Apr 07, 2021 9:19 AM

Sports Headlines for Wednesday

Posted Apr 07, 2021 9:19 AM

Here is the latest Mid-America sports news from The Associated Press

MIAMI (AP) โ€” Yadier Molina hit a tiebreaking sacrifice fly off former batterymate Sandy Alcantara to cap a three-run rally in the sixth inning that sent the St. Louis Cardinals over Miami Marlins 4-2. Dylan Carson hit his second homer of the season for an insurance run in the ninth. Alcantara was traded by St. Louis in a package to Miami for Marcell Ozuna in December 2017. Alcantara tied a career high with 10 strikeouts in the first five innings, shutting out the Cardinals on two hits. A passed ball, an RBI grounder and Molina's fly put the Cardinals ahead.

UNDATED (AP) โ€” The St. Louis Blues have lost seven in a row and are running out of time to salvage their season and make the playoffs. Less than two years since winning the Stanley Cup, the Blues face an uphill climb to even qualify for the NHL postseason. They're five points back of the final spot in the Western Division with 18 games to go. But 14 of those 18 games are against the top three teams in the West: Vegas, Colorado or Minnesota. Coach Craig Berube's team needs to find its game quickly or it will be lamenting another rough ending to a season.

LOS ANGELES (AP) โ€” Luka Garza of Iowa has won the John R. Wooden Award as the nation's top men's college basketball player. The award presented by the Los Angeles Athletic Club was announced on ESPN's "SportsCenter." It was Garza's fourth player of the year award. He collected honors from The Associated Press as well as trophies named for Oscar Robertson and Lute Olson. He led the nation in total points with 747, in 30-point games with eight and field goals made with 281. He ranked second nationally in scoring with 24.1 points. The Hawkeyes lost in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) โ€” Former Chicago Bulls assistant Nate Loenser will join Nebraska as an assistant coach and Doc Sadler will become a special assistant to head coach Fred Hoiberg. Hoiberg worked with Loenser at Iowa State from 2013-15 and with the Bulls from 2015-18. Sadler was head coach at Nebraska from 2006-12 and a full-time assistant under Hoiberg the last two seasons. As special assistant, Sadler won't be allowed to coach during practices and games. 

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) โ€” The NCAA Division I baseball and softball tournaments will have pre-determined sites for regionals and super regionals as a safeguard against COVID-19. NCAA sports directors said in an April 2 memo that schools are invited to bid to be among 16 regional hosts in each sport. Those sites will be announced the week of April 26 for softball and the week of May 10 for baseball. Eight super-regional sites will be selected from among the 16 regional sites. Regionals traditionally are awarded to the top 16 seeds in the tournaments. Extra time is needed to set up sites for COVID-19 testing.

AMES, Iowa (AP) โ€” Iowa State's Rasir Bolton has entered the NCAA transfer portal and will be looking to play at his third school in four years. Bolton was the Cyclones' leading scorer at 15.5 points per game. Bolton left Penn State in 2019 after then-coach Patrick Chambers made a race-tinged comment to him. Chambers resigned in October 2020. Iowa State won only two games this past season. Coach Steve Prohm was fired, replaced by T.J. Otzelberger. Bolton tweeted that he had expected to remain with the Cyclones and that the decision to leave was not his own.

FREMONT, Neb. (AP) โ€” The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics has begun competition in women's flag football with 13 small-college teams in six states. One of them is Midland University in Fremont, Nebraska. Players from as far away as Alaska, Florida and Nevada came to the 1,600-student school to continue playing the fast-growing sport. The NAIA expects at least 40 schools to have teams in two or three years. That's the threshold required for the NAIA to sponsor a championship in a sport. Midland and other small schools start programs in a wide variety of sports to help increase enrollment. 

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) โ€” San Jose State has hired former Nebraska coach Tim Miles to take over the Spartans' struggling program. Athletic director Marie Tuite pointed to Miles' experience building programs at Colorado State and Nebraska when she announced the hire. Miles ended NCAA Tournament droughts at both those schools and had a 187-202 record in five seasons at Colorado State and seven at Nebraska. 

Update on the latest sports

NBA-SCHEDULE

76ers top Celtics, catch Nets

UNDATED (AP) โ€” Joel Embiid (joh-EHL' ehm-BEED') and the Philadelphia 76ers have regained a share of first place in the NBA's Eastern Conference, pulling even with the Brooklyn Nets by downing Boston.

Embiid scored 35 points as the Sixers finished a three-game season sweep of the Celtics, 106-96. Danny Green added 17 points for the 76ers, who have won both games with Embiid in the lineup since he missed 10 straight due to a bone bruise in his left knee.

