BC-AP Sports Digest
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The miss by Bears kicker Cody Parkey won’t be easily forgotten in Chicago. Co-hosts Jim Litke and Tim Dahlberg discuss on AP’s PodcastOne Sports Now why kickers are so expendable, and yet so vital in a league that doesn’t seem to value them nearly enough.
NEW YORK — The New York Jets stayed in the AFC East to find their new head coach. Former Miami Dolphins coach Adam Gase agreed Wednesday night to take the Jets job, a person familiar with the decision told The Associated Press. The hiring ends a 10-day, wide-open search for New York, which met with seven other coaches about their vacancy, including Mike McCarthy, Kris Richard, Jim Caldwell, Eric Bieniemy, Todd Monken, Matt Rhule and Kliff Kingsbury, who took the Arizona Cardinals job. By Pro Football Writer Dennis Waszak Jr. SENT: 800 words, photos.
OMAHA, Neb. — Already one of the nation’s most prolific scorers, Markus Howard outdid himself. Marquette’s junior guard made shots when he was wide open, shots when he had a hand in his face, shots while he was falling away, shots in heavy traffic in the lane. When he was finished Wednesday night, Howard had scored a Big East-record 53 points, with 14 coming in overtime as the No. 21 Golden Eagles beat Creighton 106-104. By Eric Olson. SENT: 650 words, photos.
HOUSTON — Giannis Antetokounmpo wasn’t going to join in on the debate about whether he should be an early favorite for MVP after he led the Milwaukee Bucks to a victory over the Houston Rockets and last year’s MVP James Harden on Wednesday night. The rising young star was just happy his team was leaving Houston with a win. Antetokounmpo scored 27 points and grabbed a season-high 21 rebounds to help the Bucks withstand a 42-point performance from Harden in a 116-109 win. By Kristie Rieken. SENT: 850 words, photos.
FBN--TIM DAHLBERG-COACHING DIVERSITY
Where have all the black coaches gone? To the unemployment line, at least in the NFL. Five of the eight coaches fired over — and since — the last season were black, and so far none of them has been rehired as head coaches in the league. By Sports Writer Tim Dahlberg. SENT: 800 words.
Automatic ejections for targeting could be dropped in some cases as early as next season if an American Football Coaches Association proposal is approved by the NCAA Football Rules Committee. Few rules have caused as much consternation, frustration and aggravation among coaches, players and fans as targeting, defined as forcible hits above the shoulders of players determined to be defenseless. By College Football Writer Eric Olson. SENT: 500 words.
FBN--ZEKE AND TODD
THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. — Todd Gurley roots for running backs when he watches football. A playoff duel between arguably the two best ball-carriers in the NFL would be irresistible to him as a fan. Gurley won’t be watching the Los Angeles Rams’ playoff game against the Dallas Cowboys from his couch, however. He’ll be in the Coliseum on Saturday night to go up against Ezekiel Elliott in a tantalizing matchup that should play a large role in deciding which team moves on to the NFC championship game. By Greg Beacham. SENT: 750 words.
FBN--INSIDE THE NUMBERS
PHILADELPHIA — Just call him Nicky Numbers. Nick Foles is a backup quarterback in Philadelphia but he’s one of the most clutch postseason players in NFL history and his stats prove it. Foles has won four straight playoff games, leading the Eagles on game-winning drives in the fourth quarter in the Super Bowl last February and in a 16-15 victory at Chicago in a wild-card game last week. By Pro Football Writer Rob Maaddi. SENT: 450 words.
NEW YORK — Vince Carter looked up at the highlights, enjoying the view of himself back in the days when he was among the NBA’s highest flyers. He’s about to turn 42, now in his 21st season, and he doesn’t jump quite like the guy being shown Wednesday night on the Barclays Center overhead screens. The Nets honored Carter, who is the oldest active player, with a tribute video during their game against Atlanta, a way to say thank you for his 4 ½ seasons with the franchise. By Basketball Writer Brian Mahoney. SENT: 500 words.
