Men’s sports

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NBA Roundup: Anthony Davis has 48 points, 17 rebounds, Pelicans beat Knicks in overtime

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(PhatzRadio Sports / AP)   —   Anthony Davis scored a season-high 48 points and grabbed 17 rebounds, leading the New Orleans Pelicans back from 19 points down late in the third quarter to a 123-118 overtime victory over the host New York Knicks on Sunday.

Jrue Holiday added 31 points, and DeMarcus Cousins had 15 points, 16 rebounds, seven steals and five assists and for the Pelicans. They were down 16 after one, even further back late in the third and still down nine with 4 1/2 minutes left in regulation. But they kept coming and Holiday had three baskets and a couple free throws in OT to help them finish it off.

Kristaps Porzingis and Tim Hardaway Jr. each scored 25 points for the Knicks, who lost their third straight and 10th in their last 12 games. Jarrett Jack had a season-high 22 points, and Enes Kanter finished with 18 points and 10 rebounds.

It was a miserable way to finish a rare January home game for the Knicks, who begin a seven-game, coast-to-coast trip Monday in Brooklyn that has them away for two weeks.

Miami 97, Milwaukee 79: Goran Dragic scored 11 of his 25 points in the fourth quarter, and the Heat ran their winning streak to seven games with a win over the Bucks in Miami.

Josh Richardson scored 16 points, and Hassan Whiteside added 15 points and 10 rebounds. The Heat trailed 43-41 at the half, then took control with a 41-21 run in the first 16 minutes of the second half.

Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 22 points for Milwaukee.

Minnesota 120, Portland 103: Jimmy Butler scored 24 points, Jeff Teague added 22 and the Timberwolves wrapped up a perfect homestand with a victory over the Trail Blazers in Minneapolis.

Karl-Anthony Towns had 20 points and 11 rebounds for his NBA-leading 37th double-double of the season. The Wolves had their first 5-0 homestand since 2001, winning each game by double figures against the likes of New Orleans, Cleveland, Oklahoma City and New York.

Damian Lillard scored 21 points for Portland.

Indiana 120, Phoenix 97: Darren Collison scored 19 points to help the Pacers rout the Suns in Phoenix.

Victor Oladipo scored 13 of his 17 points in the first half for the Pacers, who were coming off a home victory over Cleveland and have won four of five after a five-game losing streak.

Rookie Josh Jackson scored a career-best 21 points for Phoenix, which has lost four of five. Devin Booker added 15, but on 5-of-16 shooting. In an otherwise bad night for Phoenix, 17-year NBA veteran Tyson Chandler grabbed 14 rebounds to become the 40th player in league history to top 10,000 (10,003).

NHL Roundup: Flames beat Hurricanes 4-1 for 7th straight win

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(PhatzRadio Sports / AP)   —   Dougie Hamilton scored twice, Mike Smith made 38 saves and the Calgary Flames ran their winning streak to seven straight games with a 4-1 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes in Raleigh, North Carolina, on Sunday.

Even with leading scorer Sean Monahan out with the flu, the Flames controlled the entire game.

Matt Stajan opened the scoring at 6:01 of the first period with his first goal of the season.

Hamilton made it 2-0 later in the first period. Hamilton scored again early in the third for his first multigoal game of the season. Matthew Tkachuk added an insurance goal late and Johnny Gaudreau had two assists to extend his point streak to seven games in a row.

Smith allowed only Lee Stempniak’s goal with 4:31 remaining.

Scott Darling made 26 saves for Carolina. The Hurricanes have lost four of five.

Pittsburgh 5, N.Y. Rangers 2: Dominik Simon and Phil Kessel scored milestone goals to lead the Penguins in a win over the Rangers in Pittsburgh.

Simon got the first goal of his NHL career and Kessel scored his 20th of the season for his 700th point on back-to-back goals that put the Penguins ahead for good. Sidney Crosby, Patric Hornqvist and Carl Hagelin also scored, and Tristan Jarry made 26 saves in the Penguins’ fourth straight victory.

Michael Grabner and Brendan Smith scored for New York.

Detroit 4, Chicago 0: Petr Mrazek made 27 saves for his second shutout of the season and 12th of his career, and Anthony Mantha and Tyler Bertuzzi each had a goal and an assist for the Red Wings, who blanked the Blackhawks in Chicago.

Dylan Larkin and Mike Green also scored for Detroit.

Chicago had won three of four.

Vancouver 3, Minnesota 2 (OT): Brandon Sutter scored 2:50 into overtime to lift the Canucks past the Wild in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Sutter, making his return after missing 21 games with a lower-body injury, cut to the inside against Jonas Brodin and beat goalie Devan Dubnyk on the stick side.

Loui Eriksson and Thomas Vanek also scored for the Canucks. They played without Daniel Sedin after he was scratched because of back spasms. Jason Zucker and Daniel Winnik scored for Minnesota.

CBB Men’s Top 25 Roundup: Big 12 schools continue beating up on one another

(PhatzRadio Sports / AP)    —   The Big 12 can stake a claim as the nation’s best conference. It has the top RPI rating, five teams ranked in the AP Top 25 and eight teams in the top 50 of the KenPom.com rankings.

The only problem: The teams have been beating up on each other since conference play started.

Big 12 teams have bounced around the poll since the first conference games were played just after Christmas and Monday’s AP Top 25 should be no different after more teams went down this week.

No. 2 West Virginia (15-2, 4-1 Big 12) had its highest ranking since 1959 in last week’s poll and extended the nation’s longest winning streak to 15 games by edging Baylor 57-54 on Tuesday. The Mountaineers will likely drop in Monday’s poll after losing 72-71 to No. 8 Texas Tech . The Red Raiders (15-2, 4-1) erased an 11-point second-half lead to win their first top-10 match-up at home, sending their fans rushing the court when it was over.

But Texas Tech lost to No. 9 Oklahoma 75-65 on Tuesday, creating a four-way tie atop the Big 12 with West Virginia, Oklahoma and Kansas.

“I’ve got a great friend who this week told me, ‘Prince today, frog tomorrow,'” Texas Tech coach Chris Beard said. “I know we’re going to be a frog again at some point — it’s the Big 12 — But I want to be a prince one more day.”

TCU reached No. 10 in the AP Top 25 after winning its first 12 games. Now that the conference season has started and the losses are piling up, the 16th-ranked Horned Frogs could find themselves out of the poll.

TCU (13-4, 1-4) lost to Texas by one in double overtime on Wednesday and by five to No. 9 Oklahoma in overtime on Saturday. The Horned Frogs’ lone Big 12 victory was over Baylor and its four losses have come by a combined 11 points.

“I expressed that to them wholeheartedly in the locker room afterward that I am positive without a shadow of a doubt that we are as good as anybody, and I think we are going to show it down the road,” TCU coach Jamie Dixon said.

No. 12 Kansas (14-3, 4-1), the conference’s last ranked team, beat Iowa State 83-78 and held off rival Kansas State 73-72 last week.

VIRGINIA RISING: Duke was the preseason ACC favorite and North Carolina is the defending national champion, but Virginia is atop the standings and has the conference’s highest ranking.

The third-ranked Cavaliers (15-1, 4-0 ACC) lost to West Virginia on Dec. 5 but have reeled off seven straight wins since. Virginia beat Syracuse 68-61 on Tuesday and could move up to No. 2 on Monday for its highest ranking since the 2014-15 season after rolling over North Carolina State on Sunday night.

BOILERMAKERS ON THE MOVE: Purdue moved up eight spots in last week’s poll for its highest ranking since 2010 and could see another bump next week. The Boilermakers (17-2, 6-0 Big Ten) beat Michigan and Minnesota this week and are off to their best start through 19 games since 1987-88. Purdue also is off to its best Big Ten start since opening the 1989-90 season 8-0.

SPIRALING SPARTANS: Michigan State became the No. 1 team in the country two weeks ago. The new year has not been kind to the Spartans.

Michigan State (16-3, 4-2 Big Ten) dropped to No. 4 after a loss to Ohio State on Jan. 7, and will likely see another poll tumble after losing 82-72 to rival Michigan and needing overtime to beat Rutgers last week.

“I don’t feel any different about our team,” Spartans coach Tom Izzo said. “We ran into two teams that were pretty good and one team that plays hard.”

VILLANOVA ON TOP: Villanova moved back atop the poll after Michigan State’s loss to Ohio State and should remain there next week. The Wildcats (16-1, 4-1 Big East) rolled over No. 10 Xavier 89-65 and beat St. John’s 78-71 this week.

___

More AP college basketball: http://collegebasketball.ap.org and http://twitter.com/AP_Top25

Soccer Roundup: At halfway point, Barcelona cruising and Madrid reeling / World Scores

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MADRID (AP) — Few saw this coming after a turbulent start to the season for Barcelona.

The Catalan club is the one thriving at the halfway point of the Spanish league, while defending champion Real Madrid is in crisis.

Just five months ago, Barcelona was in turmoil after letting Neymar go to Paris Saint-Germain and losing twice to Real Madrid in the Spanish Super Cup.

Madrid was coming off its second straight Champions League title and appeared in good position to defend its Spanish league trophy.

But it already trails Barcelona by 19 points and is fighting just to remain in the qualification zone for the Champions League. Zinedine Zidane’s team has lost more points (22) than in its entire title-winning campaign last season (21), although it has a game in hand.

Barcelona is cruising with a nine-point lead over second-place Atletico Madrid and an 11-point advantage over third-place Valencia. It is the only unbeaten team left in the top European leagues, having not lost in 29 matches since the two consecutive defeats to Madrid to start the season.

“I have the feeling that we are a very difficult team to beat,” Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde said after Sunday’s 4-2 come-from-behind win at Real Sociedad’s Anoeta Stadium, where Barcelona hadn’t won since 2007. “The key was not to set lofty goals, go step by step and avoid getting too paranoid in the difficult moments.”

In his first season at the helm, Valverde did a great job putting Barcelona back on track despite the early doubts. A key move by the club was to bring Brazil midfielder Paulinho, who added balance to the team and ended being a perfect replacement for Neymar.

Zidane, meanwhile, was not able to get Madrid to play up to its potential in the league. It struggled a lot early in the season, including at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium, where it usually thrives. The team has won only once in its last five matches in all competitions.

Barcelona ended the first half of the league with 51 points, on pace to become the first team to break the 100-point mark since Madrid in 2011-12. It has the best attack with 52 goals and the second-best defense with nine goals, one more than Atletico Madrid.

Lionel Messi, who scored once against Real Sociedad, is the league’s scoring leader with 17 goals, four more than Luis Suarez, who found the net twice in Anoeta. Messi reached his 366th league goal all-time, surpassing Gerd Mueller’s Bundesliga mark of 365 and becoming the most prolific scorer among Europe’s top leagues.

Barcelona’s three draws came at Atletico, at Valencia and against Celta Vigo, which was the team’s only setback at home. It already played away games against the top five teams in the league standings, including Madrid, winning 3-0 at the Bernabeu.

“We are happy with the season we are having, after the difficult start we had,” Valverde said. “It was key to remain united. We hope to maintain this momentum and to keep improving.”

Barcelona’s next match is Wednesday at city rival Espanyol in the first leg of the Copa del Rey quarterfinals. Barcelona is a three-time defending champion in the cup competition.

Barcelona faces Chelsea next month in the last 16 of the Champions League.

___

PARIS (AP) — A bizarre foul committed by the referee overshadowed Paris Saint-Germain’s 1-0 win on Sunday at Nantes which moved the leaders 11 points clear at the top of the French league.

In a highly unusual end to the game, referee Tony Chapron sent off Nantes center half Diego Carlos in the last minute — although the official was the culprit.

“It’s a joke … Honestly, the whole of Europe is laughing here,” Nantes president Waldemar Kita said after the game. “The player is on the receiving end and it’s him who gets a (red) card. There’s a problem here.”

Carlos was running behind Chapron near the halfway line and trying to catch up with play when he inadvertently clipped the referee’s heels as their paths crossed.

Chapron tumbled forward onto the turf and then, in what appeared to be a blatant act of retribution, swiped his right leg at Carlos.

An irate Chapron got up and brandished a second yellow card for Carlos, and looked flustered as he fumbled in his shirt pocket for the red.

“I know it’s a difficult job to referee, but they must also have to ask questions of themselves,” Nantes midfielder Valentin Rongier said on Canal Plus television. “If we do that, it goes before a (disciplinary) commission and we get 10 games (suspension).”

There is little suspense in the league with PSG dropping only seven points from a possible 60. Defending champion Monaco is in second place, level on points with Lyon, but neither seemingly has the caliber to pressure PSG by going on a lengthy winning run.

Even without playing its usual scintillating football, PSG was able to scrape past a lackluster Nantes side coached by Claudio Ranieri.

He guided Leicester City to the 2015-16 English Premier League title in one of the biggest upsets in soccer history, but Nantes remains in fifth place and does not seem to have enough flair to go higher.

Angel Di Maria scored in the 12th minute with the home defense slow to react.

Kylian Mbappe left striker Edinson Cavani’s probing pass go through his legs and the unmarked Di Maria toe-poked the ball into the left corner. It was his third league goal of the season and followed his brace last Sunday in the French Cup.

PSG carved Nantes open with a swift counterattacking move late in the first half, but Di Maria blazed over an open goal after midfielder Adrien Rabiot set him up perfectly.

Nantes striker Emiliano Sala thought he had equalized in the 60th when he headed powerfully home from a free-kick but it was harshly ruled out for offside. There was no VAR to validate the goal, even though television replays showed Sala was level with Cavani when he made his run into the area.

“Sala ran in from behind and it’s a valid goal,” Ranieri said. “But that’s football. We’ll forget this game and think of the next one.”

Cavani needed just one more goal to move level with Zlatan Ibrahimovic as PSG’s all-time leading scorer on 156. He could get the record at home to Dijon on Wednesday.

___

LYON STUMBLES

Lyon wasted a chance to move up to second place after being held 1-1 at home by relegation-threatened Angers.

Lyon equalizer through top scorer Nabil Fekir. But Angers was hanging on after having midfielder Flavien Tait sent off in the 84th minute.

Third-place Lyon is one point ahead of Marseille in fourth. Angers moved up to 18th — the relegation playoff spot.

Lyon fell behind to striker Karl Toko Ekambi’s penalty kick in the 14th minute. He jogged up casually with a staggered run-up, and stroked the ball to the left as goalkeeper Anthony Lopes guessed the wrong way.

Two minutes after the break, Fekir opened up the defense with a superb piece of skill — dragging the ball back and then flicking it through the legs of a defender. The ball rolled toward forward Maxwell Cornet but Fekir sprinted alongside him and drilled it into the bottom corner.

It was Fekir’s 14th league goal of the season in a career-best tally.

___

MOVING CLEAR

Saint-Etienne moved away from the relegation zone after beating fellow struggler Toulouse 2-0.

Slovenia striker Robert Beric scored his first goal of the season from the penalty spot moments before halftime. Senegalese midfielder Assane Diousse got his first for the club when he sealed the win in the 86th minute.

Saint-Etienne moved up to 14th place. Toulouse is 19th and the pressure is increasing on coach Pascal Dupraz.

___

LIVERPOOL, England (AP) — Manchester City’s 22-match unbeaten start to the Premier League came to an end with a 4-3 loss to Liverpool in a wild and thrilling game at Anfield on Sunday.

City finally faltered at a ground where the team has a long history of struggles — with just one league win in 37 years — and was ultimately undone by nine minutes of mayhem, when Liverpool hounded City’s defense and scored three goals.

With the score at 1-1, Roberto Firmino deftly chipped goalkeeper Ederson Moraes to regain the lead for Liverpool in the 59th minute. Sadio Mane smashed a rising shot high into the net in the 61st, and Mohamed Salah capitalized on a weak clearance from Ederson to score from 45 meters (yards) in the 68th.

All three goals featured errors by what was previously the tightest defense in the league, as City failed to handle Liverpool’s high press led by the irrepressible Firmino.

City threatened an amazing comeback after goals by substitute Bernardo Silva, in the 84th, and Ilkay Gundogan, in the first minute of stoppage time, but Liverpool held on in a nervy finale.

“This was a historical game you will talk about in 20 years because it looks like City will not lose another one this year,” Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp said. “People watched this game all over the world and this is why — take your heart, throw it on the pitch and play like this.”

Before Sunday, City had won 20 games and drawn its other two this season, leading many to believe Pep Guardiola’s side could emulate Arsenal’s “Invincibles” of the 2003-04 season.

A match away to Liverpool always looked like being the toughest of City’s remaining 16 games and so it proved. City’s lead stayed at 15 points, and it could be down to 12 if United beats Stoke on Monday.

“People asked if everything was over and done before Christmas, and now it’s January and it’s not,” Guardiola said. “We have a lot of games to win to be champions.”

A triumph in 2003 was City’s only win at Anfield since 1981, and Guardiola’s team played at times as if it knew the recent history of the fixture.

Liverpool hounded and harassed City on a bitingly cold day on Merseyside, with ex-Red Raheem Sterling in particular a target of Liverpool’s players and crowd. Firmino led the press from his position as central striker and it was the Brazilian’s hard work off the ball that created Liverpool’s goal.

Firmino dispossessed Fernandinho, allowing Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to take up the loose ball, run forward and send in an angled drive that flew low past goalkeeper Ederson.

Sterling was jeered relentlessly and even forced off the pitch at one point by marker Andrew Robertson. Later, he squared up to Robertson after a late clip of his heels and was then booked for a late challenge on Georginio Wijnaldum.

Sane’s equalizer came against the run of play and was avoidable, as far as Liverpool was concerned. Joe Gomez misjudged Kyle Walker’s long ball and Sane got in behind him, before jinking into the area and firing in a shot that beat Loris Karius at his near post.

Liverpool didn’t deserve to be out of the lead and stormed back in a stunning nine-minute spell around the hour mark when City’s defense fell apart.

Firmino barged aside John Stones and chipped Ederson to make it 2-1 in the 59th. Moments later, Mane curled a shot against the post but was more precise the following minute when he lashed home a left-footed piledriver from the edge of the area after Nicolas Otamendi was dispossessed.

Then Salah delivered the final punishment for City, pouncing on Ederson’s weak clearance and returning a 45-meter shot over the goalkeeper and into an empty net.

“We lost a little bit of our control,” Guardiola said. “We were involved in the environment of Anfield for many, many reasons.”

Guardiola tried to encourage his players from the sidelines as Liverpool’s whole team celebrated inside a raucous Anfield, and City almost recovered.

Silva buried a low shot after a mazy run from Gundogan, who then poked in from eight meters for 4-3. There was to be no equalizer this time, though.

“At the end of the season,” Sane said, “when we win the Premier League, nobody cares if we lost a game.”

