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Update on the latest in sports:

December 29, 2018


Magic hammer Raptors

UNDATED (AP) — The Orlando Magic were able to end a four-game losing streak by clobbering one of the NBA’s best teams.

The Magic had lost five straight to Toronto before outscored the Raptors 51-16 over a 16-minute span of a 116-87 rout in Orlando. Nikola Vucevic had 30 points and 20 rebounds for Orlando, which actually trailed 19-9 in the opening period. Vucevic furnished 12 points during a 21-6 run that helped the Magic to a nine-point lead late in the first half.

The Raptors shot 29.5 percent in the finale of their three-game road trip. Kawhi (kah-WY’) Leonard scored 21 points for Toronto, which fell percentage points behind Milwaukee for the league’s best record.

Checking out Friday’s other NBA action:

— The Pacers are a league-best 11-3 this month after Domantas Sabonis (sah-BOH’-nihs) posted his league-leading 15th double-double as a reserve, providing 19 points and 12 rebounds in a 125-88 laugher against the Pistons. Darren Collison added 19 points for Indiana, while teammates Thaddeus Young and Myles Turner each added 17.

— Jamal Murray scored 31 points and Monte Morris hit two big free throws with 7.2 seconds remaining in the Nuggets’ 102-99 downing of the Spurs. Nikola Jokic (YOH’-kihch) added 21 points, nine rebounds and nine assists before fouling out in Denver’s eighth consecutive home win.

— Russell Westbrook delivered 15 of his game-high 40 points in the final 6 1/2 minutes of the Thunder’s 118-102 decision over the Suns. Dennis Schroder (SHROO’-dur) scored 14 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter and the Thunder snapped a two-game skid despite the absence of Paul George, who missed his first game of the season due to a right quad contusion.

— Justise Winslow had 24 points and 11 rebounds as the Heat won for the sixth time in seven games, a 118-94 pounding of the Cavaliers. Bam Adebayo chipped in 18 points on 8 of 8 shooting, and Josh Richardson added 16 as one of seven Miami players in double figures.

— Anthony Davis hit a go-ahead, fall-away jumper with 43.9 seconds left and scored a season-high 48 points in leading the Pelicans to a 114-112 win over the Mavericks. Davis also grabbed 17 rebounds and New Orleans snapped a five-game skid despite Dallas rookie Luka Doncic, who whot 7-for-10 from beyond the arc and finished with 34 points.

— The Nets lost for just the second time in 11 games as Kemba Walker nailed seven 3-points on his way to a 29-point performance in the Hornets’ 100-87 victory against Brooklyn. Tony Parker had 17 of his 19 points in the fourth quarter as Charlotte avenged Wednesday’s double-overtime loss to the Nets.

— The Hawks coughed up a 22-point lead, had 24 turnovers and still managed to beat the Timberwolves, 123-120 in overtime. Kent Bazemore scored 23 points and John Collins added 21 in Atlanta’s fifth road win.

— Zach LaVine (lah-VEEN’) scored 24 points, including 11 straight in the third quarter of the Bulls’ 101-92 win at Washington. Wendell Carter, Jr. had 17 points and 13 rebounds, and Lauri Markkanen added 14 points and 14 boards for Chicago.


Rondo out 4-5 weeks following surgery

UNDATED (AP) — Los Angeles Lakers point guard Rajon Rondo will be sidelined at least a month after undergoing ligament surgery on his right ring finger.

Rondo sprained his finger during the Lakers’ stunning Christmas Day victory at Golden State.

Rondo is averaging 8.4 points, 6.7 assists and 4.4 rebounds while providing solid leadership in his first season with the Lakers.

Elsewhere around the NBA:

— A person with knowledge of the agreement says Patrick McCaw has signed a two-year, $6 million offer sheet with the Cavaliers. Golden State now must decide whether to match the terms, which would lead to luxury tax ramifications should the Warriors decide to keep him.


Orange are happy campers

UNDATED (AP) — Syracuse has clinched its first 10-win season in 17 years by scoring 17 unanswered points in the fourth quarter.

Abdul Adams ran for a pair of first-half TDs as the Orange whipped No. 15 West Virginia, 34-18 in the Camping World Bowl at Orlando. Eric Dungey completed 21 of 30 passes for 303 yards for the Orange, who trailed 18-17 going into the final quarter.

