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Sports

    Tokyo Olympic organizers seem to be leaning away from starting the rescheduled games in the spring of 2021. More and more the signs point toward the summer of 2021. Organizing committee President Yoshiro Mori suggested there would be no major change from 2020. “The games are meant to be in summer, so we should be thinking of a time between June and September,” Japanese news agency Kyodo reported Mori saying on Saturday. International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach, after the postponement was announced in Switzerland on Tuesday, left open the possibility of spring dates. The postponed games were to have opened on July 24 and closed on Aug. 9. Mori suggested some decisions could be made as early as this week when the organizing committee's executive board meets. Any final decision will be made between local organizers and the IOC, and hundreds of sponsors, sports federations and broadcasters. Athletes have been left in limbo by the postponement. Many have been forced to stop training because of the spreading coronavirus virus. Even those who can train have no idea about how to schedule training to reach peak fitness at the right time. Mori and organizing committee CEO Toshiro Muto have both said the added cost of rescheduling will be “enormous.” Early estimates put those costs at between $2-3 billion with the several levels of Japanese governments likely to foot most of the bills. Tokyo organizers say they are spending $12.6 billion to stage the games. However, a government audit report said it will cost at least twice that much. All but $5.6 billion is public money. The Switzerland-based IOC has contributed $1.3 billion to organize the Tokyo Olympics, according local organizing committee documents. It has a reserve fund of about $2 billion for such emergencies and also has insurance coverage. ___ More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
  • James Dolan, the executive chairman of Madison Square Garden Company and owner of the New York Knicks, has tested positive for the coronavirus. The Knicks announced Dolan’s diagnosis Saturday night. It is not clear when he was tested or when he received the diagnosis. Dolan is the first U.S. major pro sports owner known to have tested positive for the virus. He also owns the NHL's New York Rangers, along with other venues like Radio City Music Hall, The Hulu Theatre and The Chicago Theatre. “The Madison Square Garden Company Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jim Dolan has tested positive for coronavirus,” the Knicks' statement said. “He has been in self-isolation and is experiencing little to no symptoms. He continues to oversee business operations.” New York has been the hotspot for the pandemic in the U.S. All 50 U.S. states have reported some cases of the virus that causes COVID-19, but New York has the most, with over 52,000 positive tests for the illness and more than 700 deaths. About 7,300 people were in New York hospitals Saturday, including about 1,800 in intensive care. For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, which can include fever and cough but also milder cases of pneumonia, sometimes requiring hospitalization. The risk of death is greater for older adults and people with other health problems. Dolan is one of the most polarizing sports figures in New York. Earlier this month, Oscar-winning writer-director Spike Lee — one of the Knicks' best-known fans — criticized Dolan after getting into a disagreement with MSG personnel about which entrance to the arena he could use. Dolan has also publicly clashed in recent years with former Knicks forward Charles Oakley, and frustrated fans chanted “sell the team' at some games this season. The NBA has been shut down since March 11, the night that Utah center Rudy Gobert became the first player in the league to have a positive diagnosis for the virus revealed. The Knicks played host to Utah — which later had Gobert and Donovan Mitchell test positive — on March 4 and played host to Detroit on March 8. Pistons center Christian Wood also later tested positive for the virus. Gobert, Mitchell and Wood have all since recovered. The 64-year-old Dolan also serves as executive chairman of MSG Networks, and has been chairman of the Garden and owner of the Knicks since 1999. ___ More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
  • If there is a Kentucky Derby this year, Tiz the Law will have a shot to be there. And if he runs the way he did in the Florida Derby, he could very easily be a contender. Tiz the Law ran away in the stretch Saturday to easily win the Florida Derby, wrapping up a spot in the Kentucky Derby field based on the points standings that are used to determine who qualifies for the Run for the Roses. Tiz the Law's win at Gulfstream Park was worth 100 points, far more than what will be needed for a chance to run at Churchill Downs if the rescheduled Kentucky Derby goes off as planned in early September. It's a feel-good story for a sport in need of one: Tiz the Law is owned by Sackatoga Stable, the upstate New York-based group that took the sport by storm when Funny Cide won the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness in 2003. “Man, I hope they're really happy,' winning jockey Manny Franco said about the Sackatoga group led by Jack Knowlton, who was watching the race from a condo in Hallandale Beach, Florida about a mile from the track. “Their horse did a great job.' Franco said he got instructions before the race over the phone from winning trainer Barclay Tagg, but said he didn't have to do much work once the gate opened. “I give all the credit to the horse,' Franco said. Shivaree, an 80-1 long shot, was second and picked up 50 points to likely clinch a spot in the field. Fountain of Youth winner Ete Indien was third in a most unusual race at Gulfstream, where fans were not allowed and even owners were told to stay away from the track because of the coronavirus pandemic. Tiz the Law covered nine furlongs in 1:50 flat and returned $4.80, $3.60 and $2.80. Shivaree paid $42 and $13, and Ete Indien paid $3.40 to show. Ordinarily, Tiz the Law would now be immediately targeted to the Kentucky Derby because it was set to be run five weeks from now. But the pandemic has changed everything, and now it's unclear when or where any of the top Derby contenders — now, Tiz the Law foremost among them — will run again. There isn’t another major Kentucky Derby prep scheduled, for now, until May 2 when the Arkansas Derby is set to be run. Other major preps — like the Santa Anita Derby, the Wood Memorial and the Blue Grass — are all on hold. “Maybe we can do a Travers-Derby double,' Knowlton said. “Right now it’s a blank slate. Nobody knows what’s going to happen where or when with all that’s going on in the country. ... All we know is that we’ve got a horse that’s very special, and it’s pretty exciting for