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SPORTS NEWS/RELEASES

PLAYOFF PREVIEW: LAS VEGAS RAIDERS (10-7) AT CINCINNATI BENGALS (10-7)

SATURDAY, JAN. 15, 2022 // 4:35 PM ET // PAUL BROWN STADIUM // REFEREE: JEROME BOGER

PLAYOFF HISTORY:

LEADER: Raiders lead all-time series, 2-0

STREAKS: Raiders have won both meetings

LAST GAME: 1/13/91: Bengals 10 at Raiders 20 (Los Angeles)

LAST GAME AT SITE: first meeting at site

LAS VEGAS NOTES:

RAIDERS clinched postseason for 1st time since 2016. Aim for 1st playoff win since 2002 season. • RICH BISACCIA makes postseason debut as head coach. Won SB XXXVII with TB as Special Teams Coordinator. • RAIDERS had 3 players selected to 2022 Pro Bowl: P AJ COLE, DE MAXX CROBBY & LB DENZEL PERRYMAN. • LAS VEGAS became 2nd team ever to win 4 overtime games in single season, joining 2011 Arizona Cardinals. • RAIDERS ranked 5th in AFC in total offense (363.8 yards per game) & 6th in total defense (337.2 yards allowed per game).

QB DEREK CARR expected to make 1st-career postseason start. Passed for career-high & franchise-record 4,804 yards this season. Is 1 of 4 QBs ever with 3,000+ pass yards in each of 1st 8 seasons. Has completed 44 of 56 atts. (78.6 pct.) for 101.4 rating in his past 2 starts vs. Cin. Has 94.4 rating in 8 road starts this season. • RB JOSH JACOBS led team with 1,220 scrimmage yards (872 rush, 348 rec.) & 9 rush TDs this season. Is 1 of 2 in NFL (NICK CHUBB) with 1,200+ scrimmage yards & 7+ rush TDs in each of past 3 seasons. Aims for his 3rd in row with rush TD. Has 125+ rush yards in 2 of past 3. Has 70+ scrimmage yards in each of past 6 on road. • WR HUNTER RENFROW led team with career highs in catches (103), rec. yards (1,038) & rec. TDs (9). Joined HOFer TIM BROWN (104 in 1997) as only Raiders WRs ever with 100+ catches in season. Aims for his 4th in row with rec. TD. Has 75+ rec. yards in 3 of his past 4 on road. TE DARREN WALLER is 1 of 3 TEs (MARK ANDREWS & TRAVIS KELCE) with 650+ rec. yards in each of past 3 seasons. Had 7 catches for 116 yards in Week 11 meeting & aims for his 3rd in row vs. Cin. with 75+ rec. yards. • DE YANNICK NGAKOUE led team with 10 sacks this season, his 2nd-career season with 10+ sacks (12 in 2017 w/ Jax.). Had sack & FF in Week 11 meeting. Had INT-TD in only career game at Cin. (10/20/19 w/ Jax.). DE MAXX CROSBY had 8 sacks in 2021 & has 7+ sacks in each of 1st 3 career seasons. Has sack in 2 of his past 3. Had career-high 4 sacks in 2019 meeting (11/17/19). LB DENZEL PERRYMAN ranked 6th in NFL with 154 tackles.

CINCINNATI NOTES:

CINCINNATI clinched AFC North for 1st time since 2015. Aim for 1st playoff win since 1990 season. • ZAC TAYLOR makes postseason debut as head coach. • BENGALS had 3 players selected to 2022 Pro Bowl: rookie WR JA’MARR CHASE, DE TREY HENDRICKSON & RB JOE MIXON. • CINCINNATI are 1st team ever with 4,000-yard passer (JOE BURROW), 1,000-yard rusher (JOE MIXON) & 2 1,000-yard receivers (JA’MARR CHASE & TEE HIGGINS) each under age of 26. • BENGALS ranked 5th in NFL in rush defense (102.5 rush yards allowed per game).

QB JOE BURROW expected to make 1st-career postseason start. Set franchise records in pass yards (4,611) & TD passes (34). Ranked 2nd in NFL with 108.3 rating. In last 4 starts of season, had 1,476 pass yards (369 per game) & 11 TDs vs. 0 INTs for 134.9 rating. Completed 20 of 29 atts. (69 pct.) for 148 yards & TD vs. 0 INTs for 92.3 rating in Week 11 meeting. • RB JOE MIXON ranked 3rd in NFL with career-high 1,205 rush yards & 4th with career-high 13 rush TDs. Was 1 of 3 RBs (AUSTIN EKELER & JONATHAN TAYLOR) with 1,500+ scrimmage yards (1,519) & 15+ TDs (16) this season. Had 123 rush yards & 2 rush TDs in Week 11 meeting. Has 100+ scrimmage yards & rush TD in each of 3 career games vs. Raiders. • WR JA’MARR CHASE ranked 4th in NFL with 1,455 rec. yards, most by rookie in SB era, & 3rd with 13 rec. TDs. Has 125+ rec. yards in 2 of his past 3. Had TD catch in Week 11 meeting. Had 5 rec. TDs in his past 3 at home. WR TEE HIGGGINS had career high 1,091 rec. yards this season. Has 100+ rec. yards in 4 of his past 5 at home. Chase & Higgins first pair of teammates ever under age of 23 each with 1,000+ rec. yards in same season. WR TYLER BOYD aims for his 4th in row with TD catch. • DE TREY HENDRICKSON ranked 5th in NFL with career-high 14 sacks & is 1 of 2 in NFL (T.J. WATT) with 13+ sacks in each of past 2 seasons. Had sack & FF in Week 11 meeting. Has sack in each of 2 career games vs. LV. Has sack in 6 of his past 7 at home. LB LOGAN WILSON led team with 98 tackles & 4 INTs & was 1 of 2 LBs (DARIUS LEONARD) with 90+ tackles & 4+ INTs this season. CB ELI APPLE had INT in Week 11 meeting. Has PD in 6 of past 7.

NFL PLAYOFF PREVIEW: NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (10-7) AT BUFFALO BILLS (11-6)

SATURDAY, JAN. 15, 2022 // 8:15 PM ET // HIGHMARK STADIUM // REFEREE: BRAD ALLEN

PLAYOFF SERIES HISTORY:

LEADER: Patriots lead all-time series, 1-0

STREAKS: Patriots won only meeting

LAST GAME: 12/28/63: Patriots 26 at Bills 8

LAST GAME AT SITE: 12/28/63

PATS NOTES:

PATRIOTS clinched postseason for 11th time in past 12 seasons. • BILL BELICHICK has coached in 43 postseason games with 31 wins, both most among head coaches in NFL history. Has 6 Super Bowl victories, most-ever among head coaches. • PATRIOTS had 3 players selected to 2022 Pro Bowl: DB J.C. JACKSON, LB MATTHEW JUDON & ST MATTHEW SLATER. • NEW ENGLAND ranked 4th in NFL in total defense (310.8 yards allowed per game) & 2nd in pass defense (187.1 pass yards allowed per game). • PATRIOTS ranked 2nd in NFL with 23 INTs.

QB MAC JONES led all rookies with 67.6 comp. pct., 3,801 pass yards, 22 TD passes & 92.5 rating (min. 100 atts.) this season. Had 70+ comp. pct. in 9 games, tied with DAK PRESCOTT (2016) for most-ever by rookie. Can become 4th rookie QB since 2000 & 1st since 2012 (RUSSELL WILSON) to win road playoff game. • RB DAMIEN HARRIS ranked tied-2nd in NFL with career-high 15 rush TDs, 2nd-most ever by NE RB, & had 1,061 scrimmage yards (929 rush, 132 rec.) this season. Had 103 rush yards & career-high 3 rush TDs in Week 16 meeting. Has 100+ rush yards & rush TD in each of 3 career games vs. Buf. Has rush TD in 6 of his 7 road games this season. RB RHAMONDRE STEVENSON ranked tied-2nd among rookies with 5 rush TDs in 2021 & ranked 6th with 606 rush yards. Rushed for 78 yards in Week 13 road meeting. • WR JAKOBI MEYERS led team with career highs in catches (83) & rec. yards (866). Is 1 of 4 AFC WRs with 4+ catches in 15+ games this season. Has 6+ catches in 3 of his past 4. WR KENDRICK BOURNE set career highs in catches (55) & rec. yards (800) in 2021. TE HUNTER HENRY tied for lead among TEs with career high 9 rec. TDs. Aims for 3rd in row on road with 75+ rec. yards. • DB J.C. JACKSON led NFL with career-high 23 PD & had 8 INTs this season. Has 25 career INTs, becoming 4th player in SB era with 25+ INTs in 1st 4 seasons. Has PD in 6 of his past 7 vs. Buf. Has 11 PD in 8 road games in 2021. DB DEVIN MCCOURTY had 10 PD in 2021, his 4th season with 10+ PD. LB MATTHEW JUDON led team with career-high 12.5 sacks. Has sack in 3 of his past 4 vs. Buf, incl. postseason.  

BILLS NOTES:

BUFFALO clinched AFC East for 2nd-consecutive season & made postseason for 4th time in past 5 years. • SEAN MCDERMOTT makes 4th postseason appearance as HC. • BILLS had 2 players selected to 2022 Pro Bowl: T DION DAWKINS & WR STEFON DIGGS. • BUFFALO ranked 1st in NFL in total defense (272.8 yards allowed per game) & scoring defense (17 points allowed per game). • BILLS ranked 5th in NFL in total offense (381.9 yards per game) & 3rd in points per game (28.4). • BUFFALO is only team to rank in top-5 in total offense & defense.

