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BC-Sports Briefs

April 1, 2019
By The Associated Press

COLLEGE BASKETBALL

Tom Izzo drew up the perfect play at the perfect moment, sending Michigan State past mighty Duke for a spot in the Final Four.

The trip is always emotional, but Izzo has done it before. This will be his eighth Final Four and a chance for a second national championship.

The other three Final Four coaches all will be the new kids at the dance.

Chris Beard’s nomadic journey struck a vein of gold in his 12th coaching stop at Texas Tech. Its opponent next Saturday in Minneapolis: Izzo’s Spartans.

Virginia’s Tony Bennett finally got over the hump in his 10th season with the Cavaliers, putting them in position for a different kind of history after last year’s historic first-round flameout against No. 16 UMBC.

And Auburn’s Bruce Pearl found some gems at Auburn after an acrimonious split with Tennessee, guiding the Tigers to Minneapolis despite the cloud of a federal investigation hanging over the program.

SEATTLE (AP) — Washington guard Jaylen Nowell, the Pac-12 Conference player of the year, announced he will enter the NBA draft.

Nowell released a statement on social media Sunday night ending the debate about whether he would declare for the NBA following a sophomore season where he led Washington scoring and was named the conference play of the year by the coaches.

NBA

LOS ANGELES (AP) — LeBron James’ first season with the Los Angeles Lakers is over.

James will sit out the final six games of the Lakers’ sixth consecutive losing season, the team announced Saturday. In a statement, President of Basketball Operations Magic Johnson and General Manager Rob Pelinka claimed the decision will provide James with a head start on offseason healing for a three-month-old groin strain, the first significant injury of his career.

James is the NBA’s fifth-leading scorer at 27.4 points per game, and he averaged 8.5 rebounds and 8.3 assists in his first season on the West Coast. He will accompany the Lakers on their upcoming trip to New Orleans and Oklahoma City, but the 16-year NBA veteran won’t play again in his first non-playoff season since 2005, his second year in the league.

James appeared in the past eight NBA Finals with Miami and Cleveland, but he will finish this year playing in a career-low 55 games and a career-low 35.2 minutes per game for the Lakers.

BASEBALL

BOSTON (AP) — Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts has agreed to terms on a new contract that would keep him in Boston through 2025 and guarantee him $132 million, a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press on Sunday night.

Bogaerts will earn $12 million this year under the terms of his existing deal and then $20 million for each of the next six seasons, the person said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the agreement had not yet been announced.

Another person familiar with the deal told the AP the deal includes a team option for 2026 at $20 million, which becomes guaranteed if he has 535 plate appearances in 2025. Bogaerts also has an opt-out clause after 2022.

Bogaerts hit .288 last year and set career bests with 23 homers and 103 RBIs while helping the Red Sox win a franchise-record 108 games in the regular season and a World Series championship. The 26-year-old native of Aruba finished 13th in the AL MVP voting.

— By AP Sports Writer Jimmy Golen.

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Christian Yelich of the Milwaukee Brewers extended his season-opening home run streak to four games, tying the major league record for homers in consecutive games to start a season.

Yelich also became the first player to win the MVP award and then homer in his first four games of the next season. He hit 36 home runs in 2018.

Yelich connected in the first inning Sunday off the St. Louis Cardinals’ Michael Wacha, sending a 1-0 fastball into the second deck at Miller Park.

He added a two-run double in the ninth, lifting the Brewers to a dramatic 5-4 win.

Five players have accomplished the feat previously: Willie Mays (1971), Mark McGwire (1998), Nelson Cruz (2011), Chris Davis (2013) and Trevor Story (2016).

Barry Bonds in 2002 and Albert Pujols in 2006 homered in the first two games of the year after winning MVP awards.

TENNIS

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (AP) — Roger Federer became tennis’ first repeat champion of 2019 when he won his 101st career title Sunday by beating defending champion John Isner in the Miami Open final, 6-1, 6-4.

Federer neutralized Isner’s big serve and won 32 of 35 points on his own serve. The 6-foot-10 Isner scrambled so desperately to stay in rallies that he hurt his left foot and limped badly through the final few points.

Federer was the Dubai champion on March 2, and was runner-up at Indian Wells two weeks ago. He’s 18-2 this year, which stamps him as a serious threat in Grand Slams later this year, even at age 37.

The first 33 men’s and women’s titles this year were won by 33 different players, including Ashleigh Barty in the Miami Open women’s final Saturday.

HOCKEY

TORONTO (AP) — The Canadian Women’s Hockey League will discontinue operations on May 1, the league announced Sunday.

The league announced the news a week after the 12th edition of its championship game, the Clarkson Cup.

“Unfortunately, while the on-ice hockey is exceptional, the business model has proven to be economically unsustainable,” the league said in a statement.

The CWHL was founded in 2007 with a mandate to increase interest in women’s hockey. The league has six teams — four in Canada, one in the United States and one in Shenzhen, China.

HORSE RACING

ARCADIA, Calif. (AP) — A two-horse spill in the $100,000 San Simeon Stakes at Santa Anita on Sunday led to the 23rd equine fatality at the Southern California track in just over three months.

Arms Runner injured his right front leg and fell in the Grade 3 race on turf, two days after Santa Anita reopened to racing after being closed for nearly a month.

That caused a trailing horse, La Sardane, to fall. The 5-year-old mare got back on her feet and walked back to her barn under her own power. She didn’t sustain any injuries, according to a statement issued by the track.

Jockey Ruben Fuentes didn’t ride the rest of the day. He was a late replacement for scheduled rider Joel Rosario.

Arms Runner was tended to by track veterinarians and vanned off. Track stewards said the horse trained by Peter Miller was euthanized. Arms Runner had three wins in 13 career starts and earnings of $125,292, according to Equibase.

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