lukosius has made 39 of his last 41 free throw attempts and is shooting 89 percent from the charity stripe on the season.

• Jair Bolden (ankle) missed the regular season finale vs. Villanova Saturday.

MATCH-UP NUMBER 2: A late charge by the Bulldogs came up just short as No. 21 Xavier came away with a 68-66 win over Butler Feb. 2 at the Cintas Center in Cincinnati.

Sixteen of Zach Freemantle’s game-high 23 points came in the second half for Xavier.

After Xavier took its largest of the game at 49-34, the Bulldogs would climb back in the contest with a 7-0 lead that brought Butler within 60-53 with 4:45 remaining. The Bulldogs continued to climb closer on a Jayden Taylor three-point play with 56 seconds to play. That made the separation 65-61. The teams traded successful possessions but the margin never got closer than four until Taylor’s meaningless three-pointer went in at the buzzer.

Xavier led 29-26 at the half and then used a 14-2 spurt early in the second half to take a 43-30 advantage with 13:33 remaining.

Taylor and Chuck Harris led the Bulldogs with 18 points apiece. The Bulldogs shot 44 percent from the field and committed only 11 turnovers, but two technical fouls contributed to the final score. Taylor’s 18 points tied his third-best scoring output of the season.

Freemantle was the only Musketeer in double figures. The home team shot 46 percent and had only eight miscues. Forty of Xavier’s points came in the paint.

Aaron Thompson added 12 points for the Bulldogs before fouling out with 3:15 to play and Xavier leading by nine.

MATCH-UP NUMBER 1: In a game that saw both teams shoot 50 percent or better from the field, No. 22 Xavier topped Butler, 87-72, Jan. 7 at Hinkle Fieldhouse.

Adam Kunkel led the Musketeers with 25 points, including 4-of-8 from three-point range.

Xavier went 10-of-22 from three-point range and shot 55 percent overall from the field for the game. The Musketeers hit six of their first nine attempts from behind the arc on their way to a 29-17 lead with 6:55 remaining in the first half. Xavier led 42-31 at the half.

Aaron Thompson’s driving layup pulled Butler within 62-55 with 8:47 to play before Kunkel grabbed a loose offensive rebound and hit a three-pointer to return the game to double figures.

Thompson (20) and Bryce Golden (19) each finished the game one shy of their respective career-highs. The duo combined for 39 of the team’s 72 points.

TOUGH SLATE: In addition to a true round-robin format that has Butler playing all 10 BIG EAST foes both on the road and at home, the Bulldogs challenged themselves significantly with this season’s non-conference schedule.

Butler’s non-conference opponents includes No. 9 Purdue — Crossroads Classic, No. 18 Houston — Maui Invitational in Las Vegas, and Michigan State — Gavitt Games.

TWO TIMES FOR THE FIRST YEAR: Simas Lukosius was named the BIG EAST Freshman of the Week Jan. 31 following an impressive 2-0 week for the Bulldogs. This is the second weekly conference honor for the Lithuanian, who also was recognized on Jan. 3.

Lukosius averaged 13.5 points and 4.0 rebounds per game in the team’s two contests. In the Jan. 26 win over Creighton, Lukosius scored 14 points and went 6-for-6 from the free throw line. He was the team’s leading scorer in the Jan. 29 win over Georgetown, recording 13 points. He shot 45 percent from three-point range in the team’s two games.

QUITE THE BATTLE: As part of the annual BIG EAST-Big 12 Battle, the Bulldogs picked up a 66-62 overtime road win Dec. 7 at Oklahoma. Chuck Harris led the Bulldogs with 26 points. Butler trailed by 10 points at the half and by 13 early in the second half before clawing all the way back. After Oklahoma forced overtime with a three-pointer with two seconds remaining in regulation, the Sooners took a 62-58 lead in overtime before Butler scored the game’s final eight points.

ON THE WAY: Connor Turnbull, a 6-10 forward/center from Missouri, has signed a national letter of intent to join the Bulldogs beginning with the 2022-23 season.

Turnbull, from Saint Paul, Mo., stars for Fort Zumwalt North High School, where he earned Missouri Basketball Coaches Association All-State honors for Class 6. As a junior, Turnbull averaged 14.9 points, 7.3 rebounds and 5.0 blocks per game, leading the team to a 27-4 record and the Class 6 state semifinals. He shot 34 percent from three-point range. Turnbull helped Brad Beal Elite to a runner-up finish at the 2021 Peach Jam as part of the Nike EYBL circuit.

BULLDOGS ANNOUNCED AS PART OF 2022 BATTLE 4 ATLANTIS FIELD: The Bulldogs will participate in the Bad Boy Mowers Battle 4 Atlantis for the third time as the 2022 bracket has been announced. Celebrating its 11th year of elite collegiate tournament play, the 2022 field will include Butler, BYU, Dayton, Kansas, North Carolina State, USC, Tennessee, and Wisconsin. Butler was previously part of the Battle 4 Atlantis field in both 2014 and 2018. The Bulldogs went 2-1 in each event.

CARDINALS BATTLE BOBCATS IN MAC TOURNAMENT OPENER

MUNCIE, Ind. – The Ball State men’s basketball team heads to Cleveland for the 2022 Mid-American Conference Tournament. The Cardinals will face the Ohio Bobcats on Thursday in the final game of the day inside the Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse.

Last Time Out

Ball State closed out the regular season at WMU. Jaylin Sellers had a career-high 16 points with five rebounds, and one assist. Payton Sparks tallied his 11th double-double of the season behind 13 points and a team-high 10 rebounds. Sparks tied with Luke Bumbalough for a team-high three assists. Demarius Jacobs posted a 13-point performance with eight rebounds, one block, and one assist. Miryne Thomas finished in double figures with 10 points along with a team-high four steals and one assist.

Record Against Ohio

The Bobcats lead the overall series 52-35. Ohio is on a three-game winning streak and have won five of the last six meetings, including an 87-63 victory in Athens on February 1, 2022. The Cardinals are 5-1 in neutral-site contests against the Bobcats.

Ball State in the MAC Tournament

The Cardinals have a 39-33 record in the MAC Tournament, including seven tournament titles. The seven tournament titles are tied for the most in MAC history. Ball State is 7-3 against Ohio in the conference tournament. The Bobcats won the last tournament meeting 76-64, in the first round of the 2014 tournament.

Scouting the Teams

Sparks has a team-best 13.3 points per game and 8.3 rebounds per contest. Sparks has tallied 398 points this season and is currently third as a freshman in all-time scoring, behind Bonzi Wells (474) and Ray McCallum (463). Sparks has attempted 192 free throws this season, which is tied for 14th in the NCAA and leads the MAC. He has attempted more free throws than any other freshman in the NCAA. Sparks is second on the team with 15 blocks. Tyler Cochran has averaged 11.5 points per game and 5.7 rebounds per contest, both are second on the team. Cochran leads the team with 58 steals and his 1.93 steals per game lead the MAC and is 44th in the NCAA. Thomas is averaging 11.4 points per contest and has a team-best 17 blocks. Bumbalough rounds out the double-digit scorers with 11.1 a game and leads the team with 81 assists. Jacobs is the final player averaging double-digit blocks with 13. Jacobs is second on the team with 78 assists.

Mark Sears leads the Bobcats with 19.4 points per game and leads the team with 132 assists. Ben Vander Plas is averaging 13.9 points per game and has a team-best 6.7 rebounds per contest. Jason Carter is averaging 13.6 points per game and is second on the team with 6.3 boards per game. Carter also paces the team in blocks with 33, while Vander Plas is the only other in double figures with 15. Vander Plas has a team-high 57 steals, while Sears is close behind with 53.

In the Last Meeting Between Ball State and Ohio

In the matchup against Ohio earlier this season, Jalen Windham produced a career-high 17 points coming off the bench on 6-of-9 shooting from the field and 5-of-7 from 3-point range. Sparks picked up his fifth double-double with 13 points and a game-high 11 rebounds. Sellers ripped a team-high three steals. Jacobs, Basheer Jihad, Sparks and Sellers all tied for a team-best two assists. Thomas and Mickey Pearson Jr. each produced a block for the Cardinals.

In the meeting earlier this season, Carter and Vander Plas tied for a game-high 18 points for the Bobcats. The Cardinal defense held the MAC’s second-leading scorer Sears to just 13 points. Sears and Vander Plas tied for a team-high six rebounds. Vander Plas added a game-high four steals.

BECKI AND AGUSTSDOTTIR RECEIVE POSTSEASON ALL-MAC ACCOLADES

CLEVELAND, Ohio – Freshman Ally Becki and senior Thelma Dis Agustsdottir have received postseason All-Mid-American Conference accolades as announced Tuesday (March 8) by the league office. Becki was named Third Team All-MAC and was also tabbed to the MAC All-Freshman Team while Agustsdottir earned All-MAC Honorable Mention.

Becki has started for the Cardinals in every game this season as a true freshman. She scored a personal-best 27 points at Ohio on Feb. 2 and recently dished out a season-high nine assists in a win at Central Michigan (March 2). Becki has reached double figures in scoring for Ball State 14 times this season. Becki made the ESPN top 10 plays after nailing a half-court shot at the buzzer to end intermission against Buffalo on Jan. 26, helping Ball State take the lead over the Bulls at the break, and later the victory. On Feb. 8, Becki earned MAC Player of the Week honors after averaging 21.0 points per game for the Cardinals off 53 percent shooting from the field while dishing out 8.0 assists per contest, helping Ball State extend its win streak to five with wins over Ohio and Bowling Green. She also recorded a double-double at Kent State with 12 points and 12 rebounds on Feb. 12. Currently, Becki averages 10.3 points per game and 5.9 rebounds, and leads the Cardinals in assists with 66. 

Agustsdottir became the 30th member of the Cardinals’ 1,000-point club and ninth under head coach Brady Sallee in BSU’s MAC opener at Bowling Green on Jan. 1. Agustsdottir finds a lot of success behind the are as she ranks first amongst her teammates with 74 made 3-pointers. Agustsdottir knocked down six 3-pointers against Northern Illinois on Feb. 26. She recently scored a season-best 24 points in a victory against Eastern Michigan on March 5 in Worthen Arena. Agustsdottir has 1,200 points for her career, which ranks 18th on the Cardinals all-time scoring list, and ranks fifth all-time in 3-pointers made with 208. Agustsdottir currently leads the Cardinals in scoring, averaging 11.1 points per contest, and stands in third in the MAC in 3-point field goals per game with 2.6.

