COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF
LSU led Clemson at halftime
UNDATED (AP) — The CFP championship game has turned into the shootout many predicted after LSU and Clemson each had to punt following their first two possessions.
LSU erased a 17-7 deficit and led 28-17 at halftime in New Orleans. Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow had already thrown for 270 yards and three touchdowns by halftime for LSU, with Ja’Marr Chase grabbing six passes for 162 yards and two scores. Burrow also ran for 55 yards and a TD on eight carries.
Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence threw for 176 yards over the first two periods, but LSU was able to hold No. 1 deep threat Tee Higgins to one reception for 19 yards. Travis Etienne racked up 64 yards on 10 carries by intermission.
Both teams entered the game with 14-0 records. Clemson is trying to make it three national titles in four seasons while extending their winning streak to 30 games. LSU is looking for its third in 17 years, and the SEC's 12th in the period.
Hubbard staying at OSU
UNDATED (AP) — All-America running back Chuba Hubbard will return to Oklahoma State for his junior season.
Hubbard ran for 2,094 yards and 21 touchdowns this season, enough to make him consider declaring for the NFL draft. He joined Barry Sanders as the only players in school history to rush for at least 2,000 yards in a season.
Also in college football:
— Arizona State football coach Herm Edwards' has received a two-year contract extension through 2024, pending approval by the state’s board of regents. The Sun Devils were 7-6 on Edwards’ first year at the helm in 2018, earning a trip to the Las Vegas Bowl. They went 8-5 in 2019 and beat Florida State in the Sun Bowl, leaving ASU 15-11 in two seasons under Edwards.
Astros fire manager and GM after suspensions for sign-stealing
UNDATED (AP) — Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred has laid down punishment against the Houston Astros, and he’s coming after the Boston Red Sox.
The Astros have fired manager AJ Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow (LOO’-now) after the pair were suspended by MLB for sign-stealing during the Astros' run to the 2017 World Series title. A league investigation found that the Astros used the video feed from a center field camera to see and decode the opposing catcher’s signs. Players banged on a trash can to signal to batters what was coming, believing it would improve the batter's odds of getting a hit.
Houston was fined $5 million for sign-stealing by the team during its run to the 2017 World Series title and during the 2018 season, the maximum allowed under the Major League Constitution. The Astros will forfeit their next two first- and second-round draft picks.
Alex Cora was the bench coach on the 2017 Astros before spending the last two seasons with the Red Sox. Manfred said Cora developed the sign-stealing system used by the Astros. The Red Sox are under investigation for sign stealing in Cora's first season as manager in 2018, when Boston won the title.
In other MLB news:
— The Diamondbacks have finalized a three-year, $22 million contract with outfielder David Peralta (peh-RAHL’-tah) that runs through 2022. The 2019 Gold Glove Award winner in left field avoided his final year of salary arbitration by agreeing to the deal. Peralta played in 99 games last year, batting .275 with 12 homers despite battling a shoulder injury.
— Outfielder Brett Gardner and the Yankees have finalized his one-year, $12.5 million contract. Gardner hit .251 and set career highs with 28 homers and 74 RBIs last year.
— The Nationals say 23-year-old pitching prospect Fausto Segura has died. ESPN Deportes reported that Segura died in a traffic accident Sunday night in his native Dominican Republic.
Celtics hold off Bulls
UNDATED (AP) — The Boston Celtics squandered most of an 18-point halftime lead before winning their second straight since a season-high three-game skid.
Jayson Tatum contributed 21 points and Jaylen Brown had 19 as the Celtics downed the Bulls, 113-101. Boston led 55-37 before Chicago opened the second half on a 17-5 run. Zach Lavine (lah-VEEN’) scored six of his game-high 30 points during the spurt.
Enes Kanter had 15 points and nine rebounds for the Atlantic Division leaders, who moved 2 ½ games ahead of Toronto and 3 ½ in front of Philadelphia.
Checking out Monday’s other NBA action:
— T.J. Warren scored 21 points and blocked a late 3-pointer that would have given Philadelphia the lead before the Pacers held off the 76ers, 101-95. Malcolm Brogdon also had 21 points and added seven rebounds and nine assists as Indiana beat the Sixers for the second time in two weeks. Ben Simmons had 24 points and 14 rebounds for the 76ers, who fell to 1-2 since losing center Joel Embiid (joh-EHL’ ehm-BEED’) to a torn tendon in his left ring finger.
— Lonzo Ball scored five of his 17 points in overtime to push the Pelicans past the Pistons, 117-110. Jalil Okafor had 25 points and 14 rebounds for New Orleans, which blew a 16-point lead over the final 11 minutes of regulation before winning for the eighth time in 11 games. Derrick Rose had 23 points and eight assists in Detroit’s 12th loss in 15 games.
Caps blank Hurricanes
UNDATED (AP) — The Washington Capitals halted a two-game losing streak and padded their lead in the NHL’s Metropolitan Division.
Alex Ovechkin (oh-VEHCH’-kihn) scored two first-period goals and Ilya Samsonov (sam-SAH’-nahv) notched his first career shutout by handling 23 shots in the Caps’ 2-0 win against the Hurricanes. The first goal was the 685th for Ovechkin, moving him past Teemu Selanne (tay-mee she-LAH’-nee) for 11th place on the NHL's career list.
The win leaves the Capitals six points ahead of Pittsburgh and nine in front of the Islanders for the Metropolitan lead. The Hurricanes are 11 points back.