QB JOSH ALLEN passed for 4,407 yards & 36 TDs this season & is 1st QB in franchise history with 4,000+ pass yards in consecutive seasons. Ranked 3rd among QBs with 6 rush TDs in 2021 & is 1st QB ever with 6+ rush TDs in each of 1st 4 seasons. Has 0 INTs in 3 of 4 career postseason starts. Has 8 TDs vs. 0 INTs for 107.5 rating in his past 3 starts vs. NE. • RB DEVIN SINGLETARY had career-high 1,098 scrimmage yards (870 rush, 228 rec.) & 8 TDs (7 rush, 1 rec.) this season. Had 78 scrimmage yards (39 rush, 39 rec.) & rush TD in Week 16 meeting. Aims for his 5th in row with rush TD & 3rd in row with 100+ scrimmage yards. • WR STEFON DIGGS led team with 103 catches, 1,225 rec. yards & career-high 10 rec. TDs this season. Is 1 of 2 in NFL (MIKE EVANS) with 1,000+ rec. yards & 6+ rec. TDs in each of past 4 seasons. Aims for his 4th in row in postseason with 75+ rec. yards. Has TD catch in 3 of his past 4 playoff games. Had 85 rec. yards & TD catch in Week 16 meeting. WR GABRIEL DAVIS is 4th Buf. player ever with 6+ rec. TD in each of 1st 2 seasons. Had TD catch in Week 13 meeting. TE DAWSON KNOX tied for lead among TEs with 9 rec. TDs, most-ever by Buf. TE. • S JORDAN POYER tied career high with 5 INTs. Has 5+ tackles in 4 of 5 career postseason games. Had TFL in each game vs. NE this season. S MICAH HYDE tied career high with 5 INTs in 2021. Hyde & Poyer the only pair of teammates each with 5+ INTs this season. LB TREMAINE EDMUNDS led team with 108 tackles, his 4th-straight season with 100+ tackles. DE MARIO ADDISON led team with 7 sacks. Aims for 3rd in row with sack.

NFL PLAYOFF PREVIEW: PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (9-8) AT TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (13-4)

SUNDAY, JAN. 16, 2022 // 1:05 PM ET // RAYMOND JAMES STADIUM // REFEREE: CRAIG WROLSTAD

PLAYOFF SERIES HISTORY:

LEADER: All-time series tied, 2-2

STREAKS: Eagles have won 2 of past 3

LAST GAME: 1/19/03: Buccaneers 10, at Eagles 27

LAST GAME AT SITE: 12/29/79: Buccaneers 24, Eagles 17

EAGLES NOTES:

PHILADELPHIA clinched playoff berth under 1st-year HC NICK SIRIANNI & have made postseason in 4 of past 5 years (2017- 19; 2021). • EAGLES won SB LII after 2017 season. • PHILADELPHIA had 2 players selected to 2022 Pro Bowl: C JASON KELCE & CB DARIUS SLAY. • EAGLES led NFL in rushing offense (159.7 per game) & rushing TDs (25) this season & became 5th team in SB era (1st since 1985 CHICAGO BEARS) to record 175+ rush yards in 7 straight games (Weeks 8-15).

QB JALEN HURTS makes playoff debut. Totaled 3,144 pass yards & 16 TD passes & led all QBs in rush yards (784) & rush TDs (10) in 2021. Has 5 career games with 2+ rush TDs, most by QB in 1st 2 seasons in SB era. Totaled 3 TDs (2 rush, 1 pass) in Week 6 meeting. Has 30+ rush yards in each of his past 10 road starts. • RB MILES SANDERS had 912 scrimmage yards (754 rush, 158 rec.) in 12 games in 2021. Had 66 scrimmage yards (56 rush, 10 rec.) in Week 6 meeting. Had 50+ scrimmage yards in 5 of his 6 road games this season. RB BOSTON SCOTT (career-high 7 rush TDs) & rookie RB KENNETH GAINWELL (5) were only NFC RB teammates each with 5+ rush TDs in 2021. • TE DALLAS GOEDERT ranked 5th among TEs with career high 830 rec. yards in 2021. Was 1 of 4 NFC TEs with multiple 100-yard games this season. Had 7 catches for 73 yards in his last playoff game (1/5/20 NFC-WC vs. Sea.). WR DEVONTA SMITH had rookie franchise-record 916 rec. yards, 4th-most among rookies in 2021. Ranked 4th among rookie WRs with 64 receptions. • LB ALEX SINGLETON had career-high 130 tackles in 2021, incl. 15 tackles in Week 6 meeting. LB T.J. EDWARDS was 1 of 4 with 125+ tackles (125), 5+ TFL (5) & 5+ PD (5) in 2021. DT FLETCHER COX has 5 TFL in 7 career postseason games. DT JAVON HARGRAVE had career-high 7.5 sacks in 2021. DE JOSH SWEAT had career high 7.5 sacks this season. CB DARIUS SLAY was only player with 3 defensive TDs in 2021. Leads NFL with 119 PD since 2013. S AVONTE MADDOX set career-highs in tackles (71) & TFL (5) & had 9 PD this season.

BUCS NOTES:

TAMPA BAY clinched NFC South for 1st time since 2007. • BUCCANEERS can become 8th team overall & 1st team since 2004 NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (SB XXXVIII & SB XXXIX) to repeat as champions since 1st SB in 1967. • BUCCANEERS had 5 players selected to 2022 Pro Bowl: LB SHAQUIL BARRETT, QB TOM BRADY, C RYAN JENSEN, G ALI MARPET & T TRISTAN WIRFS. • TAMPA BAY ranked 2nd in NFL in scoring offense (30.1 points per game) & total offense (405.9 yards per game) & led the NFC in rushing defense (92.5 yards per game allowed).

QB TOM BRADY led NFL in pass yards (career-high 5,316) & pass TDs (43), 3rd-most pass yards in single season all-time, & had 485 completions, most in single-season all-time. Became 3rd QB since 1991 to lead NFL in attempts, completions, pass yards & pass TDs in same season. Joined DREW BREES as only QBs with multiple 5,000-yard seasons & AARON RODGERS as only QBs with 3 40+ TD pass seasons. Is postseason all-time leader in games (45), wins (34), pass yards (12,449), SB titles (7) & SB MVPs (5). • RB LEONARD FOURNETTE had 69 catches, 1,266 scrimmage yards (812 rush, 454 rec.) & 10 TDs (8 rush, 2 rec.) in 2021. Has 734 scrimmage yards (104.9 per game) & 8 TDs (7 rush, 1 rec.) in 7 career playoff games. Has TD in 6 straight playoff games. • WR MIKE EVANS became 1st player in NFL history with 1,000+ rec. yards in each of 1st 8 seasons (1,035 rec. yards in 2021). Ranked 2nd in NFL with 14 rec. TDs in 2021. TE ROB GRONKOWSKI has 32 career reg. season games with 100+ rec. yards, most by TE in NFL history. Has 14 rec. TDs in 20 career playoff games, 2nd-most rec. TDs in postseason history. • LB LAVONTE DAVID had 4 PD in 4 playoff games last season. Is 1 of 2 (BOBBY WAGNER) with 85+ tackles in each of past 10 seasons. LB DEVIN WHITE had 3 TFL, 2 FRs & 2 INTs in 3 playoff games last season. LB SHAQUIL BARRETT had 4 sacks during 2020 postseason. Had sack in Week 6 meeting. LB JASON PIERRE-PAUL has 7 TFL & 7 PD in 8 career playoff games. CB SEAN MURPHY-BUNTING had 3 INTs in 4 playoff games last season.

PLAYOFF PREVIEW: SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (10-7) AT DALLAS COWBOYS (12-5)

SUNDAY, JAN. 16, 2022 // 4:40 PM ET // AT&T STADIUM // REFEREE: ALEX KEMP

PLAYOFF SERIES HISTORY:

LEADER: Cowboys lead all-time series, 5-2

STREAKS: Cowboys have won 2 of past 3

LAST GAME: 1/15/95: Cowboys 28 at 49ers 38

LAST GAME AT SITE: 1/23/94: Cowboys 38, 49ers 21

49ERS NOTES:

SAN FRANCISCO clinched playoff berth for 2nd time in past 3 seasons (2019). • KYLE SHANAHAN led SF to SB LIV appearance after 2019 season. • 49ERS had 5 players selected to 2022 Pro Bowl: DL NICK BOSA, FB KYLE JUSZCZYK, TE GEORGE KITTLE, WR DEEBO SAMUEL & T TRENT WILLIAMS. • SAN FRANCISCO ranked 2nd in NFC in total defense (310 yards allowed per game), 3rd in total offense (375.7 per game) & 4th in sacks (48).

