NFL PLAYOFFS

Philadelphia 15 Atlanta 10

New England 35 Tennessee 14

 

MEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL

#1 Villanova 78 St. John 71

#8 Texas Tech 72 #2 West Virginia 71

Michigan 82 #4 Michigan State 72

#5 Wichita State 72 Tulsa 69

#5 Purdue 81 Minnesota 47

#7 Duke 89 Wake Forest 71

#9 Oklahoma 102 #16 TCU 97 OT

#10 Xavier 92 #25 Creighton 70

#11 Arizona State 77 Oregon State 75

#12 Kansas 73 Kansas State 72

#13 Seton Hall 74 Georgetown 61

#14 Cincinnati 78 S. Florida 55

#15 Gonzaga 75 San Francisco 65

#17 Arizona 90 Oregon 83

#19 Clemson 72 #18 Miami Florida 63

#20 North Carolina 69 Notre Dame 68

#21 Kentucky 74 Vanderbilt 67

#22 Auburn 76 Mississippi State 68

#23 Florida State 101 Syracuse 90 2OT

#24 Tennessee 75 Texas A&M 62

ELSEWHERE

Buffalo 82 Miami Ohio 66

Louisville 94 Virginia Tech 86

Western Michigan 73 Ball State 58

Drake 81 Evansville 65

Fort Wayne 82 Omaha 78

Northern Iowa 81 Valparaiso 76

 

WOMEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL

#1 Connecticut 95 Houston 35

#7 Texas 79 Kansas 62

#10 Ohio State 77 Indiana 62

TCU 76 #15 West Virginia 74 OT

Purdue 76 #18 Iowa 70

Kansas State 80 #20 Oklahoma State 64

#21 Rutgers 80 Minnesota 70 OT

#23 Michigan 69 Nebraska 64 OT

#25 Green Bay 69 Cleveland State 43

ELSEWHERE

Cincinnati 80 Temple 72

Wright State 68 Northern Kentucky 63 OT

Buffalo 84 Ball State 80

Eastern Michigan 74 Miami Ohio 59

South Dakota 85 Fort Wayne 43

IUPUI 80 Oakland 64

 

NBA SCOREBOARD

LA Lakers 107 Dallas 101 OT

LA Clippers 126 Sacramento 105

Oklahoma City 101 Charlotte 91

Washington 119 Brooklyn 113 OT

Golden State 127 Toronto 125

Chicago 107 Detroit 105

San Antonio 112 Denver 80

 

NHL SCOREBOARD

NY Islanders 7 NY Rangers 2

Pittsburgh 4 Detroit 1

Minnesota 4 Winnipeg 1

Boston 4 Montréal 3

Philadelphia 5 New Jersey 3

Colorado 4 Dallas 1

Edmonton 3 Vegas 2

Anaheim 4 Los Angeles 2

San Jose 6 Arizona 5

 

BOYS HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL– NCC/AREA

Ansonia 93 Union City 61

Connersville 63 Muncie Central 36

Lincoln 62 Fort Wayne Smith Academy 31

Indianapolis Tech 97 Marion 84

Kokomo 62 Peru 47

New Castle 78 Rushville 45

Northeastern 60 Knightstown 43

Union County 54 Eastern Hancock 52

West Lafayette 60 Harrison 53 OT

Westfield 42 Lafayette Jeff 40

Winchester 67 Blackford 60

Zionsville 65 McCutcheon 59

 

GIRLS HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL – NCC/AREA

Connersville 47 Guerin Catholic 38

Fort Wayne Canterbury 65 Union City 52

Harrison 52 Richmond 31

Kokomo 50 Indianapolis Tech 25

Lafayette Jeff 61 Anderson 48

Marion 65 Logansport 50

Northeastern 60 Knightstown 39

Randolph Southern 55 Blue River 36

Seton Catholic 51 Central Christian 15

 

TOP HEADLINES

Patriots beat Titans 35-14 to head back to AFC title game

First, the Patriots tuned out a week full of off-field drama. Then, they silenced the Titans to earn yet another trip to the AFC championship game.

