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BC-AP Sports Digest

December 20, 2018
BC-AP Sports Digest,1486

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Broadcaster Ernie Johnson gives a behind-the-scenes look at “Inside the NBA” colleague Charles Barkley in the latest episode of PodcastOne Sports Now co-hosted by the AP’s Jim Litke and Tim Dahlberg. Listen at podcastonesports.com, the podcastone app and apple podcasts. https://www.podcastone.com/ap-sports-weekly-podcast

TOP STORIES

OLY--CONGRESS-SEX ABUSE

A congressional review of the U.S. Olympic system’s handling of sex-abuse cases criticizes a culture that protected reputation and image over athlete safety. The report acknowledges the changes since Larry Nassar’s crimes were exposed, but it criticizes the lack of conformity among the USOC’s sports organizations. By National Writer Eddie Pells. SENT: 450 words, photos.

FBN--PATRIOTS-GORDON

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Patriots receiver Josh Gordon says he is leaving football to focus on his mental health. He tweets his thanks to the Patriots for their support and vows to come back. Gordon has been suspended multiple times by the NFL for drug violations. By Kyle Hightower. SENT: 500 words, photos.

FBC--CFP-CLEMSON-EXPERIENCE MATTERS

CLEMSON, S.C. — Clemson All-American tackle Christian Wilkins is prepping for his fourth appearance in the College Football Playoff and probably knows his coach’s practice plans better than they do. The No. 2 Tigers certainly have the edge on experience over No. 3 Notre Dame at Cotton Bowl. By Pete Iacobelli. SENT: 600 words, photos.

BKN--STREAKING NETS

NEW YORK — Two weeks ago, the Nets were without their leading scorer and couldn’t win close games. They had dropped eight in a row, seemingly headed for another lost season. Now they’ve won seven straight and what once seemed a certain lottery appearance might just be a playoff one. By Basketball Writer Brian Mahoney. SENT: 700 words, photos.

BKC--GEORGIA-CREAN’S CHALLENGE

ATHENS, Ga. — Tom Crean knows college football is king in this part of the country. Then again, the former Indiana coach sees nothing to prevent him from building a basketball powerhouse at Georgia. By Paul Newberry. SENT: 900 words, photos.

NFL

FBN--NFL THIS WEEK

For inter-conference matchups in the season’s next-to-last week, the NFL couldn’t have done much better: Pittsburgh at New Orleans, Houston at Philadelphia, Kansas City at Seattle, and Washington at Tennessee — all with significant playoff implications. By Pro Football Writer Barry Wilner. UPCOMING: 1,700 words, photos by 4 p.m. For weekend use.

FBN--TEXANS-HOPKINS’ HANDS

HOUSTON — DeAndre Hopkins believes if a ball comes near him he should catch it. That belief has led to some amazing catches, and lately he seems to make at least one a game. All of which has helped the Texans turn around their season and leave them one win from clinching the AFC South. By Kristie Rieken. UPCOMING: 600 words, photos by 6 p.m.

FBN--SEAHAWKS-BALDWIN

RENTON, Wash. — Doug Baldwin has spent eight years in the NFL, establishing himself as one of the better players on elite teams. He’s been fortunate to have gotten this far without a season undercut by injuries — until now. By Tim Booth. UPCOMING: 650 words, photos by 6 p.m.

FBN--COWBOYS-FREDERICK’S HEADSET

FRISCO, Texas — Cowboys center Travis Frederick has known for a while that a nerve disorder would end up sidelining him all season. He’s tried to help in other ways, doing what he can for an offensive line hit by injuries. By Pro Football Writer Schuyler Dixon. UPCOMING: 650 words, photos by 8 p.m.

— Also:

— FBN--INSIDE THE NUMBERS — By Football Writer Rob Maaddi. SENT: 450 words, photos.

— FBN--LINDSAY’S RISE — By Football Writer Arnie Stapleton. SENT: 700 words, photos.

— FBN--BROKEN BRONCOS — By Pat Graham. UPCOMING: 500 words by 7 p.m.

— FBN--PACKERS’ PURSUIT — By Genaro C. Armas. UPCOMING: 600 words, photos by 5 p.m.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL

Men:

BKC--T25-TEXAS TECH-DUKE

NEW YORK -- No. 2 Duke plays No. 12 Texas Tech at Madison Square Garden. Texas Tech is undefeated and its tough defense is certain to be tested by a high-scoring Blue Devils team led by Zion Williamson and RJ Barrett. By Dan Gelston. UPCOMING: 650 words, photos. Game starts 7 p.m.

BKC--SYRACUSE SKID

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — His head buried in a hoodie after a second straight home loss, Syracuse point guard Frank Howard could barely be heard answering questions. The Orange were ranked No. 16 in preseason but are now 7-4. Says coach Jim Boeheim: “Our record is what you are.” By John Kekis. SENT: 600 words, photos.

