Here is the latest Mid-America sports news from The Associated Press
ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — Hunter Dickinson gave Luka Garza fits around the basket, and Franz Wagner scored 21 points to lead No. 3 Michigan to a 79-57 victory over No. 9 Iowa. The Wolverines passed yet another test against a highly ranked opponent after beating No. 4 Ohio State last weekend. Dickinson more than held his own against Garza in a much-anticipated matchup of two standout big men. Garza led the Hawkeyes with 16 points, but he shot 6 of 19 from the field. Dickinson scored 14 points.
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) — Kofi Cockburn scored 24 points, freshman Adam Miller added 18 and No. 5 Illinois beat Nebraska 86-70. Illinois played without star Ayo Dosunmu, who broke his nose against Michigan State on Tuesday and is expected to miss at least two more games. Freshman guard Andre Curbelo narrowly missed a triple-double with 10 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists. Trey McGowens led Nebraska with 18 points. Kobe Webster and Shamiel Steveson added 12 each for the Cornhuskers.
UNDATED (AP) — Second-ranked Baylor begins a brutal four-game stretch as it attempts to complete a perfect regular season when the Bears head to Allen Fieldhouse to play No. 17 Kansas on Saturday night. The No. 14 Texas faces the No. 18 Texas Tech in the other marquee game Saturday, which could go a long way toward Big 12 and NCAA Tournament seedings.
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Caitlin Clark hit seven 3-pointers and scored 27 points, plus nine assists and Iowa rolled past No. 12 Michigan 89-67 in a game delayed five hours. The game, featuring the Big Ten's top two scorers in Michigan forward Naz Hillmon (25.9 points per game) and Clark (27.3), was originally scheduled to begin at 3:30 p.m. CT. It ended at almost 10:18 p.m. Hillmon scored 24 points. The Hawkeyes led 49-30 at the half, hitting 10 of 16 from 3-point range and shooting 65.5%. The lead reached as much as 34 points early in the fourth quarter. The Wolverines shot 35.6% while Iowa was going 16 of 27 from 3-point range (59.3%).
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Nika Muhl scored 15 of her season-high 19 points in the first quarter and No. 1 Connecticut won the outright Big East regular-season championship with an 81-49 victory over Creighton on Thursday night. The Huskies are 19-1 overall and 16-0 in league play. They never lost a league game in their seven years in the American Athletic Conference, and now they're two wins away from being perfect in their return to the Big East. Temi Carda had a season-high 24 points for Creighton.
COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Rennia Davis scored all 26 of her points in the second half, with 20 in the fourth quarter, to help No. 20 Tennessee beat Missouri 78-73. Davis made a pair of 3-pointers during an 8-0 run that opened the fourth quarter and gave the Lady Vols the lead for good. Davis scored all but three of Tennessee's fourth-quarter points. Her 26 points matched a season high. Rae Burrell scored 18 of her 23 points in the first half for the Lady Vols. Haley Troup and Aijha Blackwell had 16 points each for the Tigers.
Update on the latest sports
Nets get eighth straight win
UNDATED (AP) — The Nets now have their longest winning streak since the franchise moved from New Jersey to Brooklyn.
Kyrie Irving had 27 points and nine assists in the Nets' eighth consecutive win, a 129-92 dismantling of the Magic.
Landry Shamet added 19 points and nine rebounds for the Nets, who blew open the game with a 26-4 run spanning halftime. The NBA's highest-scoring team reached 120 points for the 20th time, already tying a franchise record in only 34 games.
James Harden furnished 20 points in the rout.
Nikola Vucevic (nih-KOH'-lah VOO'-cheh-vihch) had 28 points and 12 rebounds for the Magic, who dropped their second straight after a three-game win streak.
Brooklyn remains a half-game behind Philadelphia for the top record in the Eastern Conference.
Joel Embiid (joh-EHL' ehm-BEED') delivered 23 points and nine rebounds in the 76ers' 111-97 victory against the Mavericks. Ben Simmons finished with 15 points and combined with Embiid to score 22 on 8 of 12 shooting in the second quarter.
