Cyclones dig deep to win Big 12 opener

By LUKE MEREDITH
AP Sports Writer
AMES — After fiddling with his rotation for weeks, Iowa State coach Steve Prohm went to an unconventional lineup to help pull the Cyclones out of a funk.
Naz Mitrou-Long scored 17 of his 19 points in the second half and Iowa State rallied from 14 down to beat Texas Tech 63-56 Friday.
Monte Morris had 14 points with six assists for the Cyclones (9-3, 1-0 Big 12), who recovered from an ugly start to beat the Red Raiders at home for the sixth time in a row.
After looking sluggish for well over a half, Iowa State went to a four-guard lineup and ripped off 16 straight points — and a Mitrou-Long 3 gave the Cyclones their first lead, 55-52, with 4:29 left.
“We were the tougher team for the last 10 minutes,” Prohm said. “I was going by my gut about what needed to happen.”
Texas Tech (11-2, 0-1) out-rebounded the smaller Cyclones 42-27. But the Red Raiders went scoreless for 7 ¢ minutes down the stretch, allowing Mitrou-Long and Iowa State to overtake them behind a crowd that went from irritated to raucous in short order.
“We got kind of stagnant and started standing around and also put ourselves in position to turn the ball over” said Texas Tech’s Keenan Evans, who led the team with 15 points.
Anthony Livingston scored 13 and Zach Smith had 14 rebounds for the Red Raiders, who were outscored by 17 points in the second half and committed 15 turnovers.
“It was a real challenge for us. It spaced us out defensively,” Texas Tech coach Chris Beard said. “I’ve got a lot of confidence and belief in our players. We’ve got good players. It just wasn’t our night.
BIG PICTURE
Texas Tech: The Red Raiders sailed through their first Big 12 test — for 30 minutes. After playing one of the nation’s easier non-conference schedules, Texas Tech got up big before completely down crumbling the stretch. The Big 12 will know a lot more about the Red Raiders after its next two games against No. 11 West Virginia and No. 3 Kansas. But they’ll be 0-3 in the league unless they learn how to put together a complete game.
Iowa State: It wasn’t a coincidence that Iowa State’s offense opened up once Deonte Burton went to the bench. Burton was just 2 of 11 shooting, and the Cyclones found their groove once they went small and moved the ball. Iowa State was also solid at the line, shooting 15 of 18.
NOT SO YOUNG ANYMORE
The lone big man in Iowa State’s four-guard lineup was freshman Solomon Young. He didn’t score in 16 minutes, but his frontcourt presence was crucial during the Cyclones’ definitive run. Young might see a lot more playing time in the future as a classic big man whenever the Cyclones go small again.
TIP-INS
The loss snapped Tech’s eight-game winning streak. …Iowa State senior guard Matt Thomas sat out most of the second half because of an unspecified foot injury he suffered two weeks ago. …Friday’s game marked the eighth time in six years that the Cyclones won after trailing by at least 14. They made the NCAA Tournament in each of those years. …Texas Tech was outscored 30-22 in the paint despite its size advantage.
HE SAID IT
“I think Tom Izzo said it best the other night. Who’s producing? We need to play people that produce,” Prohm said about his unique lineup down the stretch. Burton, a starter, played just three minutes in the second half.
UP NEXT
Texas Tech will open its Big 12 home schedule against the Mountaineers.
Iowa State will travel to fourth-ranked Baylor on Wednesday. The Cyclones will be decisive underdogs, although they were within a missed 3 of beating No. 7 Gonzaga earlier this season.