___

WORLD SCORES: COURTESY OF LIVESCORE.COM

January 14
FT
AFC Bournemouth
Arsenal
FT
Liverpool
Manchester City
FT
Cosenza Calcio
10
Trapani
FT
Lecce
Matera
January 14
FT
Levante
Celta Vigo
FT
Alaves
Sevilla
FT
Espanyol
Athletic Bilbao
FT
Real Sociedad
Barcelona
January 14
FT
Huesca
Numancia
FT
Cadiz
Cordoba
FT
Albacete
Granada
FT
Leonesa
Lorca FC
FT
Sevilla Atletico
Osasuna
January 14
FT
Valladolid B
Rayo Majadahonda
FT
Atletico Madrid B
AD Union Adarve
FT
Fuenlabrada
CF Talavera de la Reina
FT
San Sebastian de los Reyes
RC Deportivo Fabril
FT
Cerceda
Guijuelo
FT
Rapido de Bouzas
Pontevedra
FT
Racing de Ferrol
Ponferradina
FT
Toledo
Navalcarnero
FT
Real Madrid Castilla
Coruxo F.C.
January 14
FT
CD Vitoria
00
Logrones
FT
Sporting Gijon B
Mirandes
FT
Izarra
Real Union
FT
Pena Sport
Arenas Getxo
FT
Barakaldo
Tudelano
FT
Burgos CF
CD Lealtad
FT
Racing Santander
SD Gernika
January 14
FT
Atletico Baleares
SD Formentera
FT
CF Peralada
Valencia B
FT
Deportivo Aragon
Lleida Esportiu
FT
Pena Dep. Santa Eulalia
Mallorca
FT
Atletico Saguntino
Villarreal B
FT
Badalona
Elche
FT
Ontinyent
Ebro
FT
Sabadell
UE Olot
FT
Hercules
Alcoyano
January 14
FT
Betis Deportivo Balompie
Linense
FT
Extremadura
Lorca Deportiva
FT
Futbol Club Jumilla
Melilla
FT
Granada B
Villanovense
FT
Las Palmas B
UCAM Murcia
FT
Marbella FC
Cordoba B
FT
CD Badajoz
Ecija
FT
Cartagena
CD El Ejido 2012
FT
San Fernando CD
Merida
FT
Real Murcia
00
Recreativo Huelva
January 14
FT
FC Cologne
Borussia Moenchengladbach
FT
Borussia Dortmund
Wolfsburg
January 14
FT
Saint-Etienne
Toulouse
FT
Lyon
Angers
FT
Nantes
Paris Saint Germain
FT
Lierse
Tubize
FT
Oud-Heverlee
Union St.-Gilloise
January 14
FT
Boavista
Portimonense
FT
Tondela
Feirense
FT
Belenenses
Rio Ave
FT
Sporting CP
Aves
January 14
FT
Gil Vicente
FC Porto B
FT
Arouca
Famalicao
FT
Leixoes
Real SC
FT
Penafiel
Nacional
FT
Uniao da Madeira
Braga B
FT
Vitoria de Guimaraes B
Varzim
FT
Santa Clara
Cova da Piedade
January 14
FT
Indonesia
Iceland
FT
Jong FC Emmen
FC Twente
FT
Lugano
Chiasso
FT
Catania
Sion
FT
Galatasaray
FC Viitorul Constanta
FT
LASK
FC Heidenheim
FT
Basel
Tianjin Quanjian
FT
Young Boys
Sandhausen
FT
Eupen
Guangzhou Evergrande
AP
Rosario Central *
Lanus
FT
Boca Juniors
Godoy Cruz
January 14
FT
AOK Kerkyra
PAOK Thessaloniki FC
FT
Asteras Tripolis
AE Larissa
FT
Atromitos
Panetolikos
FT
AEK Athens
PAS Giannina
FT
Levadiakos
Panathinaikos
January 14
FT
AE Karaiskakis
Panachaiki
FT
Aiginiakos FC
Panserraikos FC
FT
Apollon Larissa
Aris Thessaloniki FC
AAW
Ergotelis
30
Acharnaikos FC
FT
Kallithea
Veria FC
FT
Kissamikos FC
Anagennisi Karditsas
FT
Trikala
AE Sparti
January 14
FT
Doxa Katokopia
APOEL Nicosia
FT
Apollon Limassol
Anorthosis
FT
Pafos FC
AEL Limassol
January 14
FT
Hapoel Ashkelon
Hapoel Raanana
FT
Hapoel Beer Sheva
Hapoel Haifa
FT
Pumas
Atlas
FT
Veracruz
Monterrey
FT
LD Alajuelense
Club Sport Herediano
Postp.
Grecia
??
Limon
Postp.
Santos de Guapiles
??
Deportiva Carmelita
FT
C.S. Cartagines
Deportivo Saprissa
FT
CD Dragon
Isidro Metapan
FT
Alianza FC
Municipal Limeno
FT
Santa Tecla FC
CD Sonsonate
FT
Sanarate
CD Suchitepequez
FT
Deportivo Malacateco
Club Xelaju
FT
Siquinala
Guastatoya
FT
Vietnam U23
10
Australia U23
FT
Syria U23
00
South Korea U23
FT
Delhi Dynamos FC
Bengaluru FC
FT
Mumbai City FC
Kerala Blasters FC
January 14
FT
Shillong Lajong
Minerva Punjab
January 14
FT
Al Shabab
Al-Ettifaq
FT
Central Coast Mariners
Melbourne City FC
FT
Adelaide United
Sydney FC
FT
Guinea
Sudan
FT
Ivory Coast
Namibia
FT
Zambia
Uganda
January 14
FT
Petrojet
El Dakhleya
FT
Smouha SC
ENPPI
FT
El Zamalek
00
El Entag El Harby
January 14
Postp.
Chabab Atlas Khenifra
??
Difaa El Jadida
Postp.
FUS Rabat
??
Wydad Casablanca
Postp.
Hassania Agadir
??
Chabab Rif Al Hoceima
Postp.
Ittihad Tanger
??
RSB Berkane
Postp.
KACM
??
Racing de Casablanca
Postp.
Olympic Club de Safi
??
MAT Tetouan
Postp.
Raja Casablanca
??
OCK Khouribga
Postp.
Rapide Club Oued Zem
??
FAR Rabat
January 14
FT
Baroka FC
AmaZulu FC
FT
Chippa United
Bidvest Wits
FT
Lamontville Golden Arrows
SuperSport United

Rugby Roundup: Billy Vunipola a serious Six Nations doubt with fractured forearm

(PhatzRadio Sports /ESPN)    —-   England have suffered a serious injury blow ahead of the Six Nations after it was confirmed that Billy Vunipola has fractured his forearm.

Vunipola was withdrawn at half-time of Saracens’ 15-15 draw at Ospreys Saturday and a subsequent x-ray has revealed the extent of the fracture.

The No. 8 will see a specialist this week in order to establish a timeframe for his recovery, but it is now extremely doubtful that he will be involved when England’s Six Nations defence kicks off against Italy on Feb. 4.

England boss Eddie Jones was already planning for the first three weeks of the championship without Wasps No. 8 Nathan Hughes, and will hope Vunipola is able to make a speedy recovery from his latest setback.

Vunipola, 25, was making only his second appearance following a 15-week layoff after knee surgery. If he is required to undergo an operation on his forearm, it will be his fourth in a little over a year.

“Billy is due to see a specialist later this week, when a timeframe for recovery may be defined,” a Saracens spokesman said in a statement.

“But until that time Saracens will make no further comment. Saracens will issue a further statement once Billy has seen a specialist.”

___

It was another action-packed weekend in Europe as Premiership leaders Exeter were beaten at Newcastle, Rhys Webb proved his value to the Ospreys and Brive and Agen both secured vital victories in the Top 14.

But who caught the eye, who had a game to forget, and what will we all be talking about ahead of the next round of fixtures?

Player of the weekend

Prem (Martyn Thomas): James Phillips (Bath). Billy Vunipola was impressive on his return to the Saracens team following a lengthy layoff, but it was Phillips who stole the show this weekend. On his very first start in the Bath second row, the former Bristol and Exeter lock was a presence on both sides of the ball. Phillips made all 10 of his attempted tackles while the highlight of his nine carries was a barnstorming run from the 22 that scattered the Worcester defence and gave Bath a bonus point in a game they would eventually win 46-25.

PRO14 (Cillian O Conchuir): Rhys Webb (Ospreys). The Welsh scrum-half showed what the region will be missing when he departs in the summer. A brace of tries against Cardiff proved crucial in a one-point victory; first finishing off Dan Biggar’s chip and gather and then scything through the Blues defence to add a second. With the Ospreys still in contention to qualify for the Champions Cup quarterfinals, he and Dan Biggar could sign off their current stints in Wales in style.

Top 14 (James Harrington): George Tilsley (Agen). The former All Blacks Sevens player was at the heart of everything good Agen did — and there was plenty of it — as they racked up their first try-scoring bonus win of the season at home to Castres. He supplied the decisive pass for the first try of the match and wrought havoc with the ball in hand all game. It was entirely appropriate that he was the one who scored the hosts’ bonus point-sealing third try 11 minutes from time.

Flop of the weekend

Prem: Wasps. Sunday’s clash with Saracens presented Wasps with an opportunity to celebrate Dai Young’s new contract in style, while putting pressure on leaders Exeter and leapfrogging their visitors in the process. However, once Saracens had repelled their early efforts — and bar period in which Schalk Burger and Owen Farrell were in the sin bin — it was a gruelling afternoon for the hosts. Wasps edged possession and territory, but it was their inability to score in the opening seven minutes of the second half, with their opponents down to 13 men, that ultimately proved decisive. From there Saracens produced a counter-attacking masterclass.

PRO14: Ulster. What a difference a week makes. After a comeback victory over 14-man Munster last week, Ulster were demolished by Leinster as their playoff hopes suffered a huge blow. It took 73 minutes for Ulster to register a score and by that stage Leinster had already secured the bonus-point win. Their defeat has seen Edinburgh and Treviso narrow the gap with a battle now for the Champions Cup very much on.

Top 14: Martin Puech. Plenty of competition this weekend, with Ma’ama Vaipulu’s stupid red card for Castres, and, indeed, the whole Castres team, pushing hard for this ‘accolade’. But Puech’s late bid for dubious glory — getting himself sent off three minutes after he came on during Pau’s match against Toulouse — takes the title. He’ll have breathed a huge sigh of relief when the whistle came and Pau had held on to their one-point lead.

Best coaching call

Prem: Not necessarily a coaching call, but Newcastle’s defensive effort was a credit to Dean Richards’ backroom staff, and ultimately secured an impressive victory over table-topping Exeter at Kingston Park. The hosts ceded possession and territory for much of the game but were able to put extreme pressure on the Chiefs attack with ferocity of their defence, making a phenomenal 215 tackles and forcing 16 turnovers. Mark Wilson’s late turnover ensured the Chiefs finished without a match point for only the third time in the Premiership since New Year 2015.

PRO14: With Treviso trailing at the break at home to South Africa’s Cheetahs, Crowley made a number of changes, including bringing on Epalahame Faiva. The hooker ended the match with a brace of tries as the hosts controlled the game well. The ability to bring on Ian McKinley to help Marty Banks at fly-half has also helped their march towards a Champions Cup place.

Top 14: Oyonnax’s Adrien Buononato faced a gut-wrenching choice seven minutes after time expired on an epic encounter against La Rochelle at Stade Charles Mathon. Maxime Veau’s converted try, less than two minutes from the end, gave the Top 14’s basement side one last, desperate shot at an unlikely victory against their high-flying visitors. For the next seven minutes the hosts phased their way upfield from deep inside their own 22 — until they won a penalty in front of the posts. Seeing his exhausted players had nothing left, Buononato called for Ben Botica to kick for goal to level the scores at 38-38. Despite their efforts, Oyonnax lost ground on relegation rivals Agen and Brive, who both picked up vital wins.

Biggest refereeing call

Prem: Matthew Carley (Sale vs. Harlequins). Joe Marler should discover Tuesday evening whether his moment of madness will cost him the chance to be a part of England’s Six Nations title defence from the off, and he can few complaints with Carley’s decision to show him red at Sale. Marler clearly made contact with the head area of TJ Ioane and regardless of the force involved, it was a completely unnecessary thing to do. It also cost his side momentum in a match they ultimately went on to lose by a single point.

PRO14: Frank Murphy (Treviso vs. Cheetahs). The decision to issue yellow cards to Cheetahs pair Torsten Van Jaarsveld and Shaun Venter within 60 seconds of each other changed the whole complex of a game the Cheetahs had been leading up until that point. In neither case did Murphy go to the TMO as he issued two cards which ultimately dented the Cheetahs’ PRO14 playoff hopes.

Top 14: Pierre Brousset (Brive vs. Toulon). The visitors’ scrum-half Alby Mathewson broke from the back of a ruck a metre or so from Brive’s line seven minutes into the second half. A score looked inevitable, but Mr. Brousset referred the touchdown to the TMO, who ruled — from a low angle that was the only one available — that Mathewson had put the ball down a matter of inches short. The score was ruled out, and Brive would go on to win by a single point courtesy of a converted try on the last play of the game.

Storyline to keep an eye on…

Prem: Following his side’s narrow defeat at Leicester, London Irish director of rugby Nick Kennedy urged his side to swap the rock hammer for a sledgehammer as they chip away at the gap between themselves and 11th-placed Worcester. Obituaries for the Exiles have already been written following a damaging loss to the Warriors last month, but might they prove premature? Irish’s next three Premiership matches are all against teams in the bottom half, while two are at home — including the return against Worcester. February would be a good time to start swinging that sledgehammer.

PRO14: The playoff spots are all but secured. In conference A Munster are 13 points clear of the Cheetahs — who have two games in hand — while Leinster have an 11-point advantage over Ulster in Conference B. What is still very much up for grabs is the automatic Champions Cup playoff spots, with Cardiff, Connacht, Ospreys and Zebre all separated by eight points in conference A. Ulster are going to be embroiled in a battle for third place in Conference B, with Edinburgh three points behind them and Treviso 11 points adrift.

Top 14: The health of 19-year-old Samuel Ezeala. The winger, who was part of a patched-up Clermont backline, needed urgent on-pitch treatment behind screens at the U Arena after being knocked unconscious when he tried to tackle Racing 92’s Virimi Vakatawa. A later tweet from the Clermont press office revealed Ezeala had regained consciousness, was able to move normally, and was being taken to hospital for further tests. Here’s hoping he makes a full recovery.

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WORLD SCORES: COURTESY OF LIVESCORE.COM

January 2018

Sunday 14th January

European Rugby Champions Cup
European Rugby Challenge Cup

Saturday 13th January

European Rugby Champions Cup
Guinness PRO14
European Rugby Challenge Cup
RBS Premiership Division One
National League Division One
British and Irish Cup
Swalec Welsh National League Division One East
Swalec Welsh National League Division One West

Friday 12th January

European Rugby Champions Cup
European Rugby Challenge Cup
British and Irish Cup

Tennis Roundup: Federer deflects attention to Nadal, Djokovic in Australia

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Roger Federer prefers to think of Rafael Nadal or Novak Djokovic as the favorites for the Australian Open title, despite entering as defending champion and coming off a worry-free preparation.

“I play down my chances just because I don’t think a 36-year-old should be a favorite of a tournament,” Federer said Sunday on the eve of the year’s first Grand Slam tournament, “It should not be the case.

“That’s why I see things more relaxed, you know, at a later stage of my career.”

The 19-time major winner can afford to relax slightly longer, given the half of the draw that he shares with Djokovic doesn’t start until day two. Top-ranked Nadal will get under way Monday night against Victor Estrella Burgos on Rod Laver Arena, where he lost the final in five sets to Federer last year.

All four singles finalists were 30 or older here last year in what became a tournament for the ages, and three of them are back.

Serena Williams beat her older sister Venus Williams in the final to capture an Open era-record 23rd major here last year but decided against defending her title because she didn’t have enough time to recover from health issues after a complicated childbirth in September.

Venus Williams is seeded fifth and is second match scheduled on center court to get her 77th major under way with a challenging opener against Belinda Bencic.

She’s 4-0 in career head-to-heads against 20-year-old Bencic — who reached a career-high No. 7 ranking in 2016 and who helped Federer win the Hopman Cup title for Switzerland earlier this month — but is coming off an abbreviated preparation that included a loss in the second round to eventual champion Angelique Kerber at the Sydney International last week.

At 37, Venus Williams among the top contenders at Melbourne Park. Others in action on Monday include seventh-seeded Jelena Ostapenko, who meets Francesca Schiavone in a match featuring current vs. former French Open champions, No. 2-ranked Caroline Wozniacki, who opens against Mihaela Buzarnescu, and U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens against Zhang Shuai.

Simona Halep is the No. 1 seed in the women’s draw, and one of six women who can hold the No. 1 ranking at the end of the Australian Open. Halep, who has had back-to-back first-round exits on her last two trips to Melbourne Park, opens on day two against Australian wild-card entry Destanee Aiava.

Only two men can hold the top ranking in the first week of February — Nadal or Federer — regardless of what No. 3 Grigor Dimitrov or No. 4 Alexander Zverev or anybody else does in Melbourne.

Federer returns in contrasting circumstances to his appearance in 2017, when he was coming off a six-month break for an injured left knee and had low expectations about ending a Grand Slam title drought that dated to Wimbledon in 2012.

“This year I hope to win the first few rounds and get rolling hopefully, whereas last year I was just hoping to win,” a match, Federer told his pre-tournament news conference Sunday. “It was more of a ‘let’s see what happens’ kind of tournament, maybe similar to what Novak or Stan (Wawrinka) or others are going through this year.”

Six-time Australian Open winner Djokovic has been sidelined for six months with an injured right elbow, returning with a remodeled service motion, and 2014 champion Wawrinka has also been out of the game since Wimbledon after surgery on his knee.

Nadal, who won the French and U.S. Open titles last year, has also had a limited preparation restricted to couple of exhibition matches last week as he recovers from a sore knee.

None of that makes them any less of a threat to Federer.

“Rafa, with the year that he’s had, and Novak with the six titles he’s had here, even if it’s unknown how he’s feeling, they could very well be the favorites, too,” Federer said. “If you’re in the draw, you give yourself a chance. That’s what happened for me last year — all ended up way better than I thought it would, as you know.”

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Tomic’s troubles continue, misses a spot at Australian Open

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Bernard Tomic’s troubles have continued into 2018 with a loss in the last round of qualifying for the Australian Open.

Tomic lost 6-1, 6-7 (5), 6-4 to Lorenzo Sonego on Sunday in the third round of qualifying for the main draw of the season’s first major.

It will be the first time in 10 years that Tomic will miss his national championship, where he has a 17-9 win-loss record.

He lost in the third round last year and in the fourth round in 2016, the year he reached a career-high No. 17 ranking.

Tomic struggled with form, motivation and injury concerns last year as he lost in the first round of 13 tournaments, including Wimbledon and the U.S. Open.

He was widely criticized after comments he made following the loss to Mischa Zverev at Wimbledon and was subsequently fined $15,000, roughly one-third of his tournament prize money.

The penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct was announced two days after Tomic spoke about feeling “a little bit bored out there” during his match against Zverev.

He said he “just couldn’t find any motivation” to compete and acknowledged that when he called for a medical timeout, he was trying to “break a bit of momentum.”

Tomic finished 2017 at No. 142 in the rankings, meaning he missed out on direct entry to the 128-player singles draw at Melbourne Park, and Australian Open organizers declined to give him a wildcard entry.

That left the 25-year-old Australian needing to compete for one of the 16 spots for qualifiers in the main draw, which starts Monday.

He saved two match points against Sonego as he served to stay in the match in the third set but, after questioning a baseline call that gave the Italian a third match point, Tomic netted a backhand to finish it off.

Sonego finished with 13 aces and 50 winners and fended off both breakpoints he faced, while Tomic had 16 winners and 30 unforced errors and had his serve broken three times.

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Even without Serena, Aussie Open women’s field still tough

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Without defending champion Serena Williams in the draw at the Australian Open, there’s certainly an opportunity for another player to go on a surprising run and emerge as a first-time Grand Slam champion.

Sloane Stephens and Jelena Ostapenko did it last year.

Just don’t describe the first Grand Slam of the year as “more open” than usual.

“Whenever I get asked that question, it always comes across in really kind of an almost negative way instead of acknowledging how many great players we have,” Johanna Konta, who reached the semifinals of Wimbledon last year, said in her pre-tournament news conference Saturday.

“The depth in women’s tennis, I really do believe in the last few years, has gotten so strong,” she added. “There’s no straight sailing to the quarters or semis. It doesn’t exist.”

Stephens agrees the Australian Open field is still extremely tough, even without Williams, the 23-time major winner. Williams withdrew from the tournament to recover from health issues after a complicated childbirth in September.

“There’s a lot of great players,” Stephens said. “It’s up for grabs.”

A new face will be holding the trophy at Melbourne Park in two weeks. The No. 1-ranking changed seven times in 2017, with five different women assuming top spot — three for the first time.

Top-ranked Simona Halep is looking to finally break through and win her first major after twice finishing runner-up. She won the season-opening Shenzhen Open in China, but has mixed results at Melbourne Park, losing in the first round the last two years.

“I don’t feel pressure. I feel OK. I feel fit. I feel ready to start,” Halep said. “I have one more goal: to win a Grand Slam.”

Stephens made a stellar run to the U.S. Open title after missing several months with an injured left foot. She’s struggled to adjust to the sudden stardom that’s come with being a Grand Slam champion — losing seven straight matches since September — but believes she can find her game again in Melbourne.

“I think it’s always a tough transition when you go from not playing tennis for 11 months to winning a Grand Slam,” she said. “I like to just stay in my own little bubble and do my own thing. … It’s kind of been what I’m trying to do.”

There are plenty of other contenders. Ostapenko, now 20, rocketed up the rankings after her stunning win at the French Open. Venus Williams is a threat at 37 years old after finishing runner-up to her sister last year. Angelique Kerber, the 2016 Australian Open winner, won the Sydney International title on Saturday.