Checking out Thursday's other NBA action:
— Tyus Jones scored a career-high 20 points and Dillon Brooks added 19 in the Grizzlies' 122-94 romp over the Clippers. Kawhi (kah-WY') Leonard scored 17 points and Paul George had 13, although George was stymied by a 3-for-12 shooting night as part of the Clippers' 41% showing.
— Giannis Antetokounmpo (YAH'-nihs an-teh-toh-KOON'-poh) hit for 38 points and Khris Middleton added 31 as the Bucks picked up their fourth straight win since a five-game skid, 129-125 against the Pelicans. Zion Williamson scored 34 points and Brandon Ingram added 23 for New Orleans, which had won two straight.
— Bradley Beal provided 33 points and the Wizards were able to celebrate a 112-110 win at Denver after Facundo (fah-KOON'-doh) Campazzo missed a hurried 3-pointer at the buzzer. Rui (ROO'-ee) Hachimura added 20 points for Washington, which swept the home-and-home series with the Nuggets and completed a 3-1 trip out West.
— The Knicks cruised to a 140-121 win over the Kings as Immanuel Quickley scored 18 of his 25 points in the first half. Julius Randle had 21 points and 14 rebounds, Alec Burks had 24 off the bench and Derrick Rose finished with 18.
Beasley suspended following guilty plea
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Minnesota Timberwolves shooting guard Malik Beasley has been suspended for 12 games without pay by the NBA for his recent guilty plea to a felony charge of threats of violence.
Beasley was sentenced earlier this month to 120 days in jail for the Sept. 26 incident, when he pointed a rifle outside his home in suburban Minneapolis at a family on a house-hunting tour.
The fifth-year pro is averaging a career-best 20.5 points.
Also in the NBA:
— The Jazz said they will "thoroughly investigate" an allegation from former NBA player Elijah Millsap that longtime team executive Dennis Lindsey directed a bigoted statement toward him during an end-of-season exit interview in 2015. The brother of former Jazz standout and current Denver forward Paul Millsap made the allegation in a tweet Wednesday. Millsap alleged that Lindsey said "if u say one more word, I'll cut your Black ass and send you back to Louisiana."
TOP 25 MEN'S BASKETBALL-SCHEDULE
Wolverines clobber Hawkeyes
UNDATED (AP) — Michigan had no trouble winning their second straight top-10 matchup.
Franz Wagner scored 21 points and freshman Hunter Dickinson shut down Luka Garza as the third-ranked Wolverines blew out No. 9 Iowa, 79-57. Garza led the Hawkeyes with 16 points, but he shot 6 of 19 from the field as Michigan became the first team to hold the Hawkeyes under 65 points this season.
The Hawkeyes went ahead 37-36 on Garza's three-point play early in the second half, but Michigan immediately reeled off a 14-2 run to regain control.
Isaiah Livers scored 16 points for the Wolverines, who were coming off a 92-87 win over then-No. 4 Ohio State. Dickinson added 14 points.
In another Big Ten matchup, Aaron Henry had 18 points and Michigan State bolstered its bid to make the NCAA Tournament by topping fourth-ranked Ohio State, 71-67. The Spartans rallied from a nine-point, second-half deficit, two days after beating fifth-ranked Illinois by nine points.
In Thursday's other top-25 finals:
— Top-ranked Gonzaga tied a program record with its 50th consecutive home win as Corey Kispert dropped in 25 points in an 89-75 win over Santa Clara. Drew Timme (TIH'-mee) scored 16 of his 18 points after halftime on 7 of 9 shooting to help the Bulldogs pull away from a 40-38 lead.
— Fifth-ranked Illinois picked up an 86-70 win over Nebraska as Kofi (KOH'-fee) Cockburn scored 24 points and freshman Adam Miller added 18. Freshman guard Andre Curbelo narrowly missed a triple-double and finished with 10 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists to help the Illini bounce back from Tuesday's loss to Michigan State.
— Quentin Grimes poured in a career-high 33 points and had six rebounds to help 12th-ranked Houston hammer Western Kentucky, 81-57. Grimes scored 21 points in the first half, including 18 straight at one point.
