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BC-AP Sports Digest,1st Ld-Writethru

December 27, 2018
BC-AP Sports Digest, 1st Ld-Writethru,2031


The supervisor is Bob Lentz, followed by Fred Lief at 9 a.m. The New York sports desk can be reached at 800-845-8450, ext. 1630. Sports photos, ext. 1918; graphics, ext. 7636; agate, ext. 1635. For up-to-the-minute information on AP’s coverage, visit Coverage Plan at https://newsroom.ap.org For access to AP Newsroom and other technical issues, contact AP Customer Support at apcustomersupport(at)ap.org or 877-836-9477. All times EST.

Gracious winners, brave losers and a homecoming queen with a kick top the list of PodcastOne Sports Now’s most heart-warming moments of 2018. Sister Jean, the 99-year-old nun who stole the show at the Final Four, recounts Loyola’s improbable run to the Final Four and reminds us what we like most about sports. Listen at podcastonesports.com, the podcastone app and apple podcasts. https://www.podcastone.com/ap-sports-weekly-podcast



DALLAS — Clemson and Notre Dame weren’t even a month into this season when both made unexpected quarterback switches. The Tigers and Fighting Irish were undefeated with senior quarterbacks who had won a lot of games. Even though neither was injured, their coaches decided to make a change. Now they are going head-to-head in a College Football Playoff semifinal at the Cotton Bowl — true freshman quarterback Trevor Lawrence and the third-ranked Tigers against Ian Book and the third-ranked Fighting Irish. By Stephen Hawkins. UPCOMING. 800 words, photos by 3 a.m.


— FBC--T25-CFP-SEMIFINALS — UPCOMING: 150 words by 7 a.m.


MIAMI —Danny Green slipped to the right corner, somehow forgotten by the Miami Heat. He made them pay. Kawhi Leonard scored 30 points, Green’s 3-pointer with 22.7 seconds left — a wide-open one — became the gamewinner, and the Toronto Raptors improved the NBA’s best record to 26-10 by topping the Heat 106-104 on Wednesday night. Toronto has now won three games this season when trailing by 17 points. By Basketball Writer Tim Reynolds. SENT: 770 words, photos.


Getting a Twitter follow from Travis Kelce was one of the major accomplishments this season for San Francisco 49ers second-year tight end George Kittle. Now heading into the final game of the season, Kittle is in a battle for Kelce in a race for the most productive season ever for a tight end. By Pro Football Writer Josh Dubow. UPCOMING: 900 words by 3 a.m.


Serena Williams has been voted Associated Press Female Athlete of the Year for the fifth time. Williams reached the finals at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open after a remarkable return to tennis. That came after she needed four surgeries after developing blood clots after giving birth to her daughter. Williams trails only six-time winner Babe Didrikson Zaharias for most AP honors among women. By Brian Mahoney. SENT: 800 words, photos.



Terry Bradshaw thought his career as a football analyst was over in 1993 when CBS lost the NFL rights to Fox. Instead of going back to cattle ranching, he has had a front-row seat to the biggest sports broadcasting story of the past quarter century. The score box, audio that brings viewers closer to the game, the one-hour pregame show and giving a big production feel to sporting events. All of that was put in motion 25 years ago this month when Fox won rights to broadcast NFL games for $1.6 billion over four years. By Joe Reedy. UPCOMING: 1000 words, photos by 3 a.m.



NEW YORK (AP) — Kemba Walker had the Nets down and almost out, and they turned to a gimmick defense to force the ball out of his hands. Somebody else on the Charlotte Hornets was going to have to make the winning play, and Malik Monk tried. It turned into the winning play for the Nets. By Basketball Writer Brian Mahoney. SENT: 810 words, photos.


— BKN--LAKERS-JAMES — SENT: 200 words, photos.



METAIRIE, La. — Saints 2016 first-round draft choice Sheldon Rankins could sit out this Sunday and still finish with the best single-season statistics of his career. He has been arguably New Orleans’ most improved player, and his emergence has helped the Saints capture the top seed in the NFC playoffs. By Brett Martel. UPCOMING: 650 words, photos by 3 a.m.


