Mac McClung soars to slam dunk title at All-Star Saturday
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Mac McClung might have single-handedly restored the shine on a dunk contest that has been widely panned in recent years. And Damian Lillard represented his school and his brand, doing them both proud. McClung — the 6-foot-2 Philadelphia guard — defeated New Orleans’ Trey Murphy III in the finals of the dunk contest, culminating an NBA All-Star Saturday that may have finally answered the question as to whether what used to be the league’s signature event can be glitzy again. The Jazz — composed of Utah players Jordan Clarkson, Walker Kessler and Collin Sexton — won the Skills Challenge on Saturday night, prevailing in two of the three competitions. The dunk contest was to be held later Saturday.
Tiger Woods gets some momentum with weekend 67 at Riviera
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The cheers sounded as though someone was making a charge at Riviera. It was just Tiger Woods. But he gave thousands something to yell about. Never mind that he lost ground to the lead and and was 12 behind Jon Rahm at the Genesis Invitational. Woods had a 67. That’s his lowest score on a Saturday since he won in Japan in the fall of 2019. The sample size is small because Woods played only three times last year while recovering form his car crash. But it was his fourth day walking, and his game only got better.
Rahm limits mistakes to take Riviera lead as Tigers posts 67
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Jon Rahm is one round away from another victory and a return to No. 1 in the world. Rahm birdied his last hole for a 65 and a three-shot lead over Max Homa. Tiger Woods had his best Saturday score since the fall of 2019 with a 67. He still wound up losing ground to the lead and is now 12 back. But it left him encouraged considering his legs remain sore from his car crash two years ago. Rahm and Homa were tied until Homa made two bogeys from the bunker on the back nine and fell behind.
AP source: Brittney Griner re-signs with Phoenix Mercury
Brittney Griner is headed back to the Phoenix Mercury. Griner, who was a free agent, re-signed with the Mercury on a one-year contract according to a person familiar with the deal. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Saturday because no announcement has been made. The 32-year-old had said she would return to Phoenix in a social media post in December after she returned home from her 10-month ordeal in Russia. The 6-foot-9 center last played for the Mercury in 2021 and helped the team reach the WNBA Finals. She averaged 20.5 points and 9.5 rebounds that season.
NBA All-Star Game: All you need to know about Sunday’s event
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The 72nd NBA All-Star Game takes place Sunday night in Salt Lake City. Captains LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers and Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks will pick their teams before the game, leaving Team LeBron coach Michael Malone of the Denver Nuggets and Team Giannis coach Joe Mazzulla of the Boston Celtics about five minutes to come up with an actual game plan. Six of the All-Stars are rookies.
Silver speaks on load management, TV deal at NBA All-Star
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The NBA and the National Basketball Players Association clearly do not agree on everything, as evidenced by the fact that there’s no new Collective Bargaining Agreement yet. One thing they do agree on: A record-setting trade deadline this season is a good thing. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in his annual news conference preceding All-Star Saturday events that he felt the robust amount of player movement – 12 deals involving 24 teams and 49 players on trade-deadline day, Feb. 9, alone – only speaks to how many teams think they can make deep playoff runs this season and ultimately compete for a title.
Cronin says UCLA seed in NCAA bracket preview is ‘comical’
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Division I men’s basketball committee has revealed its top 16 teams for next month’s NCAA Tournament. UCLA coach Mick Cronin says he found his team’s current seed to be “comical.” Top-ranked Alabama was voted as the committee’s top overall seed. No. 2 Houston, No. 3 Purdue and No. 5 Kansas were selected as No. 1 seeds — for now. No. 8 Arizona was chosen as the sixth overall seed, while fourth-ranked UCLA was eighth. Cronin says he thinks the Bruins are paying the price for the announcement that UCLA and USC are leaving the Pac-12 to join the Big Ten in 2024. He says their seed is a “direct result” of those plans. Selection Sunday for the NCAA Tournament is March 12.
Hurricanes top Capitals 4-1 in Carolina’s 1st outdoor game
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Martin Necas had a goal and two assists to help the Carolina Hurricanes beat the Washington Capitals 4-1 on Saturday night in their first NHL Stadium Series outdoor game. Jesperi Kotkaniemi, Paul Stastny and Teuvo Teravainen also scored for Carolina, which completed a three-game season sweep of Washington. Tom Wilson scored for the Capitals, who lost their fourth straight. It marked their third straight without captain Alex Ovechkin, who is away after the death of his father. The game was held at Carter-Finley Stadium, home to North Carolina State’s college football team. It drew a buzzing sellout crowd of nearly 57,000.
Spartans lose to Michigan in their first game since shooting
ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — Michigan showed its support for rival Michigan State with a poignant pregame ceremony before the Wolverines took an 84-72 win on Saturday night, the first game for the Spartan men since a shooting on the their campus that killed three students and wounded five others. A long moment of silence was broken by the Michigan band playing the Spartans’ alma mater — “MSU Shadows” — while Crisler Arena was dimly lit with green and white lights from LED wristbands that were given to fans. The Wolverines broke the final tie of the game with a 12-0 game-ending run.
Spartans pregame ceremony honors 3 killed in campus shooting
EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan State women’s basketball players wiped away tears as they stood shoulder to shoulder during a moment of silence before losing to No. 8 Maryland 66-61 on Saturday, less than a week after three students were killed in a shooting on campus. Diamond Miller scored 29 points and helped the Terrapins hold on for the win after leading by 16 points in the second half. The Spartans rallied to have a shot at pulling off an upset, coming up short after DeeDee Hagerman missed a 3-pointer with 3 seconds left.