Rockets beat Lakers 134-108 for 8th straight win
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Dwight Howard thoroughly enjoyed his first road game against the team he left as a free agent after one tumultuous and contentious season, getting 20 points and 13 rebounds in the Houston Rockets' 134-108 rout of the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday night that extended their winning streak to eight.
The streak is Houston's longest since a franchise-record, 22-game run in 2007-08 under coach Rick Adelman. James Harden scored 11 of his 29 points in the final 1:25 of the third quarter and added 11 assists.
Wesley Johnson scored 24 points for Los Angeles, and Kendall Marshall had 20 points and 16 assists. The injury-ravaged Lakers remained tied for last place in the Western Conference with Sacramento at 18-36 and are 5-23 since Dec. 20, when they beat Minnesota to get back to the .500 mark at 13-13.
Mills has 29 and Spurs edge Blazers 111-109
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Patty Mills came off the bench to score 29 points, Marco Belinelli hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with 1:34 remaining and the San Antonio Spurs defeated the Portland Trail Blazers 111-109 Wednesday night in a battle of short-handed teams.
Mills scored 24 points during the second half to lead the Spurs, who were playing without starters Tim Duncan and Tony Parker.
Belinelli had 20 points and Manu Ginobili 16 for San Antonio, which also had Kawhi Leonard out with an injured right hand.
Damian Lillard scored 31 points, Mo Williams added 19 points and Wesley Matthews had 18 for Portland, which played without LaMarcus Aldridge. The Trail Blazers' leading scorer and rebounder is out with a groin injury.
Both teams had six players score in double figures.
Sims, No. 6 Baylor women rout Iowa State 89-51
WACO, Texas (AP) — Odyssey Sims scored 18 of her 24 points in the first half and No. 6 Baylor coasted to its ninth straight win, beating Iowa State 89-51 Wednesday night.
Sims, the nation's leading scorer, made nine of 13 from the field and pushed her season total on 3-pointers to 80 by going 6 of 8 from long range.
The Lady Bears (23-3, 13-1 Big 12), who have their highest ranking of the season, took control with a 10-1 run midway through the first half on the way to their 34th straight conference home win.
Freshman Seanna Johnson scored 12 points to lead the Cyclones (17-8, 6-8), who haven't won two straight games since a 14-0 start capped by a 92-43 win over Texas Tech that put them at 3-0 in the Big 12.
SMU's bench keys its win over Houston 68-64
DALLAS (AP) — Nic Moore scored 16 points and Cannen Cunningham provided a spark off the bench to help SMU squeeze past Houston 68-64 on Wednesday night.
The bench played a big role in the victory for the Mustangs (21-6, 10-4 American Athletic Conference), scoring 31 points and grabbing 21 rebounds. Cunningham had six points and six boards.
Houston (12-14, 4-9) was led by Jherrod Stiggers with 16 points off the bench. TaShawn Thomas and Danuel House added 15 points each. Thirteen of House's points came in the first half.
SMU broke a tie at 39 early in the second half to take the lead for good but didn't shake Houston until the final minutes. SMU led by five points with 56 seconds to play before four free throws by Nic Moore and Ben Moore pushed its lead to nine with 19 seconds left.
No. 3 Louisville women cruise past Houston, 81-62
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Sara Hammond scored 17 points, and Shoni Schimmel added 15 to lead No. 3 Louisville to an 81-62 victory over Houston on Wednesday night.
Schimmel, the school's second all-time leading scorer behind Angel McCoughtry, topped 2,000 points for her career and helped the Cardinals (26-2, 14-1 American Athletic Conference) improve to 16-0 at home. Louisville is one shy of matching its record for home wins set in 2006-07.
Marche Amerson scored 23 points and Jessieka Palmer added 16 for Houston (5-21, 1-14).
Louisville led 13-3 early, but the Cougars rallied behind Palmer, who had eight points in a 3-minute span. Amerson's two free throws cut the deficit to 17-15 and Houston kept it close until the Cardinals closed the half with an 11-3 run to take a 38-27 lead at halftime.
Louisville maintained a double-digit lead throughout the second half and improved to 6-0 at home against the Cougars.
Gipson leads K-State to 65-53 win over TCU
MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — Thomas Gipson had 16 points and 11 rebounds, Marcus Foster added 13 points and Kansas State used a big second-half run to put away TCU 65-53 on Wednesday night.