For all the excitement over the likes of Patrick Mahomes and Baker Mayfield, two of the baby-faced, new-age quarterbacks bringing their spread DNA from college towns to NFL cities, old standbys had a major say in the playoff pecking order. Such guys as Aaron Donald, J.J. Watt, Khalil Mack, Travis Kelce, Kyle Fuller, and Adam Vinatieri. By Pro Football Writer Arnie Stapleton. SENT: 800 words, photos. Part of a series of season-ending NFL stories.


KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The one constant all season for the Kansas City Chiefs has been the one thing that nobody was certain about entering the season: Patrick Mahomes. By Dave Skretta. SENT: 760 words, photos.


OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Lamar Jackson gets most of the headlines, yet he’s merely one of several rookies whose contributions have brought the Ravens to the cusp of a playoff berth as AFC North champions. By David Ginsburg. SENT: 700 words, photos.


HOUSTON — The Houston Texans are the sixth team since 1980 to make the postseason after a 0-3 start. As the Texans prepare to wrap up the regular season with a visit from the Jaguars and prepare for the postseason, here’s a look at the other teams who reached the playoffs after 0-3 starts. By Kristie Rieken. SENT: 1,000 words, photos.


— BC-FBN--IMPROVING BEARS — By Andrew Seligman. SENT: 820 words, photos.

— FBN--TITANS-MARIOTA — By Pro Football Writer Teresa M. Walker. SENT: 590 words, photos.

— FBN--CARDINALS-SWEARINGER. By Bob Baum. SENT: 840 words, photos.

— FBN--GIANTS-MANNING — By Tom Canavan. SENT: 720 words, photos.

— FBN--PRO PICKS — By Pro Football Writer Barry Wilner. SENT: 670 words, graphic.

— FBN--POWER RANKINGS — By Simmi Buttar. SENT: 520 words, photos.



FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray and Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa were on the awards circuit with one another earlier this month. Fitting, then, that they’ll share another stage Saturday, when the star quarterbacks face off in the Orange Bowl for a berth in the national championship game. By Tim Reynolds. SENT: 650 words, photos.


— FBC--CFP--COTTON BOWL-WIMBUSH — By Stephen Hawkins. SENT: 420 words, photo.

— FBC--CFP--COTTON BOWL-DEXTER LAWRENCE — by College Football Writer Ralph D. Russo. SENT: 420 words, photo.


DALLAS —As the offenses hum along, defensive coordinator has become the toughest job in college football, often the targets for frustrated fans whose teams just can’t seem to get a stop. By College Football Writer Ralph D. Russo. SENT: 1,000 words, photos.


EUGENE, Ore. — Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert says he’ll return for his senior season. Herbert announced his decision before the Ducks left Eugene for the Redbox Bowl. SENT: 250 words, photo.

Thursday Games:


SHREVEPORT, La. — Duke and Temple meet for the first time on the football field when they play in the Independence Bowl. The Blue Devils are trying to end the season with a positive after a disappointing last half of the year. Temple is trying to earn its ninth win despite losing coach Geoff Collins to Georgia Tech after the regular season. By David Brandt. SENT: 750 words, photos. With capsule.


NEW YORK —Wisconsin and Miami followed much of the same dreary path that started in the warmth of the Orange Bowl and ends with a frigid thud at Yankee Stadium. By Dan Gelston. SENT: 710 words, photos. With capsule.


HOUSTON —Baylor made an impressive turnaround this season, winning six games after managing just one win in 2017. The Bears (6-6) will try to cap their successful year with one more victory Thursday when they meet Vanderbilt (6-6) in the Texas Bowl. By Kristie Rieken. SENT: 700 words.

Wednesday Games:


PHOENIX — TCU swapped kickers after California called a timeout at the end of regulation — and missed. Faced with a similar decision in overtime, the Horned Frogs stuck with their original kicker. Jonathan Song delivered on his second-chance kick, ending a strange night in the desert. By John Marshall. SENT: 820 words, phoots.