Garbine Muguruza is the reigning Wimbledon champion, though her health has been in question at the start of the new year. Caroline Wozniacki had a career-reviving 2017 season and could return to the No. 1 ranking for the first time in six years with a strong showing in Melbourne.

Maria Sharpova, the 2008 winner, returns after missing last year’s Australian Open because of a drug suspension.

And then there’s Elina Svitolina, who earned her 10th tour title last week at the Brisbane International. She has a shot at No. 1 during the Australian Open.

“I had a great week in Brisbane. Of course, I’m confident,” she said.

But she added that isn’t enough in the constantly shifting, ultra-competitive women’s game.

“Everyone wants to win a Grand Slam,” Svitolina said. “So, I try to find my way, what can help me to be there, to be ready for the fight.”

NBA Roundup: Stephen Curry scores 24 in return, Warriors hold off Raptors

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(PhatzRadio Sports / AP)    —   TORONTO – Stephen Curry returned from a two-game absence to score 24 points, Klay Thompson had 26 and the Golden State Warriors blew nearly all of a 27-point lead before beating the Toronto Raptors 127-125 on Saturday night.

DeMar DeRozan scored 42 points for the Raptors, but the Warriors had just enough to beat Toronto for the eighth straight time.

Kevin Durant scored 25 points and Draymond Green had 14 for the Warriors, who have won 12 straight on the road. Golden State’s 19 road wins are the most in the NBA.

OG Anunoby had 17 points and Serge Ibaka 14 for the Raptors, who rallied from a 19-point deficit through three quarters to make it a one-point game in the fourth.

Spurs 112, Nuggets 80

SAN ANTONIO – Kawhi Leonard scored 19 points in his return from a three-game absence, Davis Bertans had 18 and San Antonio never trailed in a victory over Denver.

San Antonio won its 14th straight at the AT&T Center, improving the league’s best home record to 19-2.

The Spurs’ projected starting lineup of Leonard, LaMarcus Aldridge, Pau Gasol, Tony Parker and Danny Green played together for only the sixth game this season and just the second time at home.

Leonard played 28 minutes after sitting out the previous three games with a strained left shoulder.

Green had 11 points in his return from a 10-game absence due to tightness in his left groin.

Nikola Jokic had 23 points and nine rebounds for Denver, which has lost 10 straight in San Antonio.

Thunder 101, Hornets 91

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Russell Westbrook had 25 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists, and Oklahoma City beat Charlotte to snap a three-game losing streak.

Paul George added 17 points and Steven Adams had 14 rebounds and 11 rebounds as the Thunder avenged a loss earlier this season to the Hornets.

Oklahoma City trailed by three entering the fourth quarter, but its bench helped open a double-digit lead as Charlotte shot 5 of 21 from the field over the final 12 minutes. The Thunder attempted 97 shots as they dominated the offensive glass.

All-Star point guard Kemba Walker had several shots blocked on drives to the basket and finished 5 of 17 from the field. He still led the Hornets with 19 points, while Dwight Howard added 11 points and 17 rebounds.

Bulls 107, Pistons 105

CHICAGO – Zach LaVine scored 14 points in his first game in 11 months, rookie Lauri Markkanen added 19 points and Chicago beat Detroit.

Chicago made 17 3-pointers and held off several late charges by the Pistons to win for the 13th time in its last 20 games.

LaVine was making his Bulls debut after being acquired from Minnesota in the Jimmy Butler trade. LaVine, who last season averaged 18.9 points in 47 contests, hadn’t played since he suffered a torn ACL against Detroit on Feb. 3.

Avery Bradley scored 26 points and Andre Drummond had 21 points and 15 rebounds for Detroit, which lost its sixth road game in seven tries.

Wizards 119, Nets 113 (OT)

WASHINGTON – John Wall scored 17 of his 23 points in the second half and overtime and added 16 assists as Washington beat Brooklyn after giving back a 23-point lead.

Bradley Beal added 24 points and Marcin Gortat had 16 points and 13 rebounds for the Wizards, who needed their first overtime victory of the season to avoid being swept by the Nets in the season series.

Kelly Oubre added 17 points off the bench off 5-of-6 shooting as Washington moved to 2-2 on a five-game homestand.

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson scored 22 points for Brooklyn, which forced overtime despite never holding the lead. Jarrett Allen added 16 points and DeMarre Carroll had 13 points and 10 rebounds for the Nets, who have yet to win in three overtime contests this season.

Clippers 126, Kings 105

LOS ANGELES – Lou Williams scored 26 points and injury-depleted Los Angeles beat Sacramento to get to .500 at the season’s halfway mark.

Willie Reed added 14 points and 13 rebounds starting in place of DeAndre Jordan, who has a sprained left ankle. Blake Griffin had 11 points and nine assists as one of eight Clippers in double figures.

Besides Jordan, they were without Austin Rivers and Danilo Gallinari. Patrick Beverley had season-ending knee surgery while C.J. Wilson is out indefinitely.

Willie Cauley-Stein had 23 points and 13 rebounds for the Kings in their fourth straight loss. De’Aaron Fox added 17 points and 10 assists.

Lakers 107, Mavericks 101 (OT)

DALLAS – Julius Randle’s rebound and late putback sealed an overtime victory for Los Angeles against Dallas.

With his team leading 104-101, Randle grabbed a rebound on Lonzo Ball’s missed jump shot and scored on the rebound with 18.3 seconds remaining, giving the Lakers a five-point lead they needed to extend a season-best four-game win streak.

The Lakers (15-27) trailed by double digits in the fourth quarter, but battled back for their first win against the Mavericks in 15 tries and their first win in Dallas since Feb. 24, 2013.

Randle, a Dallas native, had 23 points and 15 rebounds. Jordan Clarkson added 19 points, Kyle Kuzma had 18, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored 17.

Mavericks rookie Dennis Smith Jr. had 23 points as the Mavericks (15-29) had a two-game win streak snapped. Harrison Barnes and Wesley Matthews each had 17 points for Dallas.

NHL Roundup: Canadiens’ Phillip Danault leaves with head injury after scary play

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(PhatzRadio Sports / AP)    —    MONTREAL – Brad Marchand scored in the fourth round of a shootout, and the Boston Bruins beat Montreal 4-3 on Saturday night after the Canadiens lost Phillip Danault to a head injury on a frightening play in the second period.

Marchand also scored in regulation, helping the Bruins improve to 9-0-3 in their last 12 games. Jake DeBrusk and David Krejci had the other goals for Boston, and Tuukka Rask made 27 saves.

Danault was taken off the ice on a stretcher after he was hit in the head by a slap shot from Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara. The 24-year-old center was moving and speaking to medical staff before he departed to an ovation from the Bell Centre crowd.

Danault was taken to a hospital for further exams. Officials opted to play the final 1:37 of the second after intermission.

Alex Galchenyuk, Max Pacioretty and Nicolas Deslauriers scored for Montreal, and Carey Price had 29 stops. It was Galchenyuk’s 100th career goal.

Penguins 4, Red Wings 1

PITTSBURGH – Evgeni Malkin had two goals and two assists, and the Penguins earned their third consecutive victory.

Phil Kessel added a goal and two assists for Pittsburgh, which had dropped its last three games against Detroit. Sidney Crosby had a goal and an assist, and rookie Tristan Jarry stopped 29 shots in his third straight start while Matt Murray is home in Canada tending to a personal family matter.

Justin Abdelkader scored for the Red Wings, who lost their second straight after a four-game winning streak. Jimmy Howard made 32 saves after missing one game with a lower-body injury.

Flyers 5, Devils 3

NEWARK, N.J. – Sean Couturier had two goals and an assist, helping Philadelphia to its fourth straight win.

Wayne Simmonds, Travis Konecny and Michael Raffl also scored for the Flyers, who have won five of six overall. Claude Giroux had the primary assist on two power-play goals and Brian Elliott made 26 saves as Philadelphia won in New Jersey for the first time since Feb. 16. 2016.

Jesper Bratt, Kyle Palmieri and Drew Stafford scored for the Devils, who dropped to 0-3-3 in their last six games. Cory Schneider had 20 saves.

Wild 4, Jets 1

ST. PAUL, Minn. – Matt Dumba scored two goals in the third period, and Minnesota got its first win against Winnipeg in four tries this season.

Jason Zucker and Mikael Granlund also scored, helping Minnesota win its second straight behind 32 saves from Devan Dubnyk.

The Jets were coming off a 2-1 loss at Chicago on Friday night. Mathieu Perreault scored against the Wild, and Connor Hellebuyck stopped 37 shots.

Dumba’s slap shot from the faceoff circle sneaked between Hellebuyck and the post for a 3-1 lead in the third. Another shot from the point secured Dumba’s second two-goal game of the season.

Oilers 3, Golden Knights 2 (OT)

LAS VEGAS – Darnell Nurse scored 55 seconds into overtime to lift Edmonton past Vegas.

Patrick Maroon and Drake Caggiula also scored for the Oilers, and Cam Talbot made 34 saves.

William Karlsson and Reilly Smith scored for Vegas, while Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 27 shots.

Vegas, coming off its league-mandated bye week, was playing for the first time since Jan. 6 when they beat the New York Rangers 2-1. The Oilers, meanwhile, were playing for the second time in two nights after a 4-2 win in Arizona. Edmonton begins its bye week Sunday.

Islanders 7, Rangers 2

NEW YORK – Mathew Barzal had two goals and three assists, Anthony Beauvillier added two goals and an assist, and the Islanders beat the Rangers 7-2 for their ninth win in the last 10 meetings of the crosstown rivals.

Shane Prince, Thomas Hickey and Cal Clutterbuck also scored, helping the Islanders to the victory in both teams’ first game after their respective five-day byes. Jordan Eberle had four assists in the Isles’ highest scoring game of the season, and Jaroslav Halak stopped 37 shots.

Kevin Hayes and Mika Zibanejad scored for the Rangers, who have lost three of four. Ondrej Pavelec was pulled in the second period after giving up five goals on 19 shots, and Henrik Lundqvist finished with 16 saves.

Avalanche 4, Stars 1

DALLAS – Alexander Kerfoot scored in the first period and assisted on Nathan MacKinnon’s winner, and Colorado beat Dallas for its sixth straight win.

The Avalanche remained in last place in the tight Central Division but are only two points behind Dallas for the second wild card in the Western Conference.

Blake Comeau scored with 1:40 left, and Mark Barberio added an empty-net, short-handed goal. Colorado’s Jonathan Bernier made 27 saves for his fifth straight win while filling in for injured goalie Semyon Varlamov.

Ducks 4, Kings 2

LOS ANGELES – Ondrej Kase had two goals and an assist, John Gibson made 23 saves and Anaheim held off Los Angeles in the third period for their first victory of the season in the Freeway Faceoff rivalry.

Ryan Kesler scored a power-play goal and Corey Perry added an empty-net goal as the Ducks returned from their bye week with a physical, entertaining victory over the equally rested Kings in the 135th edition of the local derby.

Nick Shore and captain Anze Kopitar scored in the third period for Los Angeles, but the Ducks hung on to win after losing both of their first two matchups with the Kings this season in extra time.

Sharks 6, Coyotes 5

SAN JOSE, Calif. – Joonas Donskoi tied it with 15.4 seconds left in the third period and Marc-Edward Vlasic scored in overtime, lifting San Jose over Arizona.

Donskoi scored his second goal of the game with San Jose goalie Aaron Dell pulled for an extra skater after Arizona scored twice earlier in the period. Vlasic then got his fifth of the season with an assist from Joe Thornton, who had a goal and two helpers to tie Hall of Famer Adam Oates for 17th on the career scoring list (1,420 points).

Joe Pavelski and Logan Couture also scored for San Jose, and Dell stopped 13 of 15 shots after replacing Martin Jones in net.

Arizona got goals from Derek Stepan, Alex Goligoski, Christian Fischer, Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Josh Archibald.

CBB Men’s Top 25 Roundup: Joel Berry’s free throws lift No. 18 North Carolina over No. 25 Notre Dame

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LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) — Keenan Evans scored 20 points, Brandone Francis had a career-high 17 and No. 8 Texas Tech won the first Top 10 matchup on its home court, beating second-ranked West Virginia 72-71 on Saturday.

Evans hit a lean-in jumper to give the Red Raiders (15-2, 4-1 Big 12) a four-point lead in the final minute and send the first sellout crowd of the season into a frenzy. The Mountaineers had their nation-leading 15-game winning streak stopped.

Jevon Carter scored 28 points — one off his career high — for West Virginia (15-2, 4-1). Esa Ahmad added 18 in his season debut following an NCAA academic suspension.

MICHIGAN 82, No. 4 MICHIGAN STATE 72

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Moritz Wagner scored a career-high 27 points for Michigan.

The Wolverines (15-4, 4-2 Big Ten) have won eight of nine games overall and two straight against their rivals.

The Spartans (16-3, 4-2) have lost two of three games with an overtime win over Rutgers in between the setbacks.

Michigan State’s Miles Bridges had 19 points, six rebounds, five assists and two steals.

No. 1 VILLANOVA 78, ST. JOHN’S 71

NEW YORK (AP) — Donte DiVincenzo hit six 3-pointers and scored 25 points to help Villanova silence a rowdy crowd and hold off upset-minded St. John’s at Madison Square Garden.

Shamorie Ponds came close to leading the Red Storm (10-8, 0-6 Big East) to their first win over a No. 1 team in 33 years. Ponds scored a career-high 37 points in front of 17,123 fans.

The Wildcats (16-1, 4-1) were flawless from the free-throw line over the final minute to avoid the startling upset. Mikal Bridges had 15 points and 11 rebounds for Villanova. The Wildcats went 13-for-30 on 3-point range.

No. 5 PURDUE 81, MINNESOTA 47

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Vincent Edwards scored 25 points in 29 minutes on 9-for-14 shooting for Purdue in its 13th consecutive victory.

Isaac Haas pitched in 14 points and five rebounds for Purdue (17-2, 6-0), which produced its best Big Ten start since going 8-0 to begin conference play in the 1989-90 season.

Jordan Murphy had 10 points and four rebounds for the Gophers (13-6, 2-4), who have lost all three games since center Reggie Lynch was suspended and small forward Amir Coffey was sidelined by a shoulder injury. This was the second-largest margin of defeat at home in program history, behind only a 90-51 loss to No. 1 UCLA on Dec. 20, 1968.

No. 5 WICHITA STATE 72, TULSA 69

TULSA, Okla. (AP) — Landry Shamet and backcourt mate Conner Frankamp each scored 16 points and Wichita State held off Tulsa.

Shamet made the first of two free throws with 8 seconds left for a three-point edge. After Shamet missed his second shot, the Shockers fouled Sterling Taplin. He missed the front end of a one-and-one with 4.9 seconds left, Junior Etou rebounded and passed back to Taplin, whose 3-point try rimmed out.

Taplin scored 26 points. Markis McDuffie added 10 points and nine rebounds for Wichita State (15-2, 5-0 American Athletic Conference). Henderson had 14 points for Tulsa (10-8, 3-3).

No. 7 DUKE 89, WAKE FOREST 71

DURHAM, N.C. (AP) — Marvin Bagley III had 30 points and 11 rebounds for Duke, which was without Hall of Fame coach Mike Krzyzewski due to a virus.

With longtime assistant Jeff Capel in charge, the short-handed and illness-ravaged Blue Devils (15-2, 3-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) won their second straight and moved their conference record over .500 for the first time this season.

Bryant Crawford scored 21 points and Keyshawn Woods had 15 to lead Wake Forest (8-9, 1-4), which hasn’t won at Cameron Indoor Stadium in 21 years.

No. 9 OKLAHOMA 102, No. 16 TCU 97, OT

NORMAN, Okla. (AP) — Trae Young scored 29 of his 43 points after halftime for Oklahoma, which won in overtime.

Young, the freshman who leads the nation in scoring and assists, also had 11 rebounds and seven assists. Brady Manek added 22 points for the Sooners (14-2, 4-1 Big 12), who made a school-record 19 3-pointers.

Jaylen Fisher had a career-high 22 points and Vlad Brodziansky added 21 for TCU (13-4, 1-4), which lost its second overtime game of the week.

No. 10 XAVIER 92, No. 25 CREIGHTON 70

CINCINNATI (AP) — Trevon Bluiett emerged from his shooting slump with 24 pointsa and Kaiser Gates responded to getting dropped from the starting lineup by scoring 16, as Xavier recovered from back-to-back road losses.

The Musketeers (16-3, 4-2 Big East) shook up their starting lineup and got back in form after losses to Providence and No. 1 Villanova. They pulled ahead by 27 points midway through the second half.

The Bluejays (14-3, 4-2) gave up a season high in points and took their most lopsided loss.

No. 11 Arizona State 77, Oregon State 75

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) — Shannon Evans scored seven of his 22 points in a late 10-0 run for Arizona State.

Cody Justice added 14 points, including four 3-pointers, for the Sun Devils (14-3, 2-3 Pac-12), who were coming off an upset home loss to Oregon on Thursday night.

Stephen Thompson Jr. scored 21 for the Beavers (10-7, 2-3), including five 3s (in 10 attempts).

Arizona State prevailed despite an off night from point guard Tra Holder. The Pac-12’s leading scorer at 20.9 points per game made 1 of 9 shots for four points.

Tres Tinkle scored 18 for Oregon State but missed a 3-pointer that would have won the game at the buzzer.

No. 12 KANSAS 73, KANSAS STATE 72

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Devonte Graham had 23 points, and Malik Newman hit the go-ahead foul shots with 15 seconds left for Kansas.

Udoka Azubuike added 18 points and eight rebounds for the Jayhawks (14-3, 4-1 Big 12), who beat their Interstate 70 rival for the sixth straight time and 12th in a row at Allen Fieldhouse.

Dean Wade had 22 points to lead Kansas State (12-5, 2-3).

No. 13 SETON HALL 74, GEORGETOWN 61

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Desi Rodriguez and Myles Powell each scored 19 points to lead Seton Hall.

The Pirates (15-3, 4-1 Big East), who remained undefeated at home (11-0), received 11 points and 13 rebounds from Angel Delgado.

The Hoyas (12-5, 2-4) were led by Marcus Derrickson, who scored 18 points while Jahvon Blair and Jessie Govan scored 11 points each.

No. 14 CINCINNATI 78, SOUTH FLORIDA 55

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Jarron Cumberland scored 18 points and Cincinnati shrugged off a slow start.

Jacob Evans III had 16 points and Kyle Washington added 14 to help the Bearcats (15-2, 4-0) remain unbeaten in American Athletic Conference play. The victory was the eighth straight for Cincinnati, which shot 70 percent while outscoring the Bulls 43-22 in the second half.

USF (7-11, 0-5) has lost six in a row, remaining winless in the AAC, where it has been beaten by an average of nearly 25 points per game. Payton Banks led the Bulls with 22 points.

No. 15 GONZAGA 75, SAN FRANCISCO 65

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Johnathan Williams scored 17 points and Josh Perkins added 16 to lead Gonzaga to 18th straight road victory in the West Coast Conference.

The Bulldogs (16-3, 6-0) got a rare test in conference play after winning their first five games by at least 29 points. But they were up to the task with help from two key blocked shots late by Rei Hachimura.

Souley Boum scored 22 points and Frankie Ferrari added 18 for the Dons (10-9, 2-4). San Francisco has lost 14 straight games against ranked opponents since beating Gonzaga at home 66-65 on Feb. 12, 2012.

No. 17 ARIZONA 90, OREGON 83

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — Allonzo Trier scored 25 points and Deandre Ayton added 24 for Arizona.

Arizona (14-4, 4-1 Pac-12) scored eight straight points to go up 84-77 with 72 seconds left. The Wildcats shot 53 percent from the field.

Elijah Brown scored 25 points and MiKyle McIntosh had 20 for the Ducks (12-6, 2-3).

No. 19 CLEMSON 72, No. 18 MIAMI 63

CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) — Donte Grantham had 18 points, including four 3-pointers, and Mark Donnal had 12 points, including two critical second-half 3s, for Clemson.

The Tigers (15-2, 4-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) continued their best start in nine seasons and bounced back from their first ACC defeat that snapped a 10-game win streak at North Carolina State on Thursday night.

Clemson made a season-high 12 3-pointers.

Anthony Lawrence II and Lonnie Walker IV had 16 points each for Miami (13-3, 2-2).

No. 20 NORTH CAROLINA 69, NOTRE DAME 68

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — Joel Berry II hit two free throws with 7.1 seconds left as North Carolina earned its first Atlantic Coast Conference road victory of the season.

