TOP 25 MEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL
#5 XAVIER 86 BUTLER 79
#18 TEXAS TECH #10 KANSAS 73
FLORIDA 83 #11 TEXAS A&M 66
#16 TCU 81 BAYLOR 78 OT
MISSISSIPPI STATE 78 #22 ARKANSAS 75
AUBURN 94 #23 TENNESSEE 74
BALL STATE 72 EASTERN MICHIGAN 72
MICHIGAN 75 IOWA 78
MARYLAND 75 PENN STATE 69
WISCONSIN 71 INDIANA 61
IUPUI 67 GREEN BAY 63
NEBRASKA 70 NORTHWSTERN 65
TOP 25 WOMEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL
BUTLER 76 #21 VILLANOVA 53
GEORGETOWN 65 XAVIER 60
CLEVELAND 127 PORTLAND 110
SAN ANTONIO 100 NEW YORK 91
PHOENIX 104 ATLANTA 103
CHARLOTTE 131 SACRAMENTO 111
LA CLIPPERS 113 MEMPHIS 105
TAMPA BAY 2 TORONTO 0
BOSTON 5 NY ISLANDERS 1
PITTSBURGH 5 PHILADELPHIA 1
WASHINGTON 5 CAROLINA 4
SAN JOSE 4 MONTREAL 1
ST. LOUIS 3 NEW JERSEY 2
MINNESOTA 5 FLORIDA 1
COLUMBUS 2 DALLAS 1
COLORADO 3 WINNIPEG 2
LOS ANGELES 5 EDMONTON 0
ANAHEIM 5 VANCOUVER 0
VEGAS 3 NASHVILLE 0
BOYS HS BASKETBALL-NCC/AREA
NATIONAL TRAIL 66 SETON CATHOLIC 59
ANDERSON 88 ELWOOD 49
HS GIRLS BASKETBALL-NCC/AREA
RUSHVILLE 52 FRANKLIN COUNTY 34
WAPAHANI 52 BLUE RIVER 48
ANDERSON 68 ELWOOD 43
Happ’s 28 points lead way, Wisconsin beats Indiana 71-61
Greg Gard looked down at the stat sheet to find something to harp on about Ethan Happ.
He missed four foul shots and committed three turnovers. But those miscues got glossed over by all the good things that Happ did on Tuesday night.
The athletic forward had 28 points in one of his best all-around efforts of the season, and undermanned Wisconsin overcame another injury to beat Indiana 71-61. Happ hit 11 of 17 shots, adding nine rebounds, four steals and two blocks for the Badgers (9-7, 2-1 Big Ten).
“He plays hard. He makes a lot of good things happen. It’s not always pretty but … a lot of good things happen by just playing hard,” Gard said.
Especially in the second half, when the Badgers held a 20-8 advantage on the boards.
“We were, to be honest with you, soft on the glass,” Indiana coach Archie Miller said. “In the second half, the game really changed on second shots.”
Collin Hartmann led Indiana with a career-high 18 points, hitting 4 of 8 from behind the arc off the bench. Robert Johnson added 14 points and five assists.
But the Badgers still won their fifth straight game despite being without starting guard Brevin Pritzl, who was scratched 90 minutes before tipoff with a head injury after getting hurt in shootaround.
Brad Davison added 14 points for Wisconsin, which extended its winning streak over the Hoosiers (8-7, 1-2) in Madison to 16 games.
“I think it’s just something at Wisconsin where it’s next man up – that’s how we transition with new guys in different roles, the 6-foot-10 Happ said.
Indiana had no answer for Wisconsin’s athletic, do-it-all forward.
After trailing by three at halftime, the Badgers took over slowly and led by about 10 for most of the last five minutes. Happ muscled his way around three defenders for an offensive rebound and putback for a 62-51 lead with 4:34 left.
Happ added four assists, including a pass out of the post to an open Davison on the wing for a nine-point lead with 6:51 left. Indiana’s Josh Newkirk slipped on the other end with the ball for a turnover to camp the momentum-swinging stretch for Wisconsin.
Hartman had 13 points in the first half to help Indiana take a 33-30 lead at the break. But the Hoosiers ended up falling to 0-4 this season on the road.
Bengals give coach Marvin Lewis 2-year extension
Coach Marvin Lewis got a two-year contract extension Tuesday, providing more chances to try to get the Cincinnati Bengals that playoff victory that has eluded him for 15 seasons.
The agreement came after a second straight losing season and two days of discussions with owner Mike Brown. Lewis has the second-longest active coaching tenure in the NFL, behind Bill Belichick’s 18 seasons with New England.
