AP NEWS
Related topics

BC-AP Sports Digest

March 1, 2019

The supervisor is Dennis Waszak Jr., followed by Fred Lief at 8:30 a.m. The New York sports desk can be reached at 800-845-8450, ext. 1630. Sports photos, ext. 1918; graphics, ext. 7636; agate, ext. 1635. For up-to-the-minute information on AP’s coverage, visit Coverage Plan at https://newsroom.ap.org For access to AP Newsroom and other technical issues, contact AP Customer Support at apcustomersupport@ap.org or 877-836-9477. All times EST.

Coaches Tom Izzo of Michigan State and John Beilein of Michigan speak with AP sports writer Larry Lage about the schools’ rivalry on the latest episode of PodcastOne Sports Now. Also, co-hosts Jim Litke and Tim Dahlberg discuss how attendance is up in college basketball and the game seems to be moving past the ongoing FBI corruption investigation. https://www.podcastone.com/ap-sports-weekly-podcast

A federal judge is expected to soon make a ruling that could lead to sweeping changes in college sports. On the latest AP Top 25 College Football Podcast, Dennis Dodd from CBS Sports and AP’s Ralph Russo discuss the antitrust case. https://www.podcastone.com/AP-Top-25-College-Football-Podcast

TOP STORIES

BBN--PHILLIES-HARPER

PHILADELPHIA _ Bryce Harper is kind of a big deal in Philly. No, not just with his colossal contract _ Harper and the Phillies agreed Thursday to a $330 million, 13-year deal, the largest deal in baseball history. But as an attraction. Harper zipped to the top of the list as the city’s most popular athlete, adding a dash of star power while raising payroll, projections and prices to a franchise that has lagged in popularity in the shared sports complex behind Super Bowl champions, a Process and a mascot. By Dan Gelston. UPCOMING: 1,000 words, photos by 3 a.m.

FBN--PATRIOTS OWNER-PROSTITUTION CHARGE

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla._ New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft has pleaded not guilty to two counts of misdemeanor solicitation of prostitution in a Florida case, according to court documents released Thursday. Kraft’s attorney Jack Goldberger filed the written plea with the Palm Beach County court on Wednesday. Kraft, 77, is requesting a non-jury trial. SENT: 320 words, photos.

BOX--CUBANS’ CHALLENGE

NEW YORK _ Luis Ortiz is afraid of water, but left Cuba by boat. So did Erislandy Lara, after his first attempt to defect failed. The route that next takes them to Barclays Center for separate bouts Saturday night began as a perilous path out of their homeland, leaving family behind in search of better lives. Lara will try to regain a 154-pound title, while Ortiz hopes to improve his chances of fighting for a heavyweight one. By Brian Mahoney. UPCOMING: 725 words, photos by 3 a.m.

FBN--COWBOYS-WITTEN’S RETURN

FRISCO, Texas _ Jason Witten said the hardest thing about deciding to retire nine months ago was leaving football without winning a Super Bowl with the Dallas Cowboys. The 36-year-old tight end is giving it another shot. Witten announced Thursday he is coming out of retirement and rejoining the Cowboys after one season as a television analyst. By Pro Football Writer Schuyler Dixon. SENT: 870 words, photos.

FBN--COMBINE-MURRAY’S SIZE

INDIANAPOLIS _ Kyler Murray might not throw at the NFL scouting combine, but he checks in at just over 5-foot-10 and 207 pounds. The measurements of Oklahoma’s Heisman Trophy winner compare favorably to two other undersized quarterbacks in recent years _ Russell Wilson and Baker Mayfield. By Pro Football Writer Arnie Stapleton. SENT: 910 words, photos.

PRO FOOTBALL

FBN--COMBINE-INTERVIEWS

INDIANAPOLIS _ Defensive end Jaylon Ferguson and receiver Preston Williams have already completed their work in Indianapolis. They didn’t lift weights. They didn’t get clocked in the 40-yard dash. They didn’t even appear on the NFL telecast. But they were able to take the medical tests and explain to team officials why they couldn’t work out with everyone else at the league’s annual scouting combine _ a crucial victory for the players and NFL teams. By Michael Marot. SENT: 760 words, photos.

