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January 31, 2018
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January 31, 2018
AP Sports


Update on the latest in sports:


Gymnastics doctor to return to court for another sentence

LANSING, Mich. (AP) – Larry Nassar, the sports doctor accused of sexually assaulting more than 150 women and girls, will be confronted again this week by scores of victims as he faces another prison sentence for molesting gymnasts, this time at an elite Michigan club run by an Olympic coach.

Judge Janice Cunningham has set aside several days for roughly 60 people who want to confront Nassar or have their statement read in court. The event could unfold much the same as a hearing last week in another county that ended with Nassar getting sentenced to 40 to 175 years in prison – what a different judge described as signing the doctor’s “death warrant.”


Patriots’ Gronkowski expects to play in Super Bowl

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. (AP) – New England Patriots star tight end Rob Gronkowski says he expects to play in Sunday’s Super Bowl against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Gronkowski has been in the league’s concussion protocol after taking a hit from Jacksonville’s Barry Church in the AFC championship game. He made his first public appearance on Tuesday night while playing former teammate and current Eagles running back LeGarrette Blount in a game of “Madden 18” at the Mall of America.

Gronkowski said he’s still in the concussion protocol and would leave his status up to the doctors.

In other NFL news:

– Two people with direct knowledge of the trade tell The Associated Press the Kansas City Chiefs have agreed to deal quarterback Alex Smith to the Washington Redskins. The people spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the move can’t be completed until the start of the new league year in March. One person says the Redskins have agreed to a four-year extension with Smith.

– The federal judge who allowed the playing of partial recordings of the former president of Pilot Flying J making racist remarks explains in a new court filing that they occurred during a work meeting and reflected on the former executive’s character. News outlets report U.S. District Judge Curtis Collier filed a memo Monday on his reasons for allowing a portion of the secret recordings to be played for jurors. Pilot Flying J is controlled by the family of Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam and Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam.

– Philadelphia police think they’ve found something better than Crisco to keep Philadelphia fans from climbing light poles if the Eagles win the Super Bowl. But they are keeping their playbook secret. A contingent of workers who jokingly called themselves the “Crisco Cops” applied shortening to light poles before the NFC championship game, but it failed to stop some fans after the Eagles victory.

– The Panthers say two-time All-Pro center Ryan Kalil plans to retire after the 2018 season when his contract expires. Panthers’ spokesman Steven Drummond confirmed the news on Tuesday. Kalil becomes the second long-time Panthers player to announce he is retiring after next season.

– Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles had surgery on his right wrist last week to fix a problem that kept him on the injury report all season. The team confirmed the surgery Tuesday. ESPN first reported the surgery. Bortles dealt with the issue in his throwing wrist throughout the season. He appeared on the injury report every week but did not miss a practice or a game.


Harden has first 60-point triple-double in NBA history

HOUSTON (AP) – James Harden became the first player in NBA history to score 60 points as part of a triple-double as the short-handed Houston Rockets beat the Orlando Magic 114-107.

Harden scored 18 points in the fourth quarter to eclipse the 57 points Calvin Murphy scored in 1978 to break Houston’s single-game scoring record. After Harden broke the record, cameras in the arena showed a shot of Murphy, who works on the television broadcast team, smiling and clapping for the Beard, who also had 10 rebounds and 11 assists.

In other NBA action:

– Ricky Rubio scored 23 points and handed out 11 assists as the Utah Jazz stunned the Golden State Warriors 129-99. The loss ended a three-game winning streak for the Warriors, who had won seven of eight before facing the Jazz.

– Zach Randolph scored 26 points and grabbed 12 rebounds, and the Sacramento Kings beat the New Orleans Pelicans 114-103. Kosta Koufos had 17 points and 17 rebounds for the Kings, who were able to exploit the absence of Pelicans All-Star center DeMarcus Cousins by getting double-doubles from both of their starting big men. Anthony Davis had 23 points and 13 rebounds for the Pelicans. New Orleans has lost both of its games without Cousins.

