USC beats Arizona St. for 1st desert sweep since ‘85
TEMPE, Ariz. — Freshman Evan Mobley had 10 points and a career-best 13 rebounds and Southern California beat Arizona State 73-64 on Saturday.
The 7-foot Mobley, a likely top-5 pick in the 2021 NBA draft, was 5-of-7 shooting and had a career-high six blocks. Tahj Eaddy scored 12 of his 16 points in the second half and grabbed nine rebounds and Isaiah Mobley — Evan’s older brother — added 13 points and 10 rebounds for USC (8-2, 3-1 Pac-12).
The Trojans, who beat Arizona 87-73 on Thursday, swept their road trip through the desert for the first time since the 1984-85 season.
Arizona State (4-5, 1-2) was without guards Remy Martin and Jaelen House as well as forwards Jalen Graham and Taeshon Cherry for the second consecutive game, for various reasons. Martin is in coronavirus protocol after missing the UCLA game to attend his grandfather’s funeral.
Senior Holland Woods scored 12 of his season-high 18 points in the final two minutes of the first half as the Sun Devils trimmed at 16-point deficit to 36-32. His steal and layup gave Arizona State a 58-56 lead with 7:03 to play. The Trojans answered with a 15-3 run as ASU missed six consecutive shots and committed three turnovers over the next six-plus minutes.
Browns get back 3, not top corner Denzel Ward for Steelers
CLEVELAND — The Browns flew to Pittsburgh for the playoffs with some reinforcements — and missing some regulars.
Top cornerback Denzel Ward stayed in Cleveland as he recovers from COVID-19, leaving a massive hole in the Browns’ secondary as they get ready to face Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers in an AFC wild-card game on Sunday night.
The Browns, who were limited to just two practices this week because of another wave of positive COVID-19 cases, including coach Kevin Stefanski, were hoping Ward would be back in time after he tested positive with the virus last week.
However, he’s still not ready to return and the Browns may miss him dearly.
And while Cleveland’s players took a short flight to Pennsylvania on Saturday, the team’s coaches made the 2-hour drive in separate cars to lessen the risk of COVID spread and further infections in the hours leading up to kickoff.
All-Pro right tackle Jack Conklin also drove by himself after being listed Friday on the injury report as questionable with an “illness.” It’s believed Conklin was exhibiting COVID-like symptoms and was being isolated from his teammates.
As long as he doesn’t test positive on Sunday, he’ll be able to play against the Steelers and the Browns need him with Pro Bowl left guard Joel Bitonio already out.
Cleveland finally caught a bit of a break Saturday as safety Ronnie Harrison, tight end Harrison Bryant and linebacker Malcolm Smith were activated from the COVID-19 list, giving the Browns some much needed depth for their first playoff game since the 2002 season.
NCAA preparing to delay vote on athlete compensation rules
MIAMI — The NCAA is preparing to delay a potential landmark vote on legislation that would permit college athletes to be compensated for their fame for the first time after receiving a warning from the Department of Justice about potential antitrust violations.
NCAA President Mark Emmert on Saturday emailed a letter to Makan Delrahim, assistant attorney general of the DOJ’s antitrust division. The letter was obtained by The Associated Press.
In the letter, Emmert said he strongly recommended putting off votes on new name, image and likeness rules by the two key NCAA legislative bodies that had been scheduled for next week.
Palmer, English tied for the lead at Tournament of Champions
KAPALUA, Hawaii — Ryan Palmer went through a range of emotions over the final 15 minutes Saturday that ended with him posting a 9-under 64 for the best round of the week and a share of the lead with Harris English in the Sentry Tournament of Champions.
Palmer thought he might have been in trouble with a thin fairway metal approaching the green on the par-5 18th. It narrowly cleared native grass left of the green and rolled out to 12 feet, and he two-putted for birdie.
His score stood when rules officials determined there was no intent, and no penalty, when he tamped down a divot a few paces away from where his golf ball was rolling after a muffed chip on the ninth hole.
English wasn't so fortunate with his second shot to the 18th. He was left and came up some 15 feet short of clearing the hazard. His only good break was that a marshal somehow spotted it. Instead of a third shot from 200-plus yards away, he hacked out to 80 feet away and took two tough putts for par and a 66.