FBN--DEMARYIUS THOMAS CRASH

DENVER _ Former Denver Broncos and Houston Texans receiver Demaryius Thomas is facing a felony charge of vehicular assault stemming from a crash earlier this month. Thomas was arrested Wednesday after turning himself in and was also held on allegations of reckless driving and not having proof of insurance, both misdemeanors, police said. He was released from jail Thursday. SENT: 330 words, photos.

Also:

_ FBO--ALLIANCE-MANZIEL. SENT: 410 words, photos.

_ FBN--McCARTHY-PREP COMPLAINT. SENT: 130 words, photo.

HOCKEY

HKN--MAPLE LEAFS-ISLANDERS

UNIONDALE, N.Y. _ Energized by a raucous home crowd that vehemently booed and serenaded former captain John Tavares in his first time back as a visiting player, the New York Islanders steamrolled the Toronto Maple Leafs. Casey Cizikas scored twice and the Islanders beat the Maple Leafs 6-1 Thursday night. Anthony Beauvillier, Anders Lee, Valtteri Filppula and Brock Nelson also scored to help New York get win after losing three of their last four. By Vin. A. Cherwoo. SENT: 930 words, photos.

_ WITH:

_ HKN--MAPLE LEAFS-TAVARES-ISLANDERS FANS. By Vin A. Cherwoo. SENT: 660 words, photos.

Also:

_ HKN--LIGHTNING-BRUINS. By Kyle Hightower. SENT: 700 words, photos.

LAW

BAYLOR-SEXUAL ASSUALT INVESTIGATION

WACO, Texas _ A Central Texas jury on Thursday found a former Baylor University football player not guilty of raping another student in 2016, the latest case linked to a scandal that rocked the nation’s largest Baptist university and led to the departure of several top leaders. The McLennan County jury deliberated about two hours in Waco before acquitting Shawn Oakman of sexual assault. SENT: 350 words, photos.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL

BKC--DETROIT MERCY-DAVIS’ RECORD

DETROIT _ Detroit Mercy guard Antoine Davis broke Stephen Curry’s freshman 3-point record with a 30-foot swish that he practiced hundreds, if not thousands of times, before becoming an unlikely star. By Larry Lage. UPCOMING: 600 words, photos by 3 a.m.

BKW--MINNESOTA-WHALEN’S WAY

PISCATAWAY, N.J. _ It’s been a learning process for Lindsay Whalen in her first year as coach of Minnesota. On and off the court, the rookie coach has been finding her way with a bit of help. By Basketball Writer Doug Feinberg. UPCOMING: 850 words, photos by 3 a.m.

Also:

_ BKC--COLLEGE CORRUPTION. SENT: 300 words.

_ BKC--T25-BIG 12 INTO MARCH. By Stephen Hawkins. SENT: 700 words, photos.

_ BKC--DRAKE’S RISE. By Luke Meredith. SENT: 600 words, photos.

_ BKC--T25-WOFFORD-CHATTANOOGA. By Steve Megargee. SENT: 650 words, photos.

_ BOEHEIM-FATAL ACCIDENT. SENT: 130 words, photos.

BASEBALL

BBA--ORIOLES-DAVIS

Few players in major league history delivered less bang for the big bucks than Chris Davis in 2018. The two-time home run champion batted .168 with 192 strikeouts for the Baltimore Orioles before being benched in September following a 1-for-37 skid. His 16 homers and 49 RBIs were his fewest since 2011, and his .296 slugging percentage ranked last among 141 qualifiers. Entering the fourth season of a $161 million, seven-year contract, Davis knows there likely is nowhere to go but up. By David Ginsburg. SENT: 730 words, photos.

Also:

_ BBA--ASTROS-ALTUVE. By Kristie Rieken. SENT: 480 words, photos.

_ BBA--YANKEES-CHAPMAN. By Mark Didtler. SENT: 490 words, photos.

_ BBO--SPRING STANDOUTS. By David Brandt. SENT: 500 words, photos.

_ BBA--MARINERS-VETERAN ROLES. By Tim Booth. SENT: 600 words, photos.

