The Sports Report: UCLA and USC advance to the Elite Eight
Howdy, I’m your host, Houston Mitchell. Let’s get right to the news.
Ben Bolch on the UCLA men’s basketball team. The runaway finish was preceded by some crazy momentum swings, a back-and-forth battle that none of the breathless fans wanted to end.
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UCLA has this game! No, wait, Alabama isn’t going away!
In overtime, there was no doubt. It was all Bruins.
The evidence could be seen in a flurry of consecutive points and heard high in the Hinkle Fieldhouse stands from fans yelling four letters not heard this deep into March in more than a decade.
The Bruins are back in a big way on college basketball’s biggest stage.
They trumpeted their presence once more Sunday night, the fearless underdogs knocking off another overmatched bully while rocking the old barn that felt much fuller than its capacity limit of 1,250.
Shrugging off an Alabama three-pointer that tied the score with four-tenths of a second left in regulation, 11th-seeded UCLA scored the first seven points of overtime and overran the second-seeded Crimson Tide for an 88-78 victory in an NCAA tournament East Region semifinal.
When it was over, the Bruins having won a fourth consecutive game on the way to their first regional final since 2008, emotion overflowed for a team that had been widely dismissed only two weeks earlier following four consecutive losses.
Ryan Kartje on USC men’s basketball: Defense had always been its calling card. When the threes weren’t falling and its offense wasn’t clicking and the sloppy mistakes threatened to sink USC, defense was the one thing Andy Enfield could consistently depend on. The coach rebuilt his roster ahead of his eighth season with that intimidating image in mind, stockpiling size and doubling up on length, all in hopes that the rest of its talented pieces would come together at the right moment.
That moment has now stretched through four magical, unexpected weeks of March. It bulldozed right past Drake, ran right through Kansas, and on Sunday in the Sweet 16, rolled right over the top of Oregon, drowning the Ducks in a sea of threes and tangled Trojans arms at Banker’s Life Fieldhouse. What began as a simmering rematch to rewrite the Pac-12 title for USC quickly became a stunning 82-68 beatdown on its way to the Elite Eight, its first time so deep in March since 2001.
“This is a big moment in USC basketball,” Enfield said. “It’s our second Elite Eight in the last 60 years. This is a huge win for our players, our program.”
With its defense dominating and its unexpected offense soaring, arguably no team has proved more powerful than USC through three rounds of the NCAA tournament. No one except perhaps for top overall seed Gonzaga, this season’s juggernaut, which awaits USC in the next round.
Dan Woike on the Lakers: Andre Drummond posted a photo of himself in Lakers gold, the signal that he was on his way to a team that needs the help in the worst way.
Later Sunday, the Lakers made the move official, the first team announcement in months that didn’t include bad news about an injury.
“Andre Drummond gives us powerful, anchor-point skills on both ends of the court,” Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka said in a statement. “We feel extremely fortunate to add a player of his caliber and magnitude to our core group at this stage of our journey to defend the NBA title.”
This stage of the Lakers’ journey is about to get interesting if not just flat-out dangerous, the team beating the recently detonated Orlando Magic 96-93 on Sunday night at Staples Center before facing the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday. From there, they get into the teeth of their second-half schedule, with road games against the Clippers, the Miami Heat, the Brooklyn Nets and the New York Knicks all in the next two weeks.
Having Drummond will help, though it remains to be seen how much.
“The list is long of how he’s going to contribute to our group,” Vogel said.
U.S. MEN’S SOCCER
Kevin Baxter on soccer: Three times in the lead-up to the last three Olympics, the U.S. went into its final match of qualifying needing just one goal to keep alive its hopes of playing in the Summer Games.
And for the third time the U.S. came up one-goal short Sunday, losing to Honduras 2-1 in a chippy, physical semifinal of the CONCACAF pre-Olympic competition on a 90-degree afternoon in Guadalajara, Mexico.
The win sends Honduras to the Olympics for a fourth straight time, while the Americans, who haven’t played in the men’s tournament since 2008, must wait three years for another chance.
