THURSDAY, DEC. 23
FRISCO FOOTBALL CLASSIC
MIAMI (OHIO) 27, NORTH TEXAS 14
UNION HOME MORTGAGE GASPARILLA BOWL
UCF 29, FLORIDA 17
UPCOMING COLLEGE FOOTBALL BOWL SCHEDULE
SATURDAY, DEC. 25
TAXACT CAMELLIA BOWL
GEORGIA STATE VS. BALL STATE
2:30 P.M., ESPN AND THE ESPN APP
MONDAY, DEC. 27
QUICK LANE BOWL
WESTERN MICHIGAN VS. NEVADA
11 A.M., ESPN AND THE ESPN APP
MILITARY BOWL PRESENTED BY PERATON
BOSTON COLLEGE VS. EAST CAROLINA
2:30 P.M., ESPN AND THE ESPN APP
TUESDAY, DEC. 28
TICKETSMARTER BIRMINGHAM BOWL
HOUSTON VS. AUBURN
NOON, ESPN AND THE ESPN APP
TENNESSEE 20 SAN FRANCISCO 17
NFL SCHEDULE WEEK 16
SATURDAY, DEC. 25 (CHRISTMAS DAY)
CLEVELAND BROWNS AT GREEN BAY PACKERS, 4:30 PM (FOX, NFL NETWORK, AMAZON)
INDIANAPOLIS COLTS AT ARIZONA CARDINALS, 8:15 PM (NFL NETWORK)
SUNDAY, DEC. 26
DETROIT LIONS AT ATLANTA FALCONS, 1 PM (FOX)
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS AT CAROLINA PANTHERS, 1 PM (FOX)
BALTIMORE RAVENS AT CINCINNATI BENGALS, 1 PM (CBS)
LOS ANGELES CHARGERS AT HOUSTON TEXANS, 1 PM (CBS)
LOS ANGELES RAMS AT MINNESOTA VIKINGS, 1 PM (FOX)
BUFFALO BILLS AT NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS, 1 PM (CBS)
JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS AT NEW YORK JETS, 1 PM (CBS)
NEW YORK GIANTS AT PHILADELPHIA EAGLES, 1 PM (FOX)
CHICAGO BEARS AT SEATTLE SEAHAWKS, 4:05 PM (FOX)
PITTSBURGH STEELERS AT KANSAS CITY CHIEFS, 4:25 PM (CBS)
DENVER BRONCOS AT LAS VEGAS RAIDERS, 4:25 PM (CBS)
WASHINGTON FOOTBALL TEAM AT DALLAS COWBOYS, 8:20 PM (NBC)
MONDAY, DEC. 27
MIAMI DOLPHINS AT NEW ORLEANS SAINTS, 8:15 PM (ESPN)
WEEK 17 NFL SCHEDULE
SUNDAY, JAN. 2
ATLANTA FALCONS AT BUFFALO BILLS, 1 PM (FOX)
NEW YORK GIANTS AT CHICAGO BEARS, 1 PM (CBS)
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS AT CINCINNATI BENGALS, 1 PM (CBS)
ARIZONA CARDINALS AT DALLAS COWBOYS, 1 PM (FOX)
LAS VEGAS RAIDERS AT INDIANAPOLIS COLTS, 1 PM (CBS)
JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS AT NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS, 1 PM (CBS)
CAROLINA PANTHERS AT NEW ORLEANS SAINTS, 1 PM (FOX)
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS AT NEW YORK JETS, 1 PM (FOX)
MIAMI DOLPHINS AT TENNESSEE TITANS, 1 PM (CBS)
PHILADELPHIA EAGLES AT WASHINGTON FOOTBALL TEAM, 1 PM (FOX)
DENVER BRONCOS AT LOS ANGELES CHARGERS, 4:05 PM (CBS)
HOUSTON TEXANS AT SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS, 4:05 PM (CBS)
LOS ANGELES RAMS AT BALTIMORE RAVENS, 4:25 PM (FOX)
DETROIT LIONS AT SEATTLE SEAHAWKS, 4:25 PM (FOX)
MINNESOTA VIKINGS AT GREEN BAY PACKERS, 8:20 PM(NBC)
MONDAY, JAN. 3
CLEVELAND BROWNS AT PITTSBURGH STEELERS, 8:15 PM (ESPN)
WEEK 18 NFL SCHEDULE
SATURDAY, JAN. 8
TBD, 4:30 PM, ESPN, ABC
TBD, 8:15 PM, ESPN, ABC
SUNDAY, JAN. 9
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS AT ATLANTA FALCONS, 1 PM (FOX)
PITTSBURGH STEELERS AT BALTIMORE RAVENS, 1 PM (CBS)
NEW YORK JETS AT BUFFALO BILLS, 1 PM (CBS)
CINCINNATI BENGALS AT CLEVELAND BROWNS, 1 PM (CBS)DA
GREEN BAY PACKERS AT DETROIT LIONS, 1 PM (FOX)
TENNESSEE TITANS AT HOUSTON TEXANS, 1 PM (CBS)
INDIANAPOLIS COLTS AT JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS, 1 PM(CBS)
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS AT MIAMI DOLPHINS, 1 PM (CBS)
CHICAGO BEARS AT MINNESOTA VIKINGS, 1 PM (FOX)
WASHINGTON FOOTBALL TEAM AT NEW YORK GIANTS, 1 PM (FOX)
DALLAS COWBOYS AT PHILADELPHIA EAGLES, 1 PM (FOX)
CAROLINA PANTHERS AT TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS, 1 PM (FOX)
SEATTLE SEAHAWKS AT ARIZONA CARDINALS, 4:25 PM (FOX)
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS AT DENVER BRONCOS, 4:25 PM (CBS)
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS AT LOS ANGELES RAMS, 4:25 PM (FOX)
LOS ANGELES CHARGERS AT LAS VEGAS RAIDERS, 4:25 PM (CBS)
TBD, 8:20 PM(NBC)
MEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL
WAGNER 63 FAIRFIELD 50
MILWAUKEE 74 ST. XAVIER 52
PEPPERDINE 96 WESTMONT 69
STANFORD 79 LIBERTY 76
FRESNO STATE 69 WEBER STATE 43
WYOMING 71 NORTHERN IOWA 69
VANDERBILT 69 BYU 67
SOUTH FLORIDA 76 HAWAII 69
WOMEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL
#8 INDIANA 70 SOUTHERN ILLINOIS 37
ST. BONAVENTURE 56 EASTERN TENNESSEE 49
GRAND CANYON 58 UC IRVINE 53
DRAKE 77 MINNESOTA 63
INDIANA 118 HOUSTON 106
NEW ORLEANS 110 ORLANDO 104
ATLANTA 98 PHILADELPHIA 96
MIAMI 115 DETROIT 112
WASHINGTON 124 NEW YORK 117
MILWAUKEE 102 DALLAS 95
CHARLOTTE 115 DENVER 107
PHOENIX 113 OKLAHOMA CITY 101
UTAH 128 MINNESOTA 116
GOLDEN STATE 113 MEMPHIS 104
BROOKLYN AT PORTLAND POSTPONED
SAN ANTONIO 138 LA LAKERS 110
INDIANA BOYS BASKETBALL
|BREBEUF JESUIT||58||BEECH GROVE||50|
|FAIRFIELD||64||SOUTH BEND CAREER||48|
|MOUNT VERNON (FORTVILLE)||63||NEW CASTLE||52|
|BLOOMINGTON NORTH||75||SOUTH DECATUR||47|
|MONROE CENTRAL||73||BLOOMINGTON NORTH||64|
|SPRINGS VALLEY||64||CHRISTIAN ACADEMY||52|
|JEFFERSON COUNTY TOURNAMENT|
|SILVER CREEK||96||SWITZERLAND COUNTY||46|
|WARREN CENTRAL (KY.)||85||SOUTHWESTERN (HANOVER)||63|
|INDIANAPOLIS TECH||59||JAY COUNTY||31|
INDIANA GIRLS BASKETBALL
|FLOYD CENTRAL||49||CRAWFORD COUNTY||28|
|TRINITY LUTHERAN||50||NORTH HARRISON||40|
|RIVERTON PARKE||48||CLAY CITY||38|
|SOUTH CENTRAL (UNION MILLS)||58||SHELBYVILLE||43|
|SOUTH CENTRAL (UNION MILLS)||49||VALPARAISO||40|
TOP NATIONAL HEADLINES
Titans rally from 10 down at half, edge 49ers 20-17
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Coach Mike Vrabel heard that his banged-up Tennessee Titans were being written off after the left side of their offensive line was ruled out a day before hosting the streaking San Francisco 49ers.
Then they lost their backup left tackle to a positive COVID-19 test Thursday morning, forcing them to use their 52nd different starter and 88th player this season.
“We’re not dead yet,” Vrabel said.
Alive and kicking.
Randy Bullock booted a 44-yard field goal with 4 seconds remaining and the Titans rallied from a 10-point halftime deficit to beat the 49ers 20-17 Thursday night.
The Titans (10-5) are a win or a Colts’ loss away from clinching their second straight AFC South title despite losing three of their past four games to drop from the AFC’s top seed to third. Indianapolis plays Arizona on Saturday. Tennesse moved to second in the AFC.