PHILADELPHIA — Ernest Aflakpui drives his Temple teammates crazy in practice by constantly taking charges. They were thrilled to see him do it with a big game on the line. Quinton Rose scored 22 points, Aflakpui made the decisive defensive play and the Owls handed No. 17 Houston its first loss of the season, 73-69 on Wednesday night. SENT: 680 words, photos.
BKC--BIG 12 THIS WEEK. By Luke Meredith. SENT: 350 words.
BKC--BIG TEN THIS WEEK. By Noah Trister. SENT: 350 words.
NEW YORK — Catcher Yasmani Grandal and the Milwaukee Brewers have agreed to an $18.25 million, one-year contract, a person familiar with the negotiations tells The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity Wednesday night because the agreement, first reported by The Athletic, was subject to a successful physical. By Baseball Writer Ronald Blum. SENT: 430 words.
BKL--WNBA MOCK DRAFT
NEW YORK — The Associated Press polled a panel of WNBA coaches and general managers for a mock draft of the two rounds this spring. Panelists were limited to college seniors and eligible foreign players, and they could not offer a pick for their own team. While last season there was a clear-cut No. 1 in A’ja Wilson, there is no consensus top pick this year. The top three picks remained the same from the first mock draft with Teaira McCowan, Asia Durr and Kalani Brown going 1-2-3. By Basketball Writer Doug Feinberg. SENT: 600 words, photos.
NEW YORK — Brooklyn Nets minority owner Joseph Tsai is close to adding another New York team to his sports portfolio. An investment group led by the co-founder of the Alibaba Group is close to a deal to buy the Liberty, a person familiar with the purchase told The Associated Press on Wednesday. The person, who said the deal could be done within a week, spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the discussions were private. The WNBA’s regular season begins in May. By Basketball Writer Doug Feinberg. SENT: 350 words.
Lindsey Vonn doesn’t want health or history to dictate when her storied career ends. With yet another knee injury behind her and a major record within reach, the three-time Olympic medalist is determined to retire on her terms. Vonn is ready to return from injury and resume her pursuit of the World Cup wins record. She is four victories shy of Ingemar Stenmark’s 86 victories, making her the only skier to even get close to the Swedish great. Matching that mark is a goal for Vonn, but she doesn’t want it to become an obsession before she retires later this year. UPCOMING: 650 words, photos. By 3 a.m.
TOKYO — Japan’s three-time Olympic wrestling champion announced her retirement officially on Thursday, saying it’s time for the next generation of wrestlers to take the stage at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The 36-year-old Yoshida, who also won 13 consecutive world championships, spoke before a packed news conference at a hotel in central Tokyo. By Jim Armstrong. SENT: 300 words.
Thursday Time Schedule (EST)
Top 25 MEN
No. 2 Michigan at Illinois, 8 p.m.
No. 5 Gonzaga vs. Pacific, 11 p.m.
Top 25 WOMEN
No. 1 Notre Dame vs. No. 2 Louisville, 7 p.m.
No. 7 Mississippi State vs. Georgia, 9 p.m.
No. 8 N.C. State vs. Pittsburgh, 7 p.m.
No. 13 Tennessee vs. No. 16 Kentucky, 7 p.m.
No. 17 Iowa at Purdue, 8 p.m.
No. 21 South Carolina vs. Florida, 7 p.m.
No. 25 Indiana at Ohio State, 6 p.m.
Boston at Miami, 7 p.m.
L.A. Clippers at Denver, 9 p.m.
Oklahoma City at San Antonio, 9:30 p.m.
Detroit at Sacramento, 10 p.m.
Nashville at Columbus, 7 p.m.
N.Y. Islanders at N.Y. Rangers, 7 p.m.
Washington at Boston, 7 p.m.
Toronto at New Jersey, 7 p.m.
Dallas at Philadelphia, 7 p.m.
Carolina at Tampa Bay, 7:30 p.m.
Montreal at St. Louis, 8 p.m.
Winnipeg at Minnesota, 8 p.m.
Florida at Edmonton, 9 p.m.
Arizona at Vancouver, 10 p.m.
San Jose at Vegas, 10 p.m.
Ottawa at Los Angeles, 10:30 p.m.