Syracuse stifle Spartans to reach Sweet 16…Aggies oust defending champs
UNDATED (AP) — The Syracuse Orange were the last team selected to the NCAA Tournament and had to take on Arizona State in a First Four game just to make the field of 64. The 11th-seeded Orange now find themselves in the Sweet 16 following a 55-53 victory over No. 3 Michigan State at Detroit.
Tyus Battle had 17 points for Syracuse, which didn’t allow a basket over the final 5:41. Oshae Barrett finished with 15 points to help the Orange earn a meeting with second seed Duke in the Midwest Region semifinals in Omaha.
The Spartans missed their last 13 shots, including Cassius Winston’s 45-foot heave just before the final horn. Winston had a team-high 15 points for Michigan State, which shot a miserable 8-for-37 from 3-point range.
Meanwhile, second-seed North Carolina was shown the door by Texas A&M.
T.J. Sparks scored 21 points and the seventh-seeded Aggies outrebounded the Tar Heels 50-36 in an 86-65 romp over the defending national champions. Robert Williams had 13 boards for Texas A&M, which shot 52 percent from the field and 10 of 24 from 3-point range.
The Aggies head to the West Regional semifinals against No. 3 Michigan.
The Tar Heels lost for just the second time in the 36 tournament games they’ve played in their home state.
Elsewhere around the NCAA Tournament:
— Seventh seed Nevada never led until Josh Hall nailed a short jumper with 9.1 seconds left to complete the Wolf Pack’s comeback in a 75-73 win against No. 2 Cincinnati. Nevada trailed by 22 with 11 minutes remaining against the Bearcats, one game after climbing out of a 14-point, second-half hole against Texas. Cody Martin had 25 points, seven assists, six rebounds and no turnovers to lead five Nevada players in double figures. The outcome sets up a matchup of stunners in the South Region semifinals as Nevada takes on No. 11 Loyola-Chicago.
— UMBC ran out of miracles in a 50-43 loss to ninth seed Kansas State, two days after the Retrievers became the first No. 16 seed to beat a No. 1 team in men’s tournament history. Xavier Sneed provided a couple big buckets late to help the Wildcats hold on and move on to the Sweet 16. Barry Brown had a team-high 18 points for Kansas State, which takes on Kentucky in the South Region semifinals.
— Gabe DeVoe dropped in 22 points and No. 5 Clemson closed the first half on a 25-4 run in an 84-53 blowout over fourth-seeded Auburn. Elijah Thomas had 18 points and 11 rebounds in helping the Tigers reach the Sweet 16 for the first time in 21 years. Kansas will be Clemson’s next opponent in the Midwest Region semifinals at Omaha.
— Florida State’s 75-70 comeback over Xavier leaves the tournament without a pair of No. 1 seeds and the defending champions. PJ Savoy nailed a 3-pointer with 1:08 remaining to give the Seminoles their first lead of the second half after trailing 56-44 with 10:42 to play. Braian Angola had a team-high 16 points for the Seminoles, who will face fourth-seeded Gonzaga on Thursday in the West Region semis in Los Angeles.
— Purdue has advanced to the East Region semifinals against Texas Tech in Boston. Vincent Edwards scored 20 points and Dakota Mathias made a clutch 3-pointer with 14.2 seconds left as the second-seeded Boilermakers downed No. 10 Butler, 76-73. Purdue center Isaac Haas had hoped to play after breaking his right elbow in Friday’s win over Cal State Fullerton, but he wasn’t allowed to play with a bulky brace that protected the injury.
— West Virginia concluded the second round by blowing out neighbor Marshall, 94-71. Jevon Carter scored 28 points and Lamont West added 18 off the bench as the Mountaineers moved into the East Region semifinals against No. 1 Villanova in Boston. Thundering Herd star Jon Elmore had more turnovers than points in the first half and was held to 15 points after scoring 27 in Friday’s upset of Wichita State.
Westbrook, Thunder end Raptors’ 11-game win streak
UNDATED (AP) — The Oklahoma City Thunder picked up their sixth straight victory and ended the Toronto Raptors’ team record-tying 11-game winning streak on Sunday.