Ryan Tannehill threw for just 40 yards in the first half but finished with 209 yards and a TD for Tennessee. A.J. Brown caught 11 passes for 145 yards hours after being activated off injured reserve, and his 18-yard TD catch gave Tennessee a 17-10 lead early in the fourth.
“It was all on us and we just had to make a play,” Brown said. “Then we had to make another play. That was the mindset. Just come out here and make plays, so that’s what we did.”
The Titans also picked off two passes, sacked Jimmy Garoppolo twice and forced the Niners to turn it over on downs once.
San Francisco had one final chance. Garoppolo completed a 16-yard pass to Pro Bowl receiver Deebo Samuel, who fumbled, starting three laterals before Jayon Brown finally tackled Brandon Aiyuk to end the game.
The 49ers (8-7) lost for the second time in seven games as they try to hold onto a wild-card berth in the NFC. Their loss ensured a playoff berth for Dallas, which can clinch the NFC East with a win over Washington on Sunday night.
Garoppolo tied it with a 2-yard TD pass to Brandon Aiyuk with 2:20 left, a score set up by a 56-yard catch-and-run by Samuel down to the Tennessee 6.
This was the Niners’ first loss after leading by 10 or more at halftime under coach Kyle Shanahan – they had been 18-0 in the regular season and playoffs with those leads. They hadn’t blown such a lead since Week 14 of 2016 to the Jets under Chip Kelly.
Tennessee played without the left side of its offensive line with left tackle Taylor Lewan out with an injured back and left guard Rodger Saffold on the reserve/COVID-19 list. Rookie Dillon Radunz, a second-round pick out of North Dakota State, replaced Lewan, and the Titans gave up four sacks.
The Niners dominated the first half but missed chances for a bigger lead.
Garoppolo threw for 322 yards and moved the 49ers down the field at ease early, setting up Jeff Wilson’s 1-yard plunge on the opening drive and giving them goal-to-go on the second possession. Titans cornerback Jackrabbit Jenkins beat 49ers tight end George Kittle for a what Vrabel called a “critical” interception in the end zone.
“We were running out of steam there,” Vrabel said. “We were flatlining, and he made a huge play for us.”
A face mask penalty on Pro Bowl left tackle Trent Williams forced the Niners to settle for a 48-yard field goal by Robbie Gould and a 10-0 lead.
“We should’ve been up more, that was for sure,” Shanahan said.
Garoppolo knows the Niners had their chances.
“It’s tough when you let one like this slip away,” Garoppolo said.
The Niners led 10-0 at halftime, their first time shutting out an opponent in the first half since the 2019 NFC title game against Green Bay. That also marked four straight scoreless quarters for the Titans.
Tennessee finally strung together a 13-play drive to open the third quarter, matching its first-half production at 55 yards, with Tannehill completing three straight passes on third down until missing a screen to Jeremy McNichols. Bullock kicked a 38-yard field goal to pull the Titans within 10-3.
Titans safety Amani Hooker picked off his first pass this season on the Niners’ next play, returning it 21 yards to the San Francisco 18. D’Onta Foreman finished that short drive with a tying 3-yard TD run.
Then the Tennessee defense, as healthy as it’s been in weeks, forced the Niners to turn it over on downs at the Titans 41 late in the third after having fourth-and-1 when Williams false started.
THIRD DOWN WOES
The Titans had their biggest plays on third down and finished 9 of 16. That included a 42-yard completion from Tannehill to Brown on a free play when Arden Key jumped offsides on the final play of the third quarter and was one of six big third-down conversions the Niners allowed in the second half.
Samuel returned after going down at the end of his 56-yarder, and Niners defensive lineman D.J. Jones hurt an ankle but returned. Shanahan said linebacker Azeez Al-Shaair hurt a knee and didn’t return.
Titans defensive lineman Naquan Jones went down late in the third quarter. Brown had been out since injuring his chest in Week 11 against Houston.
Niners host Houston on Jan. 2 in their regular season home finale.
Titans host Miami on Jan. 2 in their regular season home finale.
Browns’ C Tretter, Saints QBs test positive for COVID-19
(AP) — Both Saints veteran quarterbacks, Taysom Hill and Trevor Siemian, Minnesota star running back Dalvin Cook and Cleveland center JC Tretter, the NFL Players Association president, tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday.
But Washington is getting back quarterback Taylor Heinicke.
Hill and Siemian were among nine players for New Orleans placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list. The others include such key players as safety Malcolm Jenkins and tackle Jordan Mills, who is expected to start Monday night against Miami.
The situation left Ian Book, a rookie out of Notre Dame who has been inactive for all 14 games, as the only active quarterback under contract. It appears Book is in line for his maiden NFL regular-season appearance. Running back Alvin Kamara has been the Saints’ emergency quarterback for several seasons and conceivably could take direct snaps as a wildcat threat.
The latest COVID-19 hit to the Saints came as New Orleans awaits the return of coach Sean Payton, who did not travel to Tampa Bay for the Saints’ victory has worked from home since testing positive for COVID-19 last Thursday. Saints defensive coordinator Dennis Allen has been serving as acting head coach.
Also placed on the COVID-19 list: guard James Carpenter, linebacker Kaden Elliss, safety Jeff Heath, defensive end Jalyn Holmes, and defensive tackle Christian Ringo.
Tretter posted on Twitter that he was experiencing symptoms and chose to be tested at the team’s facility in Berea, Ohio.
“Unfortunately, I am positive for COVID-19,” Tretter wrote. “I encourage all NFL players to take every precaution available to them to protect themselves, their families and their teammates from this virus.”
The Browns have been hit hard by a spate of positive tests in the past week and were missing 22 players, including Baker Mayfield as well as coach Kevin Stefanski, for Monday night’s rescheduled game against Las Vegas, which Cleveland lost.
On Wednesday, Tretter spoke to reporters for the first time in weeks and discussed the recent challenges for the NFL and players’ union to navigate the uptick in cases due to the omicron variant.
“It has been a trying week or two weeks for everybody,” Tretter said. “This is a new variant. When COVID first happened, we had six months to kind of figure it out and figure out a path forward. In this instance, we had about six days to figure it out.”
Tretter said he had received the vaccine booster, and had chosen to stay away from the facility as the team was conducting meetings virtually. He returned for Thursday’s practice and tested positive shortly before the Browns were scheduled to take the field.
The league relaxed some of its testing policies last week amid the outbreak among the Browns and other teams.
The Browns (7-7), who play at Green Bay on Christmas, got two more players back from the COVID-19 list as linebacker Grant Delpit and rookie offensive tackle James Hudson III were activated.
Stefanski returned to the team on Wednesday. Mayfield has yet to produce a required negative test. His 10-day quarantine period ends Saturday, and Mayfield is expected to play against the Packers despite not practicing for two weeks.
“If he’s healthy as he’s been and he’s cleared and ready to go, then I anticipate him playing,” Stefanski said.
– The Vikings added Cook, who already has his third straight 1,000-yard rushing season and is the only player in the NFL with 1,200-plus yards from scrimmage in each of the last three years. Cook has been following protocols for unvaccinated players. Alexander Mattison, who missed the previous game with COVID-19, has returned and will take over the lead role in the backfield.
– Washington’s Heinicke was activated off the COVID-19 list and was back at practice running the offense. Heinicke is expected to start Sunday night at the Dallas Cowboys after missing the game at Philadelphia while in virus protocol along with backup Kyle Allen.
Practice squad tight end Temarrick Hemingway also came off the list. Linebacker Cole Holcomb went into protocol Wednesday, and Washington is preparing to play without him.
With so many of Washington’s assistant coaches in COVID-19 protocol, coach Ron Rivera ran the scout team defense at practice. Rivera remained hopeful cornerback Kendall Fuller and others could be back in time to face the Cowboys.
– Tampa Bay, already struck by injuries as well as the coronavirus, put wide receiver Jaelon Darden and defensive lineman Rakeem Nunez-Roches on the COVID-19 list. The Buccaneers also placed linebacker Lavonte David and running back Leonard Fournette on the injured reserve.
– Houston placed six more players on the list, bringing its total to 22. Four starters – LT Tytus Howard, C Justin Britt, DT Roy Lopez and safety Eric Murray – were among them. The moves come a day after the team placed top receiver Brandin Cooks and kicker Ka’imi Fairbairn on the list. Houston signed kicker Dominik Eberle to the practice squad Thursday and could elevate him Sunday against the Chargers if Fairbairn can’t play.
– Jets backup quarterback Joe Flacco and right guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif are the latest placed on the COVID-19 list. The Jets have 20 players on the active and practice squad rosters, including injured reserve, on the list. Coach Robert Saleh also tested positive Wednesday and could miss New York’s game Sunday against Jacksonville.
Mike White, who was recently activated from the list, will be the backup to Zach Wilson; Flacco is unvaccinated. Duvernay-Tardif is a licensed medical doctor who opted out last year to fight on the pandemic’s front lines. He’ll likely be replaced on the starting lineup by Greg Van Roten.
– The Falcons will be without DE Marlon Davidson against Detroit after he tested positive. Davidson, who had a pick-6 against Tom Brady earlier this month, was on the inactive list for last week’s loss at San Francisco with an illness.
