Sindarius Thornwell scored 18 points and tied his career-high with four 3-pointers as South Carolina beat Missouri 63-54 last night in the Southeastern Conference tournament.

The 11th-seeded Gamecocks have won three of their last four, and this gives them their best season since winning 21 in 2008-09. They will play sixth-seeded Ole Miss Tonight.

Missouri (9-23) finishes the season having lost 16 of their final 18 games. The 14th-seeded Tigers sure made it interesting not letting South Carolina run away. They got within a possession seven times in the second half. This is the fewest wins by a Missouri Basketball team since the 1966-67 season.

In the other SEC tournament contest, AUBURN beat MISSISSIPPI STATE 74-68.

TCU 67, KANSAS STATE 65-TCU will play Kansas this afternoon.
TEXAS 65, TEXAS TECH 53-Texas advances to play Iowa State.


One more ticket got punched to the big dance last night as Lafayette’s basketball team is going to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2000. The Leopards held off American University 65-63 to win the Patriot League and earn the automatic bid. Point guard Nick Lindner led the Leopards with 25 points. Lindner, a sophomore point guard, was also named tournament MVP.
Brice Johnson and Marcus Paige each scored 17 points to help No. 19 North Carolina beat Boston College 81-63 in the second round of the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament. The Tar Heels improved to 22-10 and set up a meeting with No. 14 Louisville in the quarterfinals. The Eagles close out the season with a 13-19 mark.


The Royals bounced back from their first spring training loss with a pair of wins yesterday.

Yordano Ventura worked three scoreless innings, Lorenzo Cain had a pair of RBI singles and a Kansas City Royals split squad defeated the San Diego Padres 4-3 yesterday. Ventura threw 54 pitches, giving up four singles, walking one and striking out three. Cain, who was MVP of the American League Championship Series, singled home Gabriel Noriega with hits in the first and fifth innings.

Erik Kratz homered off left-hander Tony Cingrani, who is trying to win one of the openings in Cincinnati’s rotation, and the split-squad Kansas City Royals beat Cincinnati 5-2 yesterday. The Royals’ Jorge Bonifacio hit a two-run homer off reliever Sam LeCure in the eighth the finish off the Reds.


Left-hander Marco Gonzales strengthened his bid for a spot in the St. Louis rotation by allowed one hit over four scoreless innings in the Cardinals’ 6-2 victory over the Atlanta Braves on Wednesday. Gonzales, who didn’t give up a run over two innings in his first spring start, struck out three and walked one. The only hit off the 23-year-old was a two-out double by first baseman Freddie Freeman in the first inning. A first-round draft choice in 2013, Gonzalez came up to the Cardinals late last year and won twice in relief during the Division Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers. He was 4-2 with a 4.15 ERA in 10 regular-season games, including five starts.


Aaron Brooks scored seven of his season-high 31 points in overtime to help the short-handed Chicago Bulls beat the Philadelphia 76ers 104-95. Pau Gasol had 27 points and 16 rebounds. Nikola Mirotic finished with 16 points and 12 rebounds for the Bulls. They snapped a three-game skid without four regulars and three of their top five scorers — Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah and Jimmy Butler.

In other NBA games:

— The Portland Trail Blazers improved to 27-6 at home by beating Houston 105-100. LaMarcus Aldridge led Portland with 26 points and 14 rebounds. The win moves the Blazers within a game and a-half of Memphis for second seed in the West.

— Klay Thompson reached the 5,000-point milestone and knocked down two late 3-pointers in a 69-second span, leading the Golden State Warriors past the Detroit Pistons 105-98 for their fifth straight win.

— Dwyane Wade scored 28 points and added nine assists and the Miami Heat finished off a season sweep of the Brooklyn Nets, 104-98. Chris “Birdman” Andersen tied a career high with 18 points and set a season high with 14 rebounds.

— Khris Middleton matched his career high with 30 for the second time in three games to lead the Milwaukee Bucks to a 97-91 victory over the Orlando Magic.

— Danilo Gallinari had 23 points, Will Barton added 16 and the Denver Nuggets beat Eastern Conference-leading Atlanta 115-102 for their eighth straight home win over the Hawks.

