INDIANA BOYS BASKETBALL SCORES TUESDAY

Highland Tournament
Morgan Twp. 74 Whiting 58 R1
Highland 57 Calumet 54 R1
Calumet 78 Whiting 61 Con
Morgan Twp. 85 Highland 31 SF


Rich Twp. (Ill.) Tournament
Hammond Noll 70 Evergreen Park (Ill.) 47


Wabash Valley Tournament
Sullivan 60 Robinson (Ill.) 42 R1
Terre Haute South 67 West Vigo 49 R1
Linton-Stockton 61 Bloomfield 44 R1
Parke Heritage 63 Northview 44 R1
Marshall (Ill.) 48 Casey-Westfield (Ill.) 44 R1
Edgewood 58 Shakamak 51 R1
Terre Haute North 81 Greencastle 41 R1
South Vermillion 66 Cloverdale 50 R1

INDIANA BOYS BASKETBALL SCHEDULE WEDNESDAY

ALL TIMES EASTERN
Attica at Tri-Township 7:00 pm
Blue River at Cambridge City Lincoln 7:30 pm
Franklin at Shelbyville 7:30 pm
Indianapolis Washington at Eminence 7:30 pm
Rensselaer Central at Boone Grove 8:00 pm
Seymour at New Albany 7:30 pm
Sheridan at Alexandria 1:30 pm
Wayne Trace (Ohio) at Woodlan 7:30 pm


Bismarck-Henning (Ill.) Tournament
Indiana Math & Science vs. Payson-Seymour (Ill.) 2:00 pm Pool
Indiana Math & Science at BHRA (Ill.) 8:00 pm Pool


Delta Tournament
Fort Wayne South vs. Northeastern 9:00 am R1
Tippecanoe Valley vs. Muncie Central 10:30 am R1
Winchester at Delta 12:00 pm R1
Columbia City vs. Fort Wayne Concordia 1:30 pm R1
Loser Game 2 vs. Loser Game 1 3:30 pm Con
Loser Game 4 vs. Loser Game 3 5:00 pm Con
Winner Game 2 vs. Winner Game 1 6:30 pm SF
Winner Game 4 vs. Winner Game 3 8:00 pm SF


East Noble Tournament
Garrett at East Noble 11:00 am R1
Fremont vs. John Glenn 12:45 pm R1
Loser Game 2 vs. Loser Game 1 6:00 pm 3rd
Winner Game 2 vs. Winner Game 1 7:45 pm 1st


Edinburgh Tournament
Austin vs. South Decatur 10:00 am R1
Borden at Hauser 12:00 pm R1
Victory College Prep vs. Edinburgh 2:00 pm R1
Jac-Cen-Del vs. Union County 4:00 pm R1
Winner Game 2 vs. Winner Game 1 6:00 pm SF
Loser Game 2 vs. Loser Game 1 8:00 pm Con
Winner Game 4 vs. Winner Game 3 6:00 pm SF
Loser Game 4 vs. Loser Game 3 8:00 pm Con


Hebron Tournament
South Bend Career vs. Portage Christian 6:30 pm R1
Tri-County at Hebron 8:00 pm R1


Highland Tournament
Kankakee Valley vs. Griffith 11:00 am R1
Andrean vs. Lafayette Jeff 1:00 pm R1
Loser Game 5 vs. Loser Game 6 6:30 pm Con
Winner Game 5 vs. Winner Game 6 8:30 pm SF


Homestead Tournament
Hamilton Southeastern vs. Mishawaka Marian 10:00 am Pool A
Zionsville vs. South Bend St. Joseph 10:00 am Pool B
Valparaiso at Homestead 11:45 am Pool A
Carroll (Fort Wayne) vs. Munster 11:45 am Pool B
Valparaiso vs. Hamilton Southeastern 6:00 pm Pool A
Munster vs. Zionsville 6:00 pm Pool B
Mishawaka Marian at Homestead 7:45 pm Pool A
South Bend St. Joseph vs. Carroll (Fort Wayne) 7:45 pm Pool B


LaPorte Tournament
Marquette Catholic vs. Logansport 11:00 am R1
Lowell at LaPorte 12:30 pm R1
Loser Game 1 vs. Loser Game 2 6:00 pm Con
Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2 7:30 pm SF


Miami County Invitational
North Miami at Peru 6:00 pm R1
Caston vs. Maconaquah 8:00 pm R1


Mitchell Tournment
Salem vs. Shoals 12:00 pm Pool B
White River Valley at Mitchell 1:30 pm Pool A
Franklin County vs. Salem 3:00 pm Pool B
White River Valley vs. New Washington 4:30 pm Pool A
Shoals vs. Franklin County 6:00 pm Pool B
New Washington at Mitchell 7:30 pm Pool A


Monrovia Tournament
Eastern Greene vs. South Putnam 12:00 pm R1
Mooresville Christian at Monrovia 1:30 pm R1
Loser Game 1 vs. Loser Game 2 6:00 pm 3rd
Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2 7:30 pm 1st


New Castle Tournament
Triton Central at New Castle 10:00 am R1
Norwell vs. Decatur Central 12:00 pm R1
Loser Game 2 vs. Loser Game 1 5:30 pm 3rd
Winner Game 2 vs. Winner Game 1 7:30 pm 1st


Noblesville Tournament
Crown Point vs. Castle 10:00 am R1
McCutcheon at Noblesville 11:45 am R1
Loser Game 1 vs. Loser Game 2 6:00 pm 3rd
Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2 7:45 pm 1st


Rich Twp. (Ill.) Tournament
Hammond Noll vs. TBA TBA


Sevierville (Tenn.) Tournament
South Dearborn vs. Monroe County (Ky.) 1:00 pm R1


Wabash Valley Tournament
Robinson (Ill.) vs. West Vigo 10:00 am Con
Bloomfield vs. Northview 11:30 am Con
Sullivan at Terre Haute South 1:00 pm QF
Linton-Stockton vs. Parke Heritage 2:30 pm QF
Casey-Westfield (Ill.) vs. Shakamak 4:00 pm Con
Greencastle vs. Cloverdale 5:30 pm Con
Marshall (Ill.) vs. Edgewood 7:00 pm QF
Terre Haute North vs. South Vermillion 8:30 pm QF

INDIANA GIRLS BASKETBALL SCORES TUESDAY

Jay County 49 Yorktown 37

INDIANA GIRLS BASKETBALL SCHEDULE WEDNESDAY

ALL TIMES EASTERN
Attica at Tri-Township 5:30 pm
Daleville at Elwood 6:00 pm
Forest Park at Crawford County 7:30 pm
Frankfort at Danville 7:30 pm
Indianapolis Scecina at Indianapolis Tindley 6:00 pm
Pike at Homestead 3:00 pm
Shenandoah at North Decatur 7:30 pm


Ben Davis Classic
Linton-Stockton at Ben Davis 10:00 am
Jeffersonville vs. Warren Central 11:30 am
Linton-Stockton vs. Warren Central 4:30 pm
Jeffersonville at Ben Davis 6:00 pm


Bismarck-Henning (Ill.) Tournament
North Vermillion at BHRA (Ill.) 11:00 am Pool
Benton Central vs. Armstrong-Potomac (Ill.) 11:00 am Pool
Benton Central vs. North Vermillion 2:00 pm Pool


Carl Sandburg (Ill.) Tournament
Hammond Central vs. Plainfield East (Ill.) 5:30 pm R1
Hammond Central vs. TBA TBA R2
Hammond Central vs. TBA TBA Place


Carroll County (Ky.) Tournament
Switzerland County vs. Walton Verona (Ky.) 4:45 pm
Shawe Memorial vs. Harrison County (Ky.) 6:30 pm


Hammond Morton Tournament
Thornwood (Ill.) vs. Hammond Noll 4:00 pm Pool B
Magniificat (Ohio) at Hammond Morton 6:00 pm Pool A


Hauser Tournament
Greenwood Christian at Hauser 9:00 am R1
Eminence vs. Seeger 11:00 am R1
South Decatur vs. Triton Central 1:00 pm R1
Providence vs. Lawrenceburg 3:00 pm R1
Loser Game 2 vs. Loser Game 1 6:00 pm Con
Loser Game 4 vs. Loser Game 3 8:00 pm Con
Winner Game 2 vs. Winner Game 1 6:00 pm SF
Winner Game 4 vs. Winner Game 3 8:00 pm SF


Lebanon Tournament
Lafayette Jeff vs. Evansville North 10:00 am R1
Perry Meridian at Lebanon 12:00 pm R1
Bloomington North vs. Lowell 4:00 pm R1
Mooresville vs. Greenfield-Central 6:00 pm R1
Loser Game 1 vs. Loser Game 2 4:00 pm Con
Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2 9:00 am SF


Miami County Invitational
North Miami at Peru 12:00 pm R1
Caston vs. Maconaquah 2:00 pm R1


Northeastern Tournament
Tipton vs. Tri 9:00 am R1
Fort Wayne Wayne vs. Winchester 10:30 am R1
Wapahani at Northeastern 12:00 pm R1
East Central vs. Salem 1:30 pm R1
Loser Game 1 vs. Loser Game 2 3:30 pm Con
Loser Game 3 vs. Loser Game 4 5:00 pm Con
Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2 6:30 pm SF
Winner Game 3 vs. Winner Game 4 8:00 pm SF


Robinson (Ill.) Tournament
Sullivan vs. Oswego (Ill.) 3:00 pm Pool A
North Central (Farmersburg) vs. Terre Haute South 4:30 pm Pool B


Scottsburg Tournament
Batesville at Scottsburg 11:00 am R1
Borden vs. Kokomo 12:45 pm R1
Franklin Central vs. Charlestown 2:30 pm R1
Eastern (Pekin) vs. Columbus North 4:15 pm R1
Winner Game 2 vs. Winner Game 1 6:00 pm SF
Winner Game 4 vs. Winner Game 3 7:45 pm SF


Twin Lakes Tournament
McCutcheon vs. Chesterton 3:00 pm R1
Mount Vernon (Fortville) vs. Tri-County 4:30 pm R1
Indianapolis Chatard vs. Crown Point 6:00 pm R1
Faith Christian at Twin Lakes 7:30 pm R1


Whitefield Academy Tournament
South Central (Elizabeth) at Whitefield Academy (Ky.) 11:00 am Pool

COLLEGE BOWL GAMES

Tuesday, Dec. 26

Minnesota 30 Bowling Green 24

Texas State 45 Rice 21

Kansas 49 UNLV 36

Wednesday, Dec. 27

Military Bowl

Tulane vs. Virginia Tech

Annapolis, Maryland

2 p.m. | ESPN

Duke’s Mayo Bowl

North Carolina vs. West Virginia

Charlotte, North Carolina

5:30 p.m. | ESPN

Holiday Bowl

No. 15 Louisville vs. Southern Cal

San Diego, California

8 p.m. ET | FOX

Texas Bowl

No. 20 Oklahoma State vs. Texas A&M

Houston, Texas

9 p.m. | ESPN

Thursday, Dec. 28

Fenway Bowl

No. 24 SMU vs. Boston College

Boston, Massachusetts

11 a.m. | ESPN

Pinstripe Bowl

Rutgers vs. Miami (Fla.)

The Bronx, New York

2:15 p.m. | ESPN

Pop-Tarts Bowl

No. 18 NC State vs. No. 25 Kansas State

Orlando, Florida

5:45 p.m. | ESPN

Alamo Bowl

No. 12 Oklahoma vs. No. 14 Arizona

San Antonio, Texas

9:15 p.m. | ESPN

Friday, Dec. 29

Gator Bowl

No. 22 Clemson vs. Kentucky

Jacksonville, Florida

12 p.m. | ESPN

Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl

No. 16 Notre Dame vs. No. 19 Oregon State

El Paso, Texas

2 p.m. | CBS

Liberty Bowl

Memphis vs. Iowa State

Memphis, Tennessee

3:30 p.m. | ESPN

Cotton Bowl

No. 7 Ohio State vs. No. 9 Missouri

Dallas, Texas

8 p.m. | ESPN

Saturday, Dec. 30

Peach Bowl

No. 10 Penn State vs. No. 11 Ole Miss

Atlanta, Georgia

12 p.m. | ESPN

Music City Bowl

Auburn vs. Maryland

Nashville, Tennessee

2 p.m. | ABC

Orange Bowl

No. 5 Florida State vs. No. 6 Georgia

Miami Gardens, Florida

4 p.m. | ESPN

Arizona Bowl

Wyoming vs. Toledo

Tucson, Arizona

4:30 p.m. | CW Network/Barstool

Monday, Jan. 1, 2024

ReliaQuest Bowl

No. 13 LSU vs. Wisconsin

Tampa, Florida

12 p.m. | ESPN2

Citrus Bowl

No. 17 Iowa vs. No. 21 Tennessee

Orlando, Florida

1 p.m. | ABC

Fiesta Bowl

No. 8 Oregon vs. No. 23 Liberty

Glendale, Arizona

1 p.m. | ESPN

College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Rose Bowl

No. 1 Michigan vs. No. 4 Alabama

Pasadena, California

5 p.m. | ESPN

College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Sugar Bowl

No. 2 Washington vs. No. 3 Texas

New Orleans, Louisiana

8:45 p.m. | ESPN

Monday, Jan. 8

College Football Playoff National Championship Game

Houston, Texas

7:30 p.m. | ESPN

NFL WEEK-17 SCHEDULE

THURSDAY DECEMBER 28

New York Jets at Cleveland Browns, 8:15 p.m., Amazon Prime Video

SATURDAY DECEMBER 30

Detroit Lions at Dallas Cowboys, 8:15 p.m., ESPN, ABC, ESPN2, ESPN+, ESPN Deportes

SUNDAY DECEMBER 31

Miami Dolphins at Baltimore Ravens, 1PM, CBS

New England Patriots at Buffalo Bills, 1PM CBS

Atlanta Falcons at Chicago Bears, 1PM CBS

Tennessee Titans at Houston Texans, 1PM FOX

Las Vegas Raiders at Indianapolis Colts, 1 PM CBS

Carolina Panthers at Jacksonville Jaguars, 1PM CBS

Los Angeles Rams at New York Giants, 1PM FOX

Arizona Cardinals at Philadelphia Eagles, 1PM FOX

New Orleans Saints at Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 1PM FOX

San Francisco 49ers at Washington Commanders, 1PM FOX

Pittsburgh Steelers at Seattle Seahawks, 4:05 PM FOX

Los Angeles Chargers at Denver Broncos, 4:25 PM CBS

Cincinnati Bengals at Kansas City Chiefs, 4:25 PM CBS

SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL

Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings, 8:20 PM NBC, Universo (stream with free trial from FUBO)

MEN’S TOP 25 COLLEGE BASKETBALL SCORES

No games scheduled

WOMEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL TOP 25 SCORES

No games scheduled

NBA SCOREBOARD

Orlando 127 Washington 119

Brooklyn 118 Detroit 112

Utah 130 San Antonio 118

Chicago 118 Atlanta 113

Indiana 123 Houston 117

Memphis 116 New Orleans 115 OT

Oklahoma City 129 Minnesota 106

Portland 130 Sacramento 113

LA Clippers 113 Charlotte 104

NHL SCOREBOARD

No games scheduled

NATIONAL SPORTS RELEASES/HEADLINES

NFL NEWS

ANALYSIS: CHRISTMAS WAS ROUGH ON SUPER BOWL CONTENDERS EXCEPT FOR THE RAVENS

The Chiefs lost again. The Eagles struggled against the lowly Giants. The 49ers were embarrassed at home.

