Weekend Sports In Brief
MEN’S NCAA TOURNAMENT
A scintillating Sunday of games jolted the men’s NCAA Tournament to life like a triple shot of espresso.
North Carolina, the South Region No. 1 seed, had the most frenetic finish, blowing a 17-point lead and then scoring the game’s final 12 points to hold off Arkansas. South Carolina, the No. 7 seed in the East, had the biggest takedown, knocking off No. 2 Duke 88-81 in what was essentially a home game in Greenville.
Kentucky had its hands full until the end against Wichita State, needing two blocked 3-pointers in the final minute to beat the Shockers 65-62.
Oregon trailed most of the second half against spunky Rhode Island in the Midwest Region before scoring the final 7 points to beat the No. 11 seed Rams 75-72 . Baylor had a late spurt to beat Southern California in a taut game and UCLA kicked its offense in high gear after a sluggish first half to beat Cincinnati .
On Saturday, Villanova, the defending national champion and the top overall seed, lost 65-62 to No. 8 seed Wisconsin.
WOMEN’S NCAA TOURNAMENT
Baylor shattered the margin of victory mark, while Texas A&M pulled off the biggest comeback in tournament history.
The Lady Bears routed Texas Southern 119-30 on Saturday, besting the previous 74-point win Tennessee had over North Carolina A&T (111-37) in 1994. A few hours later, Texas A&M found itself down 21 points to Penn before rallying for a 63-61 victory to close out the first round of the NCAAs.
It was a great opening two days for the Pac-12 and ACC, who both went 7-0. The state of Connecticut also had a good first day Saturday.
First, UConn rolled to another easy win and then 12-seed Quinnipiac pulled off the first real upset of the women’s NCAA Tournament. The Bobcats and 10th-seeded Oregon were the only double-digit seeds to advance.
The top-seeded Huskies have won 25 consecutive NCAA games and 108 in a row overall with a 116-55 win over Albany. UConn will face Syracuse on Monday night in a rematch of last season’s national championship game. It’s the earliest rematch of the title participants in NCAA tourney history. The victory moved Geno Auriemma two behind Pat Summitt for the most all-time in the NCAAs.
Tricia Fabbri and Quinnipiac earned their first with the Bobcats 68-65 upset of Marquette.
INDIAN WELLS, Calif. (AP) Roger Federer defeated Stan Wawrinka 6-4, 7-5 to win a record-tying fifth BNP Paribas Open title in the all-Swiss final.
At 35 years and seven months, Federer became the oldest champion in the desert tournament’s history on Sunday, surpassing Jimmy Connors, who was 31 years and five months when he won in 1981.
Federer tied the tourney record of Novak Djokovic, who lost in the fourth round, while winning his 90th career title, keeping him third behind Connors and Ivan Lendl on the all-time list in the Open era.
Federer dropped serve just once in five matches, losing the first game of the second set against Wawrinka. Federer advanced to the semifinals via walkover when Nick Kyrgios withdrew.
In an all-Russian women’s final, Elena Vesnina defeated Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-7 (6), 7-5, 6-4.
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – Dwight Clark revealed Sunday that he has Lou Gehrig’s disease and suspects playing football might have caused the illness.
Clark announced on Twitter that he has amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a disease that attacks cells that control muscles. The former San Francisco 49ers wide receiver linked to a post on his personal blog detailing his ALS diagnosis, but the site crashed Sunday night, apparently from an overflow of traffic.
”I’ve been asked if playing football caused this,” Clark said in the post. ”I don’t know for sure. But I certainly suspect it did.”
The 60-year-old Clark wrote that he began experiencing symptoms in September 2015. He’s lost significant strength in his left hand and also has weakness in his right hand, midsection, lower back and right leg. Clark won two Super Bowls with the 49ers during a nine-year career that ended in 1987. He memorably pulled down the winning touchdown pass from Joe Montana in the 1981 NFC Championship Game against the Dallas Cowboys, a play remembered simply as ”The Catch.”
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) – Marc Leishman holed a 50-foot eagle putt on the 16th hole to take the lead Sunday, and he stayed there with two tough pars at the end to win the Arnold Palmer Invitational and earn a trip to the Masters.