– The Eagles placed DE Ryan Kerrigan on the list and elevated DE Cameron Malveaux from the practice squad to the active roster for the Giants game as a COVID-19 replacement.
– The Chiefs did not have any additional COVID-19 positives on Thursday but Pro Bowl defensive tackle Chris Jones returned to practice after a positive test caused him to miss last week’s game against the Chargers. The Chiefs still have 10 players on the list, including tight end Travis Kelce and wide receiver Tyreek Hill.
– The Titans will be without left tackle Taylor Lewan, who tested positive.
NFL medical officer: Asymptomatic people not spreading COVID
NEW YORK (AP) The NFL’s chief medical officer says asymptomatic players are not spreading COVID-19 based on his observations during this season.
Dr. Allen Sills appeared on the NFL Network on Thursday and said the league hasn’t “seen this phenomenon that people have discussed, which is asymptomatic people in the facility spreading the virus to others.”
Sills told ESPN later Thursday: “We’ve got our hands full with symptomatic people.”
“Can I tell you tonight that there has never been a case when someone without symptoms passed it on to someone else? No, of course I can’t say that,” he told ESPN. “But what I can say to you is that I think it’s a very, very tiny fraction of the overall problem, if it exists at all.”
He also said to ESPN that “asymptomatic transmission inside our facilities just didn’t fit with what we were seeing.”
He told the NFL Network that the key is “symptom recognition and prompt testing.”
“As we’ve gone back and looked throughout the entire season, what we’ve seen consistently is that when people have symptoms, that’s when they seem to be contagious to others,” he said. “And that’s why we’re asking people to come forward and acknowledge symptoms because that’s the point at which they’re vulnerable and the point at which they expose themselves to others.”
Last weekend, the NFL agreed with the NFL Players Association to scale back testing for vaccinated players. The move aligned with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which recommends “diagnostic testing” only for symptomatic or close-contact vaccinated people and “screening tests” only for unvaccinated people.
The NFL previously required vaccinated players to get tested weekly before amending the protocols. The NFLPA had advocated for daily testing for vaccinated players but eventually agreed to “target” testing.
The league has seen COVID-19 spike over the past couple of weeks, and Cleveland Browns center JC Tretter, the players’ union president who has been pushing the league for daily COVID-19 testing all season, tested positive for the virus Thursday.
Hawaii Bowl canceled on eve of game after Hawaii pulls out
HONOLULU (AP) The Hawaii Bowl was canceled Thursday after Hawaii withdrew from its game against Memphis on the eve of the contest because of COVID-19, season-ending injuries and transfers.
“We are disappointed our season has to end this way,” Hawaii coach Todd Graham said in a statement. “As competitive as we are and as much as we want to play the game, we cannot put the health and safety of our student-athletes at risk.”
The game was scheduled for Friday at the Clarence T.C. Ching Athletics Complex.
Hawaii athletic department spokesperson Derek Inouchi said about 30 players and staff recently tested positive for COVID-19. Cases have been surging in Honolulu for the past two weeks. Oahu’s seven-day average of new cases was 11 times higher on Thursday compared to Dec. 8
“The health and safety of our student-athletes is the most important part of this decision,” Hawaii athletic director David Matlin said in a statement. “The recent surge in COVID-19 cases has forced us to not participate in the game. We are disappointed for our players, coaches, and fans. ESPN and the EasyPost Hawaii Bowl staff did everything they could for us and we appreciate their valiant effort throughout the week. We want to thank the Memphis Tigers for making the long trip to Hawaii. We are disappointed we can’t compete on the football field.”
The Hawaii Bowl is one of several postseason games ESPN owns and operates.
“While we are disappointed that the bowl will not be played despite considerable efforts from our many stakeholders, sponsors, supporters, and volunteers who worked tirelessly to make this game a reality, we thank the University of Memphis and its fans for making the long trip, and we hope they were able to enjoy the unique experience that this event offers in the Aloha state,” ESPN said in a statement.
Hawaii finished the season 6-7, getting into the bowl because there were no available 6-6 teams. Memphis finished 6-6.
“We are very disappointed to hear that Hawaii will be unable to participate,” Memphis coach Ryan Silverfield said in a statement. “We hope that Hawaii players and staff get healthy soon. I’m upset for our seniors and the rest of the team that battled this season to earn this opportunity. We’ve had terrific time here in Hawaii as a program and we are sad our trip ended this way.”
Rutgers to replace Texas A&M in Gator Bowl vs. Wake Forest
(AP) — Rutgers will replace Texas A&M in the Gator Bowl against Wake Forest after an NCAA committee decided Thursday to adhere to an existing policy for making teams with 5-7 records bowl eligible.
The NCAA football oversight committee also announced that any bowl can be moved to as late as Jan. 10 if the schools involved need additional time to prepare for the game.
The Gator Bowl will keep its scheduled date and 11 a.m. EST kickoff on New Year’s Eve, meaning Rutgers will have less than a week to get ready to play one of the highest-scoring teams in the country.
“Better late than never,” read a tweet from the Rutgers football account. “The Scarlet Knights are going BOWLING.”
Rutgers will be making its first bowl appearance since 2014, its first season as a member of the Big Ten Conference.
“This program has made great strides under the leadership of head coach Greg Schiano and what better way to showcase that than at the TaxSlayer Gator Bowl on New Year’s Eve,” Rutgers athletic director Pat Hobbs said in a statement. “It is an equally exciting time for our Rutgers fans to be part of this marquee game.”
Texas A&M pulled out of the Jacksonville, Florida, game on Wednesday because of a lack of available players. The Aggies were having issues with COVID-19, plus they already had been depleted by injuries, opt-outs and players transferring.
Later Thursday, the Hawaii Bowl became the first postseason game to be canceled this year. Hawaii pulled out of the game against Memphis, citing similar issues to Texas A&M, less than 24 hours before it was to be played.
NCAA rules allow teams with 5-7 records, such as Rutgers, to be bowl eligible if there are not enough six-win teams to fill all the spots. The 5-7 teams with the highest Academic Progress Rate scores have first crack at open slots. Rutgers is atop that list, though the NCAA did not release the full APR rankings to allow schools to privately decline a bowl bid.
“This is what the NCAA is about, in instances like this, let’s reward those schools that do put academics first,” Hobbs said.
Having Rutgers replace Texas A&M on short notice was not a foregone conclusion for the oversight committee – even after Rutgers officials informed decision-makers on Wednesday that they believed the team could be reassembled quickly.
The Scarlet Knights have not played since losing to Maryland 40-16, two days after Thanksgiving. Schiano said the players trained for a week after the game in hopes of getting a bowl bid with a 5-7 record. The players also worked out the following week and had a voluntary week of training during final exams, so they are conditioned.
“Physically, if I didn’t think we would be able to I wouldn’t do it,” Schiano said, adding his team is fully vaccinated. He hopes there won’t be COVID-19 issues when the players return to school.
Players are due back on Saturday night and they will get on the field Sunday to ramp up, Schiano said. He noted players who declared for the NFL Draft and signed with agents can seek a waiver from the NCAA if they want to play in the bowl game.
There was some concern among oversight committee members about the safety of having a team compete with so little time to prepare. At least some consideration was given to having a team that already has played a bowl face Wake Forest, or simply not filling the spot and having the game be canceled.
Ultimately, the committee chose to stick with an existing policy under unusual circumstances.
“The TaxSlayer Gator Bowl team has done an amazing job of pivoting in these circumstances,” bowl CEO Brian Rhodes said in a statement. “We wish the Aggies a speedy recovery, and we are looking forward to a great bowl game between Wake Forest and Rutgers.”
Gator Bowl president Greg McGarity said the SEC will not receive any benefits of the game because it did not play. He said the bowl is reworking its payout model. Usually, the participating teams receive about $5.3 million to share with its conference.
“Certainly we want to be fair to everyone,” McGarity said. “Everything is last minute. Our main thing is making sure these student-athletes and staff have a great time, and they certainly will. We’ll deal with the dollars at some point in time.
Ingram, Hart lead Pelicans past Magic for 4th straight win
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) Brandon Ingram scored 31 points, Josh Hart hit two clutch 3-pointers in the second half to thwart an Orlando rally, and the New Orleans Pelicans beat the Magic 110-104 on Thursday night.
The Pelicans have won four straight and five of six. New Orleans started the season 1-12 but is 11-9 since.
“What it really says is how much they trust in each other and trust in the coaching staff,” Pelicans coach Willie Green said. “They just trust what we’re doing and we take that seriously. We come in with a consistent message – win, lose or draw – that this is how we’re going to play. The guys are buying into that.”
Hart scored 22 points and hit two straight 3s after Orlando had climbed within 93-90 with 5 minutes remaining. Devonte Graham added 20 points and five 3-pointers for the Pelicans, who improved to 6-12 on the road. Ingram hit 12 of 23 shots and topped 30 points for the fifth time this season.
“Thank God we got the lead to 20 early because they just kept chipping away and getting stops,” said Graham, whose final 3-pointer came after Orlando got within 99-97. “But (Ingram) does what (Ingram) does and Josh was making big plays and hitting shots and everybody off the bench was contributing.”
