Sports: NFL Down to 6 Teams; A-Rod Aghast; NBA, NHL; Top 25 College Hoops

By: ap
By: ap

(AP) -- The New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks have worked themselves into next weekend's NFL conference championships.
LeGarrette Blount had four of the Patriots' six rushing touchdowns in a 43-22 win over the visiting Indianapolis Colts. Blount scored the Pats' first three TDs on three-yard runs before ripping off a 73-yard scoring burst with 12:55 remaining, less than two minutes before Stevan Ridley scored his second TD of the night. Blount accounted for 166 of the Patriots' 234 rushing yards.
Tom Brady failed to throw a touchdown pass for only the second time in his last 23 playoff games, finishing 13 of 25 for 198 yards and no interceptions. He fared better than Andrew Luck, who threw for 331 yards but was intercepted four times.
The Pats now await the winner of Sunday's game between the Broncos and San Diego Chargers in Denver.

In Seattle, Marshawn Lynch ran for 140 yards on 28 carries and provided the Seahawks' two touchdowns in a 23-15 triumph over New Orleans. Lynch scored on a 15-yard run 43 seconds into the second quarter to put Seattle ahead 13-0. He also had a 31-yard touchdown run with 2:40 remaining to all but clinch the Seahawks' third trip to a conference title game, and their second since rejoining the NFC.
Lynch carried a Seattle offense that had only 277 total yards and attempted just 18 passes under blustery conditions. Russell Wilson completed nine of his passes for a career-low 103 yards and no interceptions.
Steven Hauschka (HOWSH'-kah) hit three field goals in the first half, including a 49-yard kick in the opening quarter.
The Seahawks blanked the Saints until Khiry Robinson scored on a one-yard run early in the fourth quarter. Seattle also limited Pro Bowl tight end Jimmy Graham to one reception for eight yards.
Drew Brees (breez) was 24 of 43 for 309 yards and one touchdown, a nine-yard scoring pass to Marques Colston with 26 seconds left. Colston also recovered the onside kick to give New Orleans a chance to send the game into overtime. He caught a pass during the final drive but threw an illegal forward pass that caused officials to run off the final 10 seconds.
Seattle will take on the winner of Sunday's game between the Carolina Panthers and visiting San Francisco 49ers.

NEW YORK (AP) -- Alex Rodriguez is vowing to go to federal court to fight a drug suspension that would sideline him for the entire 2014 baseball season.
In a decision announced today, baseball arbitrator Fredric Horowitz ruled that the New York Yankees third baseman must sit out 162 games, down from the original 211-game suspension.
It's the most severe punishment in the history of baseball's drug agreement.
Rodriguez is the most high-profile player ensnared by baseball's drug rules, which were first agreed to in 2002 as management and union attempted to combat the use of steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs.
The 14-time All-Star admitted five years ago he used performance-enhancing drugs while with Texas from 2001-03 but has denied using them since. He already sued MLB and Commissioner Bud Selig in October, claiming they are engaged in a "witch hunt" against him.
The three-time American League Most Valuable Player will lose just over $22 million of his $25 million salary.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Stephen Strasburg has agreed to a one-year, $3,975,000 deal with the Washington Nationals. The two sides avoided arbitration by agreeing to the contract. The 25-year-old right-hander is 29-19 over four seasons, including 8-9 last year with a 3.00 ERA in 30 starts.

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) -- Penn State has announced the hiring of James Franklin as its next football coach. He replaces Bill O'Brien, who left the Nittany Lions after two seasons to become head coach of the Houston Texans.
Franklin comes to Happy Valley from Vanderbilt, where he led the Commodores to three bowl games and 24 victories in three seasons.

Thunder smack Bucks
(AP) -- The Oklahoma City Thunder snapped a two-game skid and pulled within a half-game of first-place San Antonio in the NBA's Western Conference.
Kevin Durant scored 33 points and the Thunder put together a 23-8 run in the second half to beat Milwaukee 101-85. Serge Ibaka (ih-BAH'-kah) had 17 points and 17 rebounds for the Thunder, who set an Oklahoma City team record by allowing just 10 points in the first quarter.
Jeremy Lamb added 17 points for the Thunder, who had lost four of six.
Portland also climbed within a half-game of the West-leading Spurs. LaMarcus Aldridge finished with 21 points and 13 rebounds, while Robin Lopez added 15 points and 13 boards as the Trail Blazers won for only the fourth time in eight games since a 24-5 start.