Russell Westbrook recorded his fifth straight triple-double as the Thunder outscored the Raptors, 132-125. Westbrook contributed 37 points, 14 assists and 13 rebounds for the Thunder, who are fourth in the NBA’s Western Conference and two games behind Portland.
Steven Adams scored 25 points and Paul George had 22 as Oklahoma City improved to 43-29.
Raptors coach Dwane Casey criticized the officials after he, DeMar DeRozan and Serge Ibaka (ih-BAH’-kah) were ejected.
Toronto still leads the Eastern Conference by five games over Boston after Anthony Davis delivered 34 points and 11 rebounds in the Pelicans’ 108-89 pounding of the Celtics. Cheick Diallo came off the bench to add 17 points on 7 of 9 shooting for New Orleans.
Checking out Sunday’s other NBA action:
— The Trail Blazers picked up their 13th consecutive victory as Damian Lillard hit for 23 points and CJ McCollum added 21 in a 122-109 downing of the Clippers. Maurice Harkness chipped in 21 points and Jusuf Nurkic 17 along with 12 rebounds to help Portland send Los Angeles to its third straight loss.
— James Harden contributed 34 points and 12 assists as the Rockets won for the 22nd time in 23 games, 129-120 at Minnesota. Houston saw a 25-point lead cut to five in the fourth quarter before Harden scored 11 points in the final 6:34, including a big 3-pointer with 58 seconds to play.
Butler optimistic…Gentry fined
UNDATED (AP) — Minnesota Timberwolves All-Star forward Jimmy Butler says he could return to the court before the end of the regular season if he stays on track with his rehabilitation from knee surgery.
Butler was expected to be out four to six weeks after suffering a meniscus injury during a Feb. 23 game at Houston. He said he’s confident in both his ability to heal in time and the team’s ability to hang on to a playoff berth.
Also in the NBA:
— New Orleans coach Alvin Gentry has been fined $15,000 by the NBA for publicly criticizing the league’s officiating. Among his complaints was a controversial foul that was called against New Orleans’ Jrue (juh-ROO’) Holiday while Houston’s James Harden was shooting a 3 during the Pelicans’ loss to the Rockets. He said his star player, Anthony Davis, didn’t get the same type of calls as Harden.
— Pelicans forward Solomon Hill made his season debut Sunday against the Celtics. Hill had been sidelined since tearing his left hamstring last summer.
Golden Knights pad division lead
UNDATED (AP) — The Vegas Golden Knights were able to end a four-game home losing streak and expand their lead in the NHL’s Pacific Division to eight points over the San Jose Sharks.
William Karlsson registered a natural hat trick and Marc-Andre Fleury turned back 42 shots as the Knights blanked the Flames, 4-0. Neither team scored until Collin Miller and Karlsson tallied 53 seconds apart early in the second period. Karlsson also lit the lamp twice in a 1:48 span later in the middle period to complete his second hat trick of the season and his career.
Elsewhere in the NHL:
— Nikita Kucherov (KOO’-cheh-rahv) scored twice on assists from Steven Stamkos as the Lightning topped the Oilers, 3-1 to move four points ahead of second-place Boston in the Atlantic Division. Victor Hedman also tallied and Louis Domingue (duh-MIHNG’) stopped 29 shots, blanking Edmonton after Ty Rattie scored 14 seconds into the game.
— Wayne Simmonds provided a pair of third-period goals and Petr Mrazek (muh-RA’-zehk) stopped 25 shots as the Flyers earned a 6-3 win over the Capitals. Washington wasted Alex Ovechkin’s 43rd goal and stayed two points ahead of second-place Pittsburgh in the Metropolitan Division.
— Patrik Laine (LY’-nay) shares the league goal-scoring lead with Ovechkin after netting his 42nd and 43rd in the Jets’ 4-2 victory against the Stars. Connor Hellebuyck (HEH’-leh-buhk) stopped 28 shots and Blake Wheeler had a goal and an assist as Winnipeg prevented Dallas from pulling into a virtual tie with Colorado for third place in the Central Division.