Tom Brady passed for three touchdowns and 337 yards, and New England cruised past Tennessee 35-14 on Saturday night to advance to their seventh consecutive conference title game.

New England (14-3) will host the winner of Sunday’s divisional matchup between Jacksonville and Pittsburgh.

It was Brady’s 10th career postseason game with at least three TD tosses, moving him past Joe Montana for the most in NFL history. James White caught a touchdown pass and ran for another, and Danny Amendola had 11 catches for 112 yards.

New England’s victory came on the heels of a week filled with turmoil following reports of discord involving Brady, coach Bill Belichick and team owner Robert Kraft.

None of that showed on the field Saturday.

“I’ve been around long enough,” Brady said. “So, 18 years, there’s so many nice things said about me. It just goes with the territory.”

The Titans (10-8) took an early 7-0 lead, but New England scored 35 straight points to take control.

Marcus Mariota completed 22 of 37 passes for 254 yards and two touchdowns, but was under duress for most of the second half. He was sacked eight times, a Patriots playoff record.

Coach Mike Mularkey said after the game his quarterback strained a quadriceps in the first quarter.

“It had an impact,” Mularkey said. “We had to get out of some of our scheme with him.”

New England also held Derrick Henry to just 28 yards rushing on 12 carries.

The Titans came back from an 18-point deficit in the second half to beat the Chiefs 22-21 in the wild-card round last week – the largest comeback on the road in the Super Bowl era. But the Patriots didn’t give them a chance for an encore.

Leading 14-7, the Patriots stretched their lead to 14 just before halftime thanks to a trio of careless penalties on the Titans.

Tennessee initially forced a three-and-out, but gave up a first down via a fourth-and-5 neutral zone infraction on Brynden Trawick before New England’s punt attempt.

Armed with a new set of downs, Brady went to work moving the Patriots down the field with a steady diet of short passes. The Titans helped along the way with illegal contact and unnecessary roughness penalties. It eventually culminated in a 4-yard TD pass from Brady to Chris Hogan in the back of the end zone that made it 21-7.

Brady threw a short shovel pass to White, who ran it in from the 5-yard line to make it 7-7 early in the second quarter.

The Patriots appeared to have a touchdown three plays earlier, when Dion Lewis caught a pass from Brady and was tackled by Wesley Woodyard at the 19. Lewis landed on top of the defender, then got up and continued to the end zone.

The officials initially ruled that he had never been down and called it a touchdown. But replays showed Lewis’ butt hit the ground at the 19.

Corey Davis made a one-handed catch on a 15-yard pass from Mariota in the corner of the end zone to give the Titans a 7-0 lead. Mariota had a pair of 11-yard runs to help set up the score.

Davis added an 11-yard TD reception with 1:55 left in the game – and the Titans’ season.

 

Eagles use goal-line stand, Elliott FGs to beat Falcons

Fly Eagles Fly.

With the wind and against it.

With Nick Foles engineering several long drives, Jake Elliott converting three field goals, and the defense getting stingy in the tightest spot, Philadelphia moved into the NFC championship game with a 15-10 victory over the Atlanta Falcons on Saturday.

Foles directed brilliant marches of 74 and 80 yards in the second half – one into the whipping wind, the other with it – and Elliott atoned for missing an extra point by converting from 53 yards at the end of the second quarter, 37 and 21 in the second half. Then the Eagles (14-3) held when Atlanta (11-7) got to the 9-yard line with a first down, and to the 2 on fourth down.

When Matt Ryan’s final pass sailed over Julio Jones’ head in the end zone , Philly could celebrate its first playoff victory since the 2008 season.

Next Sunday, the Eagles will host either Minnesota or New Orleans for the conference crown. The Eagles last made the Super Bowl in the 2004 season, losing to New England.

“I mean, we just kept believing in each other,” said Foles, who became the starter when Carson Wentz, a leading MVP contender, injured his knee in December. “That was it. Our team never wavered, defense did an amazing job, special teams – that’s just been the story this year is that we just all stuck together…”

The Falcons, of course, memorably blew a 28-3 second-half lead to the Patriots in last year’s Super Bowl. They will not get the opportunity to atone for it, though Ryan got them close at the end.

