Update on the latest sports
NCAA MEN’S BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT
Duke barely advances
UNDATED (AP) – UCF almost pulled off the biggest victory in the history of its men’s basketball program.
Zion Williamson had 32 points and RJ Barrett scored on a putback to put top seed Duke ahead in a 77-76 triumph over the Knights in the second round of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. The Blue Devils trailed 76-73 until Williamson hit a layup over Tacko Fall with 14.4 seconds left. Williamson was fouled on the play and missed the free throw, but Barrett scored to cap his 16-point performance and put Duke ahead.
Ninth-seeded UCF had a final chance, but B.J. Taylor missed a short jumper and Aubrey Dawkins failed on his tip attempt with less than 2 seconds left. Dawkins had a team-high 32 points for UCF.
Duke will play Virginia Tech in the regional semifinals.
The Hokies advanced to the Sweet 16 for the first time in 52 years by beating 12th-seeded Liberty 67-58. Kerry Blackshear had 19 points and nine rebounds as the fourth-seeded Hokies earned another matchup against its ACC rival. Ahmed Hill added 14 points and Justin Robinson scored 13 to help Virginia Tech beat an in-state rival.
In Sunday’s other NCAA Tournament play:
– Mamadi Diakite (MAH’-mah-dee dee-ah-KEE’-tay) scored 14 points and had nine rebounds as No. 1 Virginia knocked off Oklahoma, 63-51. Ty Jerome added 12 points for the Cavaliers, who led for all but three minutes. Virginia held the Sooners under 37 percent from the field and moved on to face Oregon.
– The Ducks are the lone double-digit seed remaining following their 73-54 thumping of UC Irvine. Payton Pritchard dropped in 18 points and Louis King added 16 as Oregon won its 10th in a row following a 15-12 start. The 12th-seeded Ducks used a 15-3 run in the second half to take control and end the Anteaters’ 17-game winning streak.
– Grant Williams scored six of his 19 points in overtime and grabbed seven rebounds as No. 2 Tennessee survived an 83-77 victory against Iowa to earn a meeting with Purdue. Admiral Schofield contributed 17 of his 19 points while Tennessee was building a 49-28 halftime lead, but the Hawkeyes closed the gap by opening the second half on a 9-2 run before reeling off a 17-2 spurt. Jordan Bohannon scored 18 for Iowa, which trailed by 25 in the first half before trying to tie the tournament record for biggest comeback victory.
– Top seed North Carolina breezed into the Sweet 16 as Luke Maye delivered 20 points and 14 rebounds in an 81-59 romp over Washington. Nassir Little also had 20 points for the Tar Heels, who led by just eight at intermission before scoring 13 straight during the first five minutes of the second half. North Carolina held Pac-12 player of the year Jaylen Nowell to a team-high 12 points and earned a regional semifinal matchup with No. 5 Auburn.
– Corey Davis Jr. had 21 points as No. 3 seed Houston topped No. 11 seed Ohio State, 74-59. Galen Robinson Jr. had 13 points and six steals for the Cougars, who picked up their team-record 33rd win. Houston now prepares to face Kentucky after reaching the Sweet 16 for the first time in 35 years.
– Texas Tech dominated the second half and cruised to a 78-58 win over Buffalo, ending the Bulls’ 13-game winning streak. Jarrett Culver had 16 points and 10 rebounds and Norense Odiase (oh-dee-AH’-see) added 14 points and 15 boards for the third-seeded Red Raiders. They advanced to play No. 2 seed Michigan in the Sweet 16.
Johnson out as Alabama coach
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) – Avery Johnson is out as Alabama’s coach after making the NCAA Tournament only once in four seasons.
Athletic director Greg Byrne announced Sunday that the Crimson Tide and Johnson “made the decision to mutually part ways.”
Johnson’s buyout under a contract extension reached in August 2017 would be $8 million.
He led the Tide to a 75-62 record in four seasons, including a trip to the NCAA Tournament last year. Alabama lost five of its last six games this season, including a first-round upset by Norfolk State in the NIT on Tuesday night.
Also around college basketball:
– Ron Hunter is leaving Georgia State to become Tulane’s coach. Hunter was 171-95 at Georgia State, leading the Panthers to three NCAA appearances. He replaces Mike Dunleavy after the Green Wave failed to win a game in the American Athletic Conference this season.
– California has fired basketball coach Wyking Jones after winning just eight games in each of his first two seasons. The Golden Bears followed up a school-record 16-game losing streak by winning the final three regular-season games this season.
BOSTON (AP) – Gronk is calling it a career.