Christmas Day was rough on Super Bowl contenders except for the Ravens.

Lamar Jackson boosted his MVP chances and Baltimore made a major statement with a convincing 33-19 victory over San Francisco in a prime-time matchup Monday night that featured the NFL’s two No. 1 seeds.

The Ravens (12-3) would earn a first-round bye and home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs with a win at home against Miami (11-4) on Sunday.

“I’m honored to be in the conversation,” Jackson said about improving his bid for his second NFL MVP award. “We just have to keep winning to get to February. That’s all.”

The goal for Jackson isn’t an individual award. He wants a Super Bowl ring. The Ravens have won five in a row and can’t let up with the Dolphins coming up next.

The 49ers (11-4) were the NFL’s hottest team until they ran into Roquan Smith and Baltimore’s tenacious defense. Brock Purdy, who became an MVP favorite with a sensational stretch during a six-game winning streak, threw four interceptions and finished the night watching from the sideline after getting banged up.

Despite the loss, San Francisco is still in control of the NFC’s No. 1 seed. The 49ers would clinch the top spot with wins over the Commanders and Rams to close out the regular season.

But the rest of the NFC should have hope after watching the Ravens take down San Francisco. The 49ers, who dominated Philadelphia and Dallas in head-to-head matchups, looked vulnerable against Baltimore.

“I don’t think they’re demoralized,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said about his team. “We weren’t balanced, had too many turnovers.”

The holiday tripleheader began with a stunner when the defending Super Bowl champion Chiefs gave one away, losing 20-14 to Las Vegas. The Raiders scored a pair of touchdowns on consecutive turnovers by Patrick Mahomes and won a game without completing a pass after the first quarter.

The Chiefs (9-6) have now lost five of eight and likely will have to play their first road playoff game with Mahomes if they even survive the wild-card round.

An offense that has sputtered throughout the season couldn’t do much against the Raiders and was unable to overcome the costly mistakes.

“I thought defense played a good game, just two mistakes that gave them two touchdowns there when you’re backed up in their red zone, so you just can’t do that,” Mahomes said. “Especially when defense is playing like they’re playing, but I just have to be better in that sense and not make those mistakes and try to find a way to play the game and the best way to win it.”

Kansas City still has a two-game lead over the Raiders and Broncos in the AFC West but hasn’t clinched the division title yet. The Chiefs need one win over the Bengals or Chargers to wrap it up. But their road back to the Super Bowl will look different. Mahomes likely is going to have to play the first road playoff game of his career if the Chiefs advance beyond the wild-card round.

After the Chiefs were upset, it appeared there would be a rout in Philadelphia. The Eagles jumped to a 20-3 halftime lead over the Giants that sent Tommy DeVito to the bench.

But a pair of turnovers, including a pick-6 by Adoree Jackson off Jalen Hurts, got New York closer and Tyrod Taylor threw a 69-yard TD pass to Darius Slayton that cut it to 30-25 with 5:22 left.

Down 33-25, the Giants had a chance despite clumsy clock management. Taylor’s pass from the Philadelphia 26 was picked in the end zone to end the game.

The Eagles (11-4) snapped a three-game losing streak and stayed in control of the NFC East with an outside shot to still earn the No. 1 seed. But a shaky performance against the Giants isn’t going to silence critics. The Eagles often haven’t looked like the team that went to the Super Bowl last year.

“We know we have better football in us,” coach Nick Sirianni said. “To be 11-4 and still have better football left in you, that’s encouraging, but let’s go. We have to get there. We have to get there and saying we have two more games before the playoffs start, all we’re thinking about is the next game against a team that’s going to come in here and try to take what we have as well.”

Monday’s results along with the rest of Week 16 left more questions open across the NFL. There’s two weeks remaining to answer those before the playoffs.

CHIEFS LAMENT SAME MISTAKES AGAINST RAIDERS THAT HAVE BEEN THEIR DOWNFALL ALL SEASON

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Andy Reid stepped to the podium and once again took the blame for the ineptitude of the Kansas City Chiefs offense.

Patrick Mahomes followed him and once again insisted that all the Chiefs were lacking was consistency.

After another dismal offensive performance in a 20-14 loss to the Las Vegas Raiders on Monday, the two followed the same script they had after four previous losses in their past eight games. And for good reason, because precisely the same problems that have dragged down the Chiefs all season showed up on Christmas Day.

They had a pair of turnovers, one of them a fumble returned for a touchdown and the other an interception taken back for a score, representing the only two touchdowns that the Raiders scored on the entire soggy afternoon.

The Chiefs are now minus-10 in turnover differential this season.

They had more penalties, including another offensive offside penalty on a wide receiver — this time Marquez Valdes-Scantling, though it was declined because the Raiders sacked Mahomes anyway. It was that same rare call against Kadarius Toney a couple of weeks earlier that negated a go-ahead touchdown in the closing minutes of a loss to Buffalo.

There were more dropped passes, too, including one by Valdes-Scantling and another by sure-handed tight end Travis Kelce, even though their two most egregious offenders when it comes to drops — Toney and Skyy Moore — are now on injured reserve.

“Yeah, we’re just off a tick and again that’s my responsibility,” Reid said afterward, “to make sure I give them the right stuff to work with in the run game and pass game. That’s what’s got to take place.”

Or, as Mahomes put it: “All you can do is just move on, learn from your mistakes, get better and, I mean, I still believe that we can go do what we want to do. It’s just how can we correct it as quickly as possible.”

Time is running out.

The Chiefs (9-6) only have games left against the Bengals on Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium and the following week against the Chargers in Los Angeles. They’ve already squandered their chance of securing the No. 1 seed in the AFC, and they must get a win or some help just to wrap up their eighth consecutive West Division championship.

“I’ve been on a team that won the Super Bowl as a wild-card team. You just have to get in,” Chiefs wide receiver Justin Watson said. “I know people around here are accustomed to all the home playoff games and the first-round bye, but I don’t care if it’s easy. Nothing this whole second half of the season has been easy. Just give us a chance to play and let’s do our thing.”

WHAT’S WORKING

The Chiefs defense held the Raiders to two field goals Monday. Hard to fault that side of the ball for only the fifth loss by Kansas City at Arrowhead Stadium in which the opposing offense failed to score a touchdown.

WHAT NEEDS WORK

The Chiefs’ pass catchers struggled to get open, dropped the ball when they did, and were penalized plenty — Kelce had offensive pass interference called against him. The running game managed 85 yards. But the newest problem was the offensive line. The Chiefs invested heavily in free agency and draft capital to build a front to protect Mahomes, yet he was sacked four times and hit 10 on Monday.

STOCK UP

WR Richie James, who has played primarily on special teams, had three catches for 54 yards as he got more offensive snaps with Toney and Moore on IR. James will need to become a bigger part of the offense going forward.

STOCK DOWN

LT Wanya Morris, who had played well as a rookie in place of injured veteran Donovan Smith, was overmatched by the Raiders’ defensive front. Morris needed constant help against Maxx Crosby, allowing Malcolm Koonce to pile up three sacks.

INJURIES

Running back Isiah Pacheco, in his first game back from shoulder surgery, landed in the concussion protocol, and right guard Trey Smith left with a calf injury. Defensive back L’Jarius Sneed and safety Mike Edwards also left at various points against the Raiders but were able to finish the game.

KEY NUMBERS

0 — Raiders quarterback Aidan O’Connell did not complete a pass after the first quarter yet led his team to victory. It was the first time since 2000 that an NFL team won without a completion over the final three quarters.

NEXT STEPS

The Chiefs play the Bengals on New Year’s Eve with another chance to clinch the division.

BROWNS’ K HOPKINS OUT WITH INJURY AS TEAM TRIES TO CLINCH PLAYOFF SPOT. QB THOMPSON-ROBINSON ON IR

CLEVELAND (AP) — The Cleveland Browns will be without kicker Dustin Hopkins for Thursday night’s game against the New York Jets — and maybe longer — because of a left hamstring injury as they try to clinch a playoff berth.

Hopkins, who has been one of the NFL’s most accurate kickers in his first season with the Browns (10-5), got hurt in Sunday’s win at Houston as he chased Texans returner Dameon Pierce on a 98-yard touchdown.

Coach Kevin Stefanski said Tuesday that Hopkins is “week to week” with his injury, the latest for a Cleveland team ravaged by injuries all season.

The Browns signed kicker Riley Patterson on Monday and he’ll take over for Hopkins, who has made 33 of 36 field goals and all eight attempts beyond 50 yards.

Patterson has appeared in 37 games for Detroit and Jacksonville. He’s made 58 of 66 field-goal attempts.

Also, Browns rookie quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson has been placed on injured reserve with a hip injury sustained against the Texans. Thompson-Robinson made three starts for Cleveland, which is on its fourth starting QB (Joe Flacco) because of injuries.

Cleveland’s also got punting issues.

Corey Bojorquez injured the quadriceps in his left kicking leg on Sunday and his status for Thursday is not yet known. Bojorquez is also the Browns’ holder, complicating matters.

The team signed punter Matt Haack to the practice squad as insurance in case Bojorquez can’t play. Haack has played with Miami, Buffalo and Indianapolis.

DOLPHINS WR JAYLEN WADDLE DEALING WITH ANKLE INJURY

Miami Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel said Jaylen Waddle is nursing a high-ankle injury, leaving the wide receiver’s availability in jeopardy for Sunday’s high-profile showdown against the host Baltimore Ravens.

Waddle appeared to sustain the injury during the third quarter of Miami’s 22-20 victory over the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday. He had one catch for 50 yards for the Dolphins (11-4), who have won five of their last six games.

“He’s had other things that might take other players … take longer to come back from,” McDaniel said, via the Miami Herald. “I do have a lot of confidence in him in those situations. He’s a really tough player, and has battled through some tough things.”

Waddle, 25, has 72 catches for 1,014 yards and four touchdowns in 14 games (all starts) this season. He has 251 receptions for 3,385 yards and 18 touchdowns in 47 career games (all starts) since being selected by Miami with the sixth overall pick of the 2021 NFL Draft out of Alabama.

STEELERS WILL TURN TO MASON RUDOLPH ONCE AGAIN IF KENNY PICKETT’S RIGHT ANKLE CAN’T GO VS. SEATTLE

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Mason Rudolph’s dynamic play against Cincinnati helped keep the Pittsburgh Steelers’ season alive. The longtime backup quarterback could get a chance to do it again when the Steelers visit Seattle on New Year’s Eve.

Coach Mike Tomlin said Tuesday that Rudolph will “have the ball” to begin the week and will get the nod against the Seahawks if starter Kenny Pickett’s surgically repaired right ankle is not ready in time.

Rudolph threw for 290 yards and two touchdowns in a 34-11 blowout win over Cincinnati, Pittsburgh’s biggest offensive outburst in a win in more than three years as the Steelers (8-7) snapped a three-game losing streak. Rudolph looked comfortable while throwing the ball deep to George Pickens, who had 195 yards receiving and two scores.

“I thought he did a really good job of being comfortable being himself, communicating with people regardless of the moments,” Tomlin said. “I thought that showed the confidence that he has in himself and I also thought that he remained aggressive throughout.”

Pickett hasn’t played since injuring his right ankle against Arizona on Dec. 3. He underwent “tightrope” surgery a couple of days later and returned to practice in a limited capacity last week. Tomlin declined to get into hypotheticals in terms of what boxes Pickett would have to check to get back on the field and is taking an approach similar to last week, meaning Rudolph will practice with the starters while Pickett works through his rehab.

“We’ll see what (Pickett’s) performance looks like (Wednesday),” Tomlin said. “Mason Rudolph has the ball as we stand here today.”

The Steelers have a narrow path to the playoffs that starts with wins on the road against Seattle (8-7) and Baltimore (12-3) along with a little help elsewhere. A loss to the Bengals would have all but eliminated them. Instead, Rudolph gave one of the NFL’s worst offenses a needed jolt by hitting Pickens for an 86-yard catch-and-run touchdown on Pittsburgh’s second snap and the Steelers cruised from there.