— Jeriah Horne nailed a career-best six 3-pointers on his way to 24 points as Colorado blasted No. 19 Southern California, 80-62 to sweep the season series. McKinley Wright IV had a career-high 14 assists and 15 points in the Buffaloes' sixth straight win over the Trojans.
— Matt Mitchell scored four of his 24 points in overtime and 22nd-rated San Diego earned its ninth straight win by overcoming 29 points by Derrick Alston Jr. in a 78-66 win against Boise State.
NCAA hands South Carolina 2-year probation for ex-assistant
UNDATED (AP) — South Carolina's men's basketball program has been placed on probation for two years.
The penalty stems from former assistant coach Lamont Evans accepting between $3,300 and $5,800 in bribes from a sports agent.
The case was part of the college basketball corruption trial in which Evans pleaded guilty to bribery conspiracy. The NCAA accepted South Carolina's self-imposed penalties, which include a reduction in unofficial visits from prospects and a six-week ban in telephone recruiting.
In other college basketball news:
— The NCAA has come up with a contingency plan in case teams can't play in the March Madness tournaments because of COVID-19. The first four at-large teams that don't make the original field will be placed in order and serve as replacement teams. If the tournament begins without any withdrawals, the four would still be eligible to compete in the NIT. The plan only applies to the short period between the announcement of the bracket and the start of games.
— Marquette will allow up to 1,800 to attend its men's basketball regular-season finale March 6 against Xavier. This will be the first time this season that Marquette has played a home game in front of that many spectators.
— Junior forward Au'Diese Toney is the second Pittsburgh player in as many days to transfer, joining Xavier Johnson. Toney averaged 14.4 points, 5.9 rebounds and 2.3 assists and is considered among the better defenders in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Isles erupt in 3rd to beat B's
UNDATED (AP) — The Boston Bruins entered Thursday's play ranked second in the NHL in goals allowed. The Islanders hadn't scored more than four goals in any of their first 18 games.
Naturally, the Isles improved to 3-0 against the Bruins this season by erupting for five goals in the third period of a 7-2 victory.
Anthony Beauvillier (boh-VIH'-lee-ay) broke a 2-2 deadlock and sparked the third-period assault. Mat Barzal and Anders Lee each finished with a goal and an assist as the Islanders improved to 7-2-1 in their last 10 games.
Elsewhere on NHL ice:
— Frank Vatrano scored the go-ahead goal with 3:10 remaining to complete the Panthers' late comeback in a 3-2 win over the Stars. Aleksander Barkov and Anton Stralman also scored in the final 6 1/2 minutes as Florida overcame a 2-0 deficit to stay atop the Central Division.
— Curtis McElhinney turned back 31 shots and picked up an assist to lead the Lightning past the Hurricanes, 3-1. Mikhail Sergachev (SUR'-gah-chehv), Yanni Gourde (YAH'-nee gohrd) and Barclay Goodrow all scored for Tampa Bay, which won three of the four straight meetings between the teams.
— Tom Wilson scored the go-ahead goal on a power play with 7:20 left before the Capitals finished off a 5-2 win over the Penguins. Nicklas Backstrom scored his team-leading ninth goal of the season, and T.J. Oshie (OH'-shee) added a highlight-reel goal to help Washington beat Pittsburgh for the second time in six meetings this season.
— Patrick Kane's 399th career goal broke a scoreless tie with 11:15 left in the Blackhawks' 2-0 shutout of the Blue Jackets. Carl Soderberg added an empty-netter and Malcolm Subban (SOO'-ban) made 26 saves in his first shutout of the season.
— New Jersey's three-game skid is over after Pavel Zacha (ZAH'-kah) converted Jesper Bratt's drop pass to score 1:17 into overtime to close out a 4-3 victory over the Sabres. Bratt also scored for the Devils, while Zacha had two assists to extend his point streak to eight games.
— Sam Gagner (GAHN'-yay) ended a 17-game goal drought by registering a hat trick that was the difference in the Red Wings' 5-2 verdict over the Predators. Luke Glendening and Adam Erne also scored for Detroit, which took the lead on Gagner's goal midway through the third period.
