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December 24, 2018
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December 24, 2018
AP Sports





Update on the latest sports





Cowboys, Pats clinch division


UNDATED (AP) – It was a division-clinching afternoon for the Dallas Cowboys and New England Patriots.


The Cowboys are NFC East champs after Dak Prescott accounted for two touchdowns and Jaylon Smith returned a fumble 69 yards for a score in a 27-20 win over the Buccaneers. Prescott ran 7 yards to cap the only lengthy Dallas touchdown drive, a 75-yarder. He threw a 4-yard score to rookie Michael Gallup after Randy Gregory’s recovery of a Jameis (JAY’-mihs) Winston fumble.


Sony Michel (mih-SHEHL’) ran for 116 yards and a touchdown as the Patriots beat the Bills 24-12 to earn their 10th straight AFC East title. Tom Brady joined Peyton Manning, Drew Brees (breez) and Philip Rivers with at least 10 seasons of 4,000-plus passing yards, although the Pats QB was just 13 of 24 for 126 yards and two interceptions against Buffalo. James White had a touchdown run for New England, which moved ahead of Houston for the No. 2 seed in the conference playoffs and a first-round bye.


Elsewhere around the NFL:


– Drew Brees (breez) capped a 326-yard passing performance with 2-yard touchdown to Michael Thomas with 1:25 left as New Orleans beat the Steelers, 31-28 to clinch the top seed in the NFC playoffs. Alvin Kamara gained 105 yards from scrimmage and ran for two touchdowns as the Saints improved to 13-2. Ben Roethlisberger (RAHTH’-lihs-bur-gur) passed for 380 yards and three touchdowns for the 8-6-1 Steelers, who fell a half-game behind the AFC North-leading Ravens and out of playoff position.


– Russell Wilson threw for three touchdowns and Chris Carson ran for two others as the Seahawks beat the Chiefs, 38-31 to clinch an NFC wild-card berth. Carson rushed for 116 yards and Wilson threw a 2-yard pass to Ed Dickson with 7:31 left to give Seattle a 31-21 lead. Kansas City fell to 11-4 and failed to clinch either the AFC West or a first-round bye despite Patrick Mahomes (mah-HOHMZ’), who was 23 of 40 for 273 yards and three TDs.


– Philadelphia blew a 13-point lead in the fourth quarter before Jake Elliott’s 35-yard field goal as time expired sent the Eagles past the Texans, 32-30. Nick Foles threw for a franchise-record 471 yards and four touchdowns to help the Eagles keep their playoff hopes alive and drop Houston behind the Patriots for AFC seeding. Zach Ertz was Foles’ busiest target with 12 receptions for 110 yards and two TDs as the Eagles improved to 8-7.


– Minnesota is a step closer to the postseason after Kirk Cousins finished 21 of 28 for 253 yards with three touchdowns in a 27-9 victory at Detroit. Cousins threw a 44-yard Hail Mary to Kyle Rudolph as time expired in the first half to put the Vikings ahead to stay. The 8-6-1 Vikings had almost as many punts as yards until Cousins led an eight-play, 69-yard drive that ended with an 8-yard touchdown pass to Stefon Diggs late in the first half.


– The Colts’ playoff hopes stayed alive when Andrew Luck hit Chester Rogers for a 1-yard TD with 55 seconds to complete their comeback in a 28-27 win over the Giants. Luck was 31 of 47 for 357 yards, two touchdowns and one interception, with T.Y. Hilton catching seven passes for 138 yards. The 9-6 Colts have won eight of their last nine and will win the AFC South with a victory over the Titans next Sunday and a loss by the Texans.


– C.J. Anderson rushed for 167 yards and the 12-3 Rams bounced back from a pair of losses to beat the Cardinals 31-9. Anderson rushed for a 4-yard touchdown and had other runs of 46 and 27 yards, five days after signing with Los Angeles. Arizona receiver Larry Fitzgerald threw the first touchdown pass of his career, a 32-yarder in perhaps his final home game with the Cardinals.


– The Bears wrapped up the No. 3 seed in the NFC as Mitchell Trubisky threw one touchdown pass and Jordan Howard ran for another score in Chicago’s eighth win in nine games, 14-9 at San Francisco. Danny Trevathan (treh-VAY’-thahn) made a key interception in the fourth quarter and Chicago’s stout defense kept the 49ers out of the end zone. The Bears are 11-4 and can earn a first-round bye with a win in their season finale and a loss by the Rams.


– Blake Bortles came off the bench late in the third quarter and took the Jaguars 51 yards for a go-ahead field goal as the Jaguars beat the Dolphins, 17-7. Telvin Smith Sr. intercepted Ryan Tannehill on the next series and scored on a 33-yard return. The 7-8 Dolphins will miss the postseason for the 15th time in the past 17 years.