Despite being underdogs as the No. 1 seed, the Eagles showed plenty of moxie.

“Just keep on disrespecting and we’re going to keep proving people wrong,” receiver Alshon Jeffery said.

A masterful 74-yard, 12-play drive on which Foles threw for 70 yards led to Elliott’s 37-yard kick into the wind that made it 12-10. The Eagles then put together their best drive, an 80-yarder covering 14 plays, yet again faltered close to the end zone. Elliott added a 21-yarder with 6:02 remaining after coach Doug Pederson briefly considered going for it on fourth-and-1 at the Atlanta 3.

“It was tricky out there, really gusty,” Elliott said.

Then, as the fans in the Linc held their breath, the Eagles held deep in their territory.

“Man, just stay calm,” said defensive tackle Fletcher Cox, who was a force all day. “We always talk about that. We’ve been in those situations during the regular season, so we kind of know how to handle those situations, not try to make a play but let the play come to us.”

And the road to the Super Bowl remains through Philly.

 

Vikings take Bradford off IR for playoffs; 4th QB on roster

The Minnesota Vikings have activated quarterback Sam Bradford from injured reserve, putting their original starter this season on the roster before their first playoff game.

The Vikings waived tight end Kyle Carter on Saturday to make room for Bradford, who last played at Chicago on Oct. 9 and returned to practice last week after recovering from a left knee injury. The Vikings host New Orleans on Sunday.

Bradford was stellar in the opening win against the Saints, but unable to play the following week. Case Keenum started the next three games. Bradford was back for the Bears game, but hobbled around in the first half before being pulled for Keenum.

Teddy Bridgewater and Kyle Sloter give the Vikings four quarterbacks on the active roster.

 

Texans hire Brian Gaine as GM, extend Bill O’Brien’s deal

The Houston Texans have hired Brian Gaine as general manager and extended the contract of coach Bill O’Brien through 2022.

The team announced the deals Saturday. Gaine signed a five-year contract and O’Brien was extended for four years.

Gaine brings 19 years of NFL personnel experience to Houston. He spent the 2017 season as the Buffalo Bills’ vice president of player personnel. He also served as the Texans’ director of player personnel from 2015-16 and director of pro personnel in 2014.

Texans owner Bob McNair calls Gaine an “incredibly smart, hardworking individual that understands the importance of good communication.”

Houston finished 4-12 this season after consecutive AFC South titles the previous two years. O’Brien’s 31 career victories in four years are tied for the most by a coach in franchise history.

 

Keith Jackson, 89, announcer with ‘Whoa, Nelly!’ call, dies

Keith Jackson laid down the soundtrack to Saturday for a generation of college football fans with phrases such as his signature “Whoa, Nelly!” From the World Series to the Olympics, NFL to NBA, he did it all over five decades as a sportscaster, but most appropriately his final assignment before retiring 12 years ago was one of the greatest college football games ever.

Jackson died Friday. He was 89.

A statement by ESPN, which consolidated with ABC Sports, Jackson’s longtime employer, announced his death Saturday. No cause was given. He was a longtime resident of Sherman Oaks, California, and died near his home there.

A native of west Georgia, near the Alabama border, his smooth baritone voice and use of phrases like “big uglies” for linemen gave his game calls a familiar feel.

“He was one of our giants,” longtime broadcaster Brent Musburger told The Associated Press. “He could do anything and loved doing it.”

Jackson might be best known for his “Whoa, Nelly!” exclamation, but he didn’t overuse it. Borrowed from his great-grandfather, a farmer, the phrase also part of a commercial Jackson did for Miller Lite in the mid-’90s. But it was no catchphrase.

“He never made anything up,” Musburger said. “That’s how Keith talked.”

In a Fox Sports interview in 2013, Jackson said his folksy language stemmed from his rural upbringing and he became comfortable with the usage through the years.

