Thursday Sports in Brief
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Ja Morant logged the ninth triple-double in NCAA Tournament history as Murray State trounced fifth-seeded Marquette 83-64 in the West Region, highlighting the first set of games Thursday.
Murray State continued a trend of a No. 12 seed winning at least one game in all but three tournaments since 2001 — including last year’s — but this looked nothing like an upset.
Half the teams played their first-round games in the men’s tournament. The rest of the field plays Friday.
Also, Friday, the Women’s NCAA Tournament gets underway at eight sites.
PITTSBURGH (AP) — Pittsburgh and Duquesne are giving the annual “City Game” a year off.
The programs announced Thursday the regular showdown between schools located just two miles apart will not happen next season, the first time since the 1960s they won’t play. The series, which began in 1932, will resume in the 2020-21 season.
The Panthers pointed to the Atlantic Coast Conference’s decision to expand to 20 conference games next fall and a visit to an early season tournament in Florida as factors in the decision.
TOKYO (AP) — Ichiro Suzuki has said “sayonara.”
The 45-year-old Seattle Mariners star announced his retirement Thursday night, shortly after waving goodbye at the Tokyo Dome during a 5-4 win over Oakland in 12 innings.
Ichiro went 0 for 4 and was pulled from right field in the eighth, saluting his adoring fans in the packed crowd. He drew hugs from teammates in a three-minute walk that signaled to all his great career had ended.
The outfielder said in a statement after the game that he had “achieved so many of my dreams in baseball, both in my career in Japan and, since 2001, in Major League Baseball.”
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — New York Yankees left-hander CC Sabathia has returned to the mound for the first time since undergoing a heart procedure in December.
Sabathia allowed one run and two hits over two innings on Thursday in a minor league exhibition game, striking out three for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre against Toledo, Detroit’s Triple-A affiliate.
Sabathia, who has announced he’s retiring after the season, said he “felt great” after his 26-pitch outing.
CLEARWATER, Fla. (AP) — Bryce Harper showed off his mighty power a week before opening day.
The slugger hit his first two Grapefruit League homers for the Philadelphia Phillies on Thursday, driving one completely out of the ballpark.
“I feel good right now,” Harper said. “The swing feels good. The timing is coming along. I’ll take the next couple days and really try to solidify my timing, have good at-bats, keep seeing pitches, walking. When I’m walking, that’s when I’m at my best. See as many pitches as I can, jump on some early and have good at-bats.”
Harper is hitting .231 (3 for 13) with two homers, three RBIs, six walks and seven strikeouts this spring.
SURPRISE, Ariz. (AP) — Veteran outfielder Hunter Pence is set to start the season with his hometown Texas Rangers.
Manager Chris Woodward told Pence on Thursday he will be on the 25-man roster as the team’s fourth outfielder when the Rangers open the regular season at home next Thursday against the Chicago Cubs.
That means slimmed-down young outfielder Willie Calhoun will start the season at Triple-A Nashville.
Pence, who turns 36 on April 13, went to spring training on a minor league contract.
NEW YORK (AP) — Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart has been fined $50,000 by the NBA for forcefully shoving Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid to the floor.
Kiki VanDeWeghe, the NBA’s executive vice president of basketball operations, noted Smart’s repeated acts of unsportsmanlike conduct during games this season in handing down the penalty Thursday. Smart has been fined for two prior incidents in 2018-19.
Smart shoved Embiid from behind with 7:06 remaining in the third quarter of the 76ers’ 118-115 victory on Wednesday. He received a flagrant foul 2 and was ejected.
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — The Raiders have gotten final approval for their lease to remain in Oakland for at least one more season.
The Oakland City Council voted Thursday to approve the lease for 2019 with an option for 2020. The Alameda Board of Supervisors had voted earlier in the week in favor of the lease that had been formally approved by the Coliseum Authority last week.
The Raiders will pay $7.5 million in rent for the Coliseum and the practice facility in Alameda in 2019 and have a $10.5 million option for 2020 in case their new $1.8 billion, 65,000-seat stadium in Las Vegas isn’t ready by then.
THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. (AP) — The Los Angeles Rams and Dallas Cowboys will travel to Hawaii for a preseason game on Aug. 17.
The two defending division champions will meet in Aloha Stadium’s first NFL preseason game since 1976, the teams announced Thursday.
The venerable stadium hosted the Pro Bowl almost every year between 1979 and 2016, when it moved to Orlando.
The Chicago Blackhawks and Philadelphia Flyers will open next season in Prague and the Buffalo Sabres and Tampa Bay Lightning will play two games in Stockholm as part of the NHL’s Global Series.
Chicago and Philadelphia will face off in the Czech Republic’s capital Oct. 4, while Buffalo and Tampa Bay play their games in Sweden’s capital on Nov. 8 and 9. The league announced the games Thursday.
It’s the third consecutive year the NHL is staging games in Europe as part of its Global Series.
NEW YORK (AP) — The NHL has suspended Ottawa Senators forward Jean-Gabriel Pageau for one game for boarding Vancouver Canucks defenseman Ashton Sautner.
The incident occurred at 16:23 of the second period of the Canucks’ 7-4 win over Ottawa on Wednesday night.
NYON, Switzerland (AP) — Cristiano Ronaldo has been fined 20,000 euros ($22,750) by UEFA for making a provocative gesture after Juventus beat Atletico Madrid in the Champions League.
UEFA says its disciplinary panel found the Juventus star guilty of improper conduct.
Ronaldo was fined the same sum imposed on Atletico coach Diego Simeone for the same gesture during the round of 16 first-leg game in Spain.
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — The attorneys representing New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft and other men charged in a Florida massage parlor prostitution investigation are asking a judge to block the release of video recordings police say shows them engaging in sexual acts.
They also say the prosecutors’ conditions for the men entering a diversion program in exchange for dropping misdemeanor charges of soliciting prostitution are too harsh.
Attorneys for Kraft and 14 of the other 24 men charged said in court documents filed this week that releasing the video taken secretly by police inside the Orchids of Asia Day spa during January would violate the state’s public records law.
They said the videos should not be released because they are part of an ongoing investigation and have not been released to the defendants as part of the discovery process, where both sides exchange evidence for examination before trial.