us.' Many tracks are not running right now because of the pandemic; Santa Anita in California shut down indefinitely on Friday and Aqueduct, one of the New York Racing Association’s three tracks, canceled the rest of its winter and spring meets on Saturday. State officials announced that Aqueduct would become a temporary hospital site to help some of the many affected in the New York City area. “Aqueduct Racetrack will serve as a safe haven for those recovering from this virus,” NYRA CEO and President Dave O'Rourke said. “We recognize that we all must work together as a community to meet this challenge and emerge stronger for it.” Aqueduct’s winter meet was to end Sunday and its spring meet was to run from April 2-19. NYRA’s next meet is the 51-day schedule at Belmont Park, which is still scheduled to open on April 24. Gulfstream’s championship meet is scheduled to end Sunday. Its spring-summer meet is scheduled to begin Friday with racing typically four days a week through the end of September. Florida eclipsed the 4,000-case mark Saturday — with roughly half of those coming from in Miami-Dade and Broward counties, meaning Gulfstream Park is squarely within the state’s pandemic hotspot. Gulfstream is in Hallandale Beach, in Broward County, just over the border from Miami-Dade to the south. Gulfstream announced on March 12 that it would continue with live racing, but without fans present. It tightened protocols at least twice since, first by closing its on-site casino on March 16 and then going to a “no guests, no exceptions” policy on March 19 that barred media and even owners from going to see races. Remaining open has even drawn the ire of some local politicians who insisted the track should not be allowed to run with the area basically on lockdown. But bettors have continued pumping money in via online and simulcast opportunities. “I think it’s critical to the economy of racing that, if we can, we continue racing,” trainer Todd Pletcher said, adding that his stance is predicated on safety being assured for everyone involved. The lack of on-track handle and casino revenue forced Gulfstream to trim the Florida Derby purse from $1 million to $750,000. The track also slightly dropped the purse for several other stakes races Saturday.
  • The walk to the starting grid for Tony Kanaan began in his Indianapolis kitchen, through the foyer, past the trophy case, up the stairs, down the hall, through the master bedroom, master bathroom and finally into the closet. That’s where the former Indianapolis 500 winner tucked away Saturday to participate in a full day of iRacing on a simulator in the one place his wife will tolerate the rig. Kanaan participated in two virtual races, a legends event won by three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Dario Franchitti. Then he joined the first of a six-week series that launched Saturday to give IndyCar fans content during the coronavirus pandemic. IndyCar followed the lead of NASCAR and other racing series in throwing together something - anything - to fill the void created when COVID-19 brought sports to a halt. IndyCar suspended the start of its season 48 hours before the March 15 opener in St. Petersburg, Florida, and on Thursday the Indianapolis 500 was postponed until August. NASCAR had a successful launch of its iRacing series last Sunday and it was the most-watched televised esports event ever with more than 900,000 viewers. IndyCar couldn’t get a television deal so its inaugural race was streamed online from virtual Watkins Glen International Speedway, the venue decided by fan vote. YouTube streams from IndyCar and iRacing combined for about 45,000 viewers to watch a virtual race called by NBC Sports' regular booth of Leigh Diffey, Townsend Bell and Paul Tracy. The invocation was done remotely, as was the National Anthem, sung by Chicago Blackhawks regular Jim Cornelison. The field included NASCAR’s seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson, who made his iRacing debut last weekend in a stock car using SIM settings more suited for IndyCar or sports car. Johnson has been using his rig to prepare for potential races in other series upon his retirement from full-time racing at the end of the season. He was scheduled to test an IndyCar next month in Alabama but that’s been canceled amid the pandemic. He wore a T-Shirt honoring late open-wheel driver Greg Moore for his virtual IndyCar debut, which he streamed live on his social media channels. Most drivers tried to give viewers an inside look of their experience, including James Hinchcliffe, the popular Canadian who played the part wearing a stereotypical flannel shirt and Team Canada red hat with ear flaps. But a technical glitch stopped his his SIM before the green flag and Hinchcliffe didn’t get to race, er, play, after all. Hinchcliffe had to go to an Indianapolis-area friends’ house to participate in the race because he doesn’t own a simulator, same with Robert Wickens, who hasn’t raced since his spinal cord injury in a 2018 crash but hoped to be in the iRacing event. Wickens struggled to find a simulator with a steering wheel equipped with hand controls so he could bypass pedals. The IndyCar community stepped in and Wickens was able to get a simulator from Cary and Todd Bettenhausen, the twin sons of former IndyCar racer Gary Bettenhausen. A steering wheel designed by IndyCar steward Max Papis’ innovation company was shipped from North Carolina, but alas, did not arrive in Indianapolis in time for Wickens to participate. Much like NASCAR’s first event last week, the iRace had a wide range of talents because the younger drivers use iRacing as a training tool, while veterans are new to the gaming rage. Participating in the series requires having the technology – which can be difficult to not only secure in a hurry, but also have installed in a drivers’ home during a lockdown – and the desire to be a good sport for fans starving for entertainment. Teams also viewed it as an opportunity to showcase their sponsors at a time there’s almost no way for promotion or activation. It was important to many organizations to have their car and sponsor represented, which got Scott Speed a slot in Marco Andretti’s place when Andretti declined to participate. Australian V8 SuperCars champion Scott McLaughlin entered the virtual event as one of four Team Penske drivers, but it is the closest he’ll get to a race now that his IndyCar debut has been put on hold. He was scheduled to run May 9 on the road course at Indianapolis Motor Speedway but those plans were scrapped when the race was moved to July 4. The race results were not surprising as the top iRacers led the way. Sage Karam, who turned 25 in March, won the race with no prior experience at Watkins Glen. Felix Rosenqvist, last year's IndyCar top rookie, was second. The Penske crew of Will Power and McLaughlin were third and fourth, followed by Indy Lights champion Oliver Askew, who is 23.