Philadelphia led by 21 in the second half of the opener of a four-game trip.

Boston was trying for its first three-game win streak since early March. Jayson Tatum led the Celtics with 20 points.

Checking out Tuesday's other NBA action:

โ€” Kelly Oubre (OO'-bray) Jr. converted a pair of free throws with 7.7 seconds left to give Golden State the lead in a 122-121 downing of the Bucks. Stephen Curry poured in 41 points, nailing five 3-pointers, including a trey with 1:06 remaining. Oubre wound up with 19 points and Bazemore scored 18 in just the Warriors' second win in nine games.

โ€” The Clippers cruised to an easy win after setting a team record with 47 points in the first quarter of a 133-116 trouncing of the Trail Blazers. Paul George had 36 points on 11 of 18 shooting, making six 3-pointers and all eight of his free throws. Kawhi (kah-WY') Leonard added 29 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists as Los Angeles ended Portland's four-game road winning streak.

โ€” The Lakers built a 34-point lead in the first 20 minutes and cruised to a 110-101 win over the Raptors. Talen Horton-Tucker led seven Lakers in double figures with 17 points and Markieff Morris scored 15 before leaving the game with five fouls in the third quarter. The Lakers converted 13 of their first 18 3-point attempts and led 66-32 after Morris scored seven straight points late in the second quarter.

โ€” Nikola Jokic (nih-KOH'-lah YOH'-kihch) scored 27 points in 27 minutes to carry the Nuggets to a 139-119 romp over the Pistons. Jokic also dished out 11 assists, his 83rd career double-digit assist game, two more than Wilt Chamberlain had in his Hall of Fame career. Denver also got 25 points from Michael Porter Jr. and 24 from Will Barton in its seventh win in a row.

โ€” Dillon Brooks scored 28 points on 10-for-16 shooting as the Grizzlies defeated the Heat, 124-112. Jonas Valanciunas (YOH'-nuhs val-ehn-CHOO'-nihs) scored 20 points, Kyle Anderson finished with 19 points and Desmond Bane added 15 points as Memphis won its third in a row. The loss ended Miami's four-game winning streak, three weeks after the Grizzlies stalled another Heat streak at five.

โ€” Trae Young scored 30 points and the Hawks drained 11 of their 20 3-pointers in the third quarter of a 123-107 victory against the Pelicans. Bogdan Bogdanovic provided four 3s in the third period and finished with 21 points. Kevin Huerter had 17 points and Young had 12 assists for Atlanta, which has won four consecutive games to improve to 13-4 under interim coach Nate McMillan.

โ€” Nikola Vucevic (nih-KOH'-lah VOO'-cheh-vihch) took advantage of Indiana's missing big men by posting 32 points and 17 rebounds to help the Bulls overwhelm the short-handed Pacers, 113-97. All-Star Zach LaVine added 19 points, eight rebounds and six assists in Chicago's second straight win since a six-game slide. The Pacers started the game without two-time All-Star Domantas Sabonis (doh-MAHN'-tahs sah-BOH'-nihs) and guard Malcolm Brogdon before losing Myles Turner in the third quarter with a sprained left ankle.

NBA-NETS-INJURIES

Durant returning, Harden sitting

NEW YORK (AP) โ€” The Brooklyn Nets say one of their superstars is about to return, while another will be on the shelf for a few days.

The team has announced that Kevin Durant probably will play Wednesday after missing 23 straight games with a strained left hamstring. Durant has averaged 29 points, 7.3 rebounds and 5.3 assists in 19 games this season.

News of Durant's return comes as the Nets said an MRI on James Harden's right hamstring has revealed a strain. Harden will be re-evaluated in about 10 days.

MLB-SCHEDULE

Correa's blast lifts Astros

UNDATED (AP) โ€” The Houston Astros have shown they don't mind playing in hostile environments.

The Astros have completed a 5-1 road trip with a 4-2 win over the Angels, one day after fans threw an inflatable garbage can and a real one onto the warning track. Houston played amid constant booing in protest over the team's sign-stealing scandal. It's the first time AL West fans have been allowed to enter ballparks since the Astros' sign-stealing scheme was made public.

The jeers didn't bother Carlos Correa, who belted a tiebreaking, two-run homer in the ninth inning. Kyle Tucker and Aledmys (ah-LEHD'-mees) Dรญaz hit back-to-back homers in the second inning for the Astros.

