AP Sports Wrap from December 28, 2016
UNDATED (AP) — The San Antonio Spurs gave Kawhi Leonard the night off due to a stomach virus. His absence only caused LaMarcus Aldridge, Tony Parker and Pau Gasol to step up their game as the Spurs earned their sixth straight home win.
Aldridge poured in 27 points and Parker added 20 as the Spurs dumped the Phoenix Suns, 119-98. Gasol finished with 16 points and 10 rebounds for San Antonio, which dominated the last 12 minutes after trailing by as many as 10 points.
The Spurs forced seven turnovers while outscoring Phoenix 30-16 in the final quarter. Aldridge fueled the second-half surge as the Spurs improved to 26-6.
In other NBA action:
— Golden State won a battle of division leaders as Stephen (STEH'-fehn) Curry came up with 28 points, seven boards and seven assists in a 121-111 victory against Toronto. Kevin Durant had 22 points, 17 rebounds and seven assists for the Warriors, who shot 57 percent from the field and 14-for-23 from 3-point range. Klay Thompson was 5-for-7 from beyond the arc in scoring 21 points.
— The Clippers suffered their fourth straight loss as Anthony Davis dropped in 20 points and Buddy Hield (HEE'-uhld) added 17 in the Pelicans' third win in a row, 102-98 at New Orleans. Los Angeles wasted strong efforts by a pair of former New Orleans players as Austin Rivers scored 22 points and Chris Paul added 21 in his return from a three-game absence.
— Kemba Walker contributed 21 points and Nicolas Batum (bah-TOOM') had 20 as Charlotte won for the fourth time in five games, 120-101 at Orlando. Jeremy Lamb added 14 points for the Hornets, who expanded a seven-point, halftime lead by outscoring the Magic 35-13 in the third quarter.
— Dennis Schroder scored 27 points and Atlanta took advantage of Carmelo Anthony's second-quarter ejection in a 102-98 overtime win against New York. Dwight Howard had 16 points and 22 rebounds to help the Hawks win for just the second time in their last eight home games.
— Jimmy Butler matched his season high with 40 points and hit an 18-footer at the buzzer to lead Chicago's 101-99 comeback over Brooklyn. Butler delivered nine points in the final 2 1/2 minutes after the Nets went ahead 97-90.
— John Wall's 36 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists led Washington's 111-105 verdict over Indiana. The Wizards finished the game without Bradley Beal, who scored 12 points in 18 minutes before missing the second half with a sprained right ankle.
— CJ McCollum scored 20 points and Portland snapped a six-game losing streak with a 102-89 victory over Sacramento. Meyers Leonard added 16 off the bench for the Blazers, who played a second straight game without leading scorer Damian Lillard because of a sprained left ankle.
— Milwaukee enjoyed a laugher in Detroit as Jabari Parker scored 31 points and Giannis Antetokuompo (YAH'-nihs an-teh-toh-KAHM'-poh) added 23 and eight rebounds in a 119-94 drubbing of the Pistons. Greg Monroe added 14 points, six assists and five rebounds against his former team.
— Wilson Chandler scored 17 points and delivered a key block in the final seconds to send the Nuggets past Minnesota, 105-103 in Denver. The Timberwolves wasted Karl-Anthony Towns' 15 points, 11 boards and 10 assists.
Ducks beat Bruins...Wildcats avoid major upset
UNDATED (AP) — You can cross UCLA off the list of unbeaten teams in Division I men's basketball.
Dillon Brooks nailed a 3-pointer with 0.8 seconds left to send No. 21 Oregon to an 89-87 win over the second-ranked Bruins. Brooks grabbed a missed free throw with 8.9 seconds left and dribbled to the right wing before scoring the last of his 23 points. Brooks also had nine rebounds for the 12-2 Ducks, while teammate Payton Pritchard finished with 15 points and nine assists in their 10th straight win.
UCLA fell to 13-1 despite Thomas Welch's 20 points and 10 boards.
Meanwhile, top-ranked Villanova has opened its Big East schedule by pulling out its 19th straight victory since last season's NCAA tournament.
Josh Hart scored 25 points and Jalen Brunson added 13 as the Wildcats got past DePaul, 68-65. Villanova saw a 51-39 lead become a 53-51 deficit before Hart dropped in 10 points over the final 3:06, including a game-clinching 3-pointer with 9.5 seconds left.
The Wildcats will carry a 13-0 record into Saturday's game at No. 10 Creighton.
The Bluejays tuned up for their meeting with Villanova by improving to 13-0 with an 89-75 triumph over Seton Hall. Maurice Watson had 21 points and 10 assists for Creighton, which is off to its best start since the 1942-43 team opened 16-0. Khyri Thomas and Justin Patton had 17 points apiece in the win.