  • Roger Penske, at 83 and considered high risk for the coronavirus as a 2017 kidney transplant recipient, still makes the daily three-minute commute to his Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, office. He works 12 or more hours a day from his conference room at Penske Corp., which has a skeleton crew practicing social distancing. Penske has 60,000 employees across the world in an organization in constant flux because of the COVID-19 crisis. That would be enough for the leader of any corporation, but this pandemic is marring his debut as owner of Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the IndyCar Series. His cloak-and-dagger purchase was done in six weeks last year, the sale completed in January, and the most important thing to Penske since taking over was gearing up for his first chance to host “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.” The Indianapolis 500 won’t be run on Memorial Day weekend for the first time since 1946 after Penske on Thursday postponed one of America’s crown jewel sporting events until Aug. 23. “I took the road that gave us the longest distance, five months,' he said. 'If this thing isn’t over in five months, we’ve got bigger problems.” It's a rotten way to usher in a new era at both Indianapolis Motor Speedway and IndyCar, the little series that can and wants to but just can’t reach the next level. But now it has Penske, the American industrialist who turned his racing hobby into a mighty empire. He agreed last fall to become just the fourth owner of national landmark Indianapolis Motor Speedway in a deal with the Hulman-George family, which had controlled American open-wheel racing since Tony Hulman bought the dilapidated speedway on the corner of 16th Street and Georgetown Avenue in 1945 at the end of World War II. Indy was Penske’s personal playground long before Tony George offered him a chance to bid on property everyone believed impossible to pry from the Hulman-George group. His Team Penske drivers won the Indy 500 a record 18 times, and the speedway suites and hospitality areas for decades have been the backdrop for Penske to celebrate his partners and employees. The Captain was the perfect man to give the speedway a good cleaning and take the Indy 500 to even greater prestige in the sporting landscape. And the IndyCar Series got the right guy to help its push for relevance. Then came the pandemic, which first put the start of the season on hold and now has delayed the iconic 500. “It’s a shame Roger has to go through this in his first year of owning Indianapolis Motor Speedway,” said four-time 500 winner A.J. Foyt, also a team owner, “but you couldn’t have a better man in charge.' In a wide-ranging interview with The Associated Press, Penske insisted his commitment remains steadfast to the speedway and the IndyCar Series as the world waits for the pandemic to end. “This was a commitment we made not for one year; it’s a lifelong commitment for our family and the company and all of our people,” Penske said. “The disappointment certainly is there. But you know, I’ve looked at it as an opportunity to show people that we’re still committed to the sport. We want to rally the team, let them know we are supporting them.” Penske had his heart set on opening the speedway gates in May to a glistening property he intends to make as pristine and revered as Augusta National. He’s put so much personal effort into pumping up the Indy 500 — from dumping an additional $2 million into the purse to push it to a record $15 million to upgrading the decrepit bathrooms and adding hand dryers — that giving up Memorial Day weekend and Indianapolis' celebration of the national holiday was not easy. So why not wait a little longer and see if the country opens up, just in case the race that draws crowds in excess of 300,000 could happen? “You have to make a decision, you just have to, with the number of people involved,” Penske said. “If we wait all the way until May to make these decisions, and you make a last-minute decision, now you don’t have a television partner because you don’t know what the Olympics are doing. Then the Olympics opened up, so I said, ‘Look, I want those dates.'” Among other issues Penske addressed: — Helping teams Penske noted that North Carolina, where probably 99% of NASCAR teams are located, as is his entire Team Penske operation, is on lockdown, so there aren’t any cars to be built. He’s put a team of Penske officials in charge of exploring laws in each state to build a clearinghouse so teams from any series can determine what, if anything, they are eligible for under the $2 trillion coronavirus response bill. He also said the full-time IndyCar teams will be paid as scheduled from the series' bonus programs. “We’ve committed the first three commitments through their leaders circle to pay them. We’re doing everything we can to help them,' Penske said. — Teaming with NASCAR IndyCar had hoped to open its season with the road course race at Indianapolis on May 9, but that event has been moved to July 4, mere hours after NASCAR’s debut with the Xfinity Series on the same circuit. It will be an unprecedented doubleheader if it goes off as scheduled, and the idea of the two series merging on one weekend seemed a pipe dream until Penske’s announcement. Even though NASCAR is expected to revamp its schedule in 2021, Penske Entertainment CEO Mark Miles, in that role for the Hulman-George family, seemed only lukewarm to sharing a weekend with stock cars. Now it’s on the schedule to happen with Penske dealing directly with NASCAR President Steve Phelps and executive Steve O’Donnell. It saved the road course race from becoming a mundane IndyCar event and instead created what could be a first of its kind as the Cup Series is scheduled to run the oval the next day. “Everybody had their fingerprints on it one time or another,” Penske said. “Ben Kennedy came and looked at the track himself to get a look at the track before we could get Xfinity on it. Then with the coronavirus, when it looked like (May 9) was going to be in trouble, we talked about was there an ability for us to