Sinkhole disrupts holiday season in Detroit suburb

DETROIT (AP) — A major sinkhole has disrupted the holiday season in Fraser, a suburb of roughly 14,500 people about 15 miles north of downtown Detroit. Roads have been closed and about two dozen homes evacuated after the Christmas Eve sewer collapse. No injuries have been reported but inconveniences are many as crews begin a months-long process of assessing the damage, making repairs and determining the cause.
WHAT HAPPENED?
On Saturday morning, there was what Fraser Mayor Joe Nichols calls a “failure” underground: A sewer line partially collapsed. That caused the ground to shift and open up, forcing people from their homes and closing roads. Officials say the resulting sinkhole is 250 feet long and 100 feet wide — larger than one in 2004 that caused a nearby section of roadway to cave in. Crews have been working around the clock since Saturday, trying to stabilize and secure the area.
WHAT CAUSED IT?
It’s not yet clear. Nichols says determining why will be the priority of the Macomb County Wastewater Disposal District, which owns the sewer lines. That falls on incoming Public Works Commissioner Candice Miller, a congresswoman who recently unseated longtime commissioner Anthony Marrocco after a contentious campaign. Nichols says Miller has had a representative “on the ground” and at every briefing since problems began.
HOW MUCH IS THIS COSTING?
Again, Nichols says it’s too early to say. But he says it will be “a lot,” given that repairs will take several months to complete. Repairs on the 2004 sinkhole cost tens of millions of dollars.
WHAT’S GOING ON WITH RESIDENTS?
Residents of 22 homes have been evacuated for the time being. Officials say they aim to get most of them back in their homes within two weeks, but three homes are considered unsafe and likely will need to be rebuilt. Nichols says city crews have winterized the evacuated homes and beefed up police patrols in the area to protect them. They also are working on creating alternate, temporary ways for people to drive to their homes. Nichols also declared a local state of emergency, which opens up the opportunity for county financial assistance to residents affected by the sinkhole.

No. 21 Oregon upsets No. 2 UCLA on Brooks’ 3-pointer

By RON RICHMOND, Associated Press

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — Ten years ago at McArthur Court, it was Oregon’s Aaron Brooks with the shot that knocked off No. 1 UCLA.

This time the dagger was in the hands of Dillon Brooks, and he delivered against the No. 2 Bruins, too.

Brooks hit a 3-pointer with 0.8 seconds left to give No. 21 Oregon an 89-87 victory Wednesday night in the Pac-12 opener for both teams.

Brooks, who finished with 23 points and nine rebounds, grabbed Bryce Alford’s missed free throw with 8.9 seconds to go, dribbled to the right wing and pulled up for the game-winning shot.

“It’s amazing,” Brooks said. “You work on your game every day and you dream of that moment.

“I want more moments like that for my team.”

Payton Pritchard added 15 points and nine assists for the Ducks (12-2, 1-0), who won their 10th consecutive game and pushed the nation’s second-longest home winning streak to 34 games. Pritchard’s 3-pointer pulled Oregon within one with 12.9 seconds left to set the stage for Brooks’ shot.

Brooks said Oregon coach Dana Altman called “pop” for the final shot and the ball was supposed to find the hot-handed Pritchard, who hit three of Oregon’s 11 3-pointers. Instead, Brooks used a screen by Jordan Bell to squeeze off the game-winner.

“We had an option to get to the basket or shoot it,” Altman said, “and (Brooks) felt like he liked the shot and he was right. Who am I to argue?

“Dillon likes those big moments and hit or miss, he’s willing to take the consequences for it.”

That included being swarmed by Bell and his teammates at the other end of the court before the officials could clear the court for a final possession by UCLA, which didn’t come close with its shot.

“I was running away from it,” Brooks said of the celebration, “but Jordan just tackled me.”

Thomas Welch had 20 points and 10 rebounds for the Bruins (13-1, 0-1), and Alford had 20 points. Lonzo Ball added 14 points and TJ Leaf had 13.

UCLA was trying to match its best start to a season in 10 years, but Alford missed the front end of a 1-and-1. Alford was shooting a team-best 87.0 percent at the free throw line this season.

“That’s who we want at the line,” UCLA coach Steve Alford said of his son. “More times than not he makes shots to get us back in it and that’s the guy we want at the free throw line.”

The Bruins came in as the nation’s best shooting team and fourth-best beyond the arc, and they nearly hit those marks by going 34 of 64 overall (53.1 percent) and 11 of 25 (44.0 percent) on 3-pointers.

However, UCLA also had 14 turnovers against 19 assists and lost the rebounding battle 37-35.

The Bruins used a 15-0 run sparked by three straight 3s by Ball midway through the second half to take a 72-65 lead. UCLA was up by eight with 4 minutes to play before Pritchard sparked Oregon’s final rally with seven points.

“Credit to them,” Bryce Alford said. “First and foremost they made big-time plays (and) hit some really tough shots.

“Their last two 3s were highly contested, fadeaway 3s, so they made big-time plays but we have to be much better on the defensive end.”

Oregon beat the Bruins at their own game in the first half, pushing a 100-point pace with 11 assists on its first 14 field goals and shooting 7 of 14 from 3-point range.

