Sports Roundup Dec 30: NBA and College Basketball; Bowl Games

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The Charlotte Bobcats' December nightmare continues. Eric Gordon had 24 points and seven assists, helping the New Orleans Hornets overcome a 21-point first-half deficit and extend the Bobcats' losing streak to 18 games, 98-95.
The Bobcats are one game away from a winless December. They haven't won since Nov. 24. Charlotte finishes the December schedule with a New Year's Eve game at Chicago.

In other NBA action:

-- Brook Lopez scored a season-high 35 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, and the Brooklyn Nets improved to 2-0 under interim coach P.J. Carlesimo (kar-LIHS'-ih-moh) by beating the Cleveland Cavaliers 103-100.

-- Lou Williams had 21 points and a career-high 12 assists, Al Horford added 20 points and the Atlanta Hawks won their fourth straight, 109-100 over the Indiana Pacers.

-- DeMar DeRozan scored 21 points and Jose Calderon added 15 points and 10 assists, helping the Toronto Raptors to an easy 123-88 victory over Orlando.

-- Russell Westbrook scored 28 points and Kevin Durant added 26 as the Oklahoma City Thunder built a big lead in the second quarter and rolled to a 124-94 win over the Houston Rockets on Saturday night.

-- Nikola Pekovic had 28 points and 11 rebounds and Kevin Love added 23 points and 18 boards to lift the Minnesota Timberwolves to a 111-107 victory over the Phoenix Suns.

-- Marco Belinelli came off the bench to score 17 points and lead the Chicago Bulls to an 87-77 victory over the Washington Wizards.

-- Rudy Gay scored eight of his 19 points down the stretch and the Memphis Grizzlies beat the Denver Nuggets 81-72.

---- Portland held off Philadelphia 89-85. Nicolas Batum (bah-TOOM') led the Trail Blazers with 22.

-- Brandon Jennings scored 25 points and Mike Dunleavy had 13 of his 18 in the fourth quarter as the Milwaukee Bucks beat the Miami Heat 104-85. Dwyane (dwayn) Wade had 24 for Miami in his first game back after serving a one-game suspension for a rough foul last Wednesday.

In late west coast hoops, the Golden State Warriors defeated the Boston Celtics 101-83.


Syracuse's football team said goodbye to the Big East in style. Prince-Tyson Gulley ran for 217 yards and had three touchdowns and Syracuse scored twice on safeties as the Orange pasted West Virginia 38-14 in a snowy Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium. Jerome Smith added 158 yards rushing.
Syracuse finished its final Big East season 8-5. The Orange will enter the Atlantic Coast Conference on a roll after finishing this season with six wins in its last seven games, capped by its second postseason victory at Yankee Stadium in the last three years.
In other bowls:

---- Texas rallied from a 10-point halftime deficit to beat Oregon State 31-27 in the Alamo Bowl in San Antonio. David Ash hit Marquise (mar-KEES') Goodwin on a 36-yard TD with 2:24 left for the winning score. Ash tossed a pair of TDs for the Longhorns, who finished 9-4.

-- Taylor Kelly threw four touchdown passes and ran for a fifth score to lead Arizona State to its first bowl win in seven years, a 62-28 rout of Navy in the Fight Hunger Bowl. Offensive MVP Marion Grice ran for 159 yards and two touchdowns for the Sun Devils. Both Arizona State and Navy finished 8-5.

--Backup quarterback Driphus Jackson came off the bench to throw for 264 yards and two touchdowns as Rice whipped Air Force 33-14 in the Armed Forces Bowl at Fort Worth. Jackson replaced Taylor McHargue, who left with an apparent head injury after a helmet-to-helmet collision with about five minutes left in the first half. Jordan Taylor caught both of Jackson's touchdown passes and finished with nine receptions for 153 yards and three scores.

--Saturday's bowl slate concluded with TCU against Michigan State in the Buffalo Wild Winds Bowl in Tempe. The Spartans edged the Horned Frogs 17-16.


Irish getting serious
SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) -- Top-ranked Notre Dame finally got down to the serious business of getting ready to play defending national champion Alabama in the BCS title game on Jan. 7.
After weeks of some players and coaches traveling the nation for award shows, players finishing up the school year with finals and making trips home for Christmas, Notre Dame had its hardest hitting practice Saturday since its 22-13 victory over USC on Nov. 24 in the regular-season finale. Coach Brian Kelly plans another physical practice Sunday.


Top-ranked Duke needed a second-half rally to stay unbeaten.
Seth Curry scored 12 of his season-high 31 points during a late run as the Blue Devils rallied to beat Santa Clara 90-77. Mason Plumlee had 22 points and 13 rebounds for Duke, which trailed 45-41 with 16 1/2 minutes left before holding the Broncos to just one field goal over the next 8 1/2 minutes.
The Blue Devils also withstood Kevin Foster's 29 points and improved to 12-0.

In other AP Top-25 hoops:

-- Trey Burke had 22 points and 10 assists as No. 2 Michigan finished its non-conference schedule with a 88-73 victory over Central Michigan. Freshman Glenn Robinson III added 20 points. The Wolverines are 13-0.

--Fourth-ranked Louisville won its annual state battle with Kentucky. Russ Smith had a team-high 21 points and grabbed seven rebounds as the Cardinals beat the Wildcats 80-77. Chane Behanan (SHAYN beh-HAH'-nehn) finished with 20 points and seven boards, while Peyton Siva (SEE'-vah) chipped 19 points to help the Cardinals improve to 12-1.

