Falcons earn home-field edge...Lions' Johnson breaks Rice's record
DETROIT (AP) — The road to the NFC championship will run through Atlanta.
The NFC South champion Falcons earned the No. 1 seed in the NFC playoffs by outclassing Detroit 31-18 behind four TD passes by Matt Ryan, including a pair to Roddy White.
The 13-2 Falcons pulled away with Ryan's fourth TD pass to wide-open tight end Michael Palmer in the fourth quarter. Matt Bryant's 20-yard field goal with 3:05 left that gave them a 15-point lead.
Detroit dropped its seventh straight game and fell to 4-11.
DETROIT (AP) — In defeat, Detroit Lions receiver Calvin Johnson had a record-breaking night.
Johnson surpassed Jerry Rice's single-season yards receiving record of 1,848 set in 1995 with San Francisco. Johnson caught 11 passes for 225 yards. He now has 1,892 receiving yards with one game left in the season against Chicago next Sunday.
Johnson had more than 100 yards receiving for an eighth straight game. That breaks an NFL record set by Charley Hennigan in 1961 and matched by Michael Irvin in 1995. Johnson broke another league mark with 10 receptions in a fourth game in a row.
T25 BASKETBALL-FINAL SCORES
Owls stun Orange...K-State knocks off Gators...Mizzou wins bragging rights
UNDATED (AP) — Temple pulled off the biggest upset on the AP Top-25 college basketball schedule.
Khalif Wyatt poured in a career-high 33 points and the Owls knocked Syracuse from the unbeaten ranks by downing the third-rated Orange 83-79. Wyatt hit six straight free throws in the final minute and finished 15-of-15 from the line.
In other AP Top-25 action:
— Fourth-ranked Arizona rolled past East Tennessee State 73-53 to breeze into the semifinals of the Diamond Head Classic in Hawaii. Brandon Ashley led the Wildcats with 16.
— Russ Smith scored 20 points and fifth-ranked Louisville beat Western Kentucky 78-55 for its sixth straight win. The Cardinals are 11-1.
— Kansas State scored a big upset, knocking off eighth-ranked Florida 67-61. Will Spradling had 16 points and five assists, including one that set up Shane Southwell's 3-pointer in the closing minutes. It's K-State's first regular-season, non-conference win over a top-10 team since 1981.
— Kansas went on the road and won a matchup of top-10 teams. Ben McLemore scored 22 points and grabbed six rebounds to lead the ninth-ranked Jayhawks to a 74-66 win at Ohio State. Jeff Withey had 14 points and 10 rebounds for the Jayhawks, who held the Buckeyes to 31 percent shooting.
— Eleventh-ranked Cincinnati beat Wright State 68-58 to improve to 12-0 for the eighth time in school history. JaQuon Parker scored 16 of his 21 points in the second half, including eight during a 23-6 run that put the Bearcats in control.
— Laurence Bowers had 23 points and 10 rebounds to lead No. 12 Missouri over No. 10 Illinois 82-73 in the annual Braggin' Rights game.
— Starting guard Joe Coleman scored 12 points and No. 13 Minnesota got 42 points from its reserves in a 75-50 rout of Lafayette.
— Georgetown beat a D.C. neighbor as Otto Porter furnished 16 points and 13 rebounds to lead the No. 15 Hoyas past American 65-48. Greg Whittington added 13 points for the Hoyas, who went on a 19-2 run bridging the two halves.
— Nate Wolters scored 28 points and South Dakota went into New Mexico and beat the 16th-ranked Lobos 70-65. Kendall Williams had 21 points to lead the Lobos.
— Chase Tapley made six 3-pointers on his way to a career-high 33 points and San Diego State beat San Francisco in the first round of the Diamond Head Classic for its 10th straight win.
— No. 19 Butler held off Evansville 75-67 as Rotnei Clarke and Andrew Smith each scored 20 points. The 9-2 Bulldogs have won six straight and completed a five-game sweep of Indiana schools, including last weekend's stunning overtime victory against the top-ranked Hoosiers.
