Update on the latest in sports:


Associated Press

Posted on March 17, 2012 at 3:00 AM


Thunder back on track

UNDATED (AP)— After suffering an unexpected home loss to Cleveland Friday night, the Oklahoma City Thunder got well against the lowly Charlotte Bobcats in a big way, 122-95. James Harden scored 22 of his career-high 33 points in the first half. Kevin Durant had 26 points and Russell Westbrook added 23.

The Thunder improved to 18-2 at home, rebounding from a disappointing 96-90 loss to visiting Cleveland on Friday night.

In the rest of the NBA:

— Derrick Rose had 24 points and 13 assists, Carlos Boozer scored 27 and the Chicago Bulls pounded the Utah Jazz 111-97. Kyle Korver scored a season-high 26 as the Bulls got back to their winning ways after their eight-game win streak ended Thursday.

— Rodney Stuckey had 20 points and eight assists and Brandon Knight scored 19 first-half points as the Detroit Pistons routed the Toronto Raptors 105-86.

__Portland rebounded from its lopsided loss in Boston Friday night by beating Washington 110-99. LaMarcus Aldridge scored 30, his fifth 30-plus point performance of the season.


Bad news for Timberwolves

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The upstart Timberwolves will keep chasing a berth in the NBA playoffs, but rookie sensation Ricky Rubio (ROO'-bee-oh) won't be of any help from here on in. Minnesota has announced that the flashy point will miss the rest of the season after tearing the ACL in his left knee during Friday's loss to the L.A. Lakers.

It also means that Rubio will miss the upcoming Olympics, where he was expected to be a vital part of Spain's bid for the gold medal.


Flyers riding a hot goalie

UNDATED (AP) — Ilya Bryzgalov (IHL'-yuh brihs-GAH'-lahf) made 29 saves for his third shutout in the past four games and Claude Giroux scored the only goal in the shootout and the Philadelphia Flyers earned a 1-0 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Bryzgalov made his 11th straight start in goal for Philadelphia. His biggest save came on a Phil Kessel breakaway in overtime. He also denied the Leafs forward in the shootout to preserve the victory.

Jonas Gustavsson made 27 saves for the Maple Leafs, who've lost seven straight home games.

Toronto is six points back of the eighth-place Capitals in the Eastern Conference heading into Sunday's game at Washington.

In the rest of the NHL:

— Marek Zidlicky and David Clarkson scored 14 seconds apart in the final two minutes of the third period to rally the New Jersey Devils past the New York Islanders 2-1.

— Jeff Skinner scored two goals, Cam Ward made 36 saves in his 199th NHL win, and the Carolina Hurricanes beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-2.

— Tyler Ennis scored in regulation and then added the winning goal in the shootout to give the Buffalo Sabres a 4-3 victory over the Ottawa Senators.

__The Capitals have broken a tie with idle Winnipeg for the eighth and final playoff spot in the NHL's Eastern Conference playoffs. Alexander Semin (SEHM'-ihn) had a goal and an assist to lead Washington to a 4-3 road win over Northeast Division leader Boston. The Caps' second straight victory following a three-game winless streak pulls them within one point of idle Florida for first place in the Southeast Division race.

__In the only other NHL matinee, Colorado beat visiting Edmonton 3-2 in a shootout. Milan Hejduk (MEE'-lahn HAY'-dook) and Peter Mueller (MEW'-lur) scored in the shootout and Semyon Varlamov (sehhm-YAWN' vahr-LAH'-mawf) stopped both shots he faced. The win keeps the Avalanche within striking distance of the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference race.


Mizzou wins its final Big 12 title...Wildcats and Tar Heels win close ones

UNDATED (AP)--On their way out the Big 12 door en route to the Southeastern Conference next season, the fifth-ranked Missouri Tigers decided to take the Big 12 tournament title with them.

Tournament MVP Kim English capped a phenomenal conference tournament with 19 points, Phil Pressey added 15 points and eight assists, and the fifth-ranked Tigers beat No. 12 Baylor 90-75 to win their second Big 12 championship in the past four years.

English wound up 29 of 40 from the field in a virtuoso performance in Kansas City. Michael Dixon added 17 points, and Ricardo Ratliffe and Marcus Denmon had 15 each.