– Beginning what could be a significant stretch without All-Star point guard John Wall, the Washington Wizards got 25 points from Otto Porter Jr., limited Russell Westbrook to 13 and stopped Oklahoma City’s eight-game win streak with a 102-96 victory over the Thunder. Bradley Beal had 21 points and nine assists for Washington.

– DeMar DeRozan scored 23 points, Jonas Valanciunas had 18 points and 11 rebounds and the Toronto Raptors rallied from a 13-point deficit to beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 109-104. Kyle Lowry and Serge Ibaka each scored 15 points and Jakob Poeltl had six of his 12 points in the fourth quarter as the Raptors won their 14th straight home meeting with the Timberwolves.

– Andre Drummond had 21 points and 22 rebounds, and the short-handed Detroit Pistons beat Cleveland 125-114 after the Cavaliers lost Kevin Love to a potentially season-altering hand injury. Love exited in the first quarter with a broken left hand, and the Pistons took advantage of his absence, snapping an eight-game losing streak despite a roster that was depleted by their blockbuster trade for Blake Griffin.

– Kristaps Porzingis scored 28 points, Enes Kanter had 20 points, 20 rebounds and five assists, and the Knicks completed a New York City sweep of the Brooklyn Nets with a 111-95 victory. The Knicks returned home from their longest road trip of the season in new uniforms but their same old dominance of the Nets, with their fourth victory in four tries this season.

– LaMarcus Aldridge scored 30 points and the San Antonio Spurs escaped with a 106-104 victory over the Denver Nuggets. The Spurs had four players in double figures, including 18 points each from Kyle Anderson and Pau Gasol. Every Denver starter scored in double figures with Jamal Murray leading the way with 18 points and Gary Harris adding 17.

– Damian Lillard scored 28 points and the Portland Trail Blazers pulled away in the third quarter to beat the Los Angeles Clippers 104-96. Los Angeles was playing its first game since Blake Griffin’s stunning trade to Detroit on Monday. CJ McCollum added 16 points and Jusuf Nurkic had 14 points and 18 rebounds for the Blazers, who ended a seven-game skid against the Clippers while winning their third in a row.

In NBA news:

– Detroit Pistons center Andre Drummond has been added to the NBA All-Star Game, replacing injured Washington guard John Wall. The Pistons announced Drummond’s selection Tuesday night. Drummond is an All-Star for the second time. He also represented the Pistons in 2016. He entered Tuesday night’s game against Cleveland averaging 14.7 points and 15.1 rebounds.

– Sacramento Kings coach Dave Joerger will resume his coaching duties next week after a medical evaluation determined that he is in fine health. Joerger left two minutes into a game against the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday after becoming lightheaded. Assistant Elston Turner will coach the team until Joerger returns.


Reed leads No. 20 Clemson to 82-78 win over No. 19 UNC

CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) – Marcquise Reed had 20 points, including the go-ahead 3-pointer after No. 20 Clemson blew a 16-point lead, and the Tigers ended a 10-game losing streak to North Carolina with an 82-78 victory over the 19th-ranked Tar Heels.

Meanwhile, North Carolina says freshman guard Jalek Felton has been suspended from school. The school issued a news release saying the suspension means he is “not currently eligible to participate.”

In other T25 action:

– Trevon Bluiett scored 14 points to lead No. 6 Xavier over St. John’s 73-68. Bluiett was one of four players in double-figure scoring for the Musketeers. Kerem Kanter and Quentin Goodin each had 13 points, and J.P. Macura added 11. Despite a 31-point performance from Shamorie Ponds, the Red Storm dropped their 11th straight. – Trae Young scored 31 of his 44 points in the second half to help No. 12 Oklahoma hold off Baylor 98-96. Young made 11 of 20 field goals and 16 of 19 free throws. It was his fourth game this season with at least 40 points. Manu Lecomte scored 29 points and Nuni Omot scored 23 for Baylor.

– Bryce Brown scored 19 of his 23 points in the second half to lead No. 11 Auburn over Mississippi 79-70. Auburn beat Ole Miss for the second time this season. Brown made 9 of 16 shots from the field, including three 3-pointers. Mustapha Heron added 16 points for the Tigers. Jared Harper had 13 points and seven assists.