New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski has announced on Instagram that he is retiring after nine NFL seasons. He called it the biggest decision of his life and thanked team owner Robert Kraft and coach Bill Belichick for the opportunity to play in the league.
Taken in the second round of the 2010 NFL draft, Gronkowski had 521 career receptions for 7,861 yards and 79 touchdowns in 115 games. Injuries caused him to miss at least half the 2013 and 2016 seasons, and he never played a full 16-game schedule after 2011. But the five-time Pro Bowler helped the Patriots advance to five Super Bowls, winning three times, including this year.
Gronkowski will turn 30 in May.
Warriors beat Pistons, leap over Nuggets
UNDATED (AP) – The Golden State Warriors have moved back atop the NBA’s Western Conference standings, moving a half-game ahead of Denver.
Stephen Curry had 26 points and Klay Thompson added 24 in the Warriors’ 121-114 win over the Pistons. Golden State saw a 20-point cushion shrink to nine before Curry drained a 3-pointer with about five minutes remaining.
Kevin Durant had 14 points and 11 assists for the Warriors, who rebounded one night after playing without Curry in a 126-91 loss to Dallas.
Indiana pushed the Nuggets behind the Warriors. Bojan (BOY’-ahn) Bogdanovic scored 26 of his 35 points by halftime, including a personal 12-2 run against Denver late in the second quarter of the Pacers’ 124-88 rout of the Nuggets.
Myles Turner had 17 points and 11 rebounds for the Pacers, who were back home after dropping four straight during a West Coast swing.
The Nuggets ended a six-game winning streak despite 19 points, 11 boards and eight assists from Nikola Jokic (NEE’-koh-lah YOH’-kihch).
Checking out Sunday’s other NBA action:
– Giannis Antetokounmpo (YAH’-nihs an-teh-toh-KOON’-poh) provided 26 points on 11 of 16 shooting and had 10 rebounds to lift the Bucks over the Cavaliers 127-105. Khris Middleton and George Hill added 17 points apiece as Milwaukee improved to a league-best 55-19.
– Jeremy Lamb banked home a half-court 3-pointer at the buzzer to give the Hornets a 115-114 triumph over the Raptors. Walker had 15 points and 13 assists, while Willy Hernagomez had 13 points and 10 rebounds in Charlotte’s third consecutive victory.
– James Harden scored 28 points in a little less than 29 minutes of the Rockets’ 113-90 romp over the Pelicans. Eric Gordon added 18 points for the Rockets, who hit 21 3s in winning for the fifth time in six games to move a game ahead of Portland for the third seed in the West.
– Danilo Gallinari (da-NIH’-loh gah-lih-NAH’-ree) reached the 20-point plateau for the ninth straight game by scoring 26 in the Clippers’ 124-113 victory at New York. Lou Williams had 29 points and fellow reserve Montrezl (MAHN’-trehz) Harrell added 24 to help Los Angeles earn its fifth straight win and move a half-game ahead of Oklahoma City and Utah for fifth place in the West.
– LaMarcus Aldridge had 48 points and 13 rebounds as the Spurs dealt the Celtics their fourth consecutive loss, 115-96. The Spurs have won 10 of 12 to strengthen their grip on a Western Conference playoff spot.
– Kyle Kuzma (KOOZ’-mah) scored 21 of his 29 points in the third quarter and LeBron James finished with a triple-double in the Lakers’ 111-106 victory over the Kings. James had 29 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists to help Los Angeles halt a five-game skid.
Capitals, Islanders still 1 point apart
UNDATED (AP) – The Washington Capitals have maintained their one-point lead over the New York Islanders in the NHL’s Metropolitan Division with six games left in the regular season.
Braden Holtby stopped 35 shots and the Capitals snapped a two-game skid by downing the Flyers, 3-1. Tom Wilson, Travis Boyd and Jakub Vrana scored on the eve of the team’s visit to the White House as defending Stanley Cup champions.
The Capitals swept the season series against the Flyers for just the second time in franchise history.
On Long Island, Robin Lehner (LEH’-nur) picked up his fifth shutout by stopping 31 shots in the Islanders’ 2-0 win over the Coyotes. Jordan Eberle provided the game-winner early in the first period and Brock Nelson added a big insurance tally with 3:14 remaining as New York won its second straight since dropping four of five.
Elsewhere on NHL ice:
– The Hurricanes pulled out a 2-1 win against the Canadiens on Andrei Svechnikov’s goal 3:15 into overtime. Trevor van Riemsdyk (REEMZ’-dyk) scored with 5:39 remaining in regulation before Svechnikov kept Carolina five points clear of an Eastern Conference playoff berth.
