NUGGETS LOSE 8TH IN A ROW
DENVER (AP) – Evan Turner scored 23 points and Thaddeus Young added 17, helping the Philadelphia 76ers beat the slumping Denver Nuggets 114-102 last night.
The Sixers had seven different players score in double figures en route to their second straight win away from home. Philadelphia halted a 13-game road losing streak in Los Angeles against the Lakers over the weekend. J.J. Hickson had 19 points and 11 rebounds for the Nuggets, who dropped their eighth game in a row. It's the team's longest skid since losing the final eight games of the 2002-03 season.
NUGGETS GUARD SUSPENDED
DENVER (AP) – The Denver Nuggets have suspended veteran guard Andre Miller two games for “conduct detrimental to the team.” Nuggets general manager Tim Connelly announced the suspension Thursday. Miller was upset after not playing in a 114-102 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday night. It was the first “Did not play – coach's decision” of Miller's 15-year career. Mired in an eight-game slump, first-year coach Brian Shaw has vowed to shake things up to find the right combination of players on the court.
Miller's suspension begins Friday against the Memphis Grizzlies. He also will not travel for a game Sunday in Los Angeles against the Lakers. He's averaging 5.9 points and 3.3 assists this season.
COLLEGE BASKETBALL / CSU LOSES, AIR FORCE WINS
FORT COLLINS (AP) – In a crucial second-half stretch, Xavier Thames didn't miss. Thames hit four perimeter shots, including two from 3-point range in a 3-minute stretch, and finished with 23 points to help No. 21 San Diego State fend off Colorado State 71-61 last night for its 10th straight win. Colorado State had pulled within 52-46 midway through the second half before Thames cut off the Rams' rally with his 10-point flurry. Winston Shepard scored 17 points and Josh Davis had seven points and 15 rebounds for the Aztecs (11-1, 1-0 Mountain West), who won their seventh straight conference opener in tying the second-best 12-game start in school history.
UTAH ST-AIR FORCE
AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. (AP) – Marek Olesinski and Max Yon scored 21 points apiece as Air Force rallied to defeat Utah State 73-72 in the Mountain West Conference opener last night. The Falcons (7-5) survived a turnover with 11 seconds left and Jalen Moore's 3-pointer at the buzzer to defeat the Aggies (10-3), who were making their MWC debut after leaving the Western Athletic Conference. Air Force used a 9-0 run to produce a 39-34 lead at the half but the Aggies opened the second half with a 15-4 surge to go up 49-43. Tre' Coggins added 14 points and Kamryn Williams had 11 rebounds for Air Force, which shot 56 percent in the first half, including 6 of 12 from 3-point range, and 51 percent for the game. Preston Medlin had 19 for the Falcons with Spencer Butterfield adding 16 and Kyle Davis 11 with 11 rebounds.
ELSEWHERE IN SPORTS….
LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) – The Chicago Bears have signed Jay Cutler to a seven-year contract, ending speculation the team would seek another starting quarterback. Terms were not disclosed, but the deal for the 30-year-old Cutler is reportedly worth nearly $18 million per year over the first three years and includes at least $50 million guaranteed. The Bears also signed cornerback Tim Jennings and guard Matt Slauson to four-year deals.
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) – The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have confirmed that they've finalized terms of a five-year contract with new head coach Lovie Smith. The former Bucs assistant was 81-63 in nine seasons with Chicago, earning three playoff berths and leading the 2006 team to the Super Bowl. Smith replaces Greg Schiano (shee-AH'-noh), who was fired Monday following a 4-12 finish.
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – Former Vikings punter Chris Kluwe (KLOO'-ee) has written a scathing article on the website Deadspin, alleging that special teams coordinator Mike Priefer made several anti-gay comments in objection to Kluwe's outspoken support of a gay marriage amendment in Minnesota. Kluwe also said former coach Leslie Frazier and general manager Rick Spielman encouraged him to tone down his public rhetoric on gay marriage and several other issues. Kluwe was cut last summer and did not play in the NFL this season.
UNDATED (AP) – The NFL has given the Green Bay Packers, Indianapolis Colts and Cincinnati Bengals one more day to sell their remaining playoff tickets and avoid local television blackouts. The Packers had roughly 3,000 tickets left for the wild-card game Sunday against San Francisco. Fewer than 3,500 tickets remained for Saturday's wild-card game between the Colts and Kansas City, and the Bengals also had tickets left for their game Sunday afternoon against San Diego.
MALMO, Sweden (AP) – Russia has ended the United States' one-year reign as world junior hockey champions. Nakita Zadorov scored two power-play goals and Pavel Buchnevich scored twice as Russia downed the Americans 5-3 in the quarterfinals. Canada beat Switzerland 4-1 to reach the semifinals for the 16th consecutive year.