QB JIMMY GAROPPOLO passed for 3,810 yards & had 23 TDs (20 pass, 3 rush) vs. 12 INTs for 98.7 rating in 15 starts in 2021. From Weeks 9-18, ranked 3rd in league with 103.2 rating. Had 85+ rating in each of his 8 road starts this season. Is 2-1 in 3 career postseason starts. • RB ELIJAH MITCHELL (rookie) had 1,100 scrimmage yards (franchise rookie record 963 rush, 137 rec.) & 6 TDs (5 rush, 1 rec.) in 11 games in 2021. Had 5 games with 100+ rush yards, most among rookies & tied 2nd-most in NFL this season. • TE GEORGE KITTLE had 71 receptions for 910 yards & 6 rec. TDs in 2021 & has 4,489 career rec. yards, 3rd-most by TE in 1st 5 seasons in NFL history. WR DEEBO SAMUEL had career-high 77 receptions, ranked 3rd in NFL in scrimmage yards (1,770) & was 1 of 2 (AUSTIN EKELER) with 6+ rush TDs (8 – most by WR in single season ever) & 6+ rec. TDs (6) in 2021. Is only player in NFL history with 1,400+ rec. yards (1,405) & 300+ rush yards (365) in single season. WR BRANDON AIYUK had 56 receptions for career-high 826 yards & 5 rec. TDs in 2021. • DL NICK BOSA ranked tied-1st in TFL (career-high 21) & 4th in sacks (15.5) during 2021 season. In 2019, became 3rd rookie with 4+ sacks (4) in postseason since 1982. LB FRED WARNER led team with career-high 137 tackles in 2021. Has 20 tackles, 2 PD & INT in 3 career playoff games. DL ARIK ARMSTEAD has sack in 2 of his 3 career playoff games. DL ARDEN KEY had career high 6.5 sacks in 2021. CB JOSH NORMAN led all DBs with 7 FFs this season. CB EMMANUEL MOSELEY had 11 PD in 11 games in 2021.

COWBOYS NOTES:

DALLAS clinched NFC East for 1st time since 2018. • MIKE MCCARTHY won SB XLV as head coach for GB. • COWBOYS had 5 players selected to 2022 Pro Bowl: P BRYAN ANGER, CB TREVON DIGGS, G ZACK MARTIN, rookie LB MICAH PARSONS & T TYRON SMITH. • DALLAS became 6th team since 1990 to have both a player with 10+ INTs (Diggs – 11) & a player with 10+ sacks (Parsons – 13) in a season. • COWBOYS led NFL in scoring offense (31.2 ppg), total offense (407 ypg) & takeaways (34).

QB DAK PRESCOTT passed for 4,449 yards & franchise-record 37 TDs in 2021, his 2nd-career season with 4,000+ pass yards & 30+ TD passes (2019). Ranked 3rd in NFL with 104.2 rating this season. Has 794 pass yards (264.7 per game) & 7 TDs (5 pass, 2 rush) vs. 2 INTs for 95.7 rating in 3 career playoff starts. Had 100+ rating in 7 of 8 home starts in 2021 & had 2+ TD passes in each of his 8 home starts this season. • RB EZEKIEL ELLIOTT had 1,289 scrimmage yards (1,002 rush, 287 rec.) & 12 TDs (10 rush, 2 rec.) in 2021 & joined HOFer LADAINIAN TOMLINSON as only players ever with 1,250+ scrimmage yards & 8 TDs in each of 1st 6 seasons. Had 219 scrimmage yards (147 rush, 72 rec.) & 3 TDs (2 rush, 1 rec.) in last meeting. Has 358 scrimmage yards (119.3 per game) & 2 rush TDs in 3 career playoff games. Elliott & RB TONY POLLARD (1,056 scrimmage yards) were 1 of 3 RB duos (DENVER & GREEN BAY) each with 1,000+ scrimmage yards in 2021. • WR AMARI COOPER became 8th player ever with 5+ rec. TDs in each of his 1st 7 seasons. WR CEEDEE LAMB led team with career-highs in receptions (79) & rec. yards (1,102) & had career-best 6 rec. TDs in 2021. TE DALTON SCHULTZ ranked 3rd among TEs in catches (78) & 6th in rec. yards (808). • CB TREVON DIGGS became 7th player in SB era with 11+ INTs (NFL-leading 11), most by player in single season since 1981. Ranked 2nd in NFL with 21 PD. LB MICAH PARSONS led team with 13 sacks, tied 3rd-most by rookie since 1982. S JAYRON KEARSE was only player in 2021 with 90+ tackles (90), 10+ PD (10) & 9+ TFL (9).

NFL PLAYOFF PREVIEW: PITTSBURGH STEELERS (9-7-1) AT KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (12-5)

SUNDAY, JAN. 16, 2022 // 8:15 PM ET // ARROWHEAD STADIUM // REFEREE: SHAWN SMITH

PLAYOFF SERIES HISTORY:

LEADER: All-time series tied, 1-1

STREAKS: Teams have split two meetings

LAST GAME: 1/15/17: Steelers 18 at Chiefs 16

LAST GAME AT SITE: 1/15/17

STEELERS NOTES:

PITTSBURGH clinched postseason for 2nd consecutive season. Aims for 1st playoff win since 2016. • MIKE TOMLIN makes 10th postseason appearance as head coach. Led Pit. to SB XLIII championship in 2008. • PITTSBURGH had 2 players selected to 2022 Pro Bowl: DT CAMERON HEYWARD & LB T.J. WATT. • PITTSBURGH led NFL with 55 sacks & became 4th team ever to record 50+ sacks in 5 consecutive seasons. • STEELERS are 1st team in NFL history to lead league in sacks for 5 consecutive seasons.

QB BEN ROETHLISBERGER expected to make 23rd-career postseason start, tying HOFer JOE MONTANA for 4th-most by QB in NFL history. Had 3,740 pass yards in 2021, his 11th-career season with 3,500+ pass yards, tied with HOFer DAN MARINO for 8th-most all-time. Has 450+ pass yards & 4+ TD passes in each of his past 2 postseason starts. Has 95+ rating in 4 of his past 5 starts vs. KC. • RB NAJEE HARRIS led rookies with 1,667 scrimmage yards (1,200 rush, 467 rec.), most-ever by Pit. rookie, & ranked 2nd with 10 TDs (7 rush, 3 rec.). Had 110 scrimmage yards (93 rush, 17 rec.) & 5 catches in Week 16 meeting. Has 100+ scrimmage yards in 2 of past 3. • WR DIONTAE JOHNSON set career highs in catches (107), rec. yards (1,161) & rec. TDs (8) this season. Had 11 catches for 117 yards in only career postseason game (2020 AFC-WC). Had rec. TD in Week 16 meeting. Has 50+ rec. yards in each of past 7 road games. WR CHASE CLAYPOOL had career-high 956 scrimmage yards (860 rec., 96 rush) in 2021. Had 2 rec. TDs in only career postseason game (2020 AFC-WC). TE PAT FREIERMUTH ranked 2nd among rookies with 7 rec. TDs this season. • LB T.J. WATT led NFL with 22.5 sacks in 2021, tied with HOFer MICHAEL STRAHAN (2001) for most in single season since 1982. Has PD in each of 2 career postseason games. DT CAMERON HEYWARD had 10 sacks, his 2nd-career season with 10+ sacks (12 in 2017). Had sack in Week 16 meeting. Aims for 4th in row with sack. S MINKAH FITZPATRICK led all DBs with career-high 124 tackles this season. Had 12 tackles in Week 16 meeting.

CHIEFS NOTES:

KANSAS CITY clinched AFC West for 6th consecutive season. • ANDY REID makes 17th post season appearance as head coach. Led KC to SB LIV championship in 2019. • CHIEFS had 6 players selected to 2022 Pro Bowl: T ORLANDO BROWN, WR TYREEK HILL, DT CHRIS JONES, TE TRAVIS KELCE, QB PATRICK MAHOMES & S TYRANN MATHIEU. • KANSAS CITY aims to become 4th team ever to advance to 3 straight SBs, joining Mia. (1971-73), Buf. (1990-93) & NE (2016-18). • CHIEFS ranked 3rd in NFL in total offense (396.8 yards per game) & 4th in scoring offense (28.2 points per game).

QB PATRICK MAHOMES ranked 4th in NFL with 4,839 pass yards & tied-4th with 37 TD passes in 2021 & is 1st QB ever with 35+ TD passes in 3 of 1st 5 seasons. Has 2,324 pass yards (290.5 per game) & 21 TDs (17 pass, 4 rush) vs. 4 INTs for 100.4 rating in 8 career postseason starts. Has 9 TDs vs. 0 INTs for 148.2 rating in 2 career starts vs. Pit. Aims for his 3rd in row at home with 2+ TD passes, 0 INTs & 135+ rating. • RB CLYDE EDWARDS-HELAIRE had career-high 6 TDs (4 rush, 2 rec.) in 2021. Had rush TD in Week 16 meeting. Aims for his 3rd in row at home with rush TD. RB DARREL WILLIAMS had careerhigh 1,010 scrimmage yards (558 rush, 452 rec.) & 8 TDs (6 rush, 2 rec.) in 2021. Had 85 scrimmage yards (55 rush, 30 rec.) in Week 16 meeting. Has 85+ scrimmage yards in 2 of past 3. • TE TRAVIS KELCE tied for lead among TEs with 9 rec. TDs & ranked 2nd with 92 catches & 1,125 rec. yards, becoming 1st TE ever with 1,000+ rec. yards in 6 seasons. Is 1st TE ever with 80+ catches in 6 straight seasons. Aims for his 4th playoff game in row with 100+ rec. yards. WR TYREEK HILL ranked 3rd in NFL with career-high 111 catches & had 1,239 rec. yards & 9 rec. TDs in 2021. Has 100+ rec. yards in 3 of his past 4 playoff games. WR BYRON PRINGLE had 2 rec. TDs in Week 16 meeting. • S TYRANN MATHIEU led team with 3 INTs, his 3rd straight season with 3+ INTs. Had FR in Week 16 meeting. Aims for his 3rd in row at home with FR. DT CHRIS JONES led team with 9 sacks in 2021. DE FRANK CLARK has sack in 7 of his past 8 postseason games. Has 11 sacks in 11 career playoff games. Has sack in each of 2 career games vs. Pit.