Perry Jones III led Baylor with 16 points and 11 rebounds.


— Top-ranked Kentucky will be shooting for a 25th straight win when it plays Vanderbilt for the SEC tournament title on Sunday. The Wildcats are 32-1 after a hard-fought 74-71 victory over No. 22 Florida in the semifinals. Anthony Davis led the way with 15 points and 12 boards. Erik Murphy scored nine of his game-high 24 points in the closing minutes to keep the Gators in it to the end.

— North Carolina also survived an upset bid. The fourth-ranked Tar Heels beat N.C. State 69-67 in the ACC semifinals. Tyler Zeller scored a game-high 23 points for the winners before fouling out late in the contest. Kendall Marshall banked in a shot with 10.2 seconds remaining and North Carolina came up with a pair of defensive stops to edge their state rival

— Sixth-ranked Duke was upset by No. 17 Florida State, 62-59 in the second ACC semifinal. The Seminoles lost a 10-point second-half lead before coming back to earn the school's second trip to the ACC final. Duke sharpshooters Austin Rivers and Seth Curry both missed 3-pointers in the final six seconds. The loss ends Duke's run of three straight tournament championships.

— No. 7 Ohio State had little trouble moving into the Big Ten title game. The Buckeyes routed 10th-ranked Michigan 77-55 in the conference semifinals. Jared Sullinger led the way with 24 points while teammate Deshaun Thomas scored 22. The Buckeyes shot 49 percent from the field to earn a shot at their third straight Big Ten tournament title.

— Michigan State will play for the Big Ten title for the first time in 12 years following a 65-52 victory over No. 14 Wisconsin in the conference semifinals. Draymond Green led the eighth-ranked Spartans with 14 points and 16 rebounds.

— Tony Snell made four 3-pointers in the first half and finished with 14 points, and Drew Gordon had 12 points and 12 rebounds as New Mexico overpowered top-seeded and 18th-ranked San Diego State 68-59 to win the Mountain West Conference tournament championship. Coach Steve Alford's Lobos are headed to the NCAA tournament for the second time in three seasons.


Knight takes step out of father's shadow...Buffs take Pac-12 on first try

KATY, Texas (AP) —Lamar defeated McNeese State 70-49 in the Southland Conference tournament championship, sending Pat Knight into the NCAA tournament for the first time as a head coach.

The Cardinals have won six in a row since Knight ripped his seniors after a Feb. 22 loss, saying they were "stealing money by being on scholarship."

Lamar is returning to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2000.

Pat Knight is the son of former coach Bob Knight, who led Indiana to three national championships.

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Colorado, a rookie newcomer in the Pac-12, decided to create some freshman mischief. The upstart Buffaloes captured the Pac-12 tournament on their first try by beating Arizona 55-53. The Buffaloes shot just 38 percent, making just 19 of 50 shots, but that was good enough to take home the Pac-12 hardware. Freshman Spencer Dinwiddie scored 14 points as Colorado goes to the NCAAs for the first time since 2003.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Top-seeded Memphis won its sixth Conference USA tournament championship by beating Marshall 83-57. Joe Jackson led five Tigers in double figures with 19 points.

Memphis won its seventh-straight game to improve to 26-8 and grab the league's automatic NCAA tournament berth.

STONY BROOK, N.Y. (AP) — Vermont scored just five points over the final 9 1-2 minutes but managed to hold off Stony Brook 51-43 in the championship game of the America East tournament. The Catamounts secure their fifth NCAA tournament bid and second in the last three years.

Tournament MVP Brian Voelkel had five points, 15 rebounds and seven assists for Vermont, which improves to 22-11.

CLEVELAND (AP) — D.J. Cooper scored 23 points and Ohio had to nervously wait through a TV replay in the final seconds before beating Akron 64-63 in the championship of the Mid-American Conference tournament. The Bobcats are in the NCAAs for the second time in three years.

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) —Norfolk State held on to beat Bethune-Cookman 73-70 for its first Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference title and first NCAA tournament berth. Kyle O'Quinn was high man for the winners with 18 points.


