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BC-AP Sports Digest,1st Ld-Writethru

December 21, 2018
BC-AP Sports Digest, 1st Ld-Writethru,1711

Eds: Resending.

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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

GYM--DOCTOR-SEXUAL ASSAULT

DETROIT — A special prosecutor accuses Michigan State of stonewalling his investigation into the school’s handling of the sexual abuse scandal involving disgraced former sports doctor Larry Nassar and calls for “top-down cultural change” at the school. By Jeff Karoub. SENT: 650 words, photos.

BBO--SALARIES

The average major league salary dropped this year for the first time since 2004, the AP learns from the players’ union. It is only the fourth time that has happened since record-keeping started 50 years ago. The union says its final average was almost $4.1 million, down more than $1,400 from last year. By Baseball Writer Ronald Blum. SENT: 300 words, photos.

FBN--PICK 6-BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENTS

Jon Gruden’s return to Oakland was a big offseason headline, but the Raiders proved a big dud. There were plenty of other disappointments. Consider running back Leonard Fournette, along with the rest of the Jaguars. And don’t forget Le’Veon Bell, who never set foot on the field for the Steelers. By Pro Football Writer Dave Campbell. UPCOMING: 650 words, photos by 5 p.m.

FBC--SKIPPING BOWLS-BONUSES

At least 20 players are planning to skip bowl games to prepare for the NFL draft. It is a growing trend. For many coaches — already highly paid — winning a bowl game comes with a bonus. For star players and coaches, these are separate agendas. By College Football Writer Ralph D. Russo. SENT: 650 words, photos. With list.

SPORTS SHOWCASE

OLY--GYM’S PARKOUR GRAB

PARIS — The inventors of this sport used to hold each other upside down on a drop large enough to kill them. From those beginnings, parkour has become such a global success — even featured in Daniel Craig’s first spin as James Bond — that gymnastics’ governing body is trying to annex it. By John Leicester. SENT: 1,100 words, photos.

YEAR-END STORIES

YE--PLAYS OF THE YEAR

Andrew Benintendi’s diving catch to put Boston in command of the ALCS. Tua Tagovailoa’s pass in overtime to give Alabama the national title. Arike Ogunbowale coming up big in the Final Four — twice! — to lead Notre Dame to the NCAA women’s crown. Those spectacular moments are among AP’s plays of the year. By Tim Reynolds. SENT: 1,050 words, photos.

COMMENTARY

FBN--ON FOOTBALL-THURSDAY NIGHTS

Thursday night football is here to stay, even if it’s gone for the rest of 2018. In past years, some — make that many — would have said “good riddance.” That would be misguided this year. By Pro Football Writer Barry Wilner. SENT: 1,100 words, photos. For weekend use.

PAUL NEWBERRY-NEWBY AWARD

Wanted: a host for the sixth annual Newby awards. Chris Rock? Billy Crystal? Anyone have Ellen DeGeneres’ number? Well, since no one appears interested in a major career boost, we’ll resort to our usual method for doling out the 2018 awards for the best and worst (mostly worst) in sports. By Sports Columnist Paul Newberry. SENT: 1,100 words, photos.

NFL

FBN--QUARTERBACK RANKINGS

Patrick Mahomes has dazzled the NFL with no-look passes, left-handed throws and stellar play in his first full season as a starter. He also has the Kansas City Chiefs leading the AFC. In voting by an AP panel, Mahomes edges Drew Brees as the NFL’s top quarterback in 2018. By Pro Football Writer Rob Maaddi. SENT: 650 words, photos. With list.

FBN--PATRIOTS-BRADY

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Tom Brady has a 29-3 record against the Buffalo Bills, the most victories by a quarterback against one opponent. A 30th will give the Patriots their 10th straight AFC East crown. But he won’t have suspended receiver Josh Gordon, who was starting to carve out a vital role in the England’s offense. UPCOMING: 500 words, photos by 6 p.m.

FBN--DOLPHINS-GORE

MIAMI — Dolphins running back Frank Gore has decided against retirement and wants to play a 15th season next year, the AP is told. Gore is 35 and the NFL’s leading active rusher. His season ended after he sprained his foot last week, He will not need surgery. By Steve Wine. SENT: 350 words.

— Also:

— FBN--JETS-LONG’S LONG SEASON — By Pro Football Writer Dennis Waszak Jr. UPCOMING: 750 words, photos by 6 p.m.

— FBN--KEEPING VANCE JOSEPH — By Pro Football Writer Arnie Stapleton. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos by 6 p.m.

— FBN--49ERS-MCGLINCHEY — By Pro Football Writer Josh Dubow. UPCOMING: 600 words, photos by 7 p.m.

BASEBALL

BBN--CARDINALS-MILLER

ST. LOUIS — The Cardinals find their elite left-handed reliever: Andrew Miller, who agrees to a two-year deal. One of baseball’s best relievers when healthy, the 6-foot-7 pitcher was a big reason the Cleveland Indians made it to the 2016 World Series. SENT: 300 words, photos.

— Also:

— BBA--RANGERS-A’S-RAYS TRADE — Rangers’ Jurickson Profar traded to Athletics in three-team deal with Rays. By Stephen Hawkins. SENT: 450 words, photos.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

FBC--CFP-OKLAHOMA-CRADLE OF QBS

NORMAN, Okla. — Who’s next on Oklahoma’s quarterback assembly line after back-to-back Heisman Trophy winners Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray? Coach Lincoln Riley has the luxury of choosing between Spencer Rattler and Austin Kendall. By Cliff Brunt. SENT: 650 words, photos.