– Baker Mayfield threw three touchdown passes and the Browns won for the fifth time in six games by downing the Bengals, 26-18. Mayfield’s 24 TD passes are the third most in NFL history by a rookie, two off the record held by Peyton Manning and Russell Wilson. Cleveland improved to 5-2 under interim coach Gregg Williams and is 7-7-1 overall, but they were eliminated from the AFC playoff picture.


– The Packers erased a 15-point, fourth-quarter deficit before Aaron Rodgers threw a 16-yard touchdown pass to Davante (dah-VAHN’-tay) Adams with 6:23 left in overtime to give Green Bay a 44-38 triumph over the Jets. The loss for the 4-11 Jets overshadowed a dazzling performance by rookie quarterback Sam Darnold, who threw for a career-high 341 yards and three touchdowns.


– The Falcons dealt the Panthers their seventh straight loss as Matt Ryan threw for 239 yards and three touchdowns in Atlanta’s 24-10 victory at Carolina. Ryan found Calvin Ridley for a 75-yard touchdown strike on the first play of the second half for the go-ahead score.




Pacers stay hot, down Wizards


UNDATED (AP) – The Indiana Pacers continue to put pressure on the Milwaukee Bucks as the two teams battle for the NBA’s Central Division lead.


Myles Turner had 18 points and 17 rebounds as the Pacers won for the ninth time in 11 games, 105-89 against the Wizards. Domantas Sabonis (sah-BOH’-nihs) was one of seven Pacers to score in double-figures, finishing with 15 points and 10 rebounds.


Bojan Bogdanovic scored 13 of his 14 points in the first half for Indiana, which improved to 22-12 and moved one game behind the Bucks.


Indiana stretched its seven-point halftime lead to 84-64 in the third quarter as the Wizards shot 8-for-30 in the period.


Checking out Sunday’s other NBA action:


– Stephen Curry’s layup with 0.5 seconds remaining gave the Warriors a 129-127 triumph over the Clippers. Curry poured in 42 points and Kevin Durant added 35 as the pair allowed Golden State to overtime the Clippers’ 18-for-23 shooting from beyond the arc.


– Boston’s three-game skid is over after Kyrie Irving scored 25 points and Jayson Tatum had 17 in a 119-103 trouncing of Cleveland. Al Horford had 10 points and six rebounds over 19 minutes in his first game since the Celtics’ forward missed seven straight with a sore left knee.


– Andrew Wiggins scored 30 points and hit the go-ahead layup with 14 seconds remaining to lift the Timberwolves over the Thunder, 114-112. Karl-Anthony Towns scored 18 points and Robert Covington added 13 to help Minnesota end Oklahoma City’s four-game winning streak.


– Jaren Jackson Jr. scored 27 points as the Grizzlies beat the Lakers, 107-99 to end a five-game losing streak. Marc Gasol (gah-SAHL’) had 17 points, nine rebounds and eight assists to help Memphis end the Lakers’ six-game home win streak.


– The Nets won for the eighth time in nine games as Spencer Dinwiddie contributed 24 points in a 111-103 victory over the Suns. D’Angelo Russell had 18 points, eight assists and six rebounds for Brooklyn, while rookie Rodions Kurucs (ROH’-dee-ahns KOO-rooch) added 16 points and 10 rebounds.


– Tyler Johnson scored 20 of his 25 points in the third quarter of the Heat’s 115-91 thumping of the Magic. Justise Winslow added 22 points and Josh Richardson finished with 15 points and 10 rebounds in Erik Spoelstra’s (SPIOHL’-strahz) 500th coaching victory.


– The Mavericks absorbed their sixth loss in a row as Damiam Lillard’s 33 points led the Trail Blazers’ scorers in a 121-118 win over Dallas. Jusuf Nurkic added 10 points and 12 rebounds in Portland’s fourth win in five games.


– Willie Cauley-Stein had 22 points and a career-high 17 rebounds in the Kings’ 122-117 comeback win against the Pelicans. Buddy Hield scored 28 points for Sacramento, which trailed by 11 with 7 1/2 minutes left.


– The Hawks were 98-95 winners over the Pistons behind Alex Len’s 15 points and season-high 17 rebounds. Vince Carter had a season-best 18 points in the Hawks’ third consecutive victory.


– Lauri Markkanen scored 31 points and the Bulls have their first winning streak of the season after beating the Cavaliers, 112-92. Markkanen had 14 points in the third quarter, including a four-point play late in the period that sparked an 18-5 run.




