Lions blow 24-7 halftime lead; drop NFC Championship game 34-31 – Monday Morning Sports Update


NFL – National Football League Playoffs – Conference Championships
San Francisco 49ers 34, Detroit Lions 31
Kansas City Chiefs 17, Baltimore Ravens 10

San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk, top, catches a pass against Detroit Lions cornerback Kindle Vildor (29) during the second half of the NFC Championship NFL football game in Santa Clara, Calif., Sunday, Jan. 28, 2024. (AP Photo/Godofredo A. Vasquez)

49ers 34, Lions 31 – Purdy, 49ers rally from 17 points down, beat Lions 34-31 to advance to Super Bowl
Brock Purdy and the San Francisco 49ers were on the brink, needing a spark to overcome a big deficit and avoid a third straight loss in the conference title game.  Brandon Aiyuk delivered with an improbable catch that helped save San Francisco’s season.  Purdy’s 51-yard pass that deflected off a defender’s facemask into Aiyuk’s hands helped the Niners rally from 17 points down at halftime to beat the Detroit Lions 34-31 on Sunday and reach the Super Bowl.  49ers scored 17 points in an eight-minute span of the third quarter to tie the game and then pulled away in the fourth quarter. A magical season for the Lions ended in heartbreak. Detroit remains the only team to play every season of the Super Bowl era without reaching the ultimate game. This looked like it could be the year to end that drought when Detroit won back-to-back playoff games after winning just one in the previous 56 seasons.  But the Lions couldn’t finish the job despite holding a 24-7 halftime lead.  Jared Goff finished 25 for 41 for 273 yards and a touchdown.

Chiefs 17, Ravens 10 – Mahomes, Kelce are headed back to the Super Bowl after Chiefs shut down Ravens 17-10
Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce were at their magnificent best in the first half, and Kansas City’s defense delivered another masterpiece against Lamar Jackson and Baltimore, helping the Chiefs reach the Super Bowl for the fourth time in five years with a 17-10 victory in the AFC championship game. Kelce caught 11 passes for 116 yards and a touchdown with girlfriend Taylor Swift again in attendance. Kansas City will face San Francisco in Las Vegas on Feb. 11, seeking to become the first team since New England 19 years ago to win it all in back-to-back seasons.

NFL – Failed 4th downs contribute to blown lead for Lions in NFC title game loss to 49ers
The aggressiveness that characterized the turnaround for the Detroit Lions under coach Dan Campbell backfired at the worst possible time. Detroit failed on two fourth-down tries in field-goal range in the second half, contributing to a blown 17-point halftime lead and a 34-31 loss to the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC championship game. The success-starved Lions appeared poised to make their first Super Bowl in franchise history when they took a 24-7 halftime lead against the Niners only to allow 27 straight points in a mistake-filled second half.

NBA – National Basketball Association
Detroit Pistons 120, Oklahoma City Thunder 104
Chicago Bulls 104, Portland Trailblazers 96
Indiana Pacers 116, Memphis Grizzlies 110

Pistons 120, Thunder 104 – Duren’s first career 20-20 game leads Pistons to a win over Thunder, 120-104
Jalen Duren had 22 points and a career-high 21 rebounds and the Detroit Pistons ended the Oklahoma City Thunder’s five-game winning streak with a 120-104 victory. Duren’s performance included nine of Detroit’s 15 offensive rebounds. Jaden Ivey added 19 points for the Pistons, who played without leading scorer Cade Cunningham. He was a late scratch for what the team termed “injury management.” Cunningham returned from a knee injury on Saturday. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander led the Thunder with 31 points and Jalen Williams added 20.

Bulls 104, Blazers 96 – DeRozan has 20 points and the Bulls snap 2-game skid with 104-96 win over the Blazers
DeMar DeRozan had 20 points and the Chicago Bulls snapped a two-game losing streak with a 104-96 victory over the Portland Trail Blazer on Sunday night. Coby White had 15 points and 10 assists for the Bulls, while Andre Drummond came off the bench with 15. Jerami Grant led Portland with 24 points, while Deandre Ayton had 22 and 12 rebounds. The Blazers, who kept the Bulls from extending their lead by more than 11 points, have lost four of their last five games.