Under Sallee the Cardinals have now had 30 postseason All-MAC selections.

Ball State opens play in the 2022 MAC Tournament Wednesday as the No. 5 seed and will take on No. 4 Northern Illinois in the day’s second quarterfinal game at Rocket Mortgage Field House. Tipoff is set to begin 30 minutes following game one. 

For the most up-to-date news on the Ball State women’s basketball team, please follow @BallStateSports, @BSUCoachBrady and @BallStateWBB on Instagram and Twitter.  

MAC Women’s Basketball Player of the Year

Jordyn Dawson, Akron, R. Senior, Forward

MAC Women’s Basketball Coach of the Year

Tricia Cullop, Toledo

MAC Women’s Basketball Freshman of the Year

Georgia Woolley, Buffalo, Freshman, Guard

MAC Women’s Basketball Sixth Player of the Year

Hannah Noveroske, Toledo, Junior, Center

MAC Women’s Basketball Co – Defensive Player(s) of the Year

Jordyn Dawson, Akron, R. Senior, Forward

Cierra Hooks, Ohio, Senior, Guard

Women’s Basketball All-MAC First Team

Jordyn Dawson, Akron, R. Senior, Forward

Dyaisha Fair, Buffalo, Junior, Guard

A’Jah Davis, Northern Illinois, Junior, Forward

Cierra Hooks, Ohio, Senior, Guard

Quinesha Lockett, Toledo, Junior, Guard/Forward

Women’s Basketball All-MAC Second Team

Summer Hemphill, Buffalo, Graduate Student, Forward

Molly Davis, Central Michigan, Junior, Guard

Areanna Combs, Eastern Michigan, R. Senior, Guard

Peyton Scott, Miami, Junior, Guard

Sophia Wiard, Toledo, Junior, Guard

Women’s Basketball All-MAC Third Team

Ally Becki, Ball State, Freshman, Guard

Kadie Hempfling, Bowling Green, Senior, Forward

Georgia Woolley, Buffalo, Freshman, Guard

Erica Johnson, Ohio, R. Junior, Guard

Lauren Ross, Western Michigan, R. Freshman, Guard

Women’s Basketball All-MAC Honorable Mention

Reagan Bass, Akron, Freshman, Forward

Thelma Dis Agustsdottir, Ball State, Senior, Guard

Chelby Koker, Northern Illinois, Junior, Guard

Janae Poisson, Northern Illinois, R. Senior, Guard

Gabby Burris, Ohio, Senior, Forward

Women’s Basketball MAC All-Defensive Team

Jordyn Dawson, Akron, R. Senior, Forward

Nyla Hampton, Bowling Green, Sophomore, Guard

Summer Hemphill, Buffalo, Graduate Student, Forward

Cierra Hooks, Ohio, Senior, Guard

Khera Goss, Toledo, Sophomore, Guard

Women’s Basketball MAC All-Freshman Team (6 Players due to ties)

Reagan Bass, Akron, Freshman, Forward

Ally Becki, Ball State, Freshman, Guard

Amy Velasco, Bowling Green, Freshman, Guard

Georgia Woolley, Buffalo, Freshman, Guard

Jessica Cook, Toledo, Freshman, Forward

Lauren Ross, Western Michigan, R. Freshman, Guard

WOMEN’S BASKETBALL HEADS TO CLEVELAND FOR 2022 MAC TOURNEY WEDNESDAY

Game 30 | No. 5 Ball State vs. No. 4 Northern Illinois

March 9 | Cleveland, Ohio | Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse  | Game No. 2 Quarterfinals approx. 1:30 p.m. ET

Watch: ESPN+ | Listen: Muncie Sports Station (92.5FM/1340 AM) | Live Stats

Game Notes: Ball State (PDF) | Northern Illinois

2022 MAC Tournament Bracket (PDF)| 2022 MAC Tournament Website

Note: The last time Ball State and Northern Illinois met in a quarterfinal game at the MAC Tournament was in 2014. The Cardinals were the No. 5 seed and the Huskies were the No. 9 seed. Ball State won that meeting, 61-47.

Opening Tip:

– A Ball State win will advance the Cardinals to the semifinal round of the Mid-American  Conference Tournament Friday for the first time since the 2015 season. That year Ball State fell to No. 6 Eastern Michigan, 75-65.

– The No. 5 seed has never won the MAC Tournament since the tournaments induction in 1982.

– Ball State ended its 2020-21 regular season campaign with a 92-58 win over Eastern Michigan in Worthen Arena on March 5.

– Ball State and Northern Illinois split its two-game regular season series with the Cardinals defeating the Huskies on Jan. 5 in overtime, 83-82 at the Convocation Center. The Huskies then returned the favor in Worthen Arena on Feb. 26 defeating BSU, 77-72.

– This marks the 32nd appearance for the Cardinals in the Mid-American Conference Tournament in program history.  Ball State has advanced to Cleveland 20 out of the past 22 seasons.  The Cardinals are 20-30 all-time in MAC Tournament play and have advanced to the MAC Tournament finals on five occasions.  Ball State defeated Bowling Green in 2009 in the MAC Tournament Championship game.  This is the eighth time in current head coach Brady Sallee’s tenure the Cardinals have punched their ticket to the MAC Tournament in Cleveland. 

– The lowest seed to ever win the Mid-American Conference Tournament was No. 8 Buffalo in 2016. That year the Bulls knocked off No. 2 Central Michigan 73-71 in overtime.

Backs, Crashers & Keys:

This year, the Cardinals are forgoing “traditional” positions and using their own such as backs, crashers, and keys, to bring a sense of team unity. That system proved to be the lift Ball State needed, especially with so many new faces on the court. BSU started the season 2-0 for the first time since 2017.

When BSU Scores 80+ We Win:

When the Cardinals score 80+ points this season it results in a victory for Ball State. The Cardinals are 6-0 when the reach the 80 point plateau with wins over Milwaukee (84-75 OT), Purdue Fort Wayne (86-58), Utah State (81-55), Bellarmine (84-63), Northern Illinois (83-82 OT) and Eastern Michigan (83-73)Ohio (84-74), Bowling Green (91-80) and Eastern Michigan (92-58).

So Close To Victory:

In seven of the Cardinals eight losses in Mid-American Conference play they were by very slim margins so slim that those seven losses were lost by seven or less points. Ball State barely lost to Kent State (51-54), Akron (76-83), Toledo (55-58), Kent State (61-64), Buffalo (62-67), Toledo (66-69) and Northern Illinois (72-77).

Last Time They Met:

– No. 5 Ball State 73, No. 1 Bowling Green 55 (2014 MAC Semifinals)

– No. 3 Ohio 61, No. 6 Ball State 59 (2021 MAC Quarterfinals)

– No. 7 Buffalo 69, No. 2 Ball State 65 (2017 MAC Quarterfinals)

– No. 6 Toledo 67, No. 11 Ball State 63 (2019 MAC First Round)

– No. 5 Ball State 61, No. 9 Northern Illinois 47 (2014 MAC Quarterfinals)

– No. 6 Western Michigan 65, No. 3 Ball State 63 (2018 MAC Quarterfinals)

– No. 3 Akron 79, No .5 Ball State 68 (2014 MAC Championship)

Lucky No. 5:

The last time the Cardinals were the No. 5 seed was in 2014 when Ball State became postseason eligible by winning seven of their final eight games en route to advancing to the MAC Tournament championship game for the first time since winning it all in 2009. In the semifinals of the MAC Tournament, Ball State scored a thrilling 73-55 win over 25th-ranked Bowling Green. The Cardinals then lost to No. 3 seed Akron 79-68 in the title game. That year Ball State also played in the postseason WNIT.

Ball State OT In MAC Tourney:

Ball State has gone to overtime twice in the Mid-American Conference Tournament. The first time was in 1997 where the Cardinals lost in overtime by a score of 81-76 to Bowling Green. It also happened in 2001 when Ball State lost  91-88 in OT to Miami.

COETZEE III POWERS #3 IRISH PAST ELON, 11-3

ELON, N.C. — The third-ranked Notre Dame baseball team used a big third inning to blow by Elon in the 11-3 win Tuesday afternoon at Latham Park. The Irish (9-1) scored eight runs in the third and did not look back as they won their seventh-straight game as they head into ACC play.

Brooks Coetzee III has been one of the best hitters for the Irish the season and it showed against the Phoenix (6-6). He went 2-for-3 from the plate with a home run, a double and five RBI. The five RBI tied a career high for Coetzee III and he leads the team this season with four home runs and 11 RBI.

How It Happened

Jack Findlay made his first career start against the Phoenix and got off to a hot start. He struck out two batters, getting them both looking, in the first inning of his collegiate career. He picked up his third strikeout in the second inning, once again getting the batter looking on the third strike.

The Irish got the scoring going in the third inning as they put a crooked number on the scoreboard. Notre Dame loaded the bases with no outs and Jack Penney brought the first run of the inning in on a single to right field. David LaManna scored next on an error by the Phoenix followed by an RBI single from Carter Putz. Penney scored later in the inning on the sacrifice fly from Jack Brannigan and the Irish weren’t done in the inning.

Coetzee III cleared the bases with a three-run blast over the wall in left center for his team-leading fourth home run of the season. The Irish added one more run in the inning after an RBI single from David LaManna and the Irish led 8-0 after three.

Coetzee III continued his big day in the fourth inning with a double down the right field line. He scored Putz and DM Jefferson on the play and increased the Notre Dame lead to 10-0.

Fellow freshman Caden Aoki relieved Findlay in the fourth inning and tossed 2.0 innings in his second appearance of the season. He was followed on the mound by graduate student Matt Lazzaro for his first appearance with the Irish. He pitched 1.2 innings in his Irish debut and did not allow a hit or a walk.

Radek Birkholz was the next Irish hurler to enter the game in the bottom of the seventh to get the final out of the inning. In the eighth, Jackson Dennies headed to the mound for his second appearance of the year.

The Irish got another run in the ninth after Prajzner led the inning off with a ground-rule double. He came home to score on the next play as Danny Neri singled up the middle.

Roman Kimball was the final pitcher for the Irish against the Phoenix. He got the final three outs in the ninth by striking out the side to close out the seventh-straight win for the Irish.

Up Next

The Irish will stay in North Carolina as they prepare to open ACC play this upcoming weekend. The Irish open the conference season with a three-game series at NC State in Raleigh. The series begins Friday night at 6 p.m. ET and it will be broadcast nationally on the ACC Network.