Nino Williams added 11 points and Will Spradling had 10 for the Wildcats (18-8, 8-5 Big 12), who bounced back from a double-overtime loss at Baylor over the weekend to match a school record with their 14th consecutive win at Bramlage Coliseum.
The Horned Frogs (9-16, 0-13) actually pulled even with Kansas State midway through the second half, but the Wildcats answered with a 15-2 run to seize control. Most of the damage came in the paint, where Gipson and D.J. Johnson were able to use their size to their advantage.
Kyan Anderson led TCU with 23 points, his fourth straight game of at least 20. Karviar Shepherd added 12 points, but otherwise the junior guard got precious little help.
Arkansas St. to host Texas-Arlington in basketball
JONESBORO, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas State is set to host Texas-Arlington in Sun Belt Conference basketball.
The Red Wolves and the Mavericks are to tip off at 7:05 p.m. Thursday at the Convocation Center in Jonesboro.
ASU is 14-9 on the season and 7-5 in conference play while UTA is 11-13 overall and 6-6 in the Sun Belt.
ASU goes into the game after winning three of its last four games while UTA has won two straight.
Grant: Alabama's Jacobs taking leave of absence
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — Alabama forward Nick Jacobs is taking a leave of absence from the team.
Crimson Tide coach Anthony Grant said Wednesday that Jacobs requested the leave starting with Thursday's game at Texas A&M.
Grant says in a news release that he met with Jacobs this week "regarding a pattern of behavior and inconsistencies with his responsibilities as a student athlete." He didn't give a timetable for Jacobs' return.
The coach says both felt it was in Jacobs' best interest "to step away from the team for the immediate future."
The 6-foot-8 Jacobs is third on the Tide in scoring, averaging 8.4 points a game. He scored 18 points in last week's win over Mississippi but followed that with two points in a loss to South Carolina.
Jacobs has started 10 games.
So much new for Fielder in first Rangers workout
SURPRISE, Ariz. (AP) — So much is new this spring for Prince Fielder.
The All-Star slugger took the field for the first time with the Texas Rangers on Wednesday, the day before the first official full-squad workout.
Fielder says he had a nice, easy day meeting his new teammates after reporting to camp. They were on the field for more than an hour, taking grounders and then some batting practice.
The Rangers acquired Fielder from Detroit in November in exchange for All-Star second baseman Ian Kinsler.
After cutting off his dreadlocks during the offseason and going through MMA workouts, Fielder appears trim. Asked he if had lost any weight, Fielder chuckled and said he didn't know for sure since he doesn't allow any scales in his house. But he said he feels great.
Clemens in camp to talk to pitchers, catchers
KISSIMMEE, Fla. (AP) — Roger Clemens addressed pitchers and catchers of the Houston Astros on Wednesday morning, the day before the team is scheduled to work out for the first time.
Clemens is now a special assistant to general manager Jeff Luhnow who will work with the young Astros pitchers during spring training and the regular season.
A seven-time Cy Young Award winner, Clemens won 354 games over a 24-year career with the Boston Red Sox, Toronto Blue Jays, New York Yankees and Astros. He last pitched in the major leagues in 2007 with the Yankees.
The Astros also announced that pitcher Jesse Crain has been set back by a strained right calf, and first baseman Japhet Amador will not report to the start of spring training because of a family emergency.
NFL DRAFT-COIN FLIP
Cowboys win coin flip, will pick 16th in draft
NEW YORK (AP) — The Dallas Cowboys won the coin flip to break their draft-position tie with the Baltimore Ravens and will select 16th in the first round of the May 8 NFL draft.
Both teams finished the 2013 season 8-8, and even on the league's tiebreaker of opponent records. The second and third rounds will be May 9, and rounds 4-7 are May 10 at Radio City Music Hall.
TCU receiver Brown off team after drug arrest
FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — TCU receiver LaDarius Brown has been kicked off the team after being arrested on a marijuana possession charge.
A statement Wednesday from the Horned Frogs athletics department says Brown violated team rules and was removed from the football program. Officials didn't elaborate.
Fort Worth police late Sunday stopped Brown's vehicle after he allegedly went through a stop sign. The officer smelled an odor believed to be marijuana and searched the vehicle. Police confiscated a bag containing a green, leafy substance.
Brown was charged with possession of less than 2 ounces of marijuana. He was freed Monday on $500 bond.
Jail records Wednesday didn't list an attorney for Brown, who as a sophomore last season had 393 yards and two touchdowns. No publicly listed phone number could be located for him.