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Update on the latest in sports:

December 29, 2018


College Football Playoff: Bama vs OU; Clemson vs Notre Dame

UNDATED (AP) — With lots of fans anticipating an eventual fourth matchup between Alabama and Clemson for college football championship, Oklahoma and Notre Dame will try their best to have something to say about it.

The College Football Playoff semifinals pit the top-ranked Crimson Tide against No. 4 Oklahoma at the Orange Bowl in South Florida and No. 2 Clemson is playing No. 3 Notre Dame at the Cotton Bowl in North Texas. The national championship game is Jan. 7 in Santa Clara, California.

In other bowl action:

— Lamical Perine had a 5-yard scoring catch and added a 53-yard touchdown run to lead No. 10 Florida’s strong rushing attack as the Gators capped their comeback season with a runaway 41-15 win over No. 8 Michigan in the Peach Bowl. After finishing 4-7 in 2017, Florida enjoyed a dramatic turnaround in Dan Mullen’s debut season as coach.

— Bryce Perkins threw three touchdown passes to Olamide Zaccheaus, Virginia’s defense dominated and the Cavaliers beat South Carolina 28-0 in the Belk Bowl for their first bowl win since 2005. Perkins completed 22 of 31 passes for 208 yards and ran for 81 yards as the Cavaliers ended the ACC’s longest bowl drought. Zaccheaus, named the game’s Most Outstanding Player, had 12 catches for 100 yards.


Auburn cornerback Jamel Dean declares for NFL draft

UNDATED (AP) — Auburn cornerback Jamel Dean says he is skipping his senior season to enter the NFL draft.

Dean announced his decision to leave Auburn on Instagram Friday night, hours after the Tigers’ 63-14 win over Purdue in the Music City Bowl.

Dean had 30 tackles, two interceptions and nine pass breakups as a junior.

He’s the second Auburn player to declare for the draft, joining quarterback Jarrett Stidham.

In other college football news:

— Memphis has hired Adam Fuller as its defensive coordinator after he spent this season in the same position at Marshall. Fuller replaces Chris Ball, who left to become the head coach at Football Championship Subdivision program Northern Arizona. Fuller has been at Marshall the last six seasons. He was assistant head coach and special teams coordinator from 2013-17 before becoming defensive coordinator in the 2018 season. Marshall allowed 21.8 points and 338.7 yards per game this season.


Bears activate Kyle Long from injured reserve

UNDATED (AP) — The Chicago Bears have activated right guard Kyle Long from injured reserve, clearing the way for the three-time Pro Bowl lineman to play in the regular-season finale at Minnesota.

Long has been out since Oct. 28, when he suffered a tendon injury in his right foot against the New York Jets. He had surgery and was placed on IR with an option to return.

The NFC North champion Bears (11-4) are headed to the playoffs for the first time since the 2010 team won the division. They could earn a first-round bye Sunday with a win and a loss by the Los Angeles Rams, while the Vikings (8-6-1) need a win or a loss by the Philadelphia Eagles to make the playoffs as a wild card.

Chicago also waived quarterback Tyler Bray on Saturday.

Elsewhere around the NFL:

— The New York Jets have placed wide receiver Quincy Enunwa, cornerback Morris Claiborne and linebacker Kevin Pierre-Louis on injured reserve a day before the team’s season finale at New England. All three players had been previously ruled out for the game against the Patriots. The Jets also announced they signed defensive back Brandon Bryant, wide receiver J.J. Jones and defensive tackle Destiny Vaeao from the practice squad.


Ranked teams winners in early contests

UNDATED (AP) — The highest ranked college basketball team in action today had no trouble maintaining its winning ways.

Grant Williams scored 25 points and went 10 of 11 from the floor to lead a red-hot shooting performance for No. 3 Tennessee in a 96-53 blowout of Tennessee Tech on Saturday.

The Vols (11-1) have won seven straight overall and 16 consecutive home games as they head into the start of Southeastern Conference competition next weekend. Tennessee’s only loss of the season was an 87-81 setback against No. 5 Kansas in the NIT Season Tip-Off on Nov. 23.