— Derrick Nix had game highs of 25 points and 11 rebounds as 20th-ranked Michigan State rallied for a 67-56 win over Texas. The Spartans trailed by five before allowing 23 points in the second half.
— Anthony Bennett had 21 points and seven rebounds and UNLV beat Canisius 89-74. The 21st-ranked Runnin' Rebels improved to 11-1 going into next Saturday's game against North Carolina.
— No. 23 North Carolina put together an early 22-4 spurt and cruised to a 97-63 win over McNeese State. P.J. Hairston scored a career-high 20 points, Reggie Bullock had 17 and the Tar Heels drained 13 of 28 three-point attempts.
— Freshman Phil Forte hit six three-pointers and finished with 22 points to lead No. 24 Oklahoma State to a 78-42 romp over Tennessee Tech. The Cowboys hit a season-high 11 three-point field goals, led 38-19 at halftime and improved to 10-1.
— C.J. Leslie and Scott Wood combined for 56 points as No. 25 North Carolina State whipped St. Bonaventure 92-73. Leslie scored a career-high 33 points and Wood added a season-best 23 in the Wolfpack's fifth straight win.
Hawks give coach 100th victory...Four in a row for Heat
UNDATED (AP) — The Atlanta Hawks' 92-75 win over Chicago was a landmark victory for coach Larry Drew, who recorded his 100th victory.
Al Horford had 20 points and 10 rebounds as every Atlanta starter scored in double figures. Lou Williams added 16 points in his first start. The Hawks outscored the Bulls 61-33 in the second and third quarters combined. Both teams played on Friday, and that seemed to take a toll on the Bulls.
In the rest of the NBA:
— LeBron James scored 30 points, Dwyane (dwayn) Wade added 21 points and seven assists, and the Miami Heat rode the strength of a big third-quarter run to beat the Utah Jazz 105-89. James added nine rebounds and seven assists for the Eastern Conference-leading Heat, who won their fourth straight game. Next up for Miami is a Christmas Day matchup against Oklahoma City in a rematch of last season's NBA Finals.
— Point guard Steve Nash returned to the Los Angeles Lakers lineup in their 118-115 overtime win over the Golden State Warriors after missing 24 games because of a small fracture in his lower left leg. Nash had 12 points and nine assists in his 41 minutes. Kobe Bryant led the Lakers with 34 points.
— James Harden scored 31 points with eight assists, and the Houston Rockets earned their third straight win, 121-96 over the Memphis Grizzlies.
— Charlie Villanueva (vihl-uh-noo-AY'-vuh) scored 19 points, Rodney Stuckey added 18 and the Detroit Pistons got their second win in as many nights over the Washington Wizards, 96-87.
— David West scored 20 of his 25 points in the second half and the Indiana Pacers overcame a 22-point deficit to beat New Orleans 81-75. That's the Hornets' 11th straight loss.
— J.J. Hickson had 19 points and 15 rebounds for his seventh straight double-double, and the Portland Trail Blazers defeated the Phoenix Suns for their fifth straight win. Rookie Damian Lillard had 25 points to lead the Blazers.
— Dion Waiters scored 18 points and the Cleveland Cavaliers snapped a six-game losing streak with a 94-82 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks. Monta Ellis poured in a season-high 37 for the Bucks.
— Kosta Koufos scored a season-high 16 points, and Kenneth Faried and Andre Iguodala (ihg-woh-DAH'-lah) added 15 points apiece as the Denver Nuggets beat Charlotte 110-88 and sent the Bobcats to their 15th consecutive loss.
Cousins suspended...Mavs waive Fisher
UNDATED (AP) — Sacramento Kings head coach Keith Smart would rather play without his leading scorer.
DeMarcus Cousins was suspended indefinitely by the Kings for "unprofessional behavior and conduct detrimental to the team."