Mike Trout hit a 464-foot homer in the first inning and Shohei Ohtani (SHOH'-hay oh-TAH'-nee) had two hits, but the Angels dropped to 4-2 and failed to match the best six-game start in franchise history.

Also around the majors:

โ€” The Nationals finally opened their season by beating the Braves, 6-5 on Juan Soto's walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth. Ronald Acuรฑa Jr. hit two of Atlanta's four solo shots off Max Scherzer during the first three innings, but Washington rallied on Jonathan Lucroy's two-run double in the second and Trea Turner's two-run homer an inning later.

โ€” The Phillies have their first loss of the season after Marcus Stroman held them to one run and three hits over six innings of the Mets' 8-4 win. Dominic Smith and Pete Alonso each hit a two-run homer to back Stroman, who was pitching for the first time since 2019 after sitting out last year over COVID-19 concerns.

โ€” Tyler Naquin (NAY'-kwihn) homered twice and drove in a career-high seven runsto help the Reds cruise to their fourth straight win, a 14-1 assault on the Pirates. Rookie Jonathan India had three hits and four RBIs for Cincinnati, which has scored 46 runs in its first five games.

โ€” Yadier (YAH'-dee-ehr) Molina hit a tiebreaking sacrifice fly off former batterymate Sandy Alcantara to cap a three-run sixth that sent the Cardinals past the Marlins, 4-2. Dylan Carson hit his second homer of the season for an insurance run in the ninth.

โ€” Freddy Peralta (peh-TAHL'-tah) worked five innings and combined with Brent Suter and Brad Boxberger on a one-hitter as the Brewers blanked the Cubs, 4-0. Travis Shaw hit a three-run homer and Omar Narvaez added a solo drive to help Milwaukee end a three-game skid.

โ€” Clayton Kershaw struck out eight in seven smooth innings of the Dodgers' fifth straight victory, 5-1 over the winless Athletics. Mookie Betts, Max Muncy and Edwin Rios went deep as Los Angeles dropped Oakland to 0-6, matching the A's' worst six-game start since an 0-6 beginning in 1916.

โ€” Victor Caratini hit a go-ahead, two-run home run and Yu Darvish pitched six strong innings for the Padres in a 3-1 verdict over the Giants. Darvish got a no-decision after allowing one run and three hits while striking out seven and walking one.

โ€” The Diamondbacks blew leads in the ninth, 10th and 12th innings before Stephen Vogt (voht) hit a go-ahead single in the 13th to lead Arizona past the Rockies, 10-8. Vogt also homered and Colorado fell to 1-4 despite Ryan McMahon's three solo home runs.

โ€” The Yankees mowed down the Orioles, 7-2 as Gerrit Cole struck out 13 and walked none over seven scoreless innings. Jay Bruce hit his first homer as a Yankee and Aaron Judge added a three-run blast for New York.

โ€” Randy Arozarena (ah-ROH'-zah-RAY'-nuh) misplayed J.D. Martinez's fly ball into a two-run double with two out in the bottom of the 12th lifting the Red Sox over the Rays, 6-5. The Rays were in line for the win before Christian Vรกzquez belted Diego Castillo's 0-2 pitch over the Green Monster for a tying homer leading off the ninth.

โ€” Nate Lowe has 14 RBIs already this season after homering twice and driving in four to lead the Rangers to a 7-4 victory over the Blue Jays. Ronald Guzman and Jonah Heim also went deep for Texas in its first four-homer game in their year-old ballpark.

โ€” Jose Abreu (ah-BRAY'-oo) launched a grand slam into the second deck for his 200th career home run as part of the White Sox's 10-4 dismantling of the Mariners. Luis Robert and Zack Collins both went deep for the first time this season after Seattle starter James Paxton had to leave the game early because of a left elbow injury.

โ€” Rule 5 pickup Akil Baddoo added another big hit in a charmed start to his big league career, lining an RBI single in the bottom of the 10th inning to give the Tigers a 4-3 win over Minnesota. Baddoo made his debut Sunday and homered on the first pitch thrown to him before hitting a grand slam in Monday's 15-6 loss to Minnesota.

MLB-ALL STAR GAME

Major League Baseball confirms that All-Star Game will be played in Denver

DENVER (AP) โ€” The All-Star Game will be played at hitter-friendly Coors Field this year.

Major League Baseball officially announced the new venue Tuesday after pulling the Midsummer Classic from Atlanta over objections to sweeping changes to Georgia's voting laws. Coors Field last hosted the All-Star Game in 1998.

