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Sports

#SportsReport: MAAC Tournament Kicks Off In Albany

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The MAAC basketball tournament kicked off at Albany's Times Union Center yesterday. In the first round of the women's playoffs, Iona topped Siena, 75-64. In the men's tournament, Saint Peter's defeated Marist, 71-68. 

In the women's quarterfinals today, Quinnipiac plays Fairfield at 1 p.m., and Iona challenges Rider at 3:30 p.m. Tomorrow Marist faces Manhattan at noon, and Monmouth takes on Canisius at 2:30 p.m. In the men's quarterfinals today, Saint Peter's faces Iona at 7 p.m., and Canisius plays Manhattan at 9:30 p.m. Tomorrow Quinnipiac challenges Monmouth at 7 p.m., and Siena plays Rider at 9:30 p.m.

Elswhere in men's college basketball, Temple took down UConn, 78-71. 

In top-25 basketball, the 12th-ranked Houston Cougars have wrapped up at least a share of the American Athletic Conference regular-season title by rebounding from their second loss of the season. Armoni Brooks nailed six 3-pointers and finished with 20 points and 10 rebounds as the Cougars toppled SMU, 90-79. Corey Davis Jr. added four treys and 17 points for Houston, which shot 53 percent overall and 12-for-29 from beyond the arc. Houston improved to 28-2 overall and 15-2 in the conference. The Cougars tied the school record for victories set by the Elvis Hayes-led 1967-68 squad.

Ethan Happ had 21 points and 14 rebounds in his final home game to help No. 21 Wisconsin hammer Iowa 65-45. Fellow senior Khalil Iverson added 11 points and 11 rebounds for the 21-9 Badgers, who held the Hawkeyes to a season low for points. Jordan Bohannon paced Iowa in points with just eight.

B.J. Taylor scored 22 points and 25th-rated UCF held Cincinnati to 37.1 percent shooting in a 58-55 victory against the 19th-ranked Bearcats. Taylor broke a tie with two free throws with 1:16 left and made it 57-53 with a layup with 17 seconds to go. Tacko Fall added 10 points and six rebounds in helping the Knights move to 23-6 overall and 13-4 in the American Athletic Conference.

In college basketball news, Syracuse men's basketball head coach Jim Boeheim will not be charged in last month's fatal highway accident that killed Jorge Jimenez as Boeheim tried to avoid a disabled car. Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick says Boeheim was "not reckless" and added that he declined to file charges after reviewing the police accident report. Jimenez had exited the car and was standing near the guardrail when he was accidentally hit by Boeheim on Feb. 20.

A ban on New York state-funded travel to North Carolina is complicating matters for state college athletes heading south for an NCAA championship meet. Gov. Andrew Cuomo banned nonessential state-funded travel to North Carolina in 2016 after lawmakers there voided a Charlotte ordinance enabling transgender people to legally use restrooms aligned with their gender identity.

LSU men's basketball coach Will Wade is declining comment on a Yahoo report detailing a phone conversation recorded by the FBI in which Wade discusses his efforts to lure a recruit to the Tigers. The report says the FBI recording is of a conversation with Christian Dawkins, who is one of several people convicted in October of conspiracy to commit wire fraud for funneling illegal payments to families of recruits to Louisville, Kansas and North Carolina State. The report also states that it is not clear if the offer Wade discusses would violate NCAA rules, or if the player and his family knew of or accepted the offer. In the report, Wade is described expressing his frustration with an unidentified third party handling the recruitment of player referred to only as "Smart." LSU has a freshman guard named Javonte Smart who is a former Louisiana high school player of the year.

NBA

The Milwaukee Bucks were able to end their first losing streak of the season and expand their lead in the NBA's Eastern Conference to three games over Toronto. Giannis Antetokounmpo poured in 29 points and Khris Middleton added 27 as the Bucks thumped the Pacers, 117-98. Indiana trailed just 84-74 in the fourth quarter until  Ersan Ilyasova hit a 3-pointer to trigger the Bucks' 12-0 run. Antetokounmpo capped the spurt by hitting a drive to with 8:21 left. Milwaukee is a league-best 49-16 after bouncing back from road losses to Utah and Phoenix at the end of a five-game road trip. Myles Turner had 22 points and Bojan Bogdanovic 17 for the Pacers, who are a half-game ahead of the 76ers for third place in the East.