In a final hour that featured four players having at least a share of the lead, Leishman is the only one who didn’t blink.
His final act was a pitch-and-run from 45 yards away on the closing hole at Bay Hill that ran out to 3 feet. He calmly made the par putt for a 3-under 69 and one-shot victory over Kevin Kisner and Charley Hoffman.
The only thing missing was a handshake from the King. This was the first Arnold Palmer Invitational since the September death of the beloved tournament host.
PHOENIX (AP) – Anna Nordqvist caught up with some college friends – and left everyone else behind on another hot afternoon at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup.
The 29-year-old former Arizona State player shot a 4-under 68 on Sunday to hold off fellow major champions Ariya Jutanugarn, Stacy Lewis and In Gee Chun by two strokes in record 96-degree heat at Desert Ridge.
Nordqvist finished at 25-under 263, two strokes off the LPGA Tour record that Sei Young Kim matched last year at Desert Ridge. The 6-foot Swede had a tournament-record 61 on Saturday to take a two-stroke lead into the final round.
Jutanugarn and Lewis also shot 68, and Chun had a 66.
AVONDALE, Ariz. (AP) – Ryan Newman gambled and skipped a tire-changing pit stop to move from seventh place to the lead and held on for the final two laps for a surprise victory in Sunday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup series race.
The 39-year-old Newman, who broke a 127-race winless streak, held off Kyle Larson, the second-place finisher for the third straight race.
Kyle Busch, the leader for nearly all of the final stage of the race, was third on a day when the temperature soared to 97 degrees at Phoenix International Raceway.
Like nearly all the rest of the field, Larson and Busch went to the pits on the late caution caused when Joey Logano’s car blew a right tire and slammed into the wall six laps from the finish.
Newman, in his first win since the 2013 Brickyard 400, gave Chevrolet its first victory of the season and ended a 112-race losing streak for Richard Childress Racing.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) – NHRA driving great John Force won the Gatornationals for the first time since 2001, doing so on the 10th anniversary of his worst day in racing.
He beat rookie Jonnie Lindberg in the Funny Car final Sunday for his NHRA-leading eighth victory in 35 tries at the event.
His 148th career victory came a decade to the day after one of his drivers, Eric Medlen, crashed during practice at Gainesville Raceway. Medlen died four days later. Force helped Medlen’s father, John, spearhead efforts to make professional drag racing safer.
In the Top Fuel class, Tony Schumacher edged Don Schumacher Racing teammate Antron Brown for his 83rd career win. Shane Gray stunned four-time national champion Greg Anderson in Pro Stock, and Eddie Krawiec won Pro Stock Motorcycle for the second straight year and fifth time since 2010.
ASPEN, Colo. (AP) – Federica Brignone led an Italian sweep in the giant slalom at the World Cup Finals on Sunday as Tessa Worley of France held on for her first crystal globe.
Brignone glided through the course in a combined time of 1 minute, 58.01 seconds on a softening course to beat teammate Sofia Goggia by 1.44 seconds. Fellow Italian Marta Bassino took third.
Worley entered the race with an 80-point lead over Mikaela Shiffrin in the season-long GS standings. Worley turned in a fast but conservative final run to finish fifth. Shiffrin struggled to uncover speed and was sixth. Worley clinched her first World Cup GS title by 85 points. Andre Myhrer of Sweden won a slalom race on Sunday when first-run leader Marcel Hirscher of Austria uncharacteristically lost speed near the finish.
Myhrer navigated the course in a combined time of 1 minute, 27.97 seconds, holding off Felix Neureuther of Germany by 0.14 seconds. Austria’s Michael Matt was third and Hirscher fourth.
Hirscher held a 0.08-second lead heading into the final run and appeared on the verge of his 50th World Cup slalom podium finish. He will have to wait a season to try and join Sweden’s Ingemar Stenmark (81) and Italian Alberto Tomba (57) as the only men to achieve that milestone in the discipline.
The 28-year-old Hirscher already clinched the giant slalom and slalom globes, along with his sixth straight overall title.
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