Elsewhere on NHL ice:
— Travis Konecny (kah-NEHK’-nee) scored in the fifth round of the shootout before Brad Marchand overskated the puck at center ice on his shootout attempt, completing the Flyers’ 6-5 comeback over the Bruins. Travis Sanheim scored twice in regulation for the Flyers, who rallied from a three-goal deficit. David Krejci had two goals but couldn’t stop Boston from falling one point off the NHL’s overall lead.
— The Rangers rolled over the Islanders, 6-2 as Artemi Panarin (ahr-THE’-mee pah-NAH’-rihn) delivered two goals and three assists. Jesper Fast had a goal and two assists to back Alexandar Georgiev (gee-OHR’-gee-ehv), who stopped 32 shots and improved to 3-0-1 versus the Isles. Jordan Eberle and Brock Nelson each had a goal and an assist for the Islanders who are 5-6-2 in their last 13 games to fall off the pace in the Metropolitan Division.
— Carey Price made 31 saves for his second shutout of the season as the Canadiens ended the Flames’ five-game winning streak, 2-0. Price claimed its 46th shutout with the team, tying Ken Dryden for third on the franchise's career list. Jordan Weal and rookie Ryan Poehling scored for the Canadiens, who have won two straight since losing eight in a row.
Stefanski officially hired as Browns coach, GM search on
UNDATED (AP) — Kevin Stefanski is getting a turn at fixing the busted Browns.
The Vikings offensive coordinator was officially hired by Cleveland on Monday as the 18th full-time coach in franchise history and 10th since the Browns' 1999 expansion return, which to this point has been a resounding two-decade debacle.
The 37-year-old Stefanski spent 14 seasons as an assistant in Minnesota and has never been a head coach at any level. He will be introduced at a news conference Tuesday at FirstEnergy Stadium.
In other NFL happenings:
— A New Hampshire prosecutor says a cocaine possession charge against Patriots safety Patrick Chung will be dropped. Chung must undergo periodic drug testing and perform 40 hours of community service. Chung was indicted in August after police in Meredith allegedly found a small quantity of drugs in his possession.
— Giants quarterback Eli Manning has won the 2020 Athletes in Action/Bart Starr Award. The award is given to an NFL player who best exemplifies outstanding character and leadership in the home, on the field and in the community. Manning just finished his 16th and possibly last season with the Giants.
COLLEGE BASKETBALL POLL
Baylor moves up to second spot
UNDATED (AP) — Baylor climbed to No. 2 in The Associated Press men's college basketball poll after resounding road wins over Texas Tech and Kansas last week.
Gonzaga maintained the top spot after breezing to a pair of victories while Duke dropped to third and unbeaten Auburn rose to fourth.
Butler rounded out the first five, followed by the Jayhawks and another unbeaten in San Diego State.
Oregon, Florida State and Kentucky rounded out the top 10.
New Mexico kicks Bragg off team
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — University of New Mexico forward Carlton Bragg Jr. has been kicked off the Lobos basketball team following his arrest on suspicion of driving while intoxicated and possession of less than an ounce of marijuana.
The arrest came nine days after the 24-year-old Bragg was reinstated to the team following a three-game suspension while university officials investigated sexual misconduct allegations against him by another student. Bragg has not been charged in connection with that incident, which occurred in August.
Florida lawmakers debate if college athletes can be paid
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Florida lawmakers began considering on Monday whether they would allow college athletes to profit from their fame. The debate comes as the NCAA looks into possibly removing its longstanding prohibition against it.
Florida would follow the lead of California, which last year ignored pleas by the NCAA to keep the prohibitions in place. The NCAA had argued that allowing the practice "would erase the critical distinction between college and professional athletics.” College sports generate billions of dollars in revenue, including $1 billion annually for the NCAA. But none of that money goes to college athletes.
Leafs lose Rielly for at least 8 weeks with broken foot
UNDATED (AP) — The Toronto Maple Leafs have lost defenseman Morgan Rielly for at least eight weeks with a fractured foot.
Rielly blocked a shot in the first period of Sunday's 8-4 loss in Florida but managed to finish the game. Teenage defenseman Rasmus Sandin was called up from the AHL’s Toronto Marlies in a corresponding move.
In other NHL news:
— Oilers forward Zack Kassian has been suspended for two games without pay for an altercation with Matthew Tkachuk (kah-CHUHK’) during Saturday’s loss to Calgary. Kassian grabbed the Flames forward by the collar, threw him to the ice and punched him several times to receive a double-minor for roughing and a 10-minute misconduct.
— A person with direct knowledge of the plans confirms to The Associated Press that women's national team players representing the United States and Canada will compete in a three-on-three event at the NHL All-Star game in two weeks. It's unclear when the three-on-three scrimmage will be held during the weekend of festivities in St. Louis. The scrimmages are seen as the next step in the league's bid to promote women's hockey.
Cavs rookie Windler out for rest of season with leg injury
CLEVELAND (AP) — Cavaliers rookie swingman Dylan Windler will miss the rest of the season with a leg injury he sustained during the preseason.
The Cavs said Monday that Windler, the No. 26 overall pick in last year's draft, is still dealing with symptoms from a stress reaction in his lower left leg. Windler was making progress and nearing a return to the Cavs until a recent setback, and the team said he will now undergo surgery.
The team said Windler will have the operation on Jan. 21. After surgery, Cleveland will have a better timeline for when he may come back.