Ludvig Larsson scored his 12th goal of the season at 18:01 of overtime as 10th seed Merrimack (11-19-4) eked out a 2-1 men’s hockey victory over host UMass Lowell (17-18-0) at Tsongas Center on Friday night in Game 1 of their best-of-three Hockey East Tournament first round series. Connor Wilson gave the seventh-seeded River Hawks a lead at 15:52 of the first period, beating Craig Pantano (32 saves) but Jace Hennig put one past Christoffer Hernberg (39 saves) to tie it at 1 at the 15:33 mark of the third . . . Cory Thomas scored 12 seconds into overtime to give No. 9 seed Vermont (10-19-7) a 4-3 win at No. 8 UMass (16-18-2) to tie their best-of-three Hockey East series at 1 . . . Cedric Lacroix scored twice as sixth seed Maine (17-14-4) took a 4-1 win over 11th seed UNH (10-19-6) in the first game of their first round Hockey East series in Orono, Maine.
Northeastern’s Coen named CAA’s top coach
Northeastern’s men’s basketball team had a great day Friday despite not playing. Coach Bill Coen was named the Colonial Athletic Association’s Coach of the Year for the first time in his career after leading his program to a 14-4 conference record. Sophomore guard Shawn Occeus, who led the league in steals in conference games, was named the Defensive Player of the Year, and sophomore guard Bolden Brace was tabbed the Sixth Man of the Year by the league’s head coaches, media relations directors, and members of the media. Redshirt junior guard Vasa Pusica finished as the runner-up for Player of the Year while earning All-CAA First Team honors and Tomas Murphy was named to the All-Rookie Team. Coen becomes the fourth Northeastern coach to be named conference Coach of the Year joining Jim Calhoun (1986), Karl Fogel (1987), and Ron Everhart (2005), but the first during the CAA era. Coen led his team, picked to finish sixth in the conference, to a CAA regular season title for the third time in the last six seasons. The Huskies open CAA Tournament play Sunday at 6 p.m. against either Delaware or Elon at the North Charleston (S.C.) Coliseum.
Emmert has high hopes for college basketball
NCAA President Mark Emmert told The Associated Press that he is hopeful the bribery scandal that has rocked college basketball will lead to major rule changes, but said schools paying players is likely a nonstarter. Emmert said he expects a commission, which is being led by former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, to reform college basketball to put forth proposals that could modernize NCAA rules on player-agent relationships, address the NBAs one-and-done rule, and devise new ways to handle contentious and high-profile enforcement cases. A federal investigation has alleged hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes and kickbacks being funneled to influence recruits, an FBI probe that many fans believe reveals just a tiny slice of potential corruption in college sports. In September, the Justice Department arrested 10 people, including four assistant coaches from Arizona, Southern California, Auburn, and Oklahoma State. Payments of up to $150,000, supplied by Adidas, were promised to at least three top high school recruits to attend two schools sponsored by the shoe company, according to federal prosecutors.
Love hoping for early return
Cleveland Cavaliers All-Star forward Kevin Love said he is hoping he can be back sooner than expected from a broken left hand. The initial timetable was for him to be out two months. Love, who has been out since Jan. 29, has progressed recently and can now catch the ball and do some shooting while wearing a pad on his left hand. These steps are such that there’s less risk for re-injury. Love, who is averaging 17.9 points, 9.4 rebounds, and shooting 40 percent on 3-pointers, believes the revamped Cavaliers still have enough to make a strong title run . . . A person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press that the Cavaliers suspended guard J.R. Smith for Thursday’s home loss to the Philadelphia 76ers after he threw a bowl of soup at assistant coach Damon Jones following the team’s morning shootaround. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the team has not disclosed details. Smith, who came to Cleveland in 2014 with a history of fines and other issues, is expected to Saturday when Cleveland hosts the Denver Nuggets . . . Lakers guard Josh Hart will be sidelined for 4-6 weeks after undergoing surgery to repair a broken left hand suffered Wednesday in practice. Los Angeles has less than six weeks left in its season and coach Luke Walton said the team won't rush Hart back, so his rookie season could be over.
Dolphins will get Rams' Quinn
The Miami Dolphins have agreed to acquire Los Angeles Rams edge rusher Robert Quinn for a mid-round draft pick, according to a person familiar with the deal. The person confirmed the agreement to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because NFL rules state no 2018 trades can be completed until March 14. Quinn has 62½ career sacks, including 8½ last year, when he started 14 games. He spent his first six NFL seasons with the Rams at defensive end but played outside linebacker last season . . . The Falcons released defensive end Derrick Shelby and announced plans to release tight end Levine Toilolo. The moves will save the team a combined $6.75 million in cap space and could help the Atlanta in reaching a new deal with quarterback Matt Ryan, who can be a free agent after the 2018 season.
