NBA SCOREBOARD

Houston 116 Orlando 98

Philadelphia 112 San Antonio 106

Washington 121 New York 103

Miami 111 Detroit 104

Brooklyn 98 Minnesota 97

Boston 102 Cleveland 88

Toronto 124 Chicago 115

Milwaukee 122 Indiana 101

Golden State 125 Dallas 122

Denver 134 Phoenix 111

New Orleans 108 Utah 98

Oklahoma City 133 LA Lakers 96

TOP 25 MEN’S BASKETBALL

#7 Oklahoma 109 Oklahoma State 89

#8 Virginia 78 Virginia Tech 52

#24 Florida State 81 #12 North Carolina 80

#13 Purdue 82 Rutgers 51

Georgia Tech 64 #15 Miami Florida 54

#17 Kentucky 74 LSU 71

#25 Clemson 74 Boston College 70

ELSEWHERE

Transylvania 104 Earlham 96

Bradley 80 Valparaiso 71

Indiana State 61 Loyola Chicago 57

Southern Illinois 65 Evansville 63

Dayton 82 St. Bonaventure 72

Minnesota 77 Illinois 67

Notre Dame 88 North Carolina State 58

TOP 25 WOMEN’S BASKETBALL

#1 Connecticut 96 E. Carolina 35

#6 Baylor 89 Iowa State 49

#8 Texas 84 #20 Oklahoma State 79

Kansas State 60 #12 West Virginia 52

ELSEWHERE

Ball State 86 Miami Ohio 61

South Florida 69 Cincinnati 46

Michigan State 81 Northwestern 51

Penn State 77 Indiana 74

Rutgers 76 Illinois 37

NHL SCOREBOARD

Detroit 2 Ottawa 1

Chicago 5 NY Rangers 2

HIGH SCHOOL BOYS BASKETBALL – NCC/AREA

Randolph Southern 49 Winchester 48 OT

HIGH SCHOOL GIRLS BASKETBALL – NCC/AREA

Marion 57 Southwood 33

Noblesville 71 Kokomo 40

Union County 68 Seton Catholic 10

Zionsville 63 Harrison 38

Anderson 54 Lapel 46

Monroe Central 58 Union City 38

 

TOP HEADLINES

LA QBs Rosen, Darnold announce NFL draft entry moments apart

Within 30 minutes of one another, UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen and Southern California quarterback Sam Darnold announced they will enter the NFL draft.

The Los Angeles rivals have a chance to be the first two quarterbacks taken and possibly among the first few players off the board in April.

Joining Rosen and Darnold in announcing NFL intentions Wednesday was Oklahoma offensive tackle Orlando Brown, another possible top-10 pick.

Rosen’s decision was no surprise. He has started for UCLA since his freshman season, though injuries cost him most of his sophomore year and this season he did not play in the Bruins’ Cactus Bowl loss against Kansas State because he was being treated for a concussion.

He passed for 9,301 yards with 59 touchdown passes and 26 interceptions in his college career, but UCLA never even so much as won a bowl game during his time there. He was close to fired UCLA coach Jim Mora. but Rosen said he discussed his decision with new Bruins coach Chip Kelly. After playing for three offensive coordinators in three seasons at UCLA he decided to move one. In his statement, Rosen said attending UCLA was “the best decision of my life.” He also promises his mother that he’ll return to Westwood to finish his degree.

There was more uncertainty about Darnold . He was a third-year sophomore this past season after sitting out as a redshirt as a freshman.

Darnold took over as the Trojans’ starting quarterback four games into last season as a redshirt freshman. He won the Rose Bowl in his first season with a record 453-yard, five-touchdown performance against Penn State, and he led the Trojans to their first Pac-12 championship since 2008 this season. He passed for 7,229 yards with 57 touchdown passes and 22 interceptions in 27 games behind center for the Trojans.

Brown is the son of the late former NFL player Orlando Brown, who was nicknamed Zeus and played for the Baltimore Ravens. The younger Brown is 6-foot-8 and 345 pounds, and an All-American this season.