While Tomlin stressed he was confident Rudolph — one of the longest-tenured players on the team who has been third on the depth chart the past two seasons — could shake off rust quickly, “we feel better having tangible evidence of performance this week.”

Pittsburgh’s 34 points were its most in a victory since putting up 36 against Cincinnati in 2020. The 23-point margin of victory was also the largest since the Steelers beat Jacksonville by 24 that same season. Cincinnati’s lone sack was the only reason Pittsburgh finished with 397 yards instead of topping 400 for just the second time since 2020.

Rudolph said after his first win as a starter since 2019 that he hoped he’d get another shot but that it wasn’t his call. Maybe, but Tomlin’s more muted approach to Pickett’s availability compared to even a week ago offered a strong hint that barring Pickett making a massive leap over the next few days, Rudolph be on the field as Pittsburgh tries to win in Seattle for just the second time in franchise history.

The Steelers will be without inside linebacker Elandon Roberts, who sustained a pectoral muscle against Cincinnati. Tomlin is more optimistic about safety Minkah Fitzpatrick, who could practice this week after injuring his knee in a loss to Indianapolis on Dec. 16.

AMARI COOPER’S RECORD-SETTING DAY HIGHLIGHTS A MILESTONE WEEK FOR RECEIVERS

Several receivers had milestone performances this past week but no one could do what Amari Cooper did for the Cleveland Browns.

Cooper caught 11 passes for a franchise-record 265 yards and two TDs in a 36-22 win over the Houston Texans on Sunday, to become the fourth player ever with at least three games with 200 yards receiving and two TDs.

Cooper joined Don Hutson, who did it four times, as well as Charley Hennigan and Tyreek Hill, who each did it three times. Cooper is the sixth player with at least four 200-yard receiving games and joined Terrell Owens as the only players to have a 200-yard game with three teams, having previously accomplished the feat with Dallas and the Raiders.

Among the other receivers with milestone performances last week were Mike Evans, Justin Jefferson, Amon-Ra St. Brown and Puka Nacua.

Evans caught two TD passes in Tampa Bay’s win over Jacksonville to give him 13 this season. He joined Hall of Famers Jerry Rice (eight seasons), Owens (seven), Marvin Harrison (six) and Randy Moss (six) as the only players to do that in at least five seasons.

Jefferson had six catches for 141 yards and a TD in Minnesota’s loss to Detroit to give him 5,648 yards receiving — breaking Michael Thomas’ record of 5,512 through four seasons.

St. Brown caught 12 passes in that game to give him 302 for his career. The only players with at least 300 catches in their first three seasons are Jefferson (324), Thomas (321) and Christian McCaffrey (303).

Nacua had nine catches for 164 yards in the Rams win over the Saints to give him 96 catches for 1,327 yards. He is closing in on the rookie records for both and needs only nine catches in the final two games to break Jaylen Waddle’s record of 104 in 2021 and 147 yards to break Bill Groman’s record of 1,473 in 1960.

DIVISION DROUGHTS

The Detroit Lions finally won the NFC North.

The Lions clinched heir first division title since winning the NFC Central in 1993 — nine years before the NFC North was created.

That ended the second longest active drought without a division title in the NFL with the Browns the only team going longer, having not won a division since 1989.

Cleveland still has an outside chance to end that this season but the Browns would need to win their final two games and hope Baltimore loses its final two games.

The shared success for the Lions and Browns is rare as their 21 combined wins this season are tied for their most ever in a season. They also won 21 games combined in 1953 when Detroit beat Cleveland for the NFL championship.

The next longest division droughts belong to the Jets and Raiders, who last won division titles in 2002. The Jets have been eliminated this season but the Raiders do have a chance if they win their final two games and Kansas City loses twice.

One more win by the Chiefs and they will clinch their eighth straight division title, breaking a tie with the Los Angeles Rams (1972-78) for the second longest streak. Only the New England Patriots have a longer streak, winning the AFC East 11 straight seasons from 2009-19.

QB SHUFFLE

Mason Rudolph, Taylor Heinicke and Trevor Siemian became the latest starting QBs to get into the win column this season.

Rudolph led Pittsburgh over Cincinnati, Heinicke led Atlanta past Indianapolis and Siemian led the Jets to a win over Washington, raising the total of starting QBs to get wins to 52 — the most through the first 16 weeks of a season since 1999 when 54 quarterbacks did it.

There have only been four seasons — excluding 1987 with replacement players — that featured more than 52 quarterbacks to win starts. There were 53 in 2022, 2010 and 1998, and a record 56 in 1999.

KING HENRY

Derrick Henry has built a stellar career running and catching the ball with 11,585 yards from scrimmage and 96 TDs in the regular season and playoffs.

He’s also not so bad when he throws it.

Henry threw his fifth career TD pass in the regular season or playoffs on Sunday against Seattle. It was the third time he had a TD run and pass in the same game.

Only three other players have gained at least 10,000 yards from scrimmage and thrown at least five TD passes, with Henry joining Hall of Famers Marcus Allen, Walter Payton and LaDainian Tomlinson. Keith Byars is the only other running back with at least five TD passes, having thrown six in his career.

SCORING DEFENSE

The Las Vegas Raiders defense is proving it’s almost as good at scoring touchdowns as preventing them.

The Raiders got two touchdowns from their defense for the second straight week, becoming the first team to do that since the 2012 Chicago Bears. Only four other teams have done that since 1948: the 1992 Vikings, the 1984 Broncos, the 1983 Steelers and the 1960 Browns.

Jack Jones had pick-6s against both the Chargers in Week 15 and the Chiefs in Week 16, joining Dallas’ DaRon Bland as the only players with back-to-back games with defensive touchdowns.

The other two came on fumble recoveries by defensive linemen with Bilal Nichols following up the return by John Jenkins in Week 15. That made the Raiders just the 10th team since the merger to get TDs from two players listed at 300 pounds or heavier in the same season.

The last time that happened came in 2021 when Philadelphia and Dallas both did it. Tackle Lane Johnson caught a TD pass and defensive tackle Fletcher Cox scored on a fumble return for the Eagles, while tackle Terence Steele caught a TD pass and defensive tackle Carlos Watkins returned an interception for a touchdown for the Cowboys.

SEASON OVER FOR CARDINALS DL JONATHAN LEDBETTER (KNEE)

Arizona Cardinals defensive lineman Jonathan Ledbetter will miss the final two games of the season with a knee injury.

Head coach Jonathan Gannon confirmed the status of Ledbetter on Tuesday.

The injury occurred in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s loss at Chicago and Ledbetter did not return.

Ledbetter posted career highs in starts (12), sacks (1.5), quarterback hits (four) and tackles (46) this season. He has three sacks and 72 tackles in 28 games (16 starts) with the Miami Dolphins (2019) and Cardinals (2021-23).

RAMS CUT FORMER STARTING RB DARRELL HENDERSON

The Los Angeles Rams cut running back Darrell Henderson from the practice squad on Tuesday.

The Rams (8-7) filled the roster spot by signing former XFL long snapper Alex Matheson.

Henderson, 26, started four games and rushed for 112 yards and two touchdowns this season. He has not played since Week 11, getting waived two days later then added to the practice squad.

The 2019 third-round pick had 2,431 yards from scrimmage and 19 TDs in 54 games (32 starts) with the Rams.

Second-year back Kyren Williams leads Los Angeles with 1,057 rushing yards and nine TDs in 11 games. The Rams returned running back Ronnie Rivers from injured reserve last week.

Matheson played for the XFL’s St. Louis BattleHawks in 2023.

TEXANS CLAIM S KAREEM JACKSON OFF WAIVERS FROM BRONCOS

Veteran safety Kareem Jackson was claimed off waivers Tuesday by the Houston Texans, the team where he spent the first nine seasons of his career.

Houston also placed safety Jimmie Ward on injured reserve. Ward hurt his quadriceps in Sunday’s loss to the Cleveland Browns.

The Texans drafted Jackson in the first round of the 2010 draft as a cornerback. He became a safety when he joined the Denver Broncos in 2019.

But Jackson’s troubled tenure in Denver came to an end Monday when the team released him. Jackson has served two suspensions totaling six games this season due to hits deemed unnecessary roughness by the NFL. His second suspension concluded last week.

Jackson drew a two-game suspension for a hit to the head of Green Bay Packers tight end Luke Musgrave on Oct. 22. He later was suspended for four games, one day after a high blow to Minnesota Vikings quarterback Joshua Dobbs on Nov. 19.

Overall, Jackson has been fined a total of $89,670 this season for four illegal hits. He also has lost more than $838,000 in missed game checks.

Jackson, 35, has 952 tackles and 22 career interceptions, returning three for touchdowns. He also has seven fumble recoveries, one returned for a score.

In eight games this season, Jackson recorded 51 tackles and two interceptions.

Jackson overlapped for two seasons in Houston with linebacker DeMeco Ryans — now the franchise’s head coach, and on the verge of taking the Texans (8-7) to the playoffs in his first season on the job.

Ward has 50 tackles and one interception in 10 games this season, his first with the Texans after nine seasons with the San Francisco 49ers.

2023 NFL PLAYOFF SCENARIOS – WEEK 17

CLINCHED:

            Baltimore Ravens (12-3) – playoff berth

            Miami Dolphins (11-4) – playoff berth

BALTIMORE RAVENS (12-3) vs. Miami (11-4); Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, CBS

Baltimore clinches AFC North division title with:

  1. BAL win or tie OR
  2. CLE loss or tie

Baltimore clinches AFC’s No. 1 seed, lone first-round bye and homefield advantage with:

  1. BAL win

BUFFALO BILLS (9-6) vs. New England (4-11); Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, CBS

Buffalo clinches playoff berth with:

  1. BUF win + PIT loss or tie + CIN loss or tie OR
  2. BUF win + PIT loss or tie + JAX loss or tie OR
  3. BUF win + PIT loss or tie + HOU loss or tie + IND loss or tie OR
  4. BUF win + CIN loss or tie + JAX loss or tie OR
  5. BUF win + CIN loss or tie + HOU loss or tie + IND loss or tie OR
  6. BUF tie + PIT loss + CIN loss + JAX loss OR
  7. BUF tie + PIT loss + CIN loss + HOU loss or tie OR
  8. BUF tie + PIT loss + CIN loss + IND loss or tie OR
  9. BUF tie + PIT loss + JAX loss + HOU loss or tie OR
  10. BUF tie + PIT loss + JAX loss + IND loss or tie OR
  11. BUF tie + PIT loss + HOU loss + IND loss OR
  12. BUF tie + CIN loss + JAX loss + HOU loss or tie OR
  13. BUF tie + CIN loss + JAX loss + IND loss or tie OR
  14. BUF tie + CIN loss + HOU loss + IND loss

CLEVELAND BROWNS (10-5) vs. New York Jets (6-9); Thursday, 8:15 p.m. ET, Prime Video

Cleveland clinches playoff berth with:

  1. CLE win or tie OR
  2. PIT loss or tie OR
  3. BUF loss OR
  4. JAX loss or tie OR
  5. HOU loss or tie + IND loss or tie

JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS (8-7) vs. Carolina (2-13); Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, CBS

Jacksonville clinches playoff berth and AFC South division title with:

  1. JAX win + IND loss + HOU loss

KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (9-6) vs. Cincinnati (8-7); Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET, CBS

Kansas City clinches playoff berth and AFC West division title with:

  1. KC win or tie OR
  2. LV loss or tie + DEN loss or tie

MIAMI DOLPHINS (11-4) at Baltimore (12-3); Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, CBS

Miami clinches AFC East division title with:

  1. MIA win or tie OR
  2. BUF loss or tie

NFC

CLINCHED:

             Detroit Lions (11-4) – NFC North division title     

            San Francisco 49ers (11-4) – NFC West division title

             Dallas Cowboys (10-5) – playoff berth

             Philadelphia Eagles (11-4) — playoff berth

LOS ANGELES RAMS (8-7) at New York Giants (5-10); Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, FOX

L.A. Rams clinch playoff berth with:

  1. LAR win + SEA loss OR
  2. LAR win + GB-MIN tie

PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (11-4) vs. Arizona (3-12); Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, FOX

Philadelphia clinches NFC East Division title with:

  1. PHI win + DAL loss or tie OR
  2. PHI tie + DAL loss

SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (11-4) at Washington (4-11); Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, FOX

San Francisco clinches NFC’s No. 1 seed, lone first-round bye and homefield advantage with:

  1. SF win + DET loss + PHI loss

SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (8-7) vs. Pittsburgh (8-7); Sunday, 4:05 p.m. ET, FOX

Seattle clinches playoff berth with:

  1. SEA win + GB-MIN tie

TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (8-7) vs. New Orleans (7-8); Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, FOX

Tampa Bay clinches playoff berth and NFC South division title with:

  1. TB win OR
  2. TB tie + ATL loss

WEEK 17 INJURY REPORT – TUESDAY

NEW YORK JETS at CLEVELAND BROWNS on Thursday night
NEW YORK JETS
 The Jets did not practice Monday or Tuesday. Those practice reports are estimations.
Practice Report
    DID NOT PARTICIPATE IN PRACTICE
 MondayT Duane Brown (back), CB Justin Hardee (foot), QB Aaron Rodgers (Achilles), TE Jeremy Ruckert (concussion), QB Zach Wilson (concussion)
 TuesdayT Duane Brown (back), QB Aaron Rodgers (Achilles), TE Jeremy Ruckert (concussion), QB Zach Wilson (concussion), K Greg Zuerlein (right quadricep)
 
    LIMITED PARTICIPATION IN PRACTICE
 MondayRB Israel Abanikanda (ankle), S Ashtyn Davis (abdomen), DE John Franklin-Myers (ankle, groin), K Greg Zuerlein (right quadricep)
 TuesdayRB Israel Abanikanda (ankle)
 