Mountaineers QB Jack Allison pass for 277 yards in his first collegiate start after Will Grier elected to skip the bowl game and focus on preparing for the NFL

In Friday’s other bowl action:

— Jarrett Stidham was very productive in his final college game as the Auburn quarterback threw for 373 yards and five touchdowns in a 63-14 dismantling of Purdue in the Music City Bowl. Auburn scored TDs on its first eight possessions and led 56-7 by halftime despite holding the ball for just 11 minutes. JaTarvious Whitlow grabbed a 66-yard TD pass and added a pair of short TD runs to help the 8-5 Tigers set an SEC record for most points in a bowl game.


N. Alabama no match for Gonzaga

UNDATED (AP) — North Alabama doesn’t mind facing some of college basketball’s best teams in its first season as a Division One program. Gonzaga was thankful the Lions accepted an invitation to Spokane.

The seventh-ranked Bulldogs raced out to a 29-1 lead and led 47-6 late in the first half before completing a 96=51 rout of North Alabama. Zach Norvell Jr. scored 20 points for the Zags, while Brandon Clarke had 16 points, 12 rebounds, four blocks and three steals to help Gonzaga improve to 12-2.

Christian Agnew had a team-high 18 points for the Lions, who are 3-11 overall and still seeking their first win over a D-1 opponent.

— Ahmed Hill scored 20 points and No. 10 Virginia Tech shot nearly 66 percent in an 85-40 drubbing of Maryland-Eastern Shore. Kerry Blackshear Jr. added 15 points and Wabissa Bede scored 14 as the 11-1 Hokies won their sixth in a row.

— Jarrett Culver scored 19 points and 11th-ranked Texas Tech prepared for its Big 12 opener by slamming Texas-Rio Grand Valley, 71-46. Deshawn Coprew had 13 points and 10 rebounds in his first start to help the Red Raiders bounce back from its lone loss of the season, against top-ranked Duke eight days earlier.

— No. 18 Marquette cruised to an 84-41 win over Southern behind Markus Howard’s 26 points. He scored all of Marquette’s points during a 15-2 run midway through the first, capping the stretch with back-to-back 3s for a 35-14 lead with 7:46 left.

— Torin Dorn scored 17 points and No. 20 North Carolina State improved to 12-1 by beating Loyola of Maryland, 97-64. Freshman Jericole Hellems matched his season high with 16 points as the 12-1 Wolfpack won their first game as an AP ranked team in nearly six years.


C-USA hopes flex schedule means better seed, at-large bid

UNDATED (AP) — Frustrated mid-major conference officials are taking drastic action they hope will nudge the selection pendulum in their direction when it comes to NCAA Tournament at-large invitations and seeding.

Leading the way is Conference USA, which has dumped a conventional league schedule in favor of a more radical one based on results.

C-USA’s 14 teams won’t know who they’ll be playing during the final two weeks of the regular season until mid-February, when the standings will determine the final matchups. The move is to ensure the league’s best teams are playing each other in hopes of improving their tournament profiles.

Next year, the Sun Belt Conference will debut a schedule that’s very similar to C-USA’s.

In other college basketball news:

— Friday’s matchup between Hawaii Pacific and TCU has been cancelled following the death of a Hawaii Pacific player. Emil Isovic died at a hospital Wednesday after collapsing on the bench during a first-half timeout on Dec. 18 as the Sharks played Southern Nazarene. The 21-year-old Isovic never regained consciousness.

— UConn has asked a judge Friday to dismiss a complaint filed by former basketball coach Kevin Ollie, who contends his firing was in part racially motivated. The school argues that the federal court doesn’t have jurisdiction and Ollie doesn’t make a specific claim under federal law in his complaint, which was filed this month. UConn fired Ollie in March after a 14-18 season, citing NCAA violations. Another hearing is set for Jan. 25.


Mariota questionable vs. Colts

UNDATED (AP) — Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota (mar-ee-OH’-tah) is now listed as questionable for their regular season finale against Indianapolis with a playoff berth on the line.

Mariota was limited Friday for a second straight day at practice after a stinger late in the first half of last week’s 25-16 victory over Washington affected his right, throwing arm.

If Mariota can’t play, backup Blaine Gabbert would start his third game this season in a battle of 9-6 teams vying for either an AFC wild-card berth or a division title.

In other NFL news:

— Saints coach Sean Payton says Teddy Bridgewater will start New Orleans’ regular-season finale against Carolina. The decision allows starter Drew Brees (breez) to rest for playoffs with the Saints already having wrapped up the top seed in the NFC going into Sunday’s game. It will be Bridgewater’s first meaningful action in a regular-season game since 2015 with Minnesota.

