SPORTS, DECEMBER 30TH

DENVER (AP) – Semyon Varlamov made 25 saves, Gabriel Landeskog
had a goal and an assist, and the Colorado Avalanche beat the
Phoenix Coyotes 3-2 on Thursday night.
Kevin Porter and Stefan Elliott also scored for Colorado, which
went 8-1 at home in December.
Mikkel Boedker (mih-KEHL’ BAHD’-kur) had two goals, and Kyle
Chipchura had two assists for the Coyotes.
Jason LaBarbera stopped 32 shots in the loss.

AVALANCHE-DUCHENE
Avalanche’s Matt Duchene suffers right knee injury
DENVER (AP) – Colorado Avalanche center Matt Duchene
(DOO’-shayn) left Thursday’s game against the Phoenix Coyotes
because of a right knee injury and did not return.
Duchene was injured early in the first period when he tried to
deliver a check and his right skate got caught on the ice. He
skated to the bench and went immediately to the locker room.
Duchene played 2:23 over three shifts and recorded one hit
before leaving for the locker room.
The 20-year-old Duchene is in his third year with the Avalanche.
The third overall pick in the 2009 draft has a team-leading 12
goals in 39 games.
Thursday was his 200th NHL game.
He has 63 goals and 83 assists in his career.

NUGGETS-TRAIL BLAZERS
Wesley Matthews has 25 in Blazers’ 111-102 win
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) – Wesley Matthews had 25 points, including
five 3-pointers in the second half, and the Portland Trail Blazers
beat the Denver Nuggets 111-102 on Thursday night to stay
undefeated after three games this season.
Raymond Felton had 23 points, including a 3-pointer with 1:45
left as the Blazers pulled away from the Nuggets, who knotted the
game at 98 midway through the fourth quarter.
Portland, which opened the season with wins over Philadelphia
and Sacramento, led by as many as 13 points in the first half, but
the team was plagued by 25 turnovers.
Ty Lawson had 25 points and eight steals for the Nuggets, who
dropped their first game of the season.
Denver was coming off a 117-100 victory over Utah on Wednesday
night.

COLORADO ST-JACKSONVILLE ST
Colorado State defeats Jacksonville State 79-56
EL PASO, Texas (AP) – Wes Eikmeier scored 25 points and Colorado
State shot 60 percent to beat Jacksonville State 79-56 on Thursday
night and win the Sun Bowl Invitational championship.
Dwight Smith made all five shots he took, including a 3-pointer,
and scored 15 points for the Rams (9-4), who sank 27 of 45.
Will Bell added 12 points and Pierce Hornung 12 rebounds as
Colorado State won its fourth in a row.
Tarvin Gaines scored 15 points and Stephen Hall 13 for the
Gamecocks (5-9), who had won two in a row.
The Rams used an early 8-0 run to go ahead 12-7, and Eikmeier’s
fast-break layup extended the gap to 36-26 at intermission.
Jacksonville State started quickly in the second half, rallying
within 37-33. But Eikmeier scored six consecutive Rams points
before Greg Smith’s basket put Colorado State up 45-34 with 14:30
left.
The Gamecocks were doomed by 32 percent shooting (17 of 53).

TROY-DENVER
Denver matches best start, beats Troy 79-62
DENVER (AP) – Brian Stafford scored 26 points and Denver matched
its best start in school history with a 79-62 victory over Troy in
the Sun Belt Conference opener for both teams Thursday night.
Stafford made five 3-pointers and the Pioneers (11-2) were 11
for 32 from beyond the arc. Chris Udofia added 17 points and Royce
O’Neale had 14 for Denver, which has won five in a row and is 8-1
at home this season.
The Pioneers were also 11-2 to start the 1942-43 season.
Will Weathers and R.J. Scott scored 13 points each and Justin
Wright had 11 for Troy (5-7), which has lost four of five and is
1-6 on the road.
The Trojans, the nation’s second-best 3-point shooting team with
10.6 makes a game, were 7 of 21 from beyond the arc.

WAGNER-AIR FORCE
Rivers leads Wagner to 72-61 win over Air Force
SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) – Latif Rivers scored 14 of his
season-high 21 points in the second half as Wagner beat Air Force
72-61 in a first-round game of the Cable Car Classic on Thursday
night.
Tyler Murray had 11 points as the Seahawks (9-3) posted their
second straight win and fourth in five games. Jonathan Williams and
Kenneth Ortiz added 10 points each.
Mike Fitzgerald scored 13 points to lead the Falcons (6-4), who
lost their second straight after winning three in a row. Air Force
played without leading scorer Michael Lyons (ankle), who will also
miss Friday’s consolation game.
Falcons center Taylor Broekhuis left the game with an apparent
ankle injury midway through the second half.
The Seahawks will meet the winner of Thursday’s later game
between Santa Clara and Eastern Michigan for the tournament
championship.

BRONCOS-DAWKINS
Neck again keeps Brian Dawkins out of Broncos practice
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) – Broncos safety Brian Dawkins has missed
practice again because of a neck injury that has left him
questionable for Denver’s pivotal regular-season finale against
Kansas City.
Dawkins watched Thursday’s practice from the sideline. He has
been sorely missed since pinching a nerve in his neck in the
Broncos’ 16-13 overtime victory over Chicago three weeks ago.
The 16-year veteran has been sidelined for all but one quarter
in the last two weeks, when the Broncos gave up 40 and 41 points in
losses to Buffalo and New England. That’s way up from the 17 points
on average the Broncos (8-7) allowed during a six-game winning
streak that thrust them into playoff contention.
Now Denver must beat the Chiefs (6-9) and former Broncos
quarterback Kyle Orton on Sunday to clinch their first postseason
berth since 2005.

CHIEFS-WIEGMANN’S STREAK
Chiefs’ Wiegmann to make 175th consecutive start
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) – Casey Wiegmann will make his 175th
consecutive start when the Chiefs face the Denver Broncos on
Sunday, adding to an iron man streak of consecutive snaps that
already stands at 11,102.
Both are the longest active streaks by NFL offensive linemen.
It might also be the end of the streak for the laconic Iowa farm
boy.
The 38-year-old Wiegmann contemplated retirement last season and
he is clearly considering life after football.
If Sunday’s game is the end, a streak on par with Brett Favre’s
consecutive starts by an NFL quarterback or Cal Ripken Jr.’s
consecutive starts in baseball will finally come to a close.
If Wiegmann has anything to say about it, that will happen with
very little fanfare.

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