Pacers 116, Grizzlies 110 – Bennedict Mathurin scores 24 to lead Pacers over Grizzlies 116-110
Bennedict Mathurin scored 24 points off the bench, Jalen Smith sank a go-ahead 3-pointer late, and the Indiana Pacers won their third consecutive home game 116-110 over the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday. Smith finished with 19 points and 10 rebounds. Recently acquired All-Star forward Pascal Siakam added 19 for Indiana. Andrew Nembhard and Aaron Nesmith each had 16. Jaren Jackson Jr. led the Grizzlies with 25 points. Vince Williams Jr. scored 20, and GG Jackson added 18.

MLB – Tigers give a $28.6 million, 6-year deal to 22-year-old infield prospect Colt Keith
The Detroit Tigers made an unusual bet on a player with no major league experience, agreeing to a six-year contract with 22-year-old Colt Keith that guarantees the infield prospect $28.6 million. His deal includes three team options that could make it worth $64 million over nine seasons, and there are escalators that could increase the value to $82 million over nine years. Keith is ranked the No. 22 big league prospect by He was promoted to Triple-A Toledo last June 26 and batted .287 with 13 homers and 51 RBIs in 67 games.

NCAABB – Court stormings come in waves after Clark incident; stiffer penalties needed
Fans storming the court after big wins in college basketball and the safety risks associated with that have received more scrutiny in the week since Iowa star Caitlin Clark collided with an Ohio State fan after the Buckeyes’ upset of the Hawkeyes in Columbus. There have been at least six more instances since the Clark incident on Jan. 21 and ESPN analyst Jay Bilas on Saturday called for an end to the tradition. Bilas wrote in a text message to The Associated Press that court storming will continue but that it is inevitable someone will get hurt.

Tennis – Sinner rallies from 2 sets down to beat Medvedev in Australian Open Final
Jannik Sinner has rallied from two sets down to win the Australian Open final against Daniil Medvedev and clinch his first Grand Slam title. The 22-year-old Sinner was playing in a major final for the first time and got there by ending Novak Djokovic’s long domination of the tournament. For 2021 U.S. Open champion Medvedev, the loss was his fifth in six major finals. The third-seeded Medvedev set a record with his fourth five-set match of the tournament and time on court at a major in the Open era. Sinner only dropped one set through six rounds — in a third-set tiebreaker against Djokovic — before going to five in the final.

MCCAA – Michigan Community College Athletic Association
Women’s Basketball
Lake Michigan College at Kalamazoo Valley Community College, 5:30 p.m.
Marian Ancilla at Southwestern Michigan College, 5:30 p.m.
Glen Oaks Community College at Lansing Community College, 5:30 p.m.

Men’s Basketball
Lake Michigan College at Kalamazoo Valley Community College, 7:30 p.m.
Marian Ancilla at Southwestern Michigan College, 7:30 p.m.
Glen Oaks Community College at Lansing Community College, 7:30 p.m.

MHSAA – Michigan High School Athletic Association
Boys Basketball
Portage Central at Lakeshore, 7:00 p.m.
Eau Claire at Michigan Lutheran, 7:30 p.m.
River Valley at Berrien Springs, 7:00 p.m.
Fennville at South Haven, 7:00 p.m.
Howardsville Christian at Lawrence, 7:30 p.m.
Plainwell at Portage Northern, 7:15 p.m.
Cassopolis at Comstock, 7:30 p.m.
Lawton at Holland Black River, 7:00 p.m.
Saugatuck at GR Wellspring, 7:00 p.m.

Girls Basketball
Our Lady of the Lake at Benton Harbor, 5:00 p.m.
Eau Claire at Michigan Lutheran, 6:00 p.m.
Berrien Springs at River Valley, 6:00 p.m.
Fennville at South Haven, 5:30 p.m.
Kalamazoo Central at Brandywine, 7:00 p.m.
Kalamazoo Christian at Dowagiac, 6:30 p.m.
Coloma at Allegan, 6:00 p.m.
Gobles at Decatur,7:00 p.m.
Cassopolis at Comstock, 6:00 p.m.
Howardsville Christian at Lawrence, 6:00 p.m.
Portage Northern at Plainwell, 7:00 p.m.

Competitive Cheerleading
Cheer By The Pier at St. Joseph, 6:00 p.m.
St. Joseph, Lakeshore, Coloma, Dowagiac, Mattawan, Buchanan, Three Rivers