Update on the latest sports


NCAA opening night provides close games

UNDATED (AP) — March Madness certainly is back.

The NCAA Tournament’s First Four consisted of an overtime contest, a pair of one-point games and a 10-point, halftime comeback. All told, the four games were decided by a combined 16 points.

The overtime game was won by UCLA, which trailed by five with 90 seconds left in regulation before outlasting Michigan State, 86-80. Jaime Jaquez (HY’-may hah-KWEHZ’) scored 27 points, including a three-point play that forced OT.

After coach Tom Izzo and forward Gabe Brown carried a shouting match into the halftime locker room, the Spartans proceeded to blow an 11-point lead over the next 20 minutes.

Texas Southern won the first game. John Walker III scored a season-high 19 points and the Tigers came back from a 30-20 halftime deficit to beat Mount St. Mary’s, 60-52. Walker also grabbed a team-high nine rebounds and Jordan Gilliam had 12 points for Texas Southern.

Drake earned its first NCAA Tournament win since 1971 as Joseph Yesufu (yeh-SOO’-foo) scored 21 points in a 53-52 victory over Wichita State. Tremell Murphy added 11 points for the 11th-seeded Bulldogs, who advanced to play sixth-seeded Southern California in the West Region on Saturday.

Morris Udeze scored a career-high 22 points for the Shockers, who had a chance to win it until Alterique Gilbert settled for a long 3-pointer that hit the front rim as time expired.

Game 3 of the night was also a one-point game as Devante Carter made two free throws with 8.6 seconds remaining to lift Norfolk State past Appalachian State, 54-53. Jalen Hawkins scored 20 of his career-high 24 points off the bench before halftime to help the Spartans earn their first tournament win since upsetting No. 2 seed Missouri in 2012.

Justin Forrest had 18 points for App State, which shot 27% and missed its final 10 attempts after erasing an 18-point deficit.


Wizards add to Jazz struggles

UNDATED (AP) — March hasn’t been too kind to the Utah Jazz.

They NBA’s overall leaders are just 2-4 this month after falling to the Washington Wizards, 131-122. Bradley Beal scored 43 points and Russell Westbrook recorded his 13th triple-double of the season as the Wizards halted a five-game skid. Westbrook had 35 points, 15 rebounds and 13 assists to help Washington overcome Donovan Mitchell’s 43 points.

Joe Ingles hit eight 3-pointers and finished with a career-high 34 points for the Jazz, who dropped to 29-11.

Checking out Thursday’s other NBA action:

— LeBron James had 37 points, eight rebounds and six assists as the Lakers claimed their fourth straight win, 116-105 over the Hornets. Dennis Schröder had 22 points and seven assists as the defending NBA champions moved past Phoenix and pulled 1 1/2 games behind the league-leading Jazz with their sixth win in eight games. Charlotte rookie LaMelo Ball had 26 points and seven assists in his Southern California homecoming.

— Anthony Edwards dropped in a career-high 42 points, Karl-Anthony Towns added 41 for the Timberwolves in a 123-119 stunner over the Suns. The Timberwolves still have the worst record in the NBA at 10-31 but are 3-1 since the All-Star break. The Suns lost for just the fifth time in their last 23 games despite Devin Booker’s 35 points on 13-of-22 shooting.

— Damian Lillard scored 21 of his 36 points in the opening period as the Trail Blazers knocked off the Pelicans, 101-93. Carmelo Anthony added 15 points for the Blazers, who also edged New Orleans, 125-124 on Tuesday night. Enes Kanter finished with 16 points and 13 rebounds for the winners.

— Trae Young and Bogdan Bogdanovic each scored 23 points in fueling the Atlanta Hawks to their seventh straight victory, 116-93 over the Thunder. Atlanta led 61-41 halftime behind 17 points from Young, who went 6 for 8 from the field in the first two quarters.

— Julius Randle recorded his third triple-double of the season with 18 points, 17 assists and 10 rebounds, guiding the Knicks to a 94-93 win versus the Magic. Alec Burks scored 21 points for New York, which improved to 21-21 and sent Orlando to its ninth consecutive loss.


Amazon gets Thursday night games, NFL nearly doubles TV deal

UNDATED (AP) — The NFL will nearly double its media revenue to more than $10 billion a season with new rights agreements announced Thursday, including a deal with Amazon Prime Video that gives the streaming service exclusive rights to “Thursday Night Football” beginning in 2022.