Auburn cornerback Carlton Davis, linebacker Jeff Holland and tailback Kamryn Pettway announced they are skipping their senior seasons to enter the NFL draft. That comes a day after Tigers star tailback Kerryon Johnson declared his plans to turn pro.

Also, Washington State defensive tackle Hercules Mata’afa, and Florida State tight end Ryan Izzo said they are passing up their final college seasons to enter the draft. Michigan defensive lineman Chase Winovich said he’s staying with the Wolverines for another year.

 

Gruden: There’s ‘good chance’ he’ll return as Raiders coach

Jon Gruden says he had a good talk with Oakland Raiders owner Mark Davis about returning to the organization for a second stint as coach and believes there is a “good chance” it will happen.

Gruden gave an interview to ESPN Radio on Wednesday to discuss his pursuit of the Raiders job that opened when Jack Del Rio was fired after a disappointing six-win season.

“It’s been a long couple of weeks,” Gruden said. “I know they’ve gone through their process of interviewing candidates and until they’re done I won’t know. I did have a good meeting with Mark. I’ve known him a long time and got a lot of respect for the Raiders football organization.”

Gruden has been out of coaching the past nine years while serving as ESPN’s analyst for “Monday Night Football.” He is scheduled to work the network’s playoff game Saturday in Kansas City between the Chiefs and Tennessee Titans and could come back to the Raiders as soon as next week.

“I think there’s a good chance,” he said. “I’m excited about where I’m at in terms of studying the game and preparing to come back and coach. I just don’t want to sit here and speculate.”

Gruden apparently is already trying to put together a staff. Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said he expected defensive coordinator Paul Guenther to interview with Oakland “at some point.”

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.

His 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.

The Raiders will be required to comply with the “Rooney Rule” and interview at least one minority candidate or otherwise face discipline from the NFL. The team has not commented on the search and might have already conducted that interview.

Gruden dismissed speculation raised in a report by ESPN over the weekend that he would get an ownership stake as part of his contract.

This would not mark the first time the Raiders brought back a coach for a second stint. Late owner Al Davis hired Art Shell in 2006, 11 years after firing him the first time. Shell went 2-14 that season and was fired after one year.

Other teams have also done it, with one of the most recent notable ones being Joe Gibbs in Washington. Gibbs stepped away following the 1992 season with three Super Bowl titles in his career. He came back in 2004 and had a 30-34 record in four seasons, leading Washington to two playoff berths.

 

Bills RB McCoy misses practice and listed day to day

Richie Incognito is so accustomed to people counting out the Bills this season, the veteran guard isn’t fazed by questions regarding injured running back LeSean McCoy’s uncertain status for Buffalo’s AFC wild-card playoff game at Jacksonville on Sunday.

In a year Buffalo has overcome various obstacles – a snowstorm, roster purge and a four-way playoff tiebreaker – to snap a 17-season postseason drought , what’s one more hurdle, the 11-year veteran wondered.

“This team thrives off adversity. It thrives off negative situations. It thrives off everyone picking against us. So we have everything going our way,” Incognito said Wednesday.

“People are picking against us. We’re missing a couple of guys. So I like our chances.”

McCoy’s status is up in the air after the Bills’ top offensive threat missed practice because of an injured right ankle. He was carted off the field after being hurt on the opening drive of Buffalo’s 22-16 win over Miami on Sunday.

Coach Sean McDermott would only say medical tests were negative and listed McCoy as day to day. McDermott declined to speculate whether McCoy will be able to practice at all this week.

McCoy was initially scheduled to address reporters following practice, but was not made available because team officials said he was still being treated by trainers during the period designated for interviews.

McCoy’s value to the Bills is difficult to underestimate in a season the 29-year-old became the NFL’s 30th player to top 10,000 career yards rushing.

The ninth-year player leads Buffalo with 1,138 yards rushing, 59 catches and eight touchdowns, including two receiving. Overall, his 1,586 yards from scrimmage account for 33 percent of the Bills’ total.

In finishing 9-7, the Bills were 8-2 when topping 100 yards rushing.

“Of course, Shady is a special playmaker. You miss him when he’s not out there,” quarterback Tyrod Taylor said, referring to McCoy, who’s nicknamed `Shady.’