    FULL PARTICIPATION IN PRACTICE
 MondayQB Trevor Siemian (right elbow)
 TuesdayS Ashtyn Davis (abdomen), DE John Franklin-Myers (ankle, groin), CB Justin Hardee (foot), QB Trevor Siemian (right elbow)
 
CLEVELAND BROWNS
 The Browns did not practice Monday. The Monday practice report is an estimation.
Practice Report
    DID NOT PARTICIPATE IN PRACTICE
 MondayP Corey Bojorquez (left quadricep), WR Amari Cooper (not injury related – resting player, heel), K Dustin Hopkins (left hamstring), RB Kareem Hunt (groin), TE David Njoku (not injury related – resting player, knee), DE Ogbonnia Okoronkwo (pectoral), QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson (hip), LB Anthony Walker (knee)
 TuesdayP Corey Bojorquez (left quadricep), WR Amari Cooper (not injury related – resting player, heel), K Dustin Hopkins (left hamstring), TE David Njoku (not injury related – resting player, knee), DE Ogbonnia Okoronkwo (pectoral), LB Anthony Walker (knee)
 
    LIMITED PARTICIPATION IN PRACTICE
 MondayG Joel Bitonio (back, knee), T Geron Christian (shoulder), CB Martin Emerson (ankle), WR Marquise Goodwin (knee), LB Jordan Kunaszyk (calf), C Ethan Pocic (stinger), G Wyatt Teller (ankle), S Juan Thornhill (calf)
 TuesdayG Joel Bitonio (back, knee), T Geron Christian (shoulder), CB Martin Emerson (ankle), WR Marquise Goodwin (knee), RB Kareem Hunt (groin), LB Jordan Kunaszyk (calf), C Ethan Pocic (stinger), G Wyatt Teller (ankle), S Juan Thornhill (calf)
 
    FULL PARTICIPATION IN PRACTICE
 MondayQB Joe Flacco (calf), RB Jerome Ford (wrist), C Nick Harris (knee), WR Cedric Tillman (knee), CB Denzel Ward (shoulder)
 TuesdayQB Joe Flacco (calf), RB Jerome Ford (wrist), DE Myles Garrett (not injury related – resting player, shoulder), C Nick Harris (knee), WR Cedric Tillman (knee), CB Denzel Ward (shoulder)
   
DETROIT LIONS at DALLAS COWBOYS on Saturday night
DETROIT LIONS
 The Lions did not practice Tuesday. The Tuesday practice report is an estimation.
Practice Report
    DID NOT PARTICIPATE IN PRACTICE
 TuesdayTE Brock Wright (hip)
 
    LIMITED PARTICIPATION IN PRACTICE
 TuesdayFB Jason Cabinda (knee), T Taylor Decker (groin), S Chauncey Gardner-Johnson (pectoral)
 
    FULL PARTICIPATION IN PRACTICE
 TuesdayLB Derrick Barnes (shoulder), CB Jerry Jacobs (hamstring), C Frank Ragnow (back, knee, toe), T Penei Sewell (shoulder)
 
DALLAS COWBOYS
 The Cowboys did not practice Tuesday. The Tuesday practice report is an estimation.
Practice Report
    DID NOT PARTICIPATE IN PRACTICE
 TuesdayDT Johnathan Hankins (knee, ankle), T Tyron Smith (back)
 
    LIMITED PARTICIPATION IN PRACTICE
 TuesdayWR Brandin Cooks (not injury related – resting player), RB Rico Dowdle (ankle), CB Stephon Gilmore (not injury related – resting player), S Malik Hooker (ankle), DE Demarcus Lawrence (not injury related – resting player), CB Jourdan Lewis (not injury related – resting player), RB Hunter Luepke (thigh), G Zack Martin (not injury related – resting player)
 
    FULL PARTICIPATION IN PRACTICE
 TuesdayDE Viliami Fehoko (knee), T Matt Waletzko (shoulder)

NBA NEWS

REPORT: HAWKS’ MURRAY AMONG LAKERS’ POTENTIAL TARGETS

Atlanta Hawks guard Dejounte Murray is among the Los Angeles Lakers’ potential trade targets, The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported on FanDuel’s “Run It Back.”

Murray is in the middle of his second season with the Hawks. The 27-year-old has put up solid numbers since being acquired from the San Antonio Spurs, averaging 20.4 points, 5.9 assists, five rebounds, and 1.5 steals across 103 appearances.

Atlanta inked Murray to a four-year, $120-million contract extension this past summer. The All-Star guard’s new deal will kick in next season and includes a $30.8-million player option for 2027-28.

Murray would give the Lakers an additional playmaker and bolster their outside attack. The club currently ranks 22nd in 3-point percentage (35.6%) and 28th in threes per game (10.9).

However, Los Angeles can only offer one first-round draft pick in a potential deal with Atlanta.

The Lakers have also been linked to Chicago Bulls guard Zach LaVine.

NBA ROUNDUP: NETS TAG PISTONS WITH RECORD 27TH STRAIGHT LOSS

Cameron Johnson scored 24 points and the visiting Brooklyn Nets beat the Pistons 118-112 on Tuesday night as Detroit set a single-season NBA record with its 27th consecutive loss.

Detroit’s 27-game losing streak tops the runs of futility of the 2010-11 Cleveland Cavaliers and 2013-14 Philadelphia 76ers, who each lost 26 straight.

Philadelphia holds the longest losing streak of all time, which spanned over the course of two seasons. The 76ers dropped 28 straight between the end of the 2014-15 season and the beginning of the 2015-16 campaign. The Pistons can match that skid when they visit the Boston Celtics on Thursday.

Mikal Bridges had 21 points and Cam Thomas tossed in 17 for Brooklyn. Cade Cunningham carried the Pistons with 41 points, 37 in the second half, while Bojan Bogdanovic had 23 points.

Bulls 118, Hawks 113

Andre Drummond tallied 24 points and 25 rebounds to help lead Chicago past visiting Atlanta.

Drummond became just the sixth player to record a 20-20 game in the NBA this season. DeMar DeRozan added 25 points for the Bulls, who won for the fourth time in five games.

Bogdan Bogdanovic led Atlanta’s scoring with 22 points while Trae Young added 21 points and 13 assists. Young was trying to break Oscar Robertson’s record of seven consecutive 30-point, 10-assist games but fell short.

Grizzlies 116, Pelicans 115 (OT)

Ja Morant scored 31 points and Jaren Jackson Jr. had four of his 19 points in overtime as visiting Memphis improved to 4-0 since Morant’s return by defeating New Orleans.

Desmond Bane added 27 points as the Grizzlies beat the Pelicans for the second time in eight days — the first win coming in Morant’s season debut following a 25-game suspension. Brandon Ingram scored 24 points and Zion Williamson had 23 points and 11 rebounds for New Orleans.

The score was tied at 109 before Jackson made consecutive driving layups to give Memphis a four-point lead with 51 seconds left in overtime. The Grizzlies never surrendered the lead again.

Magic 127, Wizards 119

Franz Wagner scored 28 points and Paolo Banchero had 24 as visiting Orlando staved off a late rally by Washington.

Rookie Anthony Black added a career-high 23 points for Orlando, which won its second straight following a four-game losing streak. Wagner also notched team-high totals in assists (nine) and rebounds (eight).

Jordan Poole produced 30 points for the Wizards, who lost their second game in a row. Tyus Jones scored 22 points, and Daniel Gafford recorded 13 points and 13 rebounds.

Pacers 123, Rockets 117

Tyrese Haliburton paired 33 points with 10 assists to lead eight Indiana scorers in double figures as the Pacers won a back-and-forth affair against host Houston.

The Pacers, who had lost six of their previous seven games, got 18 points from Myles Turner. Indiana shot a robust 52.4 percent from the field.

Alperen Sengun logged 30 points and 16 rebounds for the Rockets, who lost for the fourth time in six games. Fred VanVleet added 18 points and nine assists.

Jazz 130, Spurs 118

Lauri Markkanen amassed 31 points and 12 rebounds and hit four 3-pointers in a decisive fourth-quarter surge to help visiting Utah earn a win over reeling San Antonio.

The Jazz led by a dozen early in the third quarter before San Antonio answered and drew within 100-93 heading to the final period. But the Spurs would get no closer than six, as Markkanen had a 3-pointer and a jumper and Jordan Clarkson added two free throws and a ringing dunk to expand the Utah advantage to 112-99.

Clarkson put up 24 points for the Jazz. Reserve Keldon Johnson had a team-high 26 for the Spurs, who have dropped 23 of their past 24 games.

Thunder 129, Timberwolves 106

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 34 points to lead Oklahoma City to a win over visiting Minnesota.

Gilgeous-Alexander finished 14 of 19 from the field and added nine assists and six rebounds. Three other Thunder players joined Gilgeous-Alexander with at least 20 points — Jalen Williams added 21 while Luguentz Dort and Chet Holmgren had 20 apiece.

It was the 14th win in the past 19 games for the Thunder and just the third loss in 14 games for the Timberwolves. Anthony Edwards led Minnesota with 25 points.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL NEWS

BOWL ROUNDUP: JASON BEAN (6 TDS) LIFTS KANSAS PAST UNLV

Kansas survived a second-half comeback by UNLV in the Guaranteed Rate Bowl, overcoming three turnovers and 18 penalties for a 49-36 win on Tuesday.

Jason Bean threw three interceptions but also had a Kansas bowl-record six touchdown passes and 449 yards through the air. Lawrence Arnold (six receptions, 132 yards) and Luke Grimm (four receptions, 160 yards) each had three touchdown catches.

The Jayhawks (9-4) led 28-7 late in the second quarter before the Rebels (9-5) scored 17 unanswered points.

The Jayhawks’ defense intercepted UNLV quarterback Jayden Maiava twice, but 210 yards in penalties hurt Kansas in what turned into a second-half shootout. Maiava finished with 291 yards, three TDs and the two picks on 24-for-35 passing.

Quick Lane Bowl: Minnesota 30, Bowling Green 24

Darius Taylor had 35 carries for 208 yards and a touchdown and the Golden Gophers held on for a win over the Falcons in Detroit.

Cole Kramer passed for two touchdowns and rushed for one more for Minnesota (6-7), which won its seventh straight bowl game. Elijah Spencer and Jameson Geers had one touchdown catch apiece.

Connor Bazelak passed for 221 yards and a touchdown and rushed for another score for Bowling Green (7-6). Odieu Hiliare had 10 catches for 152 yards and a touchdown, and PaSean Wimberly led the way on the ground with 63 rushing yards and a TD.

First Responder Bowl: Texas State 45, Rice 21

Brian Holloway returned two interceptions for touchdowns and Jahmyl Jeter ran for three scores as the Bobcats won their FBS bowl debut, trouncing the Owls in Dallas.

Texas State (8-5) limited Rice (6-7) to 197 total yards, intercepting five passes, forcing and recovering a fumble and notching four sacks. Holloway had interceptions returns of 36 and 48 yards, and Jeter made scoring runs of 29, 1 and 1 yard. Ismael Mahdi rushed for a game-high 122 yards on 24 attempts, while quarterback TJ Finley hit on 15 of 29 passes for 152 yards.

Rice quarterback AJ Padgett struggled before being pulled in the fourth quarter, completing only 10 of 21 attempts for 85 yards with a touchdown and three interceptions. Backup Shawqi Itraish wound up 2 of 4 for 19 yards with two picks.

REPORT: STAR RB DEVIN NEAL RETURNING TO KANSAS IN 2024

The Kansas Jayhawks got welcome news before playing UNLV in the Guaranteed Rate Bowl on Tuesday night in Phoenix, as star running back Devin Neal has told the coaching staff he will return to the team in 2024, ESPN reported.

An All-Big 12 second-team selection, the true junior (5-foot-11, 215 pounds) had been deliberating about declaring for the NFL draft.

In 12 games (10 starts) in the regular season, he has rushed for 1,209 yards and 15 touchdowns on 183 carries for an average of 6.6 yards per carry and 100.8 yards per game. He also caught 24 passes for 214 yards and one touchdown.

In 36 games (30 starts) over three seasons, Neal has rushed for 3,006 yards and 32 TDs on 521 carries. He ranks fifth in program history for career rushing yards and third in rushing TDs.

Neal, whose hometown

Neal, whose hometown is Lawrence, Kansas, would have a shot at becoming the Jayhawks’ all-time leader, surpassing June Henley’s 3,841 yards and 41 touchdowns.

The Jayhawks (8-4) were trying for their first bowl game victory since beating Minnesota 42-21 in the 2008 Insight Bowl. UNLV (9-4) has not won a bowl game since 2000.

BASEBALL NEWS

YANKEES TRADE OUTFIELDER ESTEVAN FLORIAL TO CLEVELAND GUARDIANS FOR RIGHT-HANDER CODY MORRIS

NEW YORK (AP) — The Yankees traded former top prospect Estevan Florial to the Cleveland Guardians on Tuesday, acquiring right-hander Cody Morris for the 26-year-old outfielder.

Florial signed with the Yankees in 2015 and was rated their top prospect in 2019 by MLB.com before dropping to sixth in 2020, 10th in 2021 and 30th in 2022.

He made his big league debut in August 2020 and has played in just 48 major league games over four seasons, hitting .209 with one homer, 11 RBIs and six stolen bases.

Florial batted .230 with eight RBIs and three steals in 19 games for the Yankees this year while hitting .284 with 28 homers, 79 RBIs and 25 stolen bases in 101 games for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

Morris, 27, made his big league debut in September 2022 and had a 6.75 ERA in six appearances with the Guardians this year, striking out nine and walking six in eight innings. He averaged 95.2 mph with his fastball in the majors, also throwing a cutter, curveball and changeup.