run the IndyCar race with The Brickyard? And that was the discussion with Steve Phelps and then the work with O’Donnell and General Motors. We hope we can do something really special.” One loss for IndyCar’s Grand Prix is that Australian V8 SuperCars champion Scott McLaughlin will no longer make his IndyCar debut in that event, Penske said, because of the hectic schedule and lack of practice time. — Rest of the IndyCar schedule: For now, IndyCar is scheduled to start the season with a doubleheader at Belle Isle in Detroit, the one race Penske promotes, at the end of May. It can be adjusted if needed, Penske said, because Belle Isle could run later in the year. He also said he’s hopeful a return can be worked out with St. Petersburg, Florida, which had the street course built to host the March 15 season opener until the race was called off 48 hours before green flag. “At the end of October, there’s open dates there,” Penske said. “And, you know, we’ll see how we come out at the end of the other end. But I think the one thing is the most important race that we have has at least 150 days and, you know, running that is the priority.” — His mood: Penske continues to work alongside “a very small group” accessing his conference room, and “we’re practicing social distance and we’re cleaning every time anybody comes in or out.” His transportation operations have been suspended in Germany, Italy, Spain and the U.K., and his race teams can’t currently work. “We have such a commitment to 60,000 people around the world,” he said. Penske said he’ll tune in to iRacing for the first time on Saturday when IndyCar drivers and NASCAR’s seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson will stage a virtual race to give fans content. He said he’s had no exposure to esports, noting his grandchildren play hockey and lacrosse. As to the notion that Penske will ensure that IndyCar and the Indy 500 weather the coronavirus, he’s heard the praise from fellow team owners on his conference calls and appreciates their faith. “It was a huge relief to get something decided with the 500, not only for me, but the community and the industry. It needed to be locked down,” Penske said. “Within this small group, the team owners, I’ve built the credibility with them both on and off the track. And that means more to me than the next ticket. I’ve got to use every tool I have, all the people we have contacts with, in order to help our teams make the series the best we can. It’s going to be great once we get on the track.”
  • The Latest on the effects of the coronavirus outbreak on sports around the world: ___ Former All-Star outfielder Jim Edmonds announced on his Instagram page that he went to the hospital to be tested for the coronavirus after displaying some symptoms. The 49-year-old Edmonds sent a video update Saturday night on his Instagram Story saying he was back home after testing positive for pneumonia for the first time in his life, but was awaiting results of tests for the coronavirus. “I'm just trying to rest up and get better,” Edmonds said, adding that he'd provide an update when he heard from doctors. Earlier Saturday, Edmonds posted a photo of himself in a hospital room with a facemask covering his nose and mouth. “Held off as long as I could,” he wrote on the post. “I thought I was tough enough to get through. This virus is no joke. #gethealthy.” He said he was feeling “super sick” and added that he wasn't “taking any chances because it's so hard to get tested by the rules of the CDC.” Edmonds played 17 seasons in the majors, mostly with the Los Angeles Angels and St. Louis Cardinals. He won eight Gold Glove awards, and finished with a .284 career batting average with 393 home runs and 1,199 RBIs. Edmonds also helped the Cardinals win the World Series in 2006. He also played for the San Diego Padres, Chicago Cubs, Milwaukee Brewers and Cincinnati Reds late in his career before retiring in 2011. ___ Canadian hockey goalie equipment manufacturer Brian's Custom Sports has begun producing medical supplies for hospitals in and around southwestern Ontario. The company in Kingsville was originally approached by public health officials about its surplus of double-sided tape and foam. But when the Ontario government closed nonessential businesses to help stop the spread of COVID-19, the company was asked to change its production. Now its 15-person sewing team is producing medical gowns for front-line medical workers for Windsor-Essex EMS. ___ Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence and his girlfriend have restarted their efforts to raise money for those affected by the new coronavirus. They announced their decision Saturday on social media. The two had set up a GoFundMe page earlier this week until told by Clemson compliance officials the site violated NCAA rules against using an athlete's name, image and likeness for crowd funding. But the NCAA said Tuesday that Lawrence and other athletes could use such sites to raise money in this case. Lawrence's girlfriend, Marissa Mowry, is a soccer player at Anderson University, about 15 miles from Clemson's campus. They created the “Trevor Lawrence and Marissa Mowry COVID-19 Relief Fund” designed to provide direct assistance to families affected by the pandemic. ___ The Colorado Avalanche say a second player has tested positive for the new coronavirus. The team said it was informed Friday night and the player is in self-isolation. In their statement Saturday, the Avalanche say those who came in close contact with the player have been informed and remain isolated. The team says no other Avalanche player or staff member has shown symptoms at this time. The unidentified player has become the fourth known NHL player to test positive for the virus. The other two are with Ottawa. ___ Two-time Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka says she is disappointed that the Olympics in her native Japan were postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic, but she supports the decision to delay the Summer Games to 2021. In a posting Saturday on social media, she said she's 'been thinking