They were tied at 21-under 198, one shot ahead of Collin Morikawa, who also flirted with trouble on the closing hole at the Plantation, finished with a birdie and shot 65.
Until the final hole, the third round at Kapalua was all about making birdies to keep from losing ground. Scoring has been exceptionally low, not just by one player but several of them, because of a soft course and little wind.
Lakers hold off Bulls 117-115 without Davis
LOS ANGELES — LeBron James had 28 points, seven rebounds and seven assists, and the Los Angeles Lakers overcame the absence of two injured starters for a 117-115 victory over the Chicago Bulls on Friday night.
Zach LaVine scored 38 points, but the UCLA product missed a 17-foot jumper with 4.7 seconds left that would have put Chicago ahead.
Montrezl Harrell had 17 points and 14 rebounds for the defending NBA champions, who have won five of six. James and Harrell led the way as Los Angeles held off the Bulls down the stretch without injured starters Anthony Davis and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.
LaVine scored 19 points in the first quarter for the Bulls, who have lost two straight in California following an impressive win at Portland.
Dennis Schröder scored 17 points and hit a 3-pointer with 2:39 to play to put the Lakers up 113-107, but Chicago trimmed the lead to 116-115 on Garrett Temple’s 3-pointer with 37 seconds left.
Curry scores 38 as Warriors rally past Clippers, 115-105
SAN FRANCISCO — Stephen Curry scored 38 points and the Golden State Warriors erased a big second-half deficit Friday night to beat the Los Angeles Clippers 115-105.
The Warriors trailed by 21 late in the third quarter but Curry scored 19 in that period and pulled Golden State within six entering the fourth.
Golden State (5-4) then outscored Los Angeles 34-18 over the final 12 minutes and snapped a four-game losing streak against the Clippers, who beat them at the Chase Center two nights earlier.
Paul George had 25 points for the Clippers (6-4) and Kawhi Leonard added 24, but Golden State turned up the defense after the Clippers scored 65 in the first half.
US striker Hoppe scores 3 to end Schalke’s winless run
GELSENKIRCHEN, Germany — Just when it seemed Schalke’s winless run in the Bundesliga might never end, along came Matthew Hoppe.
The 19-year-old forward scored a hat trick — the first by an American in Germany’s top division — in only his fifth league game to lead Schalke to a 4-0 victory over Hoffenheim and its first league win in nearly a year.
Boise State hires Andy Avalos as head coach
BOISE, Idaho — Andy Avalos is taking over as head coach at Boise State, returning to the school where he was a standout linebacker and defensive coordinator.
Avalos was announced Saturday as the replacement for Bryan Harsin, who left Boise State to take the head coaching position at Auburn just before Christmas.
The hiring of Avalos continues Boise State’s trend of keeping the job running the program within the Broncos family. Boise State has hired either an assistant within the program or a former player to run the show dating back to Dirk Koetter taking over in 1998.
Avalos played for the Broncos from 2001-05 and later returned as a defensive assistant and took over as defensive coordinator in 2016. For the past two seasons, he has been the defensive coordinator at Oregon.
“This is a dream come true, and a very humbling opportunity for myself and my family to be back in this program,” Avalos said in a statement. “I’m excited to get back around the players I have missed the last two years, and to provide an elite experience for all the young men in the Boise State football program.”
The Broncos job seemed to come down to which former Boise State connection would end up in charge — former quarterback Kellen Moore, Montana State coach Jeff Choate or Avalos. Moore has always seemed destined to be a head coach, but he withdrew from the process after signing a new contract to remain the offensive coordinator of the Dallas Cowboys.
Devils goalie Corey Crawford retires on eve of NHL season
NEWARK, N.J. — Corey Crawford, who helped the Chicago Blackhawks win two Stanley Cups, has retired less than three months after signing with the New Jersey Devils and less than a week before the start of the NHL season.
The 36-year-old goalie made the announcement Saturday after a week of speculation about his future. He did not practice this week. Devils coach Lindy Ruff said the decision was for personal reasons.
“I have been fortunate to have had a long career playing professional hockey for a living,” Crawford said in a statement. “I wanted to continue my career, but believe I’ve given all I can to the game of hockey, and I have decided that it is time to retire.”
