Update on the latest in sports:


Associated Press

Posted on December 19, 2012 at 3:00 AM

Updated Wednesday, Dec 19 at 8:35 AM


Nuggets outscore Spurs...Heat top Wolves

UNDATED (AP) — The Denver Nuggets have played less than one-third of their first 26 games at home, and they weren't about to blow an opportunity to impress their fans last night.

Danilo Gallinari scored a season-high 28 points and the Nuggets improved to 7-1 in Denver by holding off San Antonio 112-106. The Spurs whittled a 15-point, fourth-quarter deficit down to three before Gallinari hit a three-pointer to put the Nuggets ahead 108-102. He added a pair of free throws in the final minute to clinch the win.

The Spurs lost for the fourth time in five games despite Tim Duncan's season-high 31 points and 18 rebounds.

In other NBA action, Dwyane (dwayn) Wade scored 24 points and LeBron James added a double-double as Miami beat Minnesota 103-92. James delivered 22 points and 11 assists for the Heat, who improved to 12-2 at home and 16-6 overall.

David Lee scored 26 points and Golden State beat New Orleans 103-96, the Warriors' first home game since their 6-1 road trip. Jarrett Jack's 14 points and 10 assists helped the Warriors improved to 17-8, their best start in 21 years.

The Los Angeles Lakers dealt Charlotte its 12th consecutive loss as Kobe Bryant delivered 30 points, seven assists and six rebounds in a 101-100 win over the Bobcats. Pau Gasol (pow gah-SAHL') had 10 points and nine rebounds in 29 minutes after missing the previous eight games with tendinitis in both knees.

Brooklyn blew a 13-point lead in a 92-90 loss to Utah. Mo Williams scored 19 points and Al Jefferson added 16 and 11 rebounds as the Jazz won for only the fifth time in 15 road games.

Lou Williams scored a season-high 24 points and Atlanta improved to 15-7 by defeating Washington 100-95 in overtime. Josh Smith had 17 points and 13 rebounds to help the Hawks withstand Jordan Crawford's triple-double of 27 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists.

Jose Calderon scored a season-high 23 points and Toronto picked up its third straight win by beating the Cavaliers 113-99 in Cleveland. Alan Anderson hit three three-pointers in the fourth quarter and finished with 18 points to help the Raptors stop an 11-game road losing streak.

Chicago was a 100-89 winner over Boston behind Joakim (JOH'-kihm) Noah's second career triple-double of 11 points 13 rebounds and a career high-tying 10 assists. Luol Deng (LOO'-ul dehng) and Carlos Boozer each scored 21 points as the Bulls avenged last month's 101-95 home loss to the Celtics.

O.J. Mayo scored 26 points and Chris Kaman (KAY'-mihn) added 20 as Dallas beat Philadelphia 107-100 to end a three-game skid. Mayo and Kaman scored 17 of the Mavericks' final 19 points, sending them to their seventh straight home win against the 76ers.

Brandon Jennings scored 13 of his 34 points in the fourth quarter as Milwaukee dumped Indiana 98-93. Jennings outscored the Pacers 7-2 at one point in the final period to put the Bucks ahead 92-87 with 3:30 to play.


Buckeyes, Jayhawks tune up for Saturday soiree

UNDATED (AP) — Seventh-ranked Ohio State and No. 9 Kansas warmed up for their upcoming matchup in Columbus by winning Tuesday on their home courts.

DeShaun Thomas had 21 points, nine rebounds and four assists as the Buckeyes got past Winthrop 65-55. Thomas missed nine consecutive shots before draining five in a row to help Ohio State pull away.

The Jayhawks crushed Richmond 87-59 as Jeff Withey (WIH'-thee) had 17 points and 13 rebounds. Ben McLemore added 14 points for the Jayhawks, who went on an 18-0 run in the first half of their eighth straight win.

Both the Buckeyes and Jayhawks will be 9-1 heading into their game on Saturday.

In other top-25 action, Arizona is 9-0 after Mark Lyons scored 17 points and Grant Jerrett added 15 in the fourth-ranked Wildcats' 89-64 pounding of Oral Roberts. Brandon Ashley added 14 points for the Cats, who are off to their best start since opening 12-0 in 1987-88.

