Update on the latest sports
NBA suspending season amid coronavirus
UNDATED (AP) — The NBA season will be suspended until further notice following tonight’s schedule.
The decision was announced after a Utah Jazz player tested positive Wednesday for the coronavirus, and only hours after the majority of the league’s owners were leaning toward playing games without fans in arenas. A person with knowledge of the situation said the player who tested positive was Jazz center Rudy Gobert (goh-BEHR’).
The league says it will use the hiatus to determine next steps for moving forward regarding the pandemic.
The test result was reported shortly before the scheduled tip-off of the Jazz-Thunder game in Oklahoma City. Players were on the floor for warmups and the opening tip was moments away when they were told to return to their locker rooms. Fans were told about 30 minutes later that the game was postponed “due to unforeseen circumstances.”
Wednesday’s Pelicans-Kings game also was postponed due to the virus. The league says the game was postponed “out of an abundance of caution because one of the referees assigned to work in the game also worked a Utah Jazz game earlier this week.”
The NBA G League also has suspended its season.
Checking out Wednesday’s other news from NBA courts:
— Devonte’ Graham scored 30 points and the Hornets prevented the Heat from clinching a playoff berth by rallying past Miami, 109-98. Caleb Martin scored 19 and Charlotte shook off an early 20-point deficit before winning for the fifth time in its last seven road games.
— Joel Embiid (ehm-BEED’) had 30 points and 14 rebounds in his return from a sprained left shoulder, leading the 76ers to a 124-106 romp over the Pistons. Philadelphia played its eighth straight game without guard Ben Simmons, who will be out three more weeks with nerve issues in his lower back.
— Boban Marjanovic (BOH’-bahn mahr-YAH’-noh-vihch) delivered 31 points and 17 rebounds as the Mavericks whipped the Nuggets, 113-97 to end a two-game skid. Luka Doncic (DAHN’-chihch) added 28 points to the victory.
— Julius Randle scored 33 points and RJ Barrett added 26 as the Knicks downed the Hawks, 136-131 in overtime. Trae Young scored 27 of his 42 points in the fourth quarter to help Atlanta erase a 23-point deficit.
No fans at NCAA men’s women’s hoops tournaments.
UNDATED (AP) — March Madness is giving way to March Silence.
NCAA President Mark Emmert says its Division I basketball tournament games will not be open to the general public because of concerns about the spread of coronavirus. Emmert said in a statement that he made the decision to conduct both the men’s and women’s tournaments with only essential staff and limited family in attendance.
The decision comes after the NCAA’s COVID-19 advisory panel of medical experts recommended against playing sporting events open to the general public.
Emmert says canceling the two tournaments was considered.
In other virus news:
— Each of the Power Five basketball tournaments will proceed without fans beginning with Thursday’s games. ACC games will be played only with teams, player guests, limited school administrators and credentialed media present. Big 12 squads will be allowed 125 tickets on a game-by-game basis beginning with Thursday’s quarterfinals. Big Ten attendance will be limited to team personnel, conference staff, TV network partners, credentialed media and immediate family members of the participating teams. The SEC also says fans will be kept out of all regular-season events on its campuses and other league championships through at least March 30.
— The Mariners are moving their home games out of Seattle for the rest of March in an effort to slow the coronavirus outbreak. The Mariners and Major League Baseball have not announced where they will play the team’s season-opening, four-game series against the Texas Rangers scheduled for March 26-29.
— The NHL says it is aware of the NBA’s decision to suspend its season and is continuing to consult with medical experts and evaluate options. The league says it expects to provide another update Thursday.
— The Columbus Blue Jackets have announced that Thursday’s game against Pittsburgh would be limited “to home and visiting club personnel, credentialed media and broadcast partners, essential club and arena staff and NHL officials.” The Blue Jackets are the first NHL team to say they’ll hold home games without fans in the stands.
— The Ivy League has canceled all spring sports, as many of its schools told students not to return from spring break and prepare for classes to be taught online. The league already had canceled its men’s and women’s basketball tournaments.
— A Western Athletic Conference women’s basketball game between CSU Bakersfield and Grand Canyon has been postponed until Thursday after a player got sick and was taken to the hospital to be tested for coronavirus. The WAC said the player was never in the arena and the game was postponed out of caution, pending test results.
— Italian soccer club Juventus says one of its players, defender Daniele Rugani, has tested positive for COVID-19. Rugani also plays for the Italian national team and is the first player in the country’s top soccer division to test positive for the disease.
— NASCAR and IndyCar plan to race as scheduled this weekend, with IndyCar continuing to move ahead with its season-opening race through the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida. The three-day downtown street festival draws about 130,000 people. There will be additional hand-washing and sanitizing stations.
— The last races of the women’s Alpine skiing World Cup season have been canceled because of public health concerns related to the spread of the coronavirus. The decision hands Federica Brignone (feh-deh-REE’-kah breen-YOH’-nay) of Italy the overall title and denies Mikaela Shiffrin a return to racing this season.
T25 MEN’S BASKETBALL-CREIGHTON-ZEGAROWSKI
Creighton hoping Zegarowski ready for NCAA Tournament
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Creighton’s Marcus Zegarowski was scheduled to have knee surgery Wednesday and the Bluejays hope to have him available for the NCAA Tournament next week.
Zegarowski injured the meniscus in his right knee late in the seventh-ranked Bluejays’ game against Seton Hall on Saturday.
