Update on the latest sports
Bears, Cougars finally returning to Final Four
UNDATED (AP) — There are just six teams still alive in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. Top seed Baylor and No. 2 Houston are two of those teams after moving on to the national semifinals.
Baylor has reached the Final Four for the first time in 71 years by getting 22 points from MaCio Teague (MAY’-see-oh teeg) and a dominating defensive performance from Davion (DAY’-vee-ahn) Mitchell in an 81-72 victory against Arkansas. The Bears watched an 18-point cushion shrink to four before Arkansas missed 12 straight shots and Teague hit a pair of 3-pointers to put it out of reach. The Razorbacks’ rally occurred while Mitchell was sitting on the bench after picking up his third foul with about eight minutes left.
Jared Butler finished with 14 points, while Mitchell chipped in 12 points and six assists for Baylor.
JD Notae and Davonte Davis had 14 apiece for the Razorbacks, who came up one game short of their first Final Four in 26 years.
Houston has advanced to the Final Four of the NCAA Tournament for the first time since the Guy Lewis-led Phi Slama Jama squad went to the 1984 title game.
The second-seeded Cougars made things difficult on themselves by blowing a 17-point halftime lead before knocking off No. 12 Oregon State, 67-61. Quentin Grimes drained a 3-pointer with 3:21 left to break a 55-all tie before Houston hit enough free throws down the stretch to improve to 28-3.
Grimes had 18 points and Marcus Sasser delivered a game-high 20 for the Cougars.
Maurice Calloo scored a team-high 13 points for the Beavers, who were vying to become the worst-seeded team ever to make a Final Four.
COLLEGE BASKETBALL-NCAA WOMEN’S TOURNAMENT
UConn makes return trip to Final Four
SAN ANTONIO (AP) — UConn will be making a 13th consecutive Final Four trip in the women’s NCAA Tournament. The Huskies will be joined by a team making its first-ever appearance in the national semifinals.
Paige Bueckers (BEH’-kurz) scored 28 points and the first overall seed used a huge run spanning the final two quarters to beat No. 2 Baylor, 69-67. The Huskies trailed 55-45 late in the third quarter before scoring 19 consecutive points, including 10 by Bueckers.
Baylor got within one after Dijonai Carrington converted two free throws with 19.3 seconds left.
Aari McDonald scored 33 points and third-seeded Arizona beat No. 4 Indiana 66-53 to earn its first trip to the Final Four.
The Pac-12 player of the year briefly left the game with a twisted ankle with 2:35 left, but limped back on and scored six more points. Her three-point play with 34 seconds left put the exclamation point on the victory.
Harden gets another triple-double in Nets’ victory
UNDATED (AP) — The Brooklyn Nets welcomed back Kyrie Irving after the All-Star guard missed a three-game road trip last week for family reasons.
Irving started strong, but James Harden was excellent down the stretch as the Nets cobbled together a 112-107 win over the Timberwolves.
Harden had 38 points, 13 assists and 11 rebounds to tie the Nets’ single-season record of 12 triple-doubles, doing it in just 32 games.
Irving finished with 27 points in the Nets’ 18th win in 21 games. He was 6 for 7 for 15 points in the first quarter, when the Nets shot 70% en route to a 37-25 lead.
Brooklyn led by 17 and was ahead most of the way, but Edwards had a basket while being fouled to cut it to 108-107 with 58 seconds to play.
Checking out Monday’s other NBA action:
— Donovan Mitchell furnished 19 points and Rudy Gobert (goh-BEHR’) added 18 with 17 rebounds to power the Jazz to their sixth straight win, a 114-75 thrashing of the Cavaliers. Mitchell has averaged 29.2 points on 50% shooting and 46% from 3-point range since the All-Star break. Mike Conley contributed 18 points for the Jazz, who have won 20 straight at home after dropping their first two home games of the season.
— Marcus Morris contributed 25 points and three other Clippers starters had at least 20 points in a 129-105 trouncing of the Bucks. Kawhi (kah-WY’) Leonard added 23 points and nine rebounds as Los Angeles won its sixth in a row. Luke Kennard had a season-high 21 points and Reggie Jackson added 20 points in the rout.
— Zion Williamson scored 28 points and the Pelicans blew most of a 17-point, fourth-quarter lead before completing a 115-109 victory at Boston. Brandon Ingram had 25 points and nine assists, while Josh Hart accounted15 points and 15 rebounds in New Orleans’ fourth win in five games. It was the first Celtics home game to be played in front of fans since last March.
— The Heat’s six-game losing streak is over after Jimmy Butler scored 27 points in a 98-88 downing of the Knicks. Bam Adebayo (ad-eh-BY’-oh) scored 20 points, Duncan Robinson added 20, and Tyler Herro (HEE’-roh) finished with 18 as Miami improved to 23-24 Julius Randle led New York with 22 points, but the Knicks ended a there-game winning streak and dropped to 24-23.
