Kansas, Syracuse reach title game
NEW ORLEANS, April 6 (UPI) -- A perfect first half by Kansas and a super effort by Syracuse's Carmelo Anthony put the Jayhawks and Orangemen in the NCAA final.
Keith Langford and Kirk Hinrich ignited a first-half onslaught Saturday night that sent Kansas sailing past Marquette, 94-61.
In the second semifinal, Syracuse took the lead for good with 11 minutes remaining behind Anthony's 33 points and the Orangemen held off the Texas Longhorns, 95-84.
Both Kansas Coach Roy Williams and his Syracuse counterpart, Jim Boeheim, will be looking for their first national title when their teams face each other Monday night in the Louisiana Superdome. Williams and Boeheim are first and third among active coaches in winning percentage.
Kansas played with a frenzy that left Marquette stunned and overwhelmed as the Jayhawks (30-7) notched the sixth 30-win season in school history.
In a game that was expected to be a showdown between the up-tempo style of the Jayhawks and the superstar skills of Marquette's Dwayne Ward, Saturday night's first Final Four semifinal was never a contest.
Kansas ran the ball down the court at every opportunity and forced Marquette into a series of off-balanced shots -- the vast majority of which turned into rebounds by the Jayhawks.
Kansas opened a staggering 59-30 halftime lead and then scored the first eight points of the second period in the 101st NCAA Tournament game in school history. The 33-point final margin was the second largest ever in the Final Four.
Syracuse also threatened to turn the night's second game into a blowout when it raced to a nine-point advantage with six minutes to play in the first half.
But even though the Orangemen shot 71 percent from the field through the first two-thirds of the opening half and made five of eight three-pointers, they wound up with only a 48-45 advantage at the break.
Texas, making its first Final Four appearance since 1947, took its first lead of the game early in the second half and the lead changed hands six times through the opening nine minutes of the period.
But two free throws by Josh Pace with 11 minutes to go put Syracuse in front for good and Texas went four minutes without a field goal.
Anthony added 14 rebounds to go with his 33 points and managed to stay in the game in the critical stages of the second half despite picking up three fouls in the first 20 minutes. He did not commit a foul during the second period.
Royals remain unbeaten
KANSAS CITY, Mo., April 6 (UPI) -- Runelvys Hernandez allowed two hits in seven innings Saturday as the Kansas City Royals posted a 3-1 victory over the Cleveland Indians.
Hernandez (2-0) allowed one run, walked one and struck out three. The 24-year-old righthander has surrendered just one runs and four hits in 13 innings this season.
Kansas City's starters have yielded just eight earned runs in 30 1/3 innings, helping the Royals win their opening five games for the first time. They are the first team ever to start 5-0 after losing 100 games the previous season.
Jason Grimsley struck out two in eighth inning, as did Mike MacDougal in the ninth. MacDougal notched his third save.
Cleveland starter C.C. Sabathia (0-1) gave up two runs and eight hits in 6 2/3 innings before leaving with tightness in his left forearm. He fell to 4-2 lifetime at Kauffman Stadium.
The Indians fell to 2-3 on their season-opening six-game road trip.
Other American League results: Baltimore 2, Boston 1; Chicago 7, Detroit 0; Oakland 4, Anaheim 2; Tampa Bay 6, New York 5; Toronto 4, Minnesota 3 in 11 innings; Texas 8, Seattle 4.
Glavine wins first for Mets
NEW YORK, April 6 (UPI) -- Tom Glavine pitched effectively into the sixth inning for his first win with his new team Saturday -- a 3-1 New York Mets victory over Montreal.
Cliff Floyd broke out out a slump with three hits, including an RBI single.
The Mets won the series opener on Friday when David Cone, signed to a minor league contract in February, returned to the major leagues after a one-year absence and pitched five scoreless innings.
It was Glavine's turn on Saturday and the free agent lefthander who signed a three-year, $35 million contract during the offseason allowed just one run and five hits in 5 2/3 innings. Glavine did not walk a batter and struck out five to atone for a lopsided loss to the Chicago Cubs on Opening Day.
The Mets scored all of their runs in the third on RBI singles by Roberto Alomar and Floyd and a sacrifice fly by Mo Vaughn. Floyd snapped a one-for-16 slump with three hits.
Other National League results: Chicago 8, Cincinnati 7; San Francisco 6, Milwaukee 5; Houston 2, St. Louis 1; Colorado 4, Arizona 3 in 10 innings; Philadelphia 16, Pittsburgh 1; Florida 17, Atlanta 1.
Suns edge closer to playoffs
PHOENIX, April 6 (UPI) -- Stephon Marbury scored nine of his 23 points in the third quarter Saturday to lead Phoenix to a key 111-94 victory over Minnesota.
The Suns (40-35) moved 1 1/2 games ahead of the Houston Rockets in the race for the eighth and final spot in the Western Conference playoffs and have two fewer losses than the Rockets.
