Update on the latest in sports:


Associated Press

Posted on April 9, 2013 at 2:00 AM

Updated Tuesday, Apr 9 at 7:06 AM


Cardinals rule as NCAA champs

ATLANTA (AP) — After all the upsets in the NCAA men's basketball tournament, the top overall seed has captured the championship.

Backup Luke Hancock scored 16 of his 22 points in the first half and Louisville won its third national title by rallying for an 82-76 win over No. 4 Michigan. Hancock shot 5-for-5 from three-point range after coming off the bench to score 20 in the Cardinals' semifinal win over Wichita State. He was 13-for-18 from the field in the last two games to be named the most outstanding player of the Final Four.

Peyton Siva (SEE'-vuh) and Chane (shayn) Behanan were mostly silent in the first half before helping the Cardinals outscore the Wolverines 45-38 in the second. Siva finished with 18 points, six rebounds and five assists, while Behanan chipped in 15 points and 13 boards.

The Wolverines appeared to have the game in control after Tim Hardaway Jr.'s layup put them ahead 35-23 with about 3 1/2 minutes left in the first half. But the Cardinals closed the period on a 14-3 run and led by as many as 10 in the second half en route to their first championship since 1986. It was the second straight game Louisville pulled out a victory after trailing by a dozen.

Fittingly, Kevin Ware was the last Louisville player to cut down the nets. Ware was among the celebrants just over a week after he suffered a broken leg in the Cardinals' win over Duke.

Michigan guard Trey Burke finished with a game-high 24 points despite early foul trouble that kept him on the bench for the last 12 minutes of the first half. Backup Spike Albrect finished with 17 points and Hardaway added 12, but foul trouble limited Mitch McGary to six points and six rebounds.

The outcome makes Rick Pitino the first coach to win an NCAA men's basketball crown at two schools, 17 years after leading Kentucky to the championship. The latest win came hours after he was among seven people elected to the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.

Joining Pitino in the class of 2013 are former NBA stars Bernard King and Gary Payton, former UNLV coach Jerry Tarkanian, North Carolina women's coach Sylvia Hatchell, former University of Houston coach Guy Lewis, former University of Virginia star Dawn Staley.

The inductions will take place in Springfield, Massachusetts in September.


Florida's Young opts to return for senior season

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Florida center Patric Young is staying in school for his senior season, a decision that should make the Gators one of the favorites in the Southeastern Conference.

Young's choice was no big surprise since he has talked for weeks about wanting to get his degree.

The 6-foot-9 junior from nearby Jacksonville averaged 10.1 points and 6.3 rebounds this season.


Former Robert Morris player: Rice used gay slur

MOON TOWNSHIP, Pa. (AP) — A former Robert Morris player has told school officials former coach Mike Rice used a homophobic slur and threw a basketball at a player "once or twice" during his time at the university.

Rice was fired by Rutgers last week after video of the coach verbally and physically abusing players became public. A former Rutgers staff member alleged Rice engaged in several "coaches versus players" brawls while coaching the Colonials from 2007-10.

Robert Morris athletic director Craig Coleman says an internal investigation uncovered no evidence of the alleged fights. Coleman says one player, who left the program while Rice was in charge, told officials Rice directed a gay slur at him and got into a shoving match with another player during halftime of a game. The other player denied having improper contact with Rice.


Red Sox take ninth straight Fenway opener...Cubs fall at Wrigley

UNDATED (AP) — Everything at the start of the St. Louis Cardinals' home opener this afternoon was about No. 6. The Cincinnati Reds eventually turned things upside down and made the day about No. 9.

The Reds erupted for nine runs in the ninth inning and clobbered the Cardinals 13-4. Shin-Soo Choo made amends for two botched fly balls with a three-run double during the ninth-inning fireworks. Jay Bruce went 4-for-5 and Brandon Phillips homered while the Reds out-hit the Cards 14-4.

Pregame ceremonies were mostly a tribute to Stan Musial, who died in January at age 92. Musial's four children unveiled a marker on the left-field wall honoring their father — his No. 6 inside a red circle with his signature across it. Even the national anthem paid homage to Musial's passion, since it was performed by harmonica players with the Gateway Harmonica Club, of which Musial was an honorary member.

Also in the majors:

— Hunter Pence hit a three-run homer in the first inning of San Francisco's 4-2 victory against Colorado. Winning pitcher Madison Bumgarner was shaky over 5 2/3s, allowing five hits and five walks but just two runs.

— Justin Upton socked his sixth homer and went 4-for-4 in Atlanta's 2-0 win at Florida. Winning pitcher Paul Maholm (mah-HAH'-luhm) allowed just one hit in seven innings as the Braves picked up their fourth straight win and improved to 6-1, their best start in six years.

— Matt Harvey won his second straight start by allowing a run and three hits while fanning nine in the New York Mets' 7-2 win at Philadelphia. John Buck leads the National League with 12 RBIs after belting a three-run homer off Roy Halladay, who was reached for seven runs in four-plus innings.

— Marco Estrada hit an RBI double and allowed two runs over seven innings as Milwaukee ruined the Chicago Cubs' home opener 7-4. Martin Maldonado laced a three-run double to help the Brewers end a five-game losing streak.