Cole Anthony returned after missing three games with a sprained ankle to score 22 points for the Magic, who also got 22 points from Gary Harris. Franz Wagner scored 20 points and Wendell Carter Jr., who had missed the previous two games with a right leg strain, had 17 points and 12 rebounds.
Orlando’s only lead of the night came at 2-0. New Orleans led by 12 at halftime, and Ingram scored the Pelicans’ first 12 points of the second half to extend the advantage to 65-45.
Later, Ingram made the Magic pay for trapping him by finding Hart and Graham for open 3s.
“They started to blitz Brandon and he did a good job of getting off the ball and making the simple play,” Green said. “Our shooters knocked down some big shots for us.”
Orlando got within 83-78 by the start of the fourth quarter thanks to a 31-14 burst.
“Ingram came out hot early and we made our adjustments to get it out of his hands, and that got us turned up a little bit,” Orlando coach Jamahl Mosley said. “What we were trying to avoid (was) giving up the 3s. But that’s what happens sometimes with the traps.”
While Jalen Suggs has been out of action the past three weeks with a fractured right thumb, Wagner, the Magic’s other first-round pick, has thrived for the injury-ravaged team.
The No. 8 overall pick out of Michigan came into Thursday ranked third among NBA rookies in scoring (14.9 points per game), fourth in steals (1.1) and seventh in rebounds (4.7).
“The thing that sticks out the most, other than his IQ, is his competitive spirit,” Mosley said. “He wants to do things right at all times and he’s hard on himself. It’s his IQ and that competitive edge that he carries.”
Pelicans: Already hit hard by injuries, New Orleans took a few more hits on Thursday with starters Jonas Valanciunas (non-COVID-19 illness) and Nickeil Alexander-Walker (health and safety protocols) and reserve Naji Marshall (protocols) out of action. Valanciunas came into Thursday second in the NBA in rebounds and first in second-chance points per game.
Magic: Mosley said R.J. Hampton is out of the health and safety protocols, but won’t return until he gets in time to work on his conditioning. … Actor Chase Stokes (“Outer Banks”) and former Magic point guard Carlos Arroyo sat courtside.
Pelicans: At Oklahoma City on Sunday night.
Magic: At Miami on Sunday night.
Spurs rout depleted Lakers 138-110 in last Staples game
LOS ANGELES (AP) Keita Bates-Diop scored a career-high 30 points, and the San Antonio Spurs routed the slumping Los Angeles Lakers 138-110 on Thursday night in the final event at Staples Center under the 22-year-old arena’s original name.
LeBron James had 36 points and nine rebounds and Russell Westbrook scored 30 points for Los Angeles, which has lost four straight for the first time this season amid COVID-19 roster chaos. The Lakers are playing without coach Frank Vogel and five players under the NBA’s health and safety protocols, and they’re 0-4 since Anthony Davis injured his left knee in Minnesota last week.
Derrick White had 23 points and Lonnie Walker added 21 in the third victory in four games for the Spurs, who hit 18 3-pointers while completing a two-game sweep of the two NBA tenants of the downtown Los Angeles arena.
The building is changing its name to Crypto.com Arena on Christmas under what’s believed to be the richest naming rights agreement in sports history. The cryptocurrency platform and exchange is paying more than $700 million over 20 years to put its name on a building that has hosted countless major sports and entertainment events since it opened in 1999 – and has been home to six Lakers championship teams.
San Antonio took an early double-digit lead on Thursday and comfortably won back-to-back games for the first time since Dec. 4 despite a subpar game from leading scorer Dejounte Murray, who went 3 for 16.
Bates-Diop, the fourth-year NBA journeyman who’s averaging 3.8 points per game this season, scored 11 points in the third quarter. He finished with five 3-pointers.
Dwight Howard got out of the protocols and played 22 minutes as Los Angeles’ starting center, but the Lakers still were without Avery Bradley, Kent Bazemore, Malik Monk, Austin Reaves and Trevor Ariza, who went into the protocols earlier in the day.
Los Angeles (16-17) is back under .500 for the first time since Nov. 26.
San Antonio hit nine 3-pointers and jumped to a 15-point lead in the first half even though James had 23 points and was visibly frustrated at times with his teammates’ shortcomings.
Spurs: They also played in the Lakers’ final game at the Forum on May 23, 1999. Tim Duncan scored 33 points then as San Antonio completed a four-game sweep of Los Angeles in the second round of the postseason. Gregg Popovich was in his third year as coach.
Lakers: Interim head coach David Fizdale ran the bench for the second straight game. He said Vogel texts him a list of observations at halftime while watching on television. Fizdale and assistant coach Phil Handy both got technical fouls for arguing with officials. … Davis watched from the bench in a blue sweatsuit while missing his third game. The oft-injured star won’t be reevaluated until late next month.
Signs, advertising boards and innumerable smaller details have been changed at the arena to erase the Staples Center name, which has illogical – but undeniable – sentimental meaning to Los Angeles sports fans who have equated the name of an office-supply retail chain with the center of the basketball universe for more than two decades.
The Lakers recognized the attachment and honored the name change with a pregame video highlighting the team’s greatest moments in its arena. Fans got a commemorative ticket and a gold T-shirt replicating the first shirt given away by the team at this arena during the 2000 playoffs.
In a halftime ceremony, former Lakers stars Robert Horry, Metta Sandiford-Artest, Luke Walton, Byron Scott and Gary Payton stood around a Staples court logo with the franchise’s six championship trophies earned in this building.
Spurs: Host Detroit on Sunday.
Lakers: Host Brooklyn on Saturday.
Curry scores 46, Warriors hold off pesky Grizzlies 113-104
SAN FRANCSCO (AP) Stephen Curry scored 46 points and made eight 3-pointers, Gary Payton Jr. added a clutch 3-pointer late in the fourth quarter and the Golden State Warriors held off the Memphs Grizzlies 113-104 on Thursday night.
Payton finished with 22 points and Draymond Green had nine assists to help the Warriors improve an NBA-best 16-2 record at home. The Warriors (26-6) remain one-half game behind the Suns (26-5) for the best record in the NBA, with the teams set to meet on Christmas in Phoenix.
“That’s about as good as it gets against a very physical defense with great size,” Golden State coach Steve Kerr said. “Over the last 10-12 games, Memphis had the best defensive rating in the league. For Steph to go out and get 46, he showed every bit of his talent tonight. This was his most efficient game in a couple weeks, for sure.”
The Warriors led comfortably most of the second half before the Grizzlies made a late push and tied it at 102-all on De’Anthony Melton’s layup. But Juan Tosco-Anderson scored on a reverse, Payton made his fourth 3 and Curry scurried past three defenders in the key for a layup to help Golden State pull away.
Curry and Green both noted the significance of the win, citing the Grizzlies victory over the Warriors in the play-in game last season.
“Definitely wanted this one,” said Curry, who twisted his ankle in the fourth quarter but noted he was OK. “Definitely felt like it was one (we) cant let slip by because of the history but also because knowing what it’s going to take to win a game like this. You carry that chip on your shoulder and understand this is our home court.”
Ja Morant had 21 points for Memphis, which had won its previous six road games.
“We got a ton of good looks in the paint, missed 30 shots, couldn’t get our 3-ball going,” Grizzlies coach Taylor Jenkins said. “They’re a hard team to beat. They played really well tonight.
With MVP chants ringing throughout the night, Curry made 13 of 22 shots (8 of 14 beyond the arc) and was 12 for 12 on free throws to top the 30-point mark for the 12th time this season and the 225th of his career.
“He had a great offensive night,” Green said. “He found space tonight. Guys did a good job of trying to get him the ball and not forcing it. You let a guy like that get clean looks, it starts an avalanche.”
The Grizzlies got off to a fast start, connecting on 13 of their first 19 shots to take a 10-point lead.
Golden State, which blew a 19-point lead when the two teams played in October, came back to tie it at 51 following Tosco-Anderson’s one-handed dunk and two free throws from Curry.
Curry got the Warriors rolling in the third, making three 3s, including one as he fell flat on his back. The NBA’s 3-point king also made four free throws, fed Payton with a no-look pass for a 3-pointer then added a steal and layup.
“Greatest shooter of all time,” Morant said. “We know he’s going to make shots. We just have to make it very tough for him to get it off. We had some mental lapses during the game and he made us pay for it.”
Grizzlies: Brooks was whistled for a technical late in the second quarter and Kyle Anderson got one while sitting on the Memphis bench early in the second half. . Jarrett Culver has entered into the NBA’s COVID-19 health and safety protocols. . Brandon Clarke missed his 11th game with right knee soreness. . Santi Aldama (right calf soreness) sat out his fourth consecutive game.
Warriors: Curry was four points shy of his season-high of 50. . Green got his sixth technical of the season in the fourth quarter. . Golden State had assists on 16 of its first 19 made shots. . Andrew Wiggins, Jordan Poole and Damion Lee went into the COVID-19 health and safety protocols. . Golden State signed free agent guard Quinndary Weatherspoon to a 10-day contract.
Grizzlies: Face the Kings in Sacramento on Sunday.
Warriors: Play the Suns in Phoenix on Saturday. The two teams have split a pair of games this season, with the home team winning each.
