#SportsReport: Gonzaga, Michigan Keep Rolling; Drummond Says He's A Laker
Gonzaga remains in line for an historic season after advancing in the NCAA men's basketball tournament. The first overall seed continued its march toward perfection with a 83-65 rout of Creighton, putting the Bulldogs in the Elite Eight. The Zags improved to 29-0, won their 33rd in a row since last season and extended their Division record of double-digit wins to 26. Drew Timme scored 22 points and Andrew Nembhard had 17 with eight assists for Gonzaga. The Bulldogs led 22-12 seven minutes in, carried a 43-33 lead into halftime and spent most of the second half pulling away. Marcus Zegarowski finished with 19 points to lead the Bluejays.
Joining Gonzaga in the regional finals is fellow No. 1 seed Michigan, which had a surprisingly easy time knocking off No. 5 Florida State. The Wolverines scored their first 30 points of the second half from close range and coasted to a 76-58 rout of the Seminoles. Hunter Dickinson scored 14 points and Franz Wagner had 13 points and 10 rebounds for Michigan. The Wolverines improved to 23-4 and moved to the regional finals for the first time since 2018. The Seminoles committed 10 of their 14 turnovers by halftime and shot 5-for-20 from 3-point range for the game. FSU didn't hit the 20-point mark until the waning moments of the first half and went 24 minutes without nailing a 3-pointer.
UCLA still hasn't lost since being relegated to the First Four round. Jaime Jaquez Jr. hit two big jumpers early in overtime and finished with 17 points as the 11th-seeded Bruins downed No. 2 Alabama, 88-78. Jacquez and David Singleton took control in overtime after star guard Johnny Juzang fouled out. Singleton's two free throws made it 79-70 with under a minute to go. The Bruins led by three until Alex Reese drained a buzzer-beating 3-pointer at the end of regulation, giving the Crimson Tide new life. UCLA is in the Elite for the first time since 2008 and will take on Michigan.
Sixth seed Southern Cal became the third Pac-12 team to reach the Elite Eight as the Trojans knocked off conference rival Oregon, 82-68. Isaiah White scored 22 points and the Trojans shot 10 of 17 from 3-point range to reach the regional finals for the first time since 2001. USC used an early 17-2 run to go up 14 before settling for a 41-26 halftime lead. Tahj Eaddy finished with 20 points and Evan Mobley added 10 with six assists and eight rebounds. Next up for the Trojans is another West Coast matchup at Indianapolis, this time against first overall seed Gonzaga.
In the NIT, Boogie Ellis scored 23 points as No. 1 Memphis beat No. 4 Mississippi State 77-64 for the championship title. Landers Nolley II opened the second half with a jumper and a 3-pointer that put 20-8 Memphis ahead to stay. The Tigers won 11 of their last 13 games, the only losses being one-possession setbacks six days apart against NCAA Elite Eight team Houston.
In the women's NCAA Tournament:
Zia Cooke scored 17 points to lead No. 1 South Carolina to a 76-65 win over fifth-seeded Georgia Tech. It's the third time in the past four women's NCAA Tournaments that the Gamecocks have at least reached the regional finals, including their 2017 title run. After going scoreless in the first half, Aliyah Boston had the first seven points in the third quarter as South Carolina went on a 14-6 run to take a 12-point lead.
Hannah Jump scored 17 points to lead top seed Stanford to an 89-62 romp over No. 5 Missouri State, sending the Cardinal to the Elite Eight for the 21st time. The Cardinal expanded a 23-point, halftime lead to 38 in the fourth quarter. Stanford kept up its postseason barrage of 3-pointers by making 15 against the Lady Bears.
Charli Collier scored 16 points and grabbed 11 rebounds as sixth seed Texas shut down No. 2 Maryland's high-powered offense for a 64-61 win. That sends the Longhorns to the Elite Eight as the lowest seed still alive in the women's NCAA Tournament. The Terrapins had the highest-scoring offense in the country during the regular season and averaged 99 points in the first two rounds.
Dana Evans scored 29 points and No. 2 seed Louisville advanced to the Elite Eight with a 60-42 win over sixth-seeded Oregon. The Ducks trailed by 15 at halftime but cut the deficit to 43-37 early in the fourth quarter before Evans provided seven straight points to start a 13-0 run.
In college basketball news:
Indiana will hire former star player and longtime NBA coach Mike Woodson as its new head coach. A person with knowledge of the decision confirmed the hiring to The Associated Press on Sunday. Woodson has spent 22 of the last 23 seasons coaching in the NBA, including stints as the head coach of the Atlanta Hawks and New York Knicks. He has never coached at the college level, but played for Bob Knight. Woodson finished his college career as Indiana's second 2,000-point scorer.
Florida big man Colin Castleton has entered his name in the NBA draft in hopes of "receiving feedback." The 6-foot-11 forward said he will not hire an agent and will retain his college eligibility.
The Phoenix Suns were able to improve to 31-14 despite shooting 35% in the finale of their road trip. Devin Booker poured in 35 points and the Suns finished 3-1 on their southeastern swing by outlasting the Hornets, 101-97 in overtime. Chris Paul had 16 points and Deandre Ayton had 14 as Phoenix stayed in sole possession of second place in the Western Conference, one game ahead of the Clippers. Terry Rozier scored 22 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and nailed a 3-pointer with 33.5 seconds left to force OT for Charlotte. Devonte Graham had a team-high 30 points for the Hornets, who fell into a fifth-place tie with Atlanta in the East.