about how to articulate my thoughts on this for a couple of days now.' The decision to push back the games from July and August 2020 until sometime next year was announced Tuesday. Osaka wrote: 'Sport will eventually unite us again and be there for us always, but that time is not now.' She also addressed 'the people of Japan,' where she was born, saying, 'stay strong, hang in there and let's show the world our beautiful country when the time is right.' The 22-year-old Osaka figures to be one of the most-watched stars in Tokyo, given that she represents the host country and is a medal contender in tennis. She won the 2018 U.S. Open and 2019 Australian Open and became the first player from Asia to reach No. 1 in the singles rankings. ___ An A-League soccer player has become the first Australian professional footballer to test positive for the new coronavirus. The unnamed player, who plays for the Newcastle Jets in New South Wales state, was tested Friday as a precaution before an international flight. He played in recent A-League matches against Brisbane and Melbourne City. The player is now in quarantine and the A-League is suspended at least until April 22. Jets chief executive Lawrie McKinna said the player is asymptomatic and in good health. McKinna said the rest of the squad does not “need to get into isolation” but are being monitored. ___ Soccer players and celebrities will take part in a global music festival on Saturday organized by the Spanish league in order to raise funds for the fight against the coronavirus. Barcelona’s Gerard Piqué, Real Madrid’s Sergio Ramos and Sevilla’s Jesús Navas will be among the players involved in the charity event organized to raise money “for the purchase of medical supplies in the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic and to also support fans confined to their homes during the current period of quarantine,” the league said. Celebrities in the festival will include singers Aitana, Alejandro Sanz, Beret and Luis Fonsi, actress Danna Paola, music bands Morat and Taburete, and tennis star Rafael Nadal. The soccer players and celebrities will all participate from their homes. The concert is to be shown live through the league's international broadcasters and streamed via YouTube and Facebook. The “music extravaganza” will be broadcast in more than 180 countries simultaneously, starting at 1700 GMT (1 p.m. EST). ___ Barcelona has delivered 30,000 masks to the Catalonia government to help fight the coronavirus pandemic. The masks were made in China and donated by insurance company Taiping, a regional partner of the club. Barcelona said the “daily use” masks will be distributed to nursing homes. The club added it is working through its foundation “to do as much as possible to help with this crisis, both locally and internationally.” Spain, where stay-at-home restrictions have been in place for nearly two weeks, reported 832 more deaths on Saturday, its highest daily count yet, bringing its total to 5,690. An additional 8,000 confirmed infections pushed that count above 72,000. ___ More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
  • Austin Carr played for Notre Dame in an era when prolific scorers dominated college basketball. LSU's Pete Maravich was scoring 40 a night and still No. 1 on the points list. Niagara's Calvin Murphy, Purdue's Rick Mount and St. Bonaventure's Bob Lanier, along with Carr, were others putting up eye-popping numbers. It wasn't until Carr scored a still-standing NCAA Tournament-record 61 points against Ohio in the first round in 1970 that, in his mind, he started to separate himself. “At the time it gave me a different status in the basketball world,” he told The Associated Press this week. “It gave me an opportunity to be put on the radar, to be in the top three or four players in the draft. A whole lot of things happened because of that.' Carr averaged 34.6 points over 74 college games, a figure that still ranks No. 2 behind Maravich's 44.4. In the 1971 NBA draft, Carr was taken No. 1 overall by the Cleveland Cavaliers. Carr played nine of his 11 pro seasons with the Cavs and averaged better than 15 points a game, a figure that would have been higher had it not been for injuries. Now 72, he's the team's television analyst and director of community and business development. Carr said he didn't expect his single-game tournament scoring record to last so long. At the same time, he laments the magnitude of the accomplishment has faded over 50 years, perhaps because he never made it past a regional semifinal when he played for the Irish. “It's there but it doesn't really ring a lot of bells until this time of year because people don't talk about it,' he said. “Recently, I'm starting to hear more about it as a record that might not be broken. So that's starting to travel around. But the one thing about this generation, we don't really worry too much about the past. They're more about the future. I've just resigned myself to that.” Notre Dame, like most teams back then, relied heavily on one or two players to carry the scoring load. Carr was comfortable shooting from anywhere on the floor, and point guard Jack Meehan was adept at feeding him the ball. Carr's 61-point game really wasn't out of character. He averaged 41.3 points over seven NCAA games from 1968-71, including games of 52, 52, 47 and 45 points. Film of the game against Ohio showed nine of his baskets came from behind what would have been today's 3-point arc, meaning he would have scored 70 in this era. The game in Dayton, Ohio, didn't begin well for Carr. Ohio's John Canine, the man he was assigned to guard, made his first six shots. Assistant coach Gene Sullivan approached Carr on the bench and said, “Are you going to play defense tonight or let this guy kill you?' That moment changed the game. Canine cooled off and Carr went on a tear. The junior shooting guard was 25 of 44 from the field and 11 of 14 from the line, and the Irish won 112-82. During Carr's career, Notre Dame made three straight NCAA Tournament appearances for the first time in school history. “It helped put a football school on