The Ducks also held Leaf, UCLA’s leading scorer, without a shot for the first 11 1/2 minutes. A 16-5 run had Oregon up by 12 late in the half before UCLA closed with a 10-3 burst to trail at the break for only the second time this season.

BIG PICTURE

UCLA missed a chance to grab an early edge in the Pac-12 race by failing to knock off the defending champs on their own court.

Oregon finally found the spark it was missing during nonconference play with the stunning upset against the highest-ranked opponent to play in Eugene during Altman’s seven seasons as coach.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

Letting Oregon escape at the buzzer will cost UCLA a few spots in the rankings after the Bruins went through the nonconference season perfect for the first time since 1995.

Oregon likely will jump back up in the rankings if it takes care of business against No. 22 USC. The Ducks reached an all-time high of No. 4 early in the season before tumbling as far as 24th after two early losses.

STAT OF THE NIGHT: Oregon leads the nation with 108 blocked shots but finished with one to six for the Bruins.

ON A ROLL: The sellout crowd of 12,364, including Nike co-founder Phil Knight, made an impression on UCLA senior Bryce Alford, who was part of a big upset of then-No. 1 Kentucky at Rupp Arena earlier this season. “There’s a reason they don’t lose here,” Alford said of the Ducks’ 34-game home winning streak. “They’re a big-time basketball team and it’s a big-time atmosphere.”

HE SAID IT: Always the cautious one even after a victory, Altman said he still considers the Bruins the favorite to win the Pac-12. “We won a home game by two points, and you’re supposed to win at home,” he said. “With their explosiveness, they’re still the team to beat. They’re still a level above us right now.”

ALSO IN THE HOUSE: Representatives from 11 NBA teams, including the defending champion Cleveland Cavaliers and 2015 champion Golden State Warriors, were in attendance Wednesday night.

UP NEXT

UCLA will go for the road split to open Pac-12 play at Oregon State on Friday night.

Oregon faces another unbeaten team when it hosts No. 22 USC on Friday night.

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FSU father-son duo first in ACC to reach 1,000-point club

By JOE REEDY, Associated Press

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Xavier Rathan-Mayes became the 46th Florida State player to reach 1,000 career points on Wednesday. But when his layup with 15:47 remaining in the first half against Wake Forest put him at 1,001, it resulted in another, rarer milestone.

According to Florida State, which consulted with other Atlantic Coast Conference schools, Rathan-Mayes and Tharon Mayes are the first father-son duo in ACC history to each score 1,000 points in their careers. Mayes played at Florida State from 1988-90 and had 1,260 points over 77 games.

“It feels amazing. When I committed to Florida State, I wanted to do something special in honor of my dad,” said Rathan-Mayes, who has 1,019 points in 79 games. “Just to be in the 1,000-point club, and be the first father-son duo to do that in ACC history, it means the world to me.

“After the game I went and gave him the biggest hug and I cried because he means so much to me. He’s been there for me all my life and it just means a lot to be able to make him proud.”

It was a rare display of emotion for the 6-foot-4 junior from Scarborough, Ontario, but one that didn’t surprise his father, who said his son shows his emotions behind closed doors.

“I enjoyed playing, but for me this was sweeter,” Mayes said. “I’ve always pushed it in his head about trying to get 1,000 points because only 46 can say it and that’s big for him.”

Rathan-Mayes has had to drastically change his game during his three years with the Seminoles. He was the first freshman in conference history to have three games of 30 points or more, including a pair of 35-point efforts against North Carolina and Miami in 2015.

The past two years, he has transitioned from shooting to point guard. After having eight games of 20 or more points as a freshman, Rathan-Mayes has had only three, but one of those came Wednesday when he scored a season-high 23 points in the No. 20 Seminoles’ 88-72 win over the Demon Deacons .

“He has accepted his role of being the leader of the team from a perimeter standpoint. And I think he’s doing a pretty good job at it,” coach Leonard Hamilton said.

Mayes said the next goal he is hoping to see his son accomplish is getting the Seminoles to their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2012. With the win over Wake, FSU has won eight straight, and at 13-1, the Seminoles are off to their best start since the 1988-89 team went 16-1.

The Seminoles are about to get into the toughest part of their schedule as five of the next six opponents are ranked , including a road game against No. 12 Virginia on Saturday.

But for now, father and son can enjoy some unique bragging rights.

