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Ohio Sports News

Last Update on March 06, 2015 06:35 GMT

HAWKS VS LEBRON

ATLANTA (AP) -- The Atlanta Hawks are blowing away everyone in the Eastern Conference.

Yet, there's always a sense that LeBron James will be standing in the way when they get to the playoffs.

That scenario adds an extra bit of intrigue to Friday night's matchup in Atlanta between the Hawks and James' Cleveland Cavaliers.

The front-running Hawks (48-12) insist they're not treating this game any different. Of course, that's what you would expect from the team with a double-digit lead in the East, which has all but locked up home-court advantage throughout the conference playoffs with more than a month to go in the regular season.

The Cavaliers (39-24) are 10-1/2 games behind and more concerned at the moment with beating out Chicago and Toronto for the No. 2 seed.

INDIANS-REDS

GOODYEAR, Ariz. (AP) -- Cincinnati's Johnny Cueto made his spring debut and allowed one hit and struck out two in two scoreless innings on Thursday.

But reliever Burke Badenhop got hit hard in his Reds debut, giving up five runs while retiring only two batters and the Cleveland Indians pulled away to a 9-3 victory.

Badenhop allowed Jose Ramirez's two-run single and Yan Gomez's two-run homer during Cleveland's five-run fifth inning. The reliever gave up five hits and walked a batter.

The Reds signed Badenhop to a one-year, $2.5 million deal last month, trying to improve one of the NL's worst bullpens last season.

Cleveland's Trevor Bauer allowed a run and three hits over three innings, his first of the spring.

BENGALS-MAUALUGA

CINCINNATI (AP) -- Rey Maualuga agreed to a three-year deal Thursday, allowing the Cincinnati Bengals to keep one of their top linebackers.

Cincinnati's defense slipped to 22nd in the NFL last season, when Maualuga and linebacker Vontaze Burfict missed significant time because of injuries. After Maualuga returned after missing four games with a pulled hamstring, the run defense improved measurably.

Maualuga was a second-round pick in 2009. He could have become an unrestricted free agent next week.

Burfict missed most of last season with concussions and torn knee cartilage that required surgery, leaving his status for the start of next season unclear. The Bengals will try to add depth at the linebacker spot in the offseason.

National Sports News

Last Update on March 07, 2015 02:07 GMT

NCAA-SYRACUSE

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) -- The NCAA has squeezed the Orange.

Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim (BAY'-hym) has been suspended for nine games next season and the Orange were punished for academic, drug and other violations committed primarily by the men's basketball program.

The school was put on probation for five years, and the basketball team must vacate wins in which ineligible players participated. The NCAA says those players competed during five seasons: 2004-2007 and 2010-2012.

The punishment includes financial penalties and the reduction of three men's basketball scholarships a year for four years. Recruiting restrictions will be enforced for two years. Boeheim's suspension will be applied to ACC games next year.

The school has sent a letter to alumni and financial backers saying it "respectfully disagrees" with some of the NCAA's conclusions and is considering whether to appeal.

T25 MEN'S BASKETBALL-SCHEDULE

UNDATED (AP) -- Wichita State is the highest-ranked men's basketball team in action today, and the eighth-rated Shockers beat Southern Illinois 56-45 in the Missouri Valley quarterfinals. Tekele Cotton scored nine straight points during a 17-3 run that allowed Wichita State to pull away in the first half.

Fred VanVleet had 13 points, four assists and three steals for the 28-3 Shockers.

T25-KANSAS

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) -- A person familiar with the situation tells The Associated Press that Kansas forward Cliff Alexander will remain out of action amid questions about his family's relationship with an agent. Coach Bill Self says Alexander was unlikely to play in the ninth-ranked Jayhawks' game against No. 15 Oklahoma on Saturday.

NFL-NEWS

UNDATED (AP) -- The New York Jets were pretty busy today.

A person familiar with the deal told The Associated Press that the Jets have agreed to acquire Chicago Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall, pending a physical exam. The trade is the first by new Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan (muh-KAG'-nahn) and will send the Bears an unspecified draft pick. The trade cannot become official until the NFL's new league year begins next Tuesday.

Marshall amassed 721 receiving yards and scored eight touchdowns last season, but his 61 receptions were his fewest since his rookie year.

Also, the Jets are keeping middle linebacker David Harris, who has more than 1,000 tackles in eight seasons with the team. A person familiar with the deal told The Associated Press that it is a three-year, $21.5 million contract, with $15 million guaranteed through the first two years.

In other NFL moves:

-- A person familiar with the situation says New Orleans Saints all-time leading receiver Marques Colston has agreed to contract changes and will remain with the club next season and save the Saints some salary cap space. Without restructuring, Colston would have cost New Orleans $9.7 million against the cap.

-- The Indianapolis Colts say they will not re-sign wide receiver Reggie Wayne. The 14-year veteran has been part of a club-record 143 wins and ranks second in franchise history with 1,070 receptions, 14,345 yards receiving and 80 touchdown catches. Wayne will become a free agent.

-- Bears quarterback Jimmy Clausen has agreed to a one-year contract extension through the 2015 season. Clausen appeared in four games and made one start for Chicago late last season, throwing for 223 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.

-- The Chiefs are bringing back linebacker Josh Mauga on a three-year deal. That's what a person familiar with the move told The Associated Press on Friday. The move to retain Mauga, a pending free agent, came one day after the Chiefs parted ways with veteran linebacker Joe Mays. Mauga will likely start at middle linebacker.

NHL-AVS

DENVER (AP) -- The Colorado Avalanche say they will be without Nathan MacKinnon for at least six weeks after the speedy forward broke his foot.

The talented teenager could possibly return to the ice this season if the Avs make the playoffs. Colorado is currently outside of the Western Conference postseason picture.

TENNIS-DAVIS CUP

GLASGOW, Scotland (AP) -- James Ward came from two sets down to beat John Isner (IHZ'-nur) 6-7, 5-7, 6-3, 7-6, 15-13 in a Davis Cup match that lasted almost five hours. That gave Britain a 2-0 lead over the United States in the first round.

Earlier, Andy Murray beat Donald Young 6-1, 6-1, 4-6, 6-2.

PGA-WORLD GOLF

DORAL, Fla. (AP) -- J.B. Holmes shot a 1-over 73 but still has the lead after two rounds of the Cadillac Championship at Doral. Holmes sits at 9-under par, two shots better than Ryan Moore, who posted a second-round 71.

Adam Scott's 68 has him alone in third place, three off the lead.

Rory McIlroy was one club lighter than at the start of his round. Frustrated by a 3-iron shot into the water on the eighth hole, the world's No. 1 player slung the club some 50 yards into the water. He wound up with a 70 and is eight shots back.

PGA-PUERTO RICO

RIO GRANDE, Puerto Rico (AP) -- Alex Cejka (CHAY'-kuh) shot a 5-under 67 to take the lead after two rounds of the Puerto Rico Open. He's in at 7-under for his 36 holes. That's one shot better than Brandon Hagy.

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Sports Director Clay Hall

WSYX - Clay Hall

Clay Hall is the Sports Director for ABC 6 and FOX 28.

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