Vincent Edwards scored 15 of his 21 points in the second half, and Purdue held off Vermont 80-70 Thursday night for its first victory in the NCAA Tournament in five years. It was Vermont's first loss this calendar year. The Catamounts, the regular-season and tournament champions in the America East, had the nation's longest active win streak at 21 games.
No. 12 Middle Tennessee State and No. 11 Xavier both upset higher ranked teams to advance to the second round of the NCAA Tournament on Thursday. Middle Tennessee pulled off an 81-72 upset of Minnesota as Reggie Upshaw scored 19 points and Giddy Potts added 15. Trevon Blueitt scored 21 points and Sean O'Mara had 18 in the Musketeers's 76-65 decision over Maryland.
A pair of No. 1 seeds were in action during Thursday's opening-round play in the NCAA Tournament, and both came away victorious. Villanova thumped Mount St. Mary's, 76-56 behind Donte DiVincenzo's 21 points. Jordan Mathews scored 16 points and Gonzaga advanced with a 66-46 win against South Dakota State.
The Indiana Hoosiers are shopping around for a new men's basketball coach. The school has announced that Tom Crean has been fired after going 166-135 in nine often lackluster seasons with the Hoosiers. Crean won two Big Ten regular-season championships over the last five seasons, but he went 18-16 this year and missed the NCAA Tournament for the fifth time since taking over the program. Crean came to Bloomington following an NCAA scandal that gutted the program.
Court officials have released an affidavit that says Kansas freshman star Josh Jackson threatened to "beat" a Jayhawks women's basketball player during a confrontation outside a bar in December. The affidavit was filed by police to justify a court summons Jackson was served March 7 on a misdemeanor charge of criminal damage. The release was the latest in a series of embarrassing moments this season for both Kansas and its talented freshman. He was suspended for last week's quarterfinal loss to TCU as punishment for an accumulation of incidents. Kansas coach Bill Self remained adamant that Jackson would play in Friday's NCAA Tournament opener against UC Davis.
Today at 2 p.m. No. 12 Iona will see No. 3 Oregon in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
In women’s college basketball, Megan Walker says she'll be among UConn's biggest supporters when they open up NCAA Tournament play on Saturday. That's because the 6-foot-1 national high school player of the year already considers herself one of the Huskies. UConn, plays UAlbany on Saturday, entering the tournament at 32-0, on an unprecedented 107-game winning streak, as the overall Number 1 seed and favored to win a fifth straight national championship. The winner will go on to face the victor in the Syracuse game. The eight seeded Orange goes head-to-head with No. 9 Iowa State in Storrs, Connecticut tomorrow at 1:30 p.m. Meanwhile No. 5 Marquette takes on No. 12 Quinnipiac at 1:30 p.m.
In the CIT, Saint Peter’s squeaked by UAlbany 59-55.
Tomorrow in the NIT, No. 1 Syracuse will face off with Ole Miss at 11 a.m.
In men’s college hockey, Notre Dame faces UMass Lowell at 5 p.m. for the Hockey East semifinals. ECAC hockey semifinal play starts today in Lake Placid where Cornell will face Union 7:30 p.m. and Quinnipiac takes on Harvard at 4 p.m. The winners of the ECAC semifinal games will face off in the championship on Sunday.
In women’s college hockey, Clarkson goes up against Minnesota tonight at 9 p.m. in the National Collegiate semifinals.
In the NHL, Winnipeg doubled up the Islanders 4-2, New Jersey topped Philadelphia 6-2, Edmonton blasted Boston 7-4, Los Angeles blanked Buffalo 2-0, St. Louis won against San Jose 4-1, Dallas beat Vancouver 4-2, Detroit won against Arizona in a shootout 5-4, Toronto shut out Tampa Bay 5-0, Chicago slid past Ottawa 2-1, Columbus edged Florida 2-1, Nashville skated by Washington 2-1 in overtime, and it was Carolina over Minnesota 3-1.