“I would go around and pluck things off the bush and see if I could find a different way to say some things. And the older I got the more willing I was to go back into the Southern vernacular because some of it’s funny,” Jackson said.

ESPN “College GameDay” host Rece Davis, who grew up in Alabama, said listening to Jackson assured him that it was OK for a national broadcaster to sound Southern.

“Some people become the voice of the sport through their expertise, which Keith certainly had. But it’s almost as if the good Lord created that voice, which sounds like what red clay ought to sound like if it could talk, to be the perfect voice for college football,” Davis told the AP.

Jackson is a member of the Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame, and called more Rose Bowl games, 15, than any other announcer.

“When you heard his voice, you knew it was a big game,” said Bob Iger, chairman and chief executive of The Walt Disney Co., which owns ESPN.

Jackson’s death comes just three weeks after that of another sportscasting titan – Dick Enberg, known for his own excited calls of “Oh, my!” during a 60-year career.

Kirk Herbstreit was among the college football broadcasters paying tribute to Jackson on social media.

“Can close my eyes and think of so many of his special calls. Thank you Keith for all the memories and the grace in which you provided them,” Herbstreit posted on Twitter.

After serving four years in the Marine Corps, Jackson broadcast his first college football game in 1952 as an undergraduate at Washington State. He worked in radio and television before joining ABC Sports in 1966.

Jackson first announced his retirement in 1998 but returned to work. He retired for good after the 2006 Rose Bowl, when he called Texas’ upset of Southern California for the BCS championship on Vince Young’s last-minute touchdown scramble.

“Fourth-and-5. The national championship on the line right here,” Jackson said right before Young took the snap on that memorable play. “He’s going for the cornerrrr. He’s got it! Vince. Young. Scores.”

The Rose Bowl stadium’s radio and TV booths were renamed in his honor two years ago. He is in the Rose Bowl Hall of Fame for his contributions to the New Year’s Day game, which is he credited with nicknaming “The Granddaddy of Them All.”

Jackson was also the first play-by-play announcer on ABC’s “Monday Night Football” telecasts before being replaced in the program’s second season by Frank Gifford.

He called multiple World Series and baseball All-Star games, and was ABC’s lead NBA play-by-play announcer. He worked college basketball with Dick Vitale, and covered 10 Olympics, calling swimming, track and field, basketball, speedskating and ski jumping.

Musburger recalled doing the radio play-by-play for the 1986 National League championship series between the Mets and Astros when Jackson was on the television call ABC. The series ended in the Astrodome with a dramatic, 16-inning victory in Game 6 by the Mets.

“Keith was in the television booth right next to me,” Musburger said. “I’ll never forget when the game was over, Keith’s hand, and I didn’t know whose hand it was, but it came around the corner extension into the radio booth and he offered me a vodka after the game to celebrate what we had been through.”

Desmond Howard, who returned a punt for a touchdown at Michigan in one of Jackson’s best-known calls, tweeted that he had a hard time expressing how much Jackson meant to him, his alma mater and college football.

“May his family find some comfort in knowing how much joy he brought us for so many years and that his legacy endures,” Howard said.

Jackson is survived by his wife of 63 years, Turi Ann.

Funeral arrangements were not announced.

 

Cole fire: Astros heat up hot stove by acquiring Pirates ace

The Houston Astros already had two Cy Young winners on their staff. They’re hoping Gerrit Cole can make it three.

The World Series champions boosted their rotation with another big arm, acquiring Cole from the Pittsburgh Pirates in a five-player trade Saturday.

The Pirates got right-handers Joe Musgrove and Michael Feliz, third baseman Colin Moran and outfielder Jason Martin for their 27-year-old ace.

Cole will join All-Stars Dallas Keuchel and Justin Verlander on a team that just won its first crown. Houston breezed to the AL West title with 101 wins, and went on beat the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 7 of the World Series.

Cole went 12-12 with a 4.26 ERA last season, by far the worst ERA of his five-year career. The No. 1 overall pick in the 2011 draft was an All-Star in 2015 but hasn’t replicated those results the past two seasons. Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow thinks pitching coach Brent Strom can help Cole recapture that form.

