NUGGETS THRASH LAKERS
LOS ANGELES (AP) – Ty Lawson had 20 points and 12 assists, Timofey Mozgov added 20 points and seven rebounds, and the Denver Nuggets beat the slumping Los Angeles Lakers 137-115 Sunday night for their second straight win after an eight-game skid. Nate Robinson scored 21 points, while Wilson Chandler and Kenneth Faried added 17 apiece as the Nuggets dropped 77 points on the Lakers in the second half.
Denver emphatically earned a win for coach Brian Shaw in his first game back at Staples Center to face the Lakers as a head coach. The longtime Lakers guard and assistant coach was passed over for the top job in Los Angeles after Phil Jackson’s departure.
CU MEN AND WOMEN EARN CONFERENCE WINS
BOULDER (AP) – Askia Booker scored a career-high 27 points, 11 in the last 4:40, and No. 20 Colorado rallied in the second half to hand No. 10 Oregon its first loss of the season, 100-91 on Sunday. Spencer Dinwiddie added 23 points and Xavier Johnson and Josh Scott had 15 points apiece for Colorado (13-2, 2-0 Pac-12), which is off to its best start since the 1968-69 team began the season 13-2. Scott had 12 rebounds for the Buffaloes, who remain unbeaten in 11 home games this season. Mike Moser had 24 points to lead Oregon (13-1, 1-1), which was denied its first 14-0 start since 1937-38. Joseph Young and Damyean Dotson both added 16 points. Leading the nation in scoring, Oregon, one of seven unbeaten Division I teams entering the day, could not keep up with Colorado.
LOS ANGELES (AP) – Jen Reese scored 15 points and Jasmine Sborov added 11 to lead No. 12 Colorado to a 61-59 victory over UCLA on Sunday. UCLA led 52-43 with 6:17 to play but couldn’t hold the lead. The Buffaloes outscored the Bruins 18-7 down the stretch to seal the win. Thea Lemberger and Luiana Livulo each missed close shots for the Bruins in the final seconds and Colorado held on for the victory. Reese made 5 of 12 shots for the Buffaloes (11-2, 1-1 Pac-12) and Sborov grabbed eight rebounds. Reese’s basket with 1:54 to play gave Colorado a 55-54 lead. Brittany Wilson hit two free throws in the final 15 seconds to provide the margin of victory for the Buffaloes. Nirra Fields led UCLA with 23 points and Atonye Nyingifa scored 13 points for the Bruins (7-8, 1-2).
ELSEWHERE IN SPORTS…
UNDATED (AP) – A couple of California teams proved they can adapt very well to cold-weather conditions. The San Francisco 49ers used a last-second field goal at Green Bay to advance to the NFL’s division playoffs, while the San Diego Chargers played shutout ball in the second half of their game at Cincinnati. Phil Dawson drilled a 33-yard kick to give the 49ers a 23-20 win over the Packers in Green Bay. Colin Kaepernick (KAP’-ur-nik) kept the winning drive alive by escaping a blitz on third-and-8 and scrambling for an 11-yard gain to the 27 with 1:13 left. Dawson nailed the winning kick five plays later.
The Niners lost three-point leads twice in the fourth quarter before advancing to the NFC divisional playoffs at Carolina next Sunday. John Kuhn’s one-yard touchdown run put the Packers ahead 17-13 with 12:06 remaining, but San Francisco quickly answered back with Kaepernick’s 28-yard TD pass to Vernon Davis just 1:35 later. Kaepernick later engineered the winning drive following Mason Crosby’s game-tying field goal with 5:06 to play. Kaepernick was all over the field, rushing seven times for a team-high 98 yards and completing 16 of his 30 passes for 227 yards. The Packers also had trouble covering Michael Crabtree, who had eight receptions for 125 yards.Aaron Rodgers was 17 of 26 for 177 yards and a first-half touchdown. Rodgers wasn’t intercepted, but he was sacked four times.The other NFC divisional playoff game will have the Seattle Seahawks hosting New Orleans next Saturday. The Saints advanced by beating Philadelphia 26-24 on Shayne Graham’s field goal.The AFC divisional playoffs are set, and the San Diego Chargers will be in Denver to take on the Broncos next Sunday.The Chargers advanced by outscoring the Bengals 20-0 in the second half of a 27-10 victory at Cincinnati. The Bengals led 10-7 until Philip Rivers hit Ladarius Green for a four-yard touchdown with 6:36 left in the third quarter. Nick Novak followed with a pair of field goals, and Ronnie Brown put the game out of reach by running 58 yards for a touchdown with 2:17 to play.
Rivers was 12 of 16 for 128 yards and no interceptions.Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton finished with 334 passing yards but committed three turnovers in the second half, including a pair of interceptions.The other AFC divisional game will have the New England Patriots hosting Indianapolis next Saturday.And so much for home-field advantage or halftime leads. Three of the four home teams lost this weekend, and the Indianapolis Colts needed to storm back from a 28-point deficit to beat the visiting Kansas City Chiefs. The 49ers were the only team to win after carrying a lead into the second half.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith says he’ll play Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC divisional playoffs after sitting out the season finale with a sprained knee ligament. The 34-year old says the sprained left knee felt good after practice today but he can’t predict how it will feel during the game.
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) – UCF quarterback Blake Bortles and running back Storm Johnson say they will forgo their senior seasons and enter the NFL draft. The juniors saw their draft stock rise this season as they led the Knights to their first 12-1 finish and an upset of heavily favored Baylor in the Fiesta Bowl.
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) – Clemson’s record-setting wide receiver Sammy Watkins says he’s giving up his senior year and heading to the NFL. Watkins has set 23 school records in three seasons. He finished his career as the most outstanding player of the Orange Bowl, with 16 catches for 227 yards and two touchdowns in the win over Ohio State.
CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP) – Miami coach Al Golden says he has been pursued by other programs, but reaffirmed his commitment to the Hurricanes and refused to discuss his reported candidacy at Penn State. Golden is 22-15 in three seasons at Miami and was widely pegged as a candidate for Penn State, where he played for Joe Paterno and was a captain of the Nittany Lions.
UNDATED (AP) – Arizona has increased its run at No. 1 in the AP college basketball poll to five straight weeks picking up 60 of the 65 first-place ballots. The 15-0 Wildcats are followed by Syracuse, Ohio State, Wisconsin and Michigan State completing the same top five as last week.