Xavier Thames scored 17 points and Chase Tapley added 15 as No. 18 San Diego State beat Point Loma Nazarene 76-49. The Aztecs have won nine straight since losing the season opener to third-ranked Syracuse.

Gary Harris and Denzel Valentine each had 12 points as No. 20 Michigan State knocked off Bowling Green 64-53. The game was close until the Spartans went on a 14-2 run.

Lorenzo Brown scored 18 of his season-high 24 points after halftime to help No. 25 North Carolina State pull away to beat Stanford 88-79. Richard Howell finished with 17 points and 12 rebounds for the Wolfpack for his fourth straight double-double.


Jets bench Sanchez

UNDATED (AP) — It won't be Tebow (TEE'-boh) Time at the Meadowlands this Sunday. Instead, New York Jets fans can prepare for a McElroy Moment.

Coach Rex Ryan has benched struggling quarterback Mark Sanchez and will start Greg McElroy over Tim Tebow for Sunday's game against the San Diego Chargers.

Sanchez's benching follows Monday night's 14-10 loss at Tennessee, in which he threw four interceptions and couldn't handle a low snap deep in Titans territory with just seconds remaining. The Jets were eliminated from playoff contention with the loss.

McElroy is a seventh-round pick last year out of Alabama, who helped lead the Jets to a 7-6 win over Arizona earlier this month after Ryan pulled Sanchez from the game late in the third quarter.

Ryan hasn't decided whether Sanchez or Tebow will be the backup.

Elsewhere around the league:

— Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin says cornerback Ike Taylor will miss his third straight game while recovering from a fractured ankle. The Steelers also placed cornerback DeMarcus Van Dyke on injured reserve with a shoulder injury.

— The Buffalo Bills have signed starting right guard Kraig Urbik to a four-year contract extension. Urbik is completing his third year with the Bills, and is now locked up through 2016.

— The Chicago Bears have placed running back Michael Bush on season-ending injured reserve because of a rib injury and re-signed Kahlil Bell to take his place. Bush appeared in 13 games and ran for 411 yards and five touchdowns.

— The San Diego Chargers have placed running back Ryan Mathews, wide receiver Malcom Floyd and tackle Reggie Wells on season-ending injured reserve. All three were injured in a 31-7 loss to Carolina on Sunday.

—The Cleveland Browns have placed linebacker James-Michael Johnson and defensive back T.J. Ward on injured reserve with knee injuries.


Denver takes top spot in AP rankings

NEW YORK (AP) — Denver is the top team in the weekly AP Pro32 NFL power rankings, marking the first time the Broncos top the list. The Broncos have won nine straight and edged San Francisco for the No. 1 spot by three points.

The Patriots fell to third, with Atlanta and Houston fourth and fifth, respectively.

Kansas City is 32nd and last after being shut out by No. 30 Oakland


Badgers may have found a coach

UNDATED (AP) — Multiple media outlets are reporting Wisconsin will hire Utah State's Gary Andersen as head football coach to replace Bret Bielema (BEE'-leh-muh).

The Wisconsin State Journal was first to report that Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez had offered Andersen the job Tuesday night. Andersen is in his fourth year at Utah State and is coming off his best season yet.

The 18th-ranked Aggies won the Western Athletic Conference and finished 11-2.


A&M's Johnny Football is AP's Player of the Year

UNDATED (AP) — Chalk up another major award for Johnny Manziel (man-ZEHL').

The Texas A&M quarterback is the first freshman to be voted The Associated Press Player of the Year in college football. He's also won the Heisman Trophy and Davey O'Brien Award.

Manziel collected 31 votes to 15 for Manti Te'o (MAN'-ty TAY'-ow), Notre Dame's star linebacker, who finished second.

Manziel threw for 3,419 yards and 24 touchdowns and ran for 1,181 yards and 19 more scores to help the Aggies to 10 wins for the first time since 1998.


Red Sox, A's get shortstops...Twins add starter

UNDATED (AP) — A person familiar with the negotiations tells The Associated Press that shortstop Stephen Drew and the Boston Red Sox have agreed to a $9.5 million, one-year contract. Drew hit .250 with five homers and 16 RBIs in 39 games for the Oakland Athletics last season after being traded by Arizona on Aug. 20. In 40 games with the Diamondbacks, he hit .193 with two homers and 12 RBIs.

