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BC-AP Sports Digest

December 17, 2018

The supervisor is Fred Lief, followed by Ben Nuckols at 5 p.m. and Bob Lentz at 1 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@ap.org or 877-836-9477. All times EST.

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TOP STORIES

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.

FBN--SAINTS-PANTHERS

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Drew Brees and the Saints look to solidify their grasp on the No. 1 seed in the NFC, playing a Carolina Panthers team that has lost five straight and at 6-7 clinging to slim playoff hopes. New Orleans (11-2) is looking to stay a step ahead of the Rams. By Steve Reed. UPCOMING: 750 words, photos. Game starts 8:15 p.m.

BKC--T25-PERFECT PALADINS

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.

BKN--NIMBLE NUGGETS

DENVER — The Nuggets are missing three starters and still have the best record in the Western Conference. They have confidence and a big man nicknamed the Joker who’s blossoming into an elite player. Nikola Jokic and his teammates don’t really care if few take them seriously. By Pat Graham. UPCOMING: 600 words, photos by 5 p.m.

AP POLLS

BKC--COLLEGE BKB POLL

RALEIGH, N.C. — Kansas, Duke and Tennessee are 1-2-3 in men’s college basketball poll for the second straight week. Michigan and Virginia each climbs a spot into the top five. Gonzaga slides four spots to eighth and national champion Villanova drops out. By Basketball Writer Aaron Beard. SENT: 700 words, photos.

BKW--WOMEN’S BKB POLL

NEW YORK — Baylor falls from the top five in the AP women’s poll for the first time in nearly a year after losing at Stanford. UConn is the unanimous No. 1 choice, followed by Notre Dame, Louisville, Mississippi State and Maryland. By Basketball Writer Doug Feinberg. SENT: 300 words, photos.

COMMENTARY

FBN--ON FOOTBALL-BALANCE

Football purists are smiling — for one week, at any rate. Only one quarterback over the weekend threw for 300 yards let alone 400. No pinball shootouts. Ten players rushed for at least 100 yards, and Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson went for 95. There were two shutouts! By Football Writer Barry Wilner. SENT: 650 words, photos.

NFL

FBN--BEARS-DIVISION CHAMPS

LAKE FOREST, Ill. — The Chicago Bears endured a long gap between playoff appearances before making a big leap to the top of the NFC North. They clinched the division with a victory over Green Bay and can now focus on a playoff run. By Andrew Seligman. UPCOMING: 650 words, photos by 5 p.m.

FBN--STEELERS-DEFENSE

PITTSBURGH — For once, Tom Brady didn’t get the best of the Steelers defense. The AFC North leaders held New England to 10 points in a critical victory that Pittsburgh hopes will propel them toward a fifth straight playoff berth. By Will Graves. UPCOMING: 600 words, photos by 6 p.m.

FBN--PATRIOTS-ADDRESSING ISSUES

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — The Patriots are left with little margin for error over the final two weeks after their loss to Pittsburgh. New England is trying to avoid playing in the wild-card round for the first time since 2009. By Kyle Hightower. UPCOMING: 600 words, photos by 6 p.m

FBN--RAVENS-OLD SCHOOL

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Relying heavily on staples from their past — the ground game and a pressing defense — the surging Baltimore Ravens have thrust themselves into the middle of the AFC playoff race. By David Ginsburg. UPCOMING: 550 words, photos by 5 p.m.

— Also:

— FBN--REVIVED VIKINGS — By Pro Football Writer Dave Campbell. UPCOMING: 600 words, photos by 6 p.m.

— FBN--SLOPPY SEAHAWKS — By Tim Booth. UPCOMING: 600 words, photos by 8 p.m.

— FBN--FOCUSED TITANS — By Pro Football Writer Teresa M. Walker. UPCOMING: 550 words, photos by 5 p.m.

— FBN--DOLPHINS-GORE — By Steven Wine. SENT: 120 words, photos.

— FBN--NFL-ICYMI — By Pro Football Writer Howard Fendrich. SENT: 700 words, photos.

NHL

HKN--FLYERS-HAKSTOL FIRED

The Philadelphia Flyers fire coach Dave Hakstol, with the team having lost 11 of its last 14 games. General manager Chuck Fletcher makes the move less than two weeks since taking over for the fired Ron Hextall. Minor league coach Scott Gordon is the interim replacement. By Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno. SENT: 550 words, photos. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos by 5 p.m.