— Ben McLemore scored 27 points, Rudy Gay added 26, and the Sacramento Kings snapped a four-game losing streak with a 113-106 victory over the Charlotte Hornets.

— Markieff Morris scored 24 points on 10-of-15 shooting, helping Phoenix get a 9-point win over Minnesota. The Suns are 3 games back of the Pelicans for the 8 seed in the West.

— The Boston Celtics ended a five-game losing streak against the Memphis Grizzlies, 95-92. Marcus Smart converted a go-ahead, three-point play with 52 seconds left. Avery Bradley added a clutch jumper with eight seconds left.




The Dolphins have signed defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh to a record contract. The deal calls for $114 million over six seasons and makes Suh the highest paid defensive player in league history. The deal surpasses J.J. Watt’s six-year, $100 million deal with Houston.

In other moves:

— Jacksonville has landed its top free agent target, former Denver tight end Julius Thomas. The two sides have worked out a five-year contract worth $46 million that guarantees Thomas $24 million. His addition gives second-year quarterback Blake Bortles a reliable option to work the middle of the field.

— The Kansas City Chiefs have signed wide receiver Jeremy Maclin to a five-year deal. The contract is worth up to $55 million, a person familiar with the deal told The Associated Press. Maclin started all 16 games for the Eagles last season setting career highs with 85 catches for 1,318 yards and 10 touchdowns.

— The Green Bay Packers have re-signed starting right tackle Bryan Bulaga, ensuring that the highest-scoring team will keep its entire offense intact for the 2015 season. Terms were not disclosed, but the deal is believed to be for five years and worth about $34 million, including an $8 million signing bonus.

— The Colts have signed receiver Andre Johnson to a three-year deal, two days after the Texans released its longtime star.

— Cincinnati refortified its offensive line be re-signing guard Clint Boling and offensive tackle Eric Winston, the president of the players’ union.

— The Tennessee Titans have agreed to terms with free-agent wide receiver Harry Douglas. He has spent his entire six-year career with Atlanta, where he caught 51 passes for 556 yards and two touchdowns last season.

— The Jets have acquired veteran quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick from Houston for a conditional late-round draft pick. The 32-year-old quarterback will provide Geno Smith competition for the starting job.

— The Chicago Bears have agreed to a five-year contract with linebacker Pernell McPhee. The 26-year-old spent four seasons in Baltimore and played for a Super Bowl champion. McPhee set career highs for Baltimore last season with 27 tackles, 7 1/2 sacks, four pass breakups and 11 tackles for loss

— Arizona has agreed to terms on contracts with free agent guard Mike Iupati. Iupati spent all five of his NFL seasons with the San Francisco 49ers.

— The Minnesota Vikings have finalized a two-year contract with quarterback Shaun Hill, securing their backup for Teddy Bridgewater and bringing the veteran to his original NFL team. The Vikings also re-signed defensive tackle Tom Johnson and agreed to terms on new deals with two of their other unrestricted free agents, offensive lineman Joe Berger and long snapper Cullen Loeffler.

— The Atlanta Falcons added depth at wide receiver by signing free agent Leonard Hankerson, who fought two serious injuries in his four seasons with the Washington Redskins.

— Two people familiar with the decision say the Philadelphia Eagles have agreed to a three-year contract with former Pro Bowl running back Ryan Mathews. The contract is reportedly worth $11.5 million with $5 million guaranteed. Mathews twice rushed for 1,000 yards in five seasons in San Diego.


NASCAR has lifted its suspension of Kurt Busch and the former champion is expected to compete at Phoenix this weekend. He can also compete in the championship Chase this season should he qualify. Busch missed the first three races of the season when NASCAR suspended him for an alleged domestic assault on his ex-girlfriend. The Delaware attorney general last week declined to charge Busch for the September incident with Patricia Driscoll.

In other NASCAR news, Daytona International Speedway will install energy-absorbing SAFER barriers to the concrete wall that Kyle Busch hit last month before NASCAR returns in July. Busch broke his right leg and left foot Feb. 20 when he crashed into a retaining wall that lacked a SAFER barrier. Daytona president Joie Chitwood says the track completed an extensive safety review after Busch’s accident and will make numerous changes before the race in July. The track also will install SAFER barrier on the outside backstretch wall.