— Mike Smith handled 32 shots for his second shutout of the season and 41st overall, backstopping the Oilers' 3-0 decision over the Canucks. Alex Chiasson (CHAY'-sahn) and Jesse Puljujarvi (pool-YAHR'-vee) had power-play goals to help Edmonton win their fifth straight and improve to 14-8-0.
— Kyle Connor scored twice and the Jets spoiled Dominique Ducharme's (doh-mah-NEEK doo-SHAHRMZ') debut as Montreal's coach by defeating the Canadiens, 6-3. Nate Thompson scored the go-ahead goal in the third period, and Blake Wheeler had a goal and two assists as Winnipeg handed Montreal its fourth straight loss.
— Colin White scored twice to back Matt Murray's 29-save performance in the Senators' third win in a row, 6-1 against the Flames. Drake Batherson, Erik Gudbranson, Connor Brown and Erik Brannstrom also scored for Ottawa, with Batherson running his goal streak to four games.
Lundqvist still mulling return
UNDATED (AP) — NHL goaltender Henrik Lundqvist says he's still months away from making a decision about his hockey future.
The 38-year-old Lundqvist returned to the ice this week, less than two months since undergoing open-heart surgery. He posted videos to social media of himself in goaltending gear taking shots in net.
However, he said it will be months before he can make any decisions regarding his future after more tests and conversations with doctors.
Lundqvist played his entire NHL career with the New York Rangers before signing with Washington last fall.
In other NHL news:
— Flyers forward Jakub Voracek has been cleared to return after 14 days on the COVID-19 list. The Flyers are down to just three players in the COVID protocol after having as many as seven on the list as recently as Feb. 17.
GYMNASTICS COACH-SEXUAL ASSAULT
Former U.S. Olympics gymnastics coach dies by suicide after being charged
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A former U.S. Olympics gymnastics coach with ties to disgraced sports doctor Larry Nassar has killed himself after being charged with two dozen crimes.
Michigan's attorney general announced John Geddert's death on Thursday afternoon, about three hours after a news conference where charges were revealed. Crimes include sexual assault, human trafficking and turning his Lansing-area gym into a criminal enterprise.
Geddert had insisted he had no knowledge of Nassar's sexual assaults, but he was charged with lying to investigators.
Nassar is serving decades in prison.
Indians, others to play home games in front of fans
UNDATED (AP) — The Indians plan to have 10,000 fans inside Progressive Field for home games in April. The team announced Thursday they're hosting 30% percent of capacity at their downtown ballpark, which was off-limits to fans last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Indians said ticket availability will be determined monthly until the ballpark can be at capacity.
In other sports attendance news:
— Boston's Celtics and Bruins will be able to play in front of a limited number of fans starting March 22, and the Red Sox could host more than 4,500 fans at Fenway Park on opening day.
— The Cincinnati Reds have been cleared to have around 12,700 fans at Great American Ball Park for games this year.
— The Buffalo Sabres will begin allowing about 2,000 fans to attend select home games starting next month.
— The easing of public-gathering restrictions in North Carolina has opened the door for a limited number of fans to attend the Atlantic Coast Conference men's and women's basketball tournaments.
Simpson, Fitzpatrick share Workday lead
BRADENTON, Fla. (AP) — Webb Simpson ran off three straight late birdies for a share of the first-round lead in the PGA's Workday Championship.
Simpson matched Matthew Fitzpatrick with a 6-under 66 that included birdies on the par-4 15th and 16th and par-5 17th. Fitzpatrick had a bogey-free round.
Brooks Koepka (KEHP'-kuh) was a stroke out of the lead at 67 with Billy Horschel, Sergio Garcia and Kevin Kisner.
World No. 2 Dustin Johnson opened with a 77, as did Bubba Watson and Bryson DeChambeau.
PGA-PUERTO RICO OPEN
Gainey leads in Puerto Rico
RIO GRANDE, Puerto Rico (AP) — Tommy Gainey is the first-round leader of the PGA's Puerto Rico Open.
Gainey birdied five of his last seven holes for a 7-under 65 that puts him one ahead of seven players.
Rafael Campos, Robert Garrigus (GAR'-ih-guhs), Taylor Pendrith and Lee Hodges are in a second-place tie with Greg Chalmers, Fabian Gomez and Brandon Wu.