_ BBN--CARDINALS-MOLINA _ SENT: 300 words, photos.

_ BBO--SPRING TRAINING RDP _ SENT: 750 words, photos.

GOLF

GLF--HONDA CLASSIC

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. _ A year ago at The Honda Classic, Jhonattan Vegas made seven birdies all week. He’s off to a much better start this time. Vegas made six birdies and no bogeys Thursday, shooting a 6-under 64 to open a two-stroke lead after the first round. By Tim Reynolds. SENT: 850 words, photos.

Also:

_ GLF--LPGA SINGAPORE. SENT: 400 words, photos.

_ GLF--OMAN OPEN. SENT: 180 words.

SOCCER

SOC--MLS-SOUNDERS-MORRIS RETURNS

TUKWILA, Wash. _ Twelve months after suffering a torn ACL in his right knee, nearly 18 months since he last played a full 90 minutes for either club or country, Jordan Morris has snapped out of his funk. He’s back on the field trying to prove his run of bad injury luck was just a fluke and rediscover his spot as part of America’s soccer future. He’ll return to MLS regular-season duty on Saturday night when the Seattle Sounders host FC Cincinnati. By Tim Booth. UPCOMING: 850 words, photos by 3 a.m.

SOC--MLS-PLAYERS TO WATCH

With the MLS season beginning this weekend, there are plenty of players to keep an eye on for the 2019 season. Wayne Rooney and Zlatan Ibrahimovic will both be in the league for full seasons in D.C. and Los Angeles. Tim Howard bids farewell as he heads into retirement. Jordan Morris returns from injury in Seattle and the combo of Josef and Pity Martinez may keep champions Atlanta United the most potent offensive attack in MLS. By Tim Booth. UPCOMING: 575 words, photos by 3 a.m.

_ WITH:

_ SOC--MLS SEASON PREVIEW. By Anne M. Peterson. SENT: 700 words, photos.

_ SOC--FULHAM-RANIERI OUT. By Global Soccer Writer Rob Harris. SENT: 450 words, photos.

_ SOC--FIFA-OFFICIAL BANNED. SENT: 100 words.

BOXING

BOX--OLAJIDE’S REGIMEN

NEW YORK _ When actor Chris Hemsworth sought “experts” to contribute to a fitness and health app called Centr, one place he turned was to the boxing ring. He found Michael Olajide Jr., a former middleweight contender who literally lost an eye to his sport. Olajide, once a loser to Thomas Hearns in a title fight, developed a series or aerobic workouts built around the sweet science, and turned that into a second career. By Barry Wilner. UPCOMING: 570 words, photos by 3 a.m.

UFC

MMA--UFC 235-ASKREN’S DEBUT

LAS VEGAS _ Ben Askren is making his UFC debut this weekend after a decade in mixed martial arts. The unbeaten former college wrestling champion from Wisconsin never got a shot on the sport’s biggest stage because of his fighting style and his personal beefs with UFC President Dana White. Everything changed last year when the UFC acquired Askren in a trade, and he’ll fight Robbie Lawler at UFC 235 in Las Vegas. By Greg Beacham. SENT: 810 words, photos.

AUTO RACING

CAR--NASCAR-WEST COAST SWING

CHARLOTTE, N.C. _ Kyle Busch and Kurt Busch lead NASCAR’s three-race West Coast swing that begins in their Las Vegas hometown. Kyle Busch just became the winningest Truck Series driver. Kurt Busch had a top-three finish for his new team in his 650th career Cup start. By Auto Racing Writer Jenna Fryer. SENT: 775 words, photos.

TENNIS

TEN--ACAPULCO

ACAPULCO, Mexico _ Nick Kyrgios advanced to the Mexico Open semifinals Thursday night, following his comeback victory over top-seeded Rafael Nadal with a 7-5, 6-7 (3), 6-4 decision over Stan Wawrinka. SENT: 250 words, photos.

TEN--DUBAI CHAMPIONSHIPS

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates _ Roger Federer is two matches away from his 100th career title after beating Marton Fucsovics 7-6 (6), 6-4 on Thursday to reach the Dubai Championships semifinals. SENT: 330 words, photos.