“We expect him to bounce back and be a Cy Young contender,” Luhnow said.

The New York Yankees had been among the teams mentioned in trade talks involving Cole. There hadn’t been a lot of movement this winter on baseball’s hot stove, but this deal could get things cooking. Luhnow said Houston first spoke to Pittsburgh about Cole last July, and the teams have been hammering out this package since the winter meetings.

Chris Archer, Michael Fulmer, Matt Harvey and other prominent starters have had their names tossed around in recent swap speculation.

Cole tied for the NL lead with 33 starts, was third in innings (203) and 10th in strikeouts (196). He is 59-42 with a 3.50 ERA in five major league seasons, including 19-8 in 2015.

“This move gives us a better chance over the next two years to repeat and hopefully get another championship,” Luhnow said.

On Friday, Cole and the Pirates reached agreement on a one-year contract worth $6.75 million. He had one year of arbitration remaining and was likely to command a huge raise in 2019, one of the reasons the Pirates had considered trading him.

“Trading Gerrit Cole was not an easy decision. We are very appreciative for what Gerrit has done for our team and organization, especially his important role on the 2013-15 playoff teams,” Pirates general manager Neal Huntington said in a statement.

“Acquiring these four quality young players, three of whom we project to be an important part of our 2018 team, with many years of potential contribution, is an important step for us as we work toward bringing playoff baseball back to our fans,” he said.

The Pirates have slumped badly since those three straight postseason appearances. They dipped to 78-83 in 2016, then slid to 75-87 last year.

Luhnow characterized Cole’s acquisition as having a “significant cost” because the Astros “love” the four players they’re giving up. Musgrove, Moran and Feliz have already appeared in the major leagues and should contribute in Pittsburgh almost immediately.

Musgrove could take over Cole’s spot in the rotation. The 25-year-old has made 25 starts and 49 appearances with Houston over the past two seasons. He’s 11-12 with a 4.77 ERA in that time, but finished out 2017 by posting a 1.44 ERA over 31 1/3 innings of relief.

Moran is the nephew of former major leaguer B.J. Surhoff and could become a similar type of hitter, with high batting averages but only some power from the left side. The 25-year-old is a career .290 hitter in the minor leagues since Miami selected him in the first round of the 2013 draft. Houston acquired the third baseman in a deal for pitcher Jarred Cosart and infielder Enrique Hernandez in 2014, and Moran took a step forward last season by hitting 18 home runs for Triple-A Fresno.

Moran has primarily been a third baseman, though he’s also played first base and left field. He was blocked at the hot corner in Houston by young slugger Alex Bregman but could pilfer at-bats from David Freese in Pittsburgh.

Luhnow said Moran “projects to be an everyday third baseman on a championship team. We just happen to have someone in front of him.”

Feliz is a hard-throwing right-handed reliever who struck out 13.13 batters per nine innings in 46 appearances last season. Despite that, he had a 5.63 ERA in part because of subpar control.

Martin is a left-handed hitting outfielder selected in the eighth round of the 2013 draft. The 22-year-old batted .278 with 18 home runs and 16 stolen bases last season split between Class A Buies Creek and Double-A Corpus Christi.

 

Young’s 43 lead No. 9 Oklahoma past No. 16 TCU 102-97 in OT

Oklahoma guard Christian James can’t grasp what Trae Young does.

Young scored 29 of his 43 points after halftime, and No. 9 Oklahoma defeated No. 16 TCU 102-97 in overtime on Saturday.

“Sometimes you wonder, is he even human?” James said.

Young, the freshman who leads the nation in scoring and assists, matched a season scoring high and also had 11 rebounds and seven assists. He made 10 3-pointers, one short of the school record of 11 set by Brent Price against Loyola Marymount in 1990. He pushed his season scoring average to 30.1 points per game.

“I had to continue to be aggressive, and the shots were there and open for me to take, so I was just trying to knock it down every time,” Young said.