Berry finished with 15 points while Luke Maye had 17 points and 11 rebounds for the Tar Heels (14-4, 3-2). Sophomore point guard T.J. Gibbs got a game-high 19 points and six assists for the Irish (13-5, 3-2).

Gibbs dribbled downcourt and got off an errant shot but got a rebound which spun out at the buzzer.

No. 21 KENTUCKY 74, VANDERBILT 67

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Kevin Knox scored five straight points to put Kentucky ahead to stay.

With the score tied at 59, Knox hit a jumper with 3:48 left and hit the free throw that put Kentucky ahead for good. He added a layup on the next possession for the Wildcats (14-3, 4-1 Southeastern Conference). Wenyon Gabriel added a tip-in, and Hamadou Diallo knocked down a 3-pointer for a 10-2 run clinching the victory.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander led Kentucky with 22 points. Knox finished with 17.

Jeff Roberson led Vanderbilt (6-11, 1-4) with 20 points.

No. 22 AUBURN 76, MISSISSIPPI STATE 68

STARKVILLE, Miss. (AP) — Bryce Brown scored 23 points and Mustapha Heron and Desean Murray both added 14 for Auburn.

Auburn (16-1, 4-0 Southeastern Conference) won its 14th straight game despite trailing by 13 points early in the second half. It’s the program’s longest winning streak since the 1999-2000 season, when the Tigers also won 14 in a row.

Quinndary Weatherspoon had 14 points for Mississippi State (13-4, 1-3).

No. 23 FLORIDA STATE 101, SYRACUSE 90, 2OT

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Briain Angola scored 24 points, including five in the second overtime, and Christ Koumadje added a career-high 23 for Florida State.

Tied at 82 at the end of the first overtime, the Seminoles scored the first six points of the second extra session to take control. Two free throws by Tyus Battle cut FSU’s lead to 88-84 but it scored nine of the next 11 points to put it out of reach.

Phil Cofer added 16 points for Florida State (13-4, 2-3 Atlantic Coast Conference), which played without leading scorer and rebounder Terance Mann, who missed the game due to a concussion.

Battle, who had five points at halftime, led the Orange (12-6, 1-4) with 37 points,

No. 24 TENNESSEE 75, TEXAS A&M 62

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Jordan Bowden scored 15 points as Tennessee handed Texas A&M its fifth consecutive loss.

Kyle Alexander had 14 points, Admiral Schofield scored 12 and Jordan Bone added 10 as Tennessee (12-4, 3-2 Southeastern Conference) won its third straight in Volunteers coach Rick Barnes’ 1,000th career game. Barnes improved his head coaching record to 647-353.

After being ranked fifth in the nation at the start of SEC play, Texas A&M (11-6, 0-5) hasn’t won since.

CBB Women’s Top 25 Roundup: Stevens’ 19 leads No. 1 UConn to 95-35 rout against Houston

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HOUSTON (AP) — Azura Stevens had 19 points and 10 rebounds off the bench to lead four players in double-figures scoring, and top-ranked UConn used a strong defensive effort to rout Houston 95-35 on Saturday.

Katie Lou Samuelson and Kia Nurse each scored 17 points and Crystal Dangerfield chipped in 11 for the Huskies (15-0, 5-0 American), which forced Houston (14-5, 3-2) into 28 turnovers. The Cougars shot a season-low 20 percent.

UConn, which has won 145 straight over unranked opponents, outscored Houston 23-4 in the first quarter en route to a 45-13 halftime lead.

Jasmyne Harris led Houston with 15 points.

No. 7 TEXAS 79, KANSAS 62

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Ariel Atkins scored 22 points, including 10 in the pivotal third quarter, as No. 7 Texas overcame a challenge by unranked Kansas to win 79-62 on Saturday.

Atkins, a senior guard, also grabbed nine rebounds and had a career-best six steals, enabling Texas to maneuver from two points down at halftime to 14 ahead in the third quarter.

Lashann Higgs added 17 points for Texas (14-2, 5-1 Big 12). Sophomore Sug Sutton, making her third start at Texas, scored a career-best 14.

Junior Christalah Lyons led Kansas (11-6, 2-4) with 20 points.

No. 10 OHIO STATE 77, INDIANA 62

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) — Stephanie Mavunga had 20 points and 18 rebounds to lead Ohio State to a victory over Indiana.

Mavunga, the 2013 Indiana Miss Basketball from Brownsburg, Ind., sank 6 of 12 shots and 8 of 11 free throws. Linnae Harper chipped in with 19 points and Kelsey Mitchell added 15 points for the Buckeyes (16-2, 5-0 Big Ten).

They won their ninth consecutive game and are the only unbeaten team in the conference. Ohio State has won 12 in a row against the Hoosiers, including an 85-70 home win on Dec. 31.

Jaelynn Penn scored 20 points to lead the Hoosiers (8-11, 1-5).

TCU 76, No. 15 WEST VIRGINA 74

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) — Amy Okonkwo scored 16 points, including the game-winning 3-pointer with 3.4 seconds left in overtime, and TCU defeated its second straight ranked team, taking down West Virginia.

Okonkwo, who made a layup with 3.2 seconds left in regulation to force overtime, and Jordan Moore had double-doubles for the Horned Frogs (12-5, 3-3 Big 12), who beat No. 7 Texas on Wednesday. Okonkwo had 12 rebounds, Moore had 17 points and 11 boards and Toree Thompson had 14 points. It is the first time since November of 2004 TCU has beaten ranked teams back-to-back.

West Virginia (15-3, 3-3) led virtually the whole game, and was up 18 early in the second half. TCU crept back and then a 10-0 run pulled the Frogs into a tie at 64-all with less than a minute to go in regulation.

Naomi Davenport and Ray had 17 points each for the Mountaineers, Teana Muldrow had 16 and Kristina King had 12 with 10 rebounds.

PURDUE 76, No. 18 IOWA 70

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Andreona Keys scored 22 of her career-high 34 points in the second half and Purdue knocked off its second straight ranked opponent, beating Iowa.

Dominique Oden added 16 points and Karissa McLaughlin 15, 12 in the second half, for the Boilermakers (12-7, 3-2 Big Ten), who beat No. 21 Rutgers on Thursday.

Oden, McLaughlin and Keys combined for all 25 Purdue points in the third quarter on 10-of-15 shooting, 3 of 5 from 3-point range, and the Boilermakers took a 57-49 lead into the fourth.

Then Megan Gustafson rallied Iowa (15-3, 3-2). She finished with a career-high 37 points plus 14 rebounds for her nation-leading 17th double-double of the season.

KANSAS STATE 80, No. 20 OKLAHOMA STATE 64

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — Kaylee Page had a career-high six 3-pointers and scored 20 points, Shaelyn Martin and Kayla Goth had double-doubles and Kansas State defeated Oklahoma State.

Peyton Williams had 18 points for the Wildcats (11-6, 3-3 Big 12), who played a ranked team for the fifth time in six games, winning two of them. Martin had her first double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds and Goth had 11 points and 10 assists.

Kansas State came out firing, hitting 5 of 6 3-pointers and 10 of 15 overall to lead 25-15 after one quarter. After an even second quarter, the Wildcats had a season-high 31 points in the third quarter, highlighted by four 3s from Page, to double the lead.

Kaylee Jensen had 24 points and 13 rebounds for Oklahoma State (12-4, 3-2) and Mandy Coleman had 10 points and 13 boards. OSU won the first meeting at home 76-68.

No. 21 RUTGERS 80, MINNESOTA 70, OT

PISCATAWAY, N.J. (AP) — Tyler Scaife scored 25 points, Stasha Carey added 23 and the pair combined for all 12 Rutgers points in overtime to lift the Scarlet Knights to a win over Minnesota.

Carlie Wagner, who had five 3-pointers, and Destiny Pitts, who hit a 3 from the left corner with 14.8 seconds left in regulation for the extra sessions, both had 22 points for the Golden Gophers.

Carey had the first four points before Wagner scored midway through overtime. Scaife had back-to-back critical jumpers before the game was wrapped up at the foul line as Minnesota was 1 of 11 in the extra session.

It was a good bounce back for the Scarlet Knights (17-3, 5-1 Big Ten), who returned to the Top 25 for the first time since the end of the 2015 regular season and promptly lost at Purdue, scoring just 10 points in the first half and 33 for the game.

No. 23 MICHIGAN 69, NEBRASKA 64, OT

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Katelynn Flaherty scored 24 points to help Michigan beat Nebraska.

Flaherty was 8 of 16 from the field, including four 3-pointers, and hit all four of her free throws for Michigan (15-4, 4-2 Big Ten).

Hannah Whitish led Nebraska (12-6, 3-2) with 16 points

No. 25 GREEN BAY 69, CLEVELAND STATE 43

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Jessica Lindstrom scored 16 points, on 7-of-12 shooting, grabbed eight rebounds and had four assists to help Green Bay beat Cleveland State.

Karly Murphy had 10 points and Jen Wellnitz added six with a career-high nine assists for Green Bay (14-2, 4-1 Horizon League). The Phoenix have won three in a row and 10 of their last 11.

Allie LeClaire’s jumper sparked an 11-2 opening run for Green Bay before Frankie Wurtz and Lindstrom back-to-back 3s to make it 17-3 at the end of the first quarter. LeClaire scored five points during a 13-0 run that pushed the lead to 26 points with three minutes left in the first half and Cleveland State trailed by at least 19 the rest of the way.

Jade Ely led the Vikings (11-6, 3-3) with 17 points and Khayla Livingston scored 11.

NASCAR: Christopher Bell wins Chili Bowl for second straight year

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TULSA, Okla. — Christopher Bell won the Chili Bowl for the second consecutive year, taking command after Kyle Larson’s engine appeared to fail as the two raced for the lead.

Larson and Bell had the most dominant cars in the 55-lap feature at the Tulsa Expo Center and seemed only to be racing each other Saturday night. As Bell tried to pass Larson with 12 laps remaining, Larson’s car started spewing gray smoke and he pulled off the racing surface.

Bell only had to hold off Rico Abreu to make it two consecutive Golden Driller trophies.

Spencer Bayston finished third.

Bell is one of NASCAR’s upcoming stars and used his Chili Bowl victory last season to launch a career year. His Chili Bowl victory in 2017 was the first in a season in which he won five races and the championship in NASCAR’s Truck Series. He also won a race in the Xfinity Series, and earned a promotion to Joe Gibbs Racing for a full-time ride in NASCAR this year.

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UYUNI, Bolivia (AP) — Carlos Sainz took advantage of teammate Stephane Peterhansel’s crash to win a second successive stage of the Dakar Rally and take the overall lead on Saturday.

Peterhansel, the defending champion, began the seventh stage in southern Bolivia with a 27-minute lead on second-placed Sainz.

After a rest day on Friday, Peterhansel left La Paz in a hurry, and was fastest until 129 kilometers into the speedy 425-kilometer dirt route to Uyuni, when he crashed. By the time the French rally great repaired the left rear wheel, suspension, and radiator in his Peugeot, he was 1 hour, 45 minutes behind Sainz, who was nearly at the finish.

Sainz beat home Giniel de Villiers, the 2009 champion who has finished top five in the last seven races, by 12 minutes, and two-time champion Nasser Al-Attiyah by 14 minutes.

Overall, Sainz led Al-Attiyah by 1 hour, 12 minutes, and Peterhansel by 1 hour, 21 minutes.

But at the halfway point of the world’s toughest rally, Sainz won’t be feeling confident. The 2010 champ from Spain has failed to finish the last five Dakars because of crashes or mechanical problems. He was leading two years ago.

In the motorbike category, Joan Barreda dominated, flying on his Honda through every checkpoint. But in winning his third stage of the race by almost three minutes, the Spaniard believed he broke a knee.

“I started the stage all guns blazing and everything was going well, but around kilometer 300 I went off-track and had a nasty fall,” Barreda said. “I think I broke my knee, and from then the pain made me slow down. It’s looking really bad. I’m sure it’s broken, my knee is out of whack, and I can’t even put my foot on the floor.”

Adrian van Beveren, second home, regained the overall lead by three minutes over former leader Kevin Benavides, who was third on the stage. Barreda was five minutes off the pace.

Tennis Roundup: Angelique Kerber wins Sydney championship for first title since 2016 U.S. Open

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SYDNEY (AP) — Angelique Kerber won her first title since the 2016 U.S. Open and extended her winning streak to nine matches with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Ashleigh Barty in the Sydney International final on Saturday.

The 2016 Australian Open champion and former No. 1-ranked Kerber won four singles matches at the Hopman Cup in Perth, Western Australia last week, helping Germany reach the final against Switzerland, and followed up with five wins in Sydney.

In a momentum-boosting buildup to the Australian Open, which starts Monday, Kerber had wins over Lucie Safarova, No. 2-seeded Venus Williams, former Australian Open finalist Dominika Cibulkova and Camila Giorgi before beating Barty to claim her 11th career title.

“I am playing amazing tennis again and feeling just great,” Kerber said. “It feels very good to win my first title in my first tournament this year.

Kerber had a breakout season in 2016, beating Serena Williams in the final to claim her first major title at the Australian Open and going on to reach the Wimbledon final and win the U.S. Open. She reached the No. 1 ranking in September that year and was seeded No. 1 for last year’s Australian Open, but was upset in the first round and her year-end ranking dropped to 21.

After failing to win a title in 2017, the German left-hander is now feeling confident again ahead of the first Grand Slam tournament of the year.

“I have had a great week and the final was not easy against Ash but I was able to play my game in important moments. I feel like I am getting closer to my 2016 level.”

In the men’s final, Russian qualifier Daniil Medvedev beat 18-year-old Australian Alex de Minaur 1-6, 6-4, 7-5.

De Minaur has a wildcard entry to the Australian Open, where he’ll open against 19th-seeded Tomas Berdych, the 2010 Wimbledon finalist and a two-time semifinalist at Melbourne Park.

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MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Novak Djokovic is back from six months off the tour with a remodeled service motion partly inspired by Andre Agassi and a growing confidence he can get his sore right elbow through the Australian Open.

No man has more Australian Open titles than Djokovic, who has six in all and — until last year’s shocking second-round exit — had won five of the six contested from 2011 to 2016.

Djokovic is seeded 14th and will be coming off just a couple of exhibition matches to prepare for his first-round encounter against Donald Young.

The 12-time major winner is in the same quarter as No. 4 Alexander Zverev, No. 5 Dominic Thiem and 2014 champion Stan Wawrinka, who confirmed Saturday he’d return at Melbourne Park from his own six-month layoff following surgery on his left knee.

They’re all in the same half of the draw as defending champion Roger Federer, who last year returned from an extended injury time out to beat Rafael Nadal in the Australian Open final. Federer went on to win Wimbledon for his 19th major and finished the year ranked No. 2 behind Nadal, who won the French and U.S. Open titles.

That is giving Djokovic some hope.

“I mean, Roger and Rafa’s year last year has shown age is just a number, especially in Roger’s case,” Djokovic said Saturday in his pre-tournament news conference. “I mean, he’s a great example of someone that manages to take care of himself, knows how to prepare well and peak at the right time.

“He won a couple Grand Slams. Who would predict that after his six months of absence, so … everything is possible really.”

Djokovic had contested 51 consecutive Grand Slams until he missed last year’s U.S. Open during his rehabilitation.

Off the court, the 30-year-old Serbian said he enjoyed a closer-to-normal family life off the court, including being there when his wife, Jelena, gave birth to their second child — a daughter Tara in September.

On the court, he used the time to work closely with coaches Agassi and Radek Stepanek to refine his service motion to improve the technique and “release the load from the elbow, obviously something that I have to do because I have the injury.”

Now it’s a less dramatic, more compact swing and he was happy with how it worked in an exhibition win over Thiem earlier in the week.

“It’s not entirely different, but at the beginning even those small tweaks and changes have made a lot of difference mentally,” he said. “I needed time to kind of get used to that change, understand whether that’s good or not good for me.

Agassi had to modify his own service motion because of an injury in his career and he had input into the redesign for Djokovic.

“Both Radek and Andre have discussed a lot before the information came across to me,” Djokovic said. “They spent a lot of hours analyzing my serve. I did, too.”

Djokovic said his elbow wasn’t 100 percent rehabilitated, but he was convinced by medical experts that he wouldn’t do any further damage by playing in Australia.

Injuries to leading players have been a focus of attention in Australia. Nadal is returning from a lingering right knee problem and five-time finalist Andy Murray and Kei Nishikori have already withdrawn.

In recent months, meanwhile, ATP Finals winner Grigor Dimitrov and Zverev have moved up to No. 3 and No. 4 in the rankings, respectively, and are growing in confidence that they’re on the cusp of Grand Slam breakthroughs.

Dimitrov said he’s a better player than he was when he lost the semifinal here last year to Nadal, and Zverev is aiming to go deep into the second week for the first time at a major.

“I’ve showed on multiple occasions over the year that I can play and beat the best guys in the world,” Zverev said. “Not trying to sound cocky or anything, but I’ve always said that I’ve always been working hard physically, I’m always trying to improve the performance at the Grand Slams. Hopefully I can do so,” in Australia.

Nadal pulled out of the ATP Finals and skipped warmups tournaments before the Australian Open.

“Is the first time I am here without playing official match,” Nadal said. “But I feel good. I really hope to be ready. I feel myself more or less playing well.”

Nadal’s career has regularly been disrupted by injuries, but he sees a need for a more thorough examination of the tennis schedule after the latest spate of injuries.

“There is too many injuries on the tour. I am not the one to say, but somebody has to look about what’s going on,” he said. “When something is happening, you need to analyze why.”

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HOBART, Australia (AP) — Second-seeded Elise Mertens broke Mihaela Buzarnescu’s serve in the opening game and went on to beat the Romanian 6-1, 4-6, 6-3 Saturday to win the Hobart International title for the second consecutive year.

The match started late due to rain and there were two lengthy stoppages during the match.

Buzarnescu was attempting to win her first WTA title at the age of 29.

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MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — With no Serena Williams in the draw at the Australian Open, there’s certainly an opportunity for another women’s player to go on a surprising run and emerge as a first-time Grand Slam champion, as Sloane Stephens and Jelena Ostapenko did last year.

Just don’t describe the first Grand Slam of the year as “more open” than usual.

“Whenever I get asked that question, it always comes across in really kind of an almost negative way instead of acknowledging how many great players we have,” Johanna Konta, who reached the semifinals of Wimbledon last year, said in her pre-tournament news conference Saturday.

“The depth in women’s tennis I really do believe in the last few years has gotten so strong,” she added. “There’s no straight sailing to the quarters or semis. It doesn’t exist.”

Stephens agrees the Australian Open field is still extremely tough, even with Serena Williams, the defending champion and 23-time major winner, skipping the tournament as she continues her recovery from a complicated childbirth in September.

“There’s a lot of great players,” she said. “It’s up for grabs.”

Indeed, any number of women could be holding the trophy at Melbourne Park in two weeks. The No. 1-ranking changed seven times in 2017, with five different women assuming top spot — three for the first time.

One of those women, Simona Halep, is looking to finally break through and win her first major after twice finishing runner-up. She won the season-opening Shenzhen Open in China, but has had mixed previous results at Melbourne Park, losing in the first round the last two years.

“I don’t feel pressure. I feel OK. I feel fit. I feel ready to start,” she said. “I have one more goal: to win a Grand Slam.”

Stephens came out of nowhere to win the U.S. Open last year after a lengthy time out with an injury to her left foot. She’s struggled to adjust to the sudden stardom that’s come with being a Grand Slam champion — she’s lost seven straight matches since September — but believes she can find her game again in Melbourne.

“I think it’s always a tough transition when you go from not playing tennis for 11 months to winning a Grand Slam,” she said. “I like to just stay in my own little bubble and do my own thing. … It’s kind of been what I’m trying to do.”

There are plenty of other contenders, too. Ostapenko has rocketed up the rankings after her stunning win at last year’s French Open. Venus Williams is a threat again at 37 years old, and 2016 Australian Open champion Angelique Kerber is playing well after a subpar year, capturing the Sydney International title on Saturday.

Garbine Muguruza is the reigning Wimbledon champion, though her health has been in question at the start of the new year. Caroline Wozniacki had a career-reviving season in 2017 and could return to the No. 1 ranking for the first time in six years with a strong showing in Melbourne.

And then there’s Elina Svitolina, who just captured her 10th tour-level title last week at the Brisbane International and has a shot at No. 1 herself at the Australian Open.

“I had a great week in Brisbane. Of course, I’m confident,” she said.

