#SportsReport: Alabama Routs Ohio State; Belichick Refuses Presidential Medal Of Freedom
Alabama's top offense threats were too much for Ohio State. The top-ranked Crimson Tide are national champions for the sixth time in 12 seasons after DeVonta Smith, Mac Jones and Najee Harris led an explosive offensive performance in a 52-24 rout of Ohio State. The Heisman Trophy-winning Smith had 12 catches for 215 yards and three touchdowns, all in the first half as the Crimson Tide bolted out to a 35-17 lead. Jones chewed up the Buckeyes' secondary while throwing for a CFP championship-record 464 yards and five touchdowns. Harris accounted for three TDs, running for 79 yards and two scores while grabbing seven passes for 79 yards and a touchdown. Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields struggled after lighting up Clemson for six touchdowns in the CFP semifinals. The 13-0 Tide limited Fields to 17 of 33 passing for 194 yards and one TD as the Buckeyes fell to 7-1. Ohio State running back Trey Sermon left the game for good after suffering an injury on his team's first drive. Master Teague carried 15 times for 65 yards and two touchdowns by halftime as Sermon's replacement, but he had just three yards in the second half.
The final Associated Press college football poll voters have determined that unbeaten national-champion Alabama is No. 1. Ohio State moved up to second following its lopsided win over Clemson, which dropped to third. Texas A&M and Notre Dame round out the top five and are followed by Oklahoma, Georgia, Cincinnati, Iowa State and Northwestern. The Irish fell behind the Aggies with their blowout loss to Alabama in the CFP semifinals and A&M's bowl victory.
In other college football news, Heisman Trophy winner Carson Palmer and former Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops are among the 13 former players and coaches who make up the latest Hall of Fame class. Joining Palmer and Stoops will be running backs Darren Sproles of Kansas State and C.J Spiller of Clemson; offensive tackles Harris Barton of North Carolina and Aaron Taylor of Notre Dame; defensive stars David Fulcher of Arizona State and Dan Morgan of Miami; Kenneth Sims of Texas; Andre Tippett of Iowa and Al Wilson of Tennessee. Former Eastern Illinois quarterback and current CBS NFL analyst Tony Romo was also selected for induction to the Atlanta-based hall along with former Florida A&M coach Rudy Hubbard. The class is expected to be inducted in December.
Patriots coach Bill Belichick is passing on an invitation to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom this week. The six-time Super Bowl winning coach did not say explicitly that he had turned down the offer from President Donald Trump, instead explaining "the decision has been made not to move forward with the award" in the wake of last week's deadly siege on the U.S. Capitol. Belichick added that "remaining true to the people, team and country I love outweigh the benefits of any individual award."
In other NFL news:
The only head coach to lead the Philadelphia Eagles to a Super Bowl victory finds himself out of work. Doug Pederson has been let go less than three years after he led the Eagles to a Super Bowl win over New England in his second season with the team. Pederson was 42-37-1 in five seasons, guiding the Eagles to two division titles and three playoff appearances before going 4-11-1 this season.
Browns coach Kevin Stefanski expects to be back with his team on Thursday after missing Sunday night's 48-37 playoff win over Pittsburgh with COVID-19. Stefanski said he lost his sense of taste, but otherwise has only experienced mild symptoms. Cleveland plays the Super Bowl champion Chiefs on Sunday in Kansas City.
Gordon Hayward contributed 34 points and the Hornets picked up their fourth straight win by blasting the Knicks, 109-88. Devonte Graham had 19 points and seven assists for Charlotte, and P.J. Washington had 13 points as the Hornets handed the Knicks their third straight defeat. Kevin Knox had a team-high 19 points for New York, which committed 17 turnovers leading to 24 points.
In other NBA action:
Trae Young scored 26 points and the Hawks stopped a four-game losing streak with a 112-94 victory over the 76ers. Young provided the first three baskets in a 15-2 run that started the second half, putting Atlanta ahead, 80-52. Joel Embiid had 24 points and 11 rebounds for the Sixers, who used nine players after having just seven available for Saturday's loss to the Nuggets.
There's a faint rainbow arcing over the Washington Wizards' season after they lost two starters on consecutive days. The Wizards ended a three-game skid and improved to 3-8 as Bradley Beal pumped in 34 points in a 128-107 rout of the Suns. Beal also had eight rebounds and nine assists, two days after sitting out a game against Miami because he was in the NBA's health and safety protocol. It was Washington's first game since center Thomas Bryant suffered a partially-torn ACL on Saturday. The Wizards also are without Russell Westbrook, who will be out at least a week with a left quadriceps injury. Phoenix fell to 7-4 despite Devin Booker's 33 points.