Crawford said playing in the NHL was a childhood dream and he was proud to have been a part of winning two Stanley Cups.
He played for 10 NHL seasons and 488 regular-season games. He signed a two-year, a $7.8 million contract as a free agent with the Devils in October.
AP source: Schwarber, Nationals agree to 1-year, $10M deal
WASHINGTON — Slugging outfielder Kyle Schwarber has agreed in principle to a one-year, $10 million contract with the Washington Nationals, according to a person familiar with the deal.
The person confirmed the agreement to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity on Saturday because a physical exam was still pending for Schwarber.
Schwarber was able to sign with any club after becoming a free agent last month when he was non-tendered by the Chicago Cubs. He was a member of their drought-ending 2016 World Series championship team, hitting .412 in the Fall Classic after missing much of that season with an injured left knee.
The 27-year-old Schwarber struggled at the plate during the pandemic-truncated 2020 season, hitting .188 with a .701 OPS for the Cubs. A year earlier, he produced 38 homers and 92 RBIs, a .250 batting average and an .871 on-base plus slugging percentage, all career highs.
Phillies add bullpen depth with trade for Giants RHP Coonrod
PHILADELPHIA — The Philadelphia Phillies acquired right-hander Sam Coonrod from the San Francisco Giants on Saturday in exchange for right-hander Carson Ragsdale.
The 28-year-old Coonrod went 0-2 with three saves and a 9.82 ERA in 18 appearances for the Giants last season. He is 5-3 with three saves and a 5.74 ERA in two seasons with the Giants. He has made 51 career appearances, all in relief.
Ragsdale was selected by the Phillies in the fourth round of the June 2020 draft out of the University of South Florida. He participated in the 2020 Florida Instructional League.
Barzal agrees to 3-year contract, back on ice with Islanders
Mathew Barzal joined the New York Islanders on the ice Saturday for his first practice of training camp after agreeing to a $21 million, three-year contract.
The 23-year-old star forward missed the first few days of camp as the NHL’s most prominent unsigned restricted free agent. General manager Lou Lamoriello was confident a deal would get done, and it did five days before the Islanders open the season at the rival Rangers.
Barzal will count $7 million against the salary cap through the 2022-23 season. He still will be a restricted free agent when this contract expires.
He led the Islanders with 60 points on 19 goals and 41 assists in 68 games last season. The 2015 first-round pick had 17 points in 22 playoff games during their run to the Eastern Conference final and has become New York’s best offensive player.
Jets interview Panthers OC Joe Brady for head coaching job
NEW YORK — The New York Jets interviewed Carolina Panthers offensive coordinator Joe Brady on Saturday for their head coaching vacancy.
Brady is the fourth known candidate to meet remotely with the Jets, who fired Adam Gase last Sunday after two seasons. New York also interviewed Kansas City offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy on Wednesday, former Cincinnati coach Marvin Lewis on Thursday and San Francisco defensive coordinator Robert Saleh on Friday.
The Jets are also expected to speak to Indianapolis defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus in the next few days as the team’s list of candidates grows.
The 31-year-old Brady completed his first season as the Panthers’ offensive coordinator under Matt Rhule. Carolina ranked 21st overall and 24th in scoring, but had star running back Christian McCaffrey for only three games because of injuries. The Panthers still had four players — running back Mike Davis and wide receivers D.J. Moore, Robby Anderson and Curtis Samuel — have at least 1,000 yards from scrimmage, becoming only the fifth team in the Super Bowl era to accomplish that feat.
AP source: Former Washington QB Haskins to visit Panthers
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A person familiar with the situation says former Washington quarterback Dwayne Haskins will visit the Panthers on Monday.
The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Saturday because the team does not make its free agent visits public.
The NFL Network was first to report the news.
Washington released the 2019 first-round pick on Dec. 28, less than 24 hours after he committed three turnovers in a loss to Carolina and he was found in violation of pandemic protocols after being caught partying with several people without a mask. Haskins was fined $40,000 and lost his captaincy.
Carolina’s decision to even explore Haskins as a potential option at quarterback could show the team is not completely sold on Teddy Bridgewater as the starting quarterback for next season.
