Weekday Morning Sports – Tuesday 12/23/14

Sports Radio 1400 WSJM     @wsjmsports     wsjmsports.com     Tuesday, December 23, 2014

NFL – National Football League – Week 16
Last Night
Cincinnati Bengals 37, Denver Broncos 28

Bengals 37, Broncos 28 – Bengals top Broncos
Jeremy Hill ran for 147 yards and Dre Kirkpatrick grabbed two of Peyton Manning’s four interceptions as Cincinnati beat Denver 37-28 to clinch an AFC playoff berth. Hill scored Cincinnati’s first touchdown on an 85-yard run in the first quarter, 23 seconds after Aqib Talib (ah-KEEB tah-LEEB’) brought back an Andy Dalton interception 33 yards for a score. Kirkpatrick sealed the victory by returning an interception 30 yards for a touchdown with 2:41 remaining.

NFL – Lions’ Raiola suspended 1 game for stomping on opponent
Detroit Lions center Dominic Raiola has been suspended for one game after he stomped on Bears defensive tackle Ego Ferguson on Sunday. The punishment was handed down by Merton Hanks, the NFL’s Vice President of Football Operations, comes following Raiola’s sixth rules violation related to player safety.  The Lions play the Green Bay Packers in the season finale Sunday with the NFC North division title at stake. Raiola says he will appeal the suspension, but until then he cannot attend team meetings, practices nor have any contact other than that related to offsite medical care.

NFL – Bears say Clausen will miss finale because of concussion
Chicago Bears quarterback Jimmy Clausen will miss the final game of the season because of a concussion, and Jay Cutler will move back into the lineup. The Bears say Clausen was injured on a helmet-to-helmet hit by Detroit’s Ezekiel Ansah while scrambling late in Sunday’s loss to the Lions. Ansah received an unnecessary roughness penalty.  Clausen will miss the final game against Minnesota. Clausen made his first start since he was a rookie with Carolina in 2010 after the Bears benched Cutler. Clausen completed 23 of 39 passes for 181 yards. The Bears say he passed all tests by team physicians after the game and reported no concussion symptoms. He started having issues later in the day.

NHL – National Hockey League
Tonight
Buffalo Sabres at Detroit Red Wings, 7:30 p.m.
Winnipeg Jets at Chicago Blackhawks, 8:30 p.m.

NBA – National Basketball Association
Last Night
Chicago Bulls 129, Toronto Raptors 120

Bulls 129, Raptors 120 – Rose keys Bulls’ big 4th in victory over Raptors
Derrick Rose scored 29 points, Jimmy Butler added 27 points and 11 rebounds, and the Chicago Bulls snapped the Toronto Raptors’ six-game winning streak with a 129-120 victory on Monday night. Rose scored 15 of the Bulls’ franchise-record 49 points in the fourth quarter. Chicago, who has won three straight, got Rose and Taj Gibson back after each missed two games. Rose was ill and Gibson was out with an ankle injury. Rose’s jumper over Kyle Lowry put the Bulls up 106-100 with 4:12 left. He put away the game with a 3-pointer to make it 118-105 with 1:17 left. James Johnson finished with 16 points for the Raptors.

Tonight
Chicago Bulls at Washington Wizards, 7:00 p.m.

NBA – Pistons, eyeing younger players, waive Josh Smith
The Detroit Pistons have waived forward Josh Smith, less than two years after signing him to a lucrative free-agent contract. The Pistons are 5-23 and coach and team president Stan Van Gundy says the club wants to develop younger players. He says he felt it best to give the 29-year-old Smith his freedom to go elsewhere. Smith signed a $54 million, four-year deal with the Pistons before last season, but he shot only 42 percent from the field in 2013-14. This season, Smith is at 39 percent.

NCAA Basketball – Men’s
Tonight
Michigan 72, Coppin State 56
Michigan State 82, The Citadel 56
(16) Notre Dame 91, Northern Illinois 66
Western Michigan 71, Alabama A&M 62
Central Michigan 87, McNeese St 58

Michigan 72, Coppin State 56 – Michigan ends skid with 72-56 win over Coppin State
Freshman Ricky Doyle led the Wolverines with a career-high 16 points and five rebounds and Michigan halted a four-game losing streak Monday night with a 72-56 win over Coppin State. The Wolverines (7-5) raced to an early 21-3 lead before cooling down midway through the first half.  They still had no problem picking up their first win since narrowly defeating Syracuse Dec. 2. The losing streak was their longest since dropping six straight in 2010-11. Zak Irvin scored 13 and collected a career-high seven rebounds, and Derrick Walton Jr. set a career mark with nine assists. Freshman Austin Hatch scored his first-career regular season point, netting a free throw in the closing minutes. Sterling Smith and Taarig Cephas led Coppin State (1-10) with 11 points each.

Michigan State 82, The Citadel 56 – Michigan State surges in second half past The Citadel 82-56
Denzel Valentine scored 18 points and keyed Michigan State’s second-half surge to pull away from The Citadel 82-56 on Monday night. Matt Costello had 13 points, Marvin Clark Jr. 12 and Gavin Schilling 11 for the balanced Spartans (9-4), who didn’t allow a field goal for 14:13 and had a 36-2 run after trailing by one late in the first half. Travis Trice contributed 11 of Michigan State’s 23 assists as the winners shot 60.4 percent from the field. P.J. Horgan scored 19 points and Ashton Moore 15 for the Bulldogs (4-7). The Spartans struggled for 17 minutes and looked a lot like the team that was stunned by Texas Southern 71-64 in overtime on Saturday. The last seven points of the first half put Michigan State up 32-26, and the Spartans added 29 more points before The Citadel’s next basket, a short turnaround jumper by Horgan with 8:48 left.