ALLMAN RESIGNS POSITION AS INDIANA STATE HEAD VOLLEYBALL COACH

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. – Indiana State Head Volleyball Coach Lindsay Allman has resigned her position to pursue other professional opportunities, Athletic Director Sherard Clinkscales announced on Tuesday.

“I have enjoyed every second of my time here at ISU,” Allman commented. “I cannot thank Sherard Clinkscales and Angie Lansing enough for taking the chance on me 5 years ago. I owe so much to both of them. The foundation has been laid for this program to continue to find new heights and now it is up to the team. Thank you to everyone who has supported ISU volleyball thru-out my time here, I ask, that remains the same as this program, these young women are something special and I will miss them every day…Go Trees!”

Allman leaves the Sycamores after five seasons at the helm and has built a program that is on the rise following their success over the past season. The 2021 fall season featured Indiana State’s run to the Missouri Valley Conference tournament semifinals and a berth in the National Invitational Volleyball Championships (NIVC) field.

“Lindsay has done a phenomenal job here with the Sycamores and we cannot say enough good things about the state of the program today,” Clinkscales said. “She has taken the volleyball program to a higher level of competitiveness and we’re ready to keep the momentum rolling as we start the search for our next head coach.”

In this most recent season, Allman led the Sycamores to an 18-13 overall record in 2021, including a 9-9 mark in MVC play. The Sycamores picked up their first win in the conference tournament since 2017, while their successes earned the team an at-large bid in the NIVC for the first time in program history.

The 18 wins were the most for the Sycamores since the Missouri Valley Conference started sponsoring volleyball, while ISU added their second-ever road win at Illinois State and a clean sweep of the 2021 Sycamore Invitational.

During her tenure, Allman developed four conference players of the week, two All-MVC players and two All-MVC Tournament players. Her guidance helped develop Madeline Williams into one of the top middle blockers in the conference and in Indiana State history. Defensively, Melina Tedrow has become a stalwart at libero under Allman’s leadership currently ranking second all-time in program history in digs.

In addition to the Sycamores’ on-court success, Allman’s teams also achieved high marks in the classroom. Indiana State earned the AVCA All-Academic Award in each season Allman has been in charge, extending an NCAA-best streak of 23 consecutive years receiving the award. Indiana State had eight MVC Scholar-Athlete Team selections, three MVC President’s Academic Award honorees and 21 MVC Commissioner’s Academic Award winners in Allman’s five seasons with the program.

A nationwide search will begin for the next Indiana State volleyball coach. Assistant Coach Katie Adams will serve as the interim head coach while the search is conducted.

MASTODONS AND HOOSIERS TANGLE ON WEDNESDAY

FORT WAYNE, Ind. – The Mastodons hit the road to Indiana on Wednesday (March 9) for a game against the Hoosiers.

Game Day Information

What: Purdue Fort Wayne (0-11) at Indiana (4-6)

When: Wednesday, March 9 | 4 p.m. ET

Where: Bart Kaufman Field | Bloomington, Ind.

Video: BTN+

Live Stats: Link

Weather: Partly cloudy, high of 53

Series History: Indiana leads 5-0. The two teams last played in 2009, when the ‘Dons fell 4-2. All five meetings have come in Bloomington.

Probable Starters:

Purdue Fort Wayne: RHP Rex Stills (5.06 ERA, 0-0)

Indiana: LHP Jack Walker (13.50 ERA, 0-0)

Scouting the Hoosiers: Indiana owns wins over Louisiana, Miami (Ohio) and two at Missouri State. The Hoosiers play Cincinnati on Tuesday, prior to the game with the ‘Dons. Bobby Whalen leads the Hoosiers in hitting with a .390 average. Matthew Ellis has a team-high five home runs. Grant Holderfield owns a 1.23 ERA out of the pen.

New Faces: The 2022 Mastodon roster features 15 returners from last season and 18 newcomers.

Have A Day!: Braedon Blackford hit three home runs in a doubleheader against California Baptist (Feb. 26).

#3 is Streaking: Braedon Blackford owns a seven-game hitting streak and a nine-game on-base streak.

Lang Time: Jack Lang is eighth in the Horizon League in hits with 12.

Homer Time: Six different Mastodons have a home run this season. This total includes four Mastodons who are in their first season with the ‘Dons: Braedon Blackford (3), Cade Fitzpatrick (1), Ben Higgins (1) and Isaiah Hart (1).

Call It A Career: Jack Lang returns for 2022 after starting all 46 games last year. He has played in 163 games with 155 starts in his career. Should he hold down a starting spot for every scheduled game, he would finish with 208 games played and 196 starts. Both totals would rank second in program history. Only Shane Trevino (2012-16) would own more games played (234) and started (228) as a Mastodon.

Look At Me, I Can Be…: Garett Lake is the only Mastodon to play every game at the same position for the ‘Dons. He has started in center in every game for the ‘Dons this year.

Miller Time: Justin Miller owns 142 career strikeouts, 10th best in program history.

Put HOF On The Signature: Former Mastodon Brad Smock was inducted in to the Mastodon Hall of Fame in February. Smock was a Mastodon mainstay for the ‘Dons in their final years of Division II. The catcher ranks fourth in program history in runs scored (124), fifth in hits (191), fifth in total bases (273) and sixth in at-bats (626).

Up Next: The ‘Dons will head to Saint Louis this weekend.

JAGUARS PUNCH NCAA TICKET WITH CHAMPIONSHIP WIN OVER CLEVELAND STATE, 61-54

INDIANAPOLIS – The IUPUI women’s basketball team put a capper on an already impressive 2021-22 campaign on Tuesday (Mar. 8) as the Jaguars knocked off Cleveland State in the KEEPS Horizon League Basketball Championship game inside Indiana Farmers Coliseum, 61-54. Four-time #HLWBB Player of the Year Macee Williams earned Tournament MVP honors and finished with 19 points and 18 boards in the victory.

“I’m thrilled for our players. It’s been a long journey to get here,” said head coach Austin Parkinson. “I think having the experience of being in the championship the past two years really paid off. Our veterans especially Destiny made some really clutch plays down the stretch and now they’ll get a chance to play in the NCAA tournament.”

However, when things got tight late, it was Destiny Perkins that authored the signature moments, including completing a four-point play from the right wing with 1:35 left to push IUPUI’s lead back to six. After IUPUI led by as many as 18 earlier in the day, Cleveland State (19-8) used a full-court press and stingy zone defense to crawl within two with 3:29 to play, but never fully overtook the Jags.

“Today was a lot of ups and downs and you’ve got to give Cleveland State a lot of credit,” said coach Parkinson. “Cleveland State fought back and made it really difficult when they started pressing.”

Rachel McLimore, who joined Williams on the All-Tournament Team, helped ease some angst when she rebounded a Perkins miss and was later fouled, leading to two made free throws with 2:21 left. CSU’s Destiny Leo countered with a made layup before Perkins came up with the game’s biggest basket with 1:35 left, thanks to Williams’ lone assist of the day. Perkins helped ice the victory from there, ultimately scoring 11 of her 15 points in the game’s final quarter.

Williams continued her clockwork like efficiency, going 8-of-12 from the floor on a day in which the Jaguars shot just 39.6 percent overall and 6-of-22 (27.3 percent) from three-point range. McLimore finished with 11 points and Madison Wise added nine points and five boards.

Leo and Gabrielle Smith finished with 14 points apiece in the loss.

Williams did the heavy lifting early, helping IUPUI surge out to a 21-7 lead after the first quarter, single-handedly outscoring Cleveland State by a 9-7 margin in the opening 10 minutes. Williams then scored the first four points of the second quarter to extend IUPUI’s advantage to 25-7 at the 9:01 mark. The Vikings responded with a 10-0 run to get back within eight before the Jags pushed the lead back to 30-19 by halftime.

IUPUI rebuilt its 18-point lead midway through the third quarter, but was then stymied by Cleveland State’s defense. The Vikings outscored IUPUI 15-3 to close the third quarter, making it a two-possession game heading into the fourth. Cleveland State cut the lead back to three after Isabella Geraci hit a three of the opening possession of the fourth, but the Vikings were never able to pull even from there.

Cleveland State shot 40.8 percent from the floor and 7-of-18 (38.9 percent) and outscored the Jaguars 15-5 on fast break points. With the win, IUPUI claimed it’s second tournament title in three years, but will make the program’s first-ever trip to the NCAA Tournament.

“This year was a little sweeter because in 2020 we didn’t actually get to go into the NCAA (Tournament) and last year Wright State won,” Williams said following Tuesday’s win. “Just this game was a little sweeter.”

IUPUI will now await its NCAA Tournament fate as the brackets will officially be released on Selection Sunday.

WOMEN’S BASKETBALL SET FOR HOOPS IN THE HEARTLAND

Valparaiso (11-18, 9-9 MVC)

Hoops in the Heartland – Moline, Ill.

Game #30 – March 11, 2022 – 8:30 p.m.

vs. UNI (20-9, 13-5 MVC)

Next Up in Valpo Basketball: After finishing in a tie for sixth place in the MVC regular season standings, the Valpo women’s basketball team earned the sixth seed for Hoops in the Heartland and the corresponding bye into the tournament quarterfinals. The Beacons will have to win three games over three days to capture the tournament crown, beginning with a Friday night quarterfinal matchup against third-seeded UNI.

Previously: It was a Senior Day to remember Saturday for Caitlin Morrison, Carie Weinman and Grace White, as the trio combined for 39 points in their final game at the ARC, leading the way as Valpo got the better of MVC regular season champion Southern Illinois by a 67-54 final.

Following Valpo Basketball: Streaming Video: ESPN+

Radio: WVUR (95.1 FM, Valparaiso)

Streaming Audio: TuneIn app

Links for live coverage: Available via ValpoAthletics.com

Head Coach Mary Evans: Mary Evans is in her fourth year at the helm of the program in 2021-22 and owns a record of 48-67. Evans has made an immediate impact on the program in her first three years, raising the team’s level of play to be competitive in a strong Missouri Valley Conference. Evans’ preferred style of play has been a big part of the program’s turnaround, as Valpo has led the MVC in 3-pointers made per game and in steals per game in each of the last two seasons.

Series Notes: UNI holds a 9-5 advantage in the all-time series over Valpo, most of which has been contested since Valpo joined the MVC. The Beacons have won three of the last five meetings. This season, the two squads split the series, each winning on their respective home floor – Valpo 60-58 at the ARC, UNI 68-38 in Cedar Falls.