Morris was 2-1 with a 3.23 ERA in four starts and 17 relief appearances for Triple-A Columbus and Double-A Akron this year, striking out 56 and walking 27 in 39 innings.

New York appeared to have a glut of outfielders after acquiring Juan Soto and Trent Grisham from San Diego and Alex Verdugo from Boston. The Yankees traded right-handers Michael King, Jhony Brito, Randy Vásquez and Drew Thorpe to the Padres in the Soto swap along with catcher Kyle Higashioka.

REPORT: KIERMAIER, BLUE JAYS AGREE TO 1-YEAR, $10.5M DEAL

Veteran outfielder Kevin Kiermaier agreed to a one-year, $10.5-million contract to return to the Toronto Blue Jays, a source told Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith.

The 33-year-old spent the 2023 campaign with the Blue Jays and won the fourth Gold Glove of his career.

Kiermaier recovered from hip surgery in 2022 to slash .265/.322/.419 with eight home runs, 36 RBIs, and 14 stolen bases in 129 games last season.

He is projected

He is projected to be the Blue Jays’ starting centre fielder in 2024 with Daulton Varsho in left field and George Springer patrolling right field.

Kiermaier continues to rank among the game’s very best outfielders in a number of key defensive metrics. He ranked in the 98th percentile in outs above average, the 95th percentile in arm strength, and the 96th percentile in fielding-run value last season, according to Baseball Savant.

REPORT: DOMINICAN AUTHORITIES SEARCHING FOR WANDER FRANCO

Authorities in the Dominican Republic conducted a pair of searches Tuesday looking for Tampa Bay Rays shortstop Wander Franco but were unable to find him, according to Dominican newspaper Listin Diario.

Per the report, authorities believe Franco had a relationship with a minor in Puerto Plata, a coastal city 130 miles north of Santo Domingo.

The report stated members of the Santo Domingo Children’s and Adolescents Prosecutor’s Office first arrived at Franco’s “maternal home” in the city of Bani, then went to Franco’s home in Villa Real, about 55 miles south.

Franco, 22, was not at either residence.

The report did not state whether Franco was considered a fugitive or if authorities would continue searching for him but did state it would be typical for authorities to leave a contact number with Franco’s wife so he could contact them.

Dominican-based MLB reporter Hector Gomez posted on X (formerly Twitter) on Tuesday: “New evidence has been found in the case of Wander Franco that further implicates him in the accusations that have been made against him of alleged relationships with minors.”

The Rays placed Franco on the restricted list Aug. 14 and then on paid administrative leave on Aug. 22 as MLB launched an investigation into social media posts indicating Franco was involved in an inappropriate relationship with a minor.

Franco since was moved to Tampa Bay’s active roster, but only because administrative leave is unavailable during the offseason. He could be placed back on administrative leave when spring training begins.

Franco, who was first called up in 2021 as one of the most hyped prospects in recent years, played a career-high 112 games and was an All-Star for the first time in 2023. He set career highs in virtually all statistical categories, including home runs (17), RBIs (58), stolen bases (30) and runs (65) while batting .281 with a .344 on-base percentage and a .475 slugging percentage.

REPORT: WHITE SOX SIGNING C MARTIN MALDONADO

The Chicago White Sox and catcher Martin Maldonado have agreed on a one-year contract with an option for the 2025 season, MLB Network reported Tuesday night.

Maldonado, 37, is known more for his defensive skill and handling of pitching staffs behind the plate than he is for his proficiency standing at the plate. He had been with the Houston Astros since a 2019 trade that sent Tony Kemp to the Chicago Cubs, contributing to American League pennants in 2019, ’21 and ’22 and the World Series championship in 2022.

He batted .191 last season with 15 home runs and 36 RBIs in 362 at-bats over 116 games.

Maldonado, a native of Puerto Rico, was selected out of high school by the then-Anaheim Angels in the 27th round of the 2004 MLB Draft. He has played in the major leagues for the Milwaukee Brewers (2011-16), Los Angeles Angels (2017-18), Kansas City Royals (2019), Chicago Cubs (2019) and Astros (2018; 2019-23). He became a free agent in November.

He won a Gold Glove in 2017 with the Angels.

In his 13-year career, Maldonado is batting .207 with 111 home runs, 361 RBIs, a .282 on-base percentage and a .349 slugging percentage in 3,314 at-bats over 1,118 games.

INDIANA TEAM NEWS RELEASES/SPORTS NEWS

COLTS FOOTBALL

COLTS RELEASE UNOFFICIAL DEPTH CHART FOR WEEK 17 GAME VS. LAS VEGAS RAIDERS

OFFENSE

» WR: Michael Pittman Jr., D.J. Montgomery

» LT: Bernhard Raimann

» LG: Quenton Nelson

» C: Ryan Kelly, Wesley French, Jack Anderson

» RG: Will Fries, Josh Sills

» RT: Braden Smith, Blake Freeland

» TE: Mo Alie-Cox, Drew Ogletree

» TE: Kylen Granson, Will Mallory

» WR: Josh Downs

» WR: Alec Pierce

» QB: Gardner Minshew II, Sam Ehlinger

» RB: Jonathan Taylor, Zack Moss, Trey Sermon, Tyler Goodson

Moss (forearm) and Pittman (concussion/shoulder) missed last Sunday’s game against the Atlanta Falcons.

After a three-game absence, Taylor returned in Week 16. He rushed for 43 yards and a touchdown.

DEFENSE

» DE: Kwity Paye, Tyquan Lewis, Jake Martin

» DT: DeForest Buckner, Adetomiwa Adebawore

» NT: Grover Stewart, Taven Bryan, Eric Johnson II

» DE: Samson Ebukam, Dayo Odeyingbo, Isaiah Land

» WLB: E.J. Speed, Ronnie Harrison Jr.

» MLB: Zaire Franklin, Segun Olubi

» SAM: Cameron McGrone, Grant Stuard

» CB: JuJu Brents, Ameer Speed

» FS: Rodney Thomas II, Trevor Denbow

» SS: Nick Cross, Henry Black

» N: Kenny Moore II, Chris Lammons

» CB: Jaylon Jones, Darrell Baker Jr.

On Tuesday, the Colts placed Blackmon on Injured Reserve. In a corresponding move, the team signed safety Henry Black.

Last Saturday, the team elevated Lammons to their 53-man roster.

SPECIALISTS

» P: Rigoberto Sanchez

» PK: Matt Gay

» H: Rigoberto Sanchez

» LS: Luke Rhodes

» KR: Josh Downs

» PR: Josh Downs

INDIANA PACERS BASKETBALL

GAME REWIND: PACERS 123, ROCKETS 117

In a battle between the No. 1-rated offense and No. 2 defense, the top bucket-getters in the NBA came out on top.

On Tuesday in Space City, the Indiana Pacers (15-14) returned to above .500 by edging the Houston Rockets (15-13) 123-117 at Toyota Center. With the win, the Pacers snapped a two-game losing streak, earned an eighth consecutive victory over Houston, and dropped the Rockets to 12-3 at home.

Pacers All-Star Tyrese Haliburton put on another clutch performance, hitting the go-ahead bucket in the final moments before finishing with a game-high 33 points (13-for-21 shooting, 7-for-13 3-pointers) and 10 assists. Eight Pacers players finished in double-digit scoring on the night.

In the fourth quarter, trailing by 11, the Rockets used two big runs to take a two-point lead with 1:50 left. However, with the game tied at 117 with 63 seconds left, Haliburton made his seventh 3-pointer to put the Blue & Gold back in front.

Myles Turner stopped a dunk attempt at the rim on the ensuing position before Andrew Nembhard then dropped a floater down the final stretch, and the Pacers got enough stops to seal the win.

“When you get to .500, you feel a little more pressure,” Haliburton said. “We felt like this game was really a must-win for us.. That’s a really good team over there, a really feisty team. We just figured out a way to pull it out today.”

For Houston, 6-foot-11 center Alperen Sengun led the Rockets with 30 points and a career-best 16 rebounds.

The Rockets logged a season-high 15 steals in the game, while the Pacers matched a season-worst 20 turnovers. Houston also held advantages in points in the paint (74-44) and second-chance points (22-13). Indiana held the Rockets to just five made 3-pointers while draining 19 as a team from deep.

Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle said this game was one the team needs to build off of.

“This is a really, really great win for our team coming off this tough stretch (losing six of last seven games),” Carlisle said. “I’m very proud of the guys; very happy for them.”

Indiana trotted out a fresh starting five on Tuesday, with Aaron Nesmith and Jalen Smith joining Haliburton, Nembhard and Turner.

In the first half, the Rockets outscored the Pacers 40-28 in the paint and took advantage of 12 Pacers turnovers to lead 67-64.

Haliburton scored 15 points in the first half while dishing out seven assists, and Sengun had 14 points at the break for the Rockets.

While the Pacers shot 65 percent in the first quarter, five turnovers led to the score being tied 33-33 by the end of the frame.

The Pacers drilled their first six 3-point attempts of the game – each coming from a different shooter – and Turner also completed an and-one to put the Blue & Gold up 23-15 with 5:16 left in the first quarter.

A Sengun hook shot then sparked an 8-2 Houston run, leading to Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle to call a timeout with the Blue & Gold leading 25-23.

In the final three minutes of the first quarter, the score stayed within three points before baskets by Amen Thompson and Tari Eason in the final eight seconds knotted the score at 33.

After trading the lead four times in the first 90 seconds of the second quarter, a 9-foot fadeaway shot from Rockets guard Aaron Holiday and a 3-pointer from Eason gave the Rockets a 43-39 edge.

From 9:12 to 6:46 in the second quarter, a 12-3 Houston run that featured a second three from Holiday and an and-one from Thompson propelled the Rockets ahead 51-42.

Haliburton then took the offense into his own hands, scoring 10 straight points for the Blue & Gold to narrow it to 59-54 with 3:27 left in the half.

In the final moments of the half, Isaiah Jackson came off the bench, finished an alley-oop, and got a layup to make it a one-possession game.

Out of intermission, Haliburton came out red-hot to start the second half, scoring 13 points by making a trio of 3-pointers to help the Pacers go on a 17-7 run and earn an 81-74 lead with 6:45 left in the third quarter.

While Haliburton cooled off the remainder of the period, the Pacers’ bench mustered a 14-6 run on five points by Jackson, four from Nembhard, and a 3-pointer by Hield, to lead 95-84 with 1:34 on the clock.

After a second Hield 3-pointer, the Pacers held a 101-90 lead going into the final 12 minutes.

Houston opened the fourth quarter on a 12-4 run to make it a 105-103 with just under eight minutes remaining.

A 10-2 run by Houston, on four points by Sengun, gave the Rockets a 117-115 lead with 1:50 left, which prompted a timeout by the Blue & Gold. From there, the Pacers tied the game on free throws by Turner before putting on the final touches.

Overall, the Pacers shot 52.4 percent to the Rockets’ 48.5 percent. After Haliburton, Turner had 18 points, Smith put up 12 points, Jackson, Hield and Nembhard each scored 11, and Bennedict Mathurin had 10.

Fred VanVleet was the second-highest scorer for the Rockets with 18 points.

Indiana will play at the Chicago Bulls (14-18) on Thursday before completing the 2023 portion of the schedule at home against the New York Knicks (17-12) on Saturday.

Inside the Numbers

Indiana shot just three free throws in the first half before taking 18 in the second half. As a team, the Pacers shot 18-for-21 and the Rockers were 18-for-22 from the charity stripe.

The Pacers assisted on 28 field goals. The Rockets had 19 assists.

Houston outrebounded Indiana 15-10 on the offensive glass.

Tyrese Haliburton achieved his 21st double-double of the season.

Haliburton has scored at least 30 points seven times in a game this season.

There were 15 lead changes and six ties in the game.

Rockets center Alperen Sengun recorded his 10th double-double of the season.

Eight of the Pacers’ nine players that took the floor scored in double figures.

You Can Quote Me On That

“We have to be a balanced team. That’s how we’re built right now. Ty (Haliburton) carries a statistical load that’s at a much higher level, and we’ve got to protect him as best we can from the physical pounding he takes from every team’s best physical, perimeter defender … and try to put him in positions to get open shots. The balance is always key.” — Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle on the win

“This is a game we need to try and build on.” — Carlisle on the win

“I thought Myles Turner played a great defensive game. (Alperen) Sengun is playing in his home building and there’s a lot of noise. He creates a lot of contact. There were a lot of fouls being called out there, but down the stretch Myles did a great job with five fouls of defending him without fouling. He protected the rim a couple times when other guys were attacking it and came up with probably the biggest rebound of the game and hit a big three in the fourth.” — Carlisle on the defensive effort

“We were under two minutes and I was considering advancing the ball and running one of our late-game actions. Mike (Weiner) gave me a really good suggestion on a play to use the entire court and get some momentum into it. Myles knocks down the free throws, and I think we ran it two straight times and scored on both. Players gotta make the plays, but being able to run the right thing at the right time is key. That’s why Mike has been such a great coach, a great assistant, for me.” — Carlisle on the late-game plays

“He’s a killer. I say it over, and over, and over. He’s a killer, man. That’s the star player on our team and we look for him to make shots like that down in the clutch. It’s not a surprise.” – Isaiah Jackson on Tyrese Haliburton’s clutch shot

“I think we play really well together; we compliment each other. Especially rebounding and just effecting shots and stuff ont he defensive end. The spacing out, I think we can play together really well.” – Jackson on playing minutes with Jalen Smith when Turner was in foul trouble

“I thought all our bigs did a good job of staying down, and when they did get in the air not allowing (Sengun) to have and-ones and no layups – making him earn it at the free throw line. He’s a really tough cover. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s an All-Star this year.” – Haliburton on the Pacers’ defense on Sengun

“We’ve played a lot of different lineups this year. We experiment with a lot of different lineups in practice and stuff like that. I thought we did a good job of being prepared and everyone did a good job of preparing for their role and filling in when needed.” – Haliburton on the new starting lineup

“I think the biggest thing is just getting timely stops: getting stops at the appropriate time to win games. We were able to do that tonight.” — Haliburton on the defensive effort

Stat of the Night

Eight players scored in double figures for the Pacers against the Rockets. It’s just the second time that’s happened this season, the Blue & Gold are 2-0 when it happens.

