AP Friday Sports Roundup
James moving up the scoring ladder...Bulls 1 game out of playoff slot
UNDATED (AP) — LeBron James scored 24 points to move into 12th place on the NBA's career scoring list and the Cleveland Cavaliers routed the Brooklyn Nets 107-87.
James passed Dominique Wilkins with a three-point play in the first quarter. The four-time MVP, who didn't play in the fourth quarter, has 26,689 career points.
Kevin Love added 19 points for Cleveland, which leads Toronto by 2 1/2 games for the top seed in the Eastern Conference.
In other NBA:
— Nikola Mirotic scored 28 points and Jimmy Butler added 21 to lead the Chicago Bulls to a 103-100 win over the Houston Rockets. The Bulls trail Indiana by one game for the final playoff spot in the East.
— Evan Fournier scored 25 points and Nikola Vucevic added 24 to lead the Orlando Magic past the Indiana Pacers 114-94. The Magic have won three straight.
— Oklahoma City outscored the L.A. Clippers 119-117. Kevin Durant poured in 31. The Clippers played without usual starters Chris Paul, DeAndre Jordan and J.J. Redick, as coach Doc Rivers chose to rest them. Blake Griffin also was out, serving the last game of a four-game team-imposed suspension.
— The Portland Trail Blazers dumped Boston 116-109. Al-Farouq Aminu had a career-best 28 points and nine boards.
— New Orleans topped Denver 101-95. Luke Babbitt led the Pelicans with 22.
GW celebrating first NIT title
NEW YORK (AP) — The nation's oldest postseason tournament trophy will reside in Washington, D.C. George Washington University, to be exact.
George Washington won its first National Invitation Tournament championship, getting 18 points from Kevin Larsen and pulling away in the second half to beat Valparaiso 76-60 at Madison Square Garden.
Patricio Garino had 14 points and Joe McDonald added 13 as the fourth-seeded Colonials set a school record with their 28th win this season. They won their fourth straight game against a higher-seeded team and sent three senior starters out with a tournament trophy, softening the sting of being rebuffed by the NCAA selection committee.
Tyler Cavanaugh, the tournament's Most Outstanding Player, scored 12 points.
COLLEGE BASKETBALL-AP AWARDS
Valentine and Self win AP honors
HOUSTON (AP) — Michigan State's Denzel Valentine has been name The Associated Press College Player of the Year in close voting. He out-polled Oklahoma's Buddy Hield (HEELD) by three votes to become the first Spartan player to win the honor.
Valentine led Michigan State to a second-place finish in the Big Ten regular season and was the conference player of the year. He averaged 19.4 points, 7.6 rebounds and 7.6 assists.
For the second time, Bill Self of Kansas is AP Coach of the Year Award. He led the Jayhawks to the No. 1 ranking in the final weekly poll and their 12th straight Big 12 title. Self also won the award in 2009. The 33-5 Jayhawks were the overall No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament and lost to Villanova in the regional final.
Chris Mack of Xavier finished second, six votes behind Self.
JMU hires Bowling Green assistant...Hobbs on Rutgers' staff
HARRISONBURG, Va. (AP) — James Madison has hired former Dukes basketball player and assistant coach Louis Rowe to lead its men's basketball program.
The 43-year-old Rowe has never been a head coach, but spent the past season as the top assistant at Bowling Green. He also has worked as an assistant at James Madison, Rider and Florida International since starting his coaching ascension as a graduate assistant with the Dukes in 2007.
In other coaching news:
— Karl Hobbs is leaving Connecticut's coaching staff to join Steve Pikiell at Rutgers. Pikiell, who worked under Hobbs for four seasons at George Washington, was named Rutgers coach last week
Surging Penguins stalking 10th straight playoff appearance
UNDATED (AP) — Phil Kessel scored twice and the surging Pittsburgh Penguins moved within striking distance of a 10th straight playoff berth with a 5-2 win over the Nashville Predators.
Kris Letang, Patric Hornqvist and Nick Bonino also scored for Pittsburgh, which improved to 10-1 in its last 11 games.
In other hockey:
— The L.A. Kings regained first place in the Pacific Division by blanking Calgary 3-0. Jeff Carter scored twice to give him 22 goals on the season. The Kings are one point ahead of idle Anaheim.
— Cal O'Reilly and Johan Larsson each scored twice and the Buffalo Sabres extended their home dominance over the Toronto Maple Leafs, 4-1. The Sabres are 17-1-1 in their past 19 home games against Toronto in a run that dates to Feb. 4, 2009.
— Victor Rask scored the go-ahead goal with 10:54 left, and the Carolina Hurricanes rallied to beat the New York Rangers 4-3.
— Florida held off New Jersey 3-2. Jonathan Huberdeau scored twice.
— Montreal blanked Tampa Bay 3-0. Mike Condon got the shutout with 26 saves.
— John Tavares scored twice and Anders Lee got a power-play goal 5:23 into the third period to lift the New York Islanders over the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-3.