In other baseball news:

—The Tampa Bay Rays have signed right-handed pitcher Roberto Hernandez to a one-year deal worth $3.25 million. The player formerly known as Fausto Carmona was 0-3 with a 7.53 ERA last season after being arrested in the Dominican Republic over the winter on false identity charges that were dropped once he completed a work program. Hernandez is 53-69 with a 4.64 ERA in seven major league seasons.

— San Francisco Giants reliever Santiago Casilla has finalized his three-year, $15 million contract with the World Series champs, a package that includes a club/vesting option for 2016. The 32-year-old Casilla made 73 appearances last season, going 7-6 with a 2.84 ERA in 63 1-3 innings.

—The Oakland Athletics have agreed to terms of a two-year contract with shortstop Hiroyuki Nakajima of Japan's Seibu Lions. Nakajima is a seven-time Pacific League All-Star, with a .302 batting average, 149 home runs, 664 RBIs and 134 stolen bases over 11 seasons with Seibu.

— The Minnesota Twins have agreed with right-hander Mike Pelfrey on a $4 million, one-year contract. Pelfrey was an innings eater during a four-year run with the New York Mets before missing almost all of last season after Tommy John surgery. He went 50-54 with a 4.36 ERA in seven seasons in New York.

— Pitcher John Lannan and the Philadelphia Phillies have finalized a $2.5 million, one-year contract. The 28-year-old lefty was 4-1 with a 4.13 ERA in six starts for the NL East-champion Washington Nationals this year.

— Josh Hamilton's contract with the Los Angeles Angels has been valued at $123 million by Major League Baseball because $2 million is being paid to the outfielder's foundation by the team and not to the player.

— And former Cincinnati and Minnesota pitcher Frank Pastore (pa-STOHR'-ee) has died at 55, nearly a month after he was critically injured in a motorcycle accident. Pastroe was a popular Christian radio host and was injured hours after he pondered the risk of motorcycle riding on show.


Yanks' luxury tax increases $400k to $19.3 million

NEW YORK (AP) — The New York Yankees' luxury tax bill for this year has gone up by nearly $400,000. Major League Baseball sent a revised accounting to the team, raising New York's payment to more than $19.3 million. The change reflected how one player's salary was accounted for.

New York is the only team to pay the luxury tax this year.


Bond lowered for Cowboy Brent, must wear monitor

DALLAS (AP) — A judge has ordered Dallas Cowboys nose tackle Josh Brent to wear an electronic monitor while free on an intoxication manslaughter charge in a car crash that killed teammate Jerry Brown. The judge also lowered bond from $500,000 to $100,000. Brent has been placed on the NFL reserve/non-football illness list and won't play again this season.


Investigation into Chiefs LB killing complete

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Authorities have completed their investigation into the deaths of Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher and his 22-year-old girlfriend, formally ruling them a murder-suicide. The Kansas City Star reports that Jackson County prosecutors have closed the case.


Couples and Venturi lead the class of 2013 to golf's Hall of Fame

LONDON (AP) — Fred Couples and Ken Venturi (VEHN'-tur-ee) have been elected to the World Golf Hall of Fame. They join Colin (KAH'-lihn) Montgomerie, Willie Park Jr., and European Tour head Ken Schofield in the class of 2013.

The induction ceremony will be May 6 in St. Augustine, Fla.


Spain tops FIFA rankings, Brazil sings to No. 18

ZURICH (AP) — World Cup and European champion Spain has completed a full year atop the FIFA rankings, 2014 World Cup host Brazil has plummeted to No. 18 and the U.S. dropped one spot to No. 28.

Brazil has dropped while playing only non-competitive matches, and failed to win last month.Brazil lost against Argentina, which remains at No. 3, and drew with Colombia, which rises to No. 5.

The rankings weigh a four-year results cycle, and Brazil lost points from a 6-2 victory over Portugal in 2008. Spain leads No. 2 Germany, with European Championship finalist Italy at No. 4. England is No. 6, and Europe fills all places through Switzerland at No. 12. Ivory Coast is Africa's best at No. 14. Mexico is No. 15, and Japan leads Asia at No. 22.