@ValpoWBB…

…and @ValleyHoops

– Valpo was picked to finish in sixth place in the MVC preseason poll, totaling 208 points. For the second straight year, the Beacons finished the regular season by matching their preseason prediction.

– The sixth-place finish matches the program’s best since joining the Valley, as does the Beacons’ 9-9 record in conference action.

– Valpo is in its fifth season as a member of the Missouri Valley Conference.

– The Valley is ranked 10th in conference NET this year, was ranked seventh nationally in conference NET in 2020-21 and was eighth nationally in conference RPI in 2019-20.

…versus Southern Illinois

– After trailing for much of the first quarter, Valpo led SIU 14-11 at the end of the period and extended its lead to 24-20 at halftime.

– The Beacons led by as many as 14 points in the third quarter and were up 48-38 with 10 minutes to play.

– The advantage reached as many as 18 points in the final period.

– The win was Valpo’s first over the conference regular season champion since delivering Green Bay its only loss of the 2007-08 Horizon League campaign.

– Valpo snapped SIU’s eight-game winning streak, while the 67 points the Beacons scored are the most the Salukis have surrendered in conference play this season. Prior to Saturday, SIU’s only MVC losses had come at Missouri State and at UNI.

– The win was Valpo’s fourth over a top-100 NET team in Valley action this year, joining the Beacons’ pair of victories against Drake and the home win over UNI.

– All three of Valpo’s Senior Day honorees scored in double figures on Saturday. Leading the way was Carie Weinman, who finished with 17 points, three rebounds, two assists and two steals.

– As usual, Grace White filled up the stat sheet, hitting 3-of-4 from deep on her way to 11 points and a team-high eight rebounds, dishing out three assists as well.

– Caitlin Morrison finished 4-of-6 from the field, including 3-of-5 from 3-point range, for an 11-point night of her own. Morrison extended her program records for games played (140) and games started (136) on Saturday.

– Valpo enjoyed an efficient night shooting the basketball, going 10-for-21 (47.6%) from deep. It was the eighth time in MVC play the Beacons hit at least 10 triples, and the seventh time in those eight games they shot at least 40%.

– Meanwhile, Southern Illinois was just 2-for-19 from the 3-point line, matching the fewest triples by a Valpo opponent this season. The Beacons limited the Salukis to 31.7% shooting overall, the second-lowest clip by a Valpo opponent on the year.

…versus Missouri State

– Valpo used a 10-0 run to take an early 10-5 lead before the Lady Bears ended the first quarter on an 11-2 run to lead 16-12 at the end of the period.

– The second quarter was a defensive struggle, as Valpo outscored MSU 7-6 for the quarter to pull to within 22-19 at the half.

– Missouri State took control of the game out of the locker room, however, going on a 21-5 run over the first 6:38 of the second half to pull out to a 19-point lead.

– The Lady Bears led 49-30 with 10 minutes to play and extended their lead with a 3-pointer on their first trip of the fourth quarter.

– Valpo had one big push remaining, hitting four 3-pointers in a span of 2:34 — two from Grace White and one each from Ilysse Pitts and Olivia Brown — to close to within 54-42.

– The Beacons actually had a shot to make it a 10-point game with 5:24 to play, but couldn’t get a layup to fall, and the Lady Bears scored the next six points to put the game away.

– Shay Frederick led Valpo on Thursday with 11 points, her 19th double-figure effort of the season.

– The Beacons connected on seven 3-pointers Thursday evening, giving them 227 on the season — third-most in a single campaign in program history.

– Valpo actually held the edge in field goal percentage over Missouri State, 37.8%-36.9%, but the Lady Bears had 20 more field goal attempts, thanks in large part to 17 offensive rebounds.

– The Beacons committed 21 turnovers as well, their worst number in that department in the last 12 games.

…away from home

– Friday marks the first neutral-site game of the year for Valpo.

– The Beacons were just 5-11 away from home in the regular season, but won three of their last four road games.

@UNIwbb

– UNI enters Hoops in the Heartland with a 20-9 record in the regular season.

– The Panthers went 13-5 in MVC play to finish in third place in the Valley.

– UNI enters the conference tournament on a four-game winning streak, with its last loss coming back on Feb. 19.

– Karli Rucker leads the Panthers, averaging 12.9 points/game and dishing out 3.2 assists/game. Kam Finley scores in double figures as well for UNI, which surrenders just 59.3 points/game defensively.

A Look Back at the UNI Games

…60-58 win, Jan. 7

– Valpo trailed by nine points with 10 minutes to play, and by 13 (53-40) after UNI converted a four-point play on its first possession of the fourth quarter.

– The Beacons held the Panthers to just two points over a stretch of nearly eight minutes, putting together a 15-2 run to tie the game with 2:10 to play.

– An Olivia Brown layup with 1:15 remaining gave Valpo its first lead of the game, 57-56.

– UNI reclaimed the lead on a floater by Karli Rucker with 1:02 to play, but a 3-point play from Shay Frederick with 51 seconds remaining proved to be the deciding basket.

– The 13-point comeback in the fourth quarter tied the program’s largest comeback in the final period since the move to quarters.

– The defense and rebounding were the highlights in the fourth quarter for the Beacons. After surrendering the four-point play on the first trip of the period, Valpo limited UNI to just five points over its final 16 possessions of the game. Meanwhile, the Panthers grabbed 16 offensive rebounds, but none of them came in the final six-plus minutes of the game.

– The Beacons got contributions up and down the rotation from all eight players who were in uniform, highlighted by a standout performance from Brown. The junior scored a game-high 18 points on 7-of-10 shooting from the field and knocked down three of her four 3-point attempts.

– Frederick added 13 points, capped by the decisive 3-point play, and dished out five assists in the winning effort.

…68-38 loss, Feb. 6

– Valpo never led, trailing 17-7 at the end of the first quarter and 34-13 at halftime.

– Carie Weinman reached the 1,000-point milestone for her collegiate career with a basket early in the fourth quarter.

– Valpo’s 38 points marked its second-lowest output of the season (South Dakota). The Beacons shot just 25% from the floor, matched a season low with four 3-pointers and committed 17 turnovers.

– Weinman paced the Beacons with seven points, while Caitlin Morrison scored six and led Valpo with five rebounds.

Success in the Postseason

– Discounting the canceled 2020 MVC Tournament, Valpo has won a conference tournament game five straight years and in eight of the last nine seasons.

– However, seven of those eight wins have come in first-round action against teams seeded eighth or worse in the bracket.

– The lone outlier came in the 2016 Horizon League Tournament, where a ninth-seeded Valpo squad bested fourth-seeded Detroit before falling to fifth-seeded Northern Kentucky in the quarterfinals.

– Valpo has earned first-round wins in each of its first three appearances at Hoops in the Heartland, beating Evansville in 2021, Indiana State in 2019 and Loyola in 2018.

– This is the second time Valpo has earned a bye into the quarterfinals of Hoops in the Heartland – the 2019-20 squad had received the sixth seed as well before that year’s tournament was canceled.

GREYHOUNDS DOWN CAVS, POST BEST START TO A SEASON IN PROGRAM HISTORY

INDIANAPOLIS – The No. 3 UIndy men’s lacrosse team put themselves in the record books on Tuesday, setting a program record for the best start to a season at 6-0.  The Hounds picked up a 14-4 win over G-MAC foe Walsh University at Key Stadium.

The four goals also marks the fewest goals that UIndy has given up since posting a 17-4 win over Quincy last March.  The Hounds also improve to 3-0 against Walsh all-time.

HOW IT HAPPENED

UIndy scored five goals in the first quarter after it took Wyatt Auyer less than ten minutes to record a hat trick.  Parker Johnson and Matt Schoeneck also found the net before the Cavaliers got on the board with a man up goal.

The Hounds jumped out to a 12-1 lead after seven straight goals over the span of the second and third quarter.  Johnson, Auyer, Schoeneck, Brian Robb and Drew Billig each scored in the run.  UIndy’s lock down defense held Walsh scoreless for over 33 minutes of play.

Braydan Walker tallied his first goal of the season three minutes into the fourth on the assist from Andrew Simonich.  Less than five minutes later Simonich scored a goal of his own for the Hounds’ 14th and final goal of the game.

INSIDE THE BOX SCORE

– Auyer paced the Hounds with a career-high six goals.  Parker Johnson was right behind with five points off of two goals and three assists.

– Schoeneck (2G, 1A) and Robb (1G, 2A) both posted three points.

– Ryan Vette led the defense with three caused turnovers and one ground ball.

– Caleb Parker was a perfect 17-of-17 in the face off circle, adding 12 ground balls.

– Austin Barnett picked up his sixth win of the season in net, allowing one goal in nearly 43 minutes.

UP NEXT

The Hounds remain home this weekend, hosting CSU Pueblo on Saturday at 12 pm ET.

NORMAN HOMERS THREE TIMES IN SHUTOUT AGAINST TRINITY INTERNATIONAL

Kissimmee, Fla. – After rain washed out Marian’s opening game of the day against South Carolina Beaufort, the Knights hit the field in a big way against Trinity International shutting out the Trojans 6-0. In the win first baseman Sierra Norman clobbered three two-run home runs, lifting Marian to 5-0 on the season as the sophomore tied the single game home run record.

Sierra Norman’s big day began in the first inning, as the sophomore unloaded for a two-run home run in the top of the first inning, plating two runs as Shelbie Stotts drew a two-out walk. After the offense failed to get a run in the second inning despite getting two runners on, Norman again delivered in the third, launching a one-out bomb to double the score as Stotts scored after walking.

Carrying a lead the entire game, Jaylah Guilliam had immediate success in the circle tossing a perfect first inning. The sophomore battled through the second, stranding three Trinity International base runners as she ended the inning with a strikeout and pop up, and in the third went three-up, three-down. Guilliam then mowed through the fourth and fifth innings, adding a pair of strikeouts to her name while stranding a runner in each inning.

Carrying their 4-0 lead in the sixth Marian attempted to add on as Hayley Greene and Abbi Wirey slashed back to back lead-off singles, but three groundouts led to the rally coming to a close. After Olivia Stunkel threw a flawless sixth coming on in relief of Guilliam, the Knights gained two more runs in the top of the seventh on Norman’s third home run of the afternoon. The two-run shot gave Marian a 6-0 lead, as Stunkel finished up the afternoon with a strikeout in the bottom of the seventh.