“That’s pretty cool. That will be our conversation between us for a while,” Mayes said. “I don’t think we will be the last though. There are some good ones coming up.”

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Ertz accounts for 3 TDs, K-State tops Texas A&M 33-28

By KRISTIE RIEKEN, AP Sports Writer

HOUSTON (AP) — Kansas State was unbeatable against teams from Texas in the regular season, and that didn’t change on Wednesday night in the Texas Bowl.

Jesse Ertz threw for 195 yards and a touchdown and ran for two more scores in Kansas State’s 33-28 victory over Texas A&M. He had 67 yards rushing to give him 1,012 this season.

The victory improved the Wildcats to 5-0 against teams from the Lone Star State this season after they downed Texas Tech, Texas, Baylor and TCU earlier this year.

“I think that’s a really cool thing to accomplish,” said Ertz, who was named MVP. “It gives the fans some bragging rights.”

Ertz had a 79-yard touchdown pass and scoring runs of 1 and 5 yards to help give Kansas State its fourth straight win and first bowl victory since the 2013 Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl.

“They’re a good defensive football team and we didn’t do anything we hadn’t done all year, but we may have done some things a little better,” Kansas State coach Bill Snyder said.

The Wildcats (9-4) led 33-21 after Ertz bulled into the end zone on a 1-yard run with nine minutes left. Ertz set up the score with a 20-yard run two plays earlier.

“It was a case tonight where either we stopped (Ertz) or gave up the home run,” Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin said. “Consistency level was an issue. We gave up the three big plays in the first half and couldn’t get enough stops.”

The Aggies (8-5) cut it to 33-28 on Josh Reynolds’ 15-yard TD reception about a minute later.

Texas A&M attempted to convert a fourth-and-8 with about two minutes left, but Trevor Knight’s pass was short, to give Kansas State the ball back and allow the Wildcats to run out the clock.

Reynolds had a Texas A&M bowl-record 12 receptions for 154 yards and two touchdowns and Knight threw for 310 yards with three touchdowns and one interception as A&M dropped its second straight bowl game.

“He’s a heck of a player,” Sumlin said. “Last year at this time he decided to come back, and I think it was worth it for him. I think he’s improved as a route runner, he’s got great hands. I think it was worth it coming back. He’s increased his value.”

Texas A&M got to 23-21 when Reynolds made a 4-yard touchdown catch with about seven minutes left in the third quarter. A 25-yard field goal by Ian Patterson extended Kansas State’s lead to 26-21 with about three minutes remaining in the quarter. A highlight of that drive came on a 36-yard run John Silmon.

The Aggies took a 7-0 lead when Keith Ford scored on a 7-yard run on their first possession.

Kansas State tied it when Ertz connected with Byron Pringle and he dashed down the field for a 79-yard touchdown run later in the first quarter.

The Wildcats took the lead when Ertz stiff-armed Justin Evans on a 5-yard touchdown run early in the second quarter. But Myles Garrett blocked the extra point to make it 13-7.

A 3-yard reception by Ricky Seals-Jones put A&M back on top 14-13 soon after that. But Kansas State regained the lead with a 40-yard field goal before pushing the lead to 23-14 on a 52-yard run by Dominique Heath just before halftime.

THAT’S A NO NO: Kansas State’s cornerback Donnie Starks received a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty at the end of the first half when he threw Reynolds to the ground and then squatted over him and pressed his crotch to the receiver’s chest. Reynolds then punched at the crotch of Starks, but he was not penalized. The penalty was enforced on the opening kickoff of the second half.

Reynolds got a bit of revenge for the play when he caught his touchdown pass in the third quarter over Starks and stared him down after making the grab.

HANDLING GARRETT: Kansas State did a good job of neutralizing Texas A&M star defensive end Myles Garrett . The junior, who is expected to declare for the draft and many believe could be the top overall pick in April, blocked an extra point in the second quarter. But he was unable to do much else while facing near-constant double teams and finished with one tackle.

“(Left tackle) Scott Frantz we had lined up against him,” Snyder said. “He’s a newcomer for us, and that probably gave him a great deal of confidence. He played well against him. He probably played as well as anyone who played against him this year.”

NO GATORADE FOR SNYDER: Snyder got a bucket of confetti dumped on his head near the end of the game. The 79-year-old coach said that was a nice way to celebrate and that his players knew better than to douse him with Gatorade. “I think they realized that we could go back to the hotel and celebrate or we can go back to the hotel and run (laps) around the hotel all night,” he joked.