Wizards withstand Walker’s big night, beat Knicks 124-117
NEW YORK (AP) Washington’s Kyle Kuzma had Kemba Walker’s recent stellar numbers in the back of his mind and wondered why the New York guard had been buried at the end of the bench for nearly three weeks.
Walker showed off Thursday night, scoring 44 points. But the Wizards withstood both his hot hand and a fourth-quarter rally by the Knicks to beat New York 124-117.
The Knicks had pulled within two points with 2:40 left in the game, then Kuzma made consecutive 3-pointers to give Washington an insurmountable lead.
“We just made big shots,” Kuzma said. “They did a good job of just keep fighting, whether it was Kemba obviously carrying them throughout the game. . We just did a good job of withstanding their punches and punching them back, as well as making timely, big shots.”
Spencer Dinwiddie had 21 points and 12 assists to lead the Wizards, who were without All-Star guard Bradley Beal after he was placed on the league’s COVID-19 health and safety protocols list before the game.
Dinwiddie, who has struggled at times in his first season in Washington after playing in just three games last year in Brooklyn, came into the game averaging 12.3 points and shooting 37.8% from the field.
“You got to understand we all have a job to do and I try to do what’s ask of me on a consistent basis,” Dinwiddie said. “It’s just hard. I want to play the best I can possibly play every night. I want to make every shot. I want to make every defensive play. I want to average 50 points and 20 assists and 30 rebounds. But it’s just not the way it is.”
Corey Kispert, the 15th overall pick in the 2021 NBA draft, filled in with a career-high 20 points in his first start. Kuzma added 18 points and 10 rebounds, Montrezl Harrell had 15 points and Deni Avdija chipped in 14.
All-Star forward Julius Randle had 23 points and Alec Burks added 20 for New York, which has lost 11 of 17 games at home this season.
Walker scored 28 of his 44 points in the second half.
“It felt great. It was a good time. But I really wish we could have won, to be honest,” Walker said. “It’s always tough when you really play well like that and don’t come out on top.”
He has averaged 31.3 points over his last three games after New York coach Tom Thibodeau pulled him out of the rotation and sat him for nine straight games.
“He played a monster game, but we came out with a loss,” Thibodeau said. “So it’s a shame to waste that type of effort with a game like that.”
The Wizards went on a 12-0 run early in the third quarter to take a 71-66 lead, held New York at bay throughout the fourth quarter and extended its lead to 109-102 on a 3-pointer from Dinwiddie.
The Knicks got five straight points, including a 3-pointer from Evan Fournier, to cut the deficit to 109-107 with 2:40 to play. But Kuzma’s 3s helped the Wizards pull ahead, 118-111, with 58 seconds left.
Wizards: Washington went 1-4 on its five-game trip, though Tuesday’s scheduled contest against the Nets was postponed because Brooklyn had too many people out under COVID-19 protocols. … All five Washington starters scored in double figures; Aaron Holiday had 16 points and Daniel Gafford chipped in 11.
Knicks: F Obi Toppin returned to the lineup after missing the last five games due to being on the health and safety protocols list. . New York had won its last three games against Washington prior to Thursday night’s loss.
Wizards: Host Philadelphia on Sunday.
Knicks: Host Atlanta on Saturday in one of the NBA’s six Christmas Day games.
TOP INDIANA SPORTS NEWS/RELEASES
Turner, LeVert lead short-handed Pacers over Rockets 118-106
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) Myles Turner had 32 points and 10 rebounds, Caris LeVert had 24 points and 11 assists, and the Indiana Pacers beat the Houston Rockets 118-106 Thursday night.
Turner made 14 of 18 shots as the Pacers hit 52.8% from the field. Chris Duarte scored 18 points and Jeremy Lamb had 16 for Indiana, which played without starters Malcolm Brogdon (sore right Achilles tendon) and Domantas Sabonis (sore right calf).
“Myles was sensational,” Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said. “His offensive decision making was on point. He hit a 3, he hit a couple of mid-range shots, he attacked the rim and made some nice touch passes. He only had two turnovers. He had a calm poise to us that helped us get through the third quarter.”
Christian Wood scored 22 points for Houston, and Jalen Green added 20 in his return after missing nearly a month with a strained hamstring. Jae’Sean Tate had 18 points, and Eric Gordon scored 15.
The Rockets led 94-91 after three quarters, but the Pacers opened the fourth with a 10-2 run and maintained control the rest of the way.
Carlisle said the turning point was assistant coach Lloyd Pierce’s decision to go to the zone in the fourth quarter.
“Their shotmaking was exceptional in the third quarter,” Carlisle said. “(Houston) is a rhythm team. We went to a zone to disrupt their rhythm. The guys did a great job of executing. Zones are harder to play than man-to-man, but we did a terrific job. They scored a few baskets but it wasn’t like the barrage they hit us with in the second half.”
Wood said it did throw the Rockets off their game.
“Our offense got stagnant,” he said. “We didn’t attack the zone the way we should.”
Indiana won the rebounding battle 47-28.
“That’s an effort stat,” Carlisle said of the rebounding. “These guys responded extremely well without two of our top players. It was a game we needed very badly.”
Carlisle said he was especially pleased with the way his team responded following a 125-96 loss at Miami on Tuesday night.
Wood said overall defense was a bigger problem for the Rockets rather than just the Pacers’ edge in rebounding.
LeVert took over point guard duties in Brogdon’s absence.
“Caris has proven he’s a hell of a point guard,” Carlisle said. “Caris is a stone-cold attacker. He knows how to win. If you put the ball in his hands the way we did tonight, he makes really good plays.”
Rockets: Houston has lost seven of nine. … Coach Stephen Silas said Green would be on a minutes restriction, but he played 25 minutes. Green, the second overall pick in the 2021 draft, was out since Nov. 24.
Pacers: Brogdon played eight minutes Tuesday at Miami and couldn’t suit up Thursday. … Carlisle said Sabonis was kicked in the leg against Detroit on Dec. 16. He played at Miami, but he aggravated the injury. “We’re hoping this thing without Malcolm and Domas is not a long-term thing, and we can get back being more intact sooner rather than later,” Carlisle said.
Rockets: At Charlotte on Monday.
Pacers: At Chicago on Sunday.
No. 8 Indiana Blows Past SIU, 70-37
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – No. 8 Indiana limited Southern Illinois to just 27.3 percent shooting on the afternoon as it rounded out non-conference play with a 70-37 win at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall on Thursday afternoon.
Opened up win number 10 on the season with an 8-0 advantage at the media timeout as Cardaño-Hillary led the way for IU with five first quarter points.
Indiana (10-2) took a 15-4 lead after one, continuing its run into the second quarter. Along with staunch defense, the Hoosiers took advantage and ran up the margin at the break, 38-8. It would go on to shoot 71.4 percent from the field in the second, while the Salukis went just 13 percent.
Senior guard Grace Berger (12 points) and junior forward Mackenzie Holmes (10 points) led the way at halftime.
The Hoosiers kept its dominance in the third quarter as Holmes led the way with eight points and IU collectively went 66.7 percent in the frame. It led by as many as 36 as Berger hit a buzzer beater jumper to
All available Hoosiers played in the matchup as sophomore guard Chloe Moore-McNeil set a new career-high 23 minutes and career-high nine points.
The Hoosiers won their fifth-straight game and got their 10th win of the season.
Indiana held Southern Illinois to 37 points on 15-of-55 (27.3 percent) field goal shooting. The 37 points is a low for an opponent this season.
Over the last five games the Hoosiers have held opponents to 51.6 points per game.
37 points is the third time this season the Hoosiers have held an opponent under 50 points. In the Teri Moren era the Hoosiers have held an opponent under 50 points now 30 times.
Indiana held Southern Illinois to four points in the first quarter an opponent low for a quarter this season. It’s the fewest first quarter points for an opponent since Indiana held Oakland to three points on Nov. 11, 2018.
Indiana held Southern Illinois to two field goals in the first quarter and without a point until the 4:01 mark of the opening period.
The Hoosiers made their first five shots of the second quarter. They finished the second quarter on a 15-0 run and led 38-8 at halftime.
The eight points in a half the Hoosiers held Southern Illinois to is the fewest since they held Samford to seven points on Dec. 3, 2020.
The Hoosiers shot 17-of-27 (63 percent) in the first half and turned the ball over four times.
Indiana shot 29-of-55 (52.7 percent) from the field. It is the sixth game this season they have shot at 50 percent or better.
Holmes and Berger led the Hoosiers with 18 points each. Cardaño-Hillary also scored in double-figures with 11 points. The trio shot a combined 20-of-34 from the field.
Moore-McNeil tallied a career-high nine points and added five rebounds.
In the last four games the Hoosiers have outscored their opponents 197-80 in points in the paint.
Indiana head coach Teri Moren
“That’s exactly how you want to finish the non-conference season and feel good about giving your kids a couple days off to enjoy their family and their friends and all of them are going to get out of town. I thought we finished the game the right way this afternoon and it was just a great win for our program. I thought we did a lot of really good things particularly on the defensive end.”
Indiana returns to Big Ten play on Thursday, December 30 at Rutgers. Tip is set for 8 p.m. ET on FS1.