Minnesota (47-30) slipped to a full game behind the Portland Trail Blazers for fourth place in the conference. The Timberwolves and Trail Blazers will likely meet in the first round of the playoffs and homecourt advantage is very important to Minnesota, which is 31-8 at home.
Marbury scored five of his points during a 15-4 run late in the third quarter. He capped the spurt with a three-point play with 1:20 left that gave the Suns an 81-69 lead.
Shawn Marion led the Suns with 25 points, including 11 in the fourth quarter, as the Suns cruised to their fourth win in five games. Bo Outlaw came off the bench and had season highs with 19 points and 15 rebounds.
Phoenix led 85-73 at the end of the third quarter and kept at least a 10-point lead throughout the fourth.
Other NBA results: Atlanta 97, Memphis 91; Cleveland 79, New Orleans 76; Dallas 108, Orlando 90; Chicago 117, Milwaukee 115 in overtime.
Bruins heat up offense
Sergei Samsonsov also had a goal and an assist in his first game in more than three months.
Rookie Tim Thomas replaced Steve Shields at the start of the second period and stopped 15 of 18 shots to improve to 3-1. Shields was clipped behind the net late in the period, but Coach Mike O'Connell said he was replaced as a precautionary measure.
Boston's No. 1 goalie Jeff Hackett has missed the last 10 games with a broken finger, but could return for the start of the playoffs.
The Bruins finished seventh in the Eastern Conference and begin the Eastern Conference quarterfinals on the road against the New Jersey Devils. Boston finished first in the East last season, but was defeated in six games by the Montreal Canadiens in the quarterfinals.
Other NHL results: Atlanta 3, New York Islanders 2; Montreal 5, New York Rangers 4; Ottawa 3, Toronto 1; Washington 5, Pittsburgh 3.
Janzen leads BellSouth
DULUTH, Ga., April 6 (UPI) -- Lee Janzen, winless since claiming his second U.S. Open title in 1998, built a two-stroke lead Saturday at the BellSouth Classic.
Janzen shot a 5-under 67 that included birdies at the last two holes. He played the final 13 holes in 6-under for a 54-hole total of 13-under 203.
It has been a surprising week for Janzen, who finished last week's Players Championship with an 83 and placed 68th. He has not been better than 24th in six starts this year and is winless in 146 appearances since his 1998 triumph at Olympic Club.
Bob Tway began the day tied for the lead with Janzen and shot a 3-under 69 for sole possession of second place at 11-under 205. The former PGA champion is winless since 1995.
The third round was delayed an hour due to rain, pushing the leaders' tee times back until the early afternoon.
Earnhardt claims Busch race
TALLADEGA, Ala., April 6 (UPI) -- Dale Earnhardt Jr. won the Busch Series Aaron's 312 on Saturday, just making it to the finish line before he ran out of fuel.
Earnhardt needed more than two minutes to coast under the fifth caution flag around the 2.66-mile Talladega Superspeedway and just take the checkered flag. Seconds after passing the finish line behind the pace car, Earnhardt's Chevrolet Monte Carlo came to a virtual stop and needed a push to victory lane.
The race finished with Ashton Lewis Jr. running out of fuel, prompting the final caution.
Earnhardt won for the fourth time in his last five Busch Series races and for the 17th time on the circuit. He led all but eight of the 117 laps to win for the second time this season after Daytona.
Joe Nemechek led 49 laps and settled for second despite having enough fuel to run hard to the finish. Shane Hmiel was third for the second straight race, his best results in the Busch Series.
Buddy Gil wins Santa Anita Derby
ARCADIA, Calif., April 6 (UPI) -- Buddy Gil answered yet another challenge Saturday. The next one will come in the Kentucky Derby.
The once-unheralded colt firmly established himself as a serious contender for the Triple Crown series Saturday, holding off long shot Indian Express by a nose to win the $750,000 Santa Anita Derby.
Buddy Gil, who was not officially nominated for the Triple Crown races until this week, moved among the leaders at the top of the stretch and went down to the wire with Indian Express, covering the 1 1/8-mile distance in 1:49.36.
It was another razor-thin victory for Buddy Gil, who won the Grade II San Felipe Stakes at Santa Anita at 10-1, barely defeating Atswhatimtalknbout. In his previous start, Buddy Gil posted a two-length win at the Baldwin Stakes as a 26-1 choice.
Despite his success, Buddy Gil still went off as a 6-1 choice Saturday and paid $14.60, $5.80 and $3.80.
Trainer Bob Baffert, who entered the race in search of a viable Triple Crown candidate, had the next two horses in the money.
Indian Express, a 35-1 choice, paid $21.60 and $7.80. Kafwain was third and paid $3.20.
Atswhatimtalknbout, the 6-5 favorite, was a disappointing fourth.