Update on the latest sports
COLLEGE BASKETBALL-MEN’S NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP
Gonzaga plays Baylor for men’s NCAA Championship
UNDATED (AP) — No. 1 overall seed Gonzaga plays second-seeded Baylor tonight for the NCAA men’s title.
The Bulldogs are the first team to bring an undefeated record into the championship game since Larry Bird and Indiana State in 1979. Bird lost that game to Magic Johnson and Michigan State.
Gonzaga could become the first team since the 1976 Indiana Hoosiers to go undefeated.
Gonzaga and Baylor have been 1-2 in The Associated Press Top 25 most of the season.
COLLEGE BASKETBALL-NORTH CAROLINA-COACH
Ex-Heel Davis takes over UNC program
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina has reached an agreement with assistant coach Hubert Davis to take over the storied men’s basketball program.
The 50-year-old Davis played for the Tar Heels under Dean Smith before a long NBA career, and he had spent the past nine seasons working under Roy Williams. The Hall of Fame coach retired last week after 18 seasons at his alma mater, ending a career that also included 15 years at Kansas, 903 overall victories and three national championships with the Tar Heels.
Rangers fall as Gov. boycotts game
UNDATED (AP) — An announced crowd of over 38,000 attended the Texas Rangers’ home opener against the Toronto Blue Jays. The governor was not among them.
The Rangers were the first team to approach capacity with their stadium since the coronavirus shutdown of sports more than a year ago. All 40,518 seats at Globe Life Field were for sale, and the game was played under an open roof. Infectious disease experts are mixed on the view of the club’s decision.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott opted not to throw the ceremonial first pitch, announcing the decision hours before gametime. The Republican governor said he made his decision after Major League Baseball moved the MLB All-Star Game from Atlanta in response to Georgia’s sweeping new voting laws.
As for the game, Marcus Semien and Cavan Biggio (KA’-van BIH’-zhee-oh) hit back-to-back homers as the Blue Jays posted a 6-2 win over the Rangers.
Steven Matz was sharp in his Toronto debut, striking out nine while limiting Texas to a run and two hits over 6 1/3 innings.
Also around the majors on Monday:
— Whit Merrifield drove in Kansas City’s runs with a homer and a sacrifice fly in a 3-0 win over the Indians. Danny Duffy Duffy threw two-hit ball over six innings to beat the Indians for the third time in four starts.
— Nelson Cruz hit a grand slam, a solo homer and a double for the Minnesota Twins in a 15-6 pounding of the Tigers in Detroit. Winning pitcher Matt Shoemaker held the Tigers hitless until Wilson Ramos homered with two out in the fifth.
Nationals, Braves to make up Monday game
UNDATED (AP) — The Washington Nationals and Atlanta Braves will play a doubleheader Wednesday to make up Monday’s series opener that was postponed because of Washington’s coronavirus outbreak.
Four players on the Nationals have tested positive for COVID-19 and seven more have been placed under quarantine after contact tracing determined they potentially were exposed. The Nats had their season-opening series against the Mets postponed entirely.
In other virus-related developments in baseball:
— Some Mets players have hesitated to get vaccinated against the coronavirus, causing the team to set up education efforts. Players on several teams started to get the vaccine last week during the final week of spring training, when they became eligible.
— The Brewers say the team received the COVID-19 vaccine over the weekend but wouldn’t disclose what percentage of players and staffers participated. Brewers president of baseball operations David Stearns
Castellanos gets 2-game ban
UNDATED (AP) — Cincinnati Reds outfielder Nick Castellanos (kas-tee-AH’-nohs) has been suspended for two games and fined for his role in an on-field brawl during the season’s opening weekend.
Castellanos was hit by a pitch from Jake Woodford on Saturday and offered to toss the ball back to the St. Louis pitcher. Castellanos later made contact with Woodford at the plate after scoring on a wild pitch, touching off a benches-clearing incident.
Castellanos appealed the penalty and won’t serve the suspension while the appeal is pending.
In other MLB news:
— The Braves have brought back relievers Carl Edwards Jr. and Jesse Biddle on minor league contracts. They also signed former Gold Glove-winning infielder Yolmer Sanchez to a minor league deal.
NFL-JETS PANTHERS-DARNOLD TRADE
NEW YORK (AP) — The New York Jets have traded quarterback Sam Darnold to the Carolina Panthers.
It ends a stint in New York for Darnold that was marked by a few flashes of brilliance, inconsistent play and unfortunate injuries. And with the Jets holding the No. 2 overall pick in the NFL draft, they’re moving on to another young signal-caller who might deliver the team back to respectability. New York announced acquired a sixth-round pick in this year’s draft and second- and fourth-round picks in the 2022 draft.
Harden returns, leaves again
NEW YORK (AP) — James Harden’s return to the Brooklyn Nets’ lineup lasted four minutes.
Harden left in the first quarter against the New York Knicks due to a right hamstring injury that caused him to miss the Nets’ last two games.
He was originally hurt against Houston last Wednesday, missing the final quarter of a victory against his former team.
NHL official says league expects Canucks to finish season
VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — National Hockey League deputy commissioner Bill Daly says the COVID-19 outbreak on the Vancouver Canucks is concerning from a health standpoint. However, he says in an email to The Canadian Press the league believes the Canucks will return and conclude their 56-game schedule. Daly also says the league will not change its COVID protocols in the aftermath of the Canucks’ situation.
Seventeen of the 22 players on the team’s active roster were on the NHL’s protocol list as of Monday.
So far, the Canucks have had four games postponed because of the virus. Their next scheduled game is Thursday in Calgary against the Flames.
Boston Bruins goalie Jaroslav Halak (YAH’-roh-slahv hah-LAHK’) also entered the protocol, Dallas goalie Anton Khudobin (koo-DOH’-bihn) was cleared after one day and Los Angeles forward Brendan Lemieux was also cleared after a seven-day stint.
MIRACLE ON ICE-PAVELICH DEATH
Death of ‘Miracle on Ice’ standout Pavelich ruled suicide
ANOKA, Minn. (AP) — A Minnesota medical examiner says last month’s death of “Miracle on Ice” Olympic hockey player Mark Pavelich was ruled a suicide.
The Midwest Medical Examiner’s Office in Anoka County says the 63-year-old Pavelich died of asphyxia. His body was found March 3 at the Eagle’s Healing Nest in Sauk Centre, Minnesota. Pavelich was undergoing treatment there as part of a civil commitment for assaulting his neighbor in August 2019.
Pavelich assisted on Mike Eruzione’s winning goal against the heavily favored Soviet Union in the 1980 Olympics. That U.S. team went on to win the gold medal.