Women:

BKW--T25-TENNESSEE-WESTBROOK’S RISE

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Evina Westbrook is having a breakthrough sophomore season now that she’s healthy again and has revamped her shot. She is the first Tennessee player since Candace Parker to score 20-plus points in four straight games. By Steve Megargee. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos by 5 p.m.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

FBC--CFP-ALABAMA-HURTS’ POPULARITY

TUSCALOOSA, Ala — They cheered Jalen Hurts when he picked up his diploma and applauded his every big play this season. Sometimes, Alabama fans gave their backup quarterback a nice hand for even stepping on the field — especially for his fifth game, which assured he wasn’t aiming to redshirt. By John Zenor. SENT: 700 words, photos.

FBC--GASPARILLA BOWL

TAMPA, Fla. — Marshall tries to remain unbeaten in bowl games under coach Doc Holliday when the Thundering Herd face South Florida in the Gasparilla Bowl. USF opened the season 7-0, but lost five straight down the stretch and is a slight underdog despite playing in its home stadium. UPCOMING: 600 words, photos. Game starts 8 p.m.

— Bowl Preview Capsules (Friday Games):

— Bahamas Bowl — Toledo vs. Florida International at Nassau, Bahamas. SENT: 350 words.

— Potato Bowl — Western Michigan vs. BYU at Boise, Idaho. SENT: 400 words, photos.

SKIING

SKI--WCUP-MEN’S SLALOM

SAALBACH-HINTERGLEMM, Austria — Marcel Hirscher wins a slalom for his 63rd career victory. The only ones with more wins than the seven-time overall champion are Ingemar Stenmark (86) and Lindsey Vonn (82). Hirscher has won nine of the last 10 World Cup slaloms. SENT: 550 words, photos.

— Also:

— SKI--GISIN CRASH — After brother’s crash, Olympic champion Michelle Gisin skips World Cup races. SENT: 200 words, photos.

LAW

HKN--SENATORS-TRIAL

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Former Ottawa Senators assistant general manager Randy Lee pleads guilty to harassing a 19-year-old male hotel shuttle driver. Lee was suspended by the Senators in June and resigned in August after 23 years with the team. By Hockey Writer John Wawrow. SENT: 450 words, photos. UPCOMING: 600 words, photos by 5 p.m.

— TYSON DAY-DAUGHTER KILLED — Four men sentenced in 2016 slaying of Olympic track star Tyson Gay’s teenage daughter. SENT: 150 words.

SOCCER

— SOC--US ROSTER — U.S. captain Michael Bradley called for team’s first training camp under new coach. By Ronald Blum. SENT: 250 words. UPCOMING: 500 words, photos by 4 p.m. With roster list.

— SOC--EUROPEAN SOCCER WEEKEND — Manchester United plays its first game under manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on Saturday. SENT: 600 words, photos.

— SOC--FIFA RANKINGS — Belgium edges France for No. 1 year-end ranking; U.S. is 25th. SENT: 130 words, photos.

OTHER

— BKN--NBA-INDIA — NBA to play for first time in India, with two Pacers-Kings exhibition games in October. SENT: 140 words.

— OLY--ALLYSON FELIX-BABY — Sprint champion Allyson Felix is a mom; preemie girl doing fine. SENT: 120 words.

CAPSULES

— BKN--NBA CAPSULES

— HKN--NHL CAPSULES

— BKC--T25-TOP 25 CAPSULES

— BKW--T25-TOP 25 CAPSULES

___

Thursday Time Schedule (EST)

NBA

Houston at Miami, 8 p.m.

Dallas at L.A. Clippers, 10:30 p.m.

NHL

Minnesota at Pittsburgh, 7 p.m.

Detroit at Carolina, 7 p.m.

Anaheim at Boston, 7 p.m.

New Jersey at Columbus, 7 p.m.

Florida at Toronto, 7 p.m.

Nashville at Philadelphia, 7 p.m.

Chicago at Dallas, 8:30 p.m.

Montreal at Arizona, 9 p.m.

Tampa Bay at Calgary, 9 p.m.

St. Louis at Vancouver, 10 p.m.

N.Y. Islanders at Vegas, 10 p.m.

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

College Football

Gasparilla Bowl: Marshall vs. South Florida, 8 p.m.

College Basketball (Top 25)

Men

No. 2 Duke vs. No. 12 Texas Tech at New York, 7 p.m.

No. 21 Houston vs. Utah State, 8 p.m.

Women

No. 3 Louisville at Central Michigan, 7 p.m.

No. 4 Mississippi State at Washington, 10 p.m.

No. 5 Maryland at Delaware, 3 p.m.

No. 7 Oregon vs. Air Force, 2 p.m.

No. 11 Oregon State vs. Duke, 10 p.m.

No. 12 Texas at Texas-Rio Grande Valley, 8 p.m.

No. 17 Arizona State vs. Fresno State, 4 p.m.

No. 20 DePaul at Loyola of Chicago, 8 p.m.

No. 21 Gonzaga vs. Idaho, 9 p.m.

No. 22 Michigan State vs. Florida Atlantic, 7 p.m.

No. 24 Miami vs. Vanderbilt at Winter Park, Fla., 8:30 p.m.

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