Unlike Belichick, who has won five Super Bowls and made two other appearances in the title game, Lewis is 0-7 in the playoffs, the worst coaching record in NFL history. The Bengals haven’t won a playoff game since the 1990 season, the sixth-longest streak of futility in league history.
Paul Brown Stadium was half-empty for the final home game, an indication fans had given up on the team and were hoping for change.
Instead, Brown decided to stay the course and keep Lewis, who wanted more say over the coaching staff and the roster if he stayed.
Brown’s aversion to change won out.
“Marvin has made significant contributions during his time here,” Brown said in a statement.
Lewis planned to meet the media on Wednesday. He said in a statement that he was committed “to making the necessary improvements to put this team in the best position to win.”
Lewis has acknowledged that he w ould have been fired in any other NFL city. Instead, he’s gotten second and third chances – and now a 16th chance – to lead the Bengals to a postseason win. Brown, an owner who values loyalty, has decided to keep Lewis around.
It marks a stay-the-course coaching off season for both of Ohio’s teams. The Browns are keeping coach Hue Jackson after they became only the second team in NFL history to go 0-16.
Carson Palmer retires
Coach Bruce Arians once said he and quarterback Carson Palmer would ride away into the sunset together like a pair of old desert cowboys.
Well, they have.
Palmer announced his retirement after 15 NFL seasons on Tuesday in an open letter released by Cardinals, one day after Arians said he was leaving his long coaching career.
“Over the years, I’ve had teammates who decided to hang it up and I would ask them how they knew when it was time to walk away,” the letter began. “The answer was almost always the same: You just know. For me, it is time now. Why? Quite simply, I just know.”
Palmer, who turned 38 last week, made the announcement in an open letter released Tuesday by the Cardinals. Palmer missed the last nine games of what would be his final season with a broken left arm.
He called his long professional career “the most incredible experience of my life.”
Palmer and Arians were together the past five seasons, and they included some of the best days of the quarterback’s career.
Standing 6-foot-5 with a remarkably strong arm, Palmer was a Heisman Trophy winner at USC and the No. 1-overall pick by Cincinnati in 2002. He threw for 46,247 yards, 12th-most in NFL history, in a career with the Bengals, Oakland and Arizona.
“When I entered the league, I was a 23-year-old kid,” Palmer wrote. “I’m leaving a 38-year-old husband and father of four with memories and experiences that I will treasure for the rest of my life. And like most things in life, it feels like it all passed in a blink of an eye.”
Lewis, Urlacher, Moss among 15 Hall of Fame finalists
Star linebackers Ray Lewis and Brian Urlacher are among four first-time eligible former players selected among the 15 modern-era finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2018.
Receiver Randy Moss and guard Steve Hutchinson also made the cut to the finals in their first year of eligibility.
They join Tony Boselli, Isaac Bruce, Brian Dawkins, Alan Faneca, Joe Jacoby, Edgerrin James, Ty Law, John Lynch, Kevin Mawae, Terrell Owens and Everson Walls for consideration.
The seniors committee has nominated guard Jerry Kramer and linebacker Robert Brazile. The contributor’s nominee is Bobby Beathard, a former general manager and administrator for five franchises.
Voting by the Hall of Fame selectors will be Feb. 3 in Minneapolis. Inductions will be in August at the Canton, Ohio, shrine.
Gruden hopes to be Raiders candidate
Jon Gruden hopes he’s a candidate to return for a second stint as coach of the Oakland Raiders and believes a final decision will be made next week.
Gruden made his most specific comments about the opening in Oakland in an interview Tuesday with the Bay Area News Group . The Raiders fired coach Jack Del Rio on Sunday following a disappointing six-win season
“My understanding is they’re interviewing candidates this week and they’re going to let everybody know sometime early next week or whenever they make their decision,” Gruden told the paper.
When asked specifically if he was a candidate, Gruden replied: “Well, I think I am being considered, yes. I hope I’m a candidate.”
The Raiders are not commenting on the search beyond a statement issued Sunday night from owner Mark Davis thanking Del Rio for his tenure.
Gruden spent four seasons as coach in Oakland from 1998-2001. After leading the Raiders to 8-8 records his first two years, Gruden helped the team reach the AFC title game following the 2000 season and got Oakland back into the playoffs the following season.
Gruden’s tenure ended shortly after the “Tuck Rule” loss to the New England Patriots when he was traded the following month to Tampa Bay for two first-round draft picks, two second-rounders and $8 million.