The league took in $5.9 billion a year in its current contracts. Amazon has partnered with the league to stream Thursday night games since 2017, but it will take over the entire package from Fox. Games will continue to air on CBS, Fox, NBC and ESPN, while ABC will have a limited schedule of games as well as returning to the Super Bowl rotation (two games) for the first time since the 2005 season.


Texans QB sued for alleged sexual assault

UNDATED (AP) —Three masseuses are suing Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson for alleged sexual assault. They accuse the star player of a “disturbing pattern” of behavior toward women. The lawsuits were filed this week.

The 25-year-old Watson has broadly denied that he acted inappropriately and said he looks forward to clearing his name.

A Houston police spokeswoman declined to comment on whether any of the incidents were reported to police.

The NFL says it is investigating the allegations.

In NFL personnel moves:

— Receiver Will Fuller has agreed to terms on a one-year deal with the Dolphins. Center Matt Skura, a starter with Baltimore for the past four seasons, also agreed to a one-year deal.

—The Titans have agreed to a one-year deal with All-Pro long snapper Morgan Cox, bringing him back to his home state. The Titans also announced agreements with defensive lineman Denico Autry and offensive tackle Kendall Lamm as they finalize the paperwork on their free agent signees.

—The Bills have agreed to sign former Bears starter Mitch Trubisky to a one-year contract and serve as Josh Allen’s primary backup. Trubisky was the No. 2 pick in the 2017 draft but has struggled through inconsistencies since leading the Bears to the playoffs in 2018. Trubisky went 29-21 with Chicago.

—The Raiders have agreed to a two-year deal worth up to $14.5 million with free agent running back Kenyan Drake to complement starter Josh Jacobs. A person familiar with the deal with a separate deal said tight end Derek Carrier has agreed to return to the Raiders on a one-year deal.

—The Browns are re-signing free agent returner Jojo Natson, who tore a knee ligament just three games into last season. Natson signed a one-year deal with Cleveland in 2020, but had it cut short when he got hurt returning a punt in Week 3.

— Linebacker Kyle Van Noy is returning to the Patriots after one year with the Dolphins. Van Noy confirmed reports that he was returning to Foxborough on a two-year, $13 million deal.

— Patrick Chung says he is retiring from the NFL after 11 seasons and three Super Bowl rings with the Patriots. Chung announced his decision in an Instagram post, thanking coach Bill Belichick and team owner Robert Kraft for drafting him in 2009.

— Phillip Lindsay’s time with his hometown Denver Broncos has ended. The Broncos agreed to remove the right-of-first-refusal tender they had placed on the fourth-year running back from the University of Colorado. Lindsay topped 1,000 yards rushing in each of his first two seasons and scored a combined 16 touchdowns. But his production plummeted last season when he battled injures.


Bolts regain Central lead

UNDATED (AP) — The Tampa Bay Lightning have regained sole possession of first place in the NHL’s division, two points ahead of Carolina and Florida.

The Lightning earned a 4-2 win over the Blackhawks as rookie Ross Colton broke a third-period tie with his second career goal. Victor Hedman, Alex Killorn and Yanni Gourde also scored to support Andrei Vasilevskiy, who stopped 19 shots in his 10th consecutive win.

Juuse Saros stopped 40 shots and the Predators beat the Panthers for the first time in four games, 2-1. Jarnkok’s second goal of the game gave Nashville a 2-1 lead at 1:17 of the third.

Jonathan Huberdeau scored for the Panthers, who had won four in a row.

Seth Jones scored his second goal with 50.4 seconds left in the clock in overtime to give the Blue Jackets a 3-2 win over the Hurricanes. Kevin Stenlund scored in regulation for the Blue Jackets, and Oliver Bjorkstrand assisted on all three goals.

Sebastian Aho scored twice for the Hurricanes, who lost their second straight after an eight-game winning streak.

Elsewhere on NHL ice:

— The Flyers coughed up a 3-0 lead before Oscar Lindblom scored his second goal of the game with 2:22 left to give them a 4-3 triumph over the Islanders. The Flyers won in regulation for only the second time in their last 10 games and dealt New York its first regulation home loss of the season.

— Scott Wedgewood made 40 saves as the Devils handed the Penguins their second loss in a row, 3-2. Jack Hughes had a goal and an assist in New Jersey’s second straight home win since an 11-game skid in Newark.

— The Sabres absorbed their 13th consecutive loss as David Pastrnak had a goal and an assist for the Bruins in a 4-1 victory at Buffalo. David Krejci had three assists to cross the 700-point plateau.