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Durant, Warriors deliver down stretch to hold off Raptors

By JANIE McCAULEY, AP Sports Writer

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — The Golden State Warriors played one of their most dominant quarters to start the game, building a 25-point lead. Then, there were turnovers and second chances for Toronto and they had to hold off the Raptors at the end.

Kevin Durant had 22 points, matched his season best with 17 rebounds, and added seven assists and five blocks as the Warriors beat the Raptors 121-111 on Wednesday night.

Stephen Curry added 28 points, seven assists and seven rebounds, and Klay Thompson scored 21 points for Golden State, which showed that if you make these Warriors a little mad one game, they might just play far better the next.

They did just that, for a stretch.

“We’re still getting wins,” Thompson said. “That’s all that matters.”

Upset with themselves for blowing a 14-point lead in the fourth quarter to lose 109-108 at Cleveland in an NBA Finals rematch on Christmas Day, they took it out on Toronto three days later.

DeMar DeRozan scored 29 points and became Toronto’s career scoring leader (10,290), passing Chris Bosh’s 10,275 points, but the Raptors had their franchise-record, seven-game road winning streak snapped.

Curry, Durant and Thompson scored 20 or more points each in the same game for the 11th time.

Golden State dished out 30 or more assists for an NBA-best 22nd time and shot 56.8 percent in a 12th straight home win against Toronto.

Curry’s snazzy behind-the-back pass to Thompson for a 3-pointer late in the third put the Warriors up 95-75, but they had to deliver late. Curry rebounded a missed 3 by Durant and converted two key free throws with 2:04 to go, then Durant blocked a shot by DeRozan on the other end. He blocked another shot in the final seconds.

Golden State has now gone 119 straight regular-season games without losing back-to-back contests since April 2015 and has won 15 in a row after a defeat, going 5-0 this season.

Andre Iguodala scored in double figures off the bench for the seventh time this season with 11 points, making all five of his shots.

Golden State made nine of its first 10 shots with a pair of 3s by Thompson, a long 28-footer by Curry and another from Durant to jump to a 22-4 lead. The Raptors called their second timeout with 7:40 left in the first.

“We put ourselves in a hole, we dug our way out of it, but we didn’t have enough to finish it,” Toronto’s Kyle Lowry said.

Toronto started the second with a 19-6 spurt to get back within 12 but the Warriors closed the half on a 16-4 run to lead 72-55 at the break.

“It was the most bizarre box score I’ve ever seen at halftime,” coach Steve Kerr said.

TIP-INS

Raptors: Coach Dwane Casey was still feeling the effects of the flu a day later but much better. … The Raptors are 11-4 on the road, 0-3 vs. the Pacific Division.

Warriors: Golden State’s 42 points in the first period were its most this season and its NBA-leading seventh 40-point quarter. The Warriors shot 72 percent (18 for 25). … The Warriors had 33 assists to 20 turnovers.

DEROZAN’S RECORD

Casey couldn’t be happier with how DeRozan represents the franchise.

“I think he’s grown in every aspect of his game except probably his 3-point shooting, but he’s probably one of the best in-between shooters in the league,” Casey said. “He’s one of those guys that he’s always brought something new to the table each and every year. I couldn’t think of anybody who deserves that honor or record or whatever you want to call it more than DeMar. I think he’s the face of our franchise. He represents it in a first-class way.”

UP NEXT

Raptors: Play the second game of a back-to-back at Phoenix on Thursday, the fourth stop of a six-game road trip.

Warriors: Host Dallas on Friday in the second game of a stretch with 10 of 11 at home and the only road game at Sacramento on Jan. 8 — so the Warriors don’t get on a plane again until Jan. 19. They have won four in a row against Dallas, eight straight at Oracle Arena.

Williams leads Utah past Indiana 26-24 in Foster Farms Bowl

By JOSH DUBOW, AP Sports Writer

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — Whenever it seems Joe Williams won’t be available to Utah, he comes back and delivers.

Williams returned from a four-week retirement early in the season to help solidify a broken-down running back position. Then in the bowl game, he overcame an illness that forced him to miss a team meeting the night before and capped his career in style.

