BC-AP Sports Digest
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. —Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints still have one of the league’s top-scoring offenses, but lately it’s the defense that’s been carrying the NFL’s most complete team. On a night when Brees and the offense couldn’t get much going and made some uncharacteristic mistakes, New Orleans put the clamps on Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers in a 12-9 victory on Monday night, moving the Saints into position to lock up home-field advantage in the NFC playoffs. By Steve Reed. SENT: 970 words, photos.
— FBN--PANTHERS-NEWTON’S SHOULDER — By Steve Reed. SENT: 730 words, photos.
FBN--SAINTS-GRINDING IT OUT
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — On a night when the offense was stuck in neutral, the New Orleans Saints still found a way to grind out a win against Carolina behind their ever-improving defense. That could bode well as the Saints prepare to make a run at the Super Bowl. By Steve Reed. UPCOMING. 500 words, photos by 4 a.m.
OAKLAND, Calif. — Stephen Curry missed his first three tries from deep, got a little frustrated and forgot about the 10 points he needed for another major milestone. Curry had 20 points and seven rebounds while adding another accomplishment to his long list, leading the Golden State Warriors past the Memphis Grizzlies 110-93 on Monday night. Curry became just the fifth player in Warriors history to score 15,000 points during the regular season By Janie McCauley. SENT: 700 words, photos.
FBC--T25-AP COACH OF THE YEAR
Notre Dame’s Brian Kelly is the AP’s college football Coach of the Year and the third coach to win the award twice since it was established in 1998. He beats out Alabama’s Nick Saban and Central Florida’s Josh Heupel. Kelly was also coach of the year in 2012. By College Football Writer Ralph D. Russo. SENT: 550 words, photos.
GREENVILLE, S.C — Furman forward Clay Mounce poses a simple question in the team video before the Paladins take the court for each home game: “Haven’t you heard of us?” That might soon change. The undefeated Paladins have beaten half of last year’s Final Four — Villanova and Loyola-Chicago. By Pete Iacobelli. SENT: 800 words, photos.
FBN--BEHIND THE CALL
DENVER — Broncos coach Vance Joseph insists not going for it on fourth-and-1 deep in Browns territory was the right call. But it came after he had publicly needled his quarterback for not being aggressive enough. And it backfired when subsequent dubious decisions by the Broncos sealed their 17-16 loss that knocked them out of the playoff chase. By Football Writer Arnie Stapleton. UPCOMING: 900 words, photos by 3 a.m.
LAKE FOREST, Ill. —Coach Matt Nagy is saving the big celebrations for later. He opted instead to spend “quality time” at home with his four sons, ate sushi, consumed “one beverage” and kept his eyes on the prizes still out there after the Chicago Bears clinched the NFC North. By Andrew Seligman. SENT: 750 words, photos.
PITTSBURGH —Joe Haden saw the ball floating toward him, Rob Gronkowski bearing down on him, stretched out every inch of his 5-foot-11 frame and hoped for the best. For once, the first time in a while, the best actually happened for the erratic Pittsburgh Steelers defense. By Will Graves. SENT: 780 words, photos.
THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. — Losing consecutive games for the first time as coach of the Los Angeles Rams hasn’t dampened Sean McVay’s sense of humor. McVay joked he hasn’t paid attention to the media coverage of Sunday night’s 30-23 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles “because I don’t want you guys to hurt my feelings.” Instead, McVay is concerned with getting the Rams out of their first prolonged slump in his two seasons. By Dan Greenspan. SENT: 650 words, photos.
— FBN--REVIVED VIKINGS — By Pro Football Writer Dave Campbell. SENT: 730 words, photos.
— FBN--SLOPPY SEAHAWKS — By Tim Booth. SENT: 770 words, photos.
It took less than two weeks as general manager of the Philadelphia Flyers for Chuck Fletcher to see what he needed to see with coach Dave Hakstol. By Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno. SENT: 870 words, photos.
— HKN--BLACKHAWKS-CRAWFORD INJURED — SENT: 130 words, photos.
HOUSTON — Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni has witnessed James Harden have the only 60-point triple-double in NBA history, lead Houston to the Western Conference finals and win his first MVP award. But what Harden has done for the previously underperforming Rockets in the last three games has topped anything the veteran coach has seen from his superstar player. By Kristie Rieken. SENT: 990 words, photos.
DENVER —The topic: Denver leading the Western Conference and whether teams are starting to take the Nuggets more seriously. The look from Nikola Jokic: Nearly expressionless. The Joker doesn’t jest about this subject. By Pat Graham. SENT: 760 words, photos.
INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana Pacers have hired Kelly Krauskopf as their new assistant general manager, making her the first woman in league history to hold the title. Krauskopf has a long history with the franchise. SENT: 470 words, photos.
— BKN--THUNDER-DONOVAN — SENT: 140 words, photos.
ATHENS, Ga. —A year ago, Georgia was getting ready for the College Football Playoff. Now, it feels like the Bulldogs are preparing for the Letdown Bowl. By Paul Newberry. SENT: 940 words, photos.
