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Friday Sports in Brief | APNews

MEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Daryl Banks III scored the tying and go-ahead baskets that pushed 15th-seeded Saint Peter’s to the brink of the Final Four, the tiny Peacocks thriving off a home-court edge to beat third-seeded Purdue 67-64 on Friday night.

The Peacocks (22-11) became the first 15 seed to reach the Elite Eight, adding the Boilermakers to their NCAA Tournament string of upsets, and will face North Carolina in the East Region final on Sunday.

Banks led the Peacocks with 14 points, Clarence Rupert scored 11 and Doug Edert had 10. Trevion Williams had 16 points and eight rebounds for Purdue.

AMHERST, Mass. (AP) — UMass hired Frank Martin as his coach Friday.

Martin, 56, takes over the Minutemen program from Matt McCall, who was fired this month after going 58-81 over five seasons in Amherst.

Martin arrives following his own dismissal from South Carolina last week after 10 seasons and just one NCAA appearance with the Gamecocks. But that appearance to cap the 2016-17 season culminated in South Carolina’s first Final Four berth. Martin was 171-147 during his tenure at the school.

MURRAY, Ky. (AP) — Steve Prohm is returning to Murray State for a second stint as men’s basketball coach, taking over the program as the Racers prepare to join the Missouri Valley Conference in July.

Prohm will be formally introduced on Monday. He replaces Matt McMahon, his former assistant who guided MSU (31-3) to the second round of the NCAA Tournament as the No. 7 seed before leaving earlier this week for LSU.

Prohm had a 104-29 record during his first tenure with the Racers from 2011-15 and won two Ohio Valley Conference regular season championships along with a first-round NCAA game in 2012.

MUNCIE, Ind. (AP) — UCLA assistant coach Michael Lewis will be taking over Ball State’s program once the Bruins complete their NCAA Tournament run.

Ball State athletic director Beth Goetz announced Friday she had hired Lewis to replace James Whitford, who was fired after going 131-148 in 10 seasons.

Goetz said Lewis won’t officially begin his new job until UCLA’s season is over.

Lewis takes over a Ball State program that hasn’t reached an NCAA Tournament since 2000. The Cardinals went 14-17 this season, their third losing record in the last four seasons.

NFL

CLEVELAND (AP) — New Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson maintained his innocence and strongly denied committing any sexual misconduct despite allegations made by 22 women against him.

Wearing a dark pinstriped suit and orange tie at his introductory news conference Friday, Watson showed little emotion while saying he’s done nothing illegal. Watson said he’s never assaulted, disrespected or harassed a woman in his life.

Browns GM Andrew Berry defended the team’s controversial decision to trade for Watson.

Watson has been accused by the massage therapists of various sexual activity during private sessions. While Watson hasn’t been indicted by two grand juries on criminal charges, he’s still facing civil lawsuits. He said he has no intention of settling the lawsuits and his only goal is “to clear my name.”

BUFFALO, NY (AP) — The Buffalo Bills moved closer to landing $200 million in NFL funding to help finance their bid to build a new stadium in which a majority of the projected $1.354 billion price tag is anticipated to be covered by taxpayer dollars.

A person with direct knowledge of the decision told The Associated Press on Friday that the NFL’s stadium and finance committee backed the Bills’ request for what’s called a G4 loan, by recommending the team’s application be presented at the league’s owner meetings for final approval. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the decision was made privately.

The committee’s approval was anticipated, and it will require 24 of the NFL’s 32 owners to formally OK the loan during a vote scheduled to take place on Monday.

— By AP Sports Writer John Wawrow.

MLB

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Dave Roberts received a contract extension with the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday.

I have agreed to a three-year extension that takes him through the 2025 season. Roberts’ contract was due to expire at the end of this season. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Roberts, who took over for Don Mattingly beginning with the 2016 season, has won 62% of his games (542-329), the best record in baseball over the last six seasons.

TENNIS

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (AP) — Women’s tennis has a new name atop its rankings, Iga Swiatek, a 20-year-old who — now that Ashleigh Barty has retired and asked to vacate her No. 1 spot on the world list — becomes the first Polish player to hold that distinction.

Swiatek’s ascension was clinched Friday night with a 6-2, 6-0 win over Viktorija Golubic of Switzerland in the second round of the Miami Open.

When the tournament ends and the rankings are updated, Barty will be removed and Swiatek will officially move into the top spot no matter what happens the rest of the way in Miami.

OBITUARY

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Southern California assistant football coach Dave Nichol died Friday in McKinney, Texas. He was 45.

A person with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press that Nichol had cancer. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the cause of death wasn’t being publicly disclosed.

USC head coach Lincoln Riley hired Nichol in December as his inside wide receivers coach and associate head coach for offense. Riley announced four days ago that Nichol was leaving the team to focus on an unspecified personal medical matter.

— By AP Sports Writer Greg Beacham.

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