Norman’s three-home run game sets a single game best, tying the Marian single game record for home runs. The previous three home run game was set by Erica Miller in the 2015 season. Norman finished the game 3-3 with a walk, driving in all six runs, as she and Stotts each crossed the plate three times. Guilliam got the win in the circle going five innings of three-hit ball, while Stunkel struckout three in her hitless relief outing.

Marian is idle on Wednesday, and will pick up their spring break schedule on Thursday at 11:15 a.m. when they take on Northwestern Ohio.

WLAX DROPS SEASON OPENER

KALAMAZOO, Mich. – The Earlham College women’s lacrosse team began its 2022 season with a 16-2 loss to Kalamazoo College on Sunday afternoon.

The Quakers begin 0-1 while the Hornets improve to 3-1.

Josie Whorton and Serena Pisacano both scored unassisted goals for the Quakers. Pisacano and Maya Claggett led Earlham with six ground balls each. Claggett also caused four turnovers along with Jillian Schlieper.

Mackenzie Kotch played all 60 minutes in the cage and recorded nine saves.

The Hornets scored in the opening minute of play and led by four goals at the end of the first quarter. Pisacano scored the first Earlham goal midway through the second quarter to make the score 12-1 at halftime.

The Quakers were outshot 34-10 on the afternoon.

Earlham will be back in action on Thursday when Asbury comes to Darrell Beane Stadium for a 4 pm contest.

2022 NCAA DIII MEN’S BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT INFORMATION

Preliminary ticket information is now available for Friday’s 2022 NCAA DIII Men’s Basketball Tournament third round game between Wabash College and Williams College. The game will take place at 4:30 p.m. CST / 5:30 p.m. EST at the Shirk Center on the campus of Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington, Illinois.

More information will be added to this page as it becomes available.

Ticket Information – Tickets will be sold at the door beginning 90 minutes prior to first game. There will be no presale of tickets. Additionally, the arena will be cleared at the conclusion of each game.

Prices for each game will be as follows:

Adults – $15

Children, Students, & Seniors – $10

Children Under 2 – Free

Seating for the NCAA Tournament games will be split up by fan base as seen in the diagram to the left.

Parking will be available in the main Shirk Center parking lot, located off of East Emerson St.

A direct address for Shirk Center:

302 East Emerson, Bloomington, IL 61701

Wabash Fan Pre-Game Gathering Location – Wabash fans can get together at the Destihl Brewery and Beer Hall in Normal, Illinois, prior to Friday night’s game. The location is a 10-12 – minute drive from the Shirk Center. Wabash fans can start gathering at 1 p.m. on Friday.

Destihl Brewery and Beer Hall

1200 Greenbriar Drive

Normal, IL 61761

NEWS | BRIAN LEBOWITZ STEPS DOWN AS FRANKLIN’S MEN’S BASKETBALL HEAD COACH

FRANKLIN, Ind. – After eight years as a member of the Franklin men’s basketball program, including the last two as its head coach, Brian Lebowitz has announced he is stepping down from his position.

As the head coach of the Grizzlies, Lebowitz finished with a 23-21 record and back-to-back Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference (HCAC) tournament championships. Additionally, the Grizzlies claimed a share of the 2019-20 HCAC regular season crown, accomplishing that feat for the first time since 2006-07.

“I want to thank Franklin College for this opportunity,” Lebowitz said. “When President Prather hired me almost a decade ago, we set a goal of restoring Franklin’s place as a championship level program. Winning the HCAC regular season championship in 2020 and the conference tournament in each of the last two years has been the experience of a lifetime. I have had the chance to work with phenomenal players, coaches and support staff that made every moment at Franklin worth it. I am excited for the future of this program.”

Lebowitz joined the Grizzlies as an assistant coach ahead of the 2014-15 season and was promoted to Associate Head Coach during the 2019-20 campaign. In each of the last four seasons, Franklin has advanced to the semifinals of the HCAC Tournament, breaking through with a conference tournament victory in 2021 when they won three road games to capture the program’s first conference tournament title since 2008.

With no NCAA Tournament played in 2021, Lebowitz led Franklin back to the big dance in 2022 with three more wins away from home in the HCAC Tournament, capturing a spot in the NCAA Tournament with a 91-84 win at Hanover. It marked the sixth time in program history Franklin won the conference tournament. The Grizzlies will return all but one member from this past year’s team, with Krause the lone senior set to graduate.

A national search for the Grizzlies’ next head coach will begin immediately.

KING’S COLLEGE CONQUERS THUNDER

WINTER HAVEN, Fl. – The Trine University baseball team was defeated by King’s College out of Pennsylvania on Tuesday morning 12-1 in seven innings.

The Thunder (2-5) are now 1-3 on their spring break trip and the Monarchs (3-1) used scores in the first three innings to run away to the shortened victory.

The first three batters for King’s reached base, including a two-RBI double by the three-hole hitter to drive in a pair of runs. Later in the inning, he would be brought home by a groundout to the shortstop Avery Fulford [Conifer, Colo. / Conifer] to go up 3-0 before Trine took an at-bat.

Easton Rhodes [Auburn, Ind. / DeKalb] used small ball in the first inning and took advantage of an error and wild pitch to get to third base and Dalton Nikirk [Bedford, Ind. / Bedford North Lawrence] made it 3-1 with a single to left field. Fulford and Tyler Robinson [Schaumburg, Ill. / Schaumburg] reached to lead the bases in the first, but they would all be left on base.

The top of the second would be another big scoring opportunity for the Monarchs after the first five hitters got on base. Two would score on RBI singles and a sacrifice fly brought home a third run in the frame to go up 6-1.

King’s would tack on two more runs in the top of the third to make it an 8-1 ballgame. Brenden Warner [Richland, Mich. / Hackett Catholic Prep] singled to lead off the third for the Thunder but was stranded 90 feet from home.

Southpaw Cole Decker [Leonidas, Mich. / Mendon / Glen Oaks] entered from the Trine bullpen and threw three innings of shutout baseball. In total, the reliever gave up two hits and one walk and struck out a pair of Monarchs.

A three-run homerun highlighted the top of the seventh for King’s as they took a 12-1 edge. A Nikirk single and Warner walk put two runners on in an attempt to extend the game, but the Trine offense was unable to bring them in to score in a 12-1 loss.

Robinson (2-for-2) and Nikirk (2-for-4) had multi-hit days for the Thunder. Freshman Hunter Niksch [Lowell, Ind. / Andrean] was saddled with the loss in the game.

Vassar College is on the schedule on Wednesday, March 9. First pitch from Lake Myrtle, Florida is slated for 3:15 pm.

KOLAR’S 100TH WIN COMES IN 8-1 WOMEN’S TENNIS VICTORY

KISSIMMEE, Fla. — The Trine University women’s tennis team picked up the 100th victory in tennis head coach Erin Kolar’s career after defeating King’s (Pa.) College by the score of 8-1.

Kolar entered the day with 98 wins between the men’s and women’s programs at Trine, which she has served has head coach of since 2016. The men’s victory earlier today put her just won off and the women’s team secured the second win of the day to reach the milestone.

The Thunder got out to a quick lead sweeping the doubles portion of the contest. The No. 1 team of seniors Ashley Spirrison (Fishers, Ind. / Hamilton Southeastern) and Ellie Cole (Albion, Ind. / Central Noble) picked up the win with a shutout defeating the opposition 8-0. Sophomore Jadyn Davis (Angola, Ind. / Angola) and junior Eva Morales (Elkhart, Ind. / Elkhart Memorial) won the No. 2 match 8-3 and freshmen Lizzie Welker (Maumee, Ohio / Springfield Sr.) and Kennedy Outwater (Bronson, Mich. / Bronson) won the No. 3 match 8-2.

Five more wins in the singles portion of the day gave the team the final victory of 8-1. Spirrison in No. 1 (6-0, 6-1), Davis in No. 2 (6-1, 6-0) and Morales in No. 3 (6-1, 6-0) all won in lopsided fashion giving up just won game in each of their matches. Cole need a few more games to win 6-1, 6-2 in the No. 4 match and Outwater finished off the point scoring for the team with a 6-3, 6-2 win in the No. 5 match. Welker came up just short of a win in the No. 6 match losing the super tiebreaker on the way to a 3-6, 6-2, 10-8 match.

The Thunder improve to 6-2 following the win. They will face off with Covenant College tomorrow, Wednesday, March 8 in their next competition of their spring break trip. The match is set to start at 11:30 a.m.

SCOTS OUTMATCHED BY MEN’S LACROSSE

MONMOUTH, Ill. — The Trine University men’s lacrosse team turned in a second strong performance of the season defeating their hosts from Monmouth (Ill.) College by the score of 13-5.

The game started as a close one with the team’s trading goals in the first period. The Fighting Scots would score first with just over ten minutes remaining in the opener. The Thunder responded at the nine-minute mark when junior Andrew Douglas (Liberty Twp., Ohio / Lakota East) and sophomore Klein Burkholder (Chambersburg, Pa. / Chambersburg) combined for the goal.

Monmouth retook their lead with seven minutes remaining before Trine tied the game again at the four-minute mark on a goal by sophomore Collin Custer (Spanaway, Wash. / Bethel). The teams would hit the first break with the score tied at two.

The Scots took their final lead of the contest in the opening minutes of the second with a goal making the score 3-2. From that point on the Thunder would dominate the contest offensively. They finished the half on a 7-1 run, entering the intermission leading 9-4. The second half saw the team score four goals to the home squad’s one to finish the game with the 13-5 victory.

Douglas once again paced the team finishing with seven points including five goals and two assists. Senior matt Zanichelli (Rolling Meadows, Ill. / William Fremd) came in second with five points including four goals and an assist.

Junior Jack Konicek (Geneva, Ill. / Geneva) was a menace in the faceoff circle winning 16 of 21 chances. He led the team with seven ground balls while also adding a goal and an assist in the game.

Senior Dave Keptner was a force for the defense forcing four turnovers and recovering four groundballs.

The Thunder improve to 2-0 following the victory. They will travel to face Taylor (Ind.) University for their next contest. The game is scheduled for 4 p.m. on Thursday, March 10.

DAVIDSON TABBED AS LEAGUE PLAYER OF THE WEEK

WINONA LAKE, Ind. – For the fifth time this season, Frankie Davidson was named the Crossroads League Player of the Week.

Davidson led Grace’s men’s basketball team to the 2022 Crossroads League Tournament championship last week.

