AP Sports

December 26, 2023
AP Scorecard
December 26, 2023
AP Sports

Update on the latest sports

AP-Summary Brief-Sports
December 26, 2023

Analysis: Christmas was rough on Super Bowl contenders except for the Ravens

The Chiefs lost again. The Eagles struggled against the lowly Giants. The 49ers were embarrassed at home. Christmas Day was rough on Super Bowl contenders except for the Ravens. Lamar Jackson boosted his MVP chances and Baltimore made a major statement with a convincing 33-19 victory over San Francisco in a prime-time matchup that featured the NFL’s two No. 1 seeds. Monday’s results along with the rest of Week 16 left more questions open across the NFL. There’s two weeks remaining to answer those before the playoffs.

Pistons try to avoid 27th straight loss and a new NBA single-season record Tuesday against Nets

DETROIT (AP) — The Detroit Pistons won’t deny it. They are fully aware of the unwanted history they’ve been tumbling toward for two months. If they don’t win Tuesday night, they will own the longest single-season losing streak in NBA history. Detroit will be trying to avoid its 27th straight loss when it hosts the Brooklyn Nets in the back end of a home-and-home series. The Nets beat the Pistons 126-115 on Saturday in Brooklyn, handing Detroit its 26th consecutive defeat. The Pistons matched the 2010-11 Cleveland Cavaliers and 2013-14 Philadelphia 76ers for the most losses in a row within one season.

Analysis: With Trae Young, the numbers are rarely in question. Other things are up for debate

The numbers that Atlanta guard Trae Young are putting up right now are wild: 28.3 points and 11.2 assists per game entering Tuesday. Keep that up for an entire season, and he’ll do something that only Oscar Robertson, Tiny Archibald and James Harden have accomplished. Stats like those typically get someone at least mentioned in an MVP conversation. With Young, it might not even be a guarantee that he’ll be in the All-Star conversation.

USC’s JuJu Watkins is poised to step in as the next big star of women’s college basketball

LOS ANGELES (AP) — JuJu Watkins is poised to step in as the next big star of women’s college basketball. The Southern California freshman guard is the nation’s second-leading scorer at 26.8 points per game, just behind Iowa’s Caitlin Clark with 30.5. Watkins broke Lisa Leslie’s school record for most 30-point games by a freshman with five. She’s led the Trojans to a No. 6 ranking and a 10-0 start. Watkins was already a prep sensation when she chose USC as the nation’s top recruit in the class of 2023. Her outstanding play is attracting celebrities and men, women and children of all ages and races who want a moment with her after games.

Liverpool moves to the top of the Premier League. Woods scores hat trick as Newcastle loses again

MANCHESTER, England (AP) — Liverpool is back on top of the Premier League and Darwin Nunez is back among the goals. Nunez ended a 12-game scoring drought to set up Jurgen Klopp’s team for a 2-0 win against Burnley on Tuesday and overtake Arsenal in the standings. Liverpool moved two points clear of second-place Arsenal, which has a game in hand against West Ham on Thursday. Chris Wood came back to haunt Newcastle and hand Nuno Espírito Santo his first win as Nottingham Forest manager. Wood, who joined Newcastle in January 2022 and was sold to Forest 18 months later, struck a hat trick in his team’s 3-1 win in the Premier League at St. James’ Park on Tuesday.

Column: Tales from the PGA Tour in a year mostly about money and surprises

The PGA Tour has its own version of D-Day. It was on June 6 that it announced a proposed partnership with the Saudi backers of LIV Golf. No one was sure what that meant six months ago and no one is sure where it will lead. But golf marched on. There were two new major champions, rising stars and plenty of memories along the way. Justin Rose and Xander Schauffele got a new appreciation for Olympic stardom. Justin Thomas ended the year with a nice gesture to his caddie. All are part of this year’s tales from the tour.

Steelers will turn to Mason Rudolph once again if Kenny Pickett’s right ankle can’t go vs. Seattle

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Mason Rudolph’s dynamic play against Cincinnati helped keep the Pittsburgh Steelers’ season alive. The longtime backup quarterback could get a chance to do it again when the Steelers visit Seattle on New Year’s Eve. Coach Mike Tomlin says Rudolph will “have the ball” to begin the week and will get the nod against the Seahawks if starter Kenny Pickett’s surgically repaired right ankle is not ready in time. Rudolph threw for 290 yards and two long touchdowns to George Pickens in a win over the Bengals that moved Pittsburgh to 8-7 and kept its faint playoff hopes afloat.

Missouri’s Cody Schrader goes from D-II star to folk hero in leading Tigers to the Cotton Bowl

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Not many people picked Missouri to be playing in a New Year’s Six bowl game this season. Fewer still probably expected Cody Schrader to be an All-American running back for the Tigers. He starred for Division II Truman State before transferring to Missouri and joining the team as a walk-on. He is the kind of success story that the Tigers and many other programs rely on to compete with programs like Ohio State, whom Missouri will face in the Cotton Bowl in Dallas.

Ikuzo! Ottawa’s roster brings international flavor to newly launched women’s pro hockey league

Ottawa’s yet to be named Professional Women’s Hockey League franchise might go by The Ambassadors in the interim. That’s because the Canadian capitol team’s roster features the largest mix of international talent of the newly established league’s six franchises when play opens next week. The team is made up of 11 Canadians, seven Americans, two players from the Czech Republic, plus one each from Hungary, Germany and Japan. It’s an early reflection of how the women’s sport is growing internationally. Otherwise, the game’s two global powers dominate the rosters with 76 hailing from Canada and 50 from the U.S.

Luton manager says Carlton Morris was target of alleged racist comment

SHEFFIELD, England (AP) — An alleged racist comment was made by a fan toward Luton player Carlton Morris during his team’s Premier League match against Sheffield United. Luton manager Rob Edwards said the police had talked to Morris after the game at Bramall Lane, which Luton won 3-2. Morris came on as a 71st-minute substitute and created two chances that led to own-goals in his team’s win. The match was the first in the Premier League in 15 years to be officiated by a black referee. Sam Allison took charge of the game.