The other NBA game of the night had Oklahoma City and Portland going into overtime before the Thunder prevailed, 129-121. Russell Westbrook scored eight of his 37 points in overtime, while Paul George added 32 points and 14 rebounds to help Oklahoma took over third place in the Western Conference. Damian Lillard scored 51 points for the Trail Blazers, who fell one game behind the Thunder and a half-game behind Houston.

NHL

The NHL's tightest division race just got a little tighter. The New York Islanders have pulled into a first-place tie with Washington in the Metropolitan Division, four points ahead of Pittsburgh and six better than Carolina. In Ottawa, the Islanders squandered a pair of one-goal leads before Anthony Beauvillier tallied with 7:31 left in New York's 4-2 triumph over the Senators. Valtteri Filppula scored twice and Casey Cizikas added an empty-netter to support Thomas Greiss, who stopped 35 shots. The Islanders have 85 points after completing a home-and-home sweep of the Senators.

Andreas Athanasiou had a goal and an assist in regulation and provided the lone shootout tally as the Red Wings topped the Rangers, 3-2. Jimmy Howard made 32 saves for Detroit.

Artem Anisimov scored twice in regulation before the Blackhawks were perfect on their three shootout attempts in a 5-4 decision over the Sabres. Brendan Perlini tied the game 7:57 into the third period, 37 seconds after Kyle Okposo gave Buffalo its last lead.

Matt Murray recorded his 10th career shutout by turning back 25 shots in the Penguins' 3-0 win over the Blue Jackets. Phil Kessel ended a 16-game goal drought and helped the Penguins earn their eighth straight victory over Columbus in the first of a home-and-home matchup with the Blue Jackets. Nick Bjugstad also scored, Sidney Crosby added an empty-netter and the Pens climbed ahead of the idle Hurricanes for third place in the division standings.

The Bruins stretched their point streak to 18 games by scoring twice in the final 37 seconds of a 4-3 thriller against the Panthers. Matt Grzelcyk tied it before Patrick Bergeron won it with his second goal of the night, beating Roberto Luongo with 7.2 seconds remaining to leave Boston 15-0-3 in its last 18.

Elsewhere on NHL ice, the Coyotes beat the Western Conference leaders as Darcy Kuemper handled 30 shots in a 2-0 shutout of the Flames. Jakob Chychrun scored an insurance goal and set up Clayton Keller's first-period tally as Arizona stayed three points out of a playoff berth.

Calgary's lead in the West is down to one point over the Sharks after Marcus Sorensen contributed a goal and an assist in San Jose's 5-2 win over Montreal. Sorenson set up Joe Thornton's eventual game-winner before Timo Meier and Gustav Nyquist added third-period goals.

The Wild prevented the Lightning from becoming the first team to clinch a playoff berth this season as Jason Zucker notched his first career hat trick to account for Minnesota's scoring in a 3-0 win at Tampa. Devan Dubnyk made 25 saves for his second shutout of the season to help the Wild improve to 6-0-2 in their last eight games.

The Blues posted a 4-0 win at Los Angeles as Jake Allen stopped 28 shots in his third shutout of the season and 19th of his career. Vladimir Tarasenko had a goal and an assist as St. Louis moved into sixth in the West and climbed within five points of the Central Division-leading Predators.

Alexander Radulov registered his first career hat trick and Ben Bishop claimed his second consecutive shutout by making 31 saves in the Stars' 4-0 win over the Avalanche. Radulov helped Dallas retain the first wild-card slot in the Western Conference after missing the previous game for disciplinary reasons.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored 62 seconds into the second period to give the Oilers a 3-0 lead in a 3-2 victory over the Canucks. Alex Chiasson and Zack Kassian also scored and Connor McDavid had two assists in the victory.