Noteworthy

Indiana’s record hasn’t dropped below .500 this season.

Bruce Brown, who started in the first 27 games of the season for the Pacers, missed a second straight game due to a right knee bone bruise.

Pacers guard Buddy Hield needed one 3-pointer to pass Rashard Lewis (1,787 career threes) for 25th place on the NBA’s all-time list. He made three against the Rockets.

Jalen Smith earned his first start of the season and it was just the second start for Aaron Nesmith. Smith exited the game in the fourth quarter with an injury and didn’t return.

Hield reached 500 career steals on Tuesday.

Former Pacer Victor Oladipo didn’t take the floor in the game for the Rockets. He hasn’t played this season due to a left patellar tendon repair.

Up Next

The Pacers travel to Chicago to take on DeMar DeRozan and the Bulls on Thursday, Dec. 28 at 8:00 PM ET.

FUEL HOCKEY

FUEL HOST NAILERS IN WEEKNIGHT BATTLE WEDNESDAY

GAME DAY TIMING:

6:00 P.M.: Doors open

7:00 P.M.: Puck drop

WINTERTAINMENT AND DO317:

The Fuel are proud to recognize the amazing educators in the Indianapolis area on Wednesday, December 27, 2023! The students are on break, so join us for Teacher Appreciation Night & Do317 Night.

Enjoy $3 beverages, $1 popcorn, and $7 specialty T-shirts and craft beer! Stick around after the game for postgame autographs with select players in the lobby!

Any educator that shows their teacher badge at the Teachers’ Treasures’ booth will receive a gift!

PARKING: Parking at Indiana State Fairgrounds is $10. Fans are encouraged to arrive early to park due to anticipated large crowds at the Fairgrounds. Infield parking is not available at this time.

TICKETS: Tickets for today’s game can be purchased at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum Box Office or online HERE. Kids two and under do not need a ticket as long as they sit on the lap of a ticketed patron.

BAG POLICY: The Indy Fuel now follow the same bag policy as all Indiana State Fairgrounds events. All bags are subject to search upon entering the arena. All bags larger than 14” x 14” x 6” (backpacks, suitcases, duffel bags, etc.) are prohibited. Please plan accordingly to help facilitate a quick and efficient entry process. Please report suspicious bags to an Indiana Farmers Coliseum team member.

PURDUE FOOTBALL

GREEN HEADED TO WEST LAFAYETTE

Former Georgia DB Nyland Green has transferred to Purdue and has three years of eligibility remaining. Green played three years for the Bulldogs. He was in the recruiting class of 2021 and was a four-star prospect and a national top-100 defensive back recruit out of Newton, Georgia.

SCOURTON HEADS TO PORTAL

The Athletic is reporting sophomore linebacker Nic Scourton is leaving Purdue and entering the transfer portal. Scourton had 50 tackles this season, 15 for a loss. He led the Boilermakers with 10 sacks.

NOTRE DAME WOMEN’S BASKETBALL

HIDALGO EARNS FIRST AP NATIONAL PLAYER OF THE WEEK AWARD

SOUTH BEND, Ind. – After posting her first triple-double of her already impressive college career, Hannah Hidalgo has earned her first AP National Player of the Week award.

Hidalgo had 26 points, 11 rebounds, 10 assists and 5 steals in an 84-47 win over Western Michigan on Dec. 21. It was the highest-scoring triple-double in program history and just the second ever notched by a true freshman.

Hidalgo continues to prove she is one of the best players — not just freshmen — in all of college basketball. She is pacing the ACC with 23.8 points per game, and she leads the nation in steals (6.0). Hidalgo already has five performances of at least 25 points on the year.

Additionally, Hidalgo has already earned four ACC Rookie of the Week honors this year and one ACC Player of the Week award.

HIDALGO BRINGS HOME ACC PLAYER AND ROOKIE OF THE WEEK HONORS

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — For the fifth time this year, Hannah Hidalgo is the ACC Rookie of the Week. For the second time, she has coupled that with an ACC Player of the Week honor. Hidalgo is the first player in Notre Dame women’s basketball history to notch both the Player and Rookie of the Week awards in the same week more than once. Brianna Turner did it once during her first year at Notre Dame.

Hidalgo had 26 points, 11 rebounds, 10 assists and 5 steals in an 84-47 win over Western Michigan on Dec. 21. It was the highest-scoring triple-double in program history and just the second ever notched by a true freshman.

The freshman out of New Jersey continues to prove she is one of the best players — just not freshmen — in all of college basketball. She is pacing the ACC with 23.8 points per game, and she leads the nation in steals (6.0). Hidalgo already has five performances of at least 25 points on the year.

PURDUE FT. WAYNE WOMEN’S BASKETBALL

ERIN WOODSON PICKS UP SECOND #HLWBB FRESHMAN OF THE WEEK HONOR

INDIANAPOLIS – For the second week in a row, Purdue Fort Wayne women’s basketball’s Erin Woodson was selected as the Horizon League’s Freshman of the Week, the league announced on Tuesday (Dec. 26).

In 19 minutes off the bench, Woodson scored 15 points on just five shots in a 77-43 win over Aquinas. The Richmond, Virginia native was 3-for-5 from the floor, 3-for-4 from 3-point range and 6-for-6 from the free throw line. Woodson added three rebounds, three assists and two steals while committing just one turnover.

Woodson is one of two players in the league to earn Freshman of the Week twice, joining Carter McCray of Northern Kentucky. Purdue Fort Wayne is still the only Horizon League program to have two different players earn Freshman of the Week, as Renna Schwieterman picked up the honor on December 4.

Woodson is helping the Mastodons through their best 12-game start in program history. She and the 8-4 ‘Dons will be back in action on December 30 with a Horizon League game at Milwaukee. The ‘Dons are 2-0 in the league and will seek their first 3-0 start to league play (not counting forfeits) since the 2009-10 season.

VALPO MEN’S BASKETBALL

MEN’S BASKETBALL TO CLOSE OUT NONCONFERENCE SLATE AT ELON

Valparaiso (4-8, 0-2 MVC)

at Elon (6-6, 0-0 CAA)

Game No. 13 – Friday, Dec. 29, 1 p.m. CT

Schar Center (5,100) – Elon, N.C.

Next Up in Valpo Basketball: The Valparaiso University men’s basketball team will return to the court following a nine-day hiatus for the Christmas holiday on Friday, Dec. 29 as the Beacons close out the nonconference portion of the season with an afternoon tilt at Elon. After the final horn sounds on Friday afternoon in North Carolina, it will be exclusively conference games from that point forward, starting on Wednesday, Jan. 3 vs. Bradley.

Last Time Out: Valpo fell to Samford 79-61 on Dec. 19 in the final game before the Christmas holiday, the last home contest of the calendar year and the nonconference home finale. Freshmen Cooper Schwieger (15) and Sherman Weatherspoon IV (11) were the team’s top two scorers, while it was also rookies who owned the squad’s top rebounding totals as Kaspar Sepp pulled down 11 in his first collegiate start and Schwieger added seven.

Following the Beacons: Streaming – FloHoops

Radio – 95.1 FM, WVUR, ValpoAthletics.com, TuneIn Radio App – Todd Ickow (play-by-play) and Brandon Vickrey (analyst)

Twitter updates – @ValpoBasketball

Links for video, audio and live stats will be available at ValpoAthletics.com.

Head Coach Roger Powell Jr.: Roger Powell Jr. (4-8) is in his first season as the head coach of the Valpo men’s basketball program. After helping guide Gonzaga to a 121-13 record during his four seasons as an assistant coach, Powell returned to Valpo, where he was part of head coach Bryce Drew’s staff from 2011-2016 and led the team to 124 wins in five seasons, including a program-record 30 victories and a National Invitation Tournament (NIT) title game appearance in 2015-16. He was part of head coach Mark Few’s Gonzaga staff as the Bulldogs reached the 2021 national championship game after winning their first 31 games of the season. During Powell’s first season on staff in 2019-20, Gonzaga was 31-2 at the time the NCAA college basketball season was halted due to COVID-19. The Bulldogs reached the Sweet Sixteen in each of his final three seasons on staff, including two Elite Eight appearances and the aforementioned trip to the 2021 national title game. Prior to his arrival at Gonzaga, Powell served as the associate head coach at Vanderbilt University under Bryce Drew from 2016-2019. During his stint as an assistant at Valpo, he was part of four Horizon League regular-season championships in a five-year period while also leading the 2012-13 and 2014-15 squads to Horizon League tournament titles and NCAA Tournament appearances. A product of Joliet West High School and a native of Joliet, Ill., Powell capped a prolific collegiate playing career at Illinois with a national title game appearance in 2005 before going on to a successful professional playing career.

Series Notes: This marks just the second clash between these two foes after Valpo prevailed 71-66 at the ARC last season. The Beacons will make their first-ever journey to Elon, N.C. In last season’s victorious effort, Valpo made 10 triples and built up an 18-point advantage before holding on for the triumph. 

Scouting the Phoenix

Most recently played at South Carolina on Dec. 22.

Undefeated in home and neutral site games this season, owning a combined 6-0 mark in those contests, a streak Valpo hopes to snap.

Are close to eclipsing their season win total from a year ago, when they went 8-24 overall and 6-12 in the Colonial Athletic Association.

Picked to finish 10th of 14 in the CAA preseason poll.

There are only two teams in all of Division-I known as the Phoenix, and both are on the Valpo nonconference schedule this season – Green Bay and Elon. Valpo will look to finish out the Phoenix sweep on Friday.

Sepp Starts

Valpo had featured the same starting lineup for each of the first 11 games this season – Jerome Palm, Cooper Schwieger, Jaxon Edwards, Darius DeAveiro and Isaiah Stafford.

This marked the first time Valpo had utilized the same starting five for each of the first 11 games of a season since 2012-13, when the eventual Horizon League champions started Ryan Broekhoff, Kevin Van Wijk, Ben Boggs, Erik Buggs and Will Bogan.

In 2012-13, the 12th game featured Valpo’s first starting lineup change of the year as LaVonte Dority and Matt Kenney replaced Will Bogan and Erik Buggs for the Dec. 20 game vs. IUPUI.

This season, it was once again the 12th game where Valpo made its first lineup tweak. Freshman Kaspar Sepp replaced Palm in the starting five for the Dec. 19 contest vs. Samford.

The last time Valpo used the same starting lineup for each of the first 12 games of the season was 2007-08. That season’s quintet was comprised of Shawn Huff, Samuel Haanpaa, Urule Igbavboa, Brandon McPherson and Jake Diebler.

Sepp Surging

Speaking of Kaspar Sepp, the freshman tallied a game-high 11 rebounds on Dec. 19 vs. Samford, his second double-figure rebound total in his last four contests, joining 12 on Dec. 6 at Central Michigan.

Over the last four games, Sepp is averaging 8.3 rebounds per game. He has squeezed five boards or more in each of those contests after totaling six rebounds over the team’s first eight games of the year, only four of which he played.

Sepp has also averaged 6.5 points per game on an efficient 13-of-20 (65 percent) shooting over the last four games. That came after he had just five shot attempts all season prior to this stretch.

Before the last four games, Sepp had not scored in any of the team’s previous seven games, three where he played and did not score and four where he did not play (coach’s decision).

Cooper Returns to Form

Cooper Schwieger is averaging 10.8 points per game and 4.8 rebounds per game this season.

Schwieger had scored 12 points or more in five consecutive games and in six of his eight games this season before Dec. 6 at Central Michigan, when he was tagged with foul trouble and had a season-low four points in a season-low 19 minutes, his first game this season with fewer than eight points. He was then held to two points on Dec. 9 at Virginia Tech and seven on Dec. 16 vs. Chicago State.

Schwieger returned to form on Dec. 19 vs. Samford, scoring 15 points, his highest total of the last four games and his third game this season with 15+ points. He did so on 6-of-8 shooting against the Bulldogs.

Schwieger also hauled in seven rebounds against Samford, his highest total in the last six games and tied for his highest total against a Division-I opponent this season. This marked his fifth overall game with seven rebounds or more.

The Overland Park, Kan. native ranks second in the Missouri Valley Conference in scoring average among freshmen at 10.8 points per game. He is one of two rookies averaging double figures, joining Drake’s Kevin Overton (13.8 ppg).

Schwieger ranks second among MVC freshmen with 0.9 blocks per game and is second among MVC rookies with 4.8 rebounds per game, behind only his teammate Kaspar Sepp at 4.9.

Schwieger is one of seven freshmen nationally averaging at least 10.5 points, 4.5 rebounds and 0.8 blocks.

Taking the Takeaway Battle

Valpo ranks third in the MVC in turnovers forced per game (14.1) and third in turnover margin (+2.8).

Valpo has lost the turnover battle just twice in the team’s 12 games this year.

Valpo has won or tied the turnover battle in each of the last five games.

Most recently, Valpo and Samford each committed 10 turnovers on Dec. 19. This marked the fewest turnovers this season by an opponent of the Bulldogs, who are known for their full-court press.

The Season of Giving

Valpo starting point guard Darius DeAveiro has thrived in the assist department of late, giving out five or more helpers in each of the last eight games, including a season-high 10 on Dec. 19 vs. Samford.

Just 12 games into the season, DeAveiro has 67 assists, one shy of his single-season career high of 68, set in 25 games last year. He’s up to 185 career assists, 15 shy of 200.