 (16) Notre Dame 91, Northern Illinois 66 – Connaughton leads No. 16 Notre Dame over NIU 91-66
Pat Connaughton had 21 points and 10 rebounds, leading No. 16 Notre Dame to a 91-66 win over Northern Illinois on Monday night. Zach Auguste added 16 points on 7-for-7 shooting and eight rebounds for the Fighting Irish (12-1). Demetrius Jackson also scored 16, with five assists and four steals. All five starters scored in double figures for Notre Dame, which shot 58.9 percent from the field and hit 12 of 28 attempts from 3-point range. Connaughton was 8 for 12 from the floor, including 5 of 9 from beyond the arc. Midway through the first half, the Huskies (4-5) pulled even at 21 on a 3-pointer by Michael Orris. Steve Vasturia quickly answered with a 3 of his own, triggering a 27-14 Notre Dame run to finish the half. Jerian Grant’s step-back 3 at the buzzer put the Irish up 48-35.

WMU 71, Alabama A&M – Tava, Brown lead Western Michigan past Alabama A&M, 71-62
Connar Tava and David Brown each put up 20 points to help Western Michigan hold off Alabama A&M 71-62 last night. Tucker Haymond scored the last six points for the Broncos. The Broncos shot 54.8 percent from the field and were 20 of 26 from the free throw line.

CMU 87, McNeese State 58 – Central Michigan blows past McNeese State 87-58
John Simons had 13 points and Austin Keel and Chris Fowler added 12 apiece to lead Central Michigan to a dominating 87-58 win over McNeese State on Monday night.  Central Michigan (9-1) is off to its best start since going 10-1 to open the 1974-75 season.

NCAA Basketball – Women’s
Yesterday
Michigan 81, Eastern Michigan 52

Michigan 81, EMU 52
Four Michigan players scored in double figures in a 81-52 win over Eastern Michigan.  Katelyn Flaherty had 17, Sierra Thompson had 16, Cyesha Gores had 14, and Nicole Elmblad had 10.
NCAA Football – Harbaugh won’t speculate about what’s next for him
Jim Harbaugh has kept quiet about the speculation surrounding his future for nearly a year, so he has no plans to participate now as he begins what could be his final week coaching the San Francisco 49ers. He wouldn’t say whether the 49ers brass had come to him to let him know his alma mater, the University of Michigan, had reached out about bringing the coach to Ann Arbor.  Harbaugh, who will turn 51 today, has lost four straight games for the first time in his four-year stint. He has one year remaining on the $25 million, five-year contract he signed in January 2011. When asked whether he has been tempted to publicly stand up for himself, Harbaugh said Monday: “It’s a very good question. The high road’s the only road I know. Let’s keep on that way.”

NCAA Football – Bowls
Yesterday
Memphis 55, BYU 48 – 2 OT        (Miami Beach Bowl, Marlins Park, Miami, FL)

Memphis 55, BYU 48 – 2 OT – Memphis outlasts BYU 55-48 as game ends with brawl
Paxton Lynch accounted for seven touchdowns, including a scoring pass to Roderick Proctor in the second overtime to lead Memphis past BYU 55-48 in the Miami Beach Bowl. Lynch threw for four scores and ran for three more as the Tigers finished 10-3, their first 10-win season since 1938. The end of the game was marred by a brawl between players from both teams after BYU’s Christian Stewart threw an interception on the final play.

Today
Northern Illinois vs. Marshall, 6:00 p.m.       (Boca Raton Bowl, FAU Stadium, Boca, Raton, FL) 
Navy at San Diego State, 9:00 p.m.       (SD County Credit Union, Poinsettia Bowl, Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, CA)

AHL – American Hockey League
Last Night
Chicago Wolves 5, Grand Rapids Griffins 3

MHSAA – High School Sports
Last Night
Boys Basketball
Kalamazoo Loy Norrix 78, Cassopolis 49
Delton Kellogg 71, Martin 59
Kalamazoo Homeschool 69, Mendon 23

Girls Basketball
Benton Harbor 69, Mishawaka Marian (IN) 60
Kalabria Gondrezick scored 23 points while her sister Kysre was one point better as the Lady Tigers beat Mishawaka Marian in the first round of the Kalamazoo Loy Norrix Holiday Hoops Tournament.  Dennee Brown and Sherry Walls added 10 points in the win.  Benton Harbor will face host Kalamazoo Loy Norrix in the title game tonight at 6:00.

Tonight
Boys Basketball
Kalamazoo Loy Norrix vs. Holland (Loy Norrix Tournament Championship Game)
Cassopolis vs. Flint International Academy (Loy Norrix Tournament Consolation Game)

Girls Basketball
Benton Harbor vs. Kalamazoo Loy Norrix (Loy Norrix Tournament Championship Game)

MHSAA – Lakeshore Mourning Death Of JV Football Coach Patrick Ashley
Lakeshore High School is mourning the death of junior varsity football coach Patrick Ashley. A team meeting was held Monday morning over the holiday break for all Lancers players to inform them of the passing of the coach. At roughly the same time that meeting started, St. Joseph High School’s football Twitter account posted a message of support for their rivals, saying the Bears’ condolences go to the entire Lakeshore Football program. Lakeshore High School athletic director Greg Younger us there was a large turnout at Monday morning’s meeting for all current and former Lancers players. Ashley was in charge of all strength and conditioning for the program, and Younger says he appeared to have been in excellent shape.