“But at the same time, you can’t use it as an excuse. We have to go out there and make plays, myself, the receivers,” he added. “We’ll pick him up if he’s not out there.”

Buffalo lacks depth at the position a week after backup Travaris Cadet broke his ankle.

That leaves Mike Tolbert and Marcus Murphy as the only running backs on the roster, along with fullback Patrick DiMarco. Murphy was promoted off the practice squad last week and led Buffalo with 41 yards rushing, while adding two catches for 7 yards against Miami.

Murphy had one career carry for no gain during his previous two seasons with New Orleans. He understands he can’t alone replace McCoy.

“I really don’t think about it like that. I know I have a role in this offense just like everyone else,” Murphy said. “I can’t be Shady.”

On Tuesday, the Bills added insurance by signing running back Aaron Green to their practice squad. Green played two games with the Los Angeles Rams last season.

The Bills have persevered with a next-man up approach in a season they traded three starters, including receiver Sammy Watkins to the Los Angeles Rams in August and defensive tackle Marcell Dareus to Jacksonville in October.

Despite a roster that closed the regular season with just 20 returning players, Buffalo clinched the AFC’s sixth and final playoff berth by beating Miami. The Bills then got help when Baltimore gave up a last-minute touchdown on fourth-and-12 in a 31-27 loss to Cincinnati.

That left Buffalo in a four-way tie, and inched ahead of Baltimore based on having a better strength of victory percentage. The Bills were 2-4 against playoff-bound teams (Kansas City and Atlanta), while Baltimore went 0-5.

Buffalo finished sixth in yards rushing and faces a Jaguars defense that ranked second in yards allowed, but was inconsistent against the run.

The AFC South champions ranked 21st in yards rushing allowed, and gave up 140 yards or more five times this season – including 256 in a 23-20 overtime loss to the New York Jets in Week 4.

 

Injured Alabama LB Anfernee Jennings to miss title game

Alabama starting linebacker Anfernee Jennings says he will miss the national championship game against Georgia with a left knee injury sustained in the semifinals.

Jennings said on Twitter Wednesday he had successful surgery and will have an MRI on Friday.

Jennings had perhaps his best game of the season against Clemson in the Sugar Bowl. He had five tackles including three for a loss and his first sack of the season. He hit Clemson quarterback Kelly Bryant’s arm on a pass that was intercepted by defensive tackle Da’Ron Payne to set up a pivotal third-quarter touchdown.

Linebackers Shaun Dion Hamilton and Dylan Moses are also out for the game with injuries. Outside linebackers Christian Miller and Terrell Lewis have returned from injuries that sidelined them for much of the season.

 

Interim coach Steve Spagnuolo interviews for Giants’ top job

The New York Giants have started the interview process for their head coaching job by starting with the man who ran the team for the final month of a disastrous season.

Interim coach Steve Spagnuolo was interviewed by new general manager Dave Gettleman, co-owner John Mara and assistant general manager Kevin Abrams Wednesday, three days after the Giants (3-13) ended the season with an 18-10 win over Washington.

Co-owner Steve Tisch will meet with the candidates later in the process.

Spagnuolo posted a 1-3 record after being promoted from defensive coordinator to replace the fired Ben McAdoo on Dec. 4. He has head coaching experience, having guided the St. Louis Rams from 2009-11.

The likable Spagnuolo, who was promised an interview after being the interim coach, has had two tours as Giants defensive coordinator. He held the position in 2007-08 and helped the franchise win a Super Bowl. He returned in 2015 working the first year under Tom Coughlin and being retained by McAdoo.

Spagnuolo also interviewed for the Giants head coaching job when Coughlin was fired. The team decided to go with McAdoo, their offensive coordinator.

Spagnuolo also worked for Philadelphia, New Orleans and Baltimore.

This will be a busy week for the Giants. There are plans to interview Vikings offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur, Patriots coordinators Josh McDaniels and Matt Patricia, Broncos assistant head coach/running backs coach Eric Studesville and Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz.