NFL PLAYOFF PREVIEW: ARIZONA CARDINALS (11-6) AT LOS ANGELES RAMS (12-5)

MONDAY, JAN. 17, 2022 // 8:15 PM ET // SOFI STADIUM // REFEREE: CLAY MARTIN

PLAYOFF SERIES HISTORY:

LEADER: Rams lead all-time series, 1-0

STREAKS: Rams won only meeting

LAST GAME: 12/27/75: Cardinals 23 at Rams 35

LAST GAME AT SITE: 12/27/75

CARDS NOTES:

ARIZONA clinched 1st playoff berth since 2015. • KLIFF KINGSBURY makes postseason debut. • CARDINALS had 4 players selected to 2022 Pro Bowl: S BUDDA BAKER, RB JAMES CONNER, LB CHANDLER JONES & QB KYLER MURRAY. • ARIZONA became 3rd team ever (1968 DALLAS COWBOYS & 1984 SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS) to win 7 straight road games, each by 10+ points. • CARDINALS were 1 of 4 teams (BUFFALO, KANSAS CITY & TAMPA BAY) to score 30+ points in 9+ games (9) in 2021.

QB KYLER MURRAY makes postseason debut. Passed for 3,787 yards & 24 TDs vs. 10 INTs for 100.6 rating & had 423 rush yards & 5 rush TDs in 14 starts in 2021. Became 1st QB with 70+ pass TDs (70) & 20+ rush TDs (20) in 1st 3 career seasons all-time. Is only QB with 3,500+ pass yards & 400+ rush yards in each of 1st 3 career seasons in NFL history. Passed for 268 yards & 2 TDs vs. 0 INTs for 120.3 rating in last road meeting. • RB JAMES CONNER had 1,127 scrimmage yards (752 rush, 375 rec.) & career-high 18 TDs (career-high 15 rush, 3 rec.) in 15 games in 2021. Had 2 rush TDs in each of 2 games vs. LAR this season. Had career-high 9 catches in Week 14 meeting. RB CHASE EDMONDS had career-high 903 scrimmage yards (592 rush, 311 rec.) in 2021. Rushed for 120 yards in last road meeting. • WR CHRISTIAN KIRK led team with career-high 77 catches & career-best 982 rec. yards in 2021. Had 86 rec. yards in Week 14 meeting. WR A.J. GREEN had 54 catches for 848 yards & 3 TDs in 2021 & is 1 of 4 players with 500+ rec. yards in 10 of the past 11 seasons. TE ZACH ERTZ ranked 4th among TEs with 74 catches, his 6th-career season with 70+ catches. • LB CHANDLER JONES had 10.5 sacks in 2021, his 7th-career season with 10+ sacks. Had sack in Week 14 meeting. LB MARKUS GOLDEN led team with 11 sacks. S JALEN THOMPSON (120), LB JORDAN HICKS (116) & LB ISAIAH SIMMONS (103) were 1 of 3 teammate trios (INDIANAPOLIS & MINNESOTA) each with 100+ tackles in 2021. S BUDDA BAKER is only DB with 95+ tackles in each of past 4 seasons. DE J.J. WATT has 6 sacks, 9 TFL & 6 PD in 8 career playoff games.

RAMS NOTES:

LOS ANGELES clinched NFC West for 3rd time in past 5 seasons & 4th playoff berth since 2017 under HC SEAN MCVAY. • SEAN MCVAY led Rams to SB LIII appearance after 2018 season. • RAMS had 4 players selected to 2022 Pro Bowl: DL AARON DONALD, K MATT GAY, WR COOPER KUPP & CB JALEN RAMSEY. • LOS ANGELES ranked 3rd in NFC in rushing defense (103.2 yards per game allowed), 3rd in scoring offense (27.1 points per game) & fifth in total offense (372.1 yards per game). • WR COOPER KUPP became 4th player since 1970 to lead NFL in receptions, rec. yards & rec. TDs in same season.

QB MATTHEW STAFFORD ranked 2nd in NFL in TD passes (41), 3rd in pass yards (4,886) & 6th in rating (102.9) in 2021. Is 1 of 6 QBs all-time with 2+ seasons (2) with 4,000+ pass yards & 40+ TD passes. Had 9 games with 3+ TD passes, most in NFL this season. Has 300+ pass yards in 2 of his 3 career playoff starts. Had 3 TD passes vs. 0 INTs & 139.2 rating in last meeting. • RB SONY MICHEL had 973 scrimmage yards (845 rush, 128 rec.) & 5 TDs (4 rush, 1 rec.) in 2021. Has 415 scrimmage yards (103.8 per game) & 6 rush TDs in 4 career playoff games. RB CAM AKERS had 272 scrimmage yards (136 per game) & 2 rush TDs in 2 playoff games during 2020 postseason. • WR COOPER KUPP led NFL with 145 receptions, 1,947 rec. yards & 16 rec. TDs in 2021, 2nd-most catches & 2nd-most rec. yards in single-season in NFL history. Became 3rd player [HOFers MICHAEL IRVIN (1995) & CALVIN JOHNSON (2012)] with 11 100- yard games in single season all-time. WR ODELL BECKHAM JR. had 5 rec. TDs in 7 games with LAR in 2021. TE TYLER HIGBEE was 1 of 4 NFC TEs with 60+ catches (61), 500+ rec. yards (560) & 5+ rec. TDs (5). • DL AARON DONALD had 12.5 sacks in 2021 & became 4th player since 1982 with 8+ sacks in each of 1st 8 seasons. Is only player with 10+ sacks in each of past 5 seasons. Has 6 TFL in 6 postseason games. LB VON MILLER had 5 sacks & 12 TFL in 8 games with LAR in 2021. Has 6.5 sacks in 7 career playoff games. CB JALEN RAMSEY had career-high 77 tackles & was only player with 15+ PD (16) & 5+ TFL (9) in 2021. Has 2 PD & INT in 2 career playoff games.

Texans fire David Culley; NFL left with 1 Black head coach

HOUSTON (AP) David Culley spent 43 years as a college and NFL assistant before finally getting his first head coaching job with the Houston Texans.

He lasted just one season before being fired Thursday, a move that leaves the NFL with one Black head coach: Pittsburgh’s Mike Tomlin. Miami’s Brian Flores was fired this week after leading his team to a 9-8 record.

The Texans announced the firings of Culley and offensive coordinator Tim Kelly on Thursday night. General manager Nick Caserio saying he met with both men earlier in the day to inform them of what he called a “difficult but necessary decision.”

“While a change after one season is unusual, we had philosophical differences over the long-term direction and vision for our program moving forward,” Caserio said in a statement. “We appreciate coach Culley for helping us navigate through a difficult season, but it is my responsibility to make decisions that I feel are best for our organization.”

Houston finished 4-13 this season, concluding with a 28-25 loss to Tennessee, the AFC’s top playoff seed.

Culley said Monday he expected to return, but Caserio was said to still be evaluating the coach at that time. Three days later, Culley was out of a job.

“I loved every minute of being the head coach of the Houston Texans,” Culley said in a statement. “I appreciate the players and coaches for staying the course with me through the ups and downs of our season. I’m disappointed we didn’t win more games and I won’t have a chance to improve on the lessons I’ve learned, but I fully understand this is a bottom-line business and I didn’t do enough.”

The 66-year-old Culley was hired last January to replace Bill O’Brien after working as an NFL assistant since 1994. He took over a team that went 4-12 in the 2020 season with Deshaun Watson at quarterback.

Watson requested a trade around the time Culley was hired, and before 22 women filed lawsuits against the QB alleging sexual harassment or assault. Those issues kept Watson sidelined all season and precipitated a rebuild in Houston that left Culley at the helm of a depleted team.

Culley didn’t have much of a chance without Watson and with a roster where most of the few remaining quality starters were traded or released as the season progressed.

Texans owner Cal McNair thanked Culley for his work this season and looked to the future.

“I have entrusted Nick Caserio to lead football performance and I have complete confidence he will find the best leader for our team,” McNair said in a statement. “These decisions are difficult, but Nick believed it was necessary for the future of our organization. We look forward to continuing to build our roster and finding the right coach to lead us forward.”

Culley discussed the challenges he faced in his first season in an interview with The AP last month.

“There’s a manual that they give you, like here’s all the things that will happen to you,” he said. “Listen, there’s been many, many things that ain’t in that manual that I’ve had to go through here that you just learn, you learn on the run.

“But the big thing is, do what you feel like is right for your team,” he continued. “And be honest with everybody. And that’s what I’m trying to do.”

In that same interview, he discussed the decades-long path that led him to the Texans and touched on his displeasure at the scarcity of minority head coaches in the NFL.

“It’s just very disappointing,” he said. “And very disappointing for this reason, there are so many minority coaches in this profession from all ethnicities that deserve to have that opportunity.”

The New York Jets’ Robert Saleh, who is of Lebanese descent, and Washington’s Ron Rivera, who is Latino, are the only minority head coaches remaining besides Tomlin.

Kelly had been with the Texans in various roles since 2014 and had been the offensive coordinator since 2019.

This is the first time the Texans have fired a coach after one season. The team’s first coach, Dom Capers, spent four seasons in Houston before being fired. Gary Kubiak was hired next, and he was let go in his eighth season. The team fired O’Brien after he opened his seventh season 0-4.

Culley was hired after spending 2019-20 as assistant head coach, wide receivers coach and passing game coordinator for the Baltimore Ravens. Before coming to Houston, Culley had worked as an NFL assistant starting in 1994, also spending time with Tampa Bay, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Kansas City and Buffalo. He began his career as a college assistant and spent 1991-93 at Texas A&M.

