BOYS HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL – NCC/AREA

McCutcheon 49 Richmond 40 OT

Kokomo 52 Fort Wayne Northrup 46

Lafayette Jeff 66 Lebanon 38

Logansport 59 Western 55

Muncie Central 55 Noblesville 43

Pendleton Heights 74 Anderson 51

New Castle 48 Connersville 37

Union County 57 Franklin County 52

Monroe Central 65 Union City 24

Centerville 45 Northeastern 42

GIRLS HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL – NCC/AREA

Richmond 51 McCutcheon 42

Lafayette Jeff 49 Crown Point 40

Northwestern 74 Logansport 24

Oldenburg Academy 53 Seton Catholic 28

Tri 46 Shenandoah 39 OT

Monroe Central 48 Randolph Southern 39

Lincoln 45 Northeastern 43

NFL PLAYOFFS

Tennessee 22 Kansas City 21

Atlanta 26 LA Rams 13

MEN’S TOP 25 BASKETBALL

North Carolina State 96 #2 Duke 85

#3 Villanova 100 Marquette 90

Providence 81 #5 Xavier 72

#6 West Virginia 89 #7 Oklahoma 76

#8 Virginia 61 #12 North Carolina 49

#10 Kansas 88 #16 TCU 84

LSU 69 #11 Texas A&M 68

#13 Purdue 74 Nebraska 62

Colorado 80 #14 Arizona 77

#23 Tennessee 76 #17 Kentucky 65

#18 Texas Tech 74 Kansas State 58

#21 Seton Hall 90 Butler 87

Auburn 88 #22 Arkansas 77

#25 Clemson 74 Louisville 69 OT

ELSEWHERE

Rose-Hulman 90 Earlham 75

Indiana 75 Minnesota 71

IU East 80 Alice Lloyd College 66

Massachusetts 62 Dayton 60

Michigan 79 Illinois 69

Buffalo 83 Ball State 63

Drake 75 Indiana State 72

Fort Wayne 82 Denver 63

Notre Dame 51 Syracuse 49

Western Michigan 67 Miami Ohio 62

Evansville 68 Bradley 44

Valparaiso 83 Southern Illinois 72

WOMEN’S TOP 25 BASKETBALL

#1 Connecticut 100 S. Florida 49

#6 Baylor 83 Kansas 48

ELSEWHERE

Rose-Hulman 45 Earlham 23

Wright State 88 Detroit 60

Central Michigan 84 Miami Ohio 66

Ball State 84 Bowling Green 73

Indiana 72 Purdue 54

Denver 73 Fort Wayne 55

Tulsa 64 Cincinnati 51

IUPUI 65 Youngstown State 43

NBA SCOREBOARD

Golden State 121 LA Clippers 105

Boston 87 Brooklyn 85

Detroit 108 Houston 101

Indiana 125 Chicago 86

Cleveland 131 Orlando 127

Milwaukee 110 Washington 100

Minnesota 116 New Orleans 98

Sacramento 106 Denver 98

NHL SCOREBOARD

Philadelphia 6 St. Louis 3

Dallas 5 Edmonton 1

Boston 7 Carolina 1

Toronto 3 Vancouver 2

Ottawa 6 Tampa Bay 3

NY Rangers 2 Arizona 1

Colorado 7 Minnesota 2

Calgary 3 Anaheim 2

Nashville 4 Los Angeles 3

 

TOP HEADLINES

Titans rally from 21-3 hole, beat Chiefs 22-21 in playoffs

Marcus Mariota did everything he could to help the Titans advance in the playoffs, throwing a crazy touchdown pass to himself , running for crucial first downs and providing the kind of spark that Tennessee needed to rally from a 21-3 halftime hole.

Heck, he even threw a crucial block on the run that clinched the game.

It all added up to a heart-stopping 22-21 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs on Saturday, the first postseason win for the Titans in 14 years and one that will provide some relief – for the week, at least – for embattled coach Mike Mularkey and his remarkable bunch of underdogs.

“Special,” said Mariota, whose 205 yards passing included the go-ahead 22-yard strike to Eric Decker with six minutes left. “I’m part of a great team. I’m part of a group of guys that really believe in each other. And it’s something special.”

Now, the Titans will find out Sunday whether they’re headed to New England or Pittsburgh next.