– Jae’Sean Tate scored 16 points and No. 17 Ohio State took control early in cruising to a 71-56 win over Indiana. Kaleb Wesson added 14 points and Keita Bates-Diop had 13 points and 13 rebounds as the Buckeyes bounced back from last week’s buzzer-beater loss to Penn State that dropped them three places in the AP Top 25 poll.

– Jeff Dowtin had 19 points and 10 assists, and No. 22 Rhode Island escaped with an 85-83 win over Massachusetts after the Minutemen botched an intentional missed free throw in the final seconds. The Rams led by three with 1.8 seconds left when UMass’ Luwane Pipkins went to the free-throw line. Pipkins made the first shot and missed the second on purpose, but he was called for a lane violation while grabbing the rebound. Rhode Island has won 13 straight games.

– Quade Green’s layup with five seconds remaining gave No. 21 Kentucky an 83-81 overtime victory against Vanderbilt.

– Yante Maten scored 20 points and Georgia recovered after blowing a halftime lead to beat No. 23 Florida 72-60. Florida began the night in second place in the SEC, one game behind No. 11 Auburn. Georgia had lost three straight and five of six. The Gators recovered after trailing 37-32 at halftime to lead 48-43.


Missouri AD says Gamecocks fans spit on Tigers

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) – Missouri athletic director Jim Sterk said Tiger women’s basketball players were spit on and had racial slurs yelled at them during their 64-54 loss to No. 7 South Carolina on Sunday.

Sterk made his comments during an interview with KTGR radio in Columbia, Missouri. Sterk went on to blame South Carolina coach Dawn Staley for promoting a hostile atmosphere and said “it’s unfortunate that she felt she had to do that.”

South Carolina athletic director Ray Tanner put out a statement saying a review found “no confirmation” of the alleged behavior directed at the visiting team occurring.

A team spokesman said Staley would have no immediate comment. She’s schedule to talk Wednesday in preparation for Thursday’s game with No. 1 UConn.


Aho, Hurricanes beat Senators 2-1

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Sebastian Aho and Victor Rask scored in the third period, helping the Carolina Hurricanes top the slumping Ottawa Senators 2-1.

Cam Ward made 29 saves for Carolina in the opener of a season-long eight-game homestand. The Hurricanes returned from the All-Star break with their second straight win after dropping six of eight.

Jean-Gabriel Pageau scored and Craig Anderson made 37 saves for the Senators, who have lost six in a row.

In other NHL action:

– Darcy Kuemper made 28 saves in his ninth career shutout, leading the Los Angeles Kings to a 3-0 victory over the Dallas Stars. Paul LaDue, Drew Doughty and Alec Martinez scored as Los Angeles (27-18-5) earned its second straight win. The Kings are among a group of playoff contenders with 59 points, one point behind Dallas.

– Evgeni Malkin got his 12th career hat trick and Bryan Rust scored two goals as the surging Pittsburgh Penguins rallied for a 5-2 victory over the San Jose Sharks. Malkin’s 24th goal of the season late in the second period tied it. His 25th early in the third gave Pittsburgh the lead for good and his 26th rolled into an empty net with just more than a minute remaining as the Penguins won for the eighth time in 10 games.

– Michael Hutchinson made 23 saves in his first NHL start of the season to help the Winnipeg Jets beat the league-leading Tampa Bay Lightning 3-1. Patrik Laine scored his team-leading 23rd goal for the Jets. Kyle Connor and Bryan Little also scored, and Blake Wheeler had two assists.

– Anton Forsberg made 42 saves, Vinnie Hinostroza had a goal and an assist, and the Chicago Blackhawks beat the Nashville Predators 2-1. Last-place Chicago, which needs a big finish to get into the playoffs, returned from the All-Star break with its second straight win. David Kampf also scored for the Blackhawks.

– Adam Henrique scored twice and the Anaheim Ducks ended Boston’s 18-game point streak with a 3-1 victory over the Bruins. Jakob Silfverberg also scored for the Ducks, the first team to beat the Bruins in regulation since Washington’s 5-3 win Dec. 14 at Boston.