In other top-25 finals:
— Devon Hall scored 10 points and Kyle Guy nailed a big jumper with 2:02 to play as 12th-ranked Virginia knocked off No. 6 Louisville, 61-53. The Cavaliers squandered most of a 21-point, second-half deficit before improving to 11-1 in the ACC opener for both schools.
— Justin Jackson scored 28 points and ninth-ranked North Carolina improved to 12-2 by pounding Monmouth, 102-74. Kennedy Meeks added 17 points and 12 rebounds, while Isaiah Hicks finished with 15 points.
— No. 15 Purdue won its Big Ten opener as freshman Carsen Edwards scored 19 points and Dakota Mathias had 17 in an 89-67 drubbing of Iowa. Isaac Haas contributed 15 points to the Boilermakers' seventh straight win.
— Nebraska pulled off an 87-83 win over No. 16 Indiana behind Glynn Watson Jr.'s 26 points and Tai Webster's 21. The Hoosiers blew a 42-35 lead and ended their 26-game home winning streak.
— No. 17 Xavier thumped Providence, 82-56 as Trevon Bluiett scored 22 points and grabbed nine rebounds. Edmond Sumner added 13 points and seven rebounds for the 11-2 Musketeers, who led by as many as 30 in their Big East opener.
— Dwayne Bacon and Xavier Rathan-Mayes scored 23 points apiece as 20th-ranked Florida State beat Wake Forest, 88-72 in the ACC opener for both teams. Jonathan Isaac added 13 points for the 12-1 Seminoles, who have won nine straight for the first time in 13 years and are off to their best start since going 16-1 in 1988-89.
— No. 22 Southern California rode Chimezie Metu's 19 points and eight rebounds to a 70-63 victory against Oregon State.
— Gary Clark's 11-point output included a pair of free throws with 14.9 seconds left to secure No. 23 Cincinnati's win at Temple, 56-50.
— V.J. Beachem scored 18 points and Bonzie Colson chipped in 10 points and eight boards in No. 24 Notre Dame's 63-55 triumph over Saint Peter's.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL-BOWL GAMES
Hurricanes, Wildcats earn bowl upsets
UNDATED (AP) — Wednesday wasn't kind to ranked teams college football bowl action. No. 14 West Virginia's offense stalled against Miami, and 22nd-ranked Pittsburgh fell to a team that had won just one bowl game since Harry Truman was re-elected.
Miami ended a 10-year bowl drought with a 31-14 romp over the Mountaineers in the Russell Athletic Bowl. Brad Kaaya tied a career high with four touchdown passes while completing 24 of 34 passes for 282 yards. West Virginia entered the game averaging more than 500 yards a game before the Hurricanes held the Mountaineers to 229.
Justin Jackson ran for 226 yards and three touchdowns to lead Northwestern's 31-24 win over the Panthers in the Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium. Jaskcon had TD runs of 8 and 16 yards in the second quarter, then went deep on a 40-yard burst in the third. It's just the third-ever bowl win for the Wildcats following the 1948 Rose Bowl and 2012 Gator Bowl.
In other bowl finals:
— Jesse Ertz ran for two touchdowns and threw for another as Kansas State held off Texas A&M, 33-28 to win the Texas Bowl. Ertz had a 79-yard touchdown pass and scoring runs of 1 and 5 yards to help give the Wildcats their first bowl victory since 2013. Trevor Knight completed 30 of 48 passes for 310 yards and three touchdowns for the Aggies.
— Joe Williams ran for 222 yards and a touchdown and Andy Phillips kicked a 27-yard field goal with 1:24 to play to lead Utah to a 26-24 win against Indiana in the Foster Farms Bowl at Santa Clara. Tyler Huntley ran for another score and the 9-4 Utes forced three turnovers in the 14th victory in their last 15 bowl games.
The Edsall is coming back
UNDATED (AP) — Randy Edsall is the University of Connecticut's head football coach once again, returning to the program he ran from 1999 through 2010 before becoming Maryland's head coach.
Edsall rebuilt the Huskies and went 70-63 with five bowl appearances at UConn, but he was just 22-34 in four-plus seasons with the Terrapins before he was fired six games into last season. He replaces Bob Diaco, who went 11-26 in three seasons.
NFL suspends Martin
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Doug Martin's NFL career has been interrupted by the league.
The Tampa Bay running back has been suspended four games for violating the NFL's policy on performance enhancing substances. The fifth-year pro said he will enter a treatment facility rather than appeal the ban.
Martin ran for just 421 yards on 144 attempts this season after finishing second in the NFL with 1,402 yards last year.
Martin will miss Sunday's game and every NFC playoff game should the Bucs advance to the postseason. He will sit out the first three games next year if Tampa Bay fails to make the playoffs this weekend.
Ware to have surgery, could end career
UNDATED (AP) — DeMarcus Ware needs season-ending back surgery that could spell the end of his NFL career.