— Stephen Curry made a triumphant return from a five-game absence with a bruised tailbone, scoring 32 points and nailing six 3-pointers in the Warriors, 116-102 verdict over the Bulls. Draymond Green contributed 11 points, nine assists and five rebounds as Golden State halted a four-game skid. Nikola Vucevic (nih-KOH’-lah VOO’-cheh-vihch) had 21 points, nine rebounds and six assists in his second game with Chicago.
— Luka Doncic (DAHN’-chihch) scored 25 points and the Mavericks shot 53% in a 127-106 drubbing of the Thunder. Doncic was back in action after sitting out Friday’s loss to Indiana with back soreness and Saturday’s loss to New Orleans with a non-COVID-19 illness. Kristaps Porzingis (KRIHS’-tahps pohr-ZIHN’-gihs) had 20 points and nine rebounds for Dallas.
— The Kings picked up their fifth cosnecutive win, 132-115 over the Spurs as De’Aaron Fox contributed 24 points and Richaun Holmes added 23 with 12 rebounds. Buddy Hield (heeld) added 20 points for Sacramento, which has won seven of eight. The Kings starters combined to score 96 points, with each contributing 14 and playing 30-plus minutes.
— Jonas Valanciunas (YOH’-nuhs val-an-CHOO’-nuhs) scored a season-high 30 points, including eight down the stretch in a 120-110 win for the Grizzlies against the Rockets. Valanciunas also had 15 rebounds and made two consecutive baskets to extend the Memphis lead to 114-106 with two minutes to go. Houston fell for the 21st time in 22 games despite Jae’Sean Tate’s 24 points.
— Saben Lee scored 14 of his 19 points in the first half in his second career start, helping the Pistons knock down the Raptors by a 118-104 margin. Fellow rookie Saddiq Bey (sah-DEEK’ bay) also scored 19 points and Hamidou Diallo (HAM’-ih doo dee-AH’-loh) added 19 of his own. Fred VanVleet scored 22 for the Raptors, who lost for the 12th time in 13 games.
— Russell Westbrook had 35 points, a season-high 21 assists and 14 rebounds for his league-leading 16th triple-double, helping the Wizards to a 132-124 win over the Pacers. Westbrook also claimed the franchise career triple-double record in just his 38th game with the Wizards, this one coming while teammate and NBA leading scorer Bradley Beal sat out with a bruised hip.
NBA picks July 29 as date for this season’s draft
NEW YORK (AP) — The NBA has scheduled this year’s draft for July 29, though has yet to announce the location for the event.
The draft combine is scheduled for June 21 through June 27 and the draft lottery will be held June 22. July 19 is the deadline for early-entry candidates to withdraw from the draft.
The draft would occur one week after this season’s NBA Finals if the series goes the full seven games.
Sabres fall again
UNDATED (AP) — The Buffalo Sabres’ losing streak has reached 18 games. No. 18 may have been the most difficult to accept.
The Sabres coughed up a three-goal lead in the third period before Ivan Provorov (PROH’-vah-rahv) scored 42 seconds into overtime to give the Flyers a 4-3 victory. Sean Couturier (koo-TOOR’-ee-ay) forced overtime by tipping in Provorov’s point shot with 1:29 left and Philadelphia’s net empty for an extra attacker.
Buffalo’s winless skid is the longest in the NHL since the Pittsburgh Penguins went 0-17-1 during the 2003-04 season.
Elsewhere on NHL ice:
— The Penguins will finish the month a league-best 12-3-1 after Jared McCann scored his fifth in his last 10 games to help them beat the Islanders for the second straight game, 2-1. Pittsburgh netminder Casey DeSmith stopped 19 of 20 shots after starter Tristan Jarry left the game following the first intermission.
— Tomas Nosek (NOH’-shehk) scored the tiebreaking goal in the second period as the Golden Knights beat the Kings, 4-1. Alec Martinez, Reilly Smith and Nicolas Hague also scored for Vegas, which won for the 14th time in 18 games overall and improved to 14-2-1 at home. Jonathan Marchessault (MAHR’-sheh-soh) had two assists and Robin Lehner (LEH’-nur) stopped 24 shots in the Knights’ sixth consecutive home win.
— Philipp Grubauer got his 100th career win with a 13-save night as the Avalanche topped the Ducks, 5-2. Gabriel Landeskog (LAN’-dehs-kahg) and Tyson Jost (johst) scored in the second period to help Colorado extend its points streak to 11 games at 9-0-2. Mikko Rantanen (MEE’-koh RAN’-tah-nehn) J.T. Compher and Valeri Nichushkin (nih-CHOOSH’-kihn) also scored, Cale Makar (mah-KAHR’) had three assists and Nathan MacKinnon added two.
— Erik Karlsson scored twice in regulation and then added the deciding goal in the eighth round of the shootout to lead the Sharks past the Wild, 4-3. Karlsson capped a stellar night by ending a streak of nine combined shootout misses by both teams. It was his first two-goal game in the regulation since in more than three years.