Blue Jackets blank Devils


UNDATED (AP) – The Columbus Blue Jackets find themselves just two points off the NHL’s Metropolitan Division lead heading into the holiday break.


Sergei Bobrovsky (boh-BRAHF’-skee) made 39 saves and Artemi Panarin (ahr-TEH’-mee pah-NAH’-rihn) had a goal and an assist as the Blue Jackets blanked the Devils, 3-0 for their fourth straight win. Cam Atkinson and Oliver Bjorkstrand added first-period goals to support Bobrovsky’s second shutout of the season and 26th of his career.


Elsewhere on NHL ice:


– The Maple Leafs earned a 5-4 overtime win over Detroit on Kasperi Kapanen’s (kas-PEHR’-ee KAP’-ah-nehnz) second goal of the game and 14th of the season. The Red Wings were on the verge of a 4-3 win until John Tavares scored his team-high 24th goal with eight seconds left in regulation.


– Sebastian Aho (AH’-hoh) and Teuvo Teravainen (TOO’-voh tehr-ah-VY’-nehn) each had two goals and two assists in the Hurricanes’ 5-3 downing of the Bruins. Justin Faulk also scored for Carolina, which wore Hartford Whalers uniforms for the first time since moving from the Connecticut capital 21 years ago.


– Anders Lee’s power-play goal snapped a 1-1 deadlock with 11:10 remaining before the Islanders completed their fourth win in five games, 3-1 at Dallas. Casey Cizikas (sih-ZEE’-kihs) tied it in the second period, Leo Komarov added an empty-netter and Robin Lehner stopped 19 shots as New York completed a 3-1 road trip.


– Alex Galchenyuk (gal-CHEHN’-yuhk) scored twice in regulation and provided the lone shootout goal as the Coyotes outlasted the Sharks, 4-3. Tomas Hertl’s second goal of the third period forced OT.


– Nolan Patrick scored the only goal of a four-round shootout to give the Flyers their third win in four games, 3-2 over the Rangers. Michael Raffl and Wayne Simmonds scored in regulation as Philadelphia handed New York its 10th loss in 13 games.


– Tyler Toffoli scored 1:40 into overtime to complete the Kings’ 4-3 win at Vegas. Michael Amadio, Alex Iafallo (eye-ah-FAH’-loh) and Jeff Carter also scored for Los Angeles.


– Jayce Hawryluk (jays HAW’-rih-luhk) scored his first two NHL goals to support James Reimer’s 26 saves in the Panthers’ 6-3 win at Chicago. Mike Hoffman and Jared McCann had goals in a 31-second span of the second period to help Florida end the Blackhawks’ season-high three-game winning streak.




Jeanneret doing better


UNDATED (AP) – The Sabres say Rick Jeanneret is resting and doing well a day after the team’s Hall of Fame broadcaster was taken out of the press box on a stretcher during the third period of Saturday’s game. The Sabres say the 76-year-old Jeanneret looks forward to returning to his job after the team’s three-day Christmas break. Jeanneret has done play-by-play of Sabres games since 1971, the longest tenure with a single team in NHL history.


In other NHL news:


– Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson has been suspended two games for an illegal check to the head of Los Angeles Kings forward Austin Wagner. The incident occurred early in the second period of the Kings’ 3-2 overtime win over the Sharks.




Cougars still perfect


HOUSTON (AP) – Houston was the lone top-25 men’s basketball team in action on Sunday, and the 21st-rated Cougars cruised to a 75-44 win over winless Coppin State.


Corey Davis shot 4-for-9 from 3-point range and had 16 points to help the Cougars improve to 12 and extend the nation’s longest home winning streak to 25. Breaon Brady added 13 points on 6 of 8 shooting to help Houston remain one of five undefeated Division I teams.




Cubs sign Graveman


CHICAGO (AP) – The Chicago Cubs have signed injured right-hander Kendall Graveman to a one-year contract with an option for the 2020 season.


Graveman was Oakland’s opening day starter for the second consecutive season, but he was shut down in late May and had Tommy John surgery on July 30.


Graveman is unlikely to make much impact in 2019, but he could boost Chicago’s rotation in 2020.




Police: LSU player kills man trying to rob him, teammate


BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) – Police say two LSU football players were trying to sell an electronic item when one player fatally shot an 18-year-old man trying to rob them.

A statement released Sunday by Baton Rouge police does not identify the players. But a person familiar with the investigation told The Associated Press the players are running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire and linebacker Jared Small.


Police say the LSU players called police, waited at the scene, were questioned and were released while the investigation continues.



AP-WF-12-24-18 0543GMT