— Robby Fabbri scored in each period, and the Red Wings held on to hand the Stars their ninth loss in 12 games, 3-2. Thomas Greiss stopped 16 shots after replacing Jonathan Bernier, who left the game with a lower-body injury in the second period.

— Minnesota’s five-game winning streak is over after Colorado’s top line of Nathan MacKinnon, Gabriel Landeskog and Mikko Rantanen combined for four goals, in a 5-1 win against the Wild. Rantanen scored twice for the Avalanche, getting his second at 6:30 of the third period. The Avalanche were on the attack offensively from the outset, outshooting the Wild 25-6 in the first period and scoring twice.

— Connor McDavid scored his 19th and 20th goals in the Oilers’ 2-1 verdict over the Jets. McDavid is one off the league goal-scoring lead and paces the circuit with 38 assists and 58 points. Tyson Barrie assisted on both goals and Mikko Koskinen made 24 saves to help Edmonton pull into a tie with the Maple Leafs for the North Division lead.

— Adam Henrique notched a power-play goal 43 seconds into overtime to complete the Ducks’ comeback from a two-goal deficit in a 3-2 win over the Coyotes. Jamie Drysdale had a goal and an assist in his NHL debut, and Trevor Zegras scored his first career goal in Anaheim’s first win in nine games. Conor Garland and Clayton Keller scored in Arizona’s fifth consecutive loss.


Mets’ Carrasco strains hamstring, likely to miss opener

UNDATED (AP) — New Mets pitcher Carlos Carrasco strained his right hamstring during conditioning after throwing batting practice, making him unlikely to be available for the start of the season.

The right-hander has not appeared any any exhibition games this year. He is in remission from leukemia and had the novel coronavirus vaccine, causing him to start spring training workouts behind other players. He then stopped throwing for a stretch because of elbow soreness. Carrasco was traded by Cleveland with All-Star shortstop Francisco Lindor on Jan. 7.

In other MLB news:

— Brewers manager Craig Counsell says Brandon Woodruff will start the Brewers’ season opener for a second straight year. Woodruff will be facing Kenta Maeda when the Brewers host the Minnesota Twins on April 1. Milwaukee had a different pitcher start each of the last seven openers.


NBA relaxes some protocols

UNDATED (AP) — The NBA is relaxing some of its health and safety protocols for individuals who are fully vaccinated. The changes include fewer mandated coronavirus tests, no quarantine requirements following contact tracing issues and even the ability to visit restaurants again.

Only one team — the New Orleans Pelicans — has publicly acknowledged a team-wide vaccination effort so far, doing so this past weekend after state rules in Louisiana were amended and made it possible for the team to start the process for players, coaches and staff.

No one in the NBA will be considered fully vaccinated until two weeks after receiving the final vaccine dose.

In other virus-related news:

— The Yankees and Mets will be allowed to start the season with a maximum 20% capacity. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has announced that the Yankees could have up to 10,850 fans for their April 1 opener against Toronto at Yankee Stadium and the Mets could have up to 8,384 for their April 8 home opener against Miami at Citi Field.

— Wimbledon organizers are working on the basis of having a reduced number of spectators in the grounds for this year’s tournament because of coronavirus restrictions. The All England Club says it is remaining “flexible” as it reacts to changing circumstances amid the pandemic as the British government follows a roadmap out of lockdown. The club says there will be mandatory requirement for all players, their support teams and tennis officials to be in an official tournament hotel rather than in private houses. Wimbledon was scrapped last year for the first time since World War II.


Curry, WNBA players receive Jackie Robinson award from NAACP

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — NBA star Stephen Curry is drawing acclaim from civil rights leaders for his work campaigning for social justice, his support of women’s causes and his interview with Dr. Anthony Fauci about the pandemic.

The NAACP is giving him its Jackie Robinson Sports Award. And, for the first time, the nation’s oldest civil rights organization is recognizing more than one person by honoring the WNBA Players Association. WNBA players have been applauded for their activism in a unified movement that has featured kneeling for the national anthem and messages supporting Black Lives Matter. The award recognizes athletes for their success as well as their commitment to social justice, civil rights and their communities.


Jones ties course record with a 61 in Honda opening round

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. (AP) — Matt Jones has tied the course record at PGA National in the first round of the Honda Classic with a 9-under 61.

The 83rd-ranked player from Australia was flawless with nine birdies and no bogeys in tying Brian Harmon’s course record set in 2012.

Aaron Wise and Russell Henley share second, three shots back and two ahead of Scott Harrington, Kevin Chappell, Cameron Davis, Steve Stricker and Joseph Bramlett.