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Associated Press

Posted on March 7, 2014 at 4:00 AM

BLUES-PREDATORS

Cole's goal, assist lead Blues over Predators 2-1

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Ian Cole had a goal and an assist to lead the St. Louis Blues to their third straight win, 2-1 win over the Nashville Predators on Thursday night.

Magnus Paajarvi had the other goal for the Blues, who have won all four of their games against Nashville this season.

Ryan Miller stopped 20 shots to win his third game in as many starts since being acquired from the Buffalo Sabres on Friday. Nick Spaling scored for the Predators, losers of six of seven.

Cole scored the game's first goal at 4:03 of the opening period after Steve Ott won a faceoff in the left circle and Cole beat Nashville goaltender Pekka Rinne with a wrist shot high to the far side.

Ott's assist was his first point as a Blue.

Nashville drew even at 10:28 of the first on Spaling's 11th goal of the season.

OVC-SE MISSOURI-E KENTUCKY

Eastern Kentucky bests SE Missouri St. 84-76

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Corey Walden scored 17 points and third-seeded Eastern Kentucky held off No. 6 seed Southeast Missouri State 84-76 Thursday in a quarterfinal matchup of the Ohio Valley Conference tournament.

Glenn Cosey added 15 points and Tarius Johnson 12 for the Colonels. Eastern Kentucky jumped to a 39-25 halftime lead and outlasted SE Missouri St. during a second half in which the Redhawks scored 51 points.

After trailing by double digits for most of the second half, the Redhawks cut the lead to 79-73 with 31 seconds left on a 3-pointer from Jamaal Calvin. But Eastern Kentucky hit 5 of 6 from the line in the final 30 seconds to preserve the win.

Jarekious Bradley led the Redhawks with 18 while Calvin and Tyler Stone had 17 each. Nino Johnson added 10 and 11 rebounds.

Eastern Kentucky will play No. 2 seed Murray State in a semifinal contest Friday.

SEATTLE-UMKC

UMKC rallies to beat Seattle 76-70

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Frank Williams scored 16 points Thursday night and Martez Harrison added 14 as the University of Missouri-Kansas City beat Seattle 82-73.

The win guarantees the Kangaroos at least a No. 4 seed in the WAC tournament March 13-15 in Las Vegas.

UMKC led 13-7 on a layup by Harrison, but Seattle pulled ahead 31-26 on free throws by Shore Adenekan and led 31-29 at halftime.

UMKC used a 7-2 run to take a 36-33 second-half lead, then retook the lead 45-42 on a 3 by Williams, then pulled ahead by as many as eight. Seattle pulled to within three points on a trey by Jarell Flora with 22 seconds to play, but UMKC's John Burke iced the win with a dunk.

Nelson Kirksey scored 13 for UMKC and Isaac Kreuer 10.

Flora led the Redhawks with 19 and Emmanuel Chibuoqwu added 12.

WHITE SOX-ROYALS

Jose Abreu homers for White Sox in tie with Royals

SURPRISE, Ariz. (AP) — Cuban defector Jose Abreu hit his first home run as a Chicago White Sox split-squad and the Kansas City Royals tied 6-6 on Thursday.

The Cuban defector who signed with the White Sox for six years and $68 million in October, connected for a two-run shot into Chicago's bullpen in right field off Brad Penny in the fifth inning.

Alex Gordon led the Royals, going 3 for 3 with two runs and a RBI, while Pedro Ciriaco homered and doubled.

Royals left-hander Jason Vargas pitched three scoreless innings and has not allowed a run over five innings in his first two starts.

White Sox shortstop Alexi Ramirez, who was 0 for 8 in his first three games, went 3 for 3.

CARDINALS-TWINS CCD

Cardinals-Twins rained out

FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) — The exhibition game between the St. Louis Cardinals and Minnesota Twins scheduled for Thursday was rained out.

The game was called off before it started.

Ricky Nolasco was set to start for the Twins. With rain in the forecast, he pitched a simulated game instead.

CHIEFS MOVES

Chiefs release linebacker James, tight end Jones

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Chiefs released linebacker Robert James and tight end Dominique Jones on Thursday as they prepare for the start of free agency next week.

James was signed near the end of last season when James Michael-Johnson went on injured reserve. Jones spent time on the practice squad before making the 53-man roster at the tail end of the season, but he did not have a catch with the Chiefs.

The Chiefs were already in the market for a linebacker to provide depth, either through the draft or free agency. Jones was expendable with the anticipated return of tight end Travis Kelce, their third round pick last year who missed the season with a knee injury.

T25-MVC COACH OF YEAR

Wichita State's Marshall named MVC coach of year

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Wichita State's Gregg Marshall, whose team is the first to go unbeaten in the regular season in a decade, was a near unanimous choice as Missouri Valley Conference coach of the year for the third straight season.

The second-ranked Shockers are 31-0 entering the conference tournament this week.

Marshall is the second coach in conference history to win the award three straight seasons. Drake's Maury John was honored from 1968-70.

Marshall received 39 of a possible 40 first-place votes from league coaches, media and sports information directors. Barry Hinson of Southern Illinois finished second in voting announced Thursday.

Wichita State has won a Valley-record 117 games the last four seasons.

BIG 12 AWARDS

Baylor, West Virginia top Big 12 women's honors

IRVING, Texas (AP) — Baylor senior guard Odyssey Sims, the nation's leading scorer at 29.6 points per game, has been picked as the Big 12 Player of the Year by the league's coaches.

Sims was also named Thursday as the Big 12's top defensive player.

The No. 9 Lady Bears, who won the Big 12 title outright the past three years, shared the regular-season crown this season with No. 7 West Virginia, whose 10-game winning streak includes a win last weekend in Waco. Mike Carey got his first Big 12 Coach of the Year award in the Mountaineers' second season in the league.

Baylor forward Nina Davis, the league leader with 9.0 rebounds per game and a .596 field goal percentage, is the Big 12's top freshman. Sims won that award in 2011.

MISSOURI-PINKEL

Pinkel gets raise, contract extension at Mizzou

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Missouri football Coach Gary Pinkel has signed a new contract that boosts his annual salary above $3 million and extends his previous deal by three years.

The new deal increases his guaranteed salary from $2.8 million to $3.1 million and boosts the total salary of his assistant coaches by another $540,000, to $3.2 million. That includes $50,000 raises both offensive coordinator Josh Henson and defensive coordinator Dave Steckel.

The 61-year-old Pinkel has a career record of 102-63 in 13 seasons at Missouri. He surpassed Don Faurot last season as the school's winningest coach. The Tigers finished 12-2 and won the SEC's Eastern Division title in their second year in the league.

MLS-SPORTING KC PREVIEW

Sporting KC set to defend MLS Cup title

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Sporting KC manager Peter Vermes knows this season could be the most daunting that the Major League Soccer club has ever faced.

At the top of the list is defending the club's first MLS Cup championship since 2000, one that Sporting KC won in a dramatic shootout with Real Salt Lake last December. But there's also the U.S. Open Cup, which it won two years ago, and the CONCACAF Champions League, where the club will begin quarterfinal play against Mexican heavyweight Cruz Azul in the coming weeks.

Oh, and that little thing called the World Cup. There's a good chance several players from Sporting KC will be called upon for national team duty later this year.

It all starts Saturday with Sporting KC's MLS opener at Seattle.

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