— The Bears appear likely to get starting right guard Kyle Long back from injured reserve for Sunday’s game against the Vikings, although no final decision has yet been made. Long has been out since suffering a tendon injury in his right foot against the Jets on Oct. 28.

— Rams running back Todd Gurley has been ruled out of Sunday’s regular-season finale against San Francisco with a knee injury. Gurley will miss his second straight game, but McVay says he isn’t concerned about the star running back’s availability for the playoffs.

— Bills defensive tackle Kyle Williams is retiring at age 35 after 13 seasons. The 35-year-old Williams spent his entire career with the Bills after being taken in the fifth round of the 2006 draft. Williams was a second-team All-Pro in 2010 and earned five Pro Bowl selections, recording 607 tackles and 48 1/2 sacks.

—The Jaguars don’t expect running back Leonard Fournette to play in the season finale at Houston. Coach Doug Marrone listed Fournette (ankle/foot) as doubtful for Sunday’s game against the Texans.

— Giants star receiver Odell Beckham Jr. has been ruled out for the fourth straight game with a quad injury. Beckham sustained the injury on the final play of New York’s 25-22 loss at Philadelphia on Nov. 25.

— The Jets have signed wide receiver Quincy Enunwa (eh-NOON’-wah) to a contract extension, keeping one of their key offensive players who was scheduled to be a free agent. A person familiar with the contract tells The Associated Press the deal is worth $36 million over four years, including $20 million in guarantees.


Leafs top Jackets

UNDATED (AP) — The Toronto Maple Leafs have matched their longest winning streak of the season as they try to catch the Tampa Bay Lightning for the NHL’s best record.

John Tavares notched his team-high 25th and 26th goals of the season as the Maple Leafs doubled up the Blue Jackets, 4-2 at Columbus. Tavares put the Leafs ahead for good late in the first period after his power-play goal opened the scoring just 2:22 in.

Mitch Marner had a goal and two assists in Toronto’s fifth straight win, which leaves the Leafs six points behind the Bolts.

Nick Foligno (foh-LEE’-noh) and Artemi Panarin (ahr-TEH’-mee pah-NAH’-rihn) scored for the Jackets, who ended a five-game winning streak and stayed two points behind first-place Washington in the Metropolitan Division.

Elsewhere on NHL ice:

— Montreal won its third in a row as Tomas Tatar (tah-TAHR’) scored twice, including the go-ahead goal in the third period of a 5-3 verdict over the Panthers. Jonathan Drouin (DROO’-an) had a goal and an assist to support Antti Niemi (nee-EH’-mee), who stopped 23 shots in his first game since starting netminder Carey Price went on the injured list.

— Mathew Barzal scored twice and had an assist as the Islanders turned a 3-1, second-period deficit into their fifth win in six games, 6-3 over the Senators. Josh Bailey had a goal and an assist for New York, and Robin Lehner stopped all 10 shots he faced after replacing Thomas Greiss (grys) in the middle period.


Stars CEO rips his top players

UNDATED (AP) — Dallas Stars CEO Jim Lites has ripped captain Jamie Benn and fellow high-priced forward Tyler Seguin (SAY’-gihn).

Lites told reporters Friday that the play of his two stars has been “terrible” and says owner Tom Gaglardi was frustrated as well. He added that he believed Seguin and Benn deserved more public criticism with a team Lites says is underachieving.

Also around the NHL:

— Bruins forward David Backes (BAK’-ehs) has received a three-game suspension from the league for an illegal hit to the head of New Jersey forward Blake Coleman during Thursday’s loss to the Devils. The punishment means Backes will miss Tuesday’s Winter Classic against Chicago at Notre Dame Stadium.

— The NHL has fined Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien (BUHF’-lihn) for slashing Flames forward Johnny Gaudreau (goo-DROH’) with just over two minutes left in Calgary’s 4-1 win over Winnipeg on Thursday.


RHP Shoemaker agrees to 1-year deal with Blue Jays

TORONTO (AP) — Free-agent pitcher Matt Shoemaker has agreed to a one-year, $3.5 million contract with the Toronto Blue Jays.

Shoemaker went 2-2 with a 4.94 ERA in seven starts with the Angels last season.

The right-hander has been hampered by right forearm injuries over the last two years.

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