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Last Update on December 22, 2014 06:33 GMT


CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- Cam Newton threw for one touchdown and ran for another, and the Carolina Panthers defeated the Cleveland Browns 17-13 on Sunday to take over sole possession of first place in the NFC South.

The victory sets up a winner-take-all showdown next Sunday at Atlanta between the Panthers (6-8-1) against the Falcons (6-9) for the division title.

The winner will join the 2010 Seattle Seahawks as the only teams in NFL history to reach the postseason in a non-strike-shortened season with a losing record.

Newton threw for 201 yards and ran for 63 yards just 12 days after the quarterback suffered two fractures in his lower back following an automobile accident. Jonathan Stewart ran for 122 yards and caught a 9-yard touchdown pass from Newton.

Johnny Manziel made his second NFL start for Cleveland but left with 1:49 left in the first half with a hamstring injury and did not return.


NEW YORK (AP) -- The showdown for the AFC North title will be played in prime time.

NBC says next week's meeting between the Bengals and Steelers in Pittsburgh will be on "Sunday Night Football." The winner will be division champion.

The NFL does not designate a Sunday night game for Week 17 at the start of the season, waiting to see which matchup has the most intriguing playoff implications.

The Steelers (10-5) beat Kansas City 20-12 on Sunday to clinch a postseason berth. Cincinnati (9-4-1) hosts AFC West champ Denver on Monday night. If the Bengals lose to the Broncos, they could go into the regular-season finale in danger of missing the playoffs.

The announcement was made during halftime of Sunday night's Seahawks-Cardinals game.


CLEVELAND (AP) -- LeBron James had 25 points and 11 assists, Dion Waiters scored 13 of his 21 points in the fourth quarter and the Cleveland Cavaliers handled one of the Western Conference's best teams, beating the Memphis Grizzlies 105-91 on Sunday.

James scored 16 in the second half and the Cavs shot a season-best 61 percent from the field to improve to just 3-6 against West teams. Anderson Varejao scored 18 and Kyrie Irving had 17 points and 12 assists for the Cavs, who are 11-3 since their sluggish 5-7 start.

Cleveland, which has won eight of nine at home, is 9-2 when James has at least nine assists.

Marc Gasol scored 23 and added 11 rebounds for the Grizzlies, who played without forward Zach Randolph. He's nursing a sore and swollen right knee he injured in Friday's loss at Chicago.


NEW YORK (AP) -- Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving, the MVP of the Basketball World Cup, was honored Sunday as the USA Basketball Male Athlete of the Year.

Irving started in all nine games for the Americans in Spain and averaged 12.1 points and 3.6 assists. He scored 26 points in the gold-medal game, going 6 of 6 from 3-point range to spark a rout of Serbia.

Irving was selected by USA Basketball's board of directors.


CLEVELAND (AP) -- Anton Grady scored 17 points, Charlie Lee had 15 and Andre Yates 13 and Cleveland State held San Francisco without a field goal in overtime to pull out a 69-65 win on Sunday.

Statistically the game was even in the battle between two teams that are now both 6-6.

Three different times USF made just one of two free throws in overtime. Grady and Yates had baskets to put the Vikings ahead 66-63. After USF's last trip to the line with eight seconds left, Trey Lewis iced it by making two free throws at five seconds.

Mark Tollefesen led USF, which had an 11-point lead in the first half, with 17 points. The Dons were up 30-26 at the break. Tim Derksen had 11 but missed a 3-pointer at the end of regulation.


BOWLING GREEN, Ohio (AP) -- Drew Lehman scored 29 points and Josh Fleming added 23 with 13 rebounds and Division II Ferris State ran away from Bowling Green on Sunday.

The win was the ninth-straight for the Bulldogs although the game counted as an exhibition, leaving them at 8-2. Bowling Green fell to 6-3 with its first loss at home.