NBA

BKN--GRIZZLIES-WARRIORS

OAKLAND, Calif. — In a game between division leaders, the Grizzlies face the Warriors, who might have key reserve Andre Iguodala back from a three-game absence because of a sore hip. Golden State has won seven of 10. Memphis has lost its last two. By Janie McCauley. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos. Game starts 10:30 p.m.

BKN--LEBRON’S LOW

WASHINGTON — This was hardly the ideal way for LeBron James and his Lakers to cap an eventful week of highs and lows. A night after what seemed to be a breakthrough performance, this dud against the Wizards showed how much James and his new teammates need to improve. SENT: 550 words, photos.

— Also:

— BKN--AROUND THE NBA — By Schuyler Dixon. SENT: 850 words, photos.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

FBC--T25-GEORGIA-LETBOWL BOWL

ATHENS, Ga. — Throughout its storied football history, Georgia has viewed the Sugar Bowl as a treasured prize. This year, it feels like a bit of a letdown. By Paul Newberry. UPCOMING: 650 words, photos by 5 p.m.

— FBC--BOCA RATON BOWL PREVIEW CAPSULE — UAB plays Northern Illinois on Tuesday in Boca Raton, Fla. UPCOMING: 350 words by 4 p.m.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL

BKW--T25-ICYMI

Northern Illinois guard Mikayla Voight had a game to remember against Western Illinois. No. 10 N.C. State is off to its best start in 21 years and other happenings in women’s basketball over the past week. By Basketball Writer Doug Feinberg. SENT: 450 words, photos.

BASEBALL

BBA--ORIOLES-HYDE

BALTIMORE — Brandon Hyde’s first job as a big league manager will likely require plenty of patience, because the Baltimore Orioles may not be a contender anytime soon. By David Ginsburg. UPCOMING: 600 words, photos by 4 p.m.

— Also:

— BBO--NATIONALS-INDIANS TRADE — Indians complete trade with Nats, get minor league infielder. SENT: 100 words.

— BBA--YANKEES-HAPP — J.A. Happ, Yankees complete $34 million, two-year contract. SENT: 150 words, photos.

WINTER SPORTS

SKI--LEDECKA’S MOMENT

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

LA VILLA, Italy — Overall World Cup leader Marcel Hirscher goes for his first career victory in parallel giant slalom in a night race at Alta Badia. UPCOMING: 350 words, photos by 4 p.m.

SOCCER

SOC--ENGLAND-WEEKEND WATCH

Paul Pogba was soccer’s most expensive player two years ago. The midfielder won a World Cup with France only five months ago. So how it is that he didn’t even get off the bench for Manchester United in a big game against Liverpool? By Steve Douglas. SENT: 700 words, photos.

— Also:

— SOC--CHAMPIONS LEAGUE-DRAW — Round of 16 for Champions League will feature three English teams against German opponents. By Graham Dunbar. SENT: 250 words, photos.

OTHER

— FBO--HALL OF FAME PRESIDENT — Hall of Fame President David Baker gets five-year extension. By Barry Wilner. SENT: 400 words.

— RAC--PIMLICO OVERHAUL — Baltimore mayor eyes overhauling racetrack without moving Preakness. SENT: 140 words.

— TEN--DAVIS CUP — France, the Davis Cup runner-up, appoints Sebastien Grosjean captain. SENT: 130.

CAPSULES

— BKN--NBA CAPSULES

— HKN--NHL CAPSULES

— BKC--T25-TOP 25 CAPSULES

— BKW--T25-TOP 25 CAPSULES

___

Monday Time Schedule (EST)

NFL

New Orleans at Carolina, 8:15 p.m.

NBA

Milwaukee at Detroit, 7 p.m.

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

Chicago at Oklahoma City, 8 p.m.

Sacramento at Minnesota, 8 p.m.

Utah at Houston, 8 p.m.

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

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

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

NHL

Vegas at Columbus, 7 p.m.

Anaheim at Pittsburgh, 7 p.m.

Boston at Montreal, 7:30 p.m.

Nashville at Ottawa, 7:30 p.m.

N.Y. Islanders at Colorado, 9 p.m.

College Basketball (Top 25)

Men

No. 10 Florida State Southeast Missouri State, 7 p.m.

No. 20 Arizona State at Vanderbilt, 7 p.m.

Women

No. 15 Syracuse vs. Niagara, 11 a.m.

No. 19 Marquette vs. Binghamton, 8 p.m.

No. 20 DePaul vs. Tennessee State, 8 p.m.

No. 22 Missouri vs. Texas State, 8 p.m.

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