He was Grace’s leading scorer as the Lancers concluded a memorable run to the tournament championship. He had 15 points, 5 rebounds and 1 blocked shot to lead the Lancers to the victory at No. 12 Marian. He drilled a stepback 3-pointer late in the game, scoring Grace’s final points in a dramatic 86-85 victory.

Grace became the lowest seed (No. 5) to win the CL Tournament championship, winning three straight road games en route to claiming the automatic bid to the NAIA tournament.

As a result, the Lancers will play in the NAIA Opening Round this weekend. Grace, a No. 7 seed in the 64-team bracket, will take on No. 10 Cumberlands on Friday at 8 p.m. (Eastern time). With a win, Grace would advance to play either No. 2 Olivet Nazarene or No. 15 Lourdes on Saturday at 6 p.m. Both games will be held at ONU’s campus in Bourbonnais, Ill.

Davidson leads all players in the Crossroads League with his five Player of the Week honors. No other player from the conference has more than three awards.

WINDERS NETS FOUR ALL-REGION AWARDS AS SIX EAGLES HONORED BY USTFCCCA

EVANSVILLE, Ind.—University of Southern Indiana Men’s and Women’s Track & Field had six student-athletes collect All-Midwest Region honors from the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches’ Association for their efforts during the indoor season.

Junior All-American Titus Winders (Mansfield, Tennessee) led the Screaming Eagles with four All-Region awards. The 2022 Great Lakes Valley Conference co-Indoor Track Athlete of the Year was named All-Midwest Region in the men’s distance medley relay, the mile, the 3,000 meters and the 5,000 meters.

Winders was the top performer in the region in both the men’s mile and the 3,000 meters while ranking No. 3 in both the 5,000 meters and the DMR.

Joining Winders from the men’s squad in earning All-Region honors for their efforts in the DMR was junior Madison King (Avon, Indiana) as well as freshmen Silas Winders (Mansfield, Indiana) and Rick Pflanz (Huntingburg, Indiana).

USI’s women were represented on the All-Midwest Region list by senior All-American Jennifer Comastri (Indianapolis, Indiana) and freshman Cameron Hough (Olney, Illinois). Both were named All-Region for their efforts in the 5,000 meters, where Comastri ranked second in the region and Hough fourth in the region.

USTFCCCA All-Region honors go to the top five individuals in each event from each region in addition to each member of the region’s top three relay teams.

Comastri, Hough and Winders are slated to compete at the NCAA Division II Indoor Championships Friday and Saturday in Pittsburg, Kansas.

Winders qualified in the men’s 3,000 and 5,000 meter races, while Comastri and Hough qualified in the women’s 5,000 meters.

Winders, the conference champion in three events at GLVC Indoor Championships, ranks third in the 3,000 meters with his adjusted time of 7:54.07. He is 12th in the 5,000-meter field with his time of 13:56.82.

Comastri ranks 14th in the 19-competitor field in the 5,000 meters with a time of 16:44.91, while Hough’s adjusted time of 16:48.17 puts her at No. 18 in the field.

This marks the third straight year Comastri has qualified for nationals during the indoor season. She earned All-America honors in both the 3,000 and 5,000 meters after the meet was canceled due to COVID in 2020 and was a first-team All-American in the 5,000 meters a year ago after finishing fourth in the event at the 2021 NCAA II Indoor Championships.

Hough is making her first trip to nationals in track & field after earning All-America honors on the cross country course last fall.

Winders, who was named GLVC Track Athlete of the Week three times this season, is making his second trip to indoor nationals after earning All-America honors in both the 3,000 and 5,000 meters two years ago.

The men’s 5,000 meter race is Friday at 5:55 p.m. (CST), while the women’s 5,000 meters follows at 6:15 p.m. The men’s 3,000 meters is Saturday at 7:05 p.m.

DAMMAN COLLECTS FIRST NOD AS CROSSROADS LEAGUE PLAYER OF THE WEEK

MARION, Ind. – Indiana Wesleyan Athletics Department is pleased to announce that Kelli Damman was named Crossroads League Player of the Week, her first honor in a Wildcat jersey. The senior guard, shot 71% from the arc connecting on 5-7 shots, collected two steals, and snagged five rebounds in route to the Crossroads League Tournament title. Damman who was recently named first team All-League averages 11.9 points per game, 3 rebounds, and shooting 38.8% from range.
 
“What a week for KD. She has been a rock for us all season long so I’m glad she was able to get recognition for stepping up when our team needed her most!” said Head Coach Ethan Whaley.
 
Wildcats now turn their focus to the NAIA Opening Round this weekend March 11-12. IWU hosts IU-South Bend in the first game on Friday at 5pm.  The winner advances to play the winner of Northwestern (Iowa )/Midway (Ky.) More information including how to order tickets can be found on the Tournament Central page: https://iwuwildcats.com/feature/WBB_2022_NAIAOPENINGROUND

SALMON AND MOREHEAD NAMED CROSSROADS LEAGUE PLAYER AND PITCHER OF THE WEEK

MARION, Ind. – No. 15 Indiana Wesleyan baseball collects season-first Crossroads League Player of the Week honors.  Brennan Morehead held down the mound for the Wildcats collecting pitcher of the week honors while Evan Salmon had an outstanding week at bat collecting player of the week honors.
 
Morehead threw nine innings against Spring Arbor in the League series opener, punching out 11 in nine innings of action.  Allowing just one run, he surrendered just five total hits holding SAU to a .156 batting percentage.
 
Salmon hit .565 last week belting five long balls while totaling 13 RBIs on 13 hits.  He also crossed home plate 13 times and totaled three doubles.  The senior tallied a 1.348 slugging percentage while walking just once and striking out just once in 23 plate appearances.  His tremendous week pushed him to No. 8 in the NAIA in HR’s and No. 6 in doubles.
 
“Morehead’s mature process and competitiveness is something all his teammates want to play behind” said Head Coach Rich Benjamin.  “While, Evan puts together mature at bats and adds presence in the middle of a deep line-up.  Congrats to Brennan and Evan on a great week.”
 
Wildcats resume Crossroads League action in a home series against Bethel on March 10 and 11.  The doubleheader is slated to start at 1pm both days.

MARTIN CARRIZO COLLECTS THIRD CROSSROADS LEAGUE PLAYER OF THE WEEK HONOR THIS SEASON

MARION, Ind. – No. 5 Indiana Wesleyan men’s tennis player Martin Carrizo collected his third Crossroads League Player of the Week honor this season.

Carrizo guided the Wildcats to wins over No. 4 William Carey and No. 12 Middle Georgia State going 3-0 in singles and 2-1 in doubles. Carrizo continues to lead the Wildcats from the No. 1 and No. 2 singles position and No. 1 Doubles.

“Martin has been playing incredible tennis this spring!” said Head Coach Eddy Shigley. “He is undefeated in doubles and has been a tremendous leader for our team. His will to win and compete is at an unprecedented level!”

Wildcats continue their spring break trip in Florida facing No. 21 Ave Maria University tomorrow afternoon at 1pm.

TAYLOR ATHLETICS | Trojans Rally Late to Win in Home-Opener

UPLAND, Ind. – On Tuesday afternoon, the Taylor University baseball team played a non-league game against Division III-opponent, Defiance College, in which the Trojans executed a seventh-inning rally to win their 2022 home-opener by a score of 9-2.

Catcher, TJ Bass, and center fielder, Conner Crawford, led the way for Taylor on offense, the two combining for five of Taylor’s nine hits and six of the team’s nine runs-batted-in.

After each team posted two runs in the sixth, Taylor exploded for seven more in the seventh to establish a 9-2 lead. The rally got started with a Ben Kalbaugh walk, after which Michael Pinarski bunted the pinch runner, Mason David, over to second and Nick Rusche moved him to third on a groundout. With two outs, then, six-consecutive Trojans reached base.

Camden Knepp ignited the two-out surge with an RBI-single, then advancing to second on a passed ball so that Bass could easily bring him home with an RBI-double of his own. After Drew Loy came on to run for Bass, Kaleb Kolpien drove him in with a single up the middle before his older brother, Kade Kolpien drew a pinch-hit walk. Jacob Morris, then, drew another walk to load the bases for Crawford.

The senior outfielder smacked a three-run homer in Taylor’s last outing against Marian, but this time Crawford brought home the magical number four to score, as Crawford tattooed a line-drive grand slam to left to put the Trojans up 9-2.

Freshman, Conner Miller (1-0), who came on to pitch in the top-half of the seventh, took it from there, retiring the final six Yellow Jacket batters of the game to solidify the win in Taylor’s 2022 home-opener. Miller’s line ended with three scoreless innings pitched, allowing just two hits while striking out four.

Matt Dutkowski started the game on the mound and completed three nearly-perfect innings of work, surrendering just two walks with no hits-allowed.

Freshman, Jared Crandell, took over for Dutkowski to start the fourth and went two-and-one-third innings of work, allowing the two Defiance runs to score in the top-half of the sixth. Jack Ross rounded out the Trojan pitching effort for the day by coming in to snag the final two outs of the sixth, before Miller earned the first win of his career by posting zeros on the board throughout the final three innings.

Bass and Crawford now sit as the league’s one-and-two when it comes to RBI-leaders, Bass with 35 and Crawford not far behind with 26.

Taylor (13-7, 3-1) is set to return to the diamond this Friday, March 10th, when the Trojans host Huntington (4-8, 2-2) for a doubleheader scheduled to begin at 1:00 pm.

OFFENSE CONTINUES TO ROLL IN 15-1 WIN OVER NORTHLAND

Wabash continued its offensive onslaught in Tucson, Arizona, on Tuesday by scoring a 15-1 victory over Northland College in seven innings.

The Little Giants improved to 5-1 for the season and 3-1 for their spring break schedule of games in Tucson. Wabash is averaging 10.67 runs per game and batting .366 as a team.

Wabash pounded out 14 hits in Tuesday’s victory. The Little Giants blew the game open early with a six-run second inning. Wabash added a run in the third, two more in the fourth, and three runs in both the fifth and sixth innings.

Kamden Earley picked up four hits and five RBI in the game. He blasted two triples to tie the Wabash single-game record for three-base hits in a contest. AJ Reid had a four-hit day, as well, and brought home two runs. Austin Simmers and Liam Patton each finished with two RBI for the game. Will Phillips and Reece Bauer had one RBI apiece.

