Blackhawks shuffle lines, beat Blue Jackets 6-1
CHICAGO (AP) - Andrew Shaw and Jonathan Toews had two goals apiece, and the Chicago Blackhawks beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 6-1 on Thursday night.
Brandon Bollig and Bryan Bickell also scored as Chicago bounced back from a 4-2 home loss to Colorado on Tuesday night. Corey Crawford made 22 saves for his 10th consecutive victory against Columbus.
Ryan Johansen scored his 25th goal for the Blue Jackets, who had won three in a row. Sergei Bobrovsky made 14 stops before he was pulled during the Blackhawks' three-goal second period.
The Stanley Cup champions had managed just eight goals while dropping three of four, and five of those came against Pittsburgh at Soldier Field on Saturday. That prompted coach Joel Quenneville to shuffle his lines, putting Shaw with Toews and Saad in the top group and moving Patrick Sharp to the second line with Michal Handzus and Patrick Kane.
Wood goes 3 shutout innings, Cubs fall to Indians
GOODYEAR, Ariz. (AP) - Travis Wood gave up one hit and struck out three in three scoreless innings Thursday as the Chicago Cubs fell to the Cleveland Indians 1-0.
Wood, an All-Star in 2013, had his first scheduled start rained out last Saturday.
Indians starter Justin Masterson gave up three hits and a walk, striking out three in three shutout innings.
Masterson worked himself into a bases-loaded jam in the first by giving up one-out hits to Donnie Murphy and Anthony Rizzo and walking Nate Schierholtz. He got out of it by striking out Welington Castillo and getting Mike Olt on a flyball.
Indians shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera drew a bases-loaded walk in the fourth to score Nick Swisher for the game's only run.
Rizzo got two hits. He is 5 for 10 with two doubles in four games.
Hudson scoreless again as Giants beat Reds 3-2
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) - Tim Hudson extended his spring training scoreless streak to five innings, Pablo Sandoval homered to lead off a three-run fifth and the San Francisco Giants defeated the Cincinnati Reds 3-2 Thursday.
Hudson gave up two hits in three innings, struck out three and walked two. He also started a double play on Ramon Santiago's first-inning comebacker after Roger Bernadina's leadoff walk.
Hudson had pitched a pair of shutout innings against Arizona on March 2, his first game action since breaking an ankle July 24 when the New York Mets' Eric Young Jr. inadvertently stepped on the back of the pitcher's lower right leg at first base.
Left-hander Tony Cingrani pitched three hitless innings for the Reds.
Chien-Ming Wang gave up Sandoval's homer and run-scoring hits by Juan Perez and Angel Pagan.
Browns tender contract to LB Robertson
CLEVELAND (AP) - The Browns extended a contract tender to starting inside linebacker Craig Robertson as an exclusive-rights free agent.
Robertson started 14 games last season, his second with Cleveland. The 6-foot-1, 234-pounder finished with 89 tackles - 63 solos - and had three sacks and an interception.
An exclusive-rights free agent doesn't have negotiating power and must stay with a team if he's tendered. Robertson will make $570,000 next season.
With captain D'Qwell Jackson's recent release, Robertson is expected to take on a larger role with the Browns. However, it's not yet known how he's viewed by Cleveland's new coaching staff and the team will likely target an inside linebacker in free agency.
Robertson missed two games with a knee injury. He started three games as a rookie in 2012 after he was signed to Cleveland's practice squad.
Browns agree to terms with K Cundiff
CLEVELAND (AP) - Kicker Billy Cundiff has agreed to terms on a contract extension with the Browns.
Cundiff was eligible to hit the free-agent market next week, but he'll stay with the Browns. Terms of the deal announced Thursday were not immediately available.
After Phil Dawson left for San Francisco before last season, the Browns signed Cundiff, who made 21 of 26 field-goal attempts and made 32 extra points in 16 games. Cundiff also set a franchise record with 42 touchbacks.
Cundiff made the Pro Bowl with Baltimore in 2010. He kicked in five games for the Browns in 2009 and has also played for Dallas, New Orleans and Washington. He was in training camp with the New York Jets last summer before he was waived on Aug. 28.
He has converted 76 percent of his career field-goal attempts.
Colts sign free agent LB D'Qwell Jackson
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - The Colts didn't even wait for the free-agent market to open before making their first signing.
On Thursday, they signed former Browns linebacker D'Qwell Jackson. Terms of the deal were not immediately available.