the basketball map, and that's what I really enjoyed about that whole time at Notre Dame,” Carr said. “To give it some type of a basketball reputation, I was really proud of that.” DANNY MANNING, KANSAS (1988) Manning orchestrated one of the biggest championship game upsets with his 31 points, 18 rebounds and five steals in an 83-79 win over Oklahoma. This was not a vintage Jayhawks team. It was a No. 6 seed and, with the exception of Manning, was devoid of name players. The Big Eight-champion Sooners averaged 103 points a game, had already beaten Kansas twice and were eight-point favorites. The Jayhawks weren't intimidated. “Every time we stepped on the court we felt like we were going to win,” Manning, now the Wake Forest coach, said this week. “It didn't matter who we were playing. That was just our mindset.” After playing at OU's up-tempo pace into the second half, coach Larry Brown had his Jayhawks slow things down for the last 12 minutes. OU got out of sorts, and Manning made four free throws in the last 14 seconds to secure the win. The team known as “Danny and the Miracles” remains one of the great underdog stories in tournament history, though Manning has never been comfortable with the nickname. “Not at all,' he said. 'Basketball is a team sport. My teammates did so many things to help me on the court, to make the game easier for me — whether it was getting me open, getting the ball to me in the right spots, defensively being ready to rotate over and help. It was definitely a team victory without question.” BILL RUSSELL, SAN FRANCISCO (1956) Russell turned in one of the most dominant performances in college basketball history in the championship game against Iowa. Officially, he had 26 points and a still-Final Four-record 27 rebounds in the 83-71 win. Media reports also credited him with between 12 and 20 blocks. The 83-71 victory gave the Dons their second straight national title and extended their winning streak to 55 games. OSCAR ROBERTSON, CINCINNATI (1958-60) The “Big O” was the king of the triple-double, and you need to look no further than the NCAA Tournament record book for proof. The triple-double was an “unofficial” statistic until the 1980s, but many box scores before that included categories such as assists, blocks and steals. Four of the top five tournament triple-doubles pre-1986 belong to Robertson, none more impressive than his 39 points, 17 rebounds and 10 assists against Louisville in the 1959 third-place game. The year before he scored 56 points against Arkansas. His 32.4-point average over 10 tournament games ranks third all-time. BILL WALTON, UCLA (1973) The Bruins won a seventh straight national title behind Walton's 44 points against Memphis State — still the most in a championship game. Walton made 21 of 22 shots from the field, and that didn't include four baskets that didn't count because of the era's no-dunking rule. The 87-66 victory was UCLA's 75th win in a row. CHRISTIAN LAETTNER, DUKE (1992) No NCAA Tournament is complete without revisiting Christian Laettner catching that long inbounds pass, turning, dribbling once and swishing his shot from just behind the free-throw line to beat Kentucky in overtime and send Duke to the Final Four. It was a fitting end to a 31-point performance in which Laettner made all 10 of his shots from the field and all 10 of his free throws. He was relatively quiet in the national semifinal against Indiana before scoring a team-high 19 in a 71-51 win over Michigan in the title game. ___ More AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/MarchMadness and https://apnews.com/Collegebasketball and http://www.twitter.com/AP_Top25
  • A panel of Associated Press sports writers voted in March 2020 on the top 10 men's basketball games in the history of the NCAA Tournament. They are being republished because the sport has been shut down because of the coronavirus pandemic. The following game was voted No. 4 and the following story was sent April 1, 1985. ___ Underdog Villanova, shooting 79 percent from the field, denied Patrick Ewing and top-ranked Georgetown a second straight NCAA basketball title Monday night with a 66-64 victory. Georgetown had won 17 straight games and completed the season with a 35-3 record and a 121-23 record in the four-year career of the 7-foot Ewing, a four-time All-American. Villanova, 25-10, was beaten twice by the Hoyas during the regular Big East season, 52-50 in overtime and 57-50, and Georgetown entered the game a nine-point favorite. “No one thought we could do it, but I did,” Villanova coach Rollie Massimino shouted afterward. And the rotund coach and his unranked crew from the Philadelphia suburbs had plenty of heroes to go around. Dawyne McClain hit two free throws and Harold Pressley one of two to provide the margin of victory, with Georgetown's Michael Jackson completing the scoring with a field goal with four seconds remaining. McClain, hitting five of seven field goals. paced Villanova with 17 points and 6-foot-9 Ed Pinckney, who battled Ewing in the pivot all night, scored 16. The Wildcats also hit 22 of 27 free throws and matched the Hoyas on the boards with 17 rebounds. And they limited Ewing, the Hoyas' All-American center, to 14 points. Georgetown was trying to become only the seventh team and the first since UCLA in 1973 to repeat as NCAA champions. They were being rated among the greatest teams of all time, after breezing through the last part of their schedule and looking stronger with each game. But Villanova, which finished in a third-place tie in the Big East Conference with Syracuse, began a six-game winning streak in the tournament, knocking off other ranked teams such as No. 2 Michigan and No. 5 Memphis State in Saturday's semifinal. Their upset victory was akin to that of North Carolina State, which won the NCAA title two years ago as an overwhelming underdog. But that N.C. State team finished with one more victory against its 10 losses, and the 16th ranking in the final pre-tournament poll. All Villanova had to show was hope as it entered its sixth consecutive NCAA tournament, a competition they had never won. The