– Josh Anderson scored his 25th and 26th goals of the season and had an assist as the Blue Jackets blasted the Canucks, 5-0. Sergei Bobrovsky (boh-BRAHF’-skee) stopped 21 shots in his seventh shutout of the season, helping Columbus get within two points of Montreal for the final wild-card spot in the East.
– Duncan Keith scored 1:23 into overtime to give the Blackhawks a 2-1 victory over the Avalanche. Artem Anisimov (ah-NEE’-sih-mahv) tied it with a power-play goal early in the third period before Chicago ended Colorado’s four-game winning streak.
Keselowski dominates at Martinsville
MARTINSVILLE, Va. (AP) – Brad Keselowski routed the field at Martinsville Speedway to give Team Penske its third Cup victory through the first six races of the NASCAR season.
Keselowski led 446 of the 500 laps around the shortest track on the NASCAR schedule, giving the new Ford Mustang its third win of the season.
Chase Elliott was the only driver to pass Keselowski, holding the lead for 49 laps before finishing second. A late caution sent the field to pit road and Keselowski beat Elliott back to the track.
Kyle Busch was third after winning the previous two races. Ryan Blaney and Denny Hamlin round out the top five finishers.
Casey wins Valspar title again
PALM HARBOR, Fla. (AP) – Paul Casey has become the first back-to-back winner in the 19-year history of the Valspar Championship.
Casey closed with a 1-over 72 for an 8 under total, one shot ahead of Jason Kokrak (KOHK’-rak) and Louis Oosthuizen (WUHST’-hay-zehn). Kokrak and Oosthuizen each had a share of the lead on the back nine. Kokrak missed an 8-foot par putt on the final hole to fall one short.
Casey thought his biggest challenge would be Dustin Johnson, who was one shot behind. Instead, the world’s No. 1 player failed to make a single birdie for the first time in 31 tournaments worldwide.
Giants acquire Kratz from Brewers for depth behind Posey
UNDATED (AP) – The San Francisco Giants have acquired veteran catcher Erik Kratz from the Brewers for minor league infielder C.J. Hinojosa.
The Giants had been looking for an experienced catcher to provide depth behind Buster Posey, who is back from right hip surgery that ended his 2018 season in late August.
The 38-year-old Kratz batted .236 with six home runs and 23 RBIs in 67 games for the Brewers last season.
In other major league news:
– The Indians have signed infielder Brad Miller to a major league contract. Miller will start the season with second baseman Jason Kipnis and shortstop Francisco Lindor on the injured list.
– Orioles designated hitter Mark Trumbo will start the season on the injured list. The 33-year-old Trumbo, who led the major leagues with 47 home runs in 2016, had surgery on his right knee in September.
– Baltimore right-hander Alex Cobb left Saturday night’s game with right groin soreness, five days before he is scheduled to start the season opener against the Yankees. Manager Brandon Hyde said he would make a decision on Cobb’s availability over the next day or two.
– The Tigers say right-hander Jordan Zimmermann is going to make his second consecutive opening-day start Thursday at Toronto.
Rookie Herta wins IndyCar Classic at 18 years old
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) – Rookie Colton Herta has become the youngest winner in IndyCar history by capturing the inaugural IndyCar Classic.
A late-race crash near the entry to pit row helped Herta steal past the leaders to the checkered flag. Once the yellow flag was cleared, Herta powered away from former series champions Josef Newgarden and Ryan Hunter-Reay over the final 10 laps to get the win for Harding Steinbrenner Racing.
Will Power started from pole position and dominated through 45 laps, but he was caught out by the crash still needing a tire change when pit row was closed.
Marty Noble, longtime New York baseball writer, dies at 70
NEW YORK (AP) – Marty Noble, the longtime baseball writer and Hall of Fame voter who was a mainstay on the New York Mets beat for decades, has died.
Newsday and MLB.com report that Noble died Sunday in Florida at age 70. Newsday says a family member confirmed his death, but no cause was given.
Noble covered the New York Yankees and Mets for Newsday from 1981-2004. After that he moved to MLB.com, remaining on the Mets beat through 2010 and then working in a general role until he retired in 2016.
The website says Noble could still be found at the ballpark some days, making a visit to the Mets’ spring training facility as recently as Friday.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL-GEORGIA TECH-PLAYER DIES
Georgia Tech announces death of DT Brandon Adams
ATLANTA (AP) – Georgia Tech defensive lineman Brandon Adams had died at the age of 21.
The school on Sunday announced Adams’ death. No cause was given.
Adams had been going through offseason workouts and was preparing for the start of spring practice when he died on campus Saturday.