A second-round draft pick in 2006, the 6-foot, 240-pound linebacker has started 48 consecutive games and has 891 career tackles, 11½ sacks, eight interceptions and seven fumble recoveries. Last year, he led the Browns with 143 tackles, had 1½ sacks, one interception and one fumble recovery.
In Indianapolis, he will be reunited with former coach Rod Chudzinksi and running back Trent Richardson, both of whom began last season in Cleveland.
No. 15 Cincinnati beats No. 20 Memphis 97-84
CINCINNATI (AP) - Sean Kilpatrick scored a season-high 34 points in his final home game, and a trio of senior starters steadied No. 15 Cincinnati to a 97-84 victory over No. 20 Memphis on Thursday night that left the American Athletic Conference race tied with a game to go.
The Bearcats (25-5, 14-3 AAC) remained tied atop the first-year league with No. 11 Louisville. The Cardinals won 84-71 at No. 18 Southern Methodist on Wednesday night and finish at home against No. 19 Connecticut. The Bearcats close the regular season at Rutgers.
With a chance to break the race open, the Tigers (22-8, 11-6) fell apart in the opening minutes and never fully recovered. Cincinnati's seniors kept the Bearcats ahead the whole game.
Forward Titus Rubles had a career-high 24 points, and forward Justin Jackson added 13 points and nine rebounds.
Joe Jackson scored 21 points for Memphis.
No. 6 Villanova takes Big East, 77-70 over Xavier
CINCINNATI (AP) - Darrun Hilliard scored 19 points and No. 6 Villanova clinched the outright Big East championship for the first time in 32 years by holding off undermanned Xavier 77-70 on Thursday night.
JayVaughn Pinkston added 15 points - eight in the last 3:20 - James Bell finished with 12 and Ryan Arcidiacono chipped in with 11 as the Wildcats (27-3, 15-2 Big East) extended their school record for regular-season wins with their fifth straight and 11th in their last 12 games.
The Wildcats went into the night with a 1 1-2 game lead over No. 13 Creighton in the Big East and two games remaining. The Bluejays have one game to play.
Villanova, which last won the title alone in 1981-82, is scheduled to wrap up its regular season Saturday at home against Georgetown.
Justin Martin had 20 points for Xavier (20-11, 10-8) while Semaj Christon added 18 points and Isaiah Philmore finished with 15.
Alston keys Ohio State 86-77 win over Northwestern
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Ameryst Alston scored 30 points and Darryce Moore and Martina Ellerbe had double-doubles as eighth-seeded Ohio State pulled away in the closing minutes on Thursday to defeat ninth-seeded Northwestern 86-77 in the opening game of the Big Ten Tournament.
Alston, who finished one point shy of matching her career-high, broke a 73-73 tie with a layup with 1:53 to play. Ellerbe followed with a steal that was turned into her 3-pointer at the 1:24 mark and, after a Northwestern miss, Alston made two free throws for an 80-72 lead with 51 seconds remaining.
Ellerbe finished with 16 points and a career-high 13 rebounds for the Buckeyes (16-17), who face top-seeded and 11th-ranked Penn State (22-6) on Friday. Moore added 19 points and 10 rebounds.
Maggie Lyon led Northwestern (15-15) with 25 points, Nia Coffey had 19 with 11 rebounds, Lauren Douglas had 15 points.
Off late collapse by defense, Meyer demands change
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Angry with the way his defense played in its last three games, Ohio State coach Urban Meyer is urging his players to attack more and think less.
The Buckeyes held their second practice of the spring Thursday, and as will be the case throughout the 15 workouts the emphasis is on relying on instinct and playing without restraint instead of following the diagrammed play and reacting.
Ohio State surrendered an average of more than 38 points and 539 yards a game while closing out 1-2 in the most important games of 2013. With seven starters back from that unit, Meyer is demanding that, first and foremost, everyone play hard and fast.
His coaches have also been put on notice that things will be different.
OHIO ST-BELL INJURED
OSU's Bell tears MCL, will miss spring practice
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Ohio State safety Vonn Bell, figured to be a potential starter for the Buckeyes, will miss the rest of spring practice after knee surgery.
Bell tore the medial collateral in his knee and is expected to be unable to return to full-speed workouts until May.
A sophomore from Rossville, Ga., Bell had 19 tackles a year ago, including one for minus yardage. He also had an interception.
He was expected to start for the Buckeyes, who graduated their three top safeties from a year ago, Christian Bryant, C.J. Barnett and Corey Brown.
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