Freese, Pines added to US U23 roster; replace Ochoa, Araujo
CHICAGO — Philadelphia goalkeeper Matt Freese and D.C. United defender Donovan Pines have been added to the U.S. under-23 roster for this month’s training camp in Bradenton, Florida, in place of Salt Lake goalkeeper David Ochoa and LA Galaxy defender Julian Araujo.
Ochoa injured his right quadriceps and Araujo is ill, the U.S. Soccer Federation said Saturday.
The under-23 team is training under coach Jason Kreis alongside the national team through Jan. 24, and several under-23 players will be added to the national team roster ahead of a contemplated exhibition against Serbia in late January at Orlando, Florida.
Because of the delay in the Tokyo Games caused by the pandemic, the eligibility of the under-23 player pool was extended by a year by FIFA. Qualifying for the Olympics in the North and American and Caribbean region could take place in March.
Pitch perfect: Adele-singing 6th-tier team wins in FA Cup
Straining to reach the high notes of an Adele ballad, Chorley’s footballers have become the part-timers heard around the world as an incredible run in the FA Cup continues.
In a knockout competition — the oldest in world football — that began with 368 teams, Chorley of the sixth division is among the last 32 standing.
Once second-tier side Derby was beaten 2-0 on Saturday it was the time for vocal chords to be stretched with the latest rendition of “Someone Like You.” Chorley’s version was quickly posted on social media, just like after beating professional clubs in the previous two rounds, and viewed by millions again.
Pitch perfect from the field to the dressing room.
The 138-year-old club from a small northwest England town is into the fourth round for the first time.
US skier Tommy Ford in Swiss hospital after race crash
ADELBODEN, Switzerland — American skier Tommy Ford was airlifted to hospital after crashing in a World Cup giant slalom on Saturday.
Ford crashed three gates from the finish after going wide into rough snow beside the course. His skis touched and he fell forward, sliding down the hill first on his neck and left shoulder.
The United States ski team later said Ford’s “head and neck injuries are minor and resolving nicely. He has a knee injury that is undergoing further evaluation.”
Ford knocked over a course-side worker before coming to a stop close to safety nets beside the finish. He initially lay still with his face against the snow though was soon conscious and talking with medical staff.
A helicopter landed by the course 20 minutes later to airlift the 31-year-old racer, who is from Bend, Oregon.
Pinturault wins giant slalom, ties Miller for World Cup wins
ADELBODEN, Switzerland — Alexis Pinturault won a World Cup giant slalom for a second straight day on the storied Adelboden hill on Saturday, topping his superb performance from Friday.
Pinturault defied fast-fading light in the second run to post a huge winning margin of 1.26 seconds over Filip Zubcic, the runner-up on back-to-back days.
First-run leader Loic Meillard could not give Switzerland its first win since 2008 in its classic giant slalom. A big error early in his run left him 1.65 back in third place.
Pinturault’s third straight giant slalom victory was a 33rd career win in World Cup races, matching American great Bode Miller in ninth place on the men’s all-time list.
Sofia Goggia races to dominating win in World Cup downhill
ST. ANTON, Austria — Olympic champion Sofia Goggia’s high-risk skiing was rewarded with a dominating win in a World Cup downhill on Saturday.
Goggia was fast and nearly flawless in the sunshine on the rarely raced Karl Schranz course to be 0.96 seconds faster than Tamara Tippler of Austria.
“I didn’t expect I could have won here today with this gap,” said Goggia, whose ninth career World Cup win was her sixth in the marquee discipline of downhill.
Breezy Johnson landed her third straight third-place finish in downhills this season, 1.04 back, after the American clocked the fastest speed of more than 122 kph (76 mph).
“I watched Sofia’s run and I think that it was incredible,” Johnson said. “She skied with a lot of courage.”
Goggia has finished ahead of Johnson in each downhill so far, and the Italian now has two wins and a second place to lead the season-long standings.
Switzerland’s Corinne Suter, the only downhill racer to beat Goggia this season, tied for sixth Saturday with two-time world champion Ilka Stuhec.
Goggia rose to third in the overall World Cup standings led by Petra Vlhova, whose 12th place was her best downhill result this season.
Johnson’s latest third place extended the United States team’s standout record at St. Anton.
The two previous World Cup downhills raced at the Austrian resort in the past 20 years were won by Lindsey Vonn in 2007 and Alice Mckennis in 2013.