They have asked the Panthers for permission to talk with defensive coordinator Steve Wilks, but that cannot happen until Carolina finishes with the playoffs.

Minnesota, New England and Philadelphia have first-round byes this week, while Studesville can talk because Denver did not make the playoffs.

 

Bears interview Fangio for coaching job

The Chicago Bears say they have interviewed defensive coordinator Vic Fangio for their head coaching job.

The interview on Wednesday was the first for the Bears since they fired John Fox two days earlier.

In his three seasons as Chicago’s defensive coordinator, Fangio has helped transform a unit that ranked among the worst in franchise history prior to his arrival. The Bears’ defense ranked 10th overall this season despite injuries to several key players, including linebacker Leonard Floyd.

Fangio was defensive coordinator for Carolina (1995-98), Indianapolis (1999-2001), Houston (2002-05) and San Francisco (2011-14).

Fox was let go after posting a 14-34 record in three years and a .292 winning percentage that ranks as the second-lowest in franchise history. The Bears were 5-11 this past season.

 

AP Sources: LSU signs assistant Aranda to 4-year, $10m deal

LSU defensive coordinator Dave Aranda has signed a four-year contract worth $10 million, making him the first assistant coach in major college football to reach $2 million in annual salary, a person with knowledge of the deal told The Associated Press on Wednesday night.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity because LSU had not released financial terms. The person said Aranda was being pursued by Texas A&M.

The deal was first reported by The Advocate in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Athletic department spokesman Michael Bonnette confirmed an agreement was in place between the school and Aranda and LSU coach Ed Orgeron tweeted that he was “very happy to report Dave Aranda has agreed to be with our program for years to come.”

Aranda, 41, was already the highest-paid assistant coach in the country at $1.8 million per year, according to the USA Today assistant coaches’ salary data base . Last year, only 46 head coaches in FBS made more than $2.5 million, according to USA Today’s head coaches’ salary data base.

Aranda came to LSU from Wisconsin after the 2015 season. Under Aranda, LSU’s defense ranked 12th in the nation this season and fifth in 2016. He led top-10 ranked defenses each of his three seasons at Wisconsin.

 

Ex-assistant to fired Arizona coach wants $7.5 million

A claim filed by the former assistant to fired Arizona football coach Rich Rodriguez says he walked around the office in his underwear, fondled himself in front of her and forced her to cover up an extramarital affair he had with another woman.

The claim seeking damages against Rodriguez was filed by an attorney for the former assistant and her husband and is a required precursor to a lawsuit against a government official. It was released Wednesday by the Arizona attorney general’s office.

Lawyer Augustine Jimenez III is seeking a $7.5 million settlement for his clients, saying in the claim that jurors who might consider a lawsuit against a coach who misused his power could award tens of millions of dollars “in this current climate where (hash)MeToo is in the headlines.” Jimenez didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment Wednesday.

Arizona fired Rodriguez on Tuesday night. The university said it began an investigation in October after receiving a sexual harassment complaint against Rodriguez, but could not substantiate the woman’s claims because she declined to be interviewed by the school.

“However, Arizona Athletics did become aware of information, both before and during the investigation, which caused it to be concerned with the direction and climate of the football program,” a joint statement from university President Robert Robbins and athletic director Dave Heeke said.

The statement said that while the decision to fire Rodriguez was difficult, “it is the right decision. And it is a decision that lives up to the core values of the University of Arizona.”

The university said it would honor the separation terms in Rodriguez’s contract, which calls for a buyout.

The chair of the state Board of Regents, which oversees Arizona’s three state universities, said he supports the firing. But Bill Ridenour said he also wanted more transparency in long-term contracts, noting that he had ordered a review after Arizona State coach Todd Graham’s firing last month, which also carried a big-number contract buyout.

“I am very empathetic to the public concern about costly buyouts of coaching contracts and am hopeful that future contracts include mitigation clauses to avert such buyouts,” Ridenour said in a statement.

Rodriguez denied the former assistant’s allegations but acknowledged he had an affair.

“I am not a perfect man, but the claims by my former assistant are simply not true and her demands for a financial settlement are outrageous,” Rodriguez said. “I am saddened that these accusations and investigation have caused my family additional stress.”