Cousins and Smart exchanged words in the locker room during halftime of Sacramento's 97-85 loss at the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday night. Smart benched Cousins for the entire second half and ordered him to remain in the locker room.
The 22-year-old center is averaging a team-high 16.6 points and 9.5 rebounds this season.
In other NBA news:
— The Dallas Mavericks have waived Derek Fisher, a move made at the request of the veteran guard. The 38-year-old Fisher strained a tendon in his right knee in a game against Philadelphia this week. Fisher, a 16-year veteran who won five championships with the Los Angeles Lakers, signed three weeks ago with the Mavs.
— The NBA-worst Washington Wizards waived center Earl Barron and guard Shaun Livingston early Sunday. The moves were announced by the Wizards (3-22) about four hours after the team's seventh straight loss, 96-87 at home to the Detroit Pistons. Barron was averaging 2.5 points and 3.9 rebounds in 11 games while Livingston averaged 3.7 points in 17 games.
COLLEGE FOOBALL-BOWL FINAL SCORES
Boise State and Louisiana-Lafayette go out winners
UNDATED (AP) — Little Michael Frisina came up big for Boise State, kicking a 27-yard field goal with 1:16 left to give the No. 20 Broncos a 28-26 victory over Washington to win the Las Vegas Bowl for the third straight year.
Frisina, who stands 5-foot-5, made the winning kick after Washington had taken the lead for the first time on Travis Coons' 38-yard field goal. Boise State sealed the win when Jeremy Ioane intercepted Keith Price's pass as the Huskies neared midfield. The Broncos finished 11-2. The Huskies wound up 7-6.
Louisiana-Lafayette won the New Orleans Bowl for the second straight year.
Terrance Broadway threw for 316 yards and ran for another 108 as the Ragin' Cajuns outscored East Carolina 43-34. Louisiana-Lafayette blew a three-touchdown lead before Broadway's 14-yard scoring pass to Javone Lawson late in the third quarter. Broadway also ran for a touchdown, and Alonzo Harris rushed for 117 yards and two touchdowns to help the Cajuns finish the season 9-4.
Shane Carden passed for 278 yards and two touchdowns for the Pirates, who end up 8-5.
Spruill to see limited bowl action following arrest
SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) — Syracuse starting linebacker Marquis Spruill will not play "a significant portion" in next Saturday's Pinstripe Bowl against West Virginia after he was arrested this month. Spruill and running back Steve Rene were arrested Dec. 2 and charged with misdemeanors after scuffling with Syracuse police. Coach Doug Marrone did not specify how much of the Pinstripe Bowl Spruill will miss.
MLB-HOT STOVE LEAGUE
D-Backs get Ross...AP source: Pirates, Red Sox near trade for Hanrahan
UNDATED (AP) — The Arizona Diamondbacks have added a power-hitting outfielder to their roster.
Cody Ross has agreed to a three-year contract with the Diamondbacks. Ross hit .267 with 22 home runs and 81 RBIs last season with the Boston Red Sox. He turns 32 on Sunday.
In other Hot Stove League news:
— A person familiar with the talks says the Pirates and Red Sox are close to completing a trade that would send All-Star closer Joel Hanrahan to Boston for a handful of prospects. Hanrahan has been one of baseball's best closers, saving 76 games the past two seasons. Pittsburgh would ship Hanrahan and another player to the Red Sox in exchange for four players, including outfielder-first baseman Jerry Sands and minor league pitcher Stolmy Pimentel.
— A person familiar with the negotiations says Raul Ibanez (rah-OOL' ih-BAHN'-yehz) and the Seattle Mariners have agreed to a $2.75 million, one-year contract. The deal allows Ibanez to earn an additional $1.25 million in incentives.
They're whispering, not formally talking
NEW YORK (AP) — NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly and players' association special counsel Steve Fehr (feer) spoke on the telephone but still haven't made plans to meet face to face.
There has been very little contact this week between the sides. Daly and Fehr held a conversation Saturday, the 98th day of the lockout that is threatening to wipe out the entire hockey season.