Wildcats pulled ahead 29-28 at halftime and after Ewing hit an opening jumper in the second half, they went up 36-30 with Harold Jensen's basket, a three-point play by Pinckney and a jumper by Gary McLain. McClain's three-point play kept them up 41-36, but Georgetown came back and went ahead on David Wingate's jumper 42-41 with 9:49 remaining. The lead changed hands five times, the last on a jumper by Pinckney, who was named the tournament's Most Valuable Player. McLain hit two free throws for a 49-46 lead. Again the Wildcats went ahead by five on a Pinckney jumper but Georgetown came back with six straight points. Wingate's drive put the Hoyas ahead 54-53. Pinckney then lost the ball trying to drive against Ewing and the Hoyas went into a spread offense. But Horace Broadnax, attempting to pass to Bill Martin, threw the ball off a Villanova player and it bounced off Broadnax's feet. Villanova then hit six straight points, with Jensen hitting a jumper, Pinckney two free throws and Jensen two more free throws for a 59-54 advantage with 1:24 remaining. Broadnax then made a basket but Jensen, a reserve sophomore guard who played most of the game, connected for two more free throws. McClain then missed a free throw, snapping his string of 20 consecutive foul shot tosses in the tournament, and Jensen also missed the front end of a one-and-one. Ewing's jam brought Georgetown within 61-58 with 41 seconds left but McClain then came through with two more free throws. A Wingate field goal pulled the Hoyas within three but McClain then hit another one-and-one with 18 seconds left for a 65-60 edge. Michael Jackson scored for Georgetown before Pressley went to the line for two free throws and made only one. Ewing , the AP Player of the Year, hit seven of 13 shots from the field but grabbed only five rebounds. Wingate had 16 points, hitting eight of 14 from the field. Bill Martin and Reggie Williams also hit 10 points apiece for the Hoyas. All of Williams' points came in the first half. The Hoyas shot 52 percent and went to the free throw line only eight times, connecting on six of them. Villanova, meanwhile, shot an incredible 90 percent from the field in the second half. Villanova's hot shooting overcame 17 turnovers forced by the relentless Georgetown defense, which pressed and trapped virtually all the way. Pinckney, a 6-foot-9 1/2 senior, hot on five of seven from the field. ___ More AP March Madness coverage: https://apnews.com/MarchMadness
  • The Latest on the effects of the coronavirus outbreak on sports around the world: ___ Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence and his girlfriend have restarted their efforts to raise money for those affected by the new coronavirus. They announced their decision Saturday on social media. The two had set up a GoFundMe page earlier this week until told by Clemson compliance officials the site violated NCAA rules against using an athlete's name, image and likeness for crowd funding. But the NCAA said Tuesday that Lawrence and other athletes could use such sites to raise money in this case. Lawrence's girlfriend, Marissa Mowry, is a soccer player at Anderson University, about 15 miles from Clemson's campus. They created the “Trevor Lawrence and Marissa Mowry COVID-19 Relief Fund” designed to provide direct assistance to families affected by the pandemic. ___ The Colorado Avalanche say a second player has tested positive for the new coronavirus. The team said it was informed Friday night and the player is in self-isolation. In their statement Saturday, the Avalanche say those who came in close contact with the player have been informed and remain isolated. The team says no other Avalanche player or staff member has shown symptoms at this time. The unidentified player has become the fourth known NHL player to test positive for the virus. The other two are with Ottawa. ___ Two-time Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka says she is disappointed that the Olympics in her native Japan were postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic, but she supports the decision to delay the Summer Games to 2021. In a posting Saturday on social media, she said she's 'been thinking about how to articulate my thoughts on this for a couple of days now.' The decision to push back the games from July and August 2020 until sometime next year was announced Tuesday. Osaka wrote: 'Sport will eventually unite us again and be there for us always, but that time is not now.' She also addressed 'the people of Japan,' where she was born, saying, 'stay strong, hang in there and let's show the world our beautiful country when the time is right.' The 22-year-old Osaka figures to be one of the most-watched stars in Tokyo, given that she represents the host country and is a medal contender in tennis. She won the 2018 U.S. Open and 2019 Australian Open and became the first player from Asia to reach No. 1 in the singles rankings. ___ An A-League soccer player has become the first Australian professional footballer to test positive for the new coronavirus. The unnamed player, who plays for the Newcastle Jets in New South Wales state, was tested Friday as a precaution before an international flight. He played in recent A-League matches against Brisbane and Melbourne City. The player is now in quarantine and the A-League is suspended at least until April 22. Jets chief executive Lawrie McKinna said the player is asymptomatic and in good health. McKinna said the rest of the squad does not “need to get into isolation” but are being monitored. ___ Soccer players and celebrities will take part in a global music festival on Saturday organized by the Spanish league in order to raise funds for the fight against the coronavirus. Barcelona’s Gerard Piqué, Real Madrid’s Sergio Ramos and Sevilla’s Jesús Navas will be among the players involved in the charity event organized to raise money “for the purchase of medical supplies in the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic and to also support fans confined to their homes during the current period of quarantine,” the league said. Celebrities in the festival