But she added this alone isn’t enough in today’s constantly shifting, ultra-competitive women’s game.

“Everyone wants to win a Grand Slam. … So, I try to find my way, what can help me to be there, to be ready for the fight. Just one match at a time.”

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AUCKLAND, New Zealand (AP) — Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut beat former champion Juan Martin del Potro 6-1, 4-6, 7-5 on Saturday to win the ATP Tour’s ASB Classic for the second time in three years.

Fifth-seed Bautista Agut, who won the title in 2016, outlasted second-seed Del Potro, the 2009 champion, in a match of remarkable highs and lows.

The Spanish player swept through the first set in only 31 minutes as Del Potro seemed to struggle in warm conditions on a packed center court. But Del Potro took advantage of the only break point of the second set to level the match.

The advantage in the third set went one way then the other until Bautista Agut broke del Potro to lead 6-5, then saved a break point to win the match in 2 hours, 7 minutes.

Later, an emotional Bautista Agut dedicated his victory to his family in Spain.

“It feels wonderful,” he said. “It was an unbelievable match today. I’ve been fighting a lot on the court and I couldn’t believe I was playing my best tennis.

“Today I felt really good on the court and I played very good tennis throughout the match. Juan Martin is a great champion, he’s very tough to beat and I played two amazing games in the last two games of the match.”

Del Potro said he found it difficult to play in humid condition in the daytime Saturday after playing his previous matches at night.

“When I had to play in the sun it was very tough for me,” del Potro said. “Roberto started very well. He moved so much better than me from the baseline.

“And then I think my game improved a little bit. I couldn’t play any better but Roberto did well at the end of the match and I made some mistakes.”

Del Potro had the first break point of the match in Bautista’s opening service game, after a rally lasting 32 shots. He dropped serve in the next game, immediately broke back but lost his serve again in the fourth game to give Bautista a 3-1 lead. Bautista broke again in the sixth game to lead 5-1 and comfortably served out the set in a game including his seventh ace.

The second set was closer, with del Potro much more competitive. He struggled throughout the match to profit from his first serve but looked dangerous when able to hit his famous forehand while moving into the court.

The only break point chance came against Bautista in the 10th game and del Potro converted to take the set in 42 minutes.

The third set was similar, with no break point opportunities until the 11th game when Bautista Agut broke del Potro to go ahead 6-5. He again saved a break point before winning the set in 50 minutes.

NBA Roundup: Pacers come from 22 down to hand Cavs third straight loss

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(PhatzRadio Sports / AP)    —   INDIANAPOLIS – Lance Stephenson had 16 points and 11 rebounds, Darren Collison scored 22 points and the Indiana Pacers rallied from a 22-point, first-half deficit to beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 97-95 on Friday night.

The Pacers have won three of four and improved to 3-0 against the three-time defending Eastern Conference champs.

LeBron James did everything he could to prevent the Cavs from losing a third straight game. He finished with 27 points, 11 assists and eight rebounds, while Kevin Love had 21 points and 10 rebounds.

But James had two chances in the final two seconds to win it and missed both opportunities – after Victor Oladipo gave Indiana the lead for good on a 3-pointer with 2:09 left in the game.

First, the four-time MVP stepped out of bounds with 1.7 seconds to go, a play that was confirmed on replay review. Then, after Collison made a free throw to give the Pacers a 97-95 lead, James’ desperation 3 bounced high off the rim as the buzzer sounded.

Warriors 108, Bucks 94

MILWAUKEE – Kevin Durant scored 26 points, Draymond Green added 21 and Golden State used a 13-4 run in the fourth quarter to beat Milwaukee.

With sharpshooting star Stephen Curry still sidelined by a right ankle injury, the Warriors clamped down on defense and did most of their damage on the other end in the lane.

Durant’s mid-range jumper gave Golden State a 96-90 lead before the All-Star forward hit an open 3 with 2:15 left to cap the run with a three-possession lead. The Warriors were just 3 of 13 from 3-point range until Durant and Green hit back-to-back 3s in the final 3 minutes to seal their 11th straight road win.

Giannis Antetokounmpo had 23 points to lead the Bucks. They were outscored 28-12 in the fourth after hitting just 5 of 20 from the field.

Timberwolves 118, Knicks 108

MINNEAPOLIS – Karl-Anthony Towns fell one assist shy of his second career triple-double, scoring 23 points and grabbing 15 rebounds in Minnesota’s victory over New York.

Taj Gibson added 17 points and Andrew Wiggins had 16 for Minnesota. The Timberwolves shot 56.7 percent (38 of 67) over the final three quarters to come from behind and win their fourth game in a row and 11th of 14 overall.

Kristaps Porzingis scored 17 points for New York. Porzingis was 3 of 5 from 3-point territory but 3 of 14 from inside the arc. Enes Kanter had his 18th double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds, but the Knicks lost for the ninth time in 11 games.

Rockets 112, Suns 95

PHOENIX – Chris Paul scored 25 points to lead six Houston players in the double figures and the Rockets, still without injured James Harden, rolled past Phoenix.

Houston, in its sixth straight game with Harden sidelined by a hamstring injury, led by 18 in the second quarter, 22 at the end of the third and 27 in the fourth in its sixth consecutive victory over Phoenix.

Clint Capela scored 17 points and grabbed 16 rebounds for the Rockets, who dominated the boards 53-38. Ryan Anderson and Trevor Ariza added 18 points apiece and Eric Gordon 14.

Devin Booker scored 27 and T.J. Warren 21 for the Suns, who were coming off a home win over Oklahoma City four days earlier.

Wizards 125, Magic 119

WASHINGTON – Bradley Beal and John Wall each scored 30 points and Washington snapped a two-game losing streak.

Ian Mahinmi finished with a season-high 17 points in the defense-optional game. Washington shot 56.8 percent from the field and scored a season-high 74 points in the paint.

Orlando has lost seven in a row, 16 of 17 and 27 of its last 31. That stretch included a 130-103 rout by Washington on Dec. 23.

Elfrid Payton scored 27 points and Jonathon Simmons had 23 as all five Orlando starters reached double figures. Bismack Biyombo finished 8 of 9 from the field for a career-high 21 points. The Magic hit 51.3 percent of their attempts from the floor after a 6-for-22 fourth quarter.

Pelicans 119, Trail Blazers 113

NEW ORLEANS – Anthony Davis scored 36 points in his return from a right ankle sprain, and New Orleans beat Portland.

Davis did not appear at all bothered by the injury that kept him out of Wednesday night’s narrow loss in Memphis, scoring on everything from explosive dribble drives to soaring dunks.

DeMarcus Cousins had 24 points and 19 rebounds, and Jrue Holiday scored 25 points for New Orleans, which hit the halfway point of the regular season one game above .500 and in the Western Conference playoff picture, but still in need of more consistency and less sloppiness.

Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum each scored 23 points for Portland, which attempted 42 3-pointers and missed 30 of them.

Hornets 99, Jazz 88

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Kemba Walker scored 22 points and Frank Kaminsky added 16 to lead Charlotte over Utah for its fourth victory in six games.

Marvin Williams scored 15 and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist 12 for Charlotte, which won despite an off night for Dwight Howard, who scored just two first-half points. Howard finished with eight points on 2-of-9 shooting. He also went 4 for 10 from the foul line.

Nicolas Batum and Jeremy Lamb added 11 points apiece for Charlotte.

Donovan Mitchell scored 35 points for Utah, which has lost 14 of 19. Rodney Hood added 15 and Royce O’Neale 11 for Utah, which had been 10-3 when holding opponents to 100 points or fewer.

Nets 110, Hawks 105

ATLANTA – Spencer Dinwiddie had 20 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds, Jahlil Okafor added 17 points in a reserve role and Brooklyn beat Atlanta.

Dinwiddie made the go-ahead basket with 11 seconds left as the Nets snapped a three-game losing streak to move past an embarrassing 34-point home loss to Detroit two nights earlier.

Atlanta guard Dennis Schroder finished with a career-high 34 points, but after causing matchup problems all night with his ball-handling, he missed his last two layup attempts and committed a game-ending turnover with 5 seconds remaining.

Kent Bazemore had 16 points for the NBA-worst Hawks, who have lost five of six.

Nuggets 87, Grizzlies 78

DENVER – Will Barton scored 17 points, Trey Lyles had 16 and Denver overcame a slow start to beat Memphis, snapping a season-high, three-game losing streak.

Nikola Jokic added 14 points and nine rebounds for Denver, which played without guard Gary Harris, who was excused for personal reasons. It was the first game Harris has missed this season. Barton started in his place.

Marc Gasol had 22 points and 11 rebounds for Memphis. Tyreke Evans and James Ennis III added 12 points each.

NHL Roundup: Darnell Nurse scores twice, Oilers beat Coyotes 4-2

This gallery contains 1 photo.

SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) — Mikael Backlund had an empty-net goal and a pair of assists, helping lift the Calgary Flames to their sixth straight victory with a 4-2 win over the Florida Panthers on Friday night.

Johnny Gaudreau, Matthew Tkachuk and Sean Monahan also scored for the Flames, and David Rittich stopped 41 shots in his first start in seven games.

Evgenii Dadanov scored both goals for the Panthers, breaking a 19-game goal drought. James Reimer made 25 saves in his 16th consecutive start, but it wasn’t enough to keep the Panthers from their fourth loss in five games.

CAPITALS 4, HURRICANES 3

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Jay Beagle scored with 1.3 seconds remaining and the Washington Capitals rallied to beat the Carolina Hurricanes.

Brett Connolly notched the tying goal with 3:08 left, and Alex Ovechkin added his NHL-leading 28th goal and two assists for first-place Washington.

Lars Eller scored on the power play and Philipp Grubauer stopped 36 shots to help the Capitals earn their second come-from-behind victory in Raleigh in 10 nights. Washington won 5-4 in overtime on Jan. 2 on two late goals by Ovechkin.

The Hurricanes got power-play goals from Jordan Staal and Sebastian Aho — with each player assisting on the other’s goal — and an even-strength goal from Jeff Skinner.

CANUCKS 5, BLUE JACKETS 2

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Sven Baertschi sparked a four-goal second period for Vancouver, Jacob Markstrom had 27 saves and the Canucks beat the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Seth Jones put Columbus up 1-0 during a strong first period, but Vancouver powered ahead in the second. Baertschi, Erik Gudbranson, Brandon Gaunce and Alexander Edler scored, and Jake Virtanen added an empty-net goal with 9 seconds left in the third to help the Canucks snap a five-game skid.

Thomas Vanek and Henrik Sedin each had two assists for Vancouver, which won for just the third time since Dec. 7.

Sergei Bobrovsky let in four of the Canucks’ 12 shots in the second period. He finished with 24 saves. Matt Calvert also scored for Columbus.

BLACKHAWKS 2, JETS 1

CHICAGO (AP) — Rookie center David Kampf scored his first NHL goal and added an assist on his 23rd birthday, Jeff Glass blocked 31 shots and the Chicago Blackhawks held off the Winnipeg Jets.

Jan Rutta also scored for the Blackhawks, who ended the Jets’ three-game winning streak and handed Winnipeg its first regulation loss in seven games (6-0-1).

The 32-year-old Glass lost a bid for his first career shutout when Patrik Laine scored with 3:41 left in the third period. Winnipeg, the high-scoring Central Division leaders, came on with a late flurry, but Glass was sharp in his fifth NHL game to improve to 3-1-1.

Chicago’s No. 1 goalie, Corey Crawford missed his ninth game with an upper-body injury. No timetable is set for his return.

Anthony Duclair, acquired from Arizona on Wednesday as part of a four-player trade, had an assist in his Blackhawks debut.

OILERS 4, COYOTES 2

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Darnell Nurse scored twice on rising slap shots from the left circle and the Edmonton Oilers overcame an early two-goal deficit to beat the Arizona Coyotes.

Nurse broke a tie at 3:57 of the third period, beating goalie Antti Raanta above the glove from about the same spot where the 6-foot-4 defenseman started the comeback in the first.

Patrick Maroon and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins also scored, Connor McDavid had two assists and Al Montoya stopped all 19 shots he faced in relief of Cam Talbot to help Edmonton end a three-game losing streak and win for the second time in nine games.

Brad Richardson and Josh Archibald scored in a 1:14 span early in the first for Arizona. The NHL-worst Coyotes were coming off their bye week.

CBB Top 25 Women’s and Men’s Roundup: Ionescu leads No. 8 Oregon women over Arizona 62-44

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — Sabrina Ionescu had 22 points and 11 rebounds as No. 8 Oregon pulled away in the second half to a 62-44 victory over Arizona on Friday night.

Ruthy Hebard added 14 points for the Ducks (16-2, 5-0 Pac-12), who won their eighth consecutive game. Ionescu’s double-double was her eighth of the season.

Sam Thomas had 14 points to lead the Wildcats (4-12, 0-5). Kat Wright added 12 points and Jalea Bennett had 10.

No. 14 UCLA 81, UTAH 74

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Michaela Onyenwere and Jordin Canada scored 20 points each to lead UCLA.

Clinging to a 67-66 lead in the fourth quarter, UCLA (12-4, 3-2 Pac-12) got a layup from Canada to spark a 5-0 spurt and hung on from the free-throw line over the final 4 minutes to seal it. The Bruins shot just 36 percent from the field but controlled the glass 46-36, including a 20-7 edge in offensive rebounds.

Onyenwere also had 11 rebounds to get her first career double-double and Canada dished out eight assists.

Megan Huff led Utah (12-4, 3-2) with 17 points and 10 rebounds.

No. 22 OREGON STATE 57, No. 18 ARIZONA STATE 54

CORVALLIS, Ore. (AP) — Marie Gulich scored the last three points and Mikayla Pivec got a hand on a potential game-tying shot as Oregon State snapped Arizona State’s six-game winning streak.

Gulich scored a game-high 20 points on 9-of-12 shooting for Oregon State (12-4, 3-2). Her left-handed drive on three defenders with 40 seconds left in the game gave the Beavers a 56-54 lead. She made one of two free throws with 17 seconds to go.

Robbi Ryan had 19 points to lead the Sun Devils (13-4, 4-1).

No. 24 CALIFORNIA 69, WASHINGTON 60

BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) — Kristine Anigwe had 26 points and 10 rebounds and Penina Davidson added 18 points on 8-of-10 shooting with nine boards to help California hold off Washington.

Anigwe and Davidson combined to make 20 of 28 shots from the floor (71 percent), but the rest of the Golden Bears shot just 23.5 percent (8 of 34). Asha Thomas added 14 points and eight assists, while Mikayla Cowling scored two points on 1-of-7 shooting, but added 11 assists, six rebounds and three steals.

Amber Melgoza led the Huskies (6-10, 0-5) with 15 points and six assists, but she made just five of 18 shots from the floor as Washington connected on 21 of 61 attempts (34 percent). Hannah Johnson and Mai-Loni Henson each scored 13, with Johnson adding 11 rebounds. The Huskies are still looking for their first Pac-12 win under new coach Jody Wynn.

___

MEN’S ROUNDUP:

AUBURN, Ala. (AP) — The Auburn Tigers have gone from looking like one of college basketball’s biggest messes to one of the season’s best surprises.

The 22nd-ranked Tigers (15-1, 3-0 Southeastern Conference) are ranked for the first time in nearly 15 years and riding a 13-game winning streak that includes back-to-back wins over Top 25 teams. Only No. 2 West Virginia (15 games) has a longer active winning streak.

It’s a remarkable surge for a program that a few months ago was refunding dozens of season tickets, rocked by a scandal that cost coach Bruce Pearl his top assistant and, to this point, two of his best players. The buzz has changed from Pearl’s job security to a potential NCAA Tournament run.

“You notice it coming in and out of church or walking in and out of a store,” Pearl said. “People are excited and they’re taking definitely taking notice. You do notice it on campus too, walking around campus. Winning does that. I don’t notice a lot of difference in my team and in my locker room, interestingly. They’re pretty much the same. But, yeah, the community, it has a different feel to it. There’s joy.”

There was little cause for joy entering the season. Associate head coach Chuck Person was fired while facing fraud, conspiracy and bribery charges in a wide-ranging FBI investigation for allegedly trying to steer Auburn players toward a financial advisor once they turn pro.

Forward Danjel Purifoy and center Austin Wiley, two of the team’s top three players, have been held out all season amid an internal review into the program. The NCAA said Thursday that Wiley won’t be eligible again until next season for violations self-reported by Auburn.

Two staffers have also been placed on indefinite leave.

The remaining Tigers have done quite well.

Mustapha Heron, Bryce Brown and Jared Harper have led a surge into the best record in the SEC going into Saturday’s game at Mississippi State.

The Tigers expect to fill at least two buses taking students to the game.

They’ve opened SEC play with double-digit wins over both No. 24 Tennessee and Arkansas , which was also ranked at the time. Auburn overcame a 10-point halftime deficit to beat Mississippi Tuesday night in front of the season’s first sellout crowd at Auburn Arena.

The Tigers are off to their best start since opening the 1999-2000 season 16-1.

Even at full-strength, this start would have exceeded most expectations for a team picked to finish ninth in the SEC. Now, the Tigers are hoping for their first NCAA Tournament berth since 2003. They hadn’t cracked the Top 25 since Jan. 20, 2003 before this week.

Auburn has only one senior and the team’s 12 underclassmen matches Kentucky for most in the nation.

Heron has followed up a strong freshman season by averaging 15.8 points and 5.5 rebounds. Brown’s 15.6-point average is more than double his scoring from last season. Harper is scoring 12.6 points a game and ranks third in the SEC in assists.

Desean Murray, a transfer from Presbyterian College is also scoring in double digits (11.2 ppg) while Anfernee McLemore is the SEC’s top shot blocker.

Pearl has more depth than ever at Auburn even without Wiley and Purifoy. Nine players are averaging 12-plus minutes.

But he says his roster remains undersized and has little margin for error.

“The point is, if we don’t play well, we’re going to lose,” Pearl said. “We didn’t play well (against Ole Miss), and we were fortunate to win. So let’s recognize it, be grateful for it and realize that’s not going to happen very often. To go down to Mississippi State, we’re going to have to have to play great to have a chance to win.

“We’ve played a lot of great basketball. We’re capable of it. I don’t mind putting that pressure on. I want to put that pressure on them, because that’s the reality of it.”

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For more AP college basketball coverage: http://collegebasketball.ap.org and http://twitter.com/AP_Top25

Soccer Roundup: Bayern beats Leverkusen 3-1 as winter break ends / World Scores

BERLIN (AP) — The Bundesliga resumed Friday after the winter break with Bayern Munich going 14 points clear after a 3-1 win at Bayer Leverkusen.

Goals from Javi Martinez and Franck Ribery in either half, and a brilliant free kick from James Rodriguez in injury time kept the defending champions on course for a record-extending sixth consecutive title.

It was Leverkusen’s first defeat at home this season, and ended a 12-game unbeaten run.

“We weren’t brave enough in the first half. We were better in the second, but then suddenly it was 2-0,” Leverkusen midfielder Sven Bender said.

Leverkusen went close early on when Dominik Kohr headed just wide, and Leon Bailey wasted a good chance on a counterattack. But Martinez pounced to open the scoring for Bayern off the rebound after Sven Bender had blocked Arturo Vidal’s header from a corner.

Bailey hit the crossbar early in the second half after turning Niklas Suele one way and then another, before Thomas Mueller went close at the other end.

Ribery let fly with a shot inside the near post to make it 2-0 just before the hour mark.

Bayern seemed to be in control but Kevin Volland pulled one back for Leverkusen with a deflected shot and suddenly the home side was pressing for more with just under 20 minutes remaining.

Volland had a good opportunity to equalize but his first touch let him down and Jerome Boateng was able to clear, while Lucas Alario also went close for Leverkusen.

Coach Jupp Heynckes sent on winter signing Sandro Wagner for his second Bayern debut – he made four Bundesliga appearances for the senior side in the 2007-08 season – but James stole the limelight with his perfect free kick into the top left corner.

“My team played very well tactically over long stretches today, especially in defense,” Heynckes said after facing one of his former sides. “Leverkusen was set up to attack and all our forwards had to work in defense.”

Second-place Schalke is away to Leipzig on Saturday.

___

MADRID (AP) — Malaga’s struggles in the Spanish league continued with a 1-0 loss at Getafe on Friday, extending the team’s losing streak to four matches.

Malaga could drop to last place in the 20-team standings if Las Palmas earns at least a point at Girona on Saturday.