— FBC--BOCA RATON BOWL PREVIEW CAPSULE — SENT: 400 words.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Vanderbilt used a 12-day break for final exams to figure out how to play without freshman Darius Garland. Saben Lee scored 14 points to lead five players in double figures and sharp-shooting Vanderbilt beat No. 18 Arizona State 81-65 on Monday night. By Teresa M. Walker. SENT: 750 words, photos.
BKC--T25-TOP 25 THIS WEEK
The days leading up to Christmas are full of tests for some of the nation’s top teams. Among them, top-ranked Kansas and No. 14 Buffalo hit the road to face ranked opponents as part of the week’s AP Top 25 schedule. By Basketball Writer Aaron Beard. UPCOMING: 710 words, photos by 3 a.m.
MILWAUKEE — There have been times when guard Markus Howard can’t tell Marquette teammates Sam and Joey Hauser apart. They have similar builds and games, along with a familiarity on the floor that comes with playing a lot of basketball together. The brotherly bond has given a boost to the 20th-ranked Golden Eagles, who are off to an 8-2 start while weathering nonconference tests. By Genaro C. Armas. UPCOMING: 620 words, photos by 3 a.m.
— BKC--COLLEGE BKB POLL — By Basketball Writer Aaron Beard. SENT: 700 words, photos.
— BKW--WOMEN’S BKB POLL — By Basketball Writer Doug Feinberg. SENT: 300 words, photos.
BALTIMORE —Orioles general manager Mike Elias and new manager Brandon Hyde spoke excitedly Monday about working together to build the struggling franchise into a winner again. Hired last month to oversee a massive rebuilding project, Elias immediately set out to find a manager that could develop young, inexperienced talent into solid major league players. Elias settled on Hyde, the bench coach of the Cubs. By David Ginsburg. SENT: 690 words, photos.
— BBA--ASTROS-BRANTLEY — By Kristie Rieken. SENT: 150 words, photos.
— BBA--YANKEES-SABATHIA GETS BONUS — By Baseball Writer Ronald Blum. SENT: 400 words, photos.
— BBO--NATIONALS-INDIANS TRADE — SENT: 100 words.
— BBA--YANKEES-HAPP — SENT: 150 words, photos.
SELVA DI VAL GARDENA, Italy — The skier-snowboarder who stunned just about everyone by winning the Olympic super-G is finding her groove again. Ester Ledecka led the second training session for a World Cup downhill only two days after winning a parallel giant slalom in snowboarding. By Andrew Dampf. SENT: 650 words, photos.
— SKI--WCUP-MEN’S PARALLEL GS — SENT: 370 words, photos.
SOC--MLS PLAYOFFS SHORTENED
Major League Soccer is shortening its season by a month, going to single-elimination playoffs and scheduling the 2019 MLS Cup final for Nov. 10 in its earliest finish since 2002. By Anne M. Peterson. SENT: 380 words, photos.
— SOC--GALAXY-IBRAHIMOVIC — By Anne. M. Peterson. SENT: 340 words, photos.
— SOC --MLS-DALLAS-COACH — SENT: 180 words.
— FBO--HALL OF FAME PRESIDENT — By Football Writer Barry Wilner. SENT: 400 words.
— BKN--NBA CAPSULES
— HKN--NHL CAPSULES
— BKC--T25-TOP 25 CAPSULES
— BKW--T25-TOP 25 CAPSULES
Tuesday Time Schedule (EST)
Boca Raton (Fla.) Bowl: UAB vs. North Illinois, 7 p.m.
Cleveland at Indiana, 7 p.m.
L.A. Lakers at Brooklyn, 7:30 p.m.
Washington at Atlanta, 7:30 p.m.
Dallas at Denver, 9 p.m.
Florida at Buffalo, 7 p.m.
Detroit at Philadelphia, 7 p.m.
Toronto at New Jersey, 7 p.m.
Anaheim at N.Y. Rangers, 7 p.m.
San Jose at Minnesota, 8 p.m.
Calgary at Dallas, 8:30 p.m.
Nashville at Chicago, 8:30 p.m.
St. Louis at Edmonton, 9 p.m.
N.Y. Islanders at Arizona, 9 p.m.
Tampa Bay at Vancouver, 10 p.m.
Winnipeg at Los Angeles, 10:30 p.m.
TOP 25 BASKETBALL
No. 1 Kansas vs. South Dakota, 8 p.m.
No. 2 Duke vs. Princeton, 6 p.m.
No. 8 Gonzaga vs. UT Arlington, 9 p.m.
No. 14 Buffalo at Syracuse, 8 p.m.
No. 15 Ohio State vs. Youngstown State, 7 p.m.
No. 20 Marquette vs. North Dakota, 9 p.m.
No. 23 Iowa vs. Western Carolina, 9 p.m.
No. 4 Mississippi State at No. 7 Oregon, 10 p.m.
No. 8 Stanford at No. 9 Tennessee, 6 p.m.
No. 18 Kentucky vs. Western Carolina, 7 p.m.