Freshman Robbie Manuzzi was the beneficiary of the scoring bonanza. He earned his first career win by pitching five innings of two-hit baseball. He gave up only one run and two walks while striking out eight batters. Grant Stratton and Sam Phillips both pitched an inning of scoreless baseball. Stratton struck out two batters. Phillips also recorded two strikeouts.

Wabash will take Wednesday off before playing Bemidji State University on Thursday at 1:30 p.m. MST / 3:30 EST.

MEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL: GREATEST NCAA TOURNAMENT GAMES

#101 Championship: No. 1 Virginia 85, No. 3 Texas Tech 77 (OT)

The story of Virginia’s 2019 national title is an all-timer not just because of the UMBC loss from a year prior, but the road needed to get there in postseason play. Every game with the exception of Oregon in the Sweet 16 provides legitimate scares and doubts. Play out those sequences again a hundred times and Virginia likely loses at some point in the other 99. (“If I tell you what happens, it won’t happen.”) This is the first OT title game since 2008. On the final night of the 2018-19 season, Virginia goes up by 10 twice, entirely gives up those leads each time, and is only able to get it to overtime thanks to a 3-pointer by De’Andre Hunter with 12 seconds left. Hunter, Ty Jerome and Kyle Guy combine for 67 of UVA’s 85 points, helping Virginia get 1.21 points per possession on the best college basketball defense in two decades. Hunter’s emergence is the story within the story because he doesn’t even get a bucket until a minute and a half remains in the first half — then he winds up with a career-high 27 points, including a 3-pointer to put UVA up 75-73 in OT and keep the Hoos ahead for good. Because both teams are elite defensively, the game is expected to be a grinder. Instead, the over of 118 is bested by 44 points — it’s the highest-scoring title game in 19 years — and the first championship game in history to have both teams make at least 10 3-pointers.

TODAY IN BASEBALL HISTORY

1897       The Cleveland Spiders sign Penobscot Indian Louis Sockalexis. Although the former Holy Cross star plays only three seasons due to alcoholism, the fans admire his outstanding skills and refer to the team as the ‘Indians’- in 1915, the name will become official.

1922       Rogers Hornsby, coveted by John McGraw of the Giants, signs a three-year contract with Cardinals’ owner Sam Breadon. The 25-year-old second baseman, who will hit .404 over the three years of the deal, agrees to $18,500 per season, making him the highest-paid player in National League history.

1943       The Dodgers trade first baseman Babe Dahlgren to the Phillies for outfielder Lloyd Waner and infielder Al Glossop. Philadelphia’s new 31 year-old infielder will enjoy an all-star season during his only year in the City of Brotherly Love, hitting a solid .287 for the seventh-place team.

1948       Ted Williams accepts Babe Didrikson Zaharias’s challenge to compete in a driving contest at a local range. The former Olympic track star, turned golf champion, playfully teases the Red Sox superstar, giving him pointers when the ‘Kid’ slices most of his drives as her shots go straight, and usually, longer.

1960       The police find Arnold Johnson en route to his Palm Beach home after watching his A’s play a spring training intrasquad game semi-conscious and slumped behind the wheel of his car. The 53-year-old club owner will die early tomorrow morning due to a cerebral hemorrhage.

1961       The Yankees announce the team will be leaving its spring training home in St. Petersburg to move to Fort Lauderdale by 1963. The Yankee owners also encourage the new yet unnamed National League New York franchise to play its home games at the Polo Grounds and not consider Yankee Stadium.

1963       Songwriters Ruth Roberts and Bill Katz introduced the official Met theme song, Meet the Mets, to the public. The tune will be modernized in 1984, adding Long Island, New Jersey, Brooklyn, Queens, Uptown and Down, to the team’s East Side, West Side geographical realm.

1979       Fearing legal consequences, Bowie Kuhn gives female reporters access to major league locker rooms. The commissioner’s unpopular ruling puts the players in an awkward position in their once-all-male domain.

1994       After being hit in the groin by an errant pickoff throw from teammate Mitch Williams that breaks his protective cup, John Kruk will be diagnosed with testicular cancer. The Phillies’ first baseman/outfielder will make a full recovery after surgery.

1995       At a meeting in West Palm Beach (FL), the major league owners vote unanimously, 28-0, to add their 13th and 14th expansion teams, officially granting franchises to Phoenix and Tampa Bay. The new cities, selected over municipalities that included bids from Orlando and two by groups from Washington, DC, will be assigned leagues in January of 1997.

1995       Tampa Bay’s new expansion team will be known as the Devil Rays, a name that will prove unpopular due to its un-Christian reference after being selected from more than 7,000 entries submitted by the public. The club’s owner Vince Naimoli preferred his team be called the Sting Rays, but he refused to pay the $35,000 needed to buy the trademark from a club in the Hawaiian Winter League, which owned the nickname’s rights.

2005       Current and former big-league players and baseball executives are issued subpoenas to appear on March 17 by the House Committee on Government Reform. The eleven ‘invitees’ to the congressional hearing on steroid use include Sandy Alderson, Jose Canseco, Donald Fehr, Jason Giambi, Rob Manfred, Mark McGwire, Rafael Palmeiro, Curt Schilling, Sammy Sosa, Frank Thomas, and Kevin Towers.

2005       Nikko Smith, Ozzie’s son who made it to the third round of the American Idol semi-finals, is voted off the popular reality show. Days later, the young entertainer will be asked back by the producers to replace contestant Mario Vazquez, prompting judge Paula Abdul to call him “The Comeback Kid” after his performance of West Side Story’s “One Hand, One Heart.”

2006       At Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan, a “Down with Fidel” sign, seen by millions of television viewers, including those watching the WBC contest in Cuba, creates an international incident. A Cuban official attending the game confronts the sign-holder, with local police quickly intercede, taking Angel Iglesias to a nearby police station, where authorities remind the vice president of Cuba’s National Institute of Sports that Puerto Ricans enjoy the right to freedom of speech.

2009       Alex Rodriguez undergoes an 80-minute arthroscopic surgical procedure to repair torn cartilage in his right hip. The Yankee’s third baseman, who will need a more extensive operation in the offseason, expects to return to the lineup in May.

2010       Amidst much hoopla, former San Diego State right-hander Stephen Strasburg throws two scoreless innings against Detroit in his much anticipated first exhibition start for the Nationals this spring. The recipient of the Golden Spikes Award as the best amateur baseball player in the nation was selected as the number one overall pick in last year’s draft, signing a record $15.1 million, four-year deal with Washington.

2011       A helicopter airlifts Luis Salazar from just outside Champion Stadium in Kissimmee (FL) to Orlando Regional Medical Center after being struck in the face by a line drive pulled into the dugout by Brian McCann in the first inning of a Braves exhibition game. The 54-year-old minor league manager sustains a concussion and will lose his left eye due to the injury.

2014       Barry Bonds returns to the Giants as a special spring training instructor for the young Giants’ hitters, a role the organization believes will benefit the club for years to come. The much-maligned former superstar, who played in his last major league game in 2007, has a ten-year personal services contract with San Francisco, which has yet to commence.

2017       Kris Bryant (.292, 39, 102), who made $652K in his rookie year, becomes the highest-paid second-year player when he comes to terms with the World Champion Cubs on a contract reportedly worth $1.05 million. The Chicago third baseman’s deal surpasses the previous record major league record of one million dollars, given to sophomore outfielder Mike Trout in 2014 by the Angels.

2017       “Major League Baseball’s greatest responsibility is to ensure that today’s youth become active participants in our game as players and fans. The ‘MLB Little League Classic’ exemplifies our entire sport’s commitment to building a stronger connection between young people and the National Pastime” – ROB MANFRED, Commissioner of Baseball. Major League Baseball announces Williamsport’s BB&T Ballpark, the second-oldest minor league ballpark in the United States, formerly known as Bowman Field when it opened in 1926, will host the first “MLB Little League Classic.” The regular-season game between the Cardinals and Pirates on August 20, originally scheduled to be played at PNC Park, will occur in conjunction with the Little League World Series that will be taking place in nearby Howard J. Lamade Stadium.

BASEBALL HALL OF FAME

HANK AARON

Henry Louis Aaron
Inducted to the Hall of Fame in: 1982
Primary team: Milwaukee Braves
Primary position: Right Fielder

Boxing legend Muhammad Ali once called Hank Aaron “The only man I idolize more than myself. ”

For many, Aaron was everything an athlete – and a human being – should be.

Aaron grew up in humble surroundings in Mobile, Ala. He passed through the sandlots with brief stops in the Negro Leagues and the minor leagues before he settled in with the Braves, where he ultimately became one of baseball’s most iconic figures.

He was a consistent producer both at the plate and in the field, reaching the .300 mark in batting 14 times, 30 home runs 15 times, 90 RBI 16 times and captured three Gold Glove Awards en-route to 25 All-Star Game selections.

Nineteen fifty-seven was arguably Aaron’s best season. He hit .322 that year with 44 home runs and 132 RBI, captured the National League MVP Award and led the Braves to their first World Series Championship since 1914.

Despite his consistent production, it wasn’t until 1973 that Aaron was thrust into the national spotlight as he neared the finish of a successful assault on one of sport’s most cherished records: Babe Ruth’s mark of 714 home runs. It was on April 8, 1974, that Hammerin’ Hank sent a 1-0 pitch from Dodgers hurler Al Downing into the left field bullpen at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium, giving Aaron 715 career home runs. He would finish his career with 755.

Aaron remains baseball’s all-time leader in RBI (2,297) and total bases (6,856). If each of his 755 home runs were removed from his statistical record, Aaron would still have 3,016 hits.

It was shortly after Hank Aaron’s record-breaking home run that Georgia congressman Andrew Young declared: “Through his long career, Hank Aaron has been a model of humility, dignity, and quiet competence. He did not seek the adoration that is accorded to other national athletic heroes, yet he has now earned it.”

Aaron was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1982. He passed away on Jan. 22, 2021.