Volleyball Welcomes Transfer and Lafayette Native Emily Brown
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Head coach Dave Shondell and the Purdue volleyball program are pleased to announce Lafayette native and transfer Emily Brown will join the team effective immediately.
Brown, a 5’6″ defensive specialist spent her first two seasons with Missouri and is set to join Purdue for the spring semester to finish out her sophomore year. The Lafayette, Indiana, native will wear the number 11 jersey.
“With over 75 percent of our passing and digging totals graduating, it is encouraging to hit paydirt with a local ball-control player who dreamed of returning home,” said Shondell. “Emily has competed in one of the nation’s best conferences for the past two years. She will bring discipline, desire, and another strong work-ethic to our program. In the current climate of college athletics, teams must continually find ways to solidify their rosters.”
Brown, a staple of Missouri’s back row during her career as a Tiger, averaged 3.54 digs per set on her way to totaling 329 digs this fall. Over the fall campaign, Brown tallied 20 double-digit dig matches, including a career-high 25 digs in Missouri’s four-set victory vs. South Dakota on September 5. Meanwhile, as a freshman, Brown started all 24 matches and was one of just three players in the Southeastern Conference to eclipse 300 digs in 2020.
Her experience will add to Purdue’s strong tradition of defensive excellence, joining the Boilermakers which includes Maddie Schermerhorn and Ali Hornung after Purdue said farewell to anchors Jena Otec and Marissa Hornung; a pair finishing their careers as two of Purdue’s top-four all-time dig leaders.
Brown is a graduate of McCutcheon High School, where she was named a 2019 Prep Volleyball Senior Aces and Defensive Dandies honoree.
Sycamore Basketball to Host Midway University December 29
TERRE HAUTE, Ind. – Indiana State men’s basketball head coach Josh Schertz announced Wednesday that his squad will host Midway University December 29 at Hulman Center. Tipoff with the Eagles is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET.
The contest will replace ISU’s previously scheduled game with Coppin State after CSU paused all basketball activities due to COVID-19 protocols within the program.
Baseball Adds Game at Indiana
FORT WAYNE, Ind. – The Purdue Fort Wayne baseball program has made an addition to the 2022 schedule. The Mastodons will now play a game on Wednesday, March 9 at Indiana.
The last time the Mastodons played the Hoosiers was in 2008.
Indiana will be the Mastodons’ fourth Big Ten opponent in 2022. The ‘Dons will also travel to Purdue, Michigan State and Michigan.
Valpo to Close Out Nonconference Slate on Tuesday
Prairie View A&M (0-10, 0-0 SWAC)
at Valparaiso (7-6, 0-1 MVC)
Game No. 14 – Tuesday, Dec. 28, 6 p.m. CT
Athletics-Recreation Center (5,000) – Valparaiso, Ind.
Next Up in Valpo Basketball: After five days without a game during the Christmas holiday, the Valparaiso University men’s basketball team will return to action on Tuesday night by hosting Prairie View A&M in the nonconference finale. This will mark the team’s final game of the calendar year and the last chance to take the court in a nonconference setting before Missouri Valley Conference play resumes on Sunday, Jan. 2 vs. Illinois State. Please note that masks are required at all home Valpo athletic events until further notice.
Last Time Out: Valpo knocked down a dozen 3-pointers and hit at a 54.5 percent clip from long range in an 88-66 home victory over William & Mary on Dec. 22 in the final game prior to the Christmas holiday. Kevion Taylor and Sheldon Edwards combined for seven of those triples. Edwards went 7-of-10 from the field for 17 points, while Kobe King scored a game-high 19 and Taylor (15) and Thomas Kithier (12) rounded out a quartet of Beacons in double figures. Valpo handed out 23 assists while committing just eight turnovers.
Following the Beacons: Streaming – ESPN3 – Todd Ickow (play-by-play) and Jamie Stangel (analyst)
Valpo Radio – 95.1 FM, WVUR, ValpoAthletics.com, TuneIn Radio App – Zach Collins (play-by-play)
Twitter updates – @ValpoBasketball
Links for video, audio and live stats will be available at ValpoAthletics.com.
Head Coach Matt Lottich: Matt Lottich (90-84) is in his ninth season overall at Valparaiso University and sixth as the head coach of the men’s basketball program in 2021-2022. The 2020-2021 season saw Valpo improve its Arch Madness seeding for the fourth straight year as the program continued to make positive strides in each season as a Missouri Valley Conference member. The team earned a first-round bye in the State Farm MVC Tournament for the first time since joining the prestigious league. Valpo upset previously-undefeated Drake, the nation’s No. 25 team, 74-57 on Feb. 7, 2021 at the ARC, the fourth win over an AP Top 25 team in program history and second under Lottich. The Bulldogs were one of three undefeated teams in the nation prior to that setback, joining Gonzaga and Baylor. Just two years removed from finishing in last place and being knocked out in the first round of the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament as a first-year Valley member, Lottich’s team did more than hold its own in 2019-2020, ascending into a tie for sixth in the league standings before finishing as the conference tournament runner-up. Valpo became the first team in the history of Arch Madness to reach the title game after playing in the opening round. Lottich, hired as the 22nd head coach of the Valpo men’s basketball program in April 2016, graduated from Stanford University in 2004 and New Trier High School (Illinois) in 2000.
Series Notes: This will be the first ever matchup between Valpo and Prairie View A&M. The Beacons are 4-0 against current members of the Southwestern Athletic Conference, most recently beating Texas Southern 84-73 in March 2016 in an NIT game at the ARC. Valpo also owns wins over Bethune Cookman, Arkansas Pine Bluff and Mississippi Valley State.
Beacons Heating Up
Valpo has won four of its last five games and owns a 6-2 record over its last eight.
The team’s Dec. 22 victory over William & Mary helped Valpo climb above .500 for the first time since the end of the 2019-2020 season.
The 88-66 victory over the Tribe was the program’s largest margin of victory against a Division-I team since beating SIUE by that same differential on Dec. 9, 2020. This marks the third straight season Valpo has beaten a D1 nonconference foe at home by 22 points (Central Michigan in 2019).
A win over Prairie View A&M would mark Valpo’s first three-game winning streak since Jan. 23-28 of last season (two wins at Illinois State, one vs. Bradley).
If Valpo can top the Panthers, they will win the final three nonconference games in a season for the first time since 2014-2015, when they entered league play on a five-game winning streak and eventually reached the NCAA Tournament.
Century Mark in Sight: Valpo head coach Matt Lottich earned his 90th career win on Dec. 22 vs. William & Mary. He needs just 10 more to become the fourth head coach in program history to reach 100 career victories, joining Homer Drew, Bryce Drew and J.M Christiansen. Lottich currently ranks fifth in program history for career head coaching victories and needs just three more to tie Gene Bartow for fourth.
Valpo knocked down shots at a 57.6 percent clip on Dec. 22 vs. William & Mary, the team’s top field-goal percentage against a Division-I opponent since shooting 58.6 percent on Feb. 25, 2020 vs. Missouri State.
The Beacons knocked down 3s at a 54.5 percent rate (12-of-22) against the Tribe, tied for the seventh-highest by any Missouri Valley Conference team in a single game this season. In addition, that marked Valpo’s best 3-point shooting showing since hitting at a 57.1 percent rate vs. Indiana State on Feb. 27 of last season.
Valpo drained 12 3-pointers against William & Mary, tying a season high established on Nov. 24 vs. Tulane and matched on Dec. 7 vs. East-West.
The 3-point shooting percentage of 54.5 against William & Mary eclipsed Valpo’s previous season high of 40.0 vs. UIC by 14.5 percent.
Valpo forced 21 William & Mary turnovers on Dec. 22, the most by a Beacon opponent this season.
The 21 takeaways marked the team’s most since Dec. 17, 2020 vs. Purdue Northwest (28) and most against a D1 opponent since 25 on Dec. 9, 2020 vs. SIUE.
Valpo garnered a season-high 12 steals, the team’s most since swiping 17 on Dec. 17, 2020 vs. Purdue Northwest and most against a D1 foe since 16 on Dec. 9, 2020 vs. SIUE.
On the flip side, Valpo committed just eight turnovers against the Tribe – the team’s second straight game with only eight turnovers. This marks the first time Valpo has had back-to-back games with eight turnovers or fewer since January 2015 (vs. UIC, vs. Cleveland State).
Valpo has finished with fewer than 10 turnovers on six occasions this season including five times in the last seven games.
The +13 in the turnover battle on Dec. 22 vs. William & Mary marked Valpo’s best since also going + 13 on Dec. 6, 2020. It was Valpo’s best turnover margin against a D1 opponent since owning a 13-turnover advantage in a Dec. 5, 2012 victory over IPFW.
The Season of Giving
Another noteworthy number from Valpo’s 88-66 victory over William & Mary on Dec. 22 was the team’s 23 assists on 34 made baskets.
This marked the team’s highest total against a Division-I opponent since handing out 24 helpers on Feb. 22, 2020 vs. Bradley.
There have been seven instances this season where a Missouri Valley Conference team has dished out 23 assists or more and Valpo has accounted for three of them (vs. William & Mary, Trinity Christian and East-West.)
