AP Sports

AP-NC Newswatch
December 7, 2021
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December 7, 2021
AP Sports


Update on the latest sports


Heisman finalists announced
NEW YORK (AP) – Alabama quarterback Bryce Young and Michigan defensive end Aidan Hutchinson are among the four finalists for the Heisman Trophy, which will be presented on Saturday. Young and Hutchinson just led their teams to conference titles and berths in the CFP semifinals.
Young broke the SEC championship game record with 421 yards passing in a victory against Georgia’s vaunted defense on Saturday. The sophomore has thrown for 4,322 yards, 43 touchdowns and just four interceptions this season.
Hutchinson has 14 sacks and helped the Wolverines end an eight-game losing streak to rival Ohio State.
Pittsburgh quarterback Kenny Pickett and Ohio State signal-caller C.J. Stroud are the other finalists. Pickett passed for 4,319 yards with 42 touchdowns this year to eclipse school marks. Stroud has completed 71% of his passes for 3,862 yards, 38 touchdowns and five interceptions in his first year as a starter.


Miami, Colorado State hire football coaches
UNDATED (AP) – Miami and Colorado State hired new head football coaches on Monday, while Notre Dame and Oklahoma unveiled their coaching hires.
Mario Cristobal is back with his alma mater, leaving Oregon to become the Hurricanes’ head coach. He replaces Manny Diaz, who was dismissed on Monday after going 21-15 in three seasons, including a 7-5 mark this year.
Cristobal went 35-13 with two Pac-12 titles as head coach of the Ducks. Oregon tried to retain him as the team went from CFP contenders earlier this season to losers of the conference title game against Utah.
Colorado State hired the first Black head football coach in program history Monday, bringing in Nevada’s Jay Norvell to take over for Steve Addazio. Norvell is coming off a season in which he guided the Wolf Pack to an 8-4 record and a spot in the Quick Lane Bowl. The offensive innovator has led his team to bowl games in four of the five seasons he’s been at Nevada, going 33-26 since being hired by the Wolf Pack in December 2016.
Marcus Freeman was formally introduced as the 30th head football coach of the Fighting Irish as he replaces Brian Kelly, who became the program’s all-time winningest coach this season before heading to LSU. Brent Venables takes over at Oklahoma after successful runs as defensive coordinator for the Sooners and Clemson since 2004.


Patriots solidify hold on division lead.
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) – The Patriots have sole possession of first place in the AFC East following a 14-10 win over the second-place Bills.
Damien Harris scored on a 64-yard run in blustery conditions in which Mac Jones attempted just three passes. The Pats outgained the Bills 222 to 99 in yards rushing, with Harris delivering a season-high 111.
Defensive back Miles Bryant sealed the victory by batting down Josh Allen’s pass at the goal line with Buffalo facing fourth-and-14 at New England’s 18 with 1:55 remaining.
Bills QB Josh Allen was 15 of 30 for 145 yards and a TD.
New England is 9-4 following its seventh win in a row. Buffalo is 7-5.


Suns bounce back from Friday loss
UNDATED (AP) – The Phoenix Suns have returned to their winning ways.
The Suns are the first NBA team to have 20 victories after Chris Paul delivered 21 points and 10 assists in a 108-104 downing of the Spurs. Paul converted a three-point play that allowed the Suns to ice the win.
Jae Crowder had a season-high 19 points, for Phoenix, which played for the first time since their team-record 18-game winning streak ended at Golden State on Friday.
The Spurs had their four-game winning streak snapped. Dejaunte (deh-ZHAHN’;-tay) Murray was high man for San Antonio with 17 points, while Bryn Forbes added 15 off the bench.


Checking out Monday’s other NBA action:
– Andrew Wiggins made a career-high eight 3-pointers on the way to 28 points as the Warriors hammered the Magic, 126-95. Wiggins scored 17 of his points in the third quarter, knocking down three straight 3s over a span of 1:14. Steph Curry had 31 points and eight assists as Golden State bounced back after seeing its 11-game home winning streak end against the Spurs on Saturday.


– Paul George scored 21 points and the Clippers handed the shorthanded Trail Blazers their third straight loss, 102-90. Marcus Morris Jr. added 17 points and Luke Kennard finished with 15 in his first start of the season. Jusuf Nurkic (YOO’-suhf NUR’-kihch) had a season-high 31 points for Portland.


– Giannis Antetokounmpo (YAH’-nihs an-teh-toh-KOON’-poh) came back from a two-game absence and scored 27 points on his 27th birthday, guiding the Bucks to a 112-104 victory over the Cavaliers. The two-time MVP also had 12 rebounds in his return from a sore right calf as the Bucks won for the 10th time in 11 games. Jrue (jroo) Holiday had 20 points, eight assists and seven rebounds for Milwaukee, while teammate Khris Middleton provided 21 points and eight assists.