In other NBA games:
-- The Houston Rockets had to wait through a pair of delays caused by a leaky roof at Verizon Center, and then they blew a 25-point lead in the second half before closing on a 17-5 run to beat the Wizards 114-107. James Harden led all scorers with 25 points, Dwight Howard added 23 and Terrence Jones contributed 19 and 17 rebounds for the Rockets.
-- Dirk Nowitzki scored 20 of his season-high 40 points in the third quarter of the Mavericks' 110-107 win over New Orleans at Dallas. Nowitzki hit seven straight shots after starting just 2 of 9 from the field.
-- Kenneth Faried had 17 points and nine rebounds in Denver's 120-94 romp over Orlando. Randy Foye and Evan Fournier scored 18 points apiece in the Nuggets' fifth straight win since an eight-game skid.
-- Brooklyn's season-high, five-game winning streak is over after DeMar DeRozan scored 26 points in Toronto's 96-80 victory against the visiting Nets. Patrick Patterson had 14 points and 12 rebounds in the Raptors' seventh victory in nine games.
-- New York has a four-game winning streak after Carmelo Anthony delivered 18 points, nine rebounds and seven assists in the Knicks' 102-92 triumph at Philadelphia. Amare Stoudemire shot 8-for-10 in scoring 21 points.
-- Detroit downed Phoenix 110-108 on Josh Smith's driving bank shot with 1.2 seconds left. Smith finished 25 points and 11 rebounds, Brandon Jennings had 18 assists and Greg Monroe added 20 points and 12 boards.
-- D.J. Augustin and Joakim (JOH'-keem) Noah each had double doubles in Chicago's fifth consecutive win, a 103-97 decision over Charlotte. Augustin finished with 20 points and 12 assists, while Noah added 19 points and 14 rebounds.

Syracuse goes to 16-0
(AP) -- Second-ranked Syracuse has upped its record to 16-0 with a 57-45 win over North Carolina. C.J. Fair scored 20 points and Jerami Grant had 12 points in the win, which evened the all-time record between the schools at 4-4. The loss dropped the Tar Heels to 10-6. They are 0-3 in ACC play while the Orange are 3-0. The 45 points are the fewest points scored by North Carolina since posting 44 in a loss to Duke in 1979.

Also in top-25 action:
-- Fifth-ranked Michigan State got 24 points from Keith Appling in an 87-75 overtime win over Minnesota. The Spartans improved to 15-1 despite blowing a five-point lead in the last 13 seconds of regulation.
-- Cleanthony Early had 22 points and 14 rebounds for No. 6 Wichita State, but the Shockers trailed by 19 in the second half before topping Missouri State 72-69 in overtime. Fred VanVleet scored 12 of the Shockers' last 13 points, including a game-tying free throw with 8 seconds left in regulation.
-- Taurean Prince came off the bench to score 23 points as No. 7 Baylor beat TCU 88-62. Brady Heslip added 15 points on five 3-pointers for the 13-2 Bears.
-- JayVaughn Pinkston had 15 points and 10 rebounds to help eighth-ranked Villanova beat St. John's 74-67 and improve to 15-1. The Red Storm actually led by a point until the Wildcats went on a 10-1 run to go ahead 65-57 with 3:13 to play.
-- Ninth-ranked Iowa State suffered its first loss, dropping to 14-1 with an 87-82 setback against Oklahoma. Buddy Hield scored 22 points and Ryan Spangler added 16 points and a career-high 15 rebounds for the winners.
-- Dorian Finney-Smith scored a career-high 22 points and a season-high 15 rebounds as 10th-ranked Florida beat Arkansas 84-82 in overtime, ending the Razorbacks' 23-game home winning streak. The Gators won their seventh straight despite the absence of leading scorer Casey Prather due to a knee injury.
-- No. 11 Oklahoma State trailed most of the game before beating West Virginia 73-72 on Markel Brown's 3-pointer with 12 seconds left. Marcus Smart had 22 points and 13 rebounds for the Cowboys.
-- Fourteenth-ranked Kentucky is now 12-3 after a 71-62 win over Vanderbilt. Willie Cauley-Stein scored 15 points in the Wildcats' fourth straight win.
-- No. 16 Duke has lost its fourth game of the season, 72-59 to Clemson. K.J. McDaniels scored 24 points and Jaron Blossomgame had career highs with 14 points and 14 rebounds for the 11-4 Tigers.
-- Andrew Wiggins scored 22 points and fellow freshman Wayne Selden added 20 to lead 18th-ranked Kansas to an 86-60 blowout win against No. 25 Kansas State. The Jayhawks shot 56 percent and committed just seven turnovers in beating the Wildcats for the 48th time in the last 51 meetings.
-- Trey Davis missed eight of his first nine shots from the floor before scoring a pair of baskets in the closing two minutes to help No. 19 Massachusetts rally for a 73-68 win over St. Bonaventure. Raphiael Putney led the 14-1 Minutemen with 17 points and eight rebounds.
-- Rodney Clarkson scored 20 points and No. 21 Missouri upped its record to 13-2 with a 70-68 win over Auburn.
-- No. 24 Memphis beat Temple 79-69 behind Shaq Goodwin's 23 points and 11 rebounds.