Derrick Henry added a career-high 156 yards rushing and another score for Tennessee (10-7), while a defense fileted by Alex Smith and the Chiefs (10-7) in the first half pitched a shutout in the second half – dooming the Kansas City franchise to another humiliating postseason defeat.

The Chiefs haven’t won a home playoff game since January 1994.

“I’m in shock,” Smith said. “The swing at halftime to the final whistle, definitely a shock. Yeah. Didn’t feel like we played up to how we’re capable of playing and that’s disappointing.

Smith threw for 264 yards and two touchdowns , but most of that came before halftime. He couldn’t get going in the second half and misfired on fourth-and-9 at the Titans 44 with just over two minutes to go, denying the Chiefs a chance for Harrison Butker to kick a go-ahead field goal.

Adding to the depression? Henry appeared to fumble as Tennessee tried to run out the clock.

The Chiefs’ Derrick Johnson picked up the ball and returned it for a touchdown with 1:47 to go, and the crowd went wild as fireworks shot off over Arrowhead Stadium. But a replay clearly showed Henry down, the call was overturned and Tennessee succeeded in running out the clock. Mariota threw a block that helped spring Henry for a 22-yard gain on third-and 10 late that helped finish off the comeback.

“Grit. It’s just grit,” Henry said. “We told them we’ve got 30 minutes left, all we’ve got to do is play our game. Execute the plays and everything will take care of itself.”

In the first half, the Chiefs looked every bit the team that had won four straight in convincing fashion, and the Titans looked every bit the team that backed into the playoffs.

Kareem Hunt, the league’s top rusher this season , plunged in from 1 yard for a 7-0 lead. Smith hit Travis Kelce, who later left with a concussion, with a 13-yard touchdown pass. And he added another TD toss to Demarcus Robinson on the final offensive play for a 21-3 lead at the break.

“We were feeling good,” Johnson said. “We came in 21-3 and that’s all we were talking about: `Finish. Don’t get complacent. We have bigger goals than this game.'”

But it was the Titans who finished, and it was Mariota who led the way. He capped a 91-yard TD drive to start the second half in the bizarre fashions: Mariota threw a TD pass to himself.

His throw to the end zone was batted right back at him by Darrelle Revis, and Mariota hauled it in and dived for the goal line. It was the first time a player has thrown a TD pass to himself in the playoffs, and the first time in any game since the Vikings’ Brad Johnson during the 1997 season.

“Right place, right time,” Mariota said with a smile.

Tennessee nearly squandered its momentum when Adoree Jackson fumbled a punt, but the Chiefs were unable to pick up a first down and Butker knocked a 48-yard field goal off the upright. And the Titans capitalized when Henry rumbled nearly untouched 35 yards for a touchdown a few minutes later.

The Chiefs’ offense had been rendered impotent by that point, unable to move the ball after Kelce left with a concussion in the first half. And the Titans blanketed Tyreek Hill whenever he touched the ball, and they stacked the box to slow Hunt down in obvious rushing situations.

Finally, the Titans pulled ahead on Mariota’s strike to Decker, and that led to more controversy from the officials. Tennessee went for a 2-point conversion and a field-goal edge, Mariota fumbled as he was getting sacked and Frank Zombo scooped up the ball for two points the other way.

But the officials had blown the play dead, ruling Mariota’s progress had been stopped, and the Titans retained the slimmest of margins – one that would stand up to the final whistle.

“I feel really good around our football team,” Mularkey said. “I know what I’m going to get from them every week. That’s a good feeling, knowing how they’re going to come out, no matter what.”

 

Falcons show playoff poise in 26-13 win over upstart LA Rams

The Atlanta Falcons jumped to an early 13-point lead before the Rams mounted two swift scoring drives. Los Angeles went to the Coliseum locker room at halftime with just a three-point deficit amid raucous cheers from a home crowd thirsty for playoff success.

And then Matt Ryan and the tough, tested Falcons showed the upstart Rams what postseason poise is all about.

Ryan passed for 218 yards and hit Julio Jones for an 8-yard touchdown with 5:48 to play, and the defending NFC champion Falcons advanced from the wild-card round with a 26-13 victory over the Rams on Saturday night.

Devonta Freeman rushed for an early score and Matt Bryant kicked four field goals for the Falcons (11-6), who spoiled the Rams’ first playoff game in 13 years with a methodical performance derived from hard-earned experience.