Brady Manek added 22 points for the Sooners (14-2, 4-1 Big 12), who made a school-record 19 3-pointers.

It was Young’s second dominant performance against TCU this season. He had 39 points and 14 assists and made the game-winning free throws with 7 seconds left in a 90-89 win over the Horned Frogs on Dec. 30.

Jaylen Fisher had a career-high 22 points and Vladimir Brodziansky added 21 for TCU (13-4, 1-4), which lost its second overtime game of the week. TCU lost to Texas in double-overtime on Wednesday after Fisher missed what would have been the go-ahead layup in the closing seconds.

TCU’s losses are by a combined 11 points, and three have been in overtime. Coach Jamie Dixon shrugged off questions about how difficult losing so many close games must be.

“I expressed that to them wholeheartedly in the locker room afterward that I am positive without a shadow of a doubt that we are as good as anybody, and I think we are going to show it down the road,” Dixon said.

Young scored 11 points in a 3-minute span to help the Sooners rally from a 6-point deficit and tie the game at 85. He found James for a 3-pointer with 6 seconds remaining that gave the Sooners an 89-87 lead.

“I mean being the competitor I am, obviously I want to take the last shot and I want the game to be in my hands,” Young said, “but I want to make the right play, and the right play was throwing it to Christian. I have so much trust in him to knock it down, and he did.”

Fisher’s layup with 1.4 seconds left forced overtime. In the extra period, the Sooners outscored the Horned Frogs 8-0 from the free throw line.

“We needed them all,” Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger said. “They weren’t easy shots, but they still stepped up and knocked them down.”

 

No. 8 Texas Tech makes history at home, 72-71 over No. 2 WVU

Freshman Zhaire Smith cradled the inbounds pass as the final eight-tenths of a second ticked off the clock and the frenzied Texas Tech fans rushed the court.

The Red Raiders will savor this moment, even if the rough-and-tumble Big 12 is just getting started.

Keenan Evans scored 20 points, Brandone Francis had a career-high 17 and No. 8 Texas Tech won the first-ever Top 10 matchup on its home court, beating second-ranked West Virginia 72-71 on Saturday.

The Mountaineers (15-2, 4-1 Big 12) couldn’t hold an 11-point lead in the final 13 minutes and had their nation-leading 15-game winning streak stopped.

They were the last team in the Big 12 with a perfect league record. Now Texas Tech (15-2, 4-1) is part of a four-way tie atop arguably the nation’s toughest conference – with 13 league games to go.

“I’ve got a great friend who this week told me, `Prince today, frog tomorrow,'” Texas Tech coach Chris Beard said. “And for some reason, in the heat of the game – you might think about what I wonder in these moments – I kept on thinking about that.

“I know we’re going to be a frog again at some point. It’s the Big 12. But I want to be a prince one more day.”

Jevon Carter scored 28 points – one off his career high – for West Virginia, which was denied its first 5-0 start in its sixth season in the Big 12. Esa Ahmad added 18 in his season debut following an NCAA academic suspension.

Sagaba Konate had a game-high 11 rebounds, but one of his misses on an ill-advised long jumper signified West Virginia’s game for coach Bob Huggins.

“We just had guys that were really out of character,” Huggins said. “We got our center shooting whatever that was, a 3-point shot from the top of the key. We just did a lot of things out of character from what we normally do.”

Evans hit a lean-in jumper to give the Red Raiders a four-point lead in the final minute. Carter made a 3 for the final margin with less than a second to go, and the Mountaineers couldn’t foul Smith before the buzzer sounded, prompting a wild celebration.

“It was amazing,” Francis said. “It feels good to play in that kind of atmosphere out there. Thanks for having our back throughout the entire game. It was great you had our back.”

It was the first time Texas Tech won a Top 10 matchup. Two of the three in school history were this week, starting with a 75-65 loss to No. 9 Oklahoma on Tuesday.

Smith’s alley-oop dunk from fellow freshman Jarrett Culver sparked a 12-2 run to help the Red Raiders wipe out most of the 11-point deficit. Smith had nine points and eight rebounds.