Houston beat Jacksonville in the opener before losing eight consecutive games after Tyrod Taylor was injured and rookie quarterback Davis Mills struggled to adjust to the NFL.

But the Texans played better late in the season, with two of their four wins coming in the last month, including a 41-29 victory over a Los Angeles Chargers team still in playoff contention.

The late improvement wasn’t enough to save Culley’s job. Now, the Texans face a big offseason in which they’ll have to find a new coach, will look to finally trade Watson and will have the third overall draft pick after not having a first-round pick in the last two drafts.

Vikings GM candidates include Eagles exec Catherine Raîche

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) The Minnesota Vikings have targeted a diverse set of candidates for their general manager vacancy, including one woman: Philadelphia Eagles vice president of football operations Catherine Raiche.

Two people with knowledge of the process confirmed Thursday that the Vikings have requested an interview with Raiche. The people spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the team was not publicizing the requests.

Raiche is in her third season with the Eagles. She was hired in 2019 as a coordinator of football operations and player personnel. Prior to that, the Montreal native worked five years in the Canadian Football League in the front offices of both the Toronto Argonauts and Montreal Alouettes.

There are currently no women at the top of any team’s football operations, but as the NFL has lent more support in recent years, more women have risen to leadership roles around the league. Before the season, the Denver Broncos hired Kelly Kleine as executive director of football operations and special adviser to the general manager. Kleine worked her way up with the Vikings in college scouting and became their manager of player personnel.

In baseball, Kim Ng is general manager of the Miami Marlins.

The Vikings have requested general manager interviews with seven other candidates, in addition to Raiche: Cleveland Browns vice president of football operations Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, Eagles director of player personnel Brandon Brown, Browns vice president of player personnel Glenn Cook, Tennessee Titans director of player personnel Monti Ossenfort, Kansas City Chiefs executive director of player personnel Ryan Poles, Tampa Bay Buccaneers vice president of player personnel John Spytek and New England Patriots scouting consultant Eliot Wolf.

Ossenfort is a native of Luverne, Minnesota, who played football at Minnesota-Morris when it was an NCAA Division II program. He was a training camp intern with the Vikings in 2001.

Wolf is the son of Ron Wolf, who was general manager of the Green Bay Packers from 1991-2001 and the architect of the Super Bowl-winning team in 1996. Eliot Wolf was a candidate in 2018 with the Packers when their general manager job was open, but Brian Gutekunst was promoted instead.

Adofo-Mensah, Brown, Cook and Poles are Black. Minorities have lagged behind their white peers in landing top front office jobs in a league with Black players accounting for more than two-thirds of the on-field workforce, mirroring a similar hiring imbalance within the ranks of head coaches. The NFL has upped its efforts to promote more minority candidates.

Since owners Zygi Wilf and Mark Wilf took over the team in 2005, the Vikings have hired or promoted several minorities and women to executive roles on the business side.

The Wilfs fired general manager Rick Spielman and head coach Mike Zimmer on Monday after the Vikings finished 8-9 and out of the playoffs for a second straight year. Spielman had been the top-ranking person in football operations since joining the team in 2006. Zimmer was hired in 2014.

Alabama offensive lineman Evan Neal declares for NFL draft

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) Alabama offensive lineman Evan Neal is entering the NFL draft and will skip his senior season.

The Crimson Tide All-American announced his decision Thursday in a post on Twitter. The 6-foot-7, 350-pound Neal is regarded as a potential top-5 draft pick.

He started 39 games in three seasons, playing left guard in 2019 and right tackle in 2020 before moving to left tackle as a junior.

The Tide won the Southeastern Conference title before falling to Georgia in the national championship game Monday night.

Neal was selected as a permanent team captain in 2021. He was a consensus first-team All-American and earned second-team AP All-America honors.

Grizzlies win 11th straight, beating Timberwolves 116-108

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) Desmond Bane scored 21 points, Jaren Jackson Jr. added 20 and the Memphis Grizzlies pulled away in the final minutes for their 11th straight victory, beating the Minnesota Timberwolves 116-108 on Thursday night.

Ja Morant had 16 points, nine assists and eight rebounds, and John Konchar added 15 points and a career-best 17 rebounds.

Anthony Edwards led the Timberwolves with 30 points. D’Angelo Russell had 29 points and six assists, and Karl-Anthony Towns added 25 points and nine rebounds.

The game was much different than the last time the teams played when the Timberwolves won 138-95 on Nov. 20, Memphis’ largest losing margin of the season. In this one, neither team held a double-digit advantage until the Grizzlies led by 10 in the closing seconds.

“It’s all about attention to details,” Minnesota coach Chris Finch said. “It’s all about the small things. It’s all about the winning plays. . You’re going to be in close games, and that’s going to win you games, and that, right now, is not what we’re doing.”

The teams exchanged leads beginning with four minutes left. Two free throws by Brandon Clarke (14 points) with 1:47 remaining gave the Grizzlies the lead for good. Memphis extended it with a layup by Bane, and Konchar’s 3-pointer with 1:02 left stretched the lead as the Timberwolves were cursed by turnovers down the stretch.

Konchar has become a key role player, and it wasn’t just his rebounding against Minnesota. The third-year guard not only had a big night on the boards but missed only one of his seven shots and was 3 of 4 from outside the arc.

“He just does a lot on the floor for us,” Morant said, adding of Konchar’s shooting “You really can’t leave him open. He’s just a sparkplug for us off the bench.”

Morant also noted that Konchar’s 17 rebounds came from the guard position. “That’s pretty tough to do,” Morant said.

But Konchar couldn’t explain how he grabs so many rebounds other than long shots like the 3s taken by Minnesota lead to long rebounds. “I don’t really got much for you on that one,” Konchar said when pressed further about his rebounding. “The ball just kind of ends up in my hands.”

Memphis, which struggled in the first half and trailed 60-53 at the break, got untracked in the third quarter as Morant scored 11 points. That was part of the Grizzlies outscoring Minnesota 37-24. That gave Memphis its biggest lead of the game at that point headed into the fourth 90-84.

For the Timberwolves it was the second straight time they let a game slip away. They lost 128-125 on Tuesday to New Orleans when Brandon Ingram hit a 3-pointer with 1.3 seconds remaining.

“We don’t have time to take Ls that we should have won. Tonight, I definitely feel we should have won this game, and, especially New Orleans,” Edwards said, adding: “These games hurt when you don’t have everything right and you come down to the very end and you can’t get a rebound to finish a possession.”

DON’T FORGET

Memphis’ winning streak includes wins over some of the best teams in the league, but the memories of a 43-point loss to Minnesota on Nov. 20 was enough for interim coach Darko Rajakovic to put aside any question of letdown against the imberwolves. “The last time we played this team, they really punked us,” said Rajakovic, who was filling in for head coach Taylor Jenkins who is still in health and safety protocols.

LAST WORD

Konchar, who can be low-key in his answers, made a rather obvious observation about Morant when asked what makes the Grizzlies good in these situations. “He’s really good at basketball, if you didn’t know that,” Konchar said.

TIP-INS

Timberwolves: Either Towns or Edwards has led Minnesota in scoring in 31 of the team’s 42 games. . Minnesota is 2-16 when trailing after three quarters. . Jarred Vanderbilt had 13 rebounds.

Grizzlies: F Killian Tillie was added to the health and safety protocols Thursday afternoon and did not play. . C Steven Adams missed his fourth game under health and safety protocols. . Konchar had 10 rebounds in the first half.

UP NEXT:

Timberwolves: Host Golden State on Sunday night.

Grizzlies: Host Dallas on Friday night.

Antetokounmpo has triple-double, Bucks rip Warriors 118-99

MILWAUKEE (AP) Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks made sure coach Mike Budenholzer had an easy first night back on the job.

Antetokounmpo had 30 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists to help Milwaukee rout the Golden State Warriors 118-99 on Thursday night in Budenholzer’s return from the NBA’s COVID-19 protocols. Antetokounmpo had his third triple-double of the season and 28th of his career.

Budenholzer missed four games while in the health and safety protocols, with assistant Darvin Ham taking over as acting head coach. The Bucks went 1-3.

“I think Coach Darvin did a great job stepping up, leading the team, coaching the team and keeping us accountable,” Antetokounmpo said. “But, obviously, it’s great to have Coach Bud back healthy, happy and getting us ready to go.”

Khris Middleton added 23 points, Bobby Portis 20 and Grayson Allen 15 for the Bucks.

Milwaukee never trailed while racing to a 77-38 halftime advantage and handing the Warriors their fourth loss in five games. Antetokounmpo had 23 points, seven rebounds and seven assists in the first half.

“I think there was a good focus from us tonight,” Budenholzer said. “I think when it starts on the defensive end, usually that’s when we’re at our best. A team like the Warriors, a player like (Stephen) Curry and (Klay) Thompson, they bring out the best in you. They bring out the highest focus.”

The Bucks were just two points shy of their largest halftime lead in franchise history, a record they set this season. Milwaukee led 77-36 at the half in a 123-92 victory over Orlando on Nov. 22.

“We just got off to a terrible start where everything went wrong on both ends of the floor,” Curry said.

The Warriors didn’t have Draymond Green due to left calf tightness, which also kept him out of a loss at Memphis on Tuesday night and caused him to play less than a minute Sunday in a victory over Cleveland.

Milwaukee was missing guard Jrue Holiday for a fourth straight game. Holiday sat out a Jan. 2 victory at Brooklyn while in the NBA’s health and safety protocols and has since sat out three games with a sore left ankle.