– Zach LaVine scored 32 points and the Bulls shook off the absence of DeMar DeRozan to beat the Nuggets 109-97. Lonzo Ball and Nikola Vucevic (VOO’-she-vihch) each had 20 points and 10 rebounds for Chicago, hours after DeRozan entered the NBA’s health and safety protocols. The Nuggets lost for the eighth time in 10 games despite Nikola Jokic (nih-KOH’-lah YOH’-kihch), who had 17 points, 12 boards and a season-high 15 assists.


– Dillon Brooks and Desmond Bane scored 21 points each in the Grizzlies’ fifth win in a row, 105-90 at Miami. All five Grizzlies’ starters finished in double figures as Steven Adams had 17 points and 16 rebounds, while Tyus Jones and Jaren Jackson scored 14 points apiece. Memphis opened the game on a 20-6 run and built an 11-point halftime lead.


– The Hawks were 121-110 winners over the Timberwolves as Trae Young contributed 29 points and 11 assists. Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot added 23 points and shot 7-for-14 from 3-point range. Danilo Gallinari scored 20 points off the bench as the Hawks set season-highs in makes and attempts from beyond the arc.


– Joel Embiid (joh-EHL’ ehm-BEED’) had a season-high 43 points to go with 15 rebounds and seven assists in the 76ers’ 127-124 overtime win against the Hornets. Embiid had six of Philadelphia’s eight points in OT to lead the Sixers to their second straight win. Tobias Harris returned from a one-game absence due to illness and had 21 points and 11 rebounds as the 76ers shot 52.9% from the field.


– The Pacers earned a 116-110 win over the Wizards behind 30 points, 10 rebounds and six assists from Domantas Sabonis (doh-MAHN’-tahs sah-BOH’-nihs). Caris LeVert had 19 points and Malcolm Brogdon added 17 with eight assists in Indiana’s first win in five games. Three-time All-Star guard Bradley Beal scored 34 points to lead the Wizards, who have lost three straight and four of five.


– The Thunder’s eight-game losing streak is over after Shea Gilgeous-Alexander had 30 points and 13 assists in their 114-103 decision over the Pistons. Lu Dort scored 28 points for Oklahoma City, which trailed by 12 in the fourth quarter before going on a 25-8 run. Cade Cunningham had 28 points and 11 rebounds in Detroit’s ninth loss in a row.


US plans diplomatic boycott of Beijing Winter Olympics
WASHINGTON (AP) – The White House says the U.S. will stage a diplomatic boycott of the upcoming Winter Olympics in Beijing to protest Chinese human rights abuses. It’s a move that China has vowed to greet with “firm countermeasures.”
White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters during Monday’s briefing that U.S. athletes will continue to compete and will “have our full support.” The administration, however, won’t dispatch U.S. dignitaries to attend the games.
Psaki says the U.S. has a “fundamental commitment to promoting human rights” and says the U.S. “will not be contributing to the fanfare of the games.”


Derby winner dies after workout
ARCADIA, Calif. (AP) – The 3-year-old colt whose Kentucky Derby victory in May came under scrutiny because of a positive drug test has collapsed and died after a workout at Santa Anita in Southern California.
Trainer Bob Baffert says Medina Spirit suffered a heart attack. The colt had just completed five furlongs in his second workout since finishing second in the Breeders’ Cup Classic a month ago at Del Mar.
The colt will undergo a full necropsy to try to determine the exact cause of death.


Julio Jones cleared to practice
UNDATED (AP) – Seven-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Julio Jones and two others can start practicing with the Tennessee Titans again, a big step toward rejoining the active roster.
The Titans also designated rookie wide receiver Racey McMath and safety Dane Cruikshank to return to practice. Getting this trio back could be a big boost for the 8-4 Titans who currently sit atop the AFC South.


Texas Southern has historic win
UNDATED (AP) – Monday’s top-25 men’s basketball schedule has begun with a stunner.
Texas Southern became the first Southwestern Athletic Conference team to beat a ranked SEC program in The Associated Press poll era dating to 1936. The previously-winless Tigers stunned No. 20 Florida 69-54 behind PJ Henry’s 16 points. Karl Nicholas finished with 14 points on 7-for-7 shooting for Texas Southern, which was coming off a 27-point loss to Louisiana Tech and were 23 1/2-point underdogs against the Gators.
Florida struggled all night, shooting 38.2% from the field and hitting 5 of 24 from 3-point range.
Brandon McKissic led the Gators with 15 points.


In other top-25 action:
– Tramon Mark scored 18 points off the bench and Marcus Sasser had 17 with a career-high six steals as No. 14 Houston hammered Alcorn State, 77-45. The 8-1 Cougars shot 47% in their fourth straight win.