— FBC--CHEEZ-IT BOWL-HAWKINS’ IMPACT — SENT: 430 words, photos.


DETROIT —Mohamed Ibrahim took full advantage of holes his teammates created to burst through the line or get to the outside. And when defenders were in Ibrahim’s way, he simply lowered his shoulder to run over them. Ibrahim ran for career-high 224 yards and two touchdowns, leading Minnesota to a 34-10 victory over Georgia Tech on Wednesday night in the Quick Lane Bowl. By Larry Lage. SENT: 760 words, photos.


DALLAS —No. 23 Boise State’s first appearance at historic Cotton Bowl Stadium turned into what is believed to be the first bowl game called off because of weather. The SERVPRO First Responder Bowl between the Broncos and Boston College was canceled because of the threat of severe weather after a delay of nearly 1 1/2 hours Wednesday. By Schuyler Dixon. SENT: 530 words, photos.



LAWRENCE, Kan. — Kansas State was supposed to have the best chance of ending Kansas’ run of consecutive Big 12 titles. Then, the Wildcats lost preseason player of the year Dean Wade to an injury. Can they still give the Jayhawks a run? Or can someone else step up? By Dave Skretta. SENT: 770 words, photos.


The Big Ten’s expanded schedule is shaping up to be quite a grind now that the league has six teams in the Top 25. Big Ten men’s basketball teams are playing 20 conference games each this season. By Noah Trister. SENT: 820 words, photos.

— Previews for the SEC and ACC (Thursday) and Pac-12 (Friday) are moving later in the week.


— FBC--ROSE BOWL ARRIVAL — SENT: 670 words, photos.



LOS ANGELES — Sigi Schmid, the winningest coach in MLS history, has died. He was 65. Schmid’s family said he died Tuesday at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. Schmid was hospitalized three weeks ago as he awaited a heart transplant. SENT: 430 words, photos.


LONDON — Liverpool looks to maintain its four-point lead at the top of the Premier League by beating Newcastle at Anfield. Second-placed Manchester City travels to Leicester, while third-placed Tottenham hosts Bournemouth at Wembley. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer takes charge of a home game for the first time as Manchester United coach when his side takes on Huddersfield. By Tony Jimenez. SENT: 700 words, photos. With separates on Wednesday’s nine EPL games.



LAS VEGAS — In the heart of college-football mad Mississippi, a Native American tribe earlier this year became the first to open a sports book on tribal lands outside Nevada following a landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling. Tribes cheered the end of a ban on sports betting, but months later, only two tribes have opened sports books as the regulatory challenges and low-margin nature of the business have prompted them to carefully weigh whether their casinos truly need the amenity. By Regina Garcia Cano. SENT: 1,000 words, photos.




Thursday Time Schedule (EST)


Boston at Houston, 8 p.m.

New York at Milwaukee, 8 p.m.

L.A. Lakers at Sacramento, 10 p.m.

Philadelphia at Utah, 10:30 p.m.

Portland at Golden State, 10:30 p.m.


New Jersey at Boston, 7 p.m.

Columbus at N.Y. Rangers, 7 p.m.

Detroit at Pittsburgh, 7 p.m.

Carolina at Washington, 7 p.m.

Philadelphia at Tampa Bay, 7:30 p.m.

Buffalo at St. Louis, 8 p.m.

Calgary at Winnipeg, 8 p.m.

Dallas at Nashville, 8 p.m.

Minnesota at Chicago, 8:30 p.m.

Vancouver at Edmonton, 9 p.m.

Colorado at Vegas, 10 p.m.

Anaheim at San Jose, 10:30 p.m.

Arizona at Los Angeles, 10:30 p.m.


Independence Bowl at Shreveport, La.: Temple vs. Duke, 1:30 p.m.

Pinstripe Bowl at New York: Miami vs. Wisconsin, 5:15 p.m.

Texas Bowl at Houston: Baylor vs. Vanderbilt, 9 p.m.

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