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The Sports Report: UC Irvine's season comes to an end

The Sports Report: UC Irvine's season comes to an end
Oregon forward Louis King celebrates. (Jeff Chiu / AP)

Howdy everyone, my name is Houston Mitchell, proprietor of this here newsletter. Let’s get right to the news.

March Madness

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UC Irvine’s season came to an end on Sunday as the Anteaters lost to Oregon, 73-54, in the second round of the NCAA men’s tournament.

The Anteaters finished 31-6, setting a school record for victories in a season. The defeat also ended their school-best 17-game winning streak.

“It was definitely a special run,” junior guard Max Hazzard said. “It’s something I’m going to look back at and reflect on and really realize how cool it was. We did something that was pretty cool that no one expected.”

The Anteaters overcame a 12-point halftime deficit by scoring the first 14 points of the second half and had a 37-35 lead with 14:28 remaining, but they ran out of gas and Oregon took control from there.

“This team has that ability to continue to fight and believe and stay together,” Irvine coach Russell Turner said. “That’s a special ability for a team to have… That's a credit, really, to every person who's a part of it…I knew we'd come back.”

“We advanced in the NCAA tournament,” Hazzard said. “That was one of the goals that we had. We made everybody back home proud. We made ourselves proud, as well.”

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Bill Plaschke takes a look at another local school in another tournament: Azusa Pacific, which is playing in the Division II tournament. An excerpt:

“March Madness just doesn’t happen under the brightest lights on the biggest stage.

“Sometimes it happens in a nearly empty gym, in a game televised only on the internet, with a freshman nervously holding the ball far from the basket with her team’s season taking its last breaths.

“Occasionally it happens on a shot that was initially supposed to be a pass, taken only after her teammates were screaming at her to get rid of it, launched with two hands, on one leg, with zero balance, and a ton of prayers.

“Rarely it happens so unexpectedly, so spectacularly, so incredibly, that almost a week later, the tears are still fresh and the shock is still real.

“I never even practiced that shot,’’ said the 18-year-old, bubble-gum chewing hero of this story. “It was unreal.’’

“Her name is Lydia Nieto. She is the backup guard who suddenly found herself carrying the weight of the world for Azusa Pacific in the NCAA Division II West Regional Finals last Monday against Alaska Anchorage.

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“This is the tale of how March Madness happened to her.”

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UCLA women’s basketball

The UCLA women’s basketball team takes on Maryland today in a second-round game. The game start at 4 p.m. and will be on ESPN. It takes place on the 41st anniversary of the Bruins’ only women’s basketball title. On this date in 1978, Ann Meyers scored 20 points and grabbed 10 rebounds and Anita Ortega scored 23 points as the Bruins defeated Maryland (yes, the same school they are playing today), 90-74.

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A look at the second-round results and schedule for the men’s tournament:

Sunday’s second-round results

East Regional (read game stories here)

No. 1 Duke 77, No. 9 Central Florida 76

No. 4 Virginia Tech 67, No. 12 Liberty 58

Midwest Regional (read game stories here)

No. 1 North Carolina 81, No. 9 Washington 59

No. 3 Houston 74, No. 11 Ohio State 59

West Regional

No. 3 Texas Tech 78, No. 6 Buffalo 58 (read game story here)

South Regional (read game stories here)

No. 2 Tennessee 83, No. 10 Iowa 77 (OT)

No. 1 Virginia 63, No. 9 Oklahoma 51

No. 12 Oregon 73, No. 13 UC Irvine 54 (read game story here)

Thursday’s Sweet 16 TV schedule

All Times Pacific

West Regional

No. 1 Gonzaga vs. No. 4 Florida State, 4 p.m., CBS

No. 2 Michigan vs. No. 3 Texas Tech, 6:30 p.m., CBS

South Regional

No. 2 Tennessee vs. No. 3 Purdue, 4:30 p.m., TBS

No. 1 Virginia vs. No. 12 Oregon, 7 p.m., TBS

Friday’s Sweet 16 TV schedule

All Times Pacific

East Regional

No. 2 Michigan State vs. No. 3 LSU, 4 p.m., CBS

No. 1 Duke vs. No. 4 Virginia Tech, 6:30 p.m., CBS

Midwest Regional

No. 1 North Carolina vs. No. 5 Auburn, 4:30 p.m., TBS

No. 2 Kentucky vs. No. 3 Houston, 7 p.m., TBS

Angels

Mike Trout talked Sunday about why he wanted to remain with the Angels. Some key quotes:

So why would Trout, a native of New Jersey who could have had his pick of teams if he’d hit free agency after the 2020 season, want to stay with the Angels?

“I see what they are doing. The relationship I have with [GM] Billy [Eppler], compared with past GMs, the relationship is great,” Trout said. “He relates to the players more than anybody. That’s the biggest thing I like. When he asks something or something comes up, he asks me and I relay it to the guys, and the guys give me feedback and we go from there. The communication in the whole organization is top notch.”

Why sign now?

“I said, ‘I want to deal with it now if not I’m gong to explore free agency,’ I didn’t want to go through the next few seasons thinking, ‘am I going to get a deal or not?’ I want to know. The Angels sat down, and they came up to me and said, ‘let’s get this done.’ ”

“You want to get respected and I felt that way with the Angels. They are top notch in everything they do.”

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You can read the whole story of how the negotiations went if you click here.

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The Dodgers signed Justin Grimm in hopes of bolstering their bullpen.

Clippers

Lou Williams is turning into quite the star with the Clippers. He scored 29 points, including 15 in the fourth quarter as the Clippers rallied to defeat the New York Knicks, 124-113.

Danilo Gallinari had 26 points and Montrezl Harrell 24 for L.A. Ivica Zubac recorded the 12th double-double of his career with 10 points and 10 rebounds.

The Clippers have won 10 of their last 11 games.

“We’ll focus on trying to win as many games and see if we can get into the playoffs and see where we can go,” Rivers said, “and then the rest of the stuff will happen.”

“No surprises how we’re playing,” Williams said. “We’re just enjoying the moment.”

Odds and Ends

Patriots' Rob Gronkowski announces his retirement following nine NFL seasons…. Elisha Barno wins L.A. Marathon; Askale Merachi wins women’s race in course-record time…. Candace Parker’s transition to the broadcast booth has been a blur…. Owners to consider a variety of rules changes at NFL meetings this week…. Manny Machado signing gives San Diego Padres a serious countenance…. Kyle Clifford shows his toughness by scoring his first career power-play goal…. The Lakers defeated the Sacramento Kings, 111-106.

Today’s local major sports schedule (all times Pacific)

Dodgers at Angels, 7 p.m., Sportsnet LA, PRIME, AM 570, KLAA 830

Kings at Calgary, 6 p.m., FSW

Born on this date

1966: Baseball player Tom Glavine

1967: Figure skater Debi Thomas

1971: WNBA player Sheryl Swoopes

And finally

That concludes the newsletter for today. If you have any feedback, ideas for improvement or things you’d like to see, please email me here. If you want to subscribe, click here.

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