Atlanta’s journey to the Super Bowl last season ended infamously with that blown 28-3 lead against New England. In their first playoff game since, the Falcons allowed no surprises from the NFC West champion Rams (11-6).

“We knew it was a situation we’ve been through before,” Atlanta defensive tackle Dontari Poe said. “We just had to keep playing and use what we’ve learned.”

Jones caught nine passes for 94 yards for Atlanta, which never trailed while winning playoff games in consecutive seasons for the first time in franchise history. Against an opponent that had just six players on its roster with prior postseason appearances, the Falcons’ experience showed through.

“I think having gone through these situations, understanding what it’s like, the atmosphere, those kinds of things, knowing that it’s going to be tough, all those things kind of carry forward,” Ryan said. “But at the end of the day, experience or no experience, you’ve got to execute.”

The Falcons advanced to face the top-seeded Eagles on Jan. 13 in Philadelphia.

“Doesn’t matter where we’re going, we’re going,” Ryan said. “And that’s the most exciting part.”

A raucous crowd of 74,300 packed the Coliseum on a crisp evening for the first NFL playoff game in the nation’s second-largest city since early 1994. Los Angeles went 21 years without pro football before the Rams returned last season, and the franchise emphatically ended a 13-year streak of non-winning seasons this fall with an inspiring run to the Rams’ first division title since 2003.

But the Falcons have been here before, and they showed it.

The Falcons jumped to their early lead by capitalizing on two mistakes by Pharoh Cooper, the Rams’ Pro Bowl kick returner. Atlanta’s offense then chewed up the clock and field position, with the first drive after halftime consuming 8:15.

“To end with a time of possession over 37 minutes, that’s hard to do in our league,” Atlanta coach Dan Quinn said. “There was a nine-minute drive to start the second half, and I thought that really set the tone.”

The Falcons’ defense did more than enough to slow down the NFL’s highest-scoring offense, harassing Jared Goff into a 24-for-45 performance in his playoff debut.

“They did a real nice job there moving the ball up the field and keeping us on the sideline,” Goff said. “That can sure get you out of your rhythm.”

Robert Woods caught nine passes for 142 yards for the Rams, but rookie Cooper Kupp scored their only touchdown late in the first half.

Atlanta held MVP candidate Todd Gurley to 101 yards rushing – just 43 in the first three quarters – and four receptions for a mere 10 yards.

The Falcons ruined a celebratory night for the Rams, who rebounded from a rough homecoming season in 2016 with an outstanding debut year under 31-year-old Sean McVay, the youngest head coach to reach the playoffs in NFL history.

“You see why the Falcons are the defending NFC champs,” McVay said. “Certainly this is a humbling game. … This is an experience that we can learn from. But I don’t think this game was too big for our guys.”

The Rams’ offense finally figured it out late in the first half: Goff made several sharp throws on a 79-yard drive ending in Kupp’s TD catch, and Sam Ficken’s first field goal trimmed the halftime deficit to 13-10.

But the Rams’ defense simply couldn’t get off the field in the third quarter, whether due to missed tackles or clever play-calling by the Falcons.

Los Angeles trimmed the lead to 19-13 with 10:49 to play, but the Falcons made another drive highlighted by a beautiful 52-yard screen pass from a blitz-avoiding Bryant to Mohamed Sanu.

Jones then caught the sixth playoff TD pass of his career. Goff drove the Rams deep into Falcons territory, but LA turned it over on down at the Atlanta 5 with 2:05 to play. The Falcons stopped the Rams again on downs at midfield with 1:08 left.

 

Raiders officially announce hiring of Gruden as coach

The Oakland Raiders have officially hired Jon Gruden as their coach.

The team announced the move Saturday as soon as Gruden finished his final broadcast as an announcer for ESPN. Gruden will be formally introduced at a news conference Tuesday.

Gruden is returning for a second stint as coach of the Raiders after being traded to Tampa Bay following the 2001 season. He led the Buccaneers to the Super Bowl title over Oakland the following season. He has been out of coaching since being fired by Tampa Bay after the 2008 season.

The Raiders fired Jack Del Rio following the end of a disappointing six-win season. Oakland won 12 games in 2016 to earn Del Rio a four-year extension but the team fell flat this season.

The offense regressed after the decision to fire coordinator Bill Musgrave and replace him with untested Todd Downing. The defense struggled mightily before a late-season switch from fired coordinator Ken Norton Jr. to play-caller John Pagano.