— The Oilers knocked off the Maple Leafs, 3-2 as Darnell Nurse scored 17 seconds into overtime. Josh Archibald and Kyle Turris (TOOR’-ihs) scored in regulation for Edmonton, while Mike Smith stopped 29 shots.
— Mark Scheifele (SHY’-flee) had two goals and an assist and the Jets beat the Flames 5-1. Nate Thompson, Andrew Copp and Pierre-Luc Dubois also scored for Winnipeg. Nikolaj Ehlers (NIH’-koh-ly EE’-lurz) had three assists and Connor Hellebuyck made 29 saves for the win.
Surgery for Ekblad
SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) — Florida Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad is likely done for the season after undergoing surgery Monday to repair what the team calls a fracture in his lower extremities.
The Panthers said that Ekblad will need 12 weeks to recover from the injury, which occurred during Sunday’s 4-1 win over the Stars. He was fitted for an air cast on his left leg and taken off the ice on a stretcher.
Ekblad’s 11 goals were tied for the league lead among all defensemen.
Logano first on dirt
BRISTOL, Tenn. (AP) — Joey Logano took the checkered flag for NASCAR’s first Cup Series race at a dirt track in 50 years.
Visibility was next to nothing during this Monday dust storm at Bristol Motor Speedway, but Logano clung to the familiar bottom lane around the bullring to collect the checkered flag on this NASCAR experiment.
Logano got a jump on Denny Hamlin on the overtime restart to earn his third career victory at Bristol. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. finished second, followed by Hamlin, Daniel Suarez and Ryan Newman.
This was not the Bristol of old. The track had been covered with 2,300 truckloads of red Tennessee clay so that NASCAR could add a dirt track to the Cup schedule for the first time since 1970.
MLB to relax virus protocols when 85% on field vaccinated
NEW YORK (AP) — Card games, car pools and eating at restaurants may be back in the major leagues later this season. Trips to church and sponsor events may return, too.
Mask use would be dropped from dugouts and bullpens, and electronic tracing devices would be eliminated when 85% of major league players and primary field staff are vaccinated.
Communal clubhouse video would return before and after games. Pool tables would be restored, along with team saunas.
A memorandum from MLB and the union obtained by The Associated Press states that all players and staff are “strongly encouraged” to receive vaccines when they are eligible.
Rizzo, Cubs end contract talks
UNDATED (AP) — Anthony Rizzo is cutting off talks with the Chicago Cubs on a new contract and is prepared to play the season as free agency looms after the World Series.
The three-time All-Star first baseman has a $16.5 million salary this season and set a deadline of opening day for a new agreement.
Rizzo has a .271 career average with 229 homers and 753 RBIs in 10 major league seasons, but he is coming off a subpar year.
Elsewhere in the majors:
— The Twins have signed right-hander Randy Dobnak to a five-year, $9.25 million contract that includes three club options to extend and increase the deal with the overachieving former ride-share driver. Dobnak went 6-4 with a 4.05 ERA in 10 starts last season, before hitting a slump and being sent to the team’s alternate training site.
— The Cardinals plan to start the season Thursday in Cincinnati with pitchers Kwang Hyun Kim, Dakota Hudson and Miles Mikolas (MY’-koh-las) on the injured list along with outfielder Harrison Bader. Hudson always planned to begin on the season on the injured list as he recovers from Tommy John surgery. Kim is dealing with a back injury, Mikolas with a sore shoulder and Bader has a strained right foreman that could keep him out a month.
Chiefs sign DT Reed
UNDATED (AP) — The Kansas City Chiefs and defensive tackle Jarran Reed have agreed to a $5 million, one-year contract that could be worth up to $7 million. That gives the AFC champions another interior pass rusher to play alongside Chris Jones.
The 28-year-old Reed was a second-round pick by the Seahawks in the 2016 draft. He’s spent his entire career in Seattle, where he had a reputation as a run-stuffer but showed he could get to the quarterback.
Elsewhere in the NFL:
— Veteran safety Josh Jones has re-signed with the Jaguars on a one-year contract.
— The Vikings have agreed to contract terms with cornerback Mackensie Alexander and safety Xavier Woods.
— The Cardinals have signed veteran safety Shawn Williams to a one-year deal. The Cardinals also announced they’re bringing back safety Chris Banjo on a one-year deal.
— The Colts have added depth to their offensive line by re-signing backup center Joey Hunt and adding free-agent tackle Julien Davenport.
— Former Browns coach Hue Jackson says owner Jimmy Haslam and the team’s front office lied to him about their rebuilding plans. During a wide-ranging radio interview with ESPN 850, Jackson said the Browns’ efforts to improve while he was with them were flawed by philosophical differences. He said he never would have accepted the job if he knew the team was going to tear down its roster.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-COLLEGE FOOTBALL
Chattanooga ends spring season
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) — Chattanooga’s football team is calling off the rest of its spring season.
School officials said COVID-19 opt-outs made it impossible to field the required number of players in key position groups to meet Southern Conference playing guidelines.