The Minnesota Timberwolves made the first coaching change of the NBA season Sunday night, firing Ryan Saunders hours after the team with the league’s worst record (7-24) this season fell to the Knicks for its eighth loss in the last nine games. A person with knowledge of the situation said that the Timberwolves were finalizing plans to introduce Toronto assistant Chris Finch as the new coach Monday. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because Finch’s hiring has not been formally completed. ESPN first reported Saunders’ dismissal and The Athletic first reported Finch’s looming hiring. Saunders was with the Timberwolves for parts of three seasons, going 43-94. Saunders — who doesn’t turn 35 until April — is the son of longtime Minnesota coach Flip Saunders, the winningest coach in franchise history. Flip Saunders died in 2015.
Rockies’ Desmond opts out of another season
Colorado Rockies outfielder Ian Desmond decided Sunday to opt out for a second straight Major League Baseball season while the COVID-19 pandemic persists. He announced on Instagram that his “desire to be with my family is greater than my desire to go back and play baseball under these circumstances.” No amount of lobbying by Rockies manager Bud Black could persuade the 35-year-old Desmond, who was scheduled to make $8 million this season after walking away from a pro-rated salary of $5,555,556 last season. “This was a decision not about money,” said Black, whose team begins full-squad workouts Tuesday in Arizona. “This was from the heart, and from the stomach. This was hard. This was agonizing for him.” Desmond did leave the door open for a possible return by adding “for now” in his post. The two-time All-Star is in the final year of a five-year, $70 million deal … The Mets signed outfielder Kevin Pillar, who split 2020 between Boston and Colorado, to a one-year deal … Stan Williams, a two-time All-Star righthander who helped the Dodgers win the 1959 World Series, died Saturday at home in Laughlin, Nev., the club said. He was 84.
No. 3 Michigan men top No. 4 Ohio State in Big Ten battle
Hunter Dickinson had 22 points and nine rebounds and Eli Brooks scored 17 points as No. 3 Michigan (16-1, 11-1 Big Ten) held off a late flurry for a 92-87 win at No. 4 Ohio State (18-5, 12-5) in men’s basketball. The Wolverines led by 9 with 23 seconds left, but a pair of 3-pointers from Duane Washington Jr. (30 points) around a layup by CJ Walker layup got the Buckeyes within 3 with three seconds to go before Brooks sealed it with a couple of foul shots … Quentin Grimes had 20 points and eight rebounds, and No. 6 Houston (18-3, 12-3 AAC) rolled to a 90-52 win over visiting Cincinnati (7-8, 5-5) … Jordan Burns posted 15 points, 7 assists, and 6 rebounds as Colgate (11-1 Patriot) won its 10th in a row with a 78-63 triumph over Boston University (5-8) at Hamilton, N.Y. Sukhmail Mathon had 14 points for the Terriers, while Jack Hemphill added 9 … Jalon Jones threw for three touchdowns and ran for another as host Jackson State rolled past NAIA Edward Waters, 53-0, in Pro Football Hall of Famer Deion Sanders’ coaching debut.
Clark scores 28 to spark NU women
Stella Clark scored a career-high 28 points to go with 9 assists, 4 rebounds, and 4 steals as Northeastern women’s basketball (6-11, 5-9 Colonial) pulled away for a 78-58 win at UNC Wilmington (3-12, 0-9). Mide Oriyomi added 19 points and 12 rebounds for the Huskies, while Maddie Vizza chipped in 12 points on four 3-pointers. Carol-Anne Obusek had 16 points and 10 rebounds for the Seahawks … Cameron Swartz scored a game-high 23 points and pulled down seven rebounds to pace Boston College (6-10, 2-10 ACC) in a 49-43 win over Georgia Tech (13-6, 11-5) at Conte Forum. Taylor Soule chipped in 13 points and seven boards for the Eagles, who had lost six straight. Nerea Hermosa had 14 points for the Yellow Jackets … Avery LaBarbera scored 26 points and had seven rebounds to lead Holy Cross (7-7 Patriot) to a 60-52 win at Boston University (10-2), snapping the Terriers’ five-game win streak. Sydney Johnson and Emily Esposito had 12 points each for BU. Katie Nelson added 10 and Maren Durant scored 9 to go with 11 rebounds.
No. 3 Louisville women stumble
Morgan Jones scored 26 points and pulled down 10 rebounds as host Florida State (9-6, 8-6 ACC) pulled away for a 68-59 upset of No. 3 Louisville (20-2, 13-2). Jones shot 7 of 13 from the floor and 12 of 15 from the free-throw line for the Seminoles. Dana Evans had 13 points, 10 in the second half, but shot just 5 of 21 for the Cardinals … Zia Cooke scored 21 points, Destanni Henderson added 14, and No. 2 South Carolina (18-3, 13-1 SEC) got back on track after its first Southeastern Conference loss in two seasons with a 76-55 home win over No. 17 Kentucky (15-6, 8-5) … Jakia Brown-Turner scored 25 points to help No. 4 North Carolina State (15-2, 10-2 ACC) to an 82-63 win over visiting North Carolina (11-9, 6-9) … Kayla Wells had 18 points and eight rebounds and No. 5 Texas A&M (20-1, 11-1 SEC) rode a dominant fourth quarter to a 66-55 win at Mississippi (9-9, 3-11) … Dijonai Carrington scored 19 points and No. 7 Baylor (17-2, 12-1 Big 12) broke away from a halftime tie for a 77-66 win at Oklahoma (8-10, 5-8) … Aleah Goodman scored 20 points as Oregon State (8-6, 6-6 Pac-12) pulled out a 71-64 win at No. 8 UCLA (13-4, 11-4).
Manchester City extends win streak to 18
Raheem Sterling scored on a header just 80 seconds into the match and Manchester City made it stand up in a 1-0 English Premier League win over Arsenal at London. City, which has a 10-point lead in the standings over second-place Manchester United, has won 18 straight in all competitions. Manchester United took a 3-1 win over visiting Newcastle … Playing in his club-record 506th Spanish league match, Lionel Messi scored in the 32nd minute but Álex Fernández converted on a penalty in the 89th as Cádiz salvaged a 1-1 tie at Barcelona … Leipzig cut eight-time defending champion Bayern Munich’s lead in Germany’s Bundesliga to 2 points with a 3-0 win at Hertha Berlin on goals from Marcel Sabitzer, Nordi Mukiele, and Willi Orban.
Ducks recall prospect Zegras
The Anaheim Ducks recalled top prospect Trevor Zegras from their AHL affiliate in San Diego, setting the stage for the 19-year-old forward’s much-anticipated NHL debut. Anaheim plays at Arizona on Monday night, although Ducks coach Dallas Eakins didn’t confirm Zegras, who spent the 2019-20 season at BU, will play. Zegras, drafted ninth overall in 2019, had four goals and five assists in eight games for San Diego. He was the MVP of the recent World Junior Championships, racking up seven goals and 11 assists while leading the United States to gold … Sebastian Foss-Solevåg captured Norway’s first world men’s slalom title since 1997 to wrap up the Alpine skiing world championships at Cortina, d’Ampezzo, Italy, while fellow countryman Henrik Kristoffersen took the bronze. Adrian Pertl of Austria won silver.