That led to the decision to fire Del Rio following his third season and go hard after Gruden, who reportedly will get a 10-year contract worth an estimated $100 million.

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.

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 coaching hires 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.

 

Panthers seek stability, give Rivera contract extension

Seeking stability amid an uncertain future, the Carolina Panthers signed coach Ron Rivera to a two-year contract extension on Saturday.

A person with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press the extension is worth $15.5 million over two seasons. The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the team didn’t release financial details of the contract.

Rivera has one year remaining on his existing contract, so the new deal keeps him with the Panthers through the 2020 season.

Rivera is 64-47-1 in seven seasons with the Panthers. He has guided Carolina to a Super Bowl appearance, three NFC South titles and four playoff appearances. He has twice been named The Associated Press NFL Coach of the Year.

The Panthers (11-5) visit the New Orleans Saints (11-5) on Sunday in an NFC wild-card game.

“I’m very excited about it because I really like where we are as a football team,” Rivera said in a statement. “We’ve done some really good things and we have an opportunity to do more. Things are in place and we can continue this success. We’ve had consistency of winning and we’ve gone to the playoffs four out of five years.”

Rivera has been a rock for an organization in the midst of change. Panthers president Danny Morrison resigned last year and general manager Dave Gettleman was fired on the eve of training camp by team owner Jerry Richardson.

Then Richardson came under investigation by the NFL for alleged sexual and racial misconduct in the workplace and announced he is selling the team after the season is over following an inflammatory report by Sports Illustrated. It’s unclear if the new owners will keep the team in Charlotte.

On the field, the Panthers have been fairly consistent outside of a disappointing 6-10 season a year ago.

Rivera oversaw an NFC-record 18-game regular-season winning streak that spanned the 2014 and 2015 seasons and led to Carolina’s Super Bowl appearance in 2015, which they lost 24-10 to the Denver Broncos. Carolina’s .576 winning percentage during Rivera’s tenure is seventh best in the NFL during that time.

Rivera was brought to Carolina for his defensive expertise, and the Panthers put together four consecutive top-10 finishes in yards allowed from 2012-15, joining Seattle as the only teams to do so. Carolina is ranked seventh in defense this season.

Its defense finished third in the NFL with 50 sacks during the regular season, and it is the only team in the NFL to not allow an individual 100-yard rusher in any game this season. The Panthers set a franchise record by going 20 consecutive games without allowing a 100-yard individual rusher, the longest active streak in the league.

Carolina’s offense has finished in the top 10 in the NFL in yards rushing per game in six of the past seven seasons, including a fourth-place mark this season at 131.4 yards per game.

“This is a tremendous place with tremendous support from ownership and the people that work in the organization,” Rivera said. “And I really appreciate the support we’ve gotten from our fans in the Carolinas. That’s a big reason why I want to continue my association with this organization.”

The Panthers have developed plenty of stars under Rivera.

Carolina has produced 28 Pro Bowl and 18 All-Pro selections, including four-time All-Pro linebacker Luke Kuechly and 2015 NFL MVP Cam Newton.

Rivera played nine seasons with the Chicago Bears and was a member of the 1985 Super Bowl XX winning team.

 

Bears interview John DeFilippo for head coaching job

The Chicago Bears say they were interviewing Philadelphia Eagles quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo for their head coaching job.

In his second year as the Eagles’ QBs coach, DeFilippo has helped Carson Wentz emerge as one of the best passers in the league. The No. 2 overall draft pick in 2016, he threw for 3,296 yards with 33 touchdowns and seven interceptions before suffering a season-ending knee injury last month.

In Chicago, DeFilippo would be working with another quarterback drafted second overall – Mitchell Trubisky last spring.

The Bears were meeting with DeFilippo in Philadelphia on Saturday. They have also interviewed Minnesota and New England offensive coordinators Pat Shurmur and Josh McDaniels, Vikings defensive coordinator George Edwards and Chicago defensive coordinator Vic Fangio.

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

 

Curry scores season-high 45 points, Warriors beat Clippers

Points came easily for Steph Curry on Saturday. Eleven in his first five minutes, 17 before the game was 8 1/2 minutes old.

“I just wanted to start off the game right,” Curry said. “It’s obviously weird starting a game at 12:30 (p.m.). You’ve got to find that energy and something to build momentum, especially early.”

He finished with a season-high 45 points without playing the fourth quarter and the Golden State Warriors ran away from the Los Angeles Clippers 121-105 for their fourth straight victory.

