Monday April 16th Local Sports

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Rows of blue suitcases lined the hallway leading into the Minnesota Twins’ clubhouse on Sunday, signs of a trip the frigid players can’t wait to take.

Three straight postponements because of snow only heightened the anticipation for this week’s series in Puerto Rico.

Instead of preparing to face the Chicago White Sox on Sunday, Minnesota took batting practice and threw bullpen sessions indoors. Players were coming and going, their thoughts turning from snow and freezing to the warmth of Puerto Rico.

The Twins and Cleveland play Tuesday and Wednesday in San Juan.

While the weather has tormented the majors’ early-season schedule — six postponements on Sunday, 21 total this season — few teams have been hit as hard as Minnesota.

The Twins had four postponements during their initial 10-game homestand. The final three games of the four-game weekend series with Chicago were postponed as an unlikely spring blizzard hit the Twin Cities.

The series finale last weekend against Seattle has been rescheduled for May 14. The Twins have not announced new dates for the three games postponed against the White Sox.



ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Mikael Granlund and Zach Parise scored power-play goals in the first period for the spark Minnesota was missing on the road, and the Wild used a four-goal second to roar back in the first-round playoff series with a 6-2 victory over the Winnipeg Jets on Sunday night.

The Wild will try to tie the best-of-seven series 2-2 in Game 4 at home Tuesday night.

Jordan Greenway scored his first NHL goal just 20 seconds after Eric Staal sent a wrist shot past a struggling Connor Hellebuyck, who was pulled for Steve Mason at the second intermission.

Matt Dumba and Marcus Foligno bookended the furious middle frame with goals for the Wild, who won a postseason home game for only the second time in their last nine contests. Mikko Koivu and Nick Seeler each had two assists and Devan Dubnyk made 29 saves, keeping the crowd loud all night.

Blake Wheeler and Tyler Myers scored for the Jets.



HOUSTON (AP) — James Harden scored 44 points and powered a big fourth-quarter run that allowed the Houston Rockets to outlast the Minnesota Timberwolves 104-101 on Sunday night in Game 1 of the first-round playoff series.

Minnesota scored four straight points to get within 3 with about 30 seconds left. Chris Paul added two free throws after that for Houston, but a tip-in by Karl-Anthony Towns got Minnesota back within 3. After a bad pass by Paul gave the Timberwolves a chance to tie it with 1.5 seconds left, Jimmy Butler’s shot was short.

The top-seeded Rockets had their hands full with the No. 8 Timberwolves on a night where Houston made just 10 of 37 3-pointers. Harden made 7 of 12 3-pointers, but Trevor Ariza, P.J. Tucker, Eric Gordon and Paul combined to make just 3 of their 22 tries..

Houston kept All-Star big man Towns in check, limiting him to just eight points after he’d averaged 21.3 in leading the Wolves to their first playoff appearance since 2014. Andrew Wiggins scored 18 points to lead Minnesota.

Game 2 is Wednesday night in Houston.



DES MOINES, Iowa – Nick Norton, a graduate transfer from UAB, will join the Drake University men’s basketball team for the 2018-19 season, Drake head coach Darian DeVries announced Sunday, April 15.

Norton is immediately eligible to compete for the Bulldogs and will have one remaining year of eligibility.

“We are ecstatic to have Nick join our basketball family!” DeVries said. “He brings tremendous toughness, skill and basketball IQ to our team. His leadership and winning attitude will be an enormous addition to our program.”

The 5-foot, 10-inch point guard started all 32 games for UAB in 2017-18 and averaged 7.5 points while dishing out 4.9 assists per game.

Prior to suffering a season-ending injury in 2016-17, he was named All-Conference USA third team as a sophomore by averaging 8.9 points per game and leading the league in assist-to-turnover ratio. He was also named the Conference USA Men’s Basketball Scholar-Athlete of the Year.

As a freshman, he was one of 21 Kyle Macy National Freshman of the Year Award finalists and named to the Conference USA All-Freshman team.



DES MOINES — Time is running out for the state’s high school track and field athletes as they try to find a window between snowstorms to post a qualifying mark for the Drake Relays. The deadline for qualifying is noon on Thursday.

That’s Relays Director Blake Boldon who says while the weather has made qualifying even more difficult he still expects some outstanding marks later this month.

Iowa native Karissa Schweizer is returning to the Drake Relays to chase the record in the 5,000 meter run. The five-time NCAA champion at Missouri is a native of Urbandale and was a standout at Dowling Catholic.

The Drake Relays are from April 25-28



AMES — Iowa State football coach Matt Campbell says developing leadership between now and the start of next season will be crucial. The expectations for the Cyclones will be higher than they have been in many years coming off an 8-5 season and a win in the Liberty Bowl. ISU closed out spring drills on Saturday with a scrimmage.

Campbell says the time between now and the start of fall camp is crucial for individual improvement.

To take the next step as a program the offense must improve and Campbell says it starts with the offensive line.

Campbell says that unit did make progress.

Iowa State will open the season on September 1st at home against South Dakota State.



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