FBC--SIGNING PERIOD-WRAPUP

As college football’s early signing period wraps up, schools start to focus on the remaining prospects who won’t make their decisions until the traditional February signing date. By Steve Megargee. UPCOMING: 600 words, photos by 6 p.m.

FBC--T25-ROSE BOWL-WASHINGTON’S DUO

SEATTLE — A relationship that may have started a bit rocky between Washington’s Jake Browning and Myles Gaskin has turned into one of the more remarkable partnerships in college football. The two four-year starters will close their careers in the Rose Bowl. By Tim Booth. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos by 7 p.m.

Friday Games:

— FBC--BAHAMAS BOWL — Florida International vs. Toledo in Nassau, the Bahamas Bowl. UPCOMING: 500 words. Game started 12:30 p.m.

— FBC--POTATO BOWL — BYU vs. Western Michigan in Boise, Idaho. UPCOMING: 600 words, photos. Game starts 4 p.m.

Saturday Games:

FBC--T25-ARMED FORCES BOWL

FORT WORTH, Texas — No. 22 Army has another win over Navy, and now the Black Knights try to reach 11 wins for the first time. They play Houston in the Armed Forces Bowl. By Stephen Hawkins. UPCOMING: 600 words by 5 p.m. With capsule.

FBC--BIRMINGHAM BOWL PREVIEW

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Memphis takes on Wake Forest in the Birmingham Bowl, but the prolific running game took a big hit with All-American Darrell Henderson skipping the game. By John Zenor. UPCOMING: 550 words by 7 p.m. With capsule.

— Also:

— FBC--DOLLAR GENERAL BOWL PREVIEW CAPSULE — Troy vs. Buffalo in Mobile, Ala. SENT: 300 words.

— FBC--HAWAII BOWL PREVIEW CAPSULE — Louisiana Tech vs. Hawaii in Honolulu. SENT: 450 words.

NBA

BKN--PACERS-NETS

NEW YORK — Brooklyn looks to run its winning streak to eight games when it plays the Indiana Pacers. This would be the Nets’ longest such streak since moving from New Jersey. They haven’t won more than seven in a row since a 14-game spree in the 2005-06 season. UPCOMING: 600 words, photos. Game starts 7:30 p.m.

BOXING

BOX--CHARLO BROTHERS

NEW YORK — Oh, brother! Twins Jermall and Jermell Charlo will be fighting at Barclays Center. No, not fighting each other — no family feuds here. Jermall will take on Matt Korobov in one feature. The other has Jermell against Tony Harrison. By Barry Wilner. SENT: 600 words, photos.

SKIING

SKI--WCUP-WOMEN’S GIANT SLALOM

COURCHEVEL, France — Mikaela Shiffrin wins a giant slalom in heavy snow, rallying in the second to victory and taking another step toward a third straight overall title. She has won four straight races and is the youngest female skier to reach with 49 career World Cup wins. SENT: 400 words, photos.

SOCCER

— SOC--RONALDO-TAXES — Cristiano Ronaldo trial for tax fraud set for Jan. 21 in Spain. SENT: 120 words, photos.

— SOC--FIFA ELECTION — FIFA President Gianni Infantino looks set to be re-elected unopposed in June. SENT: 120 words, photos.

— SOC--WORLD CUP-AUDIENCE FIGURES — FIFA says 3.5 billion viewed some of World Cup. SENT: 130 words.

OTHER

— TEN--AUSTRALIAN OPEN-TIEBREAKERS — Australian Open to have 10-point tiebreakers in deciding set. SENT: 300 words, photos.

— OLY--TOKYO 2020-BUDGET — Budget for 2020 Tokyo Olympics remains $5.6 billion. SENT: 400 words, photos.

CAPSULES

— BKN--NBA CAPSULES

— HKN--NHL CAPSULES

— FBC--T25-TOP 25 CAPSULES

— BKC--BOWL CAPSULES

— BKW--T25-TOP 25 CAPSULES

___

Friday Time Schedule (EST)

NBA

Cleveland at Toronto, 7 p.m.

Detroit at Charlotte, 7 p.m.

Atlanta at New York, 7:30 p.m.

Indiana at Brooklyn, 7:30 p.m.

Milwaukee at Boston, 8 p.m.

Orlando at Chicago, 8 p.m.

Minnesota at San Antonio, 8:30 p.m.

Memphis at Sacramento, 10 p.m.

Utah at Portland, 10 p.m.

New Orleans at L.A. Lakers, 10:30 p.m.

NHL

Buffalo at Washington, 7 p.m.

Ottawa at New Jersey, 7 p.m.

Chicago at Colorado, 9 p.m.

College Football

Bahamas Bowl: Toledo vs. Florida Atlantic, 12:30 p.m.

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl: Western Michigan vs. BYU, 4 p.m.

College Basketball (Top 25)

Men

No. 8 Gonzaga vs. Denver, 9 p.m.

No. 10 Michigan State vs. Oakland, 7 p.m.

No. 14 Buffalo at No. 20 Marquette, 8:30 p.m.

No. 24 Furman at LSU, 8 p.m.

Women

No. 7 Oregon vs. UC Irvine, 3 p.m.

No. 8 Stanford at Buffalo, noon

No. 9 Tennessee vs. East Tennessee State, 7 p.m.

No. 10 N.C. State at Chattanooga, 7 p.m.

No. 15 Syracuse vs. Duquesne at St. Petersburg, Fla., 7:30 p.m.

No. 16 Iowa at Drake, 7 p.m.

No. 18 Kentucky vs. Murray State, noon

No. 23 Texas A&M vs. Prairie View A&M, 7:30 p.m.

No. 24 Miami vs. Alabama at Winter Park, Fla., 6:15 p.m.

No. 25 South Carolina vs. Temple, 7 p.m.

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