MLB-NEWS

Nats sideline many players before first game

UNDATED (AP) โ€” Starting pitchers Jon Lester and Patrick Corbin, closer Brad Hand and four position players expected in the lineup have been put on the 10-day injured list by the Washington Nationals.

Left fielder Kyle Schwarber, first baseman Josh Bell, second baseman Josh Harrison and catcher Yan Gomes are on the IL, as are backups Alex Avila and Jordy Mercer. The Nationals' first four games on the schedule were postponed because of a coronavirus outbreak within the team.

Elsewhere in the major leagues:

โ€” The Padres say shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. should be able to avoid surgery on the left shoulder he injured while taking a hard swing on Monday. An MRI on Tuesday showed a slight labral tear and the Padres put the electrifying 22-year-old on the 10-day injured list.

โ€” The Rangers have found a destination for infielder Rougned Odor (ROOG'-nehd oh-DOHR'), sending him to the Yankees for minor league outfielders Antonio Cabello and Josh Stowers. The 27-year-old Odor did not make the Rangers' opening day roster and was designated for assignment on April 1.

โ€” The Braves have acquired infielder Orlando Arcia from the Brewers for right-handed pitchers Chad Sobotka and Patrick Weigel. Arcia had been the Brewers' starting shortstop from 2018-20 but was expected to split time between shortstop and third base this year in more of a utility role.

โ€” The Rays have placed center fielder Kevin Kiermaier on the 10-day injured list with a left quadriceps strain. The defensive whiz experienced tightness in his leg Monday night before being removed from the lineup during the third inning of an 11-2 loss to the Red Sox.

NHL-SCHEDULE

Canes top Cats as Bolts fall

UNDATED (AP) โ€” The Carolina Hurricanes sit just one point off the NHL's Central Division lead after defeating the first-place Panthers.

Vincent Trocheck (TROH'-chehk) scored a power-play goal and had an assist as the Hurricanes downed the Panthers, 5-2. Jordan Staal scored twice, including the tiebreaking tally with 11:08 remaining. Aleksander Barkov scored both goals for the Panthers, who ended a six-game winning streak and fell to 18-1-1 when leading after two periods.

Meanwhile, the Lightning's recent struggles have continued in a 4-2 loss to the Blue Jackets. Zac Dalpe scored for the first time in 4 1/2 years and Joonas Korpisalo (YOH'-nahs kohr-pih-SAH'-loh) made 36 saves as Columbus sent the Bolts to their fifth loss in seven games.

Max Domi (DOH'-mee) and Jack Roslovic (RAHS'-loh-vihich) each had a goal and an assist for the Jackets.

Elsewhere on NHL ice:

โ€” The Islanders were 1-0 winners over Washington to pull into a first-place tie with the Capitals in the East Division. Brock Nelson scored with just under seven minutes left and Semyon Varlamov (SEHM'-yahn vahr-LAH'-mahv) made 29 saves as the Isles improved to 16-1-2 at Nassau Coliseum. Varlamov earned his fourth shutout this season and the 31st of his career.

โ€” The Rangers clobbered the Penguins, 8-4 as Artemi Panarin (ahr-TEH'-mee pah-NAH'-rihn) had a goal and three assists and Adam Fox had a goal and two assists. It was the first time in 11 years that the Blueshirts had eight different players score in the same game. Igor Shesterkin (shehs-TUR'-kihn) made 42 saves for New York, which is 3-0-1 in its last four.

โ€” Brad Marchand's short-handed goal midway through the third period led the Bruins to a 4-2 win over the Flyers. Boston forward Patrice Bergeron (pah-TREES' BEHR'-zhuh-rahn) recorded a hat trick and reached 900 career points. Jeremy Swayman made his NHL debut and became the fourth goalie to play for the Bruins this season, making 40 saves.

โ€” The Predators earned a 3-2 win over the Red Wings on shootout goals by Ryan Johansen and Roman Josi (YOH'-see). Mikael Granlund and Luke Kunin (KOO'-nihn) scored for Nashville and Juuse Saros (YOO'-see SAH'-rohs) made 25 saves. The Predators have won eight of their last nine to move into fourth place in the Central Division.

โ€” Patrick Kane had a goal and an assist for the Blackhawks in a 4-2 decision over the Stars. Kirby Dach (dahk), Dominik Kubilik (koo-BAH'-leek) and Alex DeBrincat (deh-BRIHN'-kat) also scored in Chicago's first win in three games. The Hawks saw a 3-0, third-period lead shrink to 3-2 before Kevin Lankinen stopped a shot in the slot with 93 seconds to play.