Zegarowski has started 30 of 31 games and is second on the team in scoring at 16.1 points per game.
Oilers fall to Jets
UNDATED (AP) — The Vegas Golden Knights continue to lead the NHL’s Pacific Division by three points following a loss by the second-place Edmonton Oilers.
Kyle Connor scored twice in the third period to push the Jets past the Oilers, 4-2. Connor broke a 2-2 deadlock 29 seconds into the period before sending his 38th goal of the season into an empty net. The first goal was his 200th career point.
Blake Wheeler and Patrik Laine also scored and Connor Hellebuyck made 36 saves as Winnipeg won its fourth in a row to take over the first Western Conference wild card.
Tyler Ennis and Connor McDavid tallied in the Oilers’ second straight loss.
Elsewhere on NHL ice:
— Alex Pietrangelo (peh-TRAN’-jeh-loh) supplied two goals and Zach Sanford put the Blues ahead to stay late in the second period of a 4-2 downing of the Ducks. Jake Allen handled 26 shots in the Blues’ 10th win in 12 games.
— Patrick Kane scored twice and Alex DeBrincat (deh-BRIHN’-kat) had three assists in leading the Blackhawks’ 6-2 pounding of the Sharks. Corey Crawford made 34 saves in his 10th straight start as Chicago sent San Jose to its ninth loss in 12 games.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL-MICHIGAN STATE-DANTONIO
Ex-Spartans football staffer sues
DETROIT (AP) — A former Michigan State football staff member has filed a lawsuit in which he accused former coach Mark Dantonio of violating NCAA rules by contacting players at other schools to try to get them to transfer.
Curtis Blackwell also suggested in his suit that Dantonio had another team’s practice recorded.
The suit names Dantonio, former school President Lou Anna Simon, former athletic director Mark Hollis and current athletic director Bill Beekman as defendants.
3 former track athletes suing NCAA, coach over alleged abuse
ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — Three former student-athletes who say they were sexually abused by a track coach are suing the NCAA, its board of governors and a coach. They allege the NCAA didn’t do enough to protect its athletes. Erin Aldrich, Londa Bevins and Jessica Johnson are seeking class action status for the federal lawsuit filed Wednesday in California. The women say they were sexually abused by John Rembao while he worked at the University of Texas and the University of Arizona. They want the suit to include any NCAA student-athlete at any member school since 1992 who say they were put at risk by the inaction of the NCAA.
U.S. Soccer apologizes for claims concerning women’s national team
UNDATED (AP) — U.S. Soccer has issued an apology for an assertion that drew widespread criticism.
The federation made claims in court documents that women on its national team did not have the same responsibilities or physical abilities as their male counterparts. The USSF said the women claimed their ability level is the same as the men “by ignoring the materially higher level of speed and strength required to perform the job of an MNT player.”
The statement from U.S. Soccer President Carlos Cordeiro came hours after Coca-Cola denounced the federation for its stance.
Elbow woes sideline Goldschmidt
UNDATED (AP) — St. Louis first baseman Paul Goldschmidt will be out for several more games because of a sore right elbow. Goldschmidt’s throwing was limited by the Cardinals during the start of spring training, and he made his first two exhibition starts as a designated hitter. He has not played since Sunday. The six-time All-Star and four-time Gold Glove winner is hitting .300 with two homers in 20 spring training at-bats.
In other MLB news:
— Mets outfielder Michael Conforto would not speculate whether he could return for the March 26 opener against Washington due to an oblique strain. Conforto was injured Saturday against the Nationals and returned to New York on Monday night.
— The Rangers have placed left-hander Yohander Méndez on the suspended list for violating his contract by seeking unauthorized outside medical care. Méndez has been held out of spring training game action with left shoulder inflammation. The 25-year-old Méndez appeared in just three big league games last year due to an elbow injury. He was expected to compete for a bullpen spot this spring.
Blue Jackets to play in nearly empty arena
DENVER (AP) — The Colorado Avalanche will be without top scorer Nathan MacKinnon for at least a week after he suffered a lower body injury. MacKinnon was hurt during the second period in Monday’s game against the Kings in Los Angeles. The center ranks among the league’s top 10 with 35 goals, 58 assists and 93 points. MacKinnon has a career-high 29 multi-point games this season, the most by an Avalanche player since Peter Forsberg in 2002-03.
The Avs will have defenseman Cale Makar back in the lineup when they face the Rangers tonight. Makar has been out the last five games with an upper body injury. He’s second among rookies with 47 points.
2-time Pro Bowler Reshad Jones to be released by Dolphins
UNDATED (AP) — Two-time Pro Bowl safety Reshad Jones is joining the free agent market after 10 seasons with the Miami Dolphins.
The team has decided to release Jones next Wednesday, the first day of NFL free agency. The move had been expected because Jones battled injuries in recent seasons and played in just four games in 2019 for new coach Brian Flores.
GOLF-HALL OF FAME
Tiger Woods elected to the World Golf Hall of Fame
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Already among the greatest on the golf course, Tiger Woods will join them in the World Golf Hall of Fame. Woods was elected Wednesday by a Hall of Fame selection committee. He will be part of the 2021 class that will be inducted next year at the home of the PGA Tour. The Hall of Fame criteria was changed recently to lower the minimum age to 45 when players are inducted. The selection was hardly a surprise. No one has more than his 82 PGA Tour victories, and his 15 majors are second only to Jack Nicklaus.