National Sports

Longtime Cowboys TE Witten signs extension through 2021

FRISCO, Texas (AP) — Dallas tight end Jason Witten has signed a four-year contract extension that virtually guarantees the 14-year veteran will spend his entire career with the Cowboys. The deal Witten signed Tuesday runs through 2021 and leaves the final year of the two-time All Pro's ...

TIPPING OFF: Final Four welcomes trio of 1st-time coaches

By AARON BEARD, AP Basketball Writer RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Frank Martin never got caught up in wins and losses, the highs and the lows, as he worked to build South Carolina into a contender for conference championships. Gonzaga's Mark Few dismissed questions of whether his Bulldogs would be ...

Maye hits late jumper to lift North Carolina to Final Four

By TERESA M. WALKER, AP Sports Writer MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Roy Williams went all "Gone With the Wind" when a player asked about his North Carolina Tar Heels making the last shot Sunday to edge Kentucky to the Final Four. And the coincidence that the Tar Heels have been on the other end of ...

South Carolina: The surprise of the Final Four

By JIM O'CONNELL, AP Basketball Writer NEW YORK (AP) — Gonzaga is in its first Final Four but the Zags had knocked on the door a few times. South Carolina, meanwhile, enters its first Final Four having never been close to this deep a run. The Gamecocks reached their first national ...

Blazers beat Lakers 97-81, tie Denver for final spot in West

By STEVE DILBECK, Associated Press LOS ANGELES (AP) — As their surprising turnaround rolls on, the Portland Trail Blazers are now tied for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. Damian Lillard scored 22 points and Portland beat the Los Angeles Lakers 97-81 on Sunday night to pull ...

After Match Play, can anyone beat Dustin Johnson?

By DOUG FERGUSON, AP Golf Writer AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Dustin Johnson has been around long enough to realize he's not going to win every golf tournament he plays. It's just getting harder to find a candidate to stop him. Zach Johnson advanced out of his group in the Dell Technologies Match ...

Zags, Ducks give West Coast flair to Final Four in Phoenix

By DAVE SKRETTA, AP Sports Writer KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Tyler Dorsey had just led Oregon to its first Final Four in nearly eight decades when he looked into a TV camera and passed along a very simple message to all those East Coast fans. The ones who are often asleep before the Ducks have ...

Hamilton makes NASCAR history as first black race director

By GREG BEACHAM, AP Sports Writer FONTANA, Calif. (AP) — Jusan Hamilton grew up working on cars in his grandfather's garage, and he has been in love with motorsports ever since. He dreamed of driving all the way from upstate New York's dirt tracks to the bright lights of NASCAR. When it ...

Van Avermaet wins Gent-Wevelgem for 2nd victory in 3 days

GENT, Belgium (AP) — Olympic road champion Greg Van Avermaet won his second race in three days Sunday, beating fellow Belgian Jens Keukeleire in a two-man sprint finish to take the Gent-Wevelgem classic. World champion Peter Sagan of Slovakia, who won last year's race, finished third. The ...

North Carolina, Kentucky face off again for Final Four berth

By TERESA M. WALKER, AP Sports Writer MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Roy Williams wanted another chance at Kentucky after his North Carolina Tar Heels lost to the Wildcats in December. John Calipari is certain someone knew he hoped not to see North Carolina in the same bracket. Well, Williams got ...

Sprint car driver Steele killed in Florida speedway crash

DESOTO, Fla. (AP) — Sprint car veteran David Steele has died during a race in Florida. Desoto Speedway officials said in a Facebook post on Saturday night that track owners and staff were saddened by the crash. The statement says Steele was trying to win his 100th race in Florida. A Manatee ...

Lletget, Brooks dropped from US roster; Arriola added

By RONALD BLUM, AP Sports Writer SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — An already banged-up U.S. soccer team lost four more players heading into Tuesday's World Cup qualifier at Panama, including two starters from Friday night's 6-0 victory against Honduras. Midfielder Sebastian Lletget, defenders John ...

TIPPING OFF: Kansas, Gonzaga, Oregon, Xavier eye Final Four

By AARON BEARD, AP Basketball Writer RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — It's finally time to award the first spots in the Final Four. And for the four teams chasing those tickets Saturday, it's another shot to break through an often frustrating roadblock in the regional finals. Kansas lost in the Elite ...

Jayhawks coach Bill Self has mellowed over the years

By DAVE SKRETTA, AP Sports Writer KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Kansas coach Bill Self has kicked out the signage on scorer's tables, tossed sweat-stained suit jackets and screamed so loudly at players and officials that his face turned beet red. Good thing he's mellowed over the years. These ...

BASEBALL 2017: Sacrifice bunts are a dying art in baseball

By ROB MAADDI, AP Sports Writer CLEARWATER, Fla. (AP) — Get 'em on, move 'em over, drive 'em in. That old-school philosophy doesn't play in the major leagues anymore. Teams rely more on the long ball than small ball. As a result, the sacrifice bunt is a dying art. There were only 1,025 ...

Tipping Off: Reaching the Sweet 16 commonplace for UConn

By DOUG FEINBERG, AP Basketball Writer NEW YORK (AP) — Reaching the Sweet 16 seems to be a rite of spring for Geno Auriemma the UConn Huskies. They've made the regional semifinals in 24 consecutive years. Still, the Hall of Fame coach takes nothing for granted, despite winning 109 ...

Escalator fall ended US ski racer’s career, launched another

By PAT GRAHAM, AP Sports Writer His adrenaline rushing at the top, former U.S. skier Cody Marshall steeled himself to tackle the daunting course. Three deep breaths. A quick pep talk. A determined gaze. Eighteen grueling steps later, he reached the bottom of the stairs at the rehab center ...

Narrow trail is the path to glory at US Alpine Championships

CARRABASSETT VALLEY, Maine (AP) — To the casual skier, Sugarloaf's storied Narrow Gauge Trail doesn't seem so cramped or crazy. But that changes when it's prepared for competition and skiers are reaching highway speeds. Suddenly those trees seem awfully close. "The name says it all. That ...

US routs Puerto Rico 8-0 to win WBC behind dominant Stroman

By BETH HARRIS, AP Sports Writer LOS ANGELES (AP) — The eagle has landed on top. The United States routed Puerto Rico 8-0 to win its first World Baseball Classic in four tries on Wednesday night behind six hitless innings from Marcus Stroman. The Americans planted their eagle statue mascot ...

Tipping Off: Michigan talked Super Bowl on way to Sweet 16

By EDDIE PELLS, AP National Writer When Michigan was slumping earlier in the season, the coach started thinking Super Bowl, not Final Four. John Beilein conjured up the highlight-reel catch that Patriots receiver Julian Edelman made during New England's game-tying drive in the Super Bowl, and ...