Michigan State made its 10th straight win one for the ages. Down 27 at one point to Northwestern and 22 at halftime, the second-ranked Spartans rallied for a 65-60 victory. Michigan State outscored the Wildcats 29-4 over the first 14 1/2 minutes after the break, tying it on Nick Ward’s tip-in and taking its first lead of the game at 56-53 on Jaren Jackson’s three-point play with 5:26 remaining. The Spartans, 14-2 in the Big Ten, have a half-game lead in the conference on Ohio State, which faces Michigan on Sunday.
The top-five showdown between No. 3 Villanova and No. 4 Xavier went the way most of this lopsided series have gone. Mikal Bridges had 25 points as the Wildcats shot 60.3 percent and won 95-79 in Cincinnati for their 10th victory in 11 games against the Musketeers since they became Big East opponents in the 2013-14 season. The sharp-shooting Wildcats struggled from beyond the arc in dropping two of three coming in, hitting just 23.9 percent from three-point range, but they went 16 of 34 while pulling even with Xavier in the loss column atop the conference.
No. 7 Texas Tech saw its seven-game winning streak come to an end with a 59-57 defeat to Baylor while also losing top scorer Keenan Evans to a foot injury. Evans, the No. 2 scorer in the Big 12 behind Oklahoma freshman Trae Young, limped off with 1:14 left in the first half and didn’t return. Terry Maston scored 24 points for Baylor, which won its fifth straight and dropped the Red Raiders into a tie for first in the conference with Kansas.
West Virginia coach Bob Huggins didn’t feel the need to stick around for the end of his team’s 77-69 loss to No. 13 Kansas, getting ejected for jawing at a referee with eight seconds left. Huggins was frustrated by a free-throw discrepancy that had the Jayhawks with 35 attempts to only two for the 20th-ranked Mountaineers. Udoka Azubuike scored 21 points for Kansas, which erased a 12-point deficit with 10 minutes remaining to improve to 6-0 against West Virginia at Allen Fieldhouse.
Tenth-ranked Auburn also lost a starter to a significant injury as well as its game at South Carolina. The Gamecocks built a 26-point lead before hanging on to beat the Tigers 84-75, ending a six-game losing streak. Even more damaging than the defeat for Auburn was the loss of forward Anfernee McLemore, who dislocated his left ankle in a gruesome-looking injury at the end of the first half and had to be carried off on a stretcher.
Jazz rookie Donovan Mitchell edged Larry Nance Jr. to win the slam dunk contest to cap off All-Star Saturday. Mitchell edged Nance Jr. by two points, sealing his victory with a close approximation of the 360-degree spin dunk that Vince Carter used to win the 2000 contest. Before making his winning dunk, Mitchell peeled off his Jazz jersey and wore a vintage Carter jersey from the Raptors. Mitchell needed a score of 47 to beat Nance, and he got a 48 from the five judges: DJ Khaled, Mark Wahlberg, Chris Rock and Hall of Famers Julius Erving and Lisa Leslie.
Devin Booker of the Suns won the 3-point contest with a record 28 points in the final round, beating out 2016 champion Klay Thompson of the Warriors and the Clippers’ Tobias Harris. Booker missed only five of 25 shots in a sensational final round. The previous record was 27 points, set by Stephen Curry in 2015 and matched by Thompson the following year. The hapless Nets finally got something to boast about as Spencer Dinwiddie defeated Bulls rookie Lauri Markkanen to win the skills challenge.
Two-time NBA MVP Steve Nash, fellow star point guard Jason Kidd, and Grant Hill and Ray Allen are among the 13 finalists for induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Maurice Cheeks and Chris Webber also made the cut, while ”Lefty” Driesell, Rudy Tomjanovich and Baylor’s Kim Mulkey made the ballot as coaches. Katie Smith, Tina Thompson and longtime NBA official Hugh Evans are also finalists. The class will be unveiled during the NCAA Final Four in San Antonio.
The U.S.-Russia showdown in men’s hockey turned out to be no contest. Ilya Kovalchuk scored two back-breaking goals less than 33 seconds apart late in the second period as the Russians dominated the U.S. in a 4-0 win that earned them the top spot in Group B and a bye into the quarterfinals on Wednesday. With the loss, the United States now must play in the qualification round Tuesday.
Lindsey Vonn finished a disappointing sixth in Saturday’s super-G, but the U.S. skiing star figures to more of a factor in the women’s downhill. Vonn posted the fastest run in the first of three training days for the event, which she won in Vancouver in 2010 but couldn’t defend her title in Sochi four years ago due to a knee injury. The 33-year-old is attempting to become the oldest woman to medal in an alpine event in Wednesday’s downhill.
Austria’s Marcel Hirscher collected his second gold medal of the Pyeongchang Games with a dominating performance in the men’s giant slalom. The six-time World Cup champion finished a staggering 1.27 seconds ahead of Norway’s Henrik Kristoffersen to add to the gold he won in Tuesday’s alpine combined. 2014 champion Ted Ligety finished 15th in what will likely be the 33-year-old American’s final Olympics in the event he’s won three world titles during his career.
The Twins made a move to bolster their rotation by acquiring right-hander Jake Odorizzi from the Rays for minor league infielder Jermaine Palacios. The 27-year-old Odorizzi went 10-8 with a 4.14 ERA and 127 strikeouts in 143 1/3 innings over 28 starts last season. Tampa Bay also made two other moves, picking up first baseman C.J. Cron from the Angels in exchange for a player to be named and designating outfielder Corey Dickerson for assignment. Dickerson was the AL’s starting designated hitter in last year’s All-Star Game and finished with career highs in runs (84), hits (166) and home runs (27).
The Blackhawks ended an eight-game losing streak with a 7-1 rout of the Capitals, but the lopsided win was overshadowed by the conduct of four fans at the United Center who directed racially insensitive remarks towards Washington’s Devante Smith-Pelly. The Washington forward, who is black, was serving a penalty for fighting when the group shouted “basketball, basketball, basketball” in his direction before being ejected by security. The Blackhawks issued a statement denouncing the fans’ actions immediately following the game.
The first black driver to start the Daytona 500 since 1969 continues to turn heads. Darrell Wallace Jr. topped the speed chart in the final practice for NASCAR’s season opener, going 196.954 mph in the No. 43 Chevrolet for Richard Petty Motorsports, one more astounding moment in a week where he finished third in a Daytona 500 qualifying race and earned a seventh-place start on Sunday. 2012 Cup champion Brad Keselowski is the favorite for the 60th running of NASCAR’s premier race.