“We’re devastated. Absolutely devastated,” U.S. coach Jason Kreis said. “We all wanted this so badly for so many different reasons. Sometimes when you want it too bad, you put yourself in a position where you can’t perform at the level needed.
“At the end of the day I just don’t think we had enough.”
Mexico will also be going to Tokyo after beating Canada 2-0 in Sunday’s other semifinal. The first of Mexico’s second-half scores came from former Galaxy winger Uriel Antuna.
Gregg Berhalter has spent most of his 28 months as coach of the U.S. men’s national team perfecting a complex pressing, attacking style of play. On Sunday he added a new wrinkle, starting Sunday’s friendly against Northern Ireland by introducing a three-man back line.
But the U.S. didn’t miss a beat, extending its unbeaten streak to nine games with a 2-1 win on a wet and windy night in Belfast. The victory was the Americans’ first over a European team in Europe since 2015 and first ever in the United Kingdom and Ireland. And it came at the end of the team’s final training camp before Nations League semifinals in June, which will kick off a busy summer that will include the CONCACAF Gold Cup and the start of the final round of World Cup qualifying.
For Northern Ireland, the loss left it winless in 12 straight games.
“We think it’s important for us to continue to challenge this group,” Berhalter said of the formation change. “It was a good opportunity to do so tonight.
Josh Manson scored in opening minutes of overtime and the Ducks rallied from a two-goal deficit and beat the St. Louis Blues 3-2.
Adam Henrique and Can Fowler scored in regulation for Anaheim, which won its second straight.
Ducks goaltender Anthony Stolarz made 37 saves in his first start of the season. Stolarz started his first game since Mar. 11, 2020, also against St. Louis, in the teams’ last game before the COVID-19 shutdown. Stolarz won for the first time since Feb. 12, 2019, as a member of the Philadelphia Flyers.
NCAA MEN’S TOURNAMENT RESULTS, SCHEDULE
All times Pacific
No. 1 Gonzaga 83, No. 5 Creighton 65
No. 6 USC 82, No. 7 Oregon 68
No. 1 Michigan 76, No. 4 Florida State 58
No. 11 UCLA 88, No. 2 Alabama 78 (OT)
No. 2 Houston vs. No. 12 Oregon State, 4:15 p.m., CBS
No. 1 Baylor vs. No. 3 Arkansas, 6:57 p.m., CBS
No. 1 Gonzaga vs. No. 6 USC, 4:15 p.m., CBS
No. 1 Michigan vs. No. 11 UCLA, 6:57 p.m., CBS
TBD vs. TBD, 2 p.m., CBS
TBD vs. TBD, 5:30 p.m., CBS
Monday, April 5 schedule
6 p.m., CBS
NCAA WOMEN’S TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE, RESULTS
All times Pacific
No. 1 South Carolina 76, No. 5 Georgia Tech 65
No. 6 Texas 64, No. 2 Maryland 61
No. 1 Stanford 89, No. 5 Missouri State 62
No. 2 Louisville 60, No. 6 Oregon 42
River Walk Regional
No. 1 Connecticut vs. No. 2 Baylor, 4 p.m., ESPN
No. 3 Arizona vs. No. 4 Indiana, 6 p.m., ESPN
No. 1 South Carolina vs. No. 6 Texas, 4 p.m., ESPN
No. 1 Stanford vs. No. 2 Louisville, 6 p.m., ESPN
THIS DATE IN SPORTS
1929 — The Boston Bruins win the Stanley Cup with a 2-1 victory over the New York Rangers to complete a two-game sweep.
1940 — Joe Louis knocks out Johnny Paychek in the second round at Madison Square Garden in New York to retain the world heavyweight title.
1941 — Wisconsin, led by Gene Englund’s 13 points, wins the NCAA basketball championship with a 39-34 victory over Washington State.
1952 — George Mikan of the Minneapolis Lakers scores an NBA playoff record 47 points in an 88-78 loss in Game 1 of the Western Division Finals against Rochester.
1960 — Boston’s Bill Russell pulls down an NBA Finals record 40 rebounds, as the Celtics lose to St. Louis, 113-103.