โ€” David Backes (BAK-ehs) and Nicolas Deslauriers (deh-LOHR'-ee-ay) each had a goal and an assist as the Ducks whipped the Sharks, 5-1 to end San Jose's four-game winning streak. Adam Henrique (hehn-REEK'), Isac Lundestrom and Max Comtois (KAHM'-twah) also scored for Anaheim, which had lost three in a row. John Gibson made 34 saves.

โ€” Defenseman Rasmus Dahlin (dah-LEEN') scored and set up the winning goal by Casey Mittelstadt as the Sabres downed the Devils, 5-3 to snap a 10-game road winless streak. Linus Ullmark made 27 saves to beat the Devils for the fourth time this season. Ramus Asplund, Brandon Montour and Rasmus Ristolainen also scored for the Sabres, who recently snapped an 18-game winless streak.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL-NEWS

Dosunmu leaving Illini early

UNDATED (AP) โ€” The list of players leaving college early for the NBA now includes junior Ayo Dosunmu (EYE'-oh dah-SOO'-moo).

The Illinois standout has announced on ESPN that he is giving up the remainder of his eligibility to enter this year's NBA Draft. Dosunmu was a first-team All-American, averaging 20.1 points, 6.3 rebounds and 5.3 assists in helping the Illini win the Big Ten tournament and a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tourney.

Dosunmu also won the Bob Cousy award as the nation's top point guard.

Also in college basketball:

โ€” Iowa center Luka Garza of Iowa has won the John R. Wooden Award as the nation's top men's college basketball player. Garza led the nation with 747 total points, eight 30-point games and 281 field goals made.

โ€” Iowa State leading scorer Rasir Bolton has entered the NCAA transfer portal and will be looking to play at his third school in four years.

โ€” UConn senior Isaiah Whaley is taking advantage of the extra year of eligibility being offered to athletes by the NCAA and will return for a fifth year with the Huskies.

โ€” Villanova forward Cole Swider has signed a financial aid agreement with Syracuse and will join the men's basketball program after three seasons with the Wildcats.

โ€” Texas Tech graduate Mark Adams has been introduced as the Red Raiders' head coach. Adams replaces Chris Beard, who left last Thursday to become the new coach at Texas.

โ€” San Jose State has hired former Nebraska coach Tim Miles to take over the Spartans' struggling program.

โ€” DePaul has hired longtime Oregon assistant Tony Stubblefield as head coach to rebuild a basketball program that has struggled for decades.

COLLEGE SPORTS-WISCONSIN-ALVAREZ

Alvarez stepping down as Wisconsin AD

MADISON, Wis. (AP) โ€” Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez is retiring on June 30 after a three-decade run in which he transformed the university's football team and later guided the Badgers to their greatest all-around sports success in school history.

Alvarez arrived at Wisconsin in 1990 as football coach and turned one of the Big Ten's weakest programs into one of its strongest. He became athletic director in 2004 and briefly served in a dual role before stepping down as football coach after the 2005 season.

UNITED STATES-OLYMPICS

US weighs Beijing Olympics boycott with partners, allies

WASHINGTON (AP) โ€” The State Department says the Biden administration is considering a possible boycott of the upcoming Beijing Winter Olympics to protest China's human rights record.

Department spokesman Ned Price said Tuesday the U.S. is discussing China strategy, including participation in the Olympics, with a number of partners and allies in order to present a united front.

Human rights groups are protesting China's hosting of the Games, which are set to start in February 2022. They have urged a diplomatic or straight-up boycott of the event to call attention to alleged Chinese abuses against Uyghurs, Tibetans and residents of Hong Kong.

NFL-TEXANS-WATSON-LAWSUITS

Woman alleges she was terrorized by assault from Texans QB

HOUSTON (AP) โ€” The first woman to accuse Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson of sexual assault and harassment in a lawsuit has spoken publicly on Tuesday.

Ashley Solis alleges she was terrorized by her encounter with the NFL player and that he needs to be held accountable for his actions. Solis said in a news conference that she was assaulted and traumatized when she tried to give Watson a massage in March 2020. She says she's seeking justice for herself and other victims.

Watson has been accused of sexual assault or harassment in lawsuits filed by 22 women. Watson's attorney has called the allegations "meritless."

NFL-NEWS

Lions sign Dunbar

UNDATED (AP) โ€” The Detroit Lions have signed cornerback Quinton Dunbar as they add desperately needed help in its secondary.

Dunbar had armed robbery charges dropped against him last year in a case that also involved New York Giants defensive back DeAndre Baker, who also was cleared. Dunbar has at least one interception in each of his six NFL seasons.