— Rickard Rakell (rah-KEHL’) scored his 31st goal and had an assist to push the Ducks past the Devils, 4-2. Ryan Getzlaf (GETS’-laf) also had a goal and an assist as Anaheim moved two points ahead of the Kings for third place in the Pacific Division. The Devils have a five-point lead over the Panthers for the final Eastern Conference wild-card slot, but Florida has three games in hand.
— Nathan MacKinnon scored twice and had an assist as Colorado handed the Red Wings their 10th consecutive loss, 5-1. The Avalanche have won four of their last five games to pull within three points of third-place Minnesota in the Central Division.
— The Blues beat the Blackhawks, 5-4 on Patrik Berglund’s goal 3:31 into OT. Alex Pietrangelo (peh-TRAN’-jeh-loh) tied the game with 1:22 left in regulation after Alex DeBrincat (deh-BRIHN’-kat) completed a hat trick to put Chicago ahead, 4-3.
— The Hurricanes wasted leads of 2-0 and 3-2 before Trevor van Riemsdyk (REEMZ’-dyk) scored with 6:49 left to give Carolina a 4-3 win over the Islanders. Jaccob Slavin and Victor Rask each had a goal and an assist as the Canes dealt New York its 11th loss in 12 games.
McIlroy rallies to win at Bay Hill
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Rory McIlroy birdied five of his final six holes to close with an 8-under 64 and win the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill.
McIlroy capped his charge by sinking a 25-foot putt, giving him his first victory since September 2016. The final birdie left him two shots ahead of Bryson DeChambeau.
Tiger Woods was one shot off the lead until hitting out-of-bounds on the 16th hole to fall back into a tie for fifth.
Justin Rose was third, four shots back and one ahead of third-round leader Henrik Stenson.
FONTANA, Calif. (AP) — NASCAR’s reigning Cup champ has his first win of the year.
Martin Truex Jr. easily held off defending Fontana champ Kyle Larson to win the Auto Club 400 at the California track. Truex dominated after Kevin Harvick’s quest for a fourth consecutive victory essentially ended with an early smack into the wall.
Truex led 125 laps overall while winning both stages and finishing 11 seconds ahead of Larson.
Kyle Busch was third, followed by Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano.
Polanco punished by MLB for PEDs
UNDATED (AP) — Minnesota Twins shortstop Jorge Polanco has been suspended 80 games after testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance.
Polanco tested positive for Stanozolol and became the sixth player to be banned this year under the major league drug program, one more than last year.
Polanco hit .256 with 13 home runs and 74 RBIs last season while starting 127 games at shortstop.
In other MLB news:
— Mets left-hander Jason Vargas is expected to miss four to six weeks after fracturing a bone in his right hand. The 35-year-old was hit on the hand by a line drive during a minor league game Friday. New York signed Vargas to a two-year, $16 million contract after he went 18-11 with a 4.16 ERA for the Royals last season.
— The Royals have signed right-handed reliever Justin Grimm to a one-year, $1.25 million contract, a package that includes up to $300,000 incentives. Grimmo was 1-2 with a 5.53 ERA in 50 appearances last season for the Cubs, who released him last week.
Jets sign former Vikings QB Bridgewater to 1-year deal
NEW YORK (AP) — The New York Jets have signed former Minnesota quarterback Teddy Bridgewater to a one-year contract.
Bridgewater is still looking to return from a serious knee injury in August 2016 that sidelined him for most of the past two years. He threw just two passes last season for the Vikings, including one that was intercepted.
In other NFL News:
— The Raiders are trading star kick returner Cordarrelle Patterson to the Patriots. NFL Network reported that Oakland will receive a fifth-round pick in the deal and send one of its six sixth-round picks to New England. A person familiar with the deal tells The Associated Press that the deal will become official after Patterson passes a physical.
— The Steelers have agreed to a two-year contract with inside linebacker Jon Bostic, pending a physical. The 26-year-old Bostic played 14 games for Indianapolis last season, getting 97 tackles and one sack before injuring his right knee in December.