Tigers’ Wood tears knee ACL
Detroit lefthander Travis Wood has a torn left anterior cruciate ligament and medial meniscus in his left knee. Wood twisted the knee while starting a rundown in the second inning of his spring training debut Thursday and fell to the ground clutching his knee. The Tigers’ training staff is evaluating surgical options. The 31-year-old Wood, who agreed to a minor league contract with the Tigers, was 4-7 with a 6.80 ERA last year in 14 starts and 25 relief appearances for San Diego and Kansas City . . . Ex-NFL quarterback Tim Tebow made his first spring training start of the year, striking out against reigning NL Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer and singling off Washington's Erick Fedde in a 2-1 loss by a New York Mets' split squad to the Nationals . . . Russell Wilson struck out in his first spring training at-bat with the New York Yankees after the Seattle Seahawks quarterback pinch hit for AL Rookie of the Year Aaron Judge in the fifth inning against Atlanta and swung past a 2-2 pitch from left-hander Max Fried.
Day of firsts at World Indoors
Cuba’s Juan Miguel Echevarria, 19, became the youngest male field event winner at the world indoor athletics championships in Birmingham, England, taking the long jump in a personal-best 8.46 meters to upset South African world champion and Olympic silver medalist Luvo Manyonga. Manyonga made 8.44 and defending champion Marquis Dendy of the United States 8.42. England’s Katarina Johnson-Thompson claimed her first global title in the pentathlon, topping the standings going into the final event and leading most of the 800-meter race before pulling away in the final straight to comfortably take gold. She finished 50 points ahead of Ivona Dadic of Austria. Yorgelis Rodriguez of Cuba was third, 113 points behind. In another first, every runner in a world championship race was disqualified in a 400-meter heat. Abdalelah Haroun, a Qatari who won bronze at the world championships last year, was first to leave after a false start. Bralon Taplin of Grenada, who ran the fastest time this year, won the heat but officials disqualified him and Steven Gayle of Jamaica, Austris Karpinskis of Latvia, and Alonzo Russell of the Bahamas for running out of their lanes. In the women’s 60 meters, Murielle Ahoure clocked 6.97 seconds to secure Ivory Coast’s first gold at the world indoors, edging teammate Marie Josee Ta Lou by 0.43 seconds.
Nadal will miss two more events
Rafael Nadal, the second-ranked tennis player in the world, announced that he will miss the upcoming Indian Wells and Miami tournaments because of a lingering right hip injury. He withdrew from the Mexico Open in Acapulco before his first match on Wednesday, saying he needed more time to recover. The Spaniard hasn't played since retiring in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open in late January . . . Second seed Lucas Pouille is in his third ATP final in four weeks after overcoming Filip Krajinovic, 6-3, 6-7 (4-7), 7-6 (7-5), in the Dubai Championships semifinals in the United Arab Emirates. Pouille will face third-seeded Roberto Bautista Agut, who ousted Tunisian wild card Malek Jaziri, 6-3, 6-4. Pouille is expected to rise in the rankings from 15 to the top 10 if he wins Saturday . . . Three-time defending champion and third seed Pablo Cuevas outlasted Leonardo Mayer, 6-2, 6-7 (13-15), 7-6 (9-7), to reach the Brazil Open semifinals in Sao Paulo. Cuevas will play second-seeded Fabio Fognini, who beat Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, 6-4, 6-2. Nicolas Jarry upset top seed Albert Ramos-Vinolas, 6-7 (6-8), 6-4, 7-6 (7-3), to set up a semifinal against Horacio Zeballo, who topped Rogerio Dutra Silva, 6-7 (3-7), 6-2, 6-4.
Shibutanis skipping figure skating world championships
Double Olympic bronze medalist American ice dancers Maia and Alex Shibutani have dropped out of the upcoming World Figure Skating Championships in Milan. Also passing on the March 19-25 event is Adam Rippon, who helped the United States win the team bronze medal at the PyeongChang Games last month. First alternates Kaitlin Hawayek and Jean-Luc Baker will replace the Shibutanis in the ice dance event. Third alternate Max Aaron will replace Rippon in the men’s event after Jason Brown and Ross Miner, the first and second alternates, declined invitations . . . Ryan Blaney won the pole for Sunday’s NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Pennzoil 400 in Las Vegas. with a lap of 191.489 miles per hour. Fords claimed the top three spots, with Kevin Harvick (190.248) edging Kurt Busch (190.067) following Blaney . . . Former United States national men’s soccer team forward Charlie Davies announced his retirement. The 31-year-old Boston College product played 17 games for the American squad . . . John Shuster's United States Olympic gold-medal winning men’s curling team has decided to bow out of the US nationals in Fargo, N.D., in favor of a celebrity tour of New York City that includes TV appearances and other media events that USA Curling CEO Rick Patzke said the team hopes will help promote the game . . . TSN reported that Montreal Impact defender Zakaria Diallo has a torn Achilles tendon and will be out 5-6 months. Montreal coach Remi Garde, whose MLS squad acquired the 31-year-old from French club Stade Brestois in January, and said Diallo will need surgery.