In the game against the Tribe, five Beacons gave out three assists or more including a season-high six from Trevor Anderson.
Other Notes Wrapping Up Dec. 22: Valpo 88, William & Mary 66
Four Valpo players finished in double figures, led by Kobe King with 19. He was followed closely by Sheldon Edwards, who achieved 17 points on an efficient 7-of-10 shooting and 3-of-5 from 3. Kevion Taylor (15) and Thomas Kithier (12) also surpassed the 10-point threshold.
Taylor averaged 16.5 points per game over two outings during the week leading into Christmas. He canned four triples in each game while going a combined 12-of-17 (70.6%) from the floor and 8-of-13 (61.5%) from 3 in wins over Eastern Michigan and William & Mary.
The .700 percent shooting clip was a season high for Edwards and the second-best of his Valpo career. He matched a career high with seven made field goals, his third such performance overall and second this season (Nov. 24 vs. Tulane).
King’s 19 points equaled his career high, which was established on Dec. 7 vs. East-West. King has scored 17 points or more in three of his first four Valpo games.
Kithier collected six rebounds to pace the team on the glass for the eighth time this year. His 12 points helped him snap out of a three-game stretch where he was held to six points or fewer in each contest. In addition, the Michigan State transfer swiped a career-high three steals against William & Mary.
Kevion Taylor has made at least one 3-pointer in all 12 games that he’s played this season.
Overall, he has made a 3 in 76 consecutive contests dating all the way back to Dec. 15, 2018 while playing for Winona State in a game at Concordia St. Paul. The highest of the NCAA records (Division I, Division II or Division III) for consecutive games with a made 3 is 93 and belongs to Daniel Park of D-II Rollins from Jan. 26, 1994 to Feb. 28, 1997. However, Taylor’s streak would not be recognized in the NCAA record book should it reach that point since it is split between Division I and Division II.
If Taylor’s streak came in all D-I games, 76 would rank third in Division-I history. The D-I record is held by Mack Smith, who Valpo played against on Dec. 5 at Western Michigan. Smith set the record while at Eastern Illinois.
Taylor’s four 3s on Dec. 20 vs. Eastern Michigan all came after halftime. That represented his second game with four or more 3s this season (5 on Nov. 23 vs. Coastal Carolina).
The four 3s against the Eagles came en route to a season-high 18 points, surpassing his previous Beacon best of 16 on Nov. 23 vs. UIC.
He followed that effort with a 15-point performance on Dec. 22 vs. William & Mary behind his third game this season with four or more 3s.
Taylor enjoyed his seventh double-figure scoring output this year and the 88th of his collegiate career against William & Mary. The Eastern Michigan game marked the second time this season that he has led the team in scoring.
Taylor is the first Valpo player with four or more 3s in back-to-back games since Ryan Fazekas in February 2020.
Inside the Panthers
Picked to finish second of 12 in the SWAC Preseason Poll behind only Texas Southern.
Seeking their first win of the season but have not yet played a home game.
Coming off a 102-66 setback at Wichita State.
This game will start a two-game Chicagoland swing that will continue on Thursday, Dec. 30 at Northwestern before the Jan. 1 home opener vs. North American.
Went 16-5 overall and 13-0 in SWAC play last season before falling to Texas Southern in the SWAC title game.
Also went 19-13 overall and 14-4 in SWAC action in 2019-20 and 22-13 overall and 17-1 in conference play en route to a SWAC title and NCAA Tournament appearance in 2018-19.
Men’s Basketball to Host Edinboro on Dec. 30
INDIANAPOLIS – After the cancellation of Sunday’s contest at Northern Michigan, the University of Indianapolis men’s basketball team has added a home game on Thursday, December 30. The Hounds will host Edinboro University of the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) inside Nicoson Hall.
Tip off is slated for 1 pm ET against the Fighting Scots. Admission is FREE to the public.
UIndy’s game against East West University remains as scheduled. The Hounds and Phantoms will face off at 1 pm ET the following day on New Year’s Eve.
MARIAN HOLDS NO. 3 RANKING IN LEARFIELD DIRECTOR’S CUP STANDINGS
Cleveland, Ohio – Marian University is in third place in the first edition of the 2021-22 NAIA Learfield IMG College Directors’ Cup standings, which includes the fall championships, as the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) released the rankings Thursday.
COMPLETE FALL RANKINGS
Marian earned a total of 261 points in the fall championship season, totaling the third most points in the NAIA. Four of Marian’s six fall sports teams reached the NAIA National Tournament in their respective sports, with the women’s volleyball team scoring a department best 83 points after finishing as a National Semifinalist.
Both the Marian football and women’s soccer teams ended their season in the NAIA Quarterfinals, with the women’s soccer team scoring 73 points and the football team totaling 60 points. Adding to the Marian total for the first time in five years was the men’s cross country team, who earned an at-large bid to the NAIA Tournament and earned 45 points with their 29th place finish.
Marian’s 261 points is the most scored in a single fall since the 2019 fall season, which saw the Knights claim their first NAIA National Championship in volleyball while both the football and women’s soccer team earned NAIA National Runners-Up.
The Knights trail only Oregon Tech (275.5) and Indiana Wesleyan (275) on the leaderboard, and hold a 14-point edge over fourth place Lindsey Wilson (247). Central Methodist rounds out the top-five on the fall leaderboard. Only Marian and Indiana Wesleyan represent the Crossroads League in the top-10 of the Learfield Cup standings after the fall sports season.
The next edition of the standings will be released on March 31 following the conclusion of the winter championships.
2022 RSC Baseball Coaches’ Preseason Poll: IU Southeast the favorite
MIDDLETOWN, Ohio — Coming off its NAIA World Series run last year and with a No. 7 NAIA Top 25 preseason national ranking this year, Indiana University Southeast is the unanimous favorite in the 2022 River States Conference Baseball Coaches’ Preseason Poll.
The Grenadiers, who were 50-16 last year, received all nine of the possible first-place votes and 81 total points in the poll. IU Southeast won the RSC Regular Season Championship last year at 26-1 RSC and captured the RSC Championship postseason title as well. From there, the Grenadiers marched through the NAIA Opening Round Kingsport Bracket and went 2-2 at the NAIA World Series as one of the last teams left.
IU Southeast starts the year ranked No. 7 in the NAIA Top 25 preseason poll released last month. The Grenadiers are one of only four NAIA programs to win 50 games last year and return several key players.
Point Park (Pa.) University gives the RSC two nationally ranked teams at No. 25 this preseason. The Pioneers were picked second in the conference this year with 73 total votes and the remaining first-place vote. The Pioneers were 40-16 overall, 20-7 RSC last year and made the NAIA National Opening Round as the RSC runner-up.
Indiana University Kokomo came in third in the RSC preseason poll with 62 points. The Cougars were 28-20 overall and 16-10 RSC. University of Rio Grande (Ohio) and Midway (Ky.) University were picked fourth and fifth in the poll with 58 and 51 points, respectively. Those teams round out the playoff qualifiers from a year ago, which also included former conference member Asbury (Ky.) University.
Oakland City (Ind.) University was predicted as the final playoff qualifier in sixth place with 43 points. Next in the poll were Brescia (Ky.) University (29 points), WVU Tech (26 points) and Ohio Christian University (15 points).