Malaga has only 11 points from 19 matches. It hasn’t scored in four matches, losing the last three by 1-0.

“There are a lot of things we need to improve,” Malaga forward Alberto Bueno said. “We need to win matches to regain our confidence. When we start scoring again it will be easier.”

Juan Cala netted Getafe’s winner with a 73rd-minute header, helping his team to reach eighth place with 26 points.

Barcelona leads the league with 48 points, nine more than second-place Valencia.

Defending champion Real Madrid is fourth, 16 points off the lead with a game in hand.

___

PARIS (AP) — Veteran forward Jimmy Briand had a hand in both goals as Guingamp moved up to sixth place in the French league with a 2-0 win at Strasbourg on Friday.

The win moved the Brittany-based side two points ahead of Nice and four behind Nantes, as Ligue 1 resumed following its annual winter break.

Forward Yannis Salibur opened the scoring for the visitors in the eighth minute and midfielder Nicolas Benezet doubled the lead with just 16 minutes played.

The 32-year-old Briand, who made five appearances for France from 2008-12, made the difference on both goals.

For the first, he expertly took down a high pass and directed a cushioned pass toward the penalty spot. The Strasbourg defense failed to react quickly enough, and Salibur profited from the confusion to delicately clip the ball over advancing goalkeeper Alexandre Oukidja.

Then, cutting in from the left, Briand picked out Benezet’s run with a well-weighted pass. Benezet took one touch to move the ball into his path before finishing confidently from just inside the penalty area.

“We controlled the game well,” Briand said. “We’re climbing up the table and we’ll see where it takes us.”

Briand is up against his former club Lyon, which visits on Wednesday. He played four seasons with Lyon before joining Guingamp three years ago.

Strasbourg, meanwhile, is in 11th place ahead of this weekend’s matches.

On Saturday, defending champion Monaco is at Montpellier — which is in eighth spot and has the best defense in Ligue 1 — while league leader Paris Saint-Germain is at Nantes on Sunday.

PSG is nine points ahead of Monaco.

Also on Sunday, third-place Lyon hosts Angers.

___

WORLD SCORES: COURTESY OF LIVESCORE.COM

January 12
FT
Sheffield United
Sheffield Wednesday
January 12
FT
Getafe
Malaga
January 12
FT
Rayo Vallecano
Real Oviedo
January 12
FT
Bayer Leverkusen
Bayern Munich
January 12
FT
Strasbourg
Guingamp
January 12
FT
Auxerre
Le Havre
FT
Brest
AC Ajaccio
FT
Nimes
Lens
FT
Niort
Nancy
FT
Orleans
Reims
FT
Paris FC
Bourg en Bresse Peronnas
Canc.
SC Bastia
??
Bourg en Bresse Peronnas
FT
Sochaux
Quevilly
FT
Tours
Clermont Foot
FT
Valenciennes
Chateauroux
January 12
Canc.
Boulogne
??
SC Bastia
FT
Concarneau
AS Beziers
FT
Creteil
Marseille Consolat
FT
Dunkerque
Avranches
FT
Entente SSG
Laval
FT
Les Herbiers
Chambly
FT
Pau
Lyon la Duchere
FT
Rodez
Grenoble
January 12
FT
Cambuur
De Graafschap
FT
FC Den Bosch
Almere City FC
FT
FC Eindhoven
FC Emmen
FT
FC Volendam
FC Oss
FT
Fortuna Sittard
Jong Ajax
FT
Jong FC Utrecht
FC Dordrecht
FT
Jong PSV
Helmond Sport
FT
MVV Maastricht
Telstar
FT
NEC Nijmegen
Go Ahead Eagles
FT
RKC Waalwijk
Jong AZ Alkmaar
FT
Westerlo
Roeselare
January 12
FT
Chaves
Vitoria de Guimaraes
FT
Vaalerenga
Stroemmen
FT
Kasimpasa
Partizani
FT
Kortrijk
Roda JC Kerkrade
FT
PEC Zwolle
Sportfreunde Lotte
FT
Stabaek
Asker
FT
Sturm Graz
BW Linz
Canc.
VfB Stuttgart II
??
Grasshopper
FT
Goztepe
00
Adanaspor
FT
Willem II
Hibernian
FT
AZ Alkmaar
St. Gallen
FT
Besiktas
Skenderbeu
FT
Holstein Kiel
St.Truiden
FT
Lokeren
10
FC Seoul
Canc.
Lokeren
??
Yanbian
FT
Sivasspor
Zhetysu Taldykorgan
FT
Sporting Charleroi
Yanbian
FT
Vitesse
Hearts
Canc.
Waasland-Beveren
??
FC Seoul
FT
Thun
FC Rapperswil-Jona
FT
Heracles
Karlsruher SC
FT
Partick Thistle
Shanghai Shenhua
FT
Istanbul Basaksehir
ADO Den Haag
Canc.
Excelsior
??
Ulsan Hyundai
FT
Start
Donn
Canc.
Start
??
Vindbjart
FT
Sarpsborg 08
Moss
FT
Salzburg
SV Wals Grunau
AP
PSV Eindhoven *
Fluminense
FT
Huracan
Banfield
AP
Talleres
Atletico Tucuman *
January 12
FT
Hapoel Hadera Eran
Hapoel Nazareth Illit
FT
Hapoel Nir Ramat HaSharon
00
Hapoel Ramat Gan
FT
Ironi Nesher
Maccabi Herzliya
FT
Maccabi Ahi Nazareth
Hapoel Afula
FT
Monarcas Morelia
Puebla
FT
Tijuana
Necaxa
FT
Deportivo Petapa
CSD Municipal
FT
Uzbekistan U23
China U23
FT
Oman U23
Qatar U23
FT
Northeast United FC
Atletico de Kolkata
January 12
FT
Gokulam FC
Indian Arrows
January 12
FT
Gostaresh Foolad FC
Foolad Khuzestan
FT
Siah Jamegan
Persepolis
FT
Sepahan
Zob Ahan
FT
Esteghlal
Saipa
FT
Sanat Naft Abadan
Pars Jonoubi Jam Bushehr
January 12
FT
Al-Taawon
Al-Raed
FT
Al Ahli
Al Batin
FT
Dibba Al Fujairah
Al-Wahda
FT
Ajman
Al-Jazira
FT
Al-Wasl
Al-Ain
FT
Newcastle Jets
Brisbane Roar FC
January 12
FT
Ajax Cape Town
Platinum Stars
FT
Maritzburg United
Bloemfontein Celtic

Tennis Roundup: Angelique Kerber wins eighth match in a row, advances to Sydney final

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SYDNEY (AP) — Angelique Kerber won her eighth consecutive match of the new season, coming from 3-1 down in the final set to beat qualifier Camila Giorgi 6-2, 6-3 to reach the Sydney International final on Friday.

Kerber, a former No. 1 and the 2016 Australian Open champion, won all four singles at the Hopman Cup and now all four in Sydney en route to the final.

She will face Ashleigh Barty, who beat Australian compatriot Daria Gavrilova 3-6, 6-4, 6-2 in the other semifinal.

In a match that included 11 breaks of serve, Barty needed just one in the third set.

“It’s nice getting a bit of confidence going into our biggest tournament for us,” Barty said of next week’s Australian Open.

Gavrilova’s frustration with her serving were evident in the ninth game of the set when, soon after leveling at 4-4, she double-faulted twice and received a code violation for smashing her racket.

In men’s semifinals, Russian qualifier Daniil Medvedev booked a spot in the final by upsetting fourth-seeded Fabio Fognini of Italy 2-6, 6-4, 6-1.

Medvedev will next play Australian 18-year-old Alex de Minaur, who defeated Benoit Paire of France 4-6, 6-1, 6-1.

The 167th-ranked de Minaur, who will play his first ATP Tour final on Saturday, advanced to the Brisbane International semifinals last week.

___

HOBART, Australia (AP) — Elise Mertens will defend her Hobart International title in the final after eliminating 2015 champion Heather Watson 6-4, 1-6, 6-2 on Friday.

Mertens will play Mihaela Buzarnescu of Romania, who has reached her maiden WTA final.

Buzarnescu beat fifth-seeded Lesia Tsurenko 6-2, 6-2 in her second career semifinal. She is guaranteed to break into the top 50 rankings for the first time on Monday.

Watson, a qualifier, hadn’t dropped a main-draw set until running into second-seeded Mertens.

“(It is) just frustrating. Thought I made too many unforced errors,” Watson said. “Because I’d been playing so well, I expected more of myself.”

___

AUCKLAND, New Zealand (AP) — Former champions Juan Martin del Potro and Roberto Bautista Agut will meet Saturday in the final of the ATP Tour’s ASB Classic.

Second-seeded del Potro, champion in 2009, beat four-time champion and eight-time semifinalist David Ferrer 6-4, 6-4 in just under two hours Friday while Bautista Agut, the 2016 champion, defeated Robin Haase 6-7 (7), 7-6 (3), 7-6 (5) in a three-hour marathon.

Del Potro’s form in Auckland this week has been outstanding and he has shown no signs of a wrist injury which has dogged his career.

“It’s never easy against David because he runs a lot and he’s a fighter,” del Potro said. “You never know what will happen but I took my chances and got through.”

Bautista Agut broke Haase in the seventh game of the second set but Haase immediately broke back and the set again went to a tiebreak. Haase slipped up early and couldn’t recover.

The third set proceeded more swiftly with a series of rapid service games until Haase dropped serve in the fourth game.

Bautista Agut gained the early advantage and although Haase again fought back, the fifth-seeded Bautista Agut converted his fourth match point with a lob that just nipped the baseline.

“It was a great finish and when I saw that last ball in I went crazy,” Bautista Agut said.

___

AUSTRALIAN OPEN PREVIEW:

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — With Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic among the walking wounded and Serena Williams already deciding not to defend her title, injuries and absentees have been the focus of attention ahead of the Australian Open.

That’s not bothering Roger Federer, who is returning as defending champion just 12 months after entering the season-opening Grand Slam tournament seeded 17th and uncertain of his prospects after six months off the tour with an injured left knee.

He beat Nadal in a five-set final for his 18th Grand Slam title — and his first since 2012 — and later won Wimbledon.

“I just thought that the game and the wins weren’t going to come … because I would just run into a red-hot Djokovic or Murray or Nadal or somebody and my game wasn’t going to be good enough,” Federer recalled. “I had all these great five-setters and, at the end, the epic match against Rafa. After six, seven matches, you start feeling like a different player, that you can’t miss anymore. The fifth set (of the final) was maybe the best set I ever played.

“What a comeback it was and it was definitely the highlight of the year.”

Second-seeded Federer and No. 14-seeded Djokovic have almost traded places.

This time, Federer breezily walked into the Australian Open drawcarrying the trophy just a few days after helping Switzerland win the Hopman Cup mixed team even. His 2017 comeback could be inspiration for the likes of Djokovic, who has won the Australian title a record six times but has been sidelined since Wimbledon with a right elbow injury.

They’re in the same half of the draw — along with No. 4 Alexander Zverev, No. 5 Dominc Thiem, No. 7 David Goffin and No. 9 Stan Wawrinka, the 2014 Australian Open winner who is also returning from injury.

Nadal skipped the year-end championship last November and delayed the start of his 2018 season, so he’s also had only exhibition matches to see how his right knee has recovered.

“If I’m not feeling good, probably I will not be here,” Nadal said after his error-filled loss to Richard Gasquet in an exhibition this week. “So that’s the good news.”

Five-time finalist Andy Murray withdrew more than a week ahead of time, deciding to have surgery on a right hip problem that had kept him off the tour since Wimbledon. Kei Nishikori also withdrew.

And so if the 2017 Australian Open was one for the ages — the revival of the Federer- Nadal rivalry and another Williams sisters final — the 2018 edition is shaping as a survival of the fittest.

Serena Williams, who was pregnant when she beat Venus here last year to claim her 23rd major title, gave birth to her first child — Alexis Olympia — in September. She said it didn’t leave her enough time to feel confident of winning a major.

The No. 1-ranking changed seven times in 2017, with five different women assuming top spot — three for the first time.

Venus Williams says Serena is “here in spirit” supporting her in Australia, where she’s hopeful of ending an almost decade-long Grand Slam title drought. At 37, Venus is seeded No. 5, coming off a loss to former No. 1 Anglique Kerber in Sydney and has a tougher opener against Belinda Bencic, who combined with Federer last week to win the Hopman Cup.

“I feel my biggest expectation is from myself,” Venus Williams said, dismissing any notion that age or expectations will weigh heavily on her. “No one ever wants to let themselves down.”

She led the WTA Tour in prize money last year ahead of Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza and Simona Halep, who ended the year at No. 1.

Entering as the No. 1 seed for the first time at a major and at a tournament where she’s had back-to-back first-round exits, two-time French Open finalist Halep opens against teenage wild-card entry Destanee Aiava. She could face two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova in the third round and Karolina Pliskova in the quarters.

Muguruza, who withdrew from the Sydney International before the quarterfinals with a sore right thigh after retiring during her first match at the Brisbane International because of cramping, is in the same quarter as U.S. Open finalist Madison Keys, Australian Open 2016 champion Kerber and five-time major winner Maria Sharapova, returning to Melbourne two years after a failed doping test here led to a 15-month suspension.

Muguruza is expecting the constant changes at the top of the women’s game to continue in 2018.

“I don’t feel there’s somebody that different from the rest,” Muguruza said. “This is going to be a very interesting year. A lot of changing, I feel.”

No. 2 Caroline Wozniacki, who hasn’t won a major and last appeared in a Grand Slam final in 2014, is on the bottom half of the draw with Williams and has French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko and last year’s Australian semifinalist CoCo Vandeweghe in her quarter.

While there were four different Grand Slam singles winners on the women’s side, with Ostapenko (French) and Sloane Stephens (U.S. Open) claiming their first titles, the men’s side rolled back the years with Federer and Nadal each winning two apiece.

Djokovic, a surprise second-round loser here last year, is hoping he can get fit enough to change that in 2018.

“I’m still not 100 percent — hopefully in three or four days I will be there,” Djokovic said after beating Thiem in an exhibition match at Kooyong this week. “I played better than I thought might happen, and most importantly I played without pain.”

The 12-time major winner said he was doing everything possible to be ready in time for the Australian.

“I’ll be over the moon if I can play,” he said. “Everything at the moment is going in the right direction.”

NBA Roundup: LeBron James, Cavs routed again as Raptors romp 133-99

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LeBron James and the struggling Cleveland Cavaliers absorbed their most-lopsided loss of the season when they were routed by the Toronto Raptors 133-99 on Thursday night.

The Cavaliers have dropped six of eight dating to a Christmas Day loss at defending champion Golden State. James scored 26 points in this loss, while Isaiah Thomas missed his first 11 shots.

After losing to Minnesota 127-99 on Monday night, the Cavaliers fell by an even bigger margin. Toronto’s 133 points were the most by any Cleveland opponent this season, and marked the third straight game that Cleveland has allowed at least 127.

Fred VanVleet scored a career-high 22 points, Jonas Valanciunas had 15 points and a season-high 18 rebounds and the Raptors overcame the absences of two starters.

C.J. Miles scored 16 points, Pascal Siakam and Norm Powell each had 14 and DeMar DeRozan 13 for the Raptors, who were without point guard Kyle Lowry (bruised tailbone) and forward Serge Ibaka (suspension).

CELTICS 114, 76ERS 103

LONDON (AP) — Kyrie Irving had 20 points, seven assists and six rebounds and Boston overcame a 22-point deficit to beat Philadelphia in the eighth NBA game played in England.

Jaylen Brown added 21 points, and Marcus Morris had 19 points and eight rebounds to help the Eastern Conference-leading Celtics extend their winning streak to seven games.

JJ Redick had 22 points and hit five 3-pointers for Philadelphia, but the 76ers were unable to take advantage of their fast start as the Celtics’ NBA-best defense tightened at O2 Arena.

Joel Embiid had 16 points, and fellow All-Star hopeful Ben Simmons added 15 for the 76ers.

LAKERS 93, SPURS 81

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Brandon Ingram scored 26 points, Lonzo Ball added 18 and Los Angeles beat short-handed San Antonio for its first three-game winning streak of the season.

Larry Nance Jr. had 14 points and 10 rebounds for the Lakers, who blew an early 19-point lead before running away in the fourth quarter. Ball contributed 10 rebounds and six assists as Los Angeles snapped a seven-game losing streak to the Spurs at Staples Center since April 2013, the last time the Lakers made the playoffs.

LaMarcus Aldridge scored 15 of his 20 points in the first half for the Spurs, who committed 21 turnovers while playing without injured starters Kawhi Leonard, Tony Parker and Danny Green.

CLIPPERS 121, KINGS 115

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Tyrone Wallace intercepted a pass at midcourt and drove in for a dunk with 10.9 seconds left, moments after what looked like a costly turnover by Lou Williams, and Los Angeles held off Sacramento after blowing a 14-point lead in the fourth quarter.

The Clippers, who lost DeAndre Jordan to a sprained left ankle in the second quarter, won their third straight over the Kings this season and their 11th in a row at Sacramento.

Williams finished with 30 points and six assists, one night after scoring a career-high 50 against defending champion Golden State. Blake Griffin had 18 points, 12 rebounds and six assists in his return to the Clippers after missing two games with a concussion, and Montrezl Harrell scored a season-best 25 — including 16 in the second quarter when Los Angeles put up 43 points.

The Clippers led 106-92 early in the fourth before the Kings rallied to go ahead 113-112 on Bogdan Bogdanovich’s layup with 2:10 remaining.

Griffin followed with a 3-pointer and Williams later scored on a short jumper.

Bogdanovich scored 22 points and George Hill added 21, but he missed two free throws over the final 70 seconds.

NHL Roundup: Hurricanes beat Capitals 3-1 on day team sale finalized

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Victor Rask broke a tie on a delayed penalty with 9:06 left to give the Carolina Hurricanes a 3-1 victory over the Washington Capitals on Thursday night, hours after the team’s sale to Dallas billionaire Tom Dundon was finalized.

Rask scored with goalie Scott Darling pulled for the extra attacker after Tom Wilson was whistled for a penalty. The puck pinballed off several players in front and went to Rask at the side of the net.

By improving to 9-7-8 in one-goal games, Carolina leapfrogged the idle Philadelphia Flyers and Pittsburgh Penguins to move into a playoff position after 42 games. Winger Justin Williams, who left Washington after two seasons, said the difference between the Capitals being in first place in the Metropolitan Division and the Hurricanes down the standings was success in tight games.

Co-captain Jordan Staal also scored and Sebastian Aho added an empty-netter for Carolina, which got 26 saves from Darling. Lars Eller scored and Braden Holtby stopped 30 of 32 shots for Washington. The Capitals had their five-game winning streak and NHL-best 11-game home winning streak snapped.

The Hurricanes celebrated this victory after the league announced Dundon completed his purchase of the team from former majority owner Peter Karmanos. Dundon, Karmanos and commissioner Gary Bettman will hold a news conference Friday in Raleigh to discuss an important step for the franchise.

FLAMES 5, LIGHTNING 1

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Johnny Gaudreau had a goal and an assist, Mike Smith made 33 saves, and Calgary beat NHL-leading Tampa Bay for its fifth straight victory.

Micheal Ferland, Sam Bennett, Mark Jankowski and Matthew Tkachuk also scored to help the Flames improve to 11-5-4 on the road. Gaudreau has nine assists and 10 points during a five-game points streak.

Brayden Point scored for Tampa Bay. The Lightning lost All-Star defenseman Victor Hedman midway through the second with a lower-body injury. Hedman was hit on side of his left knee during a collision with Calgary’s Garnet Hathaway and needed assistance to the locker room.

SABRES 3, BLUE JACKETS 1

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — Kyle Okposo had a goal and assist and Buffalo beat Columbus to snap a five-game skid.

Benoit Pouliot and Jack Eichel also scored, and Linus Ullmark made 44 saves in his first NHL game of the season.Ullmark stopped the first 39 shots he faced before having his shutout bid foiled on Artemi Panarin’s power-play goal with 6:15 remaining.

The Sabres ended an 0-4-1 skid and won in regulation for the first time in nine games. Buffalo’s last victory was a 4-2 win over Philadelphia on Dec. 22.

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More AP hockey: https://apnews.com/tag/NHLhockey

CBB Women’s Top 25 Roundup: No. 3 Louisville women rout No. 2 Notre Dame 100-67

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Asia Durr scored 36 points, Myisha Hines-Allen had a career-high 31 and No. 3 Louisville overwhelmed No. 2 Notre Dame on both ends for a 100-67 blowout victory Thursday night in an Atlantic Coast Conference showdown.

