Aldridge leads Trail Blazers past Rockets, 111-104
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - LaMarcus Aldridge had 31 points and a career-high 25 rebounds, prompting Portland fans to chant "MVP! MVP!" during the Trail Blazers' 111-104 victory over the Houston Rockets on Thursday night.
Robin Lopez added 16 points and 10 rebounds for the Blazers, who sit atop the Western Conference standings at 19-4.
Dwight Howard had 32 points and 17 rebounds for the Rockets, who beat the Blazers 116-101 on Nov. 5. That was one of just two losses at home this season for Portland.
The Trail Blazers led by 10 early in the fourth quarter, but Chandler Parsons hit a 3-pointer to narrow it to 93-88 with 7:07 left. Houston closed to 97-95 after James Harden made a layup and a free throw with 4:45 to go.
Legwand leads Predators to 3-1 win over Stars
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - David Legwand had a goal and an assist to lead the Nashville Predators to a 3-1 victory over the Dallas Stars on Thursday night.
Patric Hornqvist and Paul Gaustad also scored for Nashville, which has won two straight. Carter Hutton made 33 saves.
Erik Cole had the goal for Dallas, which has lost three of four.
Cole scored the game's first goal at 18:07 of the opening period when he took possession of the puck behind the Nashville net and skated out front before lifting a backhand over Hutton's right shoulder.
Making his second consecutive start, Hutton improved his record to 6-3-1 this season.
Nashville closed out the first period with power-play goals from Hornqvist and Legwand just 28 seconds apart.
Cowboys' defense a study in contradictions
IRVING, Texas (AP) - DeMarcus Ware intercepted the first pass of the season, one of six turnovers for a Dallas defense that also gave up 450 yards passing to Eli Manning and the New York Giants in the opener.
The Cowboys have been a study in defensive contradictions ever since.
They are the only team to keep Philadelphia out of the end zone this year, yet they've surrendered the first two 600-yard games for opponents in franchise history.
Dallas shut down one of the NFL's best rushing attacks to beat Oakland, then let Chicago score on the first eight possessions of a 45-28 loss.
Mostly the 7-6 Cowboys have just been embarrassing on defense this year. Dallas has given up at least five plays of 20 yards or longer in the past four games.
They try to reverse that trend Sunday against Green Bay.
TEXAS A&M-SUMLIN CONTRACT
Sumlin signs 6-year deal with Aggies
COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP) - Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin signed a six-year contract extension worth $5 million a year Thursday after the Texas A&M System Board of Regents unanimously approved the deal.
The deal, which runs through 2019, was agreed to in principle and announced on Nov. 30.
The contract has buyout clauses for both Sumlin and the school. Sumlin, whose name has been associated with several recent high-profile coaching jobs, must pay the school $5 million if he leaves before the end of the 2016 season. The school's buyout clause runs the length of the contract.
Sumlin is 19-6 in two seasons with the Aggies (8-4) heading into the Chick-Fil-A Bowl on Dec. 31. In six seasons as a head coach at Houston and Texas A&M, Sumlin is 54-23.
2012 Heisman winner Manziel a finalist again
HOUSTON (AP) - Johnny Manziel isn't sure if he'll declare for the NFL draft next month.
But if he does he's thought a lot about his legacy and wants to be remembered as one of the best to have ever played and someone who made a major impact for Texas A&M.
He's made a pretty compelling argument for both. He's a finalist for the Heisman Trophy again, with a chance to join Archie Griffin as the second player to win the award twice.
Johnny Football is one of six players who will attend the presentation ceremony Saturday night in New York. Manziel isn't expected to take home another Heisman after Florida State's Jameis Winston burst onto the scene with a spectacular freshman season much the way Manziel did last year.
Texas, Nebraska could meet in volleyball regional
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - Defending national champion Texas' road back to the NCAA volleyball final four runs through familiar territory - Nebraska.
The Cornhuskers parted ways with Texas in 2011 when they joined the Big Ten. But the old Big 12 rivals are on a collision course in the Lincoln Regional.
The No. 1-seeded Longhorns (25-2) take a 21-match win streak into their semifinal against American (34-2) on Friday. The No. 8 Huskers (25-6) will face No. 9 San Diego (26-3) in the other semifinal.
Other regionals are in Lexington, Ky.; Champaign, Ill.; and Los Angeles. Winners move to the final four next week in Seattle.
Texas beat Nebraska in a five-set match in Austin in September and has won six of the last eight meetings with the Huskers.
Bowl president: 'No doubt' about No. 22 Duke
DURHAM, N.C. (AP) - Chick-fil-A Bowl president Gary Stokan wants to set the record straight: His bowl always wanted No. 22 Duke.
Speaking Thursday during a news conference at the Blue Devils' team headquarters, Stokan shot down rumors that he would have preferred another ACC team in his bowl.
He says he "understands there's been some mention of politics" but adds that "there was no doubt in our minds" about Duke.
Stokan adds that "there was nothing that went on behind the scenes" about possibly choosing another ACC school - possibly Miami or Virginia Tech - ahead of Duke.
The Blue Devils (10-3) will play No. 20 Texas A&M (8-4) on Dec. 31 in the Atlanta-based bowl.
Houston Dash first expansion team in NWSL
HOUSTON (AP) - The National Women's Soccer League has announced the addition of its first expansion team - the Houston Dash.
The team will be owned and operated by the Houston Dynamo of MLS and will begin play in the 2014 season.
The National Women's Soccer League has eight other teams and is set to play a 24-game schedule in its second season. The Dash will play at BBVA Compass Stadium, where the Dynamo play and will host 12 home games next season.
NATIONAL FINALS RODEO
Feild wins again in National Finals Rodeo
LAS VEGAS (AP) - Bareback rider Kaycee Feild won for the second consecutive round Thursday night in the National Finals Rodeo, scoring 83.5 points on Cool Water.
Feild, from Payson, Utah, remained atop the season standings with $186,881.
Seeking a third consecutive season title, Feild also leads the aggregate standings with 663 points for eight rides. He's trying to become the first rider to win three consecutive aggregate titles since Jack Ward Jr. in 1974-76. Feild has earned an event-best $66,506 in the first eight rounds.
Bobby Mote of Culver, Ore., fourth with a 78.5 on Full Baggage, is second in the standings at $161,794. Mote is 10th in the aggregate standings with 561.5 points for seven rides.
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