MLB

The new wave of legal gambling is prompting Major League Baseball to closely monitor starting lineups. Ballclubs this season must notify the commissioner's office of their lineups before they are announced at stadiums. The decision comes in response to the Supreme Court ruling last spring that has led to more widespread legal gambling.

In other baseball news, Carlos Gomez is back with the Mets, 3½ years after a trade fell through that would have sent him from Milwaukee to New York. The Mets say the 33-year-old outfielder has agreed to a minor league contract and will report to big league spring training. The two-time All-Star hit .208 with nine homers and 32 RBIs in 118 games last year for Tampa Bay.

Hall of Fame pitcher Tom Seaver has been diagnosed with dementia and has retired from public life. The family of the 74-year-old says Seaver will continue to work in the vineyard at his home in California. Seaver has limited his public appearances in recent years. He didn't attend the Baseball Writers' Association of America dinner in January when members of the New York Mets' 1969 World Series championship team were honored.

Bryce Harper homered for the second straight day in a simulated game against Phillies minor leaguers. Harper had an opposite-field homer to left in the first of 12 plate appearances Thursday at the team's minor league complex.

NFL

The Jets have tendered a second-round qualifying offer to wide receiver Robby Anderson, who could become a restricted free agent next week. The 25-year-old led the Jets last season with 50 receptions, 752 yards receiving and six touchdown catches.

The Giants have re-signed Pro Bowl placekicker Aldrick Rosas, who hit 32 of 33 field goal attempts and 31 of 32 extra point attempts last sesaon. His .970 percentage on field goals was a franchise record and just slightly behind NFL leader Robbie Gould, who made 33 of 34 attempts.

The Steelers have signed Pro Bowl center Maurkice Pouncey and left guard Ramon Foster to new deals, retaining two of Ben Roethlisberger's best blockers. Foster agreed to a two-year deal that will pay him $8.25 million and lets him stay with the club for which he's made 131 starts since 2009. Pouncey will receive $11 million in 2020 and 2021 after having two years added to the contract that expires after this season.

In other NFL news, the Associated Press has learned through a person with knowledge of the deal that the Washington Redskins are acquiring quarterback Case Keenum from the Denver Broncos for a swap of 2020 draft picks. The parameters of the pending deal include a reworking of Keenum's contract, with the Broncos paying him a $500,000 restructuring bonus and picking up half of the $7 million he was guaranteed in 2019. The Redskins would also get a seventh-round pick and send a sixth-rounder to the Broncos.

Pierre Garcon will become a free agent after the San Francisco 49ers declined his contract option. San Francisco exercised contract options for 2019 on fullback Kyle Juszczyk, defensive lineman Cassius Marsh, linebacker Dekoda Watson and cornerback K'Waun Williams.

Titans punter Brett Kern has agreed to terms on a multi-year contract extension. Kern earned his second straight Pro Bowl invitation last year and posted the second-best net average in franchise history.

The Dolphins are releasing defensive end Andre Branch and guard Ted Larsen as they pare payroll in advance of free agency next week. Branch had only 1½ sacks in 14 games last year, and Larsen struggled on an offense that ranked next to last in the NFL in yards.

The Ravens have signed pending unrestricted free agent tight end Nick Boyle to a three-year package. Boyle was suspended twice during his first two seasons for violating the NFL's performance-enhancing drug policy, but played in 31 of 32 games over the last two years.

Vikings running back Roc Thomas has been charged with felony possession of marijuana. A criminal complaint says Thomas' apartment in a Twin Cities suburb was searched Jan. 16 and officers found about five ounces of marijuana, drug paraphernalia and $16,000 in cash.

PGA

Rafa Cabrera Bello fired a 7-under 65 in his Arnold Palmer Invitational debut to take a two stroke lead over Keegan Bradley at Bay Hill. Cabrera Bello opened with four birdies in six holes in the morning chill and put together another run of birdies that included consecutive putts from the 30-foot range. Phil Mickelson and Bubba Watson are in a five-way tie for third at minus-4, along with Graeme McDowell, Patrick Rodgers and Bill Horschel.

© The Associated Press 2019. All Rights Reserved. 

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