Purdue is number one for the first time
UNDATED (AP) – Purdue is No. 1 in The Associated Press men’s college basketball poll for the first time. The Boilermakers were a unanimous No. 1 in the poll to move up from No. 2 last week.
Reigning national champion Baylor moved up to No. 2, with Duke, UCLA and Gonzaga rounding out the top five.


Avs deal Flyers 9th straight loss
UNDATED (AP) – New coach, same result for the Philadelphia Flyers.
The Flyers’ suffered their ninth consecutive loss hours after firing head coach Alain Vigneault (VEEN’-yah) and assistant Michel Therrien (TEHR’-ee-ehn). Seven different Avalanche players scored in their 7-5 win at Philadelphia.
Erik Johnson had a goal and an assist as part of Colorado’s 50-shot assault. Nazem Kadri (NA’-zehm KA’-dree), Gabriel Landeskog (LAN’-dehs-kahg), Alex Newhook, Cale Makar (mah-KAHR’), Valeri Nichushkin (nih-CHOOSH’-kihn) and Tyson Jost also scored for the Avs.
Mike Yeo (yoh) took over as interim coach of the Flyers, who are one off the team record for consecutive losses.


Elsewhere on NHL ice:
– John Carlson tied the game late in the second period and then scored Washington’s third and final shootout goal to give the Capitals a 4-3 victory over the Ducks. Tom Wilson scored his 100th career goal and Carl Hagelin (HAG’-lihn) added his first of the season for Washington.


– Sidney Crosby and Danton Heinen scored 25 seconds apart early in the first period before the Penguins coasted to a 6-1 rout of the Kraken. Jake Guentzel (GEHNT’-sul) scored his 14th goal of the season and Jeff Carter added his second of the game, both on odd-man rushes late in the second period.


– Jamie Benn assisted on Jacob Peterson’s tiebreaking goal midway through the third period before adding a pair of late scores to secure the Stars’ 4-1 win against the Coyotes. Roope (ROO’-peh) Hintz also scored and Braden Holtby turned back 18 shots to help Dallas tie a franchise record with its seventh straight victory.


– Josh Norris provided the deciding shootout goal to push the Senators past the Devils, 3-2. Drake Batherson and Brady Tkachuk scored in regulation for Ottawa, which earned its third straight win and dealt the Devils their fourth loss in a row.


– Bruce Boudreau won his first game as coach of the Canucks as Thatcher Demko turned back 30 shots in his first shutout of the season, 4-0 versus the Kings. Brock Boeser and J.T. Miller each had a power-play goal and an assist for Vancouver, while Conor Garland and Juho Lammikko also found the back of the net.


Jets’ Pionk suspended; Leafs’ Spezza offered hearing for hit
NEW YORK (AP) – Winnipeg defenseman Neal Pionk was suspended two games Monday for a knee-on-knee hit on Toronto’s Rasmus Sandin in the third period Sunday.
After the hit on Sandin, Maple Leafs center Jason Spezza drove his left knee into the face of Pionk, who was stickless and on his knees trying to clear a puck. Spezza has been offered an in-person hearing with NHL, and likely will be suspended. In-person hearings are required for any suspension that could be at least six games.


Nonprofit to offer Texas offensive linemen $50,000 annually
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) – A new organization says it will provide every Texas Longhorns offensive lineman on scholarship $50,000 annually for use of their name, image and likeness to support charitable causes.
Horns with Heart said the program will start in August 2022. It hopes to expand it to other football position groups and Longhorns athletes in the future.


2019 US Open champ Andreescu takes time off for mental break
UNDATED (AP) – 2019 U.S. Open champion Bianca Andreescu (an-dree-EHS’-koo) says she will take a mental break from tennis and sit out the start of next season, including the Australian Open.
Andreescu said Monday in a posting on Twitter that she wants to “re-set, recover, and grow” after a challenging two years that included getting COVID-19.
Andreescu joins other professional athletes who have cited the need for time away from competition to gather themselves mentally.


French Open director Guy Forget resigns
PARIS (AP) – French Open director Guy Forget has stepped down. The French Tennis Federation says Forget’s contract was to expire at the end of the year. The federation adds his replacement at the helm of the clay-court Grand Slam tournament will be announced soon. Forget had been running Roland Garros since 2016. He also resigned as director of the Paris Masters, which he has led since 2012.
Forget was a former top tennis player who achieved a career-best ranking of No. 4 in the early 1990s. Stade Roland Garros has undergone a major facelift during Forget’s tenure. There’s been the addition of a retractable roof on Court Philippe-Chatrier and the building of a stunning new court surrounded by greenhouses filled with exotic plants.