– Zach Parise and Chris Stewart scored in the shootout, and the Minnesota Wild beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-2. Devan Dubnyk made 28 saves for Minnesota (27-18-5), which earned its 10th road win of the season. Jason Zucker scored his 20th goal, and Charlie Coyle added his fifth in the third period.

– Harri Sateri stopped 32 shots for his first career victory as the Florida Panthers beat the New York Islanders 4-1. Mike Matheson, Evgenii Dadonov, Keith Yandle and Jonathan Huberdeau scored for Florida, which snapped a three-game skid and improved to 3-6-1 since closing December with five straight victories.

– Taylor Hall scored in his first game after missing three with an injury to his right hand, and the New Jersey Devils snapped a four-game skid with a 3-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres. Kyle Palmieri scored an empty-netter and added an assist, and Miles Wood also scored for the Devils.

– Jonathan Marchessault had the winner and added an assist as the Vegas Golden Knights scored three times in the final two minutes for a dramatic 4-2 win over the Calgary Flames.

– Carter Hutton made 33 saves and Ivan Barbashev broke a scoreless tie in the second period to help the St. Louis Blues beat the Montreal Canadiens 3-1. St. Louis, which beat Montreal for the fifth successive time, has won five of six overall. The struggling Canadiens have lost 11 of 15.

– Sven Baertschi scored 1:07 into overtime and the Vancouver Canucks defeated the Colorado Avalanche 4-3. The Swiss forward took a feed in the extra period and ripped his 11th of the season high past Jonathan Bernier’s glove. Bo Horvat, Michael Del Zotto and Daniel Sedin also scored for Vancouver. Jacob Markstrom stopped 27 shots, and Christopher Tanev had three assists.


Reliever David Hernandez, Reds, agree to 2-year deal

CINCINNATI (AP) – Reliever David Hernandez has agreed to a $5 million, two-year contract with the Cincinnati Reds, adding another late-inning option to a bullpen that’s been a top offseason priority.

The 32-year-old right-hander will make $2.5 million annually under the deal announced Tuesday. He can earn another $1 million each year in performance bonuses.

He had a 3.11 ERA in 64 appearances for the Los Angeles Angels and Arizona last season and made two scoreless relief appearances against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL Division Series. He also has pitched for Baltimore and Philadelphia.

Cincinnati’s bullpen had the most walks and hit batters in the major leagues and it led the NL in runs. The bullpen’s 4.65 ERA was second-worst in the NL.

In other MLB news:

– Left-hander Jon Niese has signed a minor league contract and will go to spring training with the Texas Rangers after not pitching in the regular season last year. The 31-year-old Niese had left knee surgery at the end of the 2016 season. He made six relief appearances in spring training for the New York Yankees last year but didn’t pitch during the regular season at any level.

– A runner would be put on second base at the start of the 11th inning of the All-Star Game and each additional inning, according to the latest pace-of-game proposal by Major League Baseball. The experiment also would be used in the 10th inning of spring training games, according to the Jan. 9 proposal obtained by The Associated Press. Spring training games would be capped at 10 innings.

– The Oakland Athletics will expand protective netting between the stands and the playing field to the far ends of both dugouts ahead of the 2018 season. The netting will be a similar green color as the grass on the field to reduce the visual distraction to fans in attendance and those watching on television.


Putin to athletes: Ignore doping scandals at Olympics

MOSCOW (AP) – Russian President Vladimir Putin has told the country’s athletes to forget about doping scandals when they compete at the Pyeongchang Olympics.

As punishment for what it deemed a doping scheme during the 2014 Sochi Olympics, the International Olympic Committee has invited 169 Russians to compete under a neutral flag using the name “Olympic Athletes from Russia.”

At a meeting with athletes at his presidential residence outside Moscow, Putin said “I wish you not to think about anything which has recently accompanied your preparation for these Olympics.”

He said he hopes they “focus on sporting competition, and that you know that following you, as usual, are hundreds of thousands, millions, of fans who love you and hope you win.”

AP-WF-01-31-18 1336GMT