Williams ran for 222 yards and a touchdown, Andy Phillips kicked a 27-yard field goal with 1:24 to play and Utah beat Indiana 26-24 on Wednesday night in the Foster Farms Bowl for its 14th victory in its past 15 bowl games.

“We weren’t positive we’d have him tonight. He showed a lot of toughness,” coach Kyle Whittingham said. “I couldn’t be more proud of Joe to end his career as a Ute on this note.”

Williams had to check out of the game several times but shook off his own costly fumble to run for 64 yards on the final drive, setting up Phillips’ fourth field goal of the night.

“We prepared well these last few weeks so I just had to go out there like (Michael) Jordan did in ’97 in the flu game and just leave it all out there,” Williams said.

Tyler Huntley ran for another score and the Utes (9-4) forced three turnovers to spoil Tom Allen’s coaching debut at Indiana and improve Whittingham’s bowl record to 10-1.

“We’re carrying the mantle for hundreds of football players who have come through here and raised the bar to where it’s at,” Whittingham said. “We have to continue that tradition and this group did just that.”

Allen took over the Hoosiers (6-7) after Kevin Wilson’s sudden resignation this month. Allen had finished his first season at Indiana as defensive coordinator and is now tasked with rebuilding the team as he did in his one year with the defense.

He appeared to be off to a good start when the Hoosiers rallied from 10 points down to take a 24-23 lead early in the fourth quarter on Devine Redding’s 3-yard run following a fumble by Utah’s Zach Moss.

Indiana failed to capitalize on Williams’ fumble when Griffin Oakes missed a 40-yard field goal attempt with 5:34 left. That set the stage for Utah’s final drive.

Indiana’s last-gasp chance ended when Richard Lagow was hit on a desperation heave near midfield, sending the Hoosiers to their fourth straight bowl loss since their last win in the 1991 Copper Bowl.

“I’m tired of being close,” Wilson said. “I want to see us break through. But I just can’t say enough about how hard our kids played, how hard they worked. They take a tough situation and really came out against a really good football team and had our chances. Just got to learn to finish.”

THE TAKEAWAY

Indiana: Allen’s debut started off well when Kyle Fulks fumbled the opening kickoff for Utah and Indiana turned that into a touchdown on a 7-yard pass from Lagow to Mitchell Paige. But the Hoosiers struggled on offense after that. Lagow went 14 for 39 for 188 yards and an interception. The receivers didn’t help with several drops, but Lagow was often off-target or had passes batted down at the line of scrimmage.

“It was just the little things kept nipping us in the bud,” All-America guard Dan Feeney said. “Fumbles here, interception there, we just never got rolling.”

Utah: The Utes took advantage of the bowl game to get a good look at freshman quarterback Huntley, who could compete with Troy Williams for the starting job next season. Huntley completed a 36-yard pass to Fulks on his only throw but was used much more in the running game. Huntley finished with 23 yards on eight carries with the touchdown.

EMPTY SEATS

The bowl announced that 27,608 tickets were distributed, but far fewer people were actually in the stands. The upper deck at Levi’s Stadium was tarped off for a game for the first time in the three-year history of the stadium and even then the stands still looked empty.

UP NEXT

Indiana: Allen viewed the preparation and bowl game as the start of his first full season in 2017. The Hoosiers will jump right into it, hosting Ohio State in the season opener on Aug. 31.

Utah: The Utes will have a far easier opener, getting FCS-level North Dakota at home on Aug. 31.

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McCaffrey-less Stanford faces UNC as Shaw seeks 4th bowl win

By The Associated Press

No. 16 Stanford (9-3, Pac-12) vs. North Carolina (8-4, ACC), 2 p.m. EST Friday (CBS), in El Paso, Texas

Line: Stanford by 3.

Series Record: 1-1. First meeting since 1998.

WHAT’S AT STAKE

Stanford seeks sixth 10-win season in past 10 years without star running back Christian McCaffrey, who decided to skip Cardinal’s school-record eighth straight bowl to focus on NFL career. Coach David Shaw can pass Bill Walsh as leader in bowl victories with fourth. North Carolina trying to end two-year bowl skid, including last year’s loss to Baylor when Tar Heels gave up bowl-record 645 yards rushing.