Gruden beat the Raiders in the Super Bowl in his first season with the Buccaneers but didn’t win another playoff game for Tampa Bay in his final six seasons. He has a 95-81 career record.
Gruden has spent the past nine seasons working as an announcer for ESPN and is scheduled to work the playoff game Saturday in Kansas City between the Chiefs and Tennessee Titans. ESPN first reported the likelihood of Gruden returning to Oakland on the eve of the season finale that Oakland lost.
Stable Packers embark on offseason of change with GM search
One of the NFL’s model franchises for stability and success, the Green Bay Packers have embarked on an offseason of change after missing the playoffs and finishing with a losing record for the first time since 2008.
Ted Thompson is out after 13 years as general manager but will remain as senior adviser of football operations. President/CEO Mark Murphy said a search for a replacement has started.
This should be an attractive opening since the Packers aren’t far off from returning to contender status. Two-time NFL MVP quarterback Aaron Rodgers is expected to return to full health next season following a collarbone injury.
“I think with our organization, the success we’ve had in the past, I think very realistically we can win Super Bowls in the near future,” Murphy said Tuesday at Lambeau Field. “And it’s now on us to get the right people in place and move forward.”
The Packers have several in-house candidates. But whoever replaces Thompson will have Mike McCarthy under contract through 2019, after Murphy said the coach was given a one-year extension during the season. The extension prevents McCarthy from having lame-duck status with a new GM.
“Kind of like Ted, the two of them together have had a great run. We have all the confidence in the world in Mike,” Murphy said.
The Packers’ Super Bowl victory in 2010 was the highlight of Thompson’s 13-year tenure, which also included four NFC championship game appearances. The Packers abided by a “draft-and-develop” philosophy on Thompson’s watch.
“The organization, our fans and our community were fortunate to have had one of the NFL’s all-time great general managers leading our football operations,” Murphy said.
But Green Bay lost its season finale 35-11 on Sunday to the Detroit Lions, slipping below .500 in a season in which Rodgers missed nine games with the collarbone injury.
The offense struggled with backup Brett Hundley, and a defense stocked with high draft picks failed to improve again.
Thomas shines in debut as Cavs down Trail Blazers 127-110
Isaiah Thomas had one last wait.
Sitting on the scorer’s table, Thomas could see the end of his seventh-month odyssey in front of him. And when the buzzer finally sounded and the Cleveland crowd erupted for a player it barely knows, Thomas took the last few steps onto the court and completed a trip he hopes to never take again.
He was all the way back.
Thomas showed flashes of what made him an All-Star in his long-awaited debut for the Cavaliers, who snapped a three-game losing streak by beating the Portland Trail Blazers 127-110 on Tuesday night.
“It’s been a long journey for me,” Thomas said. “I couldn’t really see the light at the end of the tunnel. For that day to come the first couple days of 2018, it’s going to be a special year.”
It was a special night for Thomas, who scored 17 points and played 19 minutes in his first game in seven months, an impressive return to action for the dynamic point guard traded to Cleveland last summer. He added three 3-pointers and three assists before leaving with 8:10 remaining and the Cavs up by 12.
Before leaving the floor, Thomas got a hug from LeBron James and one from Cavs coach Tyronn Lue, who pulled him close and offered two perfect words.
“Welcome back,” Lue said.
James scored 24 points, Kevin Love had 19 and Jae Crowder added 15 for the Cavs, who were coming off losses at Golden State, Sacramento and Utah.
Spurs beat Knicks, Popovich alone in 5th for coaching wins
He’s now the fifth-winningest coach in NBA history, though there are some things Gregg Popovich still doesn’t know.
Like what everybody was yelling about after Manu Ginobili’s overthrown pass, for example.
He was just as fooled initially as the referees and didn’t realize the ball had gone in the basket, the most bizarre bucket of San Antonio’s 100-91 victory over the New York Knicks on Tuesday night.
“I did not, in all honestly. I did not,” Popovich said. “Then everybody started grabbing me and saying the ball went in. I said, `Yeah, the ball went in!’ I acted like I knew what was going on.”
He almost always does.
Popovich earned his 1,176th victory, all with the Spurs. The five-time champion broke a tie with his friend George Karl.
LaMarcus Aldridge scored 29 points and Kawhi Leonard had a season-high 25 for the Spurs. Ginobili finished with 12 points – three of them coming on what appeared to be a pass that went into the basket without everyone noticing.
“He makes magic happen,” Aldridge said. “He’s the only 40-year-old that can make plays like he does every night.”
The Spurs beat the Knicks for the second time in six days and won for the fourth time in five games. They beat New York 119-107 on Dec. 28.