In the NBA, Brooklyn topped the Knicks 121-110, Cleveland won against Utah 91-83, Oklahoma City bested Toronto 123-102, Memphis beat Atlanta 103-91, Denver beat the Clippers 129-114, and it was Golden State over Orlando 122-92.
In baseball’s spring training, the Yankees beat Toronto 11-5, Washington won against the Mets 3-1, and Boston edged Pittsburgh 4-3.
Hall of Famer Roberto Alomar has been hired by Major League Baseball as a special consultant and tasked with focusing on youth development in Puerto Rico. The 49-year-old, inducted to the Hall in 2011, is to serve as an ambassador at events and development initiatives on the island, including youth clinics and tournaments.
Former Boston Red Sox star Manny Ramirez is set to begin the next chapter of his baseball odyssey by playing for the Kochi Fighting Dogs of Japan's independent Shikoku Island League. Kochi is the capital city of Kochi Prefecture on the Island of Shikoku. The city has an estimated population of 340,000. The 44-year-old Dominican was the designated hitter and had two hits in five at-bats and one RBI in a 3-2 win over the Hideo Nomo baseball club.
NL Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer probably will miss the Nationals' opener against Miami on April 3 because of a stress fracture in his right ring finger. Scherzer has thrown batting practice twice during spring training but has not appeared in a big league exhibition game. The 32-year-old right-hander was 20-7 last season.
Organizers on Friday confirmed that baseball and softball games for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics will be held in Fukushima, an area hit by the 2011 earthquake and nuclear disaster. The International Olympic Committee approved the use of Fukushima Azuma Baseball Stadium as an additional venue for baseball and softball.
The IOC and Tokyo organizers have been eager to use the games as a symbol of recovery from the 2011 disaster that hit Japan's northeastern region including Fukushima, 240 kilometers (150 miles) north of Tokyo, where entire communities fled after meltdowns at the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant. More than 18,000 people died or went missing after a massive earthquake and tsunami.
"By hosting Olympic baseball and softball events, Fukushima will have a great platform to show the world the extent of its recovery in the 10 years since the disaster," Tokyo 2020 president Yoshiro Mori said.
The stadium, which has hosted professional baseball games in recent years, will be renovated for the games. Yokohama Stadium, some 40km (24 miles) from Tokyo, will be the main stadium for the baseball and softball competitions.
The proposal to use the 31-year-old Fukushima stadium was approved at the IOC Executive Board meeting in Pyeongchang. Baseball and softball were dropped after the Beijing Olympics in 2008 but have been added to the Olympic program for the 2020 Games.
Minnesota Vikings general manager Rick Spielman has confirmed Adrian Peterson's time with the team is over. Spielman told reporters Thursday that he spoke with the running back to wish him well, clarifying that the franchise's all-time leading rusher will be playing elsewhere in 2017. Spielman also signed Oakland running back Latavius Murray, who rushed for 788 yards and a career-high 12 touchdowns last season despite missing two games with a toe injury. Peterson played 10 seasons with the Vikings and was the 2012 NFL Most Valuable Player.
Also in the NFL:
— The Atlanta Falcons have bolstered their defensive line by agreeing to terms with two-time Pro Bowler Dontari Poe.
— The Cowboys have re-signed veteran running back Darren McFadden and guard Jonathan Cooper.
— The Raiders have agreed to a deal with free-agent tight Jared Cook, a contract that the NFL Network says is worth $12.2 million over two years with $5 million guaranteed.
— The Rams have signed linebacker Connor Barwin, one week after he was released by the Eagles.
— Free agent guard Jermon Bushrod has re-signed with the Dolphins after starting all 16 games for them last season.
Emiliano Grillo and Matt Fitzpatrick share the first-round lead in the first Arnold Palmer Invitational since the beloved tournament host passed away last year. Grillo overcame a rough start with seven birdies that gave him a 5-under 67. Lucas Glover, Paul Casey and Charlie Hoffman are one shot back and one ahead of Greg Chalmers and Ryan Ruffels. Jason Day is three off the pace. Palmer's grandson, Sam Saunders, was 2-under with three holes to play before carding a pair of 6s for a 2-over 74.
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