NewsOK: Oklahoma City News, Sports, Weather & Entertainment

Weekend Sports in Brief

NFL

NEW YORK (AP) — Tom Brady will take on Aaron Rodgers in a matchup of quarterback legends in the NFC title game.

The AFC championship could feature two of the top young QBs if Patrick Mahomes is healthy enough to start for Kansas City against Buffalo’s Josh Allen.

An enticing final four in the NFL was set up Sunday when Brady’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat the New Orleans Saints 30-20 after the Chiefs held on for a 22-17 win over Cleveland after Mahomes left with a concussion.

On Saturday, the Packers beat the Rams 32-18 and the Bills topped the Ravens 17-3.

Kansas City (15-2) will host the Buffalo Bills (15-3) next Sunday with a return trip to the Super Bowl on the line for the Chiefs. Kansas City won the regular-season matchup 26-17 in Buffalo in Week 6.

The Bucs (13-5) will visit Green Bay on Sunday to take on Rodgers and the Packers (14-3). Tampa Bay won the regular-season matchup 38-10 in Week 6.

COSTA MESA, Calif. (AP) — The Los Angeles Chargers have hired Los Angeles Rams defensive coordinator Brian Staley as the team’s head coach.

The Chargers made the decision Sunday after having a second interview with Staley. The interview was held a day after the Rams were eliminated from the playoffs with a 32-18 loss to the Green Bay Packers.

The 38-year old Staley has been an NFL assistant for only four years. He joined the Rams this past season after being a linebackers coach with the Chicago Bears and Denver Broncos.

NBA

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Caris LeVert’s debut with the Indiana Pacers has been put on hold indefinitely after an MRI revealed a small mass on his left kidney.

President of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard made the announcement Saturday, three days after LeVert became part of a blockbuster, four-team deal that sent perennial All-Star James Harden to the Brooklyn Nets, two-time All-Star Victor Oladipo to the Houston Rockets.

Pritchard did not provide details of the diagnosis including whether it was cancerous and declined to establish a timeline for LeVert’s return.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL

WACO, Texas (AP) — Ashley Joens scored 14 of her 27 points in the fourth quarter and Iowa State beat No. 6 Baylor 75-71 on Saturday night, ending the Lady Bears’ 61-game home court winning streak.

Baylor (8-2, 3-1 Big 12) played for the first time in two weeks because of a pause in the program after coach Kim Mulkey tested positive for COVID-19. The Lady Bears overcame an early 13-point deficit, but couldn’t avoid a second consecutive streak-snapping loss to the Cyclones.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Marshall has given Alabama’s Charles Huff his first head coaching job.

Marshall announced Huff’s hiring Sunday. Huff spent the past two seasons as the Crimson Tide’s associate head coach and running backs coach and is widely known as a top recruiter.

The 37-year-old Huff is Marshall’s first Black head football coach. He is a 2005 graduate of Hampton, where he played center, guard, fullback and tight end.

Huff replaces Conference USA coach of the year Doc Holliday, whose contract was not renewed.

TENNIS

The number of players in hard quarantine swelled to 72 ahead of the Australian Open after a fifth positive coronavirus test was returned from the charter flights bringing players, coaches, officials and media to Melbourne for the season-opening tennis major.

That means they won’t be allowed to leave their hotel rooms or practice for 14 days, creating a two-speed preparation period for the tournament. Other players in less rigorous quarantine will be allowed to practice for five hours daily.

Australian Open organizers confirmed late Sunday that the latest case involved a passenger on the flight from Doha, Qatar to Melbourne who was not a member of the playing contingent, But all 58 passengers, including the 25 players, now cannot leave their hotel rooms for 14 days.

GOLF

HONOLULU (AP) — Three shots behind with six holes to play, Kevin Na birdied three straight holes and finished with an up-and-down birdie from behind the 18th green for a 5-under 65 and a one-shot victory in the Sony Open.

Na finished at 21-under 259 and won for the fifth time in his PGA Tour career. He finished one shot ahead of Joaquin Niemann and Chris Kirk.

OLYMPICS

SYDNEY (AP) — Kevan Gosper, a former International Olympic Committee vice president, is suggesting the United Nations might be the place to decide the fate of the postponed Tokyo Olympics.

The Olympics are to open on July 23 but face mounting opposition at home as COVID-19 cases surge in Tokyo, across Japan and across the globe.

Tokyo and other parts of Japan are under emergency orders with about 4,200 deaths in the country attributed to COVID-19.

Gosper, still an honorary IOC member, made the suggestion to Australia’s national broadcaster, the Australian Broadcasting Corp.

HORSE RACING

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — Tall Dark Stranger is harness racing’s Horse of the Year.

The 3-year-old colt won 11 of 13 races, including victories in the Meadowlands Pace, the Cane Pace and the North America Cup. He led the sport with earnings of $1.3 million for driver Yannick Gingras, trainer Nancy Takter, and the ownership group of Crawford Farms Racing, Marvin Katz, Caviart Farms, and Howard Taylor.

Tall Dark Stranger easily outpolled Party Girl Hill, the champion 3-year-old filly pacer, 88-29 in the Horse of the Year voting by the U.S. Harness Writers Association. He was also crowned champion 3-year-old male pacer and Pacer of the Year.

SKATING

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Even with an error at the beginning of his free skate, Nathan Chen was unbeatable Sunday, winning his fifth straight U.S. Figure Skating Championship.

Not since Dick Button won each title from 1946-52 has any American man had such a streak of success.

Chen ignored the rough beginning of his free skate, when he put his hands down and stepped out of a quad lutz. He hit four more quads, three in combination, and a triple axel deep into his program. There was a fluidity to his choreography and spins, and his 322.28 points were unmatchable by anybody in the field.

His main challengers couldn’t stand up throughout their free skates, and Vincent Chou’s 291.38 total wasn’t in the same stratosphere as Chen.

Other winners at nationals, which could be the last significant competition of the season should worlds be canceled for the second straight year, were: Bradie Tennell with her second women’s title; Madison Hubbell and Zach Donohue for their third ice dance championship; and Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier in pairs.

YACHTING

United States challenger American Magic capsized and was at risk of sinking after attempting a high risk maneuver in a squall Sunday on the third day of racing in the America’s Cup challenger series.

A frantic joint effort involving firemen, police, coastguard and American Magic’s rival teams immediately began to save the yacht Patriot and to keep the U.S. team in the regatta.

Defender Team New Zealand and challengers Luna Rossa and Team UK hurried to aid the American team, saving sails and equipment and assisting desperate attempts to keep Patriot afloat.

___

More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Associated Press

News from The Associated Press, and a taste of the great journalism produced by AP members and customers. Managed 24/7 by these editors: apne.ws/APSocial Read more ›

Mike Sherman

Mike Sherman is the former sports editor of The Oklahoman, where he has a combined 18 years of service during two stints as a writer and an editor. He covered high school sports for The Oklahoman from 1984-93. He also worked as a news... Read more ›

Jon Hamm

I am a long-time follower of NBA basketball. While I love the sport, it's the behind-the-scenes activity that fascinates me most. For over 20 years I have studied how the NBA's Collective Bargaining Agreement impacts the final product. I was... Read more ›

Comments