The unbeaten Cardinals (19-0, 5-0 ACC) erased an early deficit to dominate the short-handed Irish in nearly every phase during a marquee matchup between top teams. Louisville went on to the program’s biggest victory since upsetting top-seeded Baylor in the 2013 NCAA Tournament and snapped an 11-game losing streak against Notre Dame (15-2, 4-1).

Playing before a crowd of 12,614, Durr quickly set the tone with three first-quarter 3-pointers and eight overall in shooting 13 of 18 from the field. Hines-Allen kept pace with her, hitting 15 of 20 while grabbing 12 rebounds.

Jackie Young had 23 points for the Irish, who had won eight straight since losing 80-71 to top-ranked Connecticut.

No. 4 MISSISSIPPI STATE 76, MISSISSIPPI 45

STARKVILLE, Miss. (AP) — Teaira McCowan had 25 points and 13 rebounds to lead Mississippi State over Mississippi.

McCowan shot 12 of 13 from the field and added four blocks in just 26 minutes on the floor. The Bulldogs (18-0, 4-0 Southeastern Conference) won their eighth straight game in the series.

Mississippi State jumped out to a 14-0 lead in less than five minutes, getting two 3-pointers from Blair Schaefer during the run.

Ole Miss (11-6, 1-3) cut its deficit to 36-29 early in the third quarter, but got no closer. Madinah Muhammad scored 14 for the Rebels.

No. 17 TEXAS A&M 79, No. 6 TENNESSEE 76

COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP) — Danni Williams scored seven points in overtime and Texas A&M handed Tennessee its first defeat of the season.

The Aggies (14-4, 3-1 Southeastern Conference) missed 18 consecutive shots from the field late in the game before recovering in the extra period thanks to Williams’ clutch free throw shooting. She made all five of her attempts from the line in overtime, including when she was fouled on a 3-point attempt with the Aggies trailing 76-74 and 7.8 seconds remaining.

Following a timeout, Tennessee had a chance to win but turned the ball over. Williams was fouled with 0.4 seconds left and made both free throws.

Williams and Khaalia Hillsman each scored 22 points to lead Texas A&M, and Chennedy Carter added 21.

Mercedes Russell led the Lady Vols (15-1, 3-1) with 21.

No. 9 SOUTH CAROLINA 71, AUBURN 63

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — A’ja Wilson had 19 points and 11 rebounds before spraining her right ankle with 16 seconds left in South Carolina’s victory over Auburn.

Wilson, the 6-foot-5 All-American, was a force with her 12th double-double this season and, in the first quarter, became just the third player in program history to reach 2,000 career points. But she came down hard under her own basket in the final seconds and hobbled over to the corner of the court. Team trainers helped her off and she went right to the locker room.

Wilson and the defending national champion Gamecocks (14-2, 3-1 Southeastern Conference) rebounded from their first SEC loss of the season Sunday at Missouri to win their eighth straight over the Tigers (10-6, 1-3).

Janiah McKay led Auburn with 27 points.

MICHIGAN STATE 82, No. 11 MARYLAND 68

COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) — Taryn McCutcheon scored a career-high 25 points and Michigan State surprised Maryland to end the Terrapins’ 13-game winning streak.

Maryland (15-3, 4-1 Big Ten) dressed nine players and played only seven. Sophomore guard Blair Watson, the team’s second-leading scorer, tore her right ACL in practice on Wednesday and is done for the season.

The depleted three-time conference champions used an 11-0 run in the third quarter to close to 43-42, but Michigan State (13-5, 3-2) regained control with a 12-1 spurt and cruised to the finish.

Shay Colley had 17 points, seven rebounds and eight assists for Michigan State.

Brianna Fraser scored 17 points for Maryland. But the Terrapins shot only 39 percent and committed 24 turnovers in their first loss since Nov. 19 at Connecticut.

Michigan State was 0-10 against Maryland in a series that began in 2005.

No. 12 MISSOURI 81, VANDERBILT 70

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Jordan Chavis scored a career-high 18 points on 6-of-8 shooting from 3-point range and Missouri defeated Vanderbilt.

Amber Smith also had 18 points for the Tigers (15-2, 3-1 Southeastern Conference), who had no letdown after beating then-No. 4 South Carolina on Sunday.

The lead was 28 before Vandy followed with an 11-0 run and closed the game on a 10-0 run. Cierra Walker scored 17 points for the Commodores (4-14, 0-4), who have lost eight of nine.

No. 13 FLORIDA STATE 105, MIAMI 67

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Nausia Woolfolk scored a career-high 23 points and Florida State routed in-state rival Miami.

Imani Wright had 17 points for the Seminoles (15-2, 3-1 Atlantic Coast Conference), who tied the school record with 12 3-pointers in bouncing back from Sunday’s loss at Syracuse.

Florida State took a 21-7 lead with four minutes left in the first quarter and the lead stayed in double figures the rest of the way. Miami’s largest deficit of the season had been 15 points but the Seminoles surpassed that in the first quarter. They scored the last 11 points of the first half to lead 57-31.

Enida Banks led Miami (11-6, 1-3) with 14 points. The last time the Hurricanes gave up 100 points was Jan. 10, 2007, when top-ranked Maryland scored 111.

No. 16 DUKE 80, WAKE FOREST 67

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) — Lexie Brown scored 27 points and Rebecca Greenwell became Duke’s all-time leading 3-point shooter in a victory over Wake Forest.

Greenwell had 23 points, and her three 3s gave her 254, two more than Tricia Liston. Greenwell had been one 3 short of the record for nine games, five of those she missed and two she was limited because of a knee injury. She started every game she played, 108, until coming off the bench the last two.

Duke (13-4, 2-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) opened a 19-point lead late in the third quarter.

Elisa Penna had 24 points for the Demon Deacons (10-7, 2-2).

No. 25 GREEN BAY 65, YOUNGSTOWN STATE 56

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Jessica Lindstrom had 12 points and 13 rebounds, Karly Murphy scored 14 and Green Bay withstood a barrage of 3-pointers by Youngstown State.

Fourteen of Youngstown State’s 19 baskets were 3-pointers — seven coming in the fourth quarter. Chelsea Olson scored all nine of her points in the fourth — all on 3s — as Youngstown State (6-10, 2-3 Horizon League) cut an 18-point margin to 56-50 with 3:29 to go.

The Phoenix (13-2, 3-1) led for all but four minutes despite a cold-shooting night. Green Bay’s NCAA-leading defense kicked in, generating 20 points off 16 Youngstown State turnovers and holding the Penguins to 37 percent shooting.

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For more AP college basketball coverage: http://collegebasketball.ap.org and http://twitter.com/AP_Top25

CBB Men’s Top 25 Roundup: Big 12 dominates what we are watching this weekend in college basketball

(PhatzRadio Sports / USA Today Sports / AP)    —   With conference play in full swing midway through the month of January, two showdowns in the Big 12 Conference and one in the Big East highlight that games we are watching this weekend in college basketball.

A breakdown of the top five matchups:

No. 2 West Virginia at No. 8 Texas Tech

Saturday, 2 p.m. ET, ESPN

The Big 12 is shaping up as the deepest conference in the country. If the Mountaineers can separate themselves further from the tough field with a road win, the next couple of months in Morgantown could be very interesting indeed. The Red Raiders sustained their first league loss at Oklahoma after an eye-opening victory at Kansas but are still among the conference’s pleasant surprises.

No. 16 TCU at No. 9 Oklahoma

Saturday, 1 p.m. ET, ESPNU

Speaking of pleasant surprises. …  Everybody in Norman knew about Trae Young’s stellar high school career, but he rapidly played himself into the national player of the year conversation. He’ll look to keep it going against the Horned Frogs, who’ve run into some tough luck since being one of the last teams to taste defeat this season. TCU has now dropped three of its four conference games by a total of six points, including Wednesday night’s double-overtime setback at Texas when a last-second layup somehow rimmed out.

No. 22 Creighton at No. 10 Xavier

Saturday, 2 p.m. ET, Fox

No team in the country is happier than the Musketeers to be coming home. That’s especially true of Xavier’s leading scorer Trevon Bluiett, who struggled mightily in losses at Providence and Villanova. The Blue Jays come into Cincinnati on a four-game winning streak.

Michigan at No. 4 Michigan State

Saturday, noon ET, Fox

Since a brief elevation to No. 1, the Spartans have been crunched by Ohio State then needed a late rally to escape Rutgers in overtime. The Wolverines get another opportunity for a resume builder after coming up just short against Purdue earlier in the week.

No. 19 Miami (Fla.) at No. 17 Clemson

Saturday, 3 p.m. ET, ESPNU

The Tigers are also glad to be home after a quick turnaround from their late Thursday contest at N.C. State. The Hurricanes, in action for the first time since Sunday’s home win against Florida State, should be better rested but still face a tough challenge on the road.

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MEN’S THURSDAY NIGHT ROUNDUP:

GREENVILLE, N.C. (AP) — Rauno Nurger scored 14 points and fifth-ranked Wichita State shook off a slow start to roll past East Carolina 95-60 on Thursday night.

Shaquille Morris added 12 points for the Shockers (14-2), who improved to 4-0 in their first season in the American Athletic Conference.

Wichita State trailed 14-9 early after a 3-for-12 shooting start, but the Shockers quickly settled in to take complete control. Wichita State went ahead for good on a 15-0 run, part of a 36-9 avalanche to close the first half and drain the fight out of a once-feisty Minges Coliseum crowd.

B.J. Tyson scored 16 points for the Pirates (7-9, 1-4).

OREGON 76, No. 11 ARIZONA STATE 72

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) — Payton Pritchard scored 18 points and hit two free throws with 13.8 seconds left for Oregon.

Oregon (12-5, 2-2 Pac-12) used a late spurt to go up eight points and hit four free throws in the final 32 seconds to earn its biggest win of the season.

The Ducks dominated the paint, outscoring Arizona State 38-16 inside and scoring 15 second-chance points on 15 offensive rebounds. Elijah Brown had 18 points and hit two free throws with 32 seconds left for Oregon.

Kodi Justice had 21 points and Shannon Evans II added 19 for Arizona State (13-3, 1-3).

No. 15 GONZAGA 103, PORTLAND 57

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — Silas Melson scored a career-high 23 points, making seven 3-pointers, for Gonzaga.

Rui Hachimura added 20 points for Gonzaga (15-3, 5-0 West Coast Conference).

Marcus Shaver Jr. scored 16 points for Portland (6-12, 0-5), which has dropped five games in a row.

Melson hit 7 of 12 from 3-point range and the Zags finished with 13 3s in the game.

No. 17 ARIZONA 62, OREGON STATE 53

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — Allonzo Trier scored 15 of his 21 points in the second half and Arizona pulled away from a sluggish, close game in the final 7 1/2 minutes.

Deandre Ayton had 14 points and 10 rebounds and Rawle Alkins scored 11 points, nine in the second half, for the Wildcats (13-4, 3-1 Pac-12), coming off a loss Saturday at Colorado.

Tres Tinkle scored 18 points and Stephen Thompson Jr. had 14 for the Beavers (10-6, 2-2), who have won just once in Tucson in the last 35 years (2010).

NORTH CAROLINA STATE 78, No. 19 CLEMSON 77

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Omer Yurtseven scored a career-high 29 points, and North Carolina State held on to beat Clemson after Gabe DeVoe missed the third of three free throws with 0.2 seconds left that would have forced overtime.

Allerik Freeman finished with 14 points for the short-handed Wolfpack (12-5, 2-2 Atlantic Coast Conference), who blew nearly all of a 12-point lead with less than 90 seconds remaining but held on to claim their second home win over a Top 25 opponent in six nights after knocking off then-No. 2 Duke on Saturday night.

Marcquise Reed scored 17 points, Donte Grantham added 16 and Mark Donnal finished with a season-high 13 for Clemson (14-2, 3-1), which had its 10-game winning streak end.

Sam Hunt fouled DeVoe as he flung up a 3-pointer from the corner. DeVoe hit the first two free throws, and after N.C. State coach Kevin Keatts called a timeout, the Clemson guard bounced his last attempt off the left iron.

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Soccer Roundup: Messi nets 2 as Barca beats Celta 5-0 to reach Copa quarters / World Scores

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BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Lionel Messi scored twice in the space of three minutes to help Barcelona to a 5-0 win over Celta Vigo on Thursday as the holders advanced to the quarterfinals of the Copa del Rey.

Messi, who also created Barcelona’s third goal for Jordi Alba, set his team on its way to a 6-1 aggregate victory with his 21st and 22nd goals in all competitions this season.

Alba had provided the assists for Messi’s strikes in the 13th and 15th minutes, and the Barcelona star returned the favor by setting up the left back to score in the 28th.

Luis Suarez made it 4-0 before halftime, while Messi was replaced by Ousmane Dembele before the hour mark. Ivan Rakitic headed in a corner kick by Dembele in the final minutes to complete the rout.

New signing Philippe Coutinho watched from the Camp Nou stands following his club-record transfer from Liverpool earlier this week. The Brazil midfielder will make his debut after he recovers from a right leg muscle injury.

Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde took no chances after the 1-1 draw in the first leg, starting Messi in his first appearance in the competition this season after resting the Argentina forward for the first three cup games.

Messi quickly quashed any chance of Celta springing an upset.

Barcelona’s all-time scoring leader swept Alba’s cross past Sergio Alvarez despite the goalkeeper getting a hand to the ball, and he followed up by firing home after another exchange of passes with Alba.

Messi then turned provider, lobbing a perfect pass behind Celta’s back line to meet the run by Alba, who chipped Alvarez to score.

“The connection between Messi and Alba is nothing new, it has been working for years,” Valverde said. “They look for each other and are happy to do so, because it is not just Alba assisting Messi. Messi also creates goals for Alba.”

Suarez netted in the 31st after pouncing on a poor pass by Pione Sisto, before Rakitic nodded home at the end.

Barcelona extended its unbeaten run this season to 28 straight matches, dating back to its losses to Real Madrid in both legs of the Spanish Super Cup in August.

Celta had drawn 2-2 at Barcelona in La Liga last month and had gone into Thursday’s match after holding Madrid to a 2-2 draw in the league last weekend.

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SEVILLA ADVANCES

Sevilla beat Cadiz 2-1 with goals from Wissam Ben Yedder and Joaquin Correa to advance 4-1 on aggregate.

Making the last eight will take some of the pressure off new coach Vincenzo Montella following Sevilla’s painful 5-3 home loss to crosstown rival Real Betis in his Spanish league debut on Saturday.

Ben Yedder scored from a rebound after a shot by Correa to give Sevilla the lead in the 32nd. Correa then headed in from a corner taken by Pablo Sarabia in the 54th.

Alvaro Garcia got second-division Cadiz’s consolation goal in the 86th, leading to jeers from Sevilla’s home fans for the team’s shaky finish to the match.

“It was a complicated match. We are all suffering from the derby loss,” Correa said. “We are sad, but we will get through this together.”

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ESPANYOL COMEBACK

Goals by forwards Leo Baptistao and Gerard Moreno helped Espanyol to a 2-0 victory at Levante, sending the Barcelona-based team through 3-2 on aggregate.

Moreno set up Baptistao in the 14th minute, before scoring his goal in the 34th.

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MADRID (AP) — Two derbies feature in the Copa del Rey quarterfinals, with Barcelona facing Espanyol and Real Madrid taking on Leganes.

The draw on Friday also pit Atletico Madrid against Sevilla, and Valencia against Alaves.

Three-time defending champion Barcelona will play the first leg against its crosstown rival at Espanyol’s RCDE Stadium next week. It will host the return match at Camp Nou Stadium the following week.

Madrid also gets to host the second leg at home when it faces Leganes, which is based in the city of the same name just south of the Spanish capital. Leganes is playing only its second season in the first division of Spanish football.

Atletico and Sevilla is the matchup of teams better positioned in the Spanish league. Atletico is second and Sevilla fifth.

Third-place Valencia faces an Alaves side which is in the relegation zone but last season made it to the Copa del Rey final against Barcelona.

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MANCHESTER, England (AP) — Roberto Firmino likely spoke for lots of Liverpool fans when he posted a message to Philippe Coutinho via Instagram following his fellow Brazilian’s move to Barcelona.

“Liverpool is no longer the same without you my magical brother,” Firmino wrote.

The club gained 160 million euros ($192 million) by selling Coutinho in a blockbuster transfer that was completed on Monday, but the team lost his long-range goals, his technical skills and close control, and his vision and passing range from central midfield.

Liverpool has to move on, and quickly: Manchester City — the unbeaten English Premier League leader — arrives at Anfield on Sunday, in the Reds’ first match without Coutinho as they battle for a finish in the Champions League qualification positions.

They occupy the fourth and final spot with 16 matches remaining and are on a 13-match unbeaten run in the league, but there is a danger the loss of Coutinho could derail them.

How will Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp ensure that doesn’t happen?

Klopp is fortunate in one respect that the departure of Coutinho has coincided with the return to fitness of attacking midfielder Adam Lallana, who has started Liverpool’s last two games after a long-term thigh injury. Lallana is still not fully up to speed but when he is, the England international is an important part of Liverpool’s team pressing, mobility, and ball-carrying in midfield.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is another, albeit very different, option in midfield and is getting to grips with Liverpool’s style of play following his summer move from Arsenal.

In Lallana and Oxlade-Chamberlain, Klopp has players who will offer less in attack than Coutinho but will work harder and allow Liverpool to retain a better defensive shape. This has been important in recent months for Klopp, who has made the team harder to beat since its collapse at Wembley Stadium on Oct. 22 in a 4-1 loss against Tottenham.

In the 13 league games since then, Liverpool has won nine and drawn the other four. It is on a 17-match unbeaten run in all competitions.

Liverpool actually has a better win percentage without Coutinho than with him this season (66.70 percent from nine games he didn’t play, compared to 46.20 percent from 13 games he played), with the explosive front three of Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah, and Firmino still offering the team a threat up front.

Liverpool’s defensive resilience has been strengthened further by the arrival last week of center back Virgil van Dijk for $100 million, a world-record fee for a defender.

So, maybe a team known for its exhilarating attack under Klopp will actually become a more solid one with the absence of arguably its most flamboyant player. Liverpool has been linked with a move for Monaco’s Thomas Lemar and Leicester’s Riyad Mahrez as a replacement for Coutinho, but maybe there is no real necessity, especially with dynamic Guinea midfielder Naby Keita joining from Leipzig in the summer.

Asked about Keita amid speculation his move could be fast-tracked to this month, Leipzig coach Ralph Hasenhuettl said on Thursday: “The current situation is the same as it was all season — that there’s no reason for us to let Naby Keita go early.”

Coutinho has been a scourge of City in recent seasons, scoring winners at Anfield in 2014 and ’15, and being the driving force behind Liverpool’s thrilling 4-1 win over City at Etihad Stadium in November 2015.

City hasn’t triumphed at Anfield since Nicolas Anelka grabbed an injury-time winner against his former club in 2003, making Liverpool its hardest away trip in the Premier League.

A win or draw for Pep Guardiola’s side, which holds a 15-point lead, would remove the biggest remaining obstacle to an unbeaten league season that would match the achievement of Arsenal’s “Invincibles” from the 2003-04 season.

The absence of Coutinho this weekend will only help that quest.

___

WORLD SCORES: COURTESY OF LIVESCORE.COM

January 11
FT
Levante
Espanyol
FT
Sevilla
Cadiz
FT
Barcelona
Celta Vigo
January 11
FT
Moreirense
FC Porto
January 11
FT
Indonesia
Iceland
FT
Jordan
Finland
FT
Sweden
Denmark
FT
SC Heerenveen
Anderlecht U21
FT
Karabukspor
03
Altinordu
Aband.
Sanliurfaspor
??
Kayserispor
FT
Kapfenberger SV
Wolfsberger AC
FT
SKN St. Poelten
Karabakh Wien
FT
SC Heerenveen
00
Anderlecht
FT
Genk
Arminia Bielefeld
FT
Royal Antwerp
FC Torrevieja
FT
Sparta Rotterdam
Kaiserslautern
FT
Mattersburg
USV Scheiblingkirchen
FT
Atletico MG
Rangers
FT
San Lorenzo
Defensa y Justicia
January 11
FT
Atromitos
Asteras Tripolis
FT
Atletico de San Luis
Celaya
FT
Australia U23
Syria U23
FT
South Korea U23
Vietnam U23
FT
FC Goa
Jamshedpur
January 11
FT
Esteghlal Khuzestan
Padideh FC
FT
Naft Tehran
Tractor Sazi Tabriz
FT
Paykan
00
Sepidrood Rasht
January 11
FT
Al Fateh FC
Ohod
FT
Al Feiha
Al Nassr FC
FT
Hatta
Shabab Al-Ahli Dubai FC
FT
Al-Dhafra
Emirates Club
FT
Al-Nasr SC
Sharjah Cultural Club
FT
Greece U20
10
Slovakia U20

Tennis Roundup – Australian Open draw: Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic in same half

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MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Roger Federer found himself in a slightly awkward position before the Australian Open draw.