The Broncos have placed Ware on injured reserve along with cornerback Kayvon Webster, who sustained a concussion last weekend at Kansas City.
Ware took a big pay cut to return to the Broncos after winning his first Super Bowl ring, but he missed almost all of the offseason with back troubles.
The 12-year veteran is sixth on the all-time sacks list with 138 ½ after recording four in 10 games this year.
— A.J. Green's hamstring injury will force the Bengals' receiver to miss the season finale Sunday against Baltimore. Green finishes the season with 66 catches for 964 yards, leaving him 36 yards shy of joining Randy Moss as the only NFL players to top 1,000 yards receiving in each of their first six seasons.
— Miami Dolphins safety Isa Abdul-Quddus (AY'-suh AHB'-dool KUH'-doos) will miss the rest of the season due to a neck injury suffered in Sunday's win over Buffalo. He was placed on season-ending injured reserve when the Dolphins promoted undrafted rookie free agent safety A.J. Hendy from the practice squad.
— Baltimore receiver Steve Smith says he's "89 percent" sure Sunday's game against Cincinnati will be the last of his 16-season career. That percentage coincides with his number. Although Smith spoke with deep emotion during his 10-minute media session, he did not formally announce his retirement. He did that prior to last season but ended up changing his mind after tearing his Achilles tendon in Week 7.
— The Pro Football Hall of Fame has announced that next year's Hall of Fame game will be played on a Thursday night, two days before the inductions into the pro football shrine. In recent years the game was played on a Sunday night, one night after the inductions.
Crosby, Pens beat 'Canes
UNDATED (AP) — The Columbus Blue Jackets currently own the fourth-longest winning streak in NHL history, but they are looking up at the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Metropolitan Division standings.
Sidney Crosby notched his league-high 26th goal and Carl Hagelin (HAG'-lihn) provided the tiebreaking tally with 4:15 remaining to lead the Pens past Carolina, 3-2. Crosby has moved into a tie with Edmonton's Connor McDavid for the NHL scoring lead with 42 points despite missing the Penguins' first six games with a concussion. The Pittsburgh captain trailed McDavid by nine points when Crosby made his season debut.
The Penguins have won three straight and four of five to move one point ahead of Columbus. However, the Jackets have four games in hand.
Elsewhere on NHL ice:
— Tampa Bay crawled out of a two-goal hole and beat Montreal, 4-3 on Tyler Johnson's goal 1:36 into overtime. Goals by Victor Hedman and Ondrej Palat (AHN'-dray pah-LAHT') erased the Canadiens' 3-1 lead before Johnson netted his second of the night to send Montreal to its third straight loss.
— Robby Fabbri (FAB'-ree) got a hat trick and the St. Louis Blues scored four straight goals in the third period to beat Philadelphia, 6-3. The Flyers led 3-2 until David Perron (peh-RAHN') and Scottie Upshall scored 80 seconds apart to help the Blues improve to 12-1-4 at home.
— Mitch Marner scored in the third round of a shootout to give Toronto a 3-2 win at Florida. Rookie Auston Matthews got his 17th goal and had an assist to support Frederik Andersen, who stopped 45 shots and blanked the Panthers in the shootout.
— Loui (LOO'-ee) Eriksson and Henrik Sedin (seh-DEEN') provided Vancouver's goals in a 2-1 triumph against Los Angeles. Ryan Miller turned back 36 shots and was perfect until Tanner Pearson made it a one-goal game with 3:17 left.
Blackhawks agree to extension with Panarin
UNDATED (AP) — Chicago Blackhawks forward Artemi Panarin (ahr-TEH'-mee pah-NAH'-rihn) has agreed to a two-year, $12 million contract extension that runs through the 2018-19 season.
The reigning Calder Trophy winner has 114 points in 117 NHL games, including 15 goals and 22 assists in 37 games this season. Panarin made the team out of training camp last season and delivered 30 goals and 77 points as a rookie.
Kings put Toffoli on IR
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Los Angeles Kings have placed forward Tyler Toffoli (toh-FOH'-lee) on injured reserve. He's already missed two games with a lower-body injury and will miss at least three more, leaving the team without its No. 2 scorer.
Former world No. 1 retires
LONDON (AP) — Ana Ivanovic (ee-VAH'-noh-vich) has announced her retirement at age 29, saying she is no longer able to play at the highest level because of injuries.
Ivanovic was ranked No. 1 in women's tennis in 2008, the year she won the French Open. The Serb won 15 tour titles but has dropped down to 63rd in the ranking.
Former Tour de France winner calling it quits
LONDON (AP) — Britain's Bradley Wiggins has announced his retirement from cycling. The 36-year-old Wiggins won a British-record eight Olympic medals and became the first racer from Britain to win the Tour de France when he won in 2012.