Giannis Antetokounmpo returned from a one-game injury absence and scored 22 points for the Bucks in a 121-99 thumping of the Magic. Khris Middleton finished with 20 points and 10 rebounds for the Bucks, while Bobby Portis chipped in 20 points. Nikola Vucevic had 28 points and 13 rebounds to lead the short-handed Magic, who have lost three straight since Markelle Fultz was lost to a season-ending knee injury.
Buddy Hield finished with 18 points on six 3s as the Kings won for the second time in seven games, 127-122 versus the Pacers. Buddy Hield drained a 3-pointer to make it 121-117, moments after Indiana's Domantas Sabonis had a basket taken away on replay. Harrison Barnes had a season-high 30 points and eight rebounds, and De'Aaron Fox added 21 points and nine assists for Sacramento.
CJ McCollum scored 30 points, including a game-winning jumper with 9.6 seconds left in the Trail Blazers' 112-111 verdict over the Raptors. Damian Lillard chipped in 23 points and Carmelo Anthony added 20 to help Portland withstand Pascal Siakam's first career triple-double. Siakam finished with 22 points, 13 boards and 10 assists, but the defending Atlantic Division champs fell into a last-place tie in the East at 2-8.
Dillon Brooks furnished 21 points and the Grizzlies recovered after blowing a 16-point lead to beat the Cavaliers, 101-91. Brandon Clarke scored 15 points and Tyus Jones had 13 points, seven assists and three steals to help Memphis earn its second straight win. Cavaliers center Andre Drummond had 19 points and 14 rebounds for his 11th straight double-double to start the season.
In NBA news:
The NBA has called off two more games because of COVID-related and contact tracing issues. The league postponed Monday's game in Dallas between the Mavericks and the New Orleans Pelicans as well as Tuesday's matchup in Chicago between the Bulls and the Boston Celtics. Those moves come one day after Miami's game in Boston was called off because of contact-tracing issues within the Heat, who were bracing to be without multiple players for the next several days, AP was told.
The Brooklyn Nets say there's no update on Kyrie Irving's return to the team. Irving has missed the last three games for personal reasons. Head coach Steve Nash has said it's a private matter and has refused to say much about Irving's absence. Nash did say that he believed Irving was tested for the coronavirus on Sunday, though he wasn't sure about Monday.
Wizards point guard Russell Westbrook is expected to sit out a week with an injured left leg that has bothered him since the start of the NBA season. Washington is scheduled to play five games through next Monday as the team tries to recover from a 2-8 start. Westbrook is averaging 19.3 points, 11.3 assists and 9.7 rebounds through seven games with the Wizards but is shooting just 37.8%.
Connecticut picked up a victory just hours after cracking the AP men's basketball poll. The 25th-rated Huskies improved to 7-1 by scoring the last eight points in a 60-53 victory over DePaul. R.J. Cole finished with 12 points, including a 3-pointer that sparked the game-ending run. Tyrese Martin provided a team-high 18 points for the Huskies, who played their second straight game without top scorer James Bouknight due to an elbow injury.
Gonzaga and Baylor remain atop The Associated Press men's basketball poll for the seventh consecutive week in the regular season. The Zags received 63 first-place votes from a national media panel and the Bears had one. Villanova, Texas and Iowa rounded out a top 5 that remained the same from last week. Sixth-ranked Kansas is followed by Michigan, Creighton, Wisconsin and Tennessee. No. 25 Connecticut moved into the poll for the first time since reaching No. 18 in 2016-17. Louisville is back in the rankings at No. 16 and Ohio State returned at No. 21. Rutgers, Michigan State and Florida State tumbled out.
In other college basketball news:
The men's basketball game Tuesday between No. 13 West Virginia and No. 2 Baylor in Waco, Texas, has been postponed due to COVID-19 issues with the Mountaineers. West Virginia said in a statement that it will work with Baylor and the Big 12 to reschedule the game. Both teams last played on Saturday.
Also, Nebraska has paused team activities because of a positive COVID-19 test in the program, causing Wednesday's game against No. 14 Illinois to be postponed. A positive COVID-19 test left the Cornhuskers without starting a starting forward in a loss to Indiana on Sunday.
The NHL is taking its outdoor series to Lake Tahoe. The league announced it will hold two games on an outdoor rink set up at Edgewood Golf Course in Stateline, Nevada. Vegas will play Colorado on Feb. 20 and Boston faces Philadelphia on Feb. 21. The temporary rink will be set up on the 18th hole at Edgewood, site of the annual American Century Championship celebrity golf tournament.
The chief executive of the R&A says Donald Trump's ownership of Turnberry will prevent the Scottish course from staging the British Open for "the foreseeable future." Turnberry hasn't hosted the tournament since it was bought by Trump in 2014. R&A chief executive Martin Slumbers says his organization has no plans to award Turnberry the tournament "until we are convinced that the focus will be on the championship, the players and the course itself." Slumbers' comments came a day after the PGA of America voted to take the PGA Championship event away from Trump's New Jersey golf course next year.
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