His 10 assists against the Bulldogs tied a career high set on Nov. 13, 2022 vs. Western Michigan.

Entering the Nov. 21 game vs. Western Illinois, DeAveiro had played 58 career games and owned a career high of eight points, achieved twice (Jan. 15, 2022 vs. Missouri State and Nov. 13, 2022 vs. Western Michigan). After that, he scored at least eight points in three straight games including a personal-best 11 on Nov. 21 vs. Western Illinois and Nov. 29 vs. Drake.

DeAveiro made three 3-pointers on Nov. 29 vs. Drake after having entered the game with no more than one 3-point make in any of his first 60 career games. For further comparison, he made three 3s all of last season in 25 games.

The junior entered this season with seven career made 3s over 54 games and has surpassed that with eight made 3s in the first 11 contests this year.

DeAveiro busted out of a shooting slump as he entered the Nov. 21 game against the Leathernecks having gone 0-for-10 from the field over his previous three games and 2-for-17 shooting for the season. He had scored seven total points over his first four games this season before scoring 30 points in a three-game span.

DeAveiro became just the third Valpo player in the last decade to shoot 80 percent or better from the field (minimum five attempts) while handing out at least seven assists in the game against the Leathernecks. He was the first to do it since Max Joseph on Jan. 10, 2018 vs. Drake. Before that, the most recent was Erik Buggs on March 2, 2013 against Green Bay.

Notes Wrapping Up Dec. 19: Samford 79, Valpo 61

­Samford extended its winning streak to 10 games and improved to 10-2 on the season. The Bulldogs entered the game ranked third in the country in scoring average at 91.5 points per game.

Valpo held Samford to 79 points, its first time under 88 in a six-game span and tied for the team’s lowest scoring output during the 10-game winning streak.

Valpo’s 10 turnovers were an improvement from last year’s game at Samford, when Valpo gave it away 17 times in a 79-49 setback. The Beacons trailed that game by 30 at halftime versus trailing by only eight at the break this season.

Valpo attempted 30 3-pointers, its highest attempt total against a Division-I opponent this season and highest since the season opener vs. Trinity Christian (33). The Beacons made just six of their 30 attempts in the game against Samford.

Samford shot a robust 67.9 percent from the field after halftime (19-of-28) to finish the game at 50.8 percent. Valpo shot 35.4 percent for the afternoon.

The Beacons shot 81.8 percent from the free-throw line (9-of-11), while Samford shot just 45.5 percent at the stripe (5-of-11).

Jahari’s Jumpers

Jahari Williamson returned to the rotation on Dec. 16 vs. Chicago State after missing the previous two games due to an illness. He made a significant impact, tallying 20 points and going 4-of-6 from 3-point territory.

Williamson’s scoring output against Chicago State represented a career high. He surpassed his previous best of 16 established in the Nov. 6 season opener vs. Trinity Christian and his previous high against a Division-I opponent of 13, which came on Nov. 21 vs. Western Illinois.

Before the 20-point outpouring, Williamson had been held to six points or fewer in six of his previous seven games.

His four made 3s matched a season high set in the aforementioned season opener against the Trolls.

Williamson became the third different Valpo player to score 20 points or more in a game this season, joining Isaiah Stafford (five times) and Ola Ajiboye (once).

This was the highest single-game scoring output by a Valpo true freshman since Sheldon Edwards had 20 on Dec. 9, 2020 vs. SIUE.

Notes Wrapping Up Dec. 16: Chicago State 63, Valpo 62

Ola Ajiboye was 3-of-3 shooting and tallied seven points in 15 minutes of action. He boasted a plus-minus of +9.

Chicago State had 22 free-throw attempts (17 made) to Valpo’s 11 (eight made).

Valpo’s bench outscored Chicago State’s bench 33-5, thanks in large part to 20 points from Jahari Williamson.

Chicago State picked up its first-ever win at the ARC in 17 chances, but it should be noted that this is not the Chicago State team of yesteryear, when Valpo dominated the matchup in the Mid-Continent Conference. The Cougars, who beat Valpo 87-74 last season, snapped a 38-game losing streak to Top-25 teams by knocking off No. 25 Northwestern in Evanston on Dec. 13.

This was Valpo’s first game decided by the slimmest of margins since Feb. 26 of last season, a 77-76 defeat at Murray State.

If you take out the first four minutes and the last four minutes of the game, Valpo outscored Chicago State 62-43, but the Cougars started and finished on 10-0 runs.

Stafford’s Steady Scoring

Isaiah Stafford had scored 14 points or more in five straight games before being held to eight on Dec. 16 vs. Chicago State, just his second single-figure output in 11 contests this season. He followed that with a season-low two points on Dec. 19 vs. Samford, when he was limited to 15 minutes and battled an injury.

The junior college transfer has led the team in scoring (outright or tied) in eight of the 12 games this season.

Stafford, who ranks 10th in the MVC in scoring at 16.2 points per game, had a season-high two blocks in the Dec. 9 game at Virginia Tech to go along with four steals, matching a personal best that was set in the Nov. 6 opener vs. Trinity Christian.

In the Dec. 9 game at Virginia Tech, Stafford became the first Valpo player with 14+ points, four or more steals and multiple blocks in a game since Ryan Broekhoff on Feb. 10, 2011 vs. Detroit Mercy.

Welcome to The Valley

Valpo newcomers have achieved Missouri Valley Conference recognition in back-to-back weeks as Isaiah Stafford was tabbed MVC Newcomer of the Week on Nov. 20 before Cooper Schwieger earned MVC Freshman of the Week on Nov. 27.

Valpo has already won two MVC weekly awards in the first three weeks this season, one away from the team’s season total from last year and already only two away from the team’s highest total number of weekly awards in a season since joining The Valley.

Schwieger’s honor came after he averaged 15.0 points and 5.0 rebounds per game, going 4-of-6 from 3-point range in a pair of wins over Western Illinois and Southern.

Stafford averaged 24.0 points per game during the week of his award, tallying 18 in a home win over Green Bay before exploding for 30 at No. 23 Illinois.

Bench Boost

In the Nov. 21 win over Western Illinois, Valpo held the upper hand in bench points, 41-8. Three players – all underclassmen – combined for the 41 bench points as Ola Ajiboye (21), Jahari Williamson (13) and Sherman Weatherspoon IV (seven) all made key contributions.

Ajiboye’s career-high 21 points came on 8-of-10 shooting to go along with eight rebounds, two blocks, one steal and one assist.

Ajiboye over doubled his previous career high of 10 points, which came on Nov. 6 of this season vs. Trinity Christian.

He became the first Valpo player to shoot 80 percent or better at the ARC (with a minimum of 10 attempts) in a game against a Division-I opponent since Alec Peters on March 4, 2014 vs. UIC. He became just the 10th Valpo player in the last decade to shoot at an 80 percent clip or better with at least 10 shots.

Ajiboye became the first Valpo player to come off the bench and score 20 points or more against a Division-I opponent since Sheldon Edwards on Feb. 16, 2022 vs. Loyola.

This marked quite the turnaround for Ajiboye as he played but did not score in the previous game on Nov. 17 at No. 23 Illinois.

Ajiboye became just the fourth Valpo player in the last decade to come off the bench and score 20+ points while pulling down 8+ rebounds. He joined Sheldon Edwards (Dec. 9, 2020 vs. SIUE), Darien Walker (Nov. 14, 2014 vs. East Tennessee State) and Bobby Capobianco (Nov. 29, 2013 vs. Mercer).

Williamson hit three 3s en route to his 13 points while also swiping three steals. He became the first Valpo freshman to achieve that combo since Connor Barrett on Jan. 9, 2021 vs. Missouri State.

 “I” Stands for Isaiah

As Paul Oren of “The Victory Bell” put it, the “I” on the center of the court in Champaign stood for Isaiah – as in Valpo’s Isaiah Stafford – rather than Illinois on Nov. 17 as the Beacons clashed with the No. 23 Fighting Illini.

Stafford scored 30 points on 11-of-23 shooting, 3-of-8 from 3 and 5-of-7 at the free-throw line. He finished one point shy of a career high that was set on Feb. 26, 2022 while playing for Southern Indiana vs. Lindenwood.

Stafford’s performance against the Illini coupled with his 18 points on Nov. 14 vs. Green Bay helped him earn MVC Newcomer of the Week honors on Nov. 20.

The 30 points at Illinois marked the most points scored by a Beacon since Ben Krikke tallied 34 at UIC on Feb. 19 of last season.

Stafford joined Krikke (3x), Javon Freeman-Liberty (twice), Bakari Evelyn, Alec Peters (10x) and Lavone Dority (twice) as the only Valpo players in the last decade with a 30-point performance.

Stafford had the most points scored by a non-power conference opponent against Illinois since Ohio’s Jason Preston in 2020.

The bulk of Stafford’s damage came before the break as he had 23 first-half points. This marked the highest scoring half by a Beacon since Javon Freeman-Liberty had 23 on March 7, 2020 vs. Missouri State in the MVC semifinals. However, that included points scored in overtime so Freeman-Liberty’s total came in 25 minutes rather than 20.

The last time a Valpo player scored more than 23 in a half was Alec Peters on Dec. 22, 2016, but that included double overtime.

Stafford had Valpo’s biggest first half and biggest half that did not include OT by a Valpo player since Peters scored 23 in the opening half on Dec. 17, 2016 vs. Indiana State.

Hats Off for Half 1

Valpo led for the entirety of a brilliant first half and held a 45-38 advantage at No. 23 Illinois at the break after owning a cushion as big as 10.

The program was hoping to record its fifth all-time victory against a nationally-ranked opponent and its first true road win against an AP Top-25 foe. The Brown & Gold fell to 0-44 all-time on the road against nationally-ranked opponents, with three of the program’s four ranked wins coming at home and one on a neutral floor.

Each of the last two road games against Top-25 teams and three of the last six have seen Valpo own the halftime lead. In addition to the Nov. 17 game at No. 23 Illinois, Valpo led No. 22 Loyola 29-26 at the break on Feb. 17, 2021 and held a 35-33 edge at No. 25 Oregon midway through the Nov. 22, 2015 matchup.

Valpo was also seeking its first power-conference win since 2016 vs. Alabama and was hoping to snap a 15-game skid against Big Ten Conference competition that dates back to Dec. 28, 2004 vs. Penn State.

The Game’s Biggest Stage

Valpo head coach Roger Powell Jr. owns the unique distinction of having played and coached in the national championship game.

Just 12 coaches in the last 25 years have coached in the national title game after previously playing in the national title game, and two others have coached in the national championship game after being a rostered player but not seeing action in the national title game as a student-athlete.

In the last quarter of a century, only two coaches have coached in the national title game after previously playing in the national title game at a different school – Roger Powell Jr. and Kenny Payne.

UINDY WRESTLING

WRESTLING SLIDES TO #8 IN NWCA RANKINGS

INDIANAPOLIS – Fresh off the Midwest Classic where the UIndy Wrestling team came away with four placers, they have been tabbed at No. 8 in the latest National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA) poll.

The Hounds earned 43 team points behind four individually ranked wrestlers. Alongside Derek Blubaugh, the reigning Midwest Classic champion at 197, who stays at No. 2, the Hounds have a trio of new arrivals, all three at No. 6 in their classes.

For 141, Blake Mulkey makes a splash after landing in at sixth in after a sixth-place finish at Midwest. Jackson Hoover is the second of the No. 6-ranked wrestlers after fighting for third place at the Classic. Rounding out the sixth-ranked dawgs’ is Trey Sizemore who downed No. 5 Matt Ortiz of McKendree during the Midwest Classic on route to his fourth-place finish.

UP NEXT

The Hounds Holiday break will continue for a short while until they return to action once again on another big stage: the NWCA National Duels in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. That is set to take place on Jan. 5-6 and starts at 2 p.m.

MARIAN WOMEN’S BASKETBALL

ELLA COLLIER TABBED CROSSROADS LEAGUE ATHLETE OF THE WEEK

ackson, Mich. – The Crossroads League has named Ella Collier as the Crossroads League Player of the Week, as the Marian women’s basketball senior has earned her second weekly honor of the season.

Collier poured in 25 points to lead No. 6 Marian past Oakland City by a 76-63 score. Collier shot 47.4 percent from the field in the game and hauled in seven rebounds. The senior’s honor is Marian’s third player of the week this season, joining Abbey McNally’s from earlier this season.

Collier and the Knights will be on the road this Saturday, traveling to Concordia (Mich.) for their final non-conference game of the regular season.