Golden State outplayed the Bucks in the second half and reduced the deficit to 18 on Juan Toscano-Anderson’s 3-pointer with 9:39 left, but that’s as close as the Warriors would get.

“I know we just got our butts kicked, but we’re just in a rough patch in our season,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “It happens to every team, every year pretty much with very few exceptions. We’re in a little bit of a rut and we were playing a team that was ready and played a great, great first half. We’re a little out of sorts. We’ve just got to get back on track, and we will.”

Andrew Wiggins led the Warriors with 16 points. Jonathan Kuminga had 15, Curry 12 and Thompson 11.

TIP-INS

Warriors: With the Warriors playing on back-to-back nights, they planned to rest Thompson on Friday night at Chicago. Thursday marked Thompson’s third game back after being out for over 2 1/2 years because of a torn anterior cruciate ligament and an Achilles tendon injury. “Part of the process of his recovery is he’s not going to play back-to-backs early on,” Kerr said. . Gary Payton II played less than five minutes before lower back tightness knocked him out for the rest of the game. … Assistant coach Kenny Atkinson entered health and safety protocols and wasn’t on the bench Thursday.

Bucks: George Hill returned after missing four games while in health and safety protocols. Hill went scoreless in 17 1/2 minutes but had four assists. … The Bucks signed guard Lindell Wigginton to a two-way contract and requested waivers on guard Javonte Smart, who averaged 2.4 points, 1.5 rebounds, 1.1 assists and 12.3 minutes while appearing in 13 games. . Budenholzer said he feels great now but there were a few days that he didn’t feel well while in the protocols. “I think everybody goes through a little different experience,” he said.

UP NEXT

Warriors: At Chicago on Friday night.

Bucks: Host Toronto on Saturday.

Oregon beats No. 3 UCLA 84-81 in OT for Altman’s 700th win

LOS ANGELES (AP) Oregon had lost some close games before briefly getting shut down by COVID-19. The Ducks are finally turning a corner.

Jacob Young scored a season-high 23 points and Oregon edged No. 3 UCLA 84-81 in overtime Thursday night to give coach Dana Altman his 700th career victory.

Will Richardson added 12 points as one of three Ducks in foul trouble. Oregon (10-6, 3-2 Pac-12) won its fourth in a row. The Ducks swarmed the court and their loud celebration in the locker room echoed throughout a mostly empty Pauley Pavilion.

“We haven’t fought adversity well throughout the year, but we sure showed a little growth tonight,” said Altman, who is 700-359 in his 33rd season as a Division I coach. “Really proud of the way they fought back.”

Johnny Juzang had 23 points and nine rebounds, and Jules Bernard added 13 points for the Bruins (10-2, 2-1). Their second loss of the season ended a five-game winning streak.

“You’re either humbled and hungry like they were trying to pull off the so-called upset, or you’re arrogant without cause because we’ve won nothing,” an incensed Bruins coach Mick Cronin said.

The teams traded baskets early in overtime. Young scored to put Oregon ahead by two. Jaime Jaquez Jr. missed a pair of free throws that would have tied it. Young scored again to give the Ducks an 83-79 lead.

Myles Johnson scored for UCLA before Richardson made one of two free throws for an 84-81 lead. Juzang’s potential tying 3-pointer missed. Bernard got the rebound and put up a jumper that Da’Vion Harmon got his hand on as time expired.

“We’ve got talented guys, but we’ve got to come up with stops down the stretch and we just didn’t do that,” Juzang said. “You can’t have that many mistakes.”

The Bruins forced overtime on Jaylen Clark’s steal and baseline layup that tied it 73-all with 16 seconds left. Richardson missed a 3-pointer for the Ducks and Bernard missed a 3 for the Bruins in the closing seconds.

Both teams had a player foul out in the five-minute extra session. The Ducks lost Eric Williams Jr., who had 10 points and eight rebounds. The Bruins lost Cody Riley, who had 11 points after picking up two fouls in the game’s first 30 seconds.

The Ducks made just one 3-pointer in the first half, then came out and hit four to start the second half. It was part of a 16-2 run that gave them a 46-37 lead.

Peyton Watson and Tyger Campbell bookended a 14-4 spurt with 3-pointers that gave the Bruins a 51-50 lead.

After blowing a nine-point lead early in the half, the Ducks maintained a six-point cushion most of the way until the Bruins hit four straight free throws and Clark scored to force overtime.

UCLA pumped in fake crowd noise for the second straight game with only 119 relatives of coaches and players allowed in the arena because of surging COVID-19 cases.

“It didn’t help,” Cronin said of the empty seats, “but I don’t believe in excuses.”

The Ducks made just two baskets over the final 8:20 of the first half, when they trailed 35-30 at the break. UCLA had runs of 12-0 and 9-0 in the first half, when the Bruins led by nine.

BIG PICTURE

Oregon: The victory was a huge lift for the Ducks, who were struggling with COVID-19 issues last week and had a game postponed. They came into LA riding the momentum of a two-point win over Oregon State in their rivalry game earlier this week. “The whole team’s just coming along and it’s just fun, exciting,” Richardson said.

UCLA: The Bruins had numerous chances to win but missed too many shots. Bernard was just 3 of 13, Campbell was 3 of 10 and Jaquez was 2 of 6 from the floor. Among the starters, Riley shot 5 of 6 but missed four of five free throws.

BEATING THE BRUINS

Altman improved to 13-9 against UCLA and has won three in a row. The Ducks trail the all-time series 39-90. It was Altman’s first visit to Pauley Pavilion since Cronin became UCLA coach in April 2019.

BAD PRACTICE

Cronin was still irritated by what he called “a horrible practice” a day earlier. He called it “our worst of the year.”

“My job is to stop it and get their attention,” he said. “Obviously, I failed miserably.”

UP NEXT

Oregon: Visits No. 5 Southern California on Saturday to close a three-game road stretch.

UCLA: Hosts Oregon State on Saturday.

Hawks trade Cam Reddish to Knicks for 2022 first-round pick

ATLANTA (AP) The struggling Atlanta Hawks traded forward Cam Reddish to the New York Knicks for a protected 2022 first-round draft pick on Thursday.

Atlanta confirmed the move. Team officials, including coach Nate McMillan, couldn’t comment on the trade before the deal becomes official.

The Hawks also are sending forward Solomon Hill and a 2025 second-round pick to the Knicks, and small forward Kevin Knox is heading to Atlanta.

The trade comes as the Hawks (17-23) have lost three consecutive games, and seven of their last nine. Wednesday night’s 115-91 loss to Miami was the Hawks’ ninth consecutive home loss. Atlanta has fallen to 12th in the Eastern Conference standings one year after advancing to the conference finals.

Reddish did not play against the Heat due to a right ankle sprain.

The Hawks, who visit Miami on Friday night, must regroup quickly if they are to return to the playoffs.

McMillan said the Hawks are not giving up on the season.

“I mean, we’re not hitting the panic button,” McMillan said after Thursday’s practice. “There’s a lot of basketball left in this season. We’re not hitting the panic button.”

McMillan and the Hawks are trying to reclaim their cohesiveness, especially on defense. They have been forced to play through a series of lineup changes, in part caused by COVID-19 positive tests that most recently caused McMillan to miss four games. McMillan returned Wednesday.

“You can’t have one guy not locked into what you’re supposed to be doing out on the floor,” McMillan said Thursday. “Those are the things we are trying to build, that chemistry, that connection defensively and that connection on the opposite end of the floor.”

Reddish, the No. 10 overall pick in the 2019 draft, is averaging 11.9 points and 2.5 rebounds in 34 games, including seven starts, this season. Injuries have hurt his consistency and production, but he is regarded as a player with high potential thanks to his athleticism and defense.

At New York, Reddish will be reunited with former Duke teammate RJ Barrett.

The first-round pick sent to Atlanta was acquired by the Knicks from Charlotte.

The Hawks dealt from a team strength with depth on the wing, especially with Wednesday night’s return of De’Andre Hunter following wrist surgery. Knox will compete for a rotation spot behind Hunter, Bogdan Bogdanovich and Kevin Huerter.

“We have to be more together now than we have really at any point,” Huerter said Thursday. “We’re hitting a low point. Hopefully the low point was last night. We’re not going to continue to let it snowball.

Hunter scored 15 points in 24 minutes in his return from wrist surgery. Hunter’s strong showing after missing two months provided encouragement he is ready to resume his role as the starting small forward.

“It was good to get him back out on the floor and get some live minutes with the team,” McMillan said, adding Hunter had no setbacks and participated in Thursday’s practice.

Knox has played in only 13 games this season, averaging 3.6 points and 1.7 rebounds. His best year came as rookie in the 2018-19 season, when he averaged 12.8 points and 4.5 rebounds.

Knox was the ninth overall pick in the 2018 draft. After starting 57 games as a rookie, he fell out of favor and has only four starts in the last three seasons.

Hill, 30, was a 2013 first-round pick by Indiana. He is expected to miss the remainder of the season after tearing his right hamstring against Charlotte on Dec. 5. Hill averaged 4.5 points and 3.0 rebounds in 71 games, including 16 starts, for Atlanta last season.

Ovechkin, McDavid, Draisaitl headline NHL All-Star roster

NEW YORK (AP) Washington star Alexander Ovechkin and high-scoring Edmonton teammates Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl headline the rosters for the NHL All-Star Weekend announced Thursday.