KEY MATCHUP

Stanford RB Bryce Love, McCaffrey’s replacement, faces UNC defense that ranked 113th nationally against run. With McCaffrey powering running game, Cardinal ranked 34th in country at 236 yards rushing per game.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Stanford: QB Keller Chryst took starting job midseason and improved late in year. He has nine touchdown passes with two interceptions. … DE Solomon Thomas will play in his home state after leading Cardinal with seven sacks and 13 tackles for loss.

North Carolina: Junior QB Mitch Trubisky, considering declaring for NFL draft, has 28 touchdown passes with four interceptions, completed 69 percent of passes for 3,468 yards in first full season as starter.

FACTS & FIGURES

Ryan Switzer has ACC-record seven career punt return touchdowns in addition to being UNC’s all-time leading receiver with 239 catches (91 grabs for 1,027 yards this season). … Love rushed for 129 yards and touchdown against Notre Dame, starting in place of injured McCaffrey. … North Carolina is 2-2 in Sun Bowl, including split with Texas in past two appearances (26-10 win in 1982 and 35-31 loss in 1994). … Stanford is 2-1 in Sun Bowl, most recently losing to Oklahoma 31-27 in 2009.

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Relations between Obama, Netanyahu camps hit rock bottom

By JOSH LEDERMAN, Associated Press

HONOLULU (AP) — It took eight years of backbiting and pretending they got along for relations between President Barack Obama’s administration and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government to finally hit rock bottom.

Though they’ve clashed bitterly before, mostly notably over Iran, the two governments seemed farther apart than ever after a speech Wednesday by Secretary of State John Kerry and last week’s United Nations resolution.

The key question for the Obama administration, newly willing to air grievances with Israel on live television, is why now?

“We cannot, in good conscience, do nothing and say nothing when we see the hope of peace slipping away,” Kerry said in a speech that ran more than an hour.

Yet in just over three weeks, Obama will no longer be president, Kerry will no longer be secretary of State, and the U.S. will have a new leader under no obligation to embrace any of what Kerry said. President-elect Donald Trump has assured Israel that things will be different after Jan. 20, when he’s to be inaugurated, and lamented how the Jewish state was “being treated very, very unfairly.”

Kerry took pains to voice America’s staunch commitment to Israel’s security and support for its future, and to detail U.S. complaints about Palestinian leadership and its failure to sufficiently deter violence against Israelis. He laid out a six-point framework for a potential peace deal that it will be up to the next U.S. government to try to enact, if it chooses to do so.

The White House has portrayed Obama’s decision to break with tradition by abstaining — rather than vetoing — a U.N. Security Council resolution declaring Israeli settlements illegal as a reaction forced by other countries that brought it up for a vote.

The White House has also acknowledged that Obama had long considered the possibility of taking some symbolic step before leaving office to leave his imprint on the debate. For much of the year, his staff pored over options that included a U.N. resolution outlining principles for a peace deal and a presidential speech much like the one Kerry gave Wednesday. Yet there was reluctance to act before the U.S. election, given the way it would have thrust the Israeli-Palestinian issue into the campaign.

Kerry acknowledged Trump appears to favor a different approach. Yet frustrated by years of Israeli actions he deemed counterproductive for peace, Obama appeared to have decided it was better to make his administration’s views known while still in office, even if it risked a blockbuster clash with America’s closest ally.

In his speech, Kerry tore into Israel for settlement-building, accusing Netanyahu of dragging Israel away from democracy. He defended the move to allow the U.N. vote, the spark that set off an extraordinary and deepening diplomatic spat between the U.S. and its closest Mideast ally.

“If the choice is one state, Israel can either be Jewish or democratic, it cannot be both, and it won’t ever really be at peace,” Kerry said

Shortly after, Netanyahu appeared on camera in Jerusalem and suggested he was done with the Obama administration and ready to deal with Trump. The Israeli leader faulted Kerry for obsessing over settlements while paying mere “lip service” to Palestinian attacks and incitement of violence.

“Israelis do not need to be lectured about the importance of peace by foreign leaders,” Netanyahu said.

Trump wouldn’t say whether settlements should be reined in. But he told reporters Israel was being “treated very, very unfairly by a lot of different people.”

In a nod to Netanyahu’s concerns that Obama would take more parting shots, Kerry seemed to rule out the possibility Obama would support more U.N. action or, even more controversially, recognize statehood.

The U.S, the Palestinians and most of the world oppose Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, territories captured by Israel in 1967 and claimed by the Palestinians for an independent state. But Israel’s government argues previous construction freezes didn’t advance peace and that the settlements — now home to 600,000 Israelis — must be resolved in direct talks Israelis-Palestinian talks.