In other T25 action:

— Udoka Azubuike scored 23 points and grabbed nine rebounds in his return from an ankle injury, and No. 2 Kansas cruised to a 87-63 win over Eastern Michigan. Azubuike hit the ground running after missing four games, scoring seven points in the first six minutes, highlighted by a couple of and-one dunks.

— Grant Williams scored 25 points and went 10 of 11 from the floor to lead a strong shooting performance for No. 3 Tennessee in a 96-53 blowout of Tennessee Tech. Tennessee shot 63.8 percent and converted 12 dunks. Tennessee has won seven straight overall and 16 consecutive home games.

— Cassius Winston matched a career-high with six 3-pointers and scored 24 points, leading No. 8 Michigan State to 88-60 win over Northern Illinois. The Spartans have won six straight, heading into the Big Ten season. The Huskies have alternated between winning and losing for much of the season. Northern Illinois coach Mark Montgomery returned to the school where he played point guard from 1988 to 1992 and was one of Tom Izzo’s assistants from 2001 to 2011.

— C.J. Jackson scored 14 of his 20 points in the second half and Kaleb Wesson added 17 points as No. 13 Ohio State beat High Point 82-64 on Saturday. Luther Muhammed had a career-high 15 points to help the Buckeyes (12-1) get their sixth consecutive win.

— Cameron Johnson scored 17 points, Luke Maye had 11 points and 14 rebounds, and No. 14 North Carolina beat Davidson 82-60 on Saturday. Kenny Williams added 12 points and Garrison Brooks had 11 to help the Tar Heels (9-3) bounce back from their 80-72 loss to No. 16 Kentucky on Dec. 22 — the first time since 2014 that North Carolina had three losses before Christmas.

— Aric Holman scored a career-high 28 points and Quinndary Weatherspoon had 27 Saturday, leading No. 19 Mississippi State past BYU 103-81 for the Bulldogs’ ninth straight victory. In closing its nonconference schedule, Mississippi State also got 16 points from Tyson Carter and 11 each from Nick Weatherspoon and Reggie Perry. BYU (8-7) dropped its third straight game and is 0-3 against ranked opponents this season.


AP source: Wizards’ John Wall needs surgery on left heel

UNDATERD (AP) — A person with knowledge of the situation says Washington guard John Wall needs surgery to address bone spurs in his left heel.

The person says Wall was told that news on Saturday.

If Wall has the surgery, he could miss six to eight months.

The person spoke to The Associated Press Saturday on condition of anonymity because neither Wall nor the Wizards have publicly disclosed the diagnosis.


Blackwood gets 1st shutout, Devils beat Hurricanes 2-0

UNDATED (AP) — Rookie goalie Mackenzie Blackwood stopped 37 shots for his first shutout and Pavel Zacha scored short-handed as the New Jersey Devils beat the Carolina Hurricanes 2-0.

It was the second straight victory for Blackwood, giving the Devils their first two-game winning streak since Nov. 13-15.


Islanders place F Eberle on IR, call up Dal Colle from AHL

UNDATED (AP) — The New York Islanders have placed forward Jordan Eberle on injured reserve due to an upper body injury, and recalled forward Michael Dal Colle from Bridgeport of the AHL.

Eberle missed practice on Thursday and then sat out the Islanders’ 6-3 win over Ottawa on Friday night due to stiffness. The move Saturday is retroactive to last Sunday.

The forward has seven goals and 10 assists in 35 games this season, after totaling 25 goals and 34 assists a year ago in his first season with the Islanders.

Dal Colle, selected by New York in the first round of the 2014 NHL Draft, has no goals and no assists in six career NHL games, including two in a stint with the Islanders last month. He has 12 goals and 16 assists in 28 games with the Sound Tigers this season.

The Islanders play at Toronto on Saturday night, facing former captain John Tavares for the first time since he left to sign with his hometown Maple Leafs in the offseason.

In other NHL news:

— Montreal Canadiens forward Phillip Danault was fined $5,000 for a dangerous trip against Florida Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad. Danault tripped Ekblad with about 2 1/2 minutes remaining in Montreal’s 5-3 win at Florida on Friday night. Danault was given a roughing penalty on the play. The NHL announced the fine Saturday.

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