Selected for the eighth time, Ovechkin led voting in the Metropolitan Division to earn the captaincy for the Feb. 4-5 event at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

The event features a three-game tournament played in a 3-on-3 format, with 11-man teams from each of the league’s four divisions. A player will be added to each team through Last Men In voting that ends Monday night.

Ovechkin was selected to the Metropolitan squad along with fellow forwards Sebastian Aho of Carolina, Claude Giroux of Philadelphia, Jack Hughes of New Jersey and Chris Kreider of the New York Rangers, defenseman Adam Fox of the Rangers, Zach Werenski of Columbus and Adam Pelech of the New York Islanders, and goalies Frederik Andersen of Carolina and Tristan Jarry of Pittsburgh. Rod Brind’Amour of Carolina is set to coach the division.

McDavid and Draisaitl were selected to the Pacific team with fellow forwards Jordan Eberle of Seattle, Johnny Gaudreau of Calgary, Adrian Kempe of Los Angeles, Timo Meier of San Jose, Mark Stone of Vegas, defenseman Alex Pietrangelo of Vegas and goalies John Gibson of Anaheim and Thatcher Demko of Vancouver. McDavid is set to be the captain, and Peter DeBoer of Vegas the coach.

Goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy and defenseman Victor Hedman of Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay are set to represent the Atlantic along with forwards Auston Matthews of Toronto, Drake Batherson of Ottawa, Patrice Bergeron of Boston, Jonathan Huberdeau of Florida, Dylan Larkin of Detroit and Nick Suzuki of Montreal, defenseman Rasmus Dahlin of Buffalo and goalie Jack Campbell of Toronto. Matthews topped the voting to take the captaincy, and Andrew Brunette of Florida earned the coaching spot.

In the Central, Nathan MacKinnon of Colorado was selected along with fellow forwards Kyle Connor of Winnipeg, Alex DeBrincat of Chicago, Kirill Kaprizov of Minnesota, Clayton Keller of Arizona, Jordan Kyrou of St. Louis, Joe Pavelski of Dallas, defenseman Cale Makar of Colorado and goalies Juuse Saros of Nashville and Cam Talbot of Minnesota. MacKinnon is the captain, and Jared Bednar of Colorado the coach.

Djokovic in Australian Open draw despite visa uncertainty

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) Novak Djokovic now knows he’ll face fellow Serbian Miomir Kecmanovic in the first round of his Australian Open title defense, if he’s allowed to play.

Djokovic’s visa status dominated attention until the moment the draw was conducted Thursday, after a postponement of 75 minutes, to determine the brackets for the men’s and women’s singles draws at the first major tennis tournament of 2022.

He was still in limbo after it.

The Australian immigration minister was still considering whether to deport the nine-time and defending Australian Open champion, who is not vaccinated against COVID-19.

Top-ranked Djokovic had his visa canceled on arrival in Melbourne last week when his vaccination exemption was rejected, but he won a legal battle on procedural grounds that allowed him to stay in the country.

Immigration Minister Alex Hawke has been considering the question since a judge reinstated Djokovic’s visa last Monday. The tournament starts next Monday.

If he’s allowed to stay, Djokovic’s bid for a men’s record 21st major title could mean a quarterfinal against No. 7-ranked Matteo Berrettini and possibly a semifinal against Rafael Nadal or third-seeded Alexander Zverev.

He is tied with Nadal and Roger Federer on 20 Grand Slam titles, missing a chance for the all-time record when he lost the U.S. Open final to Daniil Medvedev last year.

Medvedev, who also ended Djokovic’s run at a calendar-year Grand Slam with that win in New York, is on the opposite end of the draw as the No. 2 seed in Australia. A finalist here last year, he could meet local favorite Nick Kyrgios in the second round, and also No. 5 Andrey Rublev, No. 9 Felix Auger-Aliassime, John Isner in his quarter of the draw. He’s seeded to meet No. 4 Stefanos Tsitsipas in the semis.

On the women’s side, top-ranked Ash Barty and defending champion Naomi Osaka ended up in the same section of the draw, meaning two of the best players in the tournament could meet in a fourth-round match that could have the feeling of a final.

After that, No. 5 Maria Sakkari or No. 9 Ons Jabeur could be waiting in the quarterfinals.

Osaka, who has been ranked as high as No. 1, slid down the list because of her lack of matches in 2021 and is seeded 13th.

French Open champion Barbora Krejcikova and No. 8 Paula Badosa are in the same half of the draw, along with 2020 champion Sofia Kenin, who has a tough opener against fellow American Madison Keys and could meet No. 18 Coco Gauff in the third round.

In the other half of the draw, No. 2 Aryna Sabalenka has a first-round meeting against wild-card entry Storm Sanders and is seeded to WTA Finals winner Garbine Muguruza in the semifinals.

Muguruza is in same quarter as U.S. Open champion Emma Raducanu, who opens against 2017 U.S. Open winner Sloane Stephens, and three-time major winner Simona Halep.

The draw ceremony was delayed amid uncertainty over Djokovic’s visa status.

It was was scheduled to be held at 3 p.m. local time, but a tournament official told waiting media that the ceremony had been delayed until further notice and declined comment. It eventually started around 4:15 p.m. local time.

Tournament director Craig Tiley declined to answer questions about Djokovic after the draw.

According to the 2022 Grand Slam Rule Book, if Djokovic is forced to pull out of the tournament before the order of play for Day 1 is announced, No. 5 seed Rublev would move into Djokovic’s spot in the bracket.

If Djokovic withdraws from the tournament after Monday’s schedule is released, he would be replaced in the field by what’s known as a “lucky loser” — a player who loses in the qualifying tournament but gets into the main draw because of another player’s exit before competition has started.

And if Djokovic plays in a match – or more – and then is told he can no longer participate in the tournament, his next opponent would simply advance to the following round and there would be no replacement.

No. 6/5 Indiana Improves to 5-0 In Big Ten Play For First Time With Win Over Nebraska

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Senior guard Grace Berger scored 22 points as No. 6/5 Indiana held on to beat Nebraska, 72-65, on Thursday night inside Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall. The Hoosiers improve to 5-0 in Big Ten play, its best start to a conference season in school history.

KEY MOMENTS

IU (13-2, 5-0 B1G) shot 50 percent in the first quarter as Gulbe made a nifty move inside to give her team a five-point advantage late in the frame. They would lead by six, 22-16, after one as graduate student guard Nicole Cardaño-Hillary shined in the first half, as she put up 13 points, 5 rebounds and two steals while also leading the Hoosiers’ defensive efforts.

The Huskers (13-3, 2-3 B1G) went 2-for-11 down the stretch as IU put up its first double-digit margin in the game with 2:51 on a jumper from graduate student guard Ali Patberg. They would lead 44-31 at the break.

Stretching the lead to as many as 17 in the third, Indiana kept Nebraska at bay as it came back from a short offensive drought in the frame to go up 57-43. Berger and senior forward Aleksa Gulbe led the way with five points each.

Nebraska challenged the Hoosiers down the stretch, as sophomore guard Chloe Moore-McNeil came in clutch in the fourth. Her two 3-pointers with 6:19 and 3:21 were big for her team to even put them up 10 late in the quarter.

Getting into the bonus, Indiana got a pair from Berger at the line while Nebraska’s opportunities came knocking as they trimmed the lead down to as few as three as the Hoosiers failed to score another field goal after Moore-McNeil’s buckets.

Moore-McNeil would step up again late to hit a pair of clutch free throws with 23 seconds to go and make it a two-possession game.

NOTABLE

The Hoosiers are now 5-0 in the Big Ten, which is their best conference start in program history.

Indiana now leads the all-time series vs. Nebraska 10-5 after the win tonight.

The Hoosiers have won six straight games against Nebraska.

Overall Indiana is on an eight-game winning streak.

Indiana is leading the Big Ten defensively in opponent points per game. That number now stands at 57.1 points per game. The Hoosiers have held every opponent under 70 points this season.

The Hoosiers held Nebraska well below their season scoring average of 82.4 points per game as they gave up 65 points to Nebraska.

With Nebraska leading 10-7 at the 5:04 mark of the first quarter the Hoosiers went on an 8-0 run in just over a minute to go up 15-10 at the 4:03 mark of the opening quarter.

Indiana held Nebraska scoreless for 4:15 of game time in the third quarter.

The Hoosiers had four players score in double figures.

Grace Berger led Indiana with 22 points as she notched her 13th career game scoring 20 or more. Berger added seven rebounds and three assists.

Aleksa Gulbe tallied 17 points and added five rebounds, two blocks and tied a career-high with four steals.

Gulbe’s two blocks moved her into a tie for ninth on the Hoosiers all-time list for career blocks as she now has 93.

Nicole Cardaño-Hillary posted 13 points, six rebounds, three steals and two assists.

Ali Patberg scored in double figures with 10 points and added four assists.

Kiandra Browne got her first career start and played a career-high 25 minutes. She scored two points and added five rebounds, one assist and two steals.

Five of the six players that saw action in the game registered at least two steals.

QUOTABLE

Indiana head coach Teri Moren

“It started off as a tough morning, finding out that Mack(enzie Holmes) wasn’t going to be available. Also, finding out that one of our assistants wasn’t going to be available. Yet, we show up to shootaround and our kids are ready to go. They didn’t flinch, they stepped up to the task at hand tonight in a big-time kind of way. The response we got from these guys after getting some news today that we weren’t expecting, give our kids just a ton of credit. It says a lot about the character, it says a ton about how they were raised. I think it says even more about what an experienced veteran team looks like. It got a little dicey there towards the end when Leks (Gulbe) fouled out, we can’t have that. As long as we don’t have Mack, both KB and Leks have to stay in the game. You got to see us play a little small ball tonight. I though Chloe Moore-McNeil was exceptional. I thought what we did defensively, just to stifle them and our play off the ball, just making plays. We knew we were going to have to take calculated risks or chances. We didn’t want to be too risky, but we knew that we were going to have to play different. Just give our kids a ton of credit. I’m really proud of them and it was a great win.”