1962 — Elgin Baylor (45) and Jerry West (41) of the Los Angeles Lakers become the first teammates to both score 40 or more points in an NBA Playoff game. It isn’t enough as the Lakers lose to Detroit, 118-117, in a Western Division Finals game.
1981 — Louisiana Tech routs Tennessee 79-59 for the AIAW basketball title.
1982 — Michael Jordan’s jump shot with 16 seconds remaining gives North Carolina a 63-62 victory over Georgetown for the NCAA men’s basketball championship.
1984 — The NFL Colts leave the city of Baltimore in the early hours of the morning, headed for Indianapolis.
1987 — Tennessee routs Louisiana Tech 67-44 to win the NCAA women’s basketball championship.
1990 — Houston’s Akeem Olajuwon is the third player in NBA history to achieve a quadruple double during a 120-94 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks. He scores 18 points, 16 rebounds, 11 blocked shots and 10 assists.
1992 — Dottie Mochrie birdies No. 18 to force a playoff and beats Juli Inkster with par on the first hole of sudden death in the Dinah Shore tournament.
1992 — Olympic champion Kristi Yamaguchi becomes the first American woman to win consecutive world figure skating championships since Peggy Fleming in 1968.
1996 — The Vancouver Grizzlies break the NBA record for consecutive losses in a season with their 21st in a 105-91 loss to the Utah Jazz. The 1972-73 Philadelphia 76ers and the 1993-94 Dallas Mavericks lost 20 straight.
1999 — New York Rangers center Wayne Gretzky surpasses Gordie Howe as the leading goal scorer in pro hockey history in a 3-1 victory over the Islanders. Gretzky’s goal was the 1,072nd of his career — 20 NHL seasons and one season in the WHA.
2003 — Michelle Kwan becomes the third American to win five World Figure Skating Championships. Kwan, a seven-time U.S. champion, ties Dick Button and Carol Heiss for most world crowns by an American.
2007 — Michael Phelps sets his third world record in as many days, winning the 200-meter individual medley, at the world championships in Melbourne, Australia. His time of 1:54.98 betters his old mark of 1:55.84 set in August at the Pan Pacific championships.
2008 — Curlin rolls to a record-setting 7 3/4-length victory in the $6 million Dubai World Cup, the world’s richest race. Curlin is the fourth horse to win the Breeders’ Cup Classic and then take the World Cup the following year.
2011 — Maya Moore scores 28 points, including the 3,000th of her career, to lead top-seed Connecticut to a 75-40 win over Duke and another trip to the Final Four.
2013 — Jaromir Jagr earns his 1,000th career NHL assist in the Dallas Stars to a 5-3 victory over Minnesota.
2013 — Wesley Low Jr., at age 15, becomes the youngest bowler ever to win a PBA Regional title — breaking a 34-year-old record set by PBA Hall of Famer Pete Weber in 1979. The two-handed competitor defeats Deeronn Booker 299-234, to win the PBA Non-Champion West tournament at South Point Bowling Center in Las Vegas. Low, a member of Junior Team USA who was 29 days shy of his 16th birthday, loses his bid for a perfect game in the title match when he leaves an 8 pin on his final shot.
2014 — The Philadelphia 76ers snap their NBA record-tying, 26-game losing streak, routing the Detroit Pistons 123-98 to avoid establishing a new longest skid in U.S. major pro sports history.
2014 — Serena Williams wins a record seventh Key Biscayne title when she overcomes a slow start and a set point to beat Li Na 7-5, 6-1 at the Sony Open.
2015 — Duke beats Gonzaga 66-52 to send coach Mike Krzyzewski to a 12th Final Four, matching coaching record by John Wooden.
2015 — Belmont breaks three NCAA Division I records and tied a fourth during a 20-run sixth inning in a 34-10 victory over UT Martin.
2017 — Russell Westbrook has 57 points — the most in a triple-double in NBA history — 13 rebounds and 11 assists to lead the Oklahoma City Thunder to a 114-106 overtime win over the Orlando Magic. Westbrook leads the Thunder to their largest comeback in team history, rallying Oklahoma City from a 21-point deficit in the second half.
Michael Jordan hits the game-winning shot to give North Carolina the NCAA title over Georgetown. Watch it here.
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