__ Ottawa edged Minnesota 3-2. Cody Ceci got a goal with 3:57 left that deflected off two Minnesota players to win it.
__ Jamie Benn notched his 40th goal in the Dallas Stars' 4-1 win over Arizona. Benn also had an assist.
__ Vancouver doubled up San Jose 4-2. Daniel Sedin (seh-DEEN') notched his 28th goal.
NCAA big turns up heat on Tar Heel State pols
HOUSTON (AP) — NCAA President Mark Emmert says he has spoken to North Carolina's governor about the state's new religious exemption law and made clear if it remains in place, it will affect the state's chances to host major college athletic events.
For the second straight year, Emmert faced questions at his Final Four news conference about a state law critics say allows discrimination against gays, lesbians and others. And for the second straight year, Emmert said the association is prepared to refrain from doing business in places that create hostile environments for student-athletes, coaches and fans.
Red Sox pick Shaw over Sandoval
UNDATED (AP) — The Red Sox have announced that Pablo Sandoval will start the season on the bench. The club has decided to go with 25-year old Travis Shaw, who made his big league debut last May.
Sandoval hit .245 last season with 10 homers and 47 RBIs. He becomes a high-priced reserve with a $95 million contract.
In other spring training notes:
— Masahiro Tanaka will be the Yankees' opening day starter Monday against the Houston Astros. Tanaka rebounded from a slow spring training start by allowing one run over four innings in Tuesday's game against Philadelphia. He had a procedure in October to remove a bone spur from his throwing elbow.
— The Atlanta Braves have announced that longtime executive John Schuerholz is stepping back from a day-to-day role with the team as it prepares for the final season at Turner Field. The 75-year-old is giving up his day-to-day business and development duties but will continue to serve as a consultant.
Kaepernick gets big payday...Pro Bowl on the move?
UNDATED (AP) — Colin Kaepernick had his $11.9 million contract with the 49ers for the coming season guaranteed today when he remained on the San Francisco roster.
Kaepernick lost his starting job to Blaine Gabbert last season then underwent shoulder and thumb surgeries. Kaepernick is expected to get a shot at retaking the starting job under new coach Chip Kelly.
Even if Kaepernick winds up with another team that might ask him to restructure his contract, he doesn't have to accept less than the $11.9 million.
— The NFL and the state of Hawaii have an additional two months to talk about holding next year's Pro Bowl in the islands. The Hawaii Tourism Authority says both sides now have until May 31 to opt out of a contract for the Pro Bowl to be held in Honolulu next year. The issue was to have been decided by March 31, but both sides bought some extra bargaining time.
— The Chiefs have signed Charcandrick West to a three-year extension and fellow running back Spencer Ware to a two-year extension Thursday, solidifying their backfield alongside Jamaal Charles. West started nine games and ran for 634 yards and four touchdowns last season, while the more physical Ware started two games and ran for 403 yards and six touchdowns.
— Two-time Pro Bowl tight end Vernon Davis says he is heading to the Washington Redskins as a free agent. Davis spent the first 9 1/2 seasons of his career with San Francisco before joining the Broncos last season and winning a Super Bowl championship.
— The Bengals have signed former New England receiver Brandon LaFell to a one-year contract. LaFell played his first four seasons in Carolina before signing with the Patriots. He had his best season in 2014, helping New England win the Super Bowl. An injured left foot limited him to 37 catches for 515 yards without a touchdown last season.
— The Chicago Bears have agreed to a one-year contract with former Tampa Bay and Arizona offensive lineman Ted Larsen. The 6-foot-2, 305-pound Larsen has appeared in 86 games with 57 starts over six seasons with the Buccaneers and Cardinals.
— Minnesota Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway is coming back for one more season in purple. Greenway tweeted he will be back next year and plans to end his career as a Viking. The 33-year-old Greenway has played all 10 of his NFL seasons with the Vikings since he was a first-round draft pick in 2006.
Miyazato, Munoz take lead in first LPGA major
RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. (AP) — Azahara Munoz and Ai Miyazato are the co-leaders after the ANA Inspiration's opening round. Both shot 5-under 67. That puts them a shot in front of fellow Japanese player Shiho Oyama, Scotland's Catriona Matthew and South Africa's Lee-Anne Pace.
This is the first major of the LPGA Tour season.
PGA TOUR-HOUSTON OPEN
Hoffman's 64 good for 1-shot lead
HUMBLE, Texas (AP) —Charley Hoffman fired an 8-under 64 to grab the lead after the first round of Houston Open.
Dustin Johnson, Scott Brown, Morgan Hoffmann and Roberto Castro shot 7-under 65s to tie for second.
Chez Reavie, Johnson Wagner, Scott Pinckney and Justin Hicks are two shots off the pace.
Women players challenge USA Soccer on pay
UNDATED (AP) — Five players from the World Cup-winning U.S. women's national team have accused the U.S. Soccer Federation of wage discrimination in an action filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Alex Morgan, Carli Lloyd, Megan Rapinoe, Becky Sauerbrunn and Hope Solo maintain in the filing they were paid nearly four times less than their male counterparts on the U.S. men's national team.