will include singers Aitana, Alejandro Sanz, Beret and Luis Fonsi, actress Danna Paola, music bands Morat and Taburete, and tennis star Rafael Nadal. The soccer players and celebrities will all participate from their homes. The concert is to be shown live through the league's international broadcasters and streamed via YouTube and Facebook. The “music extravaganza” will be broadcast in more than 180 countries simultaneously, starting at 1700 GMT (1 p.m. EST). ___ Barcelona has delivered 30,000 masks to the Catalonia government to help fight the coronavirus pandemic, the club said Saturday. The masks were made in China and donated by insurance company Taiping, a regional partner of the club. Barcelona said the “daily use” masks will be distributed to nursing homes. The club added it is working through its foundation “to do as much as possible to help with this crisis, both locally and internationally.” Spain, where stay-at-home restrictions have been in place for nearly two weeks, reported 832 more deaths on Saturday, its highest daily count yet, bringing its total to 5,690. Another 8,000 confirmed infections pushed that count above 72,000 ___ More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
  • The decision to postpone the Tokyo Olympics until next year because of the coronavirus pandemichas left American cyclists with an abundance of mixed feelings. Relief that a move had been finally made. Disappointment that a lifetime ambition will be delayed. Frustration that months and even years of planning have been thrown in the blender. And still more uncertainty over when the Summer Games will take place, what the qualification criteria will look like and even if they will still be on the U.S. team. “As tough as the news is to hear when obviously the planning that goes into the four-year cycle of it all, and obviously now we're only a few months out and on the homestretch of that path, it does stink to hear,” BMX rider and Olympic silver medalist Alise Willoughby said. 'But at the same time, the plan doesn't necessarily change. “I know there are some athletes that might not be in the same position,” Willoughby continued, “whether it's physically or financially — hanging on another year could be difficult for some, and the qualifying processes are basically suspended and some have been finished. It's a mess of uncertainty for a lot of people.” Not just cyclists, of course, but for swimmers and gymnasts and a myriad other athletes for whom the Olympics is the once-every-four-year pinnacle of their sport. But those who ride bikes for a living are somewhat unique in that their schedules are often honed to the day, hour and minute. They adhere to strict diets, meticulously plan training rides, build strength at certain points of the season only to shift their workouts to those that build endurance. The idea is to peak for a handful of races each year, whether that's the Tour de France for a men's road cyclist or the world championships for a track cyclist. It's nearly impossible to maintain that finely tuned level of fitness beyond a few weeks, much less an entire year, which is when the Olympics are expected to finally begin. “It's still an unknown. We don't know how long this is going to last, what races will still be in play, what races are canceled,” said Chloe Dygert, a gold medal-favorite in the women's team pursuit on the track and the time trial on the road. “The goal is still the Olympics, so even if we just take this year and focus on this year, and training for next year, that's what we are going to do. I'm still training. Just kind of winter training, a little block work.” Off-season training, in other words — even if it's an “off-season” that nobody has ever experienced. Riders like Post and Dygert are fortunate, though. Both have won world championship and Olympic medals, and they have accomplished enough that they have big-time sponsors behind them. They have the ability to spend the next few weeks and months on training without having to worry about landing their next pay checks. But many other cyclists have part- and even full-time jobs off the bike. For them there are the very real fears of furloughs and layoffs that are affecting Americans in all walks of life. USA Cycling is trying to offer as much support as possible, but even the national governing body is feeling the pinch as the pandemic rages. Without races and recreational rides that are on indefinite hiatus, the organization doesn't take in its usual revenue. That in turn affects day-to-day operations, including USA Cycling's support for elite riders. “We're operating under the assumption that racing will remain canceled through April, May and June. We're planning for the worst and hopefully it either is or is less than that,” chief executive Rob DeMartini said. “As it relates to the athletes, we had a 2-hour conversation on how to make this team stronger, to show up in Tokyo next spring, next summer, with a team that does better than the team would have this year. Nine to 12 months is a chance to get better.” That is how the vast majority of American riders are approaching this forced break. Until tracks reopen and quarantines are lifted, Willoughby continues to work out in her home gym in Southern California with her husband, Australian BMX standout Sam Willoughyby. Dygert continues to take long training rides around her base in Boise, Idaho, under the watchful eye of three-time Olympic gold medalist Kristin Armstrong. Mountain bike World Cup champion Kate Courtney, another gold medal-favorite, is riding outside whenever the weather cooperates, all the while watching the news and waiting to hear when the Olympics will begin. “It's a really tough time to be an athlete targeting the Olympics,” Courtney said. “But that's just one example of the kind of loss and heartbreak happening right now, and I know there are so many stories of people experiencing that in all different ways, losing jobs or losing loved ones. 'I just hope we can get the Summer Games back on the calendar, and when that does happen, it will be a source of hope and inspiration for everyone.”