US makes World Cup bobsled season debut, Germans win golds
WINTERBERG, Germany — Germany’s Laura Nolte drove to the win Saturday in a women’s World Cup bobsled race in which reigning world champion Kaillie Humphries and three-time Olympic medalist Elana Meyers Taylor made their season debuts for the U.S.
Nolte and Deborah Levi got the win over fellow Germans Kim Kalicki and Ann-Christin Strack. Austria took third, with Katrin Beierl driving and Jennifer Jantina Oluumi Desire Onasanya pushing.
Humphries and Sylvia Hoffman were sixth for the U.S., one spot ahead of Meyers Taylor and Lolo Jones.
The U.S. had not competed in any World Cup bobsled or skeleton races this season before this weekend, sitting out the first half of the schedule because of the coronavirus pandemic and concerns about safety and international travel.
Loch closes in on another World Cup overall luge title
SIGULDA, Latvia — Felix Loch of Germany is well on his way to a seventh World Cup luge overall championship.
Loch got his seventh win in eight races this season on Saturday, prevailing over fellow German slider Johannes Ludwig by nearly one-quarter of a second and extending his standings lead to 250 points with only four races remaining.
One hundred points go to the winner of each race, with 85 for second, 70 for third and decreasing totals from there.
Loch — assuming he and Ludwig appear in all four of the remaining races — would need to average only ninth-place finishes to win the overall points crown. He has 755 points while Ludwig is second 505.
Italy’s Dominik Fischnaller was third in Saturday’s race, and remained third in the overall standings. Tucker West was the top American, placing 12th, one spot ahead of Chris Mazdzer and three spots ahead of Jonny Gustafson.
In doubles Saturday, Latvia took gold and bronze; Andris Sics and Juris Sics won, Germany’s Tobias Wendl and Tobias Arlt finished second and Martins Bots and Roberts Plume got third on home ice.
Elina Svitolina beats Vera Zvonareva at Abu Dhabi Open
ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates — Elina Svitolina reached the third round of the Abu Dhabi Open with a 6-4, 6-1 win over Russian veteran Vera Zvonareva on Saturday as Karolina Pliskova was eliminated in straight sets by a qualifier.
Svitolina will play 17th-seeded Ekaterina Alexandrova in the third round after a routine win over Zvonareva in just over an hour.
Third-seeded Pliskova was beaten 6-2, 6-4 by Russian qualifier Anastasia Gasanova, who was ranked 292nd in her first tour main draw and had never before played anyone ranked in the top 100. Next up for Gasanova is a third-round meeting with Sara Sorribes Tormo.
“It’s like it was not me on the court. I was so sure of myself,” Gasanova said of her breakthrough win. “It’s like when I step on the court, I’m a different person, I’m more angry.”
Seeded fifth, Garbine Muguruza progressed into the third round with a 6-1, 6-4 win over Aliaksandra Sasnovich. Next up for Muguruza is ninth-seeded Maria Sakkari, who eliminated Coco Gauff 7-5, 6-2.
Sixth-seeded Elena Rybakina converted her fifth match point to seal a 6-4, 6-4 win over Wang Xiyu of China. Rybakina next plays Daria Kasatkina, who advanced to the third round by walkover after her opponent Karolina Muchova withdrew.
American Christian Harrison upsets Garin at Delray Beach
DELRAY BEACH, Fla. — American qualifier Christian Harrison upset top-seeded Cristian Garin of Chile 7-6 (3), 6-2 Saturday in the second round at the Delray Beach Open.
Harrison, ranked No. 789, squandered three consecutive set points serving at 6-5 in the first set and lost serve, but regrouped to dominate the tiebreaker. He swept the final four games of the match to become the second-lowest-ranked quarterfinalist in tournament history.
Juan Martin del Potro was ranked No. 1,042 when he reached the quarters in 2016.
Harrison, the 26-year-old brother of tour veteran Ryan Harrison, has been plagued by injuries during his career.
“I just love the sport, I love what I’m doing,” he said. “I just can’t wait to keep playing and hopefully have a good, healthy next couple of years.”
Garin, who had a first-round bye, came into his first match of 2021 ranked a career-best No. 18. He said Harrison made the most of the cool afternoon weather.