UP NEXT

The Hoosiers travel to Purdue on Sunday in a nationally televised game. Tip time inside Mackey Arena is set for 2 p.m. ET on FS1.

Indiana Drops Road Contest at Iowa

IOWA CITY, Iowa – For Mike Woodson, the reality of another road loss hit like a punch to the gut.

“We played a great first half,” Indiana’s coach told Voice of the Hoosiers Don Fischer in the aftermath of Thursday night’s 83-74 loss at Iowa, “and an awful second half.

“We have to put two halves together to win on the road.”

The clock ticked toward midnight at Carver-Hawkeye Arena and Indiana’s unwanted road show returned — too many turnovers (23), not enough block-outs (Iowa won the rebound battle 35-31), mediocre free-throw shooting (61.9 percent).

The turnovers resulted in 34 Iowa points and negated Indiana’s 50.9-percent shooting.

“Turnovers, rebounding and free throws are the three areas you have to be great at to win on the road,” Woodson told Fischer during the post-game radio show, “and we struck out on all three.”

As second-half frustration grew, mistakes followed. An 11-point first-half lead became a 10-point second-half deficit.

Iowa, the Big Ten’s best free throw shooting team, closed it out.

IU — 0-4 on the road — had its three-game winning streak against Iowa snapped. It is 12-4 overall, 3-3 in the Big Ten. The Hawkeyes are 12-4 and 2-3.

“It’s the little things we have to get better,” Woodson told Fischer. “I have to help them get better on the road, win tight game and make them comfortable in terms of bringing it home.”

IU’s Big Ten-leading defense met Iowa’s Big Ten-leading offense – and in the first half, offense won.

The Hoosiers had runs of 8-0, 9-0 and 11-0 to build a 48-41 halftime lead. The Hawkeyes, even with forward Keegan Murray, the nation’s leading scorer at nearly 25 points a game, couldn’t keep up.

With Thompson bearing the biggest defensive burden, IU held Murray to just six first-half points.

The Hoosiers seemed to have all the momentum.

Then came turnovers, Iowa offensive rebounding and Kris Murray, Keegan’s brother. He finished with a career-high 29 points. Keegan had 12 points.

Indiana was led by Trayce Jackson-Davis’ 18 points, 11 rebounds and five blocks. Race Thompson had 13 points. Parker Stewart finished with 11 points.

IU seemed to have gotten its earlier turnover problems under control. It had a total of 21 turnovers combined in its last three games. In crunch time in the last two games, its guards had eight assists and zero turnovers.

But against Iowa’s pressure zone, the Hoosiers wilted. Guards Rob Phinisee and Xavier Johnson combined for eight turnovers.

“We know the Iowa zone is what they do,” Woodson told Fischer. “We didn’t handle it. Rob and X didn’t handle it well at all. They had eight turnovers between the two of them.

“We can’t have that kind of play out front. We have to get better in that area.”

IU was out-rebounded for just the second time all season.

“We have gone through stretches where we have really been good on the boards,” Woodson told Fischer. “When (Iowa) made the run in the second half, there was a two-minute stretch where we couldn’t get a rebound. They kept getting offensive rebounds until they either drew a foul or put it back in.”

At the start, IU pushed to a 9-4 lead with Thompson getting four of those points. Iowa pushed back for a 9-9 tie.

The Hoosiers continued to flex inside muscle. Jackson-Davis scored four straight points, including a dunk off a Stewart pass.

Iowa took a 16-15 lead on a Jordan Bohannon three-pointer. IU responded with Miller Kopp’s second three-pointer. Jordan Geronimo hit one. Jackson-Davis scored again. The Hoosiers led 23-16 with 12 minutes left in the half.

Three straight IU turnovers followed. The Hawkeyes capitalized with 12 straight points for a 28-23 lead.

Trey Galloway ended that run with two-point and three-point baskets. Thompson followed with a dunk. Tamar Bates added a steal and dunk. The Hoosiers led 32-28.

A pair of free throws from Johnson and Kopp, and a Thompson dunk off an alley-oop pass from Jackson-Davis highlighted a surge to a 43-32 lead.

The Hoosiers ended the half ahead 48-41. Jackson-Davis and Thompson combined for 21 points (on 9-for-11 shooting) and eight rebounds.

Things got feisty as the teams headed for the locker rooms, which seemed to inspire the Hawkeyes.

Iowa rallied to within a point early in the second half. Stewart countered with a three-pointer. The Hawkeyes again got within a point. Johnson countered with a layup.

Still, a tone was set.

After eight minutes, IU had seven second-half turnovers with just six field goal attempts. Iowa had one turnover and 17 shots.

Two more IU turnovers helped Iowa take a 61-57 lead.

Stewart’s three-pointer ended the Iowa run, but not its momentum. It built a five-point lead. Then six. Then 10.

Ferocious IU defense forced an Iowa shot-clock violation (without either Murray touching the ball) that left Fran McCaffery pounding a chair in frustration.

The Hoosiers closed within six with time for a dramatic rally.

The rally never came.

“When we cut the lead to six,” Woodson told Fischer, “we had an opportunity twice to score and came up empty. That was the difference.

“If we make a play or two there, we’re right there. We still had time.”

IU stays on the road with a trip to Nebraska on Monday. The Hoosiers won the first meeting at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall in December, 68-55.

“They’ll be ready for us,” Woodson said. “We have to go there and commit ourselves for 40 minutes.”

Butler MBB Tops Georgetown, 72-58, Behind Jair Bolden and Strong Defensive Effort

Butler leveled its BIG EAST record at 2-2 with a 72-58 win over Georgetown Thursday night at Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C.

Butler is now 9-6 overall and 2-2 in BIG EAST; Georgetown falls to 6-7 (0-2 BIG EAST)

Jair Bolden led the Bulldogs with 23 points, which included five three-pointers. That marked a new high for Bolden in his two seasons at Butler. Bolden was joined in double figures by Bryce Nze (14) and Bryce Golden (11). Nze led the Bulldogs with eight rebounds.

Butler opened the second half by scoring 18 of the first 22 points to take a 50-31 lead with 13:52 remaining in the game.

The Bulldogs welcomed back Bo Hodges and Ty Groce. It was the season debut for Hodges, who has been rehabbing a tibial plateau fracture in his left knee that was sustained in late August. Groce had missed the last two games due to COVID protocols. Hodges had seven rebounds, two points, two steals and an assist in 10 minutes of action.

Butler went 17-of-19 from the free throw line.

Georgetown entered the game making 38.0 percent of their three-point attempts, which is Top 30 in the NCAA. Butler limited the Hoyas to a 3-of-16 performance from behind the arc Thursday night. Butler’s defense held Aminu Mohammed and Kaiden Rice to combined 3-for-25 shooting from the field. Rice entered the game averaging 4.1 three-pointers per game.

Butler closed the first half by scoring 11 of the final 13 points to take a 32-27 halftime lead. The Bulldogs were down 25-21 and had missed 11 of their most recent 12 shots as Aaron Thompson picked up his second foul of the opening half with 4:48 remaining.

Butler has won the last six games at Capital One Arena (the Bulldogs lost on-campus at McDonough Arena in 2021).

The Bulldogs continue their three-game road swing with a Sunday tip at Villanova. The team then will travel to UConn for a Tuesday match-up.

MASTODON MBB EARNS THIRD STRAIGHT VICTORY

FORT WAYNE, Ind. – The Mastodons earned their fifth home win of the season on Thursday (Jan. 13) evening with a 62-60 victory over Detroit Mercy in Horizon League play.

The Mastodons’ defense was on full display in the first 12 minutes, limiting Detroit Mercy to 2-of-21 shooting to start the game. It helped the ‘Dons lead 28-24 at halftime. The Titans found their eye to start the second half and went up by as many as five points. Purdue Fort Wayne took the lead back with a 12-0 run over five minutes that saw the Titans miss seven shots from the field. When it was all done the ‘Dons took a 53-46 advantage with 6:45 remaining.

The ‘Dons made key plays down the stretch to put the game away. Ra Kpedi had an old fashion three-point play off an offensive board to put the ‘Dons up 58-52 with 3:22 left. Up two with under a minute left, Jalon Pipkins took an inbounds pass and went right to the hoop. He was fouled and sunk two free throws to put the ‘Dons ahead 60-56. The home team limited Detroit Mercy to 1-of-12 from three to close out the game.

The ‘Dons kept Antoine Davis, the nation’s second leading scorer at 23 points per game, in check with 17 points on 6-of-19 shooting. He was 3-of-11 from three.

The Titans as a team shot 36.5 percent (23-of-63). The Mastodons shot 38.9 percent (21-of-54).

Purdue Fort Wayne used balanced scoring to get the win, with six ‘Dons scoring seven or more points. Damian Chong Qui led the team with 10 points. Kpedi finished with 10 rebounds to go with his nine points.

Purdue Fort Wayne improves to 8-7 (4-3 Horizon) and hands the Titans their first league loss. The Titans are now 5-8 (3-1 Horizon).

The Mastodons are next in action on Saturday (Jan. 15) when Oakland comes to the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum in a 1 p.m. tip.