TV WEDNESDAY

COLLEGE BASKETBALL – MENTIME ETTV
BIG SKY FIRST ROUND: SACRAMENTO STATE VS. IDAHO11:30AMESPN+
ACC SECOND ROUND: FLORIDA STATE VS. SYRACUSE12:00PMESPN
ATLANTIC 10 FIRST ROUND: LA SALLE VS. SAINT JOSEPH’S1:00PMESPN+
BIG SKY FIRST ROUND: PORTLAND STATE VS. IDAHO STATE2:00PMESPN+
ACC SECOND ROUND: WAKE FOREST VS. PITT/BOSTON COLLEGE2:30PMESPN
PAC-12 FIRST ROUND: ARIZONA STATE VS. STANFORD3:00PMPAC12N
SWAC QUARTERFINAL: TEXAS SOUTHERN VS. JACKSON STATE3:00PMESPN+
ATLANTIC 10 FIRST ROUND: RHODE ISLAND VS. DUQUESNE3:30PMESPN+
BIG EAST FIRST ROUND: XAVIER VS. BUTLER4:30PMFS1
BIG SKY FIRST ROUND: EASTERN WASHINGTON VS. NORTHERN ARIZONA4:30PMESPN+
PAC-12 FIRST ROUND: OREGON VS. OREGON STATE5:30PMPAC12N
SEC FIRST ROUND: OLE MISS VS. MISSOURI6:00PMSECN
BIG TEN FIRST ROUND: NORTHWESTERN VS. NEBRASKA6:00PMBTN
MEAC QUARTERFINAL: NORFOLK STATE VS. DELAWARE STATE6:00PMESPN+
SOUTHLAND FIRST ROUND: HOUSTON BAPTIST VS. UIW6:00PMESPN+
CONFERENCE USA SECOND ROUND: CHARLOTTE VS. RICE6:30PMESPN+
BIG EAST FIRST ROUND: ST. JOHN’S VS. DEPAUL7:00PMFS1
ACC SECOND ROUND: VIRGINIA TECH VS. CLEMSON/NC STATE7:00PMESPN2
BIG 12 FIRST ROUND: KANSAS STATE VS. WEST VIRGINIA7:00PMESPN2/U
CONFERENCE USA SECOND ROUND: LOUISIANA TECH VS. FIU/MARSHALL7:00PMESPN2+
MAAC QUARTERFINAL: IONA VS. MANHATTAN/RIDER7:00PMESPN2+
PATRIOT LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP7:30PMCBSSN
MEAC QUARTERFINAL: HOWARD VS. COPPIN STATE8:00PMESPN+
BIG TEN FIRST ROUND: PENN STATE VS. MINNESOTA8:30PMBTN
SEC FIRST ROUND: VANDERBILT VS. GEORGIA8:30PMSECN
CONFERENCE USA SECOND ROUND: UTEP VS. OLD DOMINION8:30PMESPN+
PAC-12 FIRST ROUND: WASHINGTON STATE VS. CALIFORNIA9:00PMPAC12N
WAC SECOND ROUND: SAM HOUSTON VS. CALIFORNIA BAPTIST/UTRGV9:00PMESPN+
SOUTHLAND FIRST ROUND: NORTHWESTERN STATE VS. MCNEESE9:00PMESPN+
BIG EAST FIRST ROUND: SETON HALL VS. GEORGETOWN9:30PMFS1
ACC SECOND ROUND: VIRGINIA VS. LOUISVILLE/GEORGIA TECH9:30PMESPN2
CONFERENCE USA SECOND ROUND: FLORIDA ATLANTIC VS. UTSA/SOUTHERN MISS9:30PMESPN+
SWAC QUARTERFINAL: ALCORN STATE VS. PRAIRIE VIEW A&M9:30PMESPN+
MAAC QUARTERFINAL: SAINT PETER’S VS. FAIRFIELD/CANISIUS9:30PMESPN+
PAC-12 FIRST ROUND: WASHINGTON VS. UTAH11:30PMPAC12N
WAC SECOND ROUND: ABILENE CHRISTIAN VS. UTAH VALLEY/CHICAGO STATE11:30PMESPN+
NBATIME ETTV
BOSTON AT CHARLOTTE7:00PMNBCS-BOS
BALLY SPORTS
CHICAGO AT DETROIT7:00PMNBCS-CHI
BALLY SPORTS
PHOENIX AT MIAMI7:30PMESPN
BALLY SPORTS
ATLANTA AT MILWAUKEE8:00PMBALLY SPORTS
LA LAKERS AT HOUSTON8:00PMSPORTSNET
ATTSN-SW
OKLAHOMA CITY AT MINNESOTA8:00PMBALLY SPORTS
ORLANDO AT NEW ORLEANS8:00PMBALLY SPORTS
NEW YORK AT DALLAS8:30PMMSG
BALLY SPORTS
TORONTO AT SAN ANTONIO8:30PMSPORTSNET
BALLY SPORTS
PORTLAND AT UTAH10:00PMESPN
SPORTSNET
BALLY SPORTS
DENVER AT SACRAMENTO10:00PMALT
NCBS-CA
WASHINGTON AT LA CLIPPERS10:30PMBALLY SPORTS
NCBS-WSH
NHLTIME ETTV
WASHINGTON AT EDMONTON8:00PMTNT
MONTREAL AT VANCOUVER10:30PMTNT

NBA STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
 WLPCTCONF GBHOMEROADDIVCONFLAST 10STREAK
MIAMI4422.66723-721-1511-228-138-23 W
PHILADELPHIA4024.6253.019-1321-116-724-158-21 W
MILWAUKEE4125.6213.023-1218-139-325-186-45 W
CHICAGO3926.6004.524-1015-167-424-175-55 L
BOSTON3927.5915.023-1116-169-628-168-23 W
CLEVELAND3827.5855.520-1118-168-423-164-62 W
TORONTO3430.5319.017-1517-157-523-193-73 L
BROOKLYN3333.50011.013-1820-157-623-184-61 W
CHARLOTTE3234.48512.016-1616-185-721-214-61 L
10 ATLANTA3133.48412.019-1312-208-520-215-51 L
11 WASHINGTON2934.46013.517-1712-176-722-215-51 W
12 NEW YORK2738.41516.513-1914-194-914-253-72 W
13 INDIANA2245.32822.515-197-262-1311-333-73 L
14 DETROIT1847.27725.511-217-265-714-256-43 W
15 ORLANDO1650.24228.07-239-272-1110-323-72 L
 
WESTERN CONFERENCE
 WLPCTCONF GBHOMEROADDIVCONFLAST 10STREAK
PHOENIX5213.80028-724-66-430-97-31 W
MEMPHIS4522.6728.023-1022-128-530-146-41 W
GOLDEN STATE4422.6678.527-717-1510-327-163-71 W
UTAH4024.62511.522-1018-1412-126-147-31 L
DALLAS4025.61512.023-1117-1411-229-158-25 W
DENVER3926.60013.020-1119-155-924-189-13 W
MINNESOTA3729.56115.521-1216-1710-425-188-25 W
LA CLIPPERS3433.50719.019-1415-197-721-247-32 L
LA LAKERS2836.43823.519-169-203-1016-242-81 L
10 NEW ORLEANS2738.41525.015-1712-214-818-225-52 L
11 PORTLAND2539.39126.516-189-211-1111-294-65 L
12 SAN ANTONIO2540.38527.012-1913-214-715-225-51 W
13 SACRAMENTO2443.35829.015-199-245-717-263-72 L
14 OKLAHOMA CITY2045.30832.09-2411-214-714-283-73 L
15 HOUSTON1649.24636.09-217-283-88-321-91 L
 

EIGHT TEAMS IN EACH CONFERENCE QUALIFY FOR THE PLAYOFFS. 

X – CLINCHED PLAYOFF SPOT,  Y – CLINCHED DIVISION,  Z – CLINCHED CONFERENCE

NHL STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
 GPWLOTLPTSROWGFGAHOMEROADL10
CAROLINA HURRICANES5639125833819113421-4-218-8-37-1-2
FLORIDA PANTHERS5739135833723716725-6-014-7-57-3-0
TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING5637136803519616219-5-418-8-27-3-0
TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS5737164783521317120-7-117-9-35-4-1
NEW YORK RANGERS5736165773217114419-5-317-11-26-3-1
PITTSBURGH PENGUINS5834159773218815615-9-519-6-45-4-1
BOSTON BRUINS5734185733217315516-10-218-8-37-2-1
WASHINGTON CAPITALS5831189712919016214-11-517-7-46-4-0
COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS5728263592519021015-12-313-14-05-3-2
10 DETROIT RED WINGS5724276542116521216-12-38-15-34-6-0
11 NEW YORK ISLANDERS5321248502013715211-12-410-12-44-4-2
12 NEW JERSEY DEVILS5721315472017620513-13-38-18-25-5-0
13 PHILADELPHIA FLYERS56182810461814119311-15-57-13-53-5-2
14 OTTAWA SENATORS5620315451914718010-16-210-15-33-6-1
15 BUFFALO SABRES581832844161542099-16-49-16-42-8-0
16 MONTREAL CANADIENS561534737131372128-17-17-17-67-3-0
 
WESTERN CONFERENCE
 GPWLOTLPTSROWGFGAHOMEROADL10
COLORADO AVALANCHE5841125873823016823-3-318-9-26-3-1
CALGARY FLAMES5634157753219713916-5-518-10-27-2-1
ST. LOUIS BLUES5632177713019515519-7-213-10-55-3-2
LOS ANGELES KINGS5832197713017216214-12-218-7-58-2-0
MINNESOTA WILD5533193692920817917-6-116-13-23-7-0
VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS5832224682818516916-13-316-9-14-5-1
NASHVILLE PREDATORS5632204683017615616-10-016-10-44-6-0
DALLAS STARS5632213672916616220-7-112-14-27-2-1
EDMONTON OILERS5730234642718518314-12-016-11-44-5-1
10 ANAHEIM DUCKS5927239632317518716-11-411-12-54-6-0
11 VANCOUVER CANUCKS5728236622516416512-10-316-13-37-3-0
12 WINNIPEG JETS57252210602417417815-11-210-11-84-4-2
13 SAN JOSE SHARKS5624257552214517913-13-311-12-42-5-3
14 CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS5821298501815220111-15-410-14-44-5-1
15 SEATTLE KRAKEN5917375391615221310-17-37-20-21-8-1
16 ARIZONA COYOTES561735438161412039-20-18-15-36-4-0
 

EIGHT TEAMS IN EACH CONFERENCE QUALIFY FOR THE DIVISIONAL PLAYOFF FORMAT.  THE TOP THREE TEAMS FROM EACH DIVISION MAKE UP THE FIRST SIX SPOTS.   THE TWO REMAINING TEAMS WITH THE HIGHEST POINTS, REGARDLESS OF DIVISION, QUALIFY FOR THE FINAL TWO WILD CARD SPOTS.  

X – CLINCHED PLAYOFF SPOT, Y – CLINCHED DIVISION, Z – CLINCHED CONFERENCE