Dennis Schröder scored 24 points and Kyle Kuzma added 21 as the Lakers rallied past the Magic, 96-93 for their second straight win since a four-game skid. Montrezl Harrell chipped in 18 points and 11 boards for the Lakers, who trailed 84-80 midway through the fourth quarter before going on a 12-1 run to seize control.
Aaron Gordon scored 13 points in his Nuggets debut, a 126-102 drubbing of the Hawks. Nikola Jokic finished with 16 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists, while Michael Porter Jr. had 15 points and 10 rebounds for Denver.
CJ McCollum scored seven of his 23 points in the final two minutes and the Trail Blazers beat the Raptors 122-117. Damian Lillard had 22 points and 11 assists for the Blazers, who took command in the third quarter and dealt Toronto its 11th loss in 12 games.
In NBA news, Andre Drummond is giving himself an opportunity to be part of a deep playoff run. The veteran center says he's joining the Los Angeles Lakers, writing "Back to work" underneath an illustration of himself in a Lakers uniform. The defending NBA champions didn't immediately confirm the signing of the two-time All-Star center several hours before a home game against Orlando. Drummond agreed to a buyout Friday from the Cleveland Cavaliers, who acquired the four-time NBA rebounding champion last year after nearly eight seasons in Detroit. He's been to the postseason just twice and has never won a series.
Make it 10 wins in 11 games for the Capitals following a 5-4 win over the Rangers. Tom Wilson scored twice and Alex Ovechkin notched the 724th of his career. Ovechkin has 11 goals in his last 11 games, leaving him seven shy of tying Marcel Dionne for fifth on the all-time list.
In other NHL action:
The Devils are 4-0-1 against the Bruins this season after Kyle Palmieri's first-period goal was just enough in a 1-0 win by New Jersey. Mackenzie Blackwood stopped 40 shots and was helped out when a late Bruins goal was waved off by video review because of goaltender interference.
The Florida Panthers' shot at a division title has taken a major hit. Aaron Ekblad was taken off on a stretcher after suffering a serious leg injury midway through the second period of the Panthers' 4-1 win over the Stars. Ekblad got tangled up in the corner with Stars defenseman Esa Lindell following a hit from Lindell. An air cast was placed on his left leg. Ekblad's 11 goals this season are tied for the most among NHL defensemen. Jonathan Huberdeau scored twice in the first period for the Panthers, who are two points behind the Central Division-leading Tampa Bay Lightning and one in back of Carolina.
The Predators picked up their fifth win in a row as Roman Josi scored with about 6 1/2 minutes remaining in a 3-2 decision over the Blackhawks. Viktor Arvidsson and Calle Jarnkrok scored first-period goals for Nashville, which moved into a tie with Chicago for the fourth and final playoff spot in the Central Division.
The Ducks erased a 2-0 deficit and beat the Blues, 3-2 on Josh Manson's overtime goal. Adam Henrique and Can Fowler also scored and Anthony Stolarz made 37 saves in his first start of the season.
Michael Rasmussen supplied the tiebreaking goal early in the third period before Filip Hronek and Vladislav Namestnikov added empty-netters as the Red Wings beat the Blue Jackets for the second straight day, 4-1. Evgeny Svechnikov also scored and Calvin Pickard faced just 17 shots for Detroit.
Milwaukee Brewers reliever Justin Topa will open the season on the injured list after undergoing an MRI on his elbow. Brewers manager Craig Counsell says Topa threw just three pitches in a simulated game Saturday before leaving with elbow discomfort. The 30-year-old Topa made his major league debut last season and went 0-1 with a 2.35 ERA and 12 strikeouts in 7 2/3 innings. Counsell also says the Brewers have re-signed reliever Brad Boxberger to a minor league contract and that first baseman Daniel Vogelbach has made the team.
Logan Allen has earned a spot in Cleveland's starting rotation with a strong camp, but the left-hander's role is still not quite finalized. President of Baseball Operations Chris Antonetti says Allen will pitch in the Indians' fourth game, the home opener on April 5, but the team is still working through how he'll be used.
Rangers' manager Chris Woodward says both veteran pitchers Ian Kennedy and Matt Bush will be on the team in the back end of the bullpen. Bush has had surgery twice on his right elbow since his last big league appearance in 2018.
Billy Horschel didn't find much to admire about his golf except that he was the last man standing in the Dell Technologies Match Play. Horschel won six out of his seven matches over 122 holes in the longest week in golf. He had just enough left in the tank in strong wind to hold off Scottie Scheffler, 2 and 1, in a sloppy championship match at Austin Country Club. Horschel's only birdie was a chip-in from 40 feet below the fifth green, yet he didn't lose another hole.
NASCAR's hyped return to dirt is instead a muddy mess on hold at least until Monday. Torrential rains flooded campgrounds and parking lots surrounding Bristol Motor Speedway and created a rut for NASCAR far deeper than anything the Cup Series drivers encountered on the track. After 2 1/2 inches of rain fell across "Thunder Valley," NASCAR made an atypical decision to call an early washout. The first Cup Series race on dirt since 1970 was rescheduled for 4 p.m. Eastern time on Monday. Trucks were set to run at noon.
Lewis Hamilton just managed to hold off Max Verstappen to win the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix and earn the 96th F1 victory of his career. The race was effectively decided when Verstappen overtook Hamilton but went too wide on a turn and off track limits. He was told by his team to give Hamilton the position back as he risked a time penalty. Hamilton's teammate Valtteri Bottas took third, far behind the front two.
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