The former assistant had worked for the university since 2001 and was an assistant to the head of football operations under former coach Mike Stoops until he was fired in 2011. The claim says Rodriguez hired her as his assistant on Stoops’ recommendation, and she “redoubled her already tireless efforts to make sure Rodriguez has a smooth transition into the role.”

 

Giannis gets double-double in Bucks’ 122-101 win over Pacers

A teammate asked Giannis Antetokounmpo how he felt after a game in which the Milwaukee Bucks star secured his 18th double-double of the season.

“Good rest,” said Antetokounmpo, shrugging his shoulders as he reached his locker.

Antetokounmpo had 31 points and 10 rebounds before getting a well-earned break in the fourth quarter, and the Bucks pulled away for a 122-101 win over the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday night.

Antetokounmpo had his way around the rim with his usual array of dunks and layups, shooting 12 of 18. He clinched his double-double with 1:01 left in the third quarter, passing an offensive rebound to Thon Maker in the corner.

Maker hit an open 3-pointer to extend what had been a 10-point halftime lead to a 93-74 edge. It was one of the Bucks’ five 3s in the third to put the game out of reach.

“We are still giving up big quarters, to start the first, to start the third,” Pacers coach Nate McMillan said. “Defensively we are in a hole, and offensively we are turning the ball over.”

This was just the kind of breather the Bucks needed after losing in overtime at Toronto on New Year’s Day, with the dangerous Raptors visiting Milwaukee on Friday. Coach Jason Kidd liked the ball movement after his team had 33 assists, especially in the third quarter.

Khris Middleton added 27 points, while Malcolm Brogdon added 17 off the bench for the Bucks.

 

Twin towers stand tall as No. 13 Purdue routs Rutgers 82-51

Purdue coach Matt Painter first started using his two 7-foot centers together as an experiment.

On Wednesday night, he went with them out of necessity. If Isaac Haas and Matt Haarms continue playing this well in tandem, they could become a big staple for the defending Big Ten champions.

Haas scored 14 points and Harams grabbed six rebounds and blocked three shots, leading the 13th-ranked Boilermakers to an 82-51 rout over Rutgers for their 10th straight win.

“I like it because it provides a lot of length on defense,” said Haas, the 7-foot-2 senior. “I think it allows us to get more spread out on defense. On offense, you have guys that are long rebounders that can go high-low. I just can’t wait to see how that develops the rest of the season.”

So far, it’s worked beautifully.

The Boilermakers (14-2, 3-0) have won 17 in a row at Mackey Arena and are the only Big Ten team with three conference wins. No. 1 Michigan State and Ohio State can join them Thursday.

And Haas and the 7-3 Haarms played a huge role in turning the tables on Rutgers, which was ranked No. 3 nationally in total rebounds and No. 4 in scoring defense.

But with Haas and Haarms dominating the middle, Purdue outscored Rutgers 28-14 in the paint and had a 45-27 rebound advantage, giving the Scarlet Knights no chance.

“I think all of their lineups cause problems,” Rutgers coach Steve Pikiell said. “The two big guys do cause problems though each one is different. Haas is a monster down low and the other one is a good shot blocker.”

And the primary reason Painter went with the pairing was because starting forward Vincent Edwards was in foul trouble most of the night.

It wasn’t just the big men who got the job done for Purdue, which made 7 of 12 3-pointers in the first half and finished 10 of 23.

Geo Baker had 11 points to lead the Scarlet Knights (10-6, 0-3), who have lost three straight. Mike Williams added 10.

But the combination was simply too much for Rutgers’ young team.

The Boilermakers used an 8-0 run to take a 17-7 lead, later extended the margin to 32-17 and headed to the locker room with a 45-24 lead.

Rutgers got as close as 51-37 when Baker made Rutgers’ first 3 of the night with 13:27 left to play. Then Purdue answered with six straight and stretched the lead to as much as 33.

“For me, it’s more about learning how to play the 4 a little more,” Haarms said. “When Coach tells me to go get Vince, I get a big smile on my face.”