Ducks stay hot...Habs top Hawks
(AP) -- The Anaheim Ducks have widened their lead in the NHL's Western Conference with their sixth consecutive victory and 16th in their last 17 games.
Hampus Lindholm scored twice and Ryan Getzlaf notched his 23rd of the season as the Ducks outscored the Coyotes 5-3 near Phoenix. Jonas Hiller made 28 saves in his 13th straight win for Anaheim, the NHL's longest streak since Detroit's Chris Osgood did it in 1996.
The Ducks improved their NHL-best record to 34-8-5 and 73 points, five ahead of Chicago.
The Blackhawks suffered their third straight loss as Andre Markov scored his second of the night at 1:28 of overtime to give Montreal a 2-1 win over Chicago. The Blackhawks managed to extend the game on Marian Hossa's (HOH'-sahz) goal midway through the third period before losing their third in a row. They also absorbed their 10th non-regulation loss, tying them with Detroit for the NHL lead.

Also on ice:
-- Ryan Malone scored twice and Valtteri Filppula (val-TEHR'-ee FIHL'-poo-luh) produced the tiebreaking goal in Tampa Bay's 6-3 win at Philadelphia. It was a 3-3 game until Filppula and Martin St. Louis (mahr-TAN' san loo-EE') tallied late in the second period to help the Lightning pull into a first-place tie with Boston in the Atlantic Division and end the Flyers' 10-game home winning streak.
-- Ryan O'Reilly scored twice, including the game-winner with 7:16 to play in Colorado's 4-2 verdict over Minnesota. Gabriel Landeskog and Maxime Talbot also scored as the Avalanche won for the fifth time in seven games.
-- New Jersey beat Florida 2-1 on Marek Zidlicky's goal with 2.1 seconds showing on the overtime clock. Michael Ryder scored for the fourth straight game and Cory Schneider stopped 29 shots in the Devils' second straight win.
-- Ottawa killed off a penalty in overtime before Mika Zibanejad (MEE'-kah zih-BAH'-neh-zhahd) and Jason Spezza (SPET'-suh) scored shootout goals to lift the Senators past Nashville 2-1. Kyle Turis scored in regulation and Craig Anderson stopped 32 shots as the Senators improved to 5-0-1 in their last six games.
-- Boone Jenner and Mark Letestu (leh-TES'-too) each scored twice as Columbus doubled up Winnipeg 6-3. The Jets led 1-0 until Letestu's short-handed tally sparked the Blue Jackets' four-goal second period.

Kirk leads through 54
HONOLULU (AP) -- Chris Kirk is the leader through three rounds of the PGA's Sony Open in Honolulu.
Kirk fired a 5-under 65 for a 12-under total, putting him one shot ahead of Will Wilcox and Harris English. Wilcox shot a 64 to tie John Daly for the day's best round.
Second-round leader Brian Stuard followed his back-to-back 65s with a 1-over 71 to fall three strokes back.

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