“I knew right away, when I got free for a couple of threes in the first quarter and they went down, I got in a rhythm,” Curry said. “Beyond that, you just keep your head down and keep shooting and stay aggressive.”

Curry took advantage of the guard-depleted Clippers, making 11 of 21 shots, including 8 of 16 3-pointers, going against rookie Juwan Evans and G-League call-up Tyrone Wallace.

In the four games since missing 11 with an ankle injury, Curry has averaged 36 points on 58 percent shooting, 54 percent beyond the arc.

“He’s been on fire. Maybe the break was good for him,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “He’s been amazing.”

Said Curry: “Coming off the injury, obviously I’ve got fresh legs, a nice rhythm. I was able to put some good work in the week and a half before I got back on the floor.”

The Clippers’ Blake Griffin suffered a concussion late in the first quarter when he stumbled driving into the lane from the right wing and hit his head on JaVale McGee’s right elbow. Griffin fell to the floor immediately, and remained down for several minutes as team physicians tended to him. He walked off under his own power and went to the locker room.

“Blake’s a pretty tough guy, he should be OK,” teammate DeAndre Jordan said. “But we definitely want him to be cautious and do whatever he needs to do to be OK.”

Nick Young and JaVale McGee each scored 11 points, and Klay Thompson and David West added 10 apiece for Golden State, playing with Kevin Durant sidelined by a right calf strain. The Warriors improved to 17-2 since Nov. 27.

Lou Williams scored 23 points, and Jordan added 15 points and 11 rebounds for the Clippers. They lost their 12th straight to the Warriors, dating to Dec. 25, 2014.

Tyrone Wallace, signed Friday, added 13 points in his first game for Los Angeles.

Tied at 50 with 3:30 left in the second quarter, the Warriors went on a 23-9 run, capping the stretch with Curry hitting a 3-pointer with 8:41 left in a third quarter.

Golden State went up 103-73 on McGee’s dunk with 55 seconds in a quarter that would see the Warriors outscore on the Clippers 39-22 for a 103-76 lead with 12 minutes to play.

“We had a big third quarter, which is what we wanted,” Kerr said. “At halftime we talked about it. Let’s break free and make sure everybody gets out there and plays. That third quarter was important for us, but this was mainly about Steph tonight.”

 

NC State tops No. 2 Duke 96-85 for 1st ACC win under Keatts

North Carolina State coach Kevin Keatts saw his team respond to a pair of double-digit Atlantic Coast Conference losses with a fearless style and aggressive play. And for the second time this season, it was good enough for the Wolfpack to take down the nation’s No. 2-ranked team – this time instate neighbor Duke.

Omer Yurtseven had 16 points while Torin Dorn hit two huge 3-pointers in the final 2 minutes to help N.C. State upset the Blue Devils 96-85 on Saturday night, giving the Wolfpack’s first-year coach his first league win.

It came roughly six weeks after his team beat then-No. 2 Arizona in an early season tournament.

“I don’t know what my team learned, I know what I’ve learned,” Keatts said. “Every team that we play, I’m going to tell them they’re ranked No. 2 in the country.”

Much like that Arizona win, the Wolfpack (11-5, 1-2 ACC) played with confident control. N.C. State erased an 11-point first-half lead to take a 43-41 lead at the break, then shot 55 percent after halftime and never trailed.

Quite a performance for a team that was coming off an 88-58 loss at Notre Dame on Wednesday, and a 78-62 loss at Clemson before that.

“I don’t think this team ever lost confidence,” Keatts said, adding: “We just needed to get home and sleep in our own bed. We needed to get home and get some home-cooking. And certainly it worked out.”

Yurtseven and Dorn (16 points) led six players in double figures for N.C. State, which finished with a 34-32 advantage on the boards against a team that came in ranked second nationally in rebounding margin.

Duke’s offense didn’t have much trouble against the first wave of the Wolfpack’s fullcourt pressure. Star freshman Marvin Bagley III had 31 points and 10 rebounds, and Duke shot 52 percent. But Duke (13-2, 1-2) made just 3 of 15 3-point attempts and committed 16 turnovers leading to 22 points for N.C. State, which celebrated this one with its rowdy red-clad fans charging to midcourt at the horn.

“We did not play with much poise,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. “I thought we were frantic. I think they made us that way. Obviously they deserved to win.”