SMALL COLLEGE ATHLETICS

INDIANA WESLEYAN ATHLETICS: https://iwuwildcats.com/

EARLHAM ATHLETICS: https://goearlham.com/

WABASH ATHLETICS: https://sports.wabash.edu/

FRANKLIN ATHLETICS: https://franklingrizzlies.com/

ROSE-HULMAN ATHLETICS: https://athletics.rose-hulman.edu/

ANDERSON ATHLETICS: https://athletics.anderson.edu/landing/index

TRINE ATHLETICS: https://trinethunder.com/landing/index

BETHEL ATHLETICS: https://bupilots.com/

DEPAUW ATHLETICS: https://depauwtigers.com/

HANOVER ATHLETICS: https://athletics.hanover.edu/

MANCHESTER ATHLETICS: https://muspartans.com/

HUNTINGTON ATHLETICS: https://www.huathletics.com/

OAKLAND CITY ATHLETICS: https://gomightyoaks.com/index.aspx

ST. FRANCIS ATHLETICS: https://www.saintfranciscougars.com/landing/index

IU KOKOMO ATHLETICS: https://iukcougars.com/

IU EAST ATHLETICS: https://www.iueredwolves.com/

IU SOUTH BEND ATHLETICS: https://iusbtitans.com/

PURDUE NORTHWEST ATHLETICS: https://pnwathletics.com/

INDIANA TECH ATHLETICS: https://indianatechwarriors.com/index.aspx

GRACE COLLEGE ATHLETICS: https://gclancers.com/

ST. MARY OF THE WOODS ATHLETICS: https://smwcathletics.com/

GOSHEN COLLEGE ATHLETICS: https://goleafs.net/

HOLY CROSS ATHLETICS: https://www.hcsaints.com/index.php                                                                                                                                                                            

TAYLOR ATHLETICS: https://www.taylortrojans.com/

VINCENNES ATHLETICS: https://govutrailblazers.com/landing/index

NFL STANDINGS

https://www.foxsports.com/nfl/standings

NBA STANDINGS

https://www.foxsports.com/nba/standings

NHL STANDINGS

https://www.foxsports.com/nhl/standings

NCAA MEN’S BASKETBALL STANDINGS

https://www.cbssports.com/college-basketball/standings/

NCAA WOMEN’S BASKETBALL STANDINGS

https://www.ncaa.com/standings/basketball-women/d1

FOOTBALL HISTORY

December 27, 1892 – Salisbury, North Carolina – Snow blanketed the front yard of Livingstone College. Hundreds of people from around the area were making the trek to the venue to witness what would become the first game that two black colleges would meet on the gridiron as Biddle University (now known as Johnson C. Smith University) traveled from Charlotte. The website Ourstate.com lets the story unfold, telling how the crowd had traveled from near and far on foot, by horse, and by wagon to watch a football game and to see history unfold. The teams played two 45 minute halves and wore handmade uniforms produced by women studying in Livingstone’s industrial department, and players from both sides raised the funds for a regulation-size football. In the game a very controversial play occurred when a Livingstone player picked up a fumble and raced for the tying score. That fumble recovery was ruled out of bounds, and so Biddle hung on to defeat Livingstone 5-0 in this monumental college football game.

December 27, 1942 – Shibe Park, Philadelphia -According to the NWW2M.com the way that NFL All-Star games worked for a five year period was that the NFL Champs would face a team of handpicked League All-stars a couple weeks after  the Title Game. Back in the December 13 edition of this series we talked about the Washington Redskins winning the Big game in an upset of the Chicago Bears 14-6 at Griffith Park in D.C. .  Tradition would hold the 5th and final NFL All Star Game in this format would play out as Washington faced a team of All-Stars coached by the Bears staff led by Hunk Anderson. The NFL stars included Bullet Bill Dudley of Pittsburgh at halfback, Bears quarterback Sid Luckman with Eagles signal caller Tommy Thompson, and the line play of Bruiser Kinard and Bulldog Turner. The makeshift NFL All-Stars squad overcame the champs that day as the Washington Redskins fell 14-17.

December 27, 1953 – Briggs Stadium, Detroit – The 1953 National Football League Championship had the previous year’s Champion Detroit Lions at home to face the contending Cleveland Browns. According to a Pro Football Hall of Fame story this one had some game ending drama to it. Legendary Lions QB Bobby Layne had been hearing from his substitute Tight End Jim Doran all game that he could get downfield past the Browns defender that had been assigned to him all day.  Starting End Leon Hart had left the game with a knee injury earlier so Doran was pulled from the defensive side of the ball to fill in. The Lions were down by 6 with a few seconds more than two minutes remaining in the contest. The wiley old signal caller finally decided to play his wild card in this poker game on the gridiron he and the Cleveland defenders had been dabbling in that afternoon. “Can you still beat that feller?” Layne asked bluntly to Doran in the huddle per the article. You just know that Jimmy D. eyeballed him back and gave him words of conformation! The DB on Doran that day was Warren Lahr and the two opponents had been going at it all day. Doran was now licking his chops as he finally had his quarterback’s focus on the advantage he felt he could get over Lahr. Then it happened a crucial 3rd and long and Layne took the snap and completed an 18 yard strike to Doran to get past the lead stick.  A few plays later it was Layne to Jim Doran again for the touchdown! After the extra point was nailed, the Detroit Lions held on and beat the Cleveland Browns, 17-16 to retain the title!

December 27, 1959 – Memorial Stadium, Baltimore – National Football League Championship game had the same billing as the watershed 1958 Title contest as the New York Giants faced the Baltimore Colts. There were more than a few changes though from the previous year that the Golden Rankings website describes. The Giants had lost Vince Lombardi as their offensive strategist when he left to coach the Packers. The League had record setting attendance during the 1959 season directly attributed to the overtime 1958 Championship between these two teams. A tragedy struck the NFL when on October 11, 1959 Commissioner Bert Bell suffered a heart attack while at the Steelers versus Eagles game and passed away. The former treasurer Austin Gunsel stepped up to lead the League but there were some very big shoes to fill. The American Football Database fills in some details about the game itself stating that after 3 field goals by Giants kicker Pat Summerall, New York was up 9-7 going into the fourth quarter. In the final stanza though Baltimore came to life as Johnny Unitas ran in a touchdown and threw for another while the Colts defense scored on a pick six to bury the Giants. The Baltimore Colts came from behind to register a convincing 31-16 victory over the New York Giants.

December 27, 1960  –  Running Back Tommy Mason from the University of Tulane was the first pick by the Minnesota Vikings in the 1961 NFL Draft. The Football Database website reports that also picked in this draft were future Hall of Famers Mike Ditka, Jimmy Johnson, Herb Adderley, Bob Lilly, Fran Tarkenton, Billy Shaw and Deacon Jones. Not a bad class of college players turning professional at all.

December 27, 1962 – 28th Heisman Trophy Award went to Quarterback Terry Baker from Oregon State. The Senior signal caller according to Heisman.com was the first player from Oregon State to win the coveted prize. Baker was a dual threat on offense as he tossed for 1723 yards and 15 scores in 1962 while he also churned out 9 TDs and 538 yards on the ground.

December 27, 1964 – Cleveland Municipal Stadium – The 1964 National Football League Championship game had the Baltimore Colts pitted against the Cleveland Browns. Hall of Famer Jim Brown rushed for 114 yards in the game for Cleveland but the scoring came on three Frank Ryan to Gary Collins pass plates and a few kicks by Lou Groza as the Cleveland Browns blanked the Baltimore Colts, 27-0 per the Pro-Football-Reference.com website. Onthisday.com states that the victory was the last championship win by a major-league pro sports team from Cleveland until in 2016 when the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers captured the crown.

December 27, 1971 – The first Fiesta Bowl is played as #8 Arizona State University’s Sun Devils defeated the Florida State Seminoles, 45-38 per the OnthisDay.com website.

December 27, 1974 – 40th Heisman Trophy Award went to Archie Griffin, the running back of the Ohio State Buckeyes. The Heisman’s official website states that even though Griffin was considered smallish for a Division I back at 5’-9” and a mere 180 pounds he was a consistent and truly explosive runner. The Junior ran for 1620 yards and 12 touchdowns to lead the Buckeyes to an impressive 10-1 record that ranked them 3rd in the nation. If you remember back to our December 6 Football History Headlines post we learned that as a Senior Archie Griffin became the only player in history to win back to back Heismans. For his regular season college career Griffin pounded out 5177 yards to rank fifth in the annals of collegiate rushers but his 31 games of 100 yards or more is at the top of the list in NCAA history.

December 27, 1987 – Arrowhead Stadium – Steve Largent sets all-time NFL record for career catches when he catches his 752nd pass. Seahawks.com shares with us that the previous record of 750 by Charlie Joiner was broken when Largent caught 6 balls for 95 yards and a TD in a 41-20 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.

December 27, 1991 – OnthisDay.com reports that the Brown family, owners of the Cincinnati Bengals, hired Dave Shula, the son of legendary Coach Don Shula, as their new head coach. The younger Shula then became the youngest NFL coach in history at the ripe age of 32.

December 27, 2003 – Week 17 (Dec 27 & 28) of the 2003 season is played and an NFL record paid attendance of 1,106,108 for the 16 games played for one weekend.

Hall of Fame Birthday for December 27

December 27, 1947 – Seminole, Texas – The tackle from the University of Texas Bob McKay was born. The NFF says that the Longhorns with the help of McKay won the 1969 National Championship as Bob became a consensus All-American in the process with his great blocking. During his college career Texas averaged 363 yards rushing per game which was tops in the FBS in that same span of seasons. The National Football Foundation selected Bob McKay to enter into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2017. After graduation Bob McKay was picked by the Cleveland Browns at the 1970 NFL Draft, 21st overall and spent nine seasons as a pro with the Browns and New England Patriots. 

December 27, 1959 – Birmingham, Alabama – Andre Tippett the great linebacker from Ellsworth Junior College and Iowa celebrated his birth. Andre was a beast and terrorized members of the offensive backfield on a regular basis earning him to become a consensus All-America selection in 1981.  The National Football Foundation voters inducted Andre Tippett into their College football Hall of Fame in 2021.The New England Patriots used a second round pick to land Tippett in the 1982 NFL Draft and what an outstanding choice that was. According to his bio on the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s website, Andre in 1985 led the NFL with 16-½ sacks, became the AFC Defensive Player of the Year and played in the Super Bowl. For his career Tippett registered 100 quarterback sacks in 150 games played. The Pro Football Hall of Fame enshrined Andre Tippett in 2008.

December 27, 1979 – Fresno, California – Carson Palmer the quarterback from Southern Cal was born. The National Football Foundation voters inducted Carson Palmer into their College football Hall of Fame in 2021.

NUMBERS IN SPORTS

21 – 20 – 11 – 9 – 13 – 45 – 7 – 15 – 11 – 99 – 8 – 19 – 66 –

December 27, 1956 – Number 21, Bill Sharman of the Boston Celtics ends NBA free throw streak of 55 games

December 27, 1960 – 1961 NFL Draft: Number 20, Tommy Mason from University of Tulane first pick by Minnesota Vikings

December 27, 1962 – 28th Heisman Trophy Award was won by Oregon State Quarterback, Number 11, Terry Baker

December 27, 1966 – Ballon d’Or: Manchester United midfielder Number 9, Bobby Charlton won the award for best European football player; claims award by a single point ahead of Benfica striker Number 13, Eusébio

December 27, 1974 – 40th Heisman Trophy Award was won by Ohio State running back Number 45, Archie Griffin

December 27, 1977 – Ballon d’Or: Borussia Mönchengladbach’s Danish forward Number 9, Allan Simonsen was named Europe’s best football player ahead of Hamburg forward Number 7, Kevin Keegan and Nancy midfielder Number 15, Michel Platini

December 27, 1978 – Ballon d’Or: Hamburg’s English forward Number 7, Kevin Keegan won his 1st of 2 consecutive trophies as best football player in Europe; beats Barcelona striker Number 9, Hans Krankl and Anderlecht winger Number 11, Rob Rensenbrink

December 27, 1979 – Los Angeles left wing Number 11, Charlie Simmer scored in a Kings’ 3-0 shutout of the Quebec Nordiques to extend his modern day NHL goal-scoring streak to 13 straight games (ends next game)

December 27, 1981 – Edmonton Oilers Number 99, Wayne Gretzky becomes fastest NHLer to get 100 pts (38th game)

December 27, 1983 – Ballon d’Or: Juventus’ French midfielder Number 10, Michel Platini claims first of 3 trophies for Europe’s best football player ahead of Liverpool midfielder Number 7, Kenny Dalgleish and Vejle BK striker Number 9, Allan Simonsen

December 27, 1987 – Seattle Seahawks Number 80, Steve Largent sets all-time NFL record for career catches when he catches his 752nd pass

December 27, 1988 – Ballon d’Or: Milan 1-2-3; Dutch striker Number 9, Marco van Basten won his 1st of 3 best football player in Europe awards ahead of Number 10, Ruud Gullit and Number 8, Frank Rijkaard

December 27, 1999 – Number 19, Joe Sakic records his 1,000th career point, an assist against the St. Louis Blues

December 27, 2000 – Pittsburgh Penguins center and part-owner Number 66, Mario Lemieux scored a goal and 2 assists in his return to the NHL after more than 3 years out with injury problems and lingering cancer issues; Penguins beat Toronto Maple Leafs, 5-0

December 27, 2017 – Number 10, Raheem Sterling scored to give Manchester City 1-0 win over Newcastle United at St. James’ Park; EPL record 18th consecutive win; streak ends with 0-0 draw at Crystal Palace 31/12

TELEVISION WEDNESDAY

COLLEGE BASKETBALL (MEN’S)

7 p.m.

ACCN — Morgan St. at Virginia

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

2 p.m.

ESPN — The Military Bowl Presented by GoBowling.com: Virginia Tech vs. Tulane, Annapolis, Md.

5:30 p.m.

ESPN — The Duke’s Mayo Bowl: North Carolina vs. West Virginia, Charlotte, N.C.

8 p.m.

FOX — The DIRECTV Holiday Bowl: Louisville vs. Southern Cal, San Diego

9 p.m.

ESPN — The TaxAct Texas Bowl: Texas A&M vs. Oklahoma St., Houston

IIHF HOCKEY (MEN’S)

6 a.m.

NHLN — World Junior Hockey Championship Group Stage: Slovakia vs. Switzerland, Group B, Gothenburg, Sweden

8:30 a.m.

NHLN — World Junior Hockey Championship Group Stage: Finland vs. Germany, Group A, Gothenburg, Sweden

11 a.m.

NHLN — World Junior Hockey Championship Group Stage: Norway Czech Republic, Group B, Gothenburg, Sweden

1:30 p.m.

NHLN — World Junior Hockey Championship Group Stage: Latvia vs. Canada, Group A, Gothenburg, Sweden

NBA BASKETBALL

7 p.m.

NBATV — Toronto at Washington

NHL HOCKEY

7:30 p.m.

TNT — Boston at Buffalo

SOCCER (MEN’S)

3:15 p.m. USA — Premier League: Manchester City at Everton