2022 RIVER STATES CONFERENCE BASEBALL COACHES’ PRESEASON POLL
(First-Place Votes in Parenthesis)
|1. IU Southeast (9)||81|
|2. Point Park (Pa.) (1)||73|
|3. IU Kokomo||62|
|4. Rio Grande (Ohio)||58|
|5. Midway (Ky.)||51|
|6. Oakland City (Ind.)||43|
|7. Brescia (Ky.)||29|
|8. WVU Tech||26|
|9. Ohio Christian||15|
|NFL STANDINGS DIVISION | CONFERENCE|
|AMERICAN FOOTBALL CONFERENCE|
|W||L||T||PCT||GB||PF||PA||HOME||ROAD||VS. CONF||VS. DIV||STREAK|
|NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS||9||5||0||.643||0.0||367||227||3-4-0||6-1-0||7-2-0||3-1-0||1 L|
|BUFFALO BILLS||8||6||0||.571||1.0||394||243||4-3-0||4-3-0||5-5-0||3-1-0||1 W|
|MIAMI DOLPHINS||7||7||0||.500||2.0||285||312||5-3-0||2-4-0||5-5-0||3-2-0||6 W|
|NEW YORK JETS||3||11||0||.214||6.0||250||428||2-5-0||1-6-0||3-7-0||0-5-0||3 L|
|W||L||T||PCT||GB||PF||PA||HOME||ROAD||VS. CONF||VS. DIV||STREAK|
|KANSAS CITY CHIEFS||10||4||0||.714||0.0||385||296||6-2-0||4-2-0||5-4-0||4-1-0||7 W|
|LOS ANGELES CHARGERS||8||6||0||.571||2.0||379||370||4-4-0||4-2-0||5-4-0||2-2-0||1 L|
|LAS VEGAS RAIDERS||7||7||0||.500||3.0||299||374||3-4-0||4-3-0||5-4-0||1-3-0||1 W|
|DENVER BRONCOS||7||7||0||.500||3.0||285||243||4-4-0||3-3-0||3-6-0||1-2-0||1 L|
|W||L||T||PCT||GB||PF||PA||HOME||ROAD||VS. CONF||VS. DIV||STREAK|
|CINCINNATI BENGALS||8||6||0||.571||0.0||369||303||3-4-0||5-2-0||6-3-0||3-1-0||1 W|
|BALTIMORE RAVENS||8||6||0||.571||0.0||334||315||5-2-0||3-4-0||5-5-0||1-3-0||3 L|
|PITTSBURGH STEELERS||7||6||1||.536||0.5||291||335||5-2-1||2-4-0||5-4-0||2-2-0||1 W|
|CLEVELAND BROWNS||7||7||0||.500||1.0||292||305||5-3-0||2-4-0||4-6-0||2-2-0||1 L|
|W||L||T||PCT||GB||PF||PA||HOME||ROAD||VS. CONF||VS. DIV||STREAK|
|TENNESSEE TITANS||10||5||0||.667||0.0||357||326||6-2-0||4-3-0||6-4-0||4-1-0||1 W|
|INDIANAPOLIS COLTS||8||6||0||.571||1.5||398||300||4-4-0||4-2-0||7-3-0||3-2-0||2 W|
|HOUSTON TEXANS||3||11||0||.214||6.5||207||372||1-6-0||2-5-0||3-7-0||3-2-0||1 W|
|JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS||2||12||0||.143||7.5||196||370||2-6-0||0-6-0||2-7-0||0-5-0||6 L|
|NATIONAL FOOTBALL CONFERENCE|
|W||L||T||PCT||GB||PF||PA||HOME||ROAD||VS. CONF||VS. DIV||STREAK|
|X-DALLAS COWBOYS||10||4||0||.714||0.0||401||293||4-2-0||6-2-0||8-1-0||4-0-0||3 W|
|PHILADELPHIA EAGLES||7||7||0||.500||3.0||364||308||2-4-0||5-3-0||5-4-0||1-2-0||2 W|
|WASHINGTON FOOTBALL TEAM||6||8||0||.429||4.0||283||351||3-4-0||3-4-0||5-4-0||1-2-0||2 L|
|NEW YORK GIANTS||4||10||0||.286||6.0||238||331||3-4-0||1-6-0||3-6-0||1-3-0||3 L|
|W||L||T||PCT||GB||PF||PA||HOME||ROAD||VS. CONF||VS. DIV||STREAK|
|ARIZONA CARDINALS||10||4||0||.714||0.0||378||284||3-3-0||7-1-0||6-4-0||4-1-0||2 L|
|LOS ANGELES RAMS||10||4||0||.714||0.0||386||303||5-2-0||5-2-0||7-3-0||3-2-0||3 W|
|SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS||8||7||0||.533||2.5||377||334||3-4-0||5-3-0||6-5-0||1-4-0||1 L|
|SEATTLE SEAHAWKS||5||9||0||.357||5.0||282||282||2-4-0||3-5-0||2-7-0||2-3-0||1 L|
|W||L||T||PCT||GB||PF||PA||HOME||ROAD||VS. CONF||VS. DIV||STREAK|
|XY-GREEN BAY PACKERS||11||3||0||.786||0.0||359||302||6-0-0||5-3-0||8-2-0||3-1-0||3 W|
|MINNESOTA VIKINGS||7||7||0||.500||4.0||361||342||4-2-0||3-5-0||5-4-0||3-1-0||2 W|
|CHICAGO BEARS||4||10||0||.286||7.0||240||349||2-5-0||2-5-0||2-7-0||2-3-0||3 L|
|DETROIT LIONS||2||11||1||.179||8.5||243||366||2-5-0||0-6-1||2-7-0||1-4-0||1 W|
|W||L||T||PCT||GB||PF||PA||HOME||ROAD||VS. CONF||VS. DIV||STREAK|
|TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS||10||4||0||.714||0.0||410||306||6-1-0||4-3-0||6-4-0||2-2-0||1 L|
|NEW ORLEANS SAINTS||7||7||0||.500||3.0||313||285||2-4-0||5-3-0||5-5-0||2-2-0||2 W|
|ATLANTA FALCONS||6||8||0||.429||4.0||258||384||1-5-0||5-3-0||3-7-0||2-3-0||1 L|
|CAROLINA PANTHERS||5||9||0||.357||5.0||271||313||2-5-0||3-4-0||3-6-0||2-1-0||4 L|
|NBA DIVISION STANDINGS DIVISION STANDINGS | CONFERENCE STANDINGS|
|NEW YORK||14||18||.438||8.0||6-11||8-7||3-4||9-15||3-7||1 L|
|OKLAHOMA CITY||11||20||.355||11.0||6-10||5-10||1-2||9-13||5-5||1 L|
|GOLDEN STATE||26||6||.813||0.5||16-2||10-4||6-1||14-3||7-3||2 W|
|LA CLIPPERS||17||15||.531||9.5||12-8||5-7||3-4||12-13||6-4||1 W|
|LA LAKERS||16||17||.485||11.0||10-9||6-8||1-5||8-12||4-6||4 L|
|SAN ANTONIO||13||18||.419||5.0||6-9||7-9||1-3||8-13||5-5||2 W|
|NEW ORLEANS||12||21||.364||7.0||6-9||6-12||2-4||8-13||6-4||4 W|
|1 TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING||30||20||6||4||44||18||98||80||10-3-2||10-3-2||8-1-1|
|2 CAROLINA HURRICANES||29||21||7||1||43||21||95||62||9-3-0||12-4-1||6-4-0|
|3 WASHINGTON CAPITALS||31||18||6||7||43||16||108||81||9-3-4||9-3-3||5-3-2|
|4 TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS||30||20||8||2||42||20||98||76||12-4-1||8-4-1||7-2-1|
|5 NEW YORK RANGERS||30||19||7||4||42||18||86||77||8-3-2||11-4-2||6-3-1|
|6 FLORIDA PANTHERS||29||18||7||4||40||17||104||87||14-3-0||4-4-4||4-5-1|
|7 PITTSBURGH PENGUINS||30||17||8||5||39||16||91||76||8-5-2||9-3-3||7-2-1|
|8 DETROIT RED WINGS||31||15||13||3||33||14||88||104||11-3-2||4-10-1||6-4-0|
|9 BOSTON BRUINS||26||14||10||2||30||13||71||69||7-5-1||7-5-1||4-4-2|
|10 COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS||28||14||13||1||29||12||91||95||9-3-1||5-10-0||2-7-1|
|11 PHILADELPHIA FLYERS||29||12||12||5||29||12||77||95||6-6-2||6-6-3||4-5-1|
|12 NEW JERSEY DEVILS||30||10||15||5||25||9||82||105||7-7-3||3-8-2||1-8-1|
|13 BUFFALO SABRES||30||10||15||5||25||8||82||104||6-8-2||4-7-3||2-5-3|
|14 NEW YORK ISLANDERS||26||8||12||6||22||8||57||77||2-5-3||6-7-3||3-3-4|
|15 OTTAWA SENATORS||28||9||17||2||20||8||79||101||5-9-0||4-8-2||5-4-1|
|16 MONTREAL CANADIENS||31||7||21||3||17||6||67||109||5-10-1||2-11-2||2-7-1|
|1 MINNESOTA WILD||30||19||9||2||40||16||112||92||10-2-1||9-7-1||6-3-1|
|2 VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS||32||20||12||0||40||17||114||98||10-7-0||10-5-0||8-2-0|
|3 ANAHEIM DUCKS||32||17||9||6||40||15||103||89||10-4-3||7-5-3||6-1-3|
|4 NASHVILLE PREDATORS||30||19||10||1||39||18||89||79||9-5-0||10-5-1||8-2-0|
|5 ST. LOUIS BLUES||31||17||9||5||39||15||106||85||11-3-2||6-6-3||6-2-2|
|6 CALGARY FLAMES||28||15||7||6||36||13||87||62||4-3-4||11-4-2||5-4-1|
|7 COLORADO AVALANCHE||27||17||8||2||36||16||115||91||10-2-1||7-6-1||7-2-1|
|8 EDMONTON OILERS||29||18||11||0||36||16||101||90||10-6-0||8-5-0||4-6-0|
|9 WINNIPEG JETS||30||14||11||5||33||13||90||87||10-6-1||4-5-4||5-4-1|
|10 LOS ANGELES KINGS||30||14||11||5||33||13||80||79||8-6-2||6-5-3||5-3-2|
|11 DALLAS STARS||29||15||12||2||32||14||82||85||11-3-1||4-9-1||5-5-0|
|12 SAN JOSE SHARKS||30||15||14||1||31||15||78||85||7-7-1||8-7-0||5-5-0|
|13 VANCOUVER CANUCKS||31||14||15||2||30||11||81||90||8-7-1||6-8-1||8-2-0|
|14 CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS||30||11||15||4||26||8||72||97||6-6-2||5-9-2||4-4-2|
|15 SEATTLE KRAKEN||30||10||17||3||23||10||84||108||6-9-1||4-8-2||4-4-2|
|16 ARIZONA COYOTES||29||6||21||2||14||6||56||109||2-10-1||4-11-1||2-8-0|