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UPI NewsTrack Sports

  |   March 29, 2013 at 11:01 PM
Michigan wins OT thriller over Kansas

ARLINGTON, Texas, March 29 (UPI) -- Trey Burke rallied Michigan late in regulation Friday and the Wolverines seized on an overtime blunder to down Kansas 87-85 in the NCAA regional semifinals.

Kansas became the third No. 1 seed to fall in the tournament, leaving Louisville as the only top-seeded team with a chance to reach the Final Four.

The Wolverines overcame a 14-point deficit with just under 7 minutes left in the second half with Burke pulling off the magic in the closing moments.

He hit a layup with 14 seconds remaining to get Michigan within three and then, after Elijah Johnson missed the front end of a 1-and-1 foul situation for Kansas, Burke connected on a 3-pointer with 4 seconds left that forced overtime.

The Wolverines then built a five-point lead in the final minute of extra period only to have Johnson hit a 3-pointer. Kansas' Jeff Withey followed by blocking a layup attempt by Burke with 10 seconds to go and the 24-second shot clock expired to give the Jayhawks a chance.

Johnson managed to break free for what appeared likely to be a layup that would have forced a second overtime, but he inexplicably threw the ball out to Naadir Tharpe beyond the 3-point line.

Tharpe's desperation attempt to win it from long range misfired, leaving Michigan (29-7) with a chance to go to the Final Four. The Michigan-Kansas game was the first overtime game contest in this year's tournament.

Mitch McGary had 25 points and 14 rebounds for Michigan while Burke scored 23. Kansas (31-6), which lost despite shooting 53 percent from the field, was led by 20 points from Ben McLemore.

All five Kansas starters scored in double figures. The Jayhawks' exit left the Big 12 Conference with no more teams in the tournament and that league wound up with a 3-5 record in the event.


Cowboys sign Tony Romo to huge contract

IRVING, Texas, March 29 (UPI) -- The Dallas Cowboys said Friday quarterback Tony Romo signed a six-year contract extension that will likely keep him with the team for the rest of his career.

NFL.com reported the contract was worth $108 million with $55 million of that guaranteed. That would create more guaranteed money for Romo than was in the contract Super Bowl-winning quarterback Joe Flacco recently signed with the Baltimore Ravens.

Romo becomes the highest-paid player in the 53-year history of the Cowboys and the contract will also reduce the salary-cap hit the team would have taken this year. Romo will collect $11.5 million in 2013 instead of the $16.8 million the Cowboys had originally been scheduled to pay.

"This is a significant day in terms of securing stability for our team for the future," Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said.

"Tony is uniquely qualified to lead this team at the quarterback position for the next several years. He has an abundance of experience and familiarity with our offensive philosophy, our head coach and the personnel around him."

Romo, 32, received a blockbuster deal despite having quarterbacked the Cowboys to just one playoff victory in nine seasons. He was due to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the 2013 campaign.

Romo threw for a career-best 4,903 yards last season with 28 touchdowns and 19 interceptions. He has compiled 25,737 passing yards and 177 touchdowns in 121 career games.

"I want to thank the entire Jones family for believing and trusting in me to finish my career as a Dallas Cowboy," Romo said. "There will be no greater reward, besides winning a Super Bowl, than playing my entire career as a Dallas Cowboy."


Wheatcroft surprise leader at Houston Open

HUMBLE, Texas, March 29 (UPI) -- Steve Wheatcroft, who qualified Monday to play in a PGA Tour event for the first time in 2013, seized the lead Friday midway through the Houston Open.

Wheatcroft has become an exempt player on the tour twice in his career, but was unable to maintain his playing privileges on either occasion.

He was one of four competitors who earned their way into this week's event at Monday's 18-hole qualifying tourney and has taken advantage of the opportunity by firing back-to-back 67s at the Redstone Golf Club.

His 10-under 134 total gave him a one-shot lead over first-round leader D.A. Points and Jason Kokrak, who have combined to miss the cut 13 times in their 17 tour appearances this year.

Points, who shot a 64 Thursday, made one birdie and 17 pars Friday on his way to a 71 and a 36-hole score of 135.

Tied for fourth at 137 were Stewart Cink and Brian Davis while 2011 FedEx Cup champion Bill Haas was in the group at 138.

Defending champion Phil Mickelson and Rory McIlroy, replaced as the world's No. 1 player this week by Tiger Woods, both barely survived the cut at 1-under 143. Mickelson birdied three holes in a row on the back nine during a round of 71, but suffered a double bogey for the second straight day.


Ferrer, Murray win in Sony Open semifinals

MIAMI, March 29 (UPI) -- Andy Murray and David Ferrer both had to go three sets Friday before setting up a championship confrontation at the Sony Open.

Ferrer, seeded third, fought off Tommy Haas to earn a 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 victory in the semifinals and the second-seeded Murray rallied to defeat Richard Gasquet 6-7 (3-7), 6-1, 6-2.

Ferrer has defeated Haas in all three of their career meetings, although this was their first match in five years. Ferrer will be seeking his third championship of the season after capturing tournaments in Auckland and Buenos Aires.

This was the 26th match win of the year for Ferrer, most on the ATP circuit.

Murray dominated against Gasquet after dropping a set for the first time in the tournament. He defeated Gasquet for the fifth time in eight meetings.

Murray has a 17-2 match record this season with one title to his credit.

The players who will battle for the Sony Open title have faced each other 12 times in their careers and have split those matches. Murray won their most recent confrontation, which came in the quarterfinals at Wimbledon last year, but Ferrer had captured three in a row prior to that.

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