While Israel’s Arab population has citizenship rights, the roughly 2.5 million Palestinians living in the occupied West Bank do not, and most in annexed east Jerusalem have residency rights but not citizenship.

Kerry said a future deal would have to ensure secure borders for Israel and a Palestinian state formed in territories Israel captured in 1967, with “mutually agreed, equivalent swaps.” He said both countries must fully recognize each other, ensure access to religious sites and relinquish other existing claims. Kerry also called for assistance for Palestinian refugees.

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Lederman reported from Honolulu. Associated Press writers Josef Federman in Jerusalem and Vivian Salama in Palm Beach, Florida, contributed to this report.

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Reach Josh Lederman on Twitter at http://twitter.com/joshledermanAP

Russian plane crash probe rules out explosion

By VLADIMIR ISACHENKOV, Associated Pres

MOSCOW (AP) — Flight recorders revealed no evidence of an explosion on board a Russian plane that crashed into the Black Sea, killing all 92 on board, but investigators haven’t ruled out foul play, a military official said Thursday.

Russian air force Lt. Gen. Sergei Bainetov, who heads the Defense Ministry commission conducting the crash probe, said that a cockpit conversation recorder contained the captain’s words that indicated a “special situation” that began unfolding on board the plane.

Bainetov wouldn’t elaborate on what may have led to the crash, but noted that it likely had been caused by several factors.

The Tu-154 of the Russian Defense Ministry crashed into the sea early Sunday, moments after taking off in good weather from the city of Sochi. It was carrying members of the Alexandrov Ensemble, widely known as the Red Army Choir, to a New Year’s concert at a Russian military base in Syria.

Bainetov said that the plane crashed 70 seconds after takeoff from an altitude of 250 meters (820 feet) while it was traveling at a speed of 360-370 kilometers per hour (224-230 miles per hour).

“After deciphering the first flight recorder we have made a conclusion that there was no explosion on board,” Bainetov said at a news conference.

But asked if that means that investigators have ruled out a terror attack, Bainetov said “we aren’t ruling out that version yet.”

“A terror attack doesn’t always involve an explosion,” he said. “Along with an explosion on board, there could have been some mechanical impact.”

He wouldn’t offer any details, saying that Russian law-enforcement agencies are working on the case.

Bainetov’s words appeared to contradict a previous statement from Russia’s top domestic security and counter-terrorism agency, the FSB, which has said it found “no indications or facts pointing at the possibility of a terror attack or an act of sabotage.”

It said investigators were looking into whether the crash might have been caused by bad fuel, pilot error, equipment failure or objects stuck in the engines.

Bainetov noted that “according to a preliminary assessment of information from the flight parameter recorder there had been no obvious equipment failures.”

Investigators also have taken samples from a fuel tank used to fill the plane, which flew from Moscow’s Chkalovsky military airport and stopped in Sochi for refueling.

In an apparent attempt to downplay Bainetov’s statement, Russian Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov emphasized that “the version of a terror attack isn’t being considered as the main version.”

Sokolov said search teams have completed the bulk of efforts to recover bodies and debris from the crash site. He said 19 bodies and more than 230 body fragments have been recovered, adding that 13 big fragments of the plane and about 2,000 smaller fragments have been pulled from the seabed.

Bainetov said that Syria-bound planes normally stop for refueling at the North Caucasus military air base in Mozdok, but the plane that crashed had been diverted to Sochi because of bad weather in Mozdok.

Flights of the military’s Tu-154s have been suspended during the investigation.

The Tu-154 is a Soviet-built three-engine airliner designed in the late 1960s. Russian airlines decommissioned the noisy, fuel-guzzling aircraft years ago, but the military and other government agencies continue using the plane, which is still loved by crews for its maneuverability and sturdiness.

“The aircraft has proven itself well,” Bainetov said, but said they will likely resume after the investigation is over.

The plane that crashed Sunday was built in 1983 and underwent factory checkups and maintenance in 2014, and earlier this year. Investigators have taken relevant documents from the plant that did the job.

The crash wiped out most singers of the Alexandrov Ensemble, popular for its fiery performances.

“It will be very difficult to replace the gifted artists who were famous around the world,” Deputy Defense Minister Nikolai Pankov said, adding that the military will work on reviving the choir.