---- Sixth-ranked Kansas walloped American U. 89-57 to run the Jayhawks' record to 11-1. Travis Releford led Kansas with 19 points on 7-for-8 shooting, including 5-of-6 from three point land.

-- C.J. Fair scored 13 points, Trevor Cooney added 12, all in the second half to key a late surge, and ninth-ranked Syracuse beat Alcorn State 57-36 in the final game of the Gotham Classic.

-- Deshaun Thomas scored 17 points and No. 10 Ohio State regained its shooting touch with an 87-44 victory over Chicago State in the Buckeyes' final tuneup before beginning Big Ten play.

-- No. 12 Illinois nipped Auburn 81-79 behind Tracy Abrams' career-high 29 points. The Illini survived a poor shooting day by star Brandon Paul, who finished with 13 points but was 3-for-12 from the field, including an 0-for-5 mark beyond the arc.

-- Kenny Boynton canned three 3-pointers in the second half when No. 14 Florida pulled away to beat Air Force 78-61 in the second game of the Orange Bowl Basketball Classic. Boynton had made only 4 of 32 from 3-point range over the previous five games.

-- Doug McDermott scored 14 of his 29 points in a 6 1/2-minute stretch of the second half when No. 16 Creighton pulled away from Evansville, 87-70.

-- Rotnei Clarke hit seven 3-pointers and finished with 22 points and the 18th-ranked Butler Bulldogs shook off a sluggish start and routed Vanderbilt 68-49 for their seventh straight victory.

-- P.J. Hairston scored 15 points in his first career start as North Carolina knocked off No. 20 UNLV 79-73 at Chapel Hill. Dexter Strickland added a season-high 16 points for the Tar Heels.

-- No. 23 North Carolina State was an 84-68 winner against Western Michigan as C.J. Leslie scored 19 points and Richard Howell added 18 on 8-for-8 shooting. The Wolfpack shot 55 percent from the field, padding their NCAA-leading field goal percentage.

-- Rodney McGruder scored 17 points, Thomas Gipson had 13 points and six rebounds and No. 25 Kansas State struggled to a 52-44 victory over Missouri-Kansas City.


Ollie rewarded for strong start
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) -- Connecticut first-year men's basketball coach Kevin Ollie has received a new five-year contract. His Huskies helped him celebrate by beating Washington 61-53. Ollie received a standing ovation as he walked onto the court and the student section chanted his name.
Ollie was given just a one-year deal in September after Hall of Fame coach Jim Calhoun retired. He has led UConn to a 10-2 record despite losing five underclassmen from last year's team after it was announced the Huskies were academically ineligible for the upcoming postseason.


UConn ends Stanford's home streak
STANFORD, Calif. (AP) -- Stanford's 82-game home winning streak in women's college basketball has come to a sudden halt.
Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis (mahs-KAY'-dah LOO'-his) scored 19 points and second-ranked Connecticut improved to 11-0 by stifling the No. 1 Cardinal 61-35. Breanna Stewart scored seven straight points during a decisive 17-2 run in the first half as UConn built a 22-7 lead against the cold-shooting Cardinal
Stanford hit just eight field goals and shot just 19.3 percent to set team record-lows in both categories.
It was sweet revenge for the Huskies, who saw their NCAA-record 90-game winning streak end at Maples Pavilion two years ago.


Payton staying put
NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- The New Orleans Saints have made sure Sean Payton is their head coach next year. Reports out of New Orleans say the long-term contract is worth $8 million annually.
A team spokesman has confirmed Payton has agreed in principle to a multiyear contract extension, pending NFL approval.
Payton is the only coach in Saints history to win a Super Bowl, raising the Lombardi Trophy in February 2010. He was due to begin his seventh season as the Saints' head coach in 2012 before being suspended for the whole season by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell in connection with the NFL's bounty investigation.
Payton is 62-34 in regular-season games as Saints coach and 5-3 in the postseason.

Back-channeling, but no bargaining yet
NEW YORK (AP) -- Lots of questions, but still no answers in the NHL labor fight.
The league and the players' association spent much of Saturday talking to each other via conference call. The conversations were strictly for the purpose of sharing information regarding the new contract offer the NHL made to the union late Thursday.
Sunday is the 106th day of the NHL lockout.

Rare dead heat in Italy
BORMIO, Italy (AP) -- Hannes Reichelt (HAH'-nehs RY'-kehlt) of Austria and Dominik Paris of Italy shared the victory in a tightly contested downhill in which the top four finishers were separated by two-hundredths of a second.
Paris took the early lead by clocking 1 minute, 58.62 seconds for his first career win. Reichelt matched him to give Austria its first speed win of the season.
Overall World Cup leader Aksel Lund Svindal (AHK'-sehl loond SVHIN'-dahl) of Norway finished third, 0.01 seconds behind.

BC's York breaks coaching record
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Boston College coach Jerry York became the NCAA hockey career victory leader Saturday, directing the top-ranked Eagles to a 5-3 win over Alabama-Huntsville in the Mariucci (MAH'-ree-oo-chee) Classic.
York has 925 victories in 41 seasons to move past former Michigan State coach Ron Mason for the record. In 19 seasons at Boston College, York is 458-223-61.