Just being there.

A few minutes later when the formalities were completed, Federer found out how difficult defending his title could be after landing in the same half as six-time champion Novak Djokovic.

“This is not normal,” Federer told a crowd of hundreds of fans before the draw on Thursday at Margaret Court Arena. “I don’t like usually going to draws because they freak me out. I don’t want to know who I play other than just seeing the sheet at the end and knowing who my first-round opponent is.”

First up, the 36-year-old Swiss will play Ajaz Bedene of Slovenia. He also has No. 7-ranked David Goffin, Juan Martin del Potro, Sam Querrey, and Milos Raonic in his quarter.

There’s a potential semifinal against Djokovic, who is aiming for a record seventh Australian Open title but is seeded 14th as he returns from six months on the sidelines with a right elbow injury.

Djokovic is in the same quarter as the Zverev brothers — fourth-seeded Alexander could meet older brother and No. 32-seeded Mischa in the third round — 2014 champion Stan Wawrinka, and No. 5 Dominic Thiem.

Federer beat Rafael Nadal in the final here last year on his return from six months on the sidelines and is seeded No. 2 as he bids for a 20th Grand Slam singles title.

Djokovic had a contrasting 2017, starting at No. 2 but losing in a second-round upset at the Australian Open and not playing again after Wimbledon. It was the first year since 2009 that Djokovic didn’t reach at least one Grand Slam final. He delayed his return until two exhibition appearances this week.

Top-ranked Nadal will open against Victor Estrella Burgos, has a potential fourth-round match against John Isner, and No. 3 Grigor Dimitrov in his half of the draw. He followed his run to the final in Melbourne by winning the French Open and U.S. Open, splitting the Grand Slam honors with Federer for the year.

Serena Williams has opted not to defend her title four months after giving birth to her first child, leaving the women’s draw open.

Her sister Venus, who lost the all-Williams Australian Open final last year, has a tough opener against Belinda Bencic — who combined with Federer to win the Hopman Cup for Switzerland last week — and is also in the same quarter as U.S. Open winner Sloane Stephens.

Top-ranked Simona Halep opens against Australian wild card Destanee Aiava, has a potential second-round match against 2014 Wimbledon finalist Eugenie Bouchard, and is in the same half as Garbine Muruguza, the Wimbledon champion.

Third-seeded Muguruza is in a difficult quarter containing former Australian Open champions Maria Sharapova and Angelique Kerber, and U.S. Open finalist Madison Keys.

Sharapova, who won the 2008 Australian title and reached three other finals at Melbourne Park, missed last year’s tournament during a 15-month suspension after a failed doping test here in 2016.

The five-time major winner finished 2017 ranked No. 60, meaning she missed out on a seeding for the Australian Open and could face 2016 champion Kerber in the third round.

“There’s no easy way to get to the top,” Sharapova told the crowd at Margaret Court Arena before the draw. “You always have to beat the top players in order to get to the top.”

Organizers defended the decision to invite Sharapova to appear as the representative for the women’s draw, with tournament director Craig Tiley saying the sanction was over and the 30-year-old Russian was there as a former champion.

Sharapova said after a long time out she had to be patient coming back to the tour, but was still confident of returning to the top ranking and winning major tournaments.

“The drive, I still have it. I certainly will hope I put myself in that position,” Sharapova said. “I put a lot of expectations on myself because I have been there, and I have delivered in those moments. I expect to continue to do so.”

___

SYDNEY (AP) — Former world No.1 Angelique Kerber continued her strong start to the season by advancing to the Sydney International semifinals with a 6-3, 6-1 win over Dominika Cibulkova on Thursday.

Kerber, who began last year at the top of the rankings before finishing at No. 22, won her seventh straight match of 2018, including four singles at the Hopman Cup last week.

“This start is not bad, for sure,” Kerber said.

Kerber will play Camila Giorgi in the semifinals. Giorgi beat defending champion Agnieszka Radwanska 6-1, 6-2.

Ashleigh Barty also advanced, 6-3, 6-2 over Barbora Strycova.

She will play fellow Australian Daria Gavrilova, who had a walkover win over Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza when the Spanish player withdrew from her quarterfinal with a right thigh injury.

In men’s quarterfinals, fourth-seeded Fabio Fognini beat No. 5 Adrian Mannarino 6-7 (4), 7-6 (4), 6-2, Daniil Medvedev defeated Paolo Lorenzi 6-3, 6-3, and Benoit Paire beat second-seeded Gilles Muller 6-4, 6-4.

___

HOBART, Australia (AP) — British qualifier Heather Watson won the first 11 games of the match in defeating Donna Vekic 6-0, 6-4 and advancing to the Hobart International semifinals on Thursday.

Leading 5-0 in the second set, Vekic won four games in a row before Watson clinched it.

“I knew she’d change something and swing freely because you’ve got nothing to lose at that point,” Watson said. “I just had to stick with her.”

Watson will play second-seeded and defending champion Elise Mertens after Mertens received a walkover when Monica Niculescu withdrew with a neck injury.

“I felt a creak in my neck, and I cannot move properly since,” Niculescu said of the injury sustained in her previous match. “I’m disappointed because I like this tournament.”

Mertens beat Niculescu in the Hobart final last year.

Fifth-seeded Lesia Tsurenko beat Aryna Sabalenka 6-1, 6-1 and will next play Mihaela Buzarnescu, who defeated Alison Riske 7-6 (5), 6-1 in a night quarterfinal.

___

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Top-ranked Rafael Nadal and defending champion Roger Federer have been seeded first and second for the Australian Open, meaning they can only play each other at Melbourne Park this month if they set up a rematch of last year’s final.

Federer was coming off an extended injury break and was seeded 17th at last year’s Australian Open when he beat Nadal, who was seeded ninth, in five sets in the final. Grigor Dimitrov, a semifinalist here last year, is seeded third and six-time champion Novak Djokovic — coming back from a six-month injury layoff — is 14th.

The seedings for the season’s first major tournament reflected the rankings in the both singles tournaments. The draw was scheduled for later Thursday.

Serena Williams decided not to defend her Australian title, saying that just four months after having her first child that her tennis hadn’t yet returned to a level where she felt could win a Grand Slam title.

Two-time French Open finalist Simona Halep, yet to win a major, is seeded No. 1 in the women’s draw, with Caroline Wozniacki at No. 2 and Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza at No. 3.

Venus Williams, who lost the Australian final to her younger sister Serena last year, is seeded fifth. French Open winner Jelena Ostapenko is seeded No. 7 and U.S. Open winner Sloane Stephens is No. 13.

NBA Roundup: Lauri Markkanen, Kris Dunn help Bulls outlast Knicks 122-119 in 2 OTs

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(PhatzRadio Sports / AP)    —    NEW YORK – Rookie Lauri Markkanen scored a season-high 33 points, Kris Dunn shook off a nightmarish shooting night to make the tiebreaking basket in the second overtime, and the Chicago Bulls beat the New York Knicks 122-119 on Wednesday night.

Dunn had missed 14 of his first 17 shots before banking in a runner with just under a minute left in the second extra period, and Markkanen finished it off by making two free throws with 6.8 seconds remaining.

Robin Lopez and Denzel Valentine each scored 20 points for the Bulls in their third narrow victory over the Knicks this season.

Michael Beasley 26 points and 12 rebounds off the bench for the Knicks, who lost for the eighth time in 10 games. Kristaps Porzingis finished with 24 points, including a dunk at the buzzer to force the second OT.

Jarrett Jack had 16 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists for the Knicks, but threw away a pass after coming up with a steal with the Knicks down two late in the second OT.

Clippers 125, Warriors 106

OAKLAND, Calif. – Lou Williams scored 27 of his career-high 50 points in the third quarter and Los Angeles beat Golden State for the first time in more than three years, spoiling a milestone night for Kevin Durant.

Williams shot 16 for 27 with a career-best eight 3-pointers and made all 10 of his free throws.

Durant became the 44th player in NBA history to score 20,000 career points, finishing with 40 as the Warriors had their five-game winning streak snapped along with a 12-game unbeaten stretch in the Clippers rivalry.

The NBA Finals MVP returned from a three-game absence due to a strained right calf and scored 25 points in the first half – KD’s biggest half of the season and the exact number he needed for 20,000.

Durant shot 14 for 18, including 6 of 7 from 3-point range. At age 29, he is the second-youngest player behind LeBron James to reach the 20,000 mark.

Rockets 121, Trail Blazers 112

HOUSTON – Chris Paul scored a season-high 37 points, and Eric Gordon added 30 as the Houston Rockets withstood a late run to get a win over the Portland Trail Blazers.

The Blazers used a big run to cut a 14-point deficit to three with about three minutes left. Houston responded with a 6-2 run, capped by a 3-pointer from Paul, to make it 111-104 about a minute later. Damian Lillard made a layup on the other end, but Paul cut through three defenders to make an off-balance layup to push the lead to 113-106.

The Blazers couldn’t get the ball in after a timeout, Houston got the ball back and Clint Capela added two free throws to secure the victory.

Lillard scored 29 in his return after missing the last two games with a strained right calf, and C.J. McCollum added 24 points as the Blazers saw a three-game winning streak snapped.

The Rockets won their second straight and improved to 3-2 in five games without James Harden, who is out for at least two weeks with a hamstring injury.

Heat 114, Pacers 106

INDIANAPOLIS – Goran Dragic scored 20 points and Wayne Ellington made the decisive 3-pointer with 23.2 seconds left, helping Miami fend off Indiana’s late push.

It’s the sixth straight win for the Heat. Miami also ended a 10-game road losing streak against the Pacers.

Victor Oladipo scored 26 points and Lance Stephenson provided a late boost of energy that nearly allowed Indiana to erase a 10-point deficit in the final 9:57. Stephenson wound up with 15 points, eight rebounds and four assists.

But when Ellington’s 3 bounced in rather than rolling off the rim as it appeared it would, Indiana’s comeback hopes were over. Ellington was one of three Miami players with 15 points.

Hassan Whiteside had 16 points and 15 rebounds to help snap the Pacers’ two-game winning streak.

Grizzlies 105, Pelicans 102

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Tyreke Evans scored 28 points, including a pair of free throws with 5.9 seconds left that helped the Memphis Grizzlies beat the New Orleans Pelicans.

Marc Gasol finished with 21 points and 10 rebounds for Memphis while JaMychal Green contributed 20 points and 14 rebounds.

After Evans’ foul shots, the Pelicans had a chance for a tie, but E’Twaun Moore’s 3-point attempt from the left wing bounced off the front of the rim.

DeMarcus Cousins had 29 points and eight rebounds. Moore had 16 points and Rajon Rondo had 14. Cousins was 2 of 10 from the field entering the fourth, but scored 14 points in the final quarter. He hit a trio of 3s as the Pelicans overcame an 11-point deficit.

Evans made four free throws in the final 61 seconds.

Jazz 107, Wizards 104

WASHINGTON – Ricky Rubio scored 21 points, Donovan Mitchell had 16 and the short-handed Utah Jazz completed a season sweep over the Washington Wizards.

Ekpe Udoh scored 16 points and Joe Johnson had 16 off the bench for the Jazz, who had lost 13 of 16 in between meetings with Washington. The Wizards were embarrassed 116-69 in Utah on Dec. 4.

Utah played without two starters, and second-leading scorer Rodney Hood was ejected in the second half.

John Wall had 35 points and 11 assists for the Wizards, but committed eight of their 23 turnovers. Bradley Beal had 23 points, but missed six of seven shots in the fourth quarter and lost the ball with 2.9 seconds remaining while attempting a game-tying 3-pointer.

Timberwolves 104, Thunder 88

MINNEAPOLIS – Jimmy Butler scored 26 points, grabbed seven rebounds and had eight assists for the Minnesota Timberwolves in a win against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Andrew Wiggins added 19 points, and Karl-Anthony Towns had 18 points and 12 rebounds as Minnesota pulled away in the second half to win its third game in a row at home and 10th in its last 13 overall.

Russell Westbrook had 38 points and 10 rebounds, but Paul George, Carmelo Anthony and the rest of the Thunder had a tough time shooting. Westbrook was 15 of 23 from the field, while his teammates were 17 of 56 (30.3 percent). Anthony scored 15 points on 5-of-19 shooting, while George finished 5 of 14 for 13 points for Oklahoma City, which has lost five of seven.

Hawks 110, Nuggets 97

DENVER – Dennis Schroder had 19 points and 10 assists, Taurean Prince scored 16 and Atlanta beat Denver to end a 10-game road losing streak.

Kent Bazemore scored 14 points and Ersan Ilyasova had 10 points and nine rebounds for the Hawks, who never trailed after the first quarter.

Atlanta (11-30) has the worst record in the NBA and entered the night tied for the fewest road wins. The Hawks posted their fourth road victory this season.

Denver had won 11 of 13 home games since early November.

Gary Harris had 25 points but was the only Nuggets player to shoot well from the field.

Mavericks 115, Hornets 111

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Harrison Barnes had 25 points and 11 rebounds, Yogi Ferrell made seven 3-pointers and scored 22 points and the Dallas Mavericks fended off fatigue to beat a fresh Charlotte Hornets team.

Dirk Nowitzki added 19 points for the Mavericks, and Dennis Smith Jr. had 15.

The Mavericks were playing their third game in four days, while the Hornets were coming off a four-day layoff. But Dallas showed no signs of wearing down in the fourth quarter, repeatedly thwarting Charlotte’s attempts to take the lead.

Kemba Walker had 41 points on 16-of-28 shooting for the Hornets. Dwight Howard had 15 points and 12 rebounds for Charlotte, but was an anemic 5 of 18 from the foul line – which proved costly in a close game.

Bucks 110, Magic 103

MILWAUKEE – Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 26 points, Khris Middleton added 22 and the Milwaukee Bucks turned up their defensive intensity after a porous first quarter to beat the Orlando Magic.

John Henson picked up his fifth double-double of the year with 14 points and 10 rebounds for the Bucks, who handed the Magic their sixth straight loss and 15th in their last 16.

Leading by 20 to start the fourth quarter, coach Jason Kidd was able to get some rest for Antetokounmpo and Eric Bledsoe (15 points) with the Golden State Warriors visiting Milwaukee on Friday night.

Evan Fournier had 21 points to lead Orlando, which cut the deficit to single digits during the closing minutes with reserves on the floor.

Pistons 114, Nets 80

NEW YORK – Andre Drummond scored 22 points and grabbed 20 rebounds, Tobias Harris had 22 points, and the Detroit Pistons blew past the Brooklyn Nets.

Dwight Buycks added 17 points for the Pistons.

Allen Crabbe scored 20 points and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson had 15 points for the Nets, who have lost three in a row.

Detroit took a 90-61 lead heading into the fourth quarter and led by as many as 40 points, 104-64, with 8:20 remaining.

NHL Roundup: Ryan Suter, Devan Dubnyk help Wild beat Blackhawks 2-1

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CHICAGO – Ryan Suter gave Minnesota the lead on a 4-on-4 early in the third period, Devan Dubnyk made 34 saves and the Wild held off the Chicago Blackhawks 2-1 on Wednesday night to end a two-game slide.

Jonas Brodin scored in the second period for Minnesota (23-17-4). The Wild pulled two points ahead of Chicago (21-16-6) in the tight Central Division and tussle for playoff spots in the Western Conference.

Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook, a healthy scratch in Chicago’s 8-2 win in Ottawa on Tuesday night, was back in the lineup and celebrated with his first goal since opening night.

Chicago’s Anton Forsberg made 25 saves in his third straight start.

The Blackhawks acquired winger Anthony Duclair and defenseman Adam Clendening from Arizona before the game in a trade for right wing Richard Panik and minor league forward Laurent Dauphin.

Senators 4, Maple Leafs 3

TORONTO – Tom Pyatt broke a tie with 3:05 left and Ottawa beat Toronto in the final game for both teams before their bye weeks.

Pyatt took a feed from Matt Duchene on a 3-on-1 – after Toronto defenseman Morgan Rielly got caught pinching at Ottawa’s blue line – and beat Frederik Andersen high to the blocker side.

Thomas Chabot, Mike Hoffman and Gabriel Dumont also scored to help the Senators rebound from an 8-2 home loss to Chicago on Tuesday night. Craig Anderson made 44 saves after being pulled against the Blackhawks. Andreas Borgman, James van Riemsdyk and Rielly scored for Toronto.

___

The league-leading Tampa Bay Lightning’s top performers will be on full display when the city hosts NHL All-Star Weekend later this month.

Top scorer Nikita Kucherov, goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy and defenseman Victor Hedman will join captain Steven Stamkos for the skills competition and 3-on-3 tournament Jan. 27 and 28 in Tampa, Florida. Kucherov has the most points in the league and Vasilevskiy the most victories in leading the Lightning to an NHL-best 65 points so far this season.

“It’s going to be a great showcase of a hockey city,” Stamkos said. “To be able to share that moment with them is going to be special, especially in front of our home fans who greatly deserve something like this and I’m sure we’ll put on a great show.”

With four players on the Atlantic Division team, Tampa Bay has the most representation for the showcase event. The Los Angeles Kings will send three players to Tampa: center Anze Kopitar, defenseman Drew Doughty and goalie Jonathan Quick. The league announced the full All-Star rosters on Wednesday as selected by the NHL’s hockey operations department.

Sidney Crosby and Kris Letang of the defending Stanley Cup-champion Pittsburgh Penguins were added to the Metropolitan Division team that also includes Washington Capitals winger Alex Ovechkin and goalie Braden Holtby. New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist was selected to his fourth All-Star Weekend, and Florida Panthers center Aleksander Barkov will head to his first.

“Sasha has earned the right to be counted among the league’s elite,” Panthers general manager Dale Tallon said. “A cornerstone of our franchise, he is among the game’s most exceptional two-way players and is incredibly deserving of this honor.”

The surprise Vegas Golden Knights got two All-Stars: goalie Marc-Andre Fleury and winger James Neal. The expansion franchise is atop the Pacific Division with the most success so far of any NHL team in its inaugural season.

“There could have been a lot of guys from this team that got to go,” Fleury said. “We’ve got so many guys stepping up throughout the season. (Jonathan Marchessault) has 40 points right now. That’s awesome. William Karlsson has scored so many important goals for our team. (Backup goalie Malcolm) Subban has been playing great in net, too. I wish the other guys could do this, too, and be a part of it.”

Reigning Hart Trophy winner Connor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers is also on the Pacific Division roster along with Calgary Flames winger Johnny Gaudreau. Nashville Predators goalie Pekka Rinne earned his third All-Star spot, all since 2015, and joins teammate P.K. Subban on the Central Division team.

Vancouver Canucks winger Brock Boeser, who’s tied for fifth in the NHL with 22 goals, is the only rookie and the youngest All-Star at age 20. Boeser said he’ll “be pretty quiet around those types of guys” at All-Star Weekend.

“(It’s) deserving,” Canucks coach Travis Green said “He’s had a lot of good things happen to him this year. He’s a humble kid.”

The two Eastern and Western Conference teams will play each other in the semifinals of the 3-on-3 tournament with the winners facing off for $1 million.

“I kind of felt like it was not super intense the last time when we were doing it,” said Arizona Coyotes All-Star defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson, who will be making his second appearance but his first with the 3-on-3 format. “I watched this past year and it seemed like everybody was skating hard and was playing really hard. I’m super-excited. I kind of like playing 3-on-3 too, so I think it’ll be a good time.”

All 31 teams must have at least one representative with the divisional teams limited to six forwards, three defensemen and two goalies.

___

AP Sports Writer Teresa M. Walker in Nashville, Tennessee, contributed to this report.

___

Follow Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SWhyno

___

More NHL hockey: https://apnews.com/tag/NHLhockey

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