Redskins moving up

WASHINGTON (AP) — Desperate for a franchise quarterback, the Redskins are paying big-time for a shot at Robert Griffin III.

The St. Louis Rams have agreed in principle to trading the No. 2 pick of the draft to Washington in exchange for the Skins' first- and second-round selections this year, plus first-round picks in 2013 and 2014.

Because of the NFL calendar, the trade can't be completed until Tuesday.

The Redskins are advancing four places from sixth in the April draft, leapfrogging any other team that would have an interest in the Heisman Trophy winner out of Baylor. The Indianapolis Colts are expected to take Andrew Luck with the No. 1 choice.


Are Cards next?

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) — The Peyton Manning stakeout moved to Arizona on Saturday, but there has been no sign of the superstar in the desert.

The former Indianapolis Colts quarterback, and the NFL's only four-time MVP, spent nearly six hours at the Denver Broncos' facility on Friday, and speculation was high that the Cardinals would be his next stop.


Vikes dump salary

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Minnesota Vikings have shed three established starters and more than $13 million in payroll in preparation for free agency.

The Vikings are saying goodbye to five-time All-Pro left guard Steve Hutchinson, right guard Anthony Herrera and cornerback Cedric Griffin. All three have been in Minnesota's starting lineup for the better part of the past five seasons or more.


Stenhouse hits it big in Vegas

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Defending Nationwide champion Ricky Stenhouse Jr. led the final 54 laps at Las Vegas Motor Speedway for his first victory of the season.

Stenhouse had a strong car all day and dominated the end of the 200-mile race, pulling away from Mark Martin on a pair restarts on the 1.5-mile tri-oval in the desert. Martin ran second.


Watson increases advantage

DORAL, Fla. (AP) — Bubba Watson took a one-stroke lead into the third round of the Cadillac Championship. He'll bring a three-stroke lead into Sunday's final 18 holes. The long-hitting left-hander fired a 5-under-par 67 to get to 17-under for the tournament.

PGA champion Keegan Bradley fired a 66 to pull into a second-place tie with England's Justin Rose, who carded a 69.

Only three players are within five shots of the lead after 54 holes of the World Gold Championships event.

Top-ranked Rory McIlroy shot a 65 and at 9-under is on the same number as Tiger Woods, who signed for a 68.


McNeill assumes lead

RIO GRANDE, Puerto Rico (AP) — George McNeill carded a 5-under 67 in round three of the PGA Tour event in Puerto Rico, and at 13-under leads by one stroke with 18 holes to play. Henrik Stenson and Kevin Stadler are tied for second after shooting 65 and 66, respectively.

McNeill is trying to win for the first time since the Frys.com Open in 2007 when he was a PGA Tour rookie.


Canadian dies after skicross crash

GRINDELWALD, Switzerland (AP) — Canada's Nick Zoricic (ZOR'-uh-chihk) suffered fatal head injuries during a crash late in a World Cup skicross event in Switzerland.

He's the second Canadian skier to die this season.

Zoricic was 29 years old. He was a veteran of more than three years on the circuit and was competing in his 36th event.

In January, 29-year-old freestyle skier Sarah Burke died following a training accident on a halfpipe in Utah.


Vonn's quest stalls, Ligety still in the hunt

ARE, Sweden (AP) — Lindsey Vonn skied out during the second run of a World Cup slalom in Sweden, hurting her chances of becoming the first female skier to reach 2,000 points in a single season.

The American remains stuck on 1,808 points with four races to go and 400 points still on the table at the finals in Austria.

Germany's Maria Hoefl-Riesch won Saturday's race by one-hundredth of a second over Slovakia's Veronika Zuzulova.

KRANJSKA GORA, Slovenia (AP) — Ted Ligety (LIHG'-eh-tee) of the United States won the season's penultimate World Cup giant slalom, keeping alive his hopes of claiming a fourth season title.

The two-time defending GS champion trails leader Marcel Hirscher by 92 points with one race remaining. Ligety has to win it and hope the Austrian fails to claim any points.

ARE, Sweden (AP) — American Hannah Kearney won her second World Cup race in two days. The Olympic champion took first place in the dual moguls in Sweden.