— Pittsburgh's five-game losing streak is over after Andrew McCutchen drove in two runs and Garrett Jones homered in a 5-3 win at Arizona. Starling Marte tripled in the fifth and came around to score the tiebreaking run on McCutchen's sacrifice fly.

— A.J. Pierzyenki and Mitch Moreland hit back-to-back solo homers before Joe Nathan picked up his 300th career save in the Rangers' 5-4 triumph against Tampa Bay. Alexi Ogando (ah-LEX'-ee oh-GAHN'-doh) allowed only one run on three hits but needed 89 pitches to get through 5 1-3 innings.

— Former Indian Travis Hafner hit a three-run homer and collected four RBIs in his return to Cleveland as the New York Yankees whipped the Tribe 11-6. Robinson Cano (kuh-NOH') homered twice and had three RBIs in the Yankees' second straight win since a 1-4 start.

— Clay Buchholz struck out eight while scattering three hits over seven shutout innings of Boston's 3-1 triumph over Baltimore. The Red Sox's home opener was scoreless until Daniel Nava (NAH'-vah) belted a three-run homer in the seventh.

— Kendrys Morales had two RBIs and Joe Saunders pitched into the seventh inning of Seattle's 3-0 shutout of Houston. The Astros have dropped six straight since their season-opening win over Texas.

— Ervin Santana tossed eight strong innings and Alcides Escobar (al-SEE'-dehs EHS'-koh-bahr) doubled home the tiebreaking run as Kansas City beat Minnesota 3-1 in the Royals' home opener. The Twins led 1-0 until Alex Gordon hit an RBI single to spark the Royals' three-run eighth.


Lackey unlikely to make scheduled start

UNDATED (AP) — Red Sox manager John Farrell says pitcher John Lackey probably won't take his next turn in Boston's rotation. Lackey walked off the mound with pain in his right arm on Saturday in his first start after major elbow surgery. Farrell says an MRI showed inflammation but no tear in Lackey's biceps.


There will be Peace in L.A.

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (AP) — Metta World Peace plans to play in the Los Angeles Lakers' next game, less than two weeks after undergoing left knee surgery.

World Peace participated in drills with the Lakers on Monday. He says he's ready to return nearly a month earlier than anticipated after surgery on a torn meniscus.


Ducks top Oilers...B's inch closer to Habs

UNDATED (AP) — The Chicago Blackhawks' lead in the NHL's Western Conference is back down to three points over Anaheim, although the Hawks have two games in hand following the Ducks' 2-1 win over Edmonton.

Radek Dvorak notched a pair of goals, including the go-ahead tally with 12:12 remaining after Nick Schultz tied it early in the third period. Jonas Hiller made 27 saves for the Ducks, who lead the Pacific Division by 11 points over Los Angeles.

In other NHL action:

— Brad Marchand scored twice and Tuukka (TOO'-kuh) Rask stopped 40 shots as the Bruins rolled over Carolina 6-2 to pull within one point of Montreal for the Northeast Division lead. Dennis Seidenberg had a career-high three assists to help the B's score a season-high in goals.

— Toronto blew a 3-1 lead in the third period before Phil Kessel scored his second goal of the game with 10:22 left to give the Maple Leafs a 4-3 win over the New York Rangers. Rick Nash scored twice for the Rangers, who share seventh place in the East with the Islanders and remain just two points ahead of ninth-place New Jersey.

— Cory Schneider handled 19 saves in his fifth shutout of the season and ninth of his career, leading Vancouver past Phoenix 2-0. Ryan Kesler's first-period goal stood up as the Canucks expanded their lead in the Northwest Division to four points over Minnesota.

— Joey McDonald stopped 39 shots in Calgary's 3-1 win at Colorado. Roman Horak set up second-period goals by Roman Cervenka and Michael Cammalleri before Alex Tanguay (TAN'-gay) added a short-handed goal with 3:19 remaining.


NFL, ex-players butt heads in court

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — With perhaps billions of dollars at stake, a court hearing over concussion litigation filed against the NFL promises to be a contest between legal lions. That hearing starts Tuesday.

About 4,200 former players have sued the league. Some suffer from dementia, depression, Alzheimer's disease and other neurological problems. Others simply want their health monitored.

And a small number, including Ray Easterling and 12-time Pro Bowler Junior Seau (SAY'-ow), committed suicide after long downward spirals.

The players' lawyers accuse the NFL of promoting violence in the game and concealing known cognitive risks from concussions and other blows to the head. The league says such complaints belong in arbitration under terms of the league's collective bargaining agreement.


QB Kevin Kolb officially signs with Buffalo Bills

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — Quarterback Kevin Kolb (kahb) has officially signed his two-year contract with the Bills and begins pursuing his latest shot at an NFL starting job. The Bills announced the signing a little over a week after the sixth-year veteran agreed to a two-year contract potentially worth more than $12 million.


Joe Flacco to portray Johnny Unitas in movie

BALTIMORE (AP) — Joe Flacco as Johnny Unitas. The Ravens quarterback says he'll play the part of Baltimore's greatest quarterback, former Colts star Johnny Unitas, in an upcoming movie titled "Unitas We Stand."

The movie is being co-produced by Joe Unitas, the late quarterback's son.

Filming is scheduled to start this summer.