PRO BASKETBALL

BKN--HAWKS-MATURING YOUTH

ATLANTA _ Trae Young and John Collins are clearly the foundation of the Atlanta Hawks’ rebuild. Both are showing they are ready to lead, but this is a team that still needs more help. By Charles Odum. SENT: 600 words, photos.

IDITAROD

ANCHORAGE, Alaska _ Alaska’s famed Iditarod Trail Sled Dog race kicks off this weekend. The event starts Saturday with a short, fan-friendly run in Anchorage, the state’s largest city. The competitive portion of the race starts Sunday in Willow, a small town north of Anchorage. By Rachel D’Oro. SENT: 950 words, photos.

OTHER

_ ESPORTS-NIKE. By Jake Seiner. SENT: 300 words.

_ GYM--DOCTOR-SEXUAL ASSAULT. SENT: 130 words.

_ OLY--SPORTS BODIES-FUTURE CHALLENGES. SENT: 180 words.

_ FBO--THREE-POINT STANCE BAN. SENT: 300 words.

_ SKI--NORDIC WORLDS-DOPING RAIDS. SENT: 350 words, photos.

___

Friday’s Time Schedule (EST)

NBA

Charlotte at Brooklyn, 7:30 p.m.

Chicago at Atlanta, 7:30 p.m.

Portland at Toronto, 8 p.m.

Washington at Boston, 8 p.m.

New Orleans at Phoenix, 9 p.m.

L.A. Clippers at Sacramento, 10 p.m.

Milwaukee at L.A. Lakers, 10:30 p.m.

NHL

Pittsburgh at Buffalo, 7 p.m.

Washington vs. N.Y. Islanders at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, 7 p.m.

Philadelphia at New Jersey, 7 p.m.

Montreal at N.Y. Rangers, 7 p.m.

St. Louis at Carolina, 7:30 p.m.

Nashville at Winnipeg, 8 p.m.

Vegas at Anaheim, 10 p.m.

Colorado at San Jose, 10:30 p.m.

TOP 25 BASKETBALL

Men

No. 21 Buffalo at Miami (Ohio), 8 p.m.

Women

No. 6 Oregon at Arizona, 10 p.m.

No. 7 Stanford at Washington State, 10 p.m.

No. 9 Oregon State at No. 21 Arizona State, 8 p.m.

No. 13 Marquette at Creighton, 8 p.m.

No. 23 Drake at Southern Illinois, 7 p.m.

No. 25 UCLA vs. Utah, 10 p.m.

PRESEASON BASEBALL

Tampa Bay vs. Baltimore (ss) at Sarasota, Fla., 1:05 p.m.

N.Y. Mets vs. Detroit at Lakeland, Fla., 1:05 p.m.

Toronto (ss) vs. Atlanta at Kissimmee, Fla., 1:05 p.m.

Boston vs. Minnesota at Fort Myers, Fla., 1:05 p.m.

Pittsburgh (ss) vs. Philadelphia at Clearwater, Fla., 1:05 p.m.

Washington vs. Miami at Jupiter, Fla., 1:05 p.m.

Pittsburgh (ss) vs. Toronto (ss) at Dunedin, Fla., 1:07 p.m.

Chicago White Sox vs. Texas at Surprise, Ariz., 3:05 p.m.

Colorado vs. Oakland at Mesa, Ariz., 3:05 p.m.

Kansas City vs. L.A. Angels at Tempe, Ariz., 3:10 p.m.

Chicago Cubs vs. Arizona at Scottsdale, Ariz., 3:10 p.m.

Milwaukee vs. Seattle at Peoria, Ariz., 3:10 p.m.

St. Louis vs. Houston at West Palm Beach, Fla., 6:05 p.m.

Baltimore (ss) vs. N.Y. Yankees at Tampa, Fla., 6:35 p.m.

L.A. Dodgers (ss) vs. Cleveland at Goodyear, Ariz., 8:05 p.m.

San Diego vs. L.A. Dodgers (ss) at Glendale, Ariz., 8:05 p.m.

Cincinnati vs. San Francisco at Scottsdale, Ariz., 9:05 p.m.