Ferris State led 37-36 at halftime then out-scored Ball State 15-4 in the first four minutes of the second half with Dietrich Lever, Fleming and Lehman each hitting 3-pointers for a 52-40 lead. The advantage stayed around 10 until the closing minutes when the Bulldogs pulled away. Fleming's 3 at 1:47 made it 82-62.

The Bulldogs shot 49 percent, including 9 of 18 behind the arc, and were 19 of 22 from the line.

Richaun Holmes had 26 for Bowling Green, which shot 42 percent (2 of 8 on 3-pointers) and 14 of 23 from the line.

National Sports News

Last Update on December 22, 2014 23:42 GMT


MIAMI (AP)-- The first Miami Beach Bowl ended with a dandy Miami Beach brawl.

Moments after Memphis had secured a 55-48 double overtime victory over BYU at Marlins Park in Miami, several fights broke out between Memphis and Brigham Young players. It took several minutes for order to be restored, but not before several punches had been thrown and tempers flared. The brawl involved many players from both teams after BYU's Christian Stewart threw an interception on the final play.

As for the game, Paxton Lynch accounted for seven touchdowns including a scoring pass to Roderick Proctor in the second overtime to win it. Jake Elliott made a 55-yard field goal to force the second OT.

Lynch threw for four scores and ran for three more for Memphis.

The victory secured the first 10-victory season for Memphis since 1938. The Tigers wound up 10-3. BYU finished 8-5.


CINCINNATI (AP) -- Peyton Manning is 8-0 in his career against Cincinnati. That doesn't bode well for the Bengals tonight when Manning and the Denver Broncos visit in the Monday Night Football game.

But the Broncos quarterback may not be 100 percent for this critical game for both teams. He's been bothered by the flu and a strained right thigh. That limited him in practice this week.

It's a pivotal game for both teams in the playoff picture. The 11-3 Broncos have already won the AFC West and would clinch a first-round bye with a victory at Paul Brown Stadium. They are also in the running for best record in the AFC and home field advantage throughout the playoffs.

The 9-4-1 Bengals would earn a fourth straight trip to the playoffs with a win. Regardless of the outcome, Cincinnati will play the Steelers in Pittsburgh next week for the AFC North title.


CLEVELAND (AP) -- Johnny Football's unspectacular first NFL season is over. Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel (man-ZEHL') has been ruled out of the team's season finale against Baltimore after suffering a hamstring injury in Sunday's loss to Carolina. It was the second start of the season for the rookie sensation. The player he replaced as starter, Brian Hoyer had to come in to finish up the Panthers game but he hurt his shoulder.

If Hoyer can't play against the Ravens, rookie Connor Shaw will start.


LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) -- Chicago quarterback Jimmy Clausen will miss the season finale against Minnesota because of a concussion, moving Jay Cutler back into the starting role. Cutler was benched in favor of Clausen for Sunday's loss to Detroit. Clausen was injured on a helmet-to-helmet hit by the Lions Ezekiel Ansah during the game.

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.


TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) -- In the wake of Arizona's one-sided loss to the Seattle Seahawks, Cardinals coach Bruce Arians says he's leaning toward starting rookie quarterback Logan Thomas in the regular-season finale. Arians insists the decision is not a reflection on how Ryan Lindley played in Sunday's 35-6 home loss to the Seahawks.

Arians says he wants to see what Thomas "can do for the future and the playoffs."

It's not that the game has no playoff implications.

At 11-4, Arizona still can clinch the NFC West and No. 1 seed in the playoffs if it beats San Francisco and the Seahawks lose at home to St. Louis.


TAMPA, Fla. (AP) -- A dozen people are recovering after they were injured by an indirect lightning strike at Raymond James Stadium after a game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Green Bay Packers.

Tampa Fire Rescue officials say the lightning strike happened Sunday afternoon as fans were walking back to their cars in one of the parking lots.

Rescue crews took seven people to the hospital. All were in stable condition when they left for St. Joseph's Hospital in Tampa. Another four to five people told authorities they were going on their own to be checked out.


SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- San Francisco Giants second baseman Marco Scutaro (SKOO'-tah-roh) has undergone back surgery that could end his career.

Giants general manager Brian Sabean (SAY'-bee-ihn) says Scutaro had the fusion procedure performed by Dr. Michael Wang in Miami on Friday to alleviate the troublesome area at level L-2/L-3 of his spine. It will be four-to-six months before doctors determine whether Scutaro can play baseball again.


MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Phil Hughes finished his first season in Minnesota one out shy of a $500,000 bonus. His new deal with the Twins more than takes care of that.

The Twins and the 28-year-old right-hander have agreed to a $58 million, five-year contract that adds $42 million in guaranteed money from 2017-19.

Hughes went 16-10 with a 3.52 ERA and led the major leagues among qualifying pitchers with an 11.63 strikeout-to-walk ratio. He had been scheduled to make $8 million each of the next two seasons as part of a $24 million, three-year contract.


SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Free agent reliever Sergio Romo has finalized a $15 million, two-year contract with the Giants, keeping a key member of bullpen from three championship runs.

The 31-year-old right-hander has spent all seven of his big league seasons with San Francisco, winning titles in 2010, `12 and this year. He went 6-4 with a 3.72 ERA with 23 saves in 64 outings last season.


UNDATED (AP) -- Make it three weeks in a row that Kentucky has been a unanimous pick as No. 1 in The Associated Press men's college basketball poll. The 12-0 Wildcats got all 65 first-place votes. Kentucky solidified its spot as the top team in the land with a crushing 83-44 win over UCLA Saturday in which the Wildcats rattled off the first 24 points in the game.

Duke, Arizona and Louisville held onto the next three spots.

The Cardinals have a showdown with Kentucky in Louisville on Saturday.

Virginia moves up a spot to No. 5, trading places with Wisconsin.

Villanova, Gonzaga, Texas and Kansas rounded out the top 10 in the same spots they held last week.


UNDATED (AP) -- Toronto visits Chicago in a battle of division leaders that highlights tonight's seven-game NBA schedule.

The Atlantic Division leading Raptors top the Eastern Conference with a 22-5 record that includes a six-game winning streak. The Bulls lead the Central Division but are only 5-5 at home this season. Chicago is hoping to have Derek Rose back in the lineup after the star guard missed the last two games with an illness.

The Hawks are on quite a run. Atlanta has won 12 of its last 13 to pull into a tie with Washington for first in the Southeast Division. The Hawks are on the road to take on the Mavericks and newly acquired guard Rajon Rondo.

Golden State has won 17 of 18 as it prepares to host Sacramento. The Warriors are 9-1 on their home court this season.

San Antonio is in an uncharacteristic slump heading into its home game against the Clippers. The Spurs have dropped four in a row and lost six of their last eight. In the Clippers, they'll be taking on a fifth straight opponent that would currently qualify for the playoffs.


AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) -- With Detroit sporting a 5-23 record, it was time for a Pistons change.

The Pistons waived forward Josh Smith, less than halfway through the lucrative four-year contract he signed before the 2013-14 season. Pistons GM and coach Stan Van Gundy said he wants to develop younger players.


UNDATED (AP) -- No. 6 Wisconsin should be well rested for tonight's game at California and they may need it. The 10-1 Badgers have been off for nine days for exams. The Golden Bears have won seven in a row to improve to 10-1. It's their best start to a season since 1959-60.

The only team that's beaten Kansas this season is top-ranked Kentucky. The 10th-ranked Jayhawks try to improve on their 9-1 record when they visit 7-4 Temple.

No. 13 Washington will try to match its best start to a season since 2005-06 when they host Tulane. The Huskies are 10-0 thanks, in part, to the nation's leading shot blocker, Robert Upshaw.

There are 12 games on the schedule involving top 25 teams.


Sports Director Clay Hall

WSYX - Clay Hall

Clay Hall is the Sports Director for ABC 6 and FOX 28.

Find out more about Sports Director Clay Hall