Column: Larson finishes 2nd again, takes over points lead

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- Kyle Larson finished second at Phoenix International Raceway and then headed to the beach for a brief family vacation. There was no lamenting his third consecutive runner-up finish because Larson is the current points leader of NASCAR's top series. His positioning atop the standings is almost as good as a trip to victory lane.

Weekend Sports In Brief

MEN'S NCAA TOURNAMENT A scintillating Sunday of games jolted the men's NCAA Tournament to life like a triple shot of espresso. North Carolina, the South Region No. 1 seed, had the most frenetic finish, blowing a 17-point lead and then scoring the game's final 12 points to hold off Arkansas. South Carolina, the No. 7 seed in the East, had the biggest takedown, knocking off No.

Newman skips late pit stop, stuns NASCAR field in Phoenix

AVONDALE, Ariz. (AP) -- A big gamble in the desert heat ended a long victory drought for Ryan Newman. When just about everybody else decided to take a tire-changing pit stop in the final few laps on Sunday, Newman figured he'd be going in with them. His crew chief Luke Lambert thought otherwise. It was a decision that earned Newman a victory in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race, ending his 127-race winless streak.

BC-AP Sports Digest

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Fresh generation of drivers emerging on NASCAR circuit

AVONDALE, Ariz. (AP) -- The NASCAR kids keep coming on strong. Five of the highest-starting eight drivers in NASCAR's lineup for its Monster Energy Series race on Sunday are 26 or younger. Ryan Blaney, starting next to pole-sitter and teammate Joey Logano on the front row, is 23. Kyle Larson starts in the second row, and he's all of 24.

Friday's Sports in Brief

COLLEGE BASKETBALL GREENVILLE, S.C. (AP) -- North Carolina State didn't have to look very far to find its next men's basketball coach. The school has hired UNC Wilmington's Kevin Keatts to take over as head basketball coach, staying in its home state to find a coach who had spent time as an assistant to a Hall of Fame coach before leading his own NCAA Tournament team.

Logano uses fast late lap to claim pole in Phoenix

AVONDALE, Ariz. (AP) -- Joey Logano capped a day in the spotlight with a fast late lap Friday to claim the pole for the NASCAR Camping World 500. With the temperature in the low 90s and the sun beginning to set, Ryan Blaney qualified second to give Ford the top two spots to start Sunday's race. Logano and Blaney bumped Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Logano tells Busch 'honest mistake' led to incident at Vegas

AVONDALE, Ariz. (AP) -- The first face-to-face meeting between Kyle Busch and Joey Logano since last week's post-race scuffle in Las Vegas is over. Whether the drivers feel any better about things headed into Sunday's race at Phoenix International Raceway is an open question. The two were summoned to a 15-minute session Friday with NASCAR officials as everyone involved tried to put the pit road brawl to bed.

Latest North Carolina, South Carolina sports

NCAA-WINTHROP-BUTLER Defense, Woodson's shooting help Butler beat Winthrop 76-64 MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Avery Woodson scored 18 points and tied a career high with six 3-pointers in his NCAA Tournament debut to lead Butler to a 76-64 win over Winthrop on Thursday. Woodson, a graduate transfer from Memphis, hit five 3s in the first half to help the fourth-seeded Bulldogs build a 14-point halftime lead.

Wednesday's Sports in Brief

NCAA TOURNAMENT WASHINGTON (AP) -- Former President Barack Obama is picking North Carolina to win the men's NCAA Tournament over Duke. Last year, Obama had Kansas winning it all in his bracket. The Jayhawks lost to eventual champion Villanova in the Elite Eight. Obama also has Arizona and Kansas in his Final Four. Obama also picked UConn to win the women's NCAA title over Notre Dame, with South Carolina and Washington in the Final Four.

Trojans, Aggies move on...Martin leaves Cal for Mizzou...Pats keep Hightower...Anisimov shelved

DAYTON, Ohio (AP) -- UC Davis has won its first-ever NCAA Tournament game to advance to the first round. Chima Moneke (CHEE'-muh moh-NEH'-kee) scored 18 points and grabbed 12 rebounds as the Aggies beat North Carolina Central, 67-63. Southern Cal also won last night by turning a 17-point, second-half deficit into a 75-71 triumph over Providence. UNDATED (AP) -- Cuonzo (KWAHN'-zoh) Martin is the new men's basketball coach at Missouri after three seasons at California.

Column: It takes a brawl for NASCAR to go mainstream

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- Kyle Busch had a gash on his forehead and blood running down his nose when he promised payback to Joey Logano. The two had a brief post-race pit road brawl that can be seen on TMZ, the "Today Show" and, really, just about anywhere.

Latest North Carolina and South Carolina sports

BIGSOUTH-UNC ASHEVILLE-RADFORD Fitzgerald's FTs gives UNC Asheville women Big South title LYNCHBURG, Va. (AP) -- Bronaza Fitzgerald, a 47 percent free-throw shooter who had missed her other four attempts, made two from the line with five seconds left, giving UNC Asheville a 49-48 victory over top-seeded Radford on Sunday for a second straight Big South Tournament championship and trip to the NCAA Tournament.

Weekend Sports In Brief

COLLEGE BASKETBALL Villanova took the overall top seed on Selection Sunday, with Kansas, North Carolina and Gonzaga joining the defending national champions on the No. 1 line for the NCAA Tournament. Not many surprises there, though Duke -- left at No. 2 despite a four-win-in-four-night performance in the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament -- and Syracuse and Illinois State, who got left out altogether, may have been searching for answers.

Martin Truex Jr. wins at Vegas, Kyle Busch bloodied in brawl

LAS VEGAS (AP) -- Martin Truex Jr. finished speaking to reporters after winning the NASCAR Cup race Sunday and retreated into a corner of the media center where a tablet awaited with the video cued up. Truex had to see the Kyle Busch-Joey Logano brawl, too. "I'm sure NASCAR is going to love that one," Truex said.

Latest North Carolina and South Carolina sports

HORNETS-HEAT Heat win again, rallying to beat Hornets 108-101 MIAMI (AP) -- Dion Waiters scored 24 points, Goran Dragic added 22 points and 10 assists, and the Miami Heat moved within a half-game of a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference by beating the Charlotte Hornets 108-101 on Wednesday night.

Vegas, baby! City will host 2 NASCAR Cup races each year

LAS VEGAS (AP) -- Las Vegas Motor Speedway will host two top-tier NASCAR races beginning in 2018. The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority board of directors approved a race sponsorship agreement with the track and parent company Speedway Motorsports Inc. on Wednesday, with this year's race coming up Sunday. Las Vegas' win is New Hampshire Motor Speedway's loss, with SMI shifting one of the New England track's two NASCAR Cup Series races to Nevada.