Update on the latest in sports:


Associated Press

Posted on December 28, 2013 at 5:06 PM


'Cuse hand 'Nova first loss

UNDATED (AP) —Trevor Cooney scored 21 points, Tyler Ennis had 20 and C.J. Fair added 17 as No. 2 Syracuse beat No. 8 Villanova 78-62 in a game between two of nine unbeaten teams left in Division I.

Syracuse (12-0) was the third unbeaten ranked team the Wildcats (11-1) had faced this season. Villanova handed then-No. 2 Kansas its first loss of the season a month ago in the semifinals of the Battle 4 Atlantis and came back the next night and defeated No. 23 Iowa in overtime.

Villanova dropped to 13-16 against Syracuse in the Carrier Dome, the best mark of any team that's played 10 games under the Orange's Teflon roof, and 4-5 since Jay Wright took over as coach of the Wildcats in 2001.

James Bell hit a career-high six 3-pointers and matched his career high with 25 points to lead Villanova before fouling out with 1:42 left.

In Top 25 finals;

—No. 4 Wisconsin had no trouble improving to 13-0 crushing overmatched Prairie View 80-43. Sam Dekker led the way with 16 points and 11 rebounds. The Badgers closed out their nonconference schedule with their best start since the 1913-14 squad went 15-0.

— Jabari Parker scored 23 points to pace No. 9 Duke over Eastern Michigan 82-59. Andre Dawkins added 20 points with a season-high six 3-pointers to help the Blue Devils improve to 10-2 with their fourth straight win.

— Shazz Napier had 15 points to lead five players in double figures as No. 15 Connecticut rolled past Eastern Washington 82-65. The Huskies improved to 11-1.

— Michael Dixon's 14 points paced No. 17 Memphis to a wire-to-wire 75-61 win over Jackson State. The Tigers improved to 9-2 with its eighth win in nine games.


James' status up in the air

UNDATED (AP) — LeBron James' status for Miami's showdown game with Portland tonight is uncertain. The Heat star suffered a strained right groin in last night's loss to Sacramento. Despite the injury, James poured in 33 points against the Kings.

The Heat and Trail Blazers are two of the top four teams in the league.

Miami tops the Southeast Division and is one of only three Eastern Conference teams with a winning record. The Trail Blazers are the hands down surprise team of the league so far this season. Portland boasts a league-best 24-5 mark that includes a 12-2 home record.

Indiana is one of the other over-.500 teams in the East. In fact, the Pacers lead the Conference with a 23-5 mark. Indiana faces Brooklyn at home, where the Pacers have posted a league best 13-1 record.

The Clippers will try to protect their shrinking lead in the Pacific Division when they host Utah, which brings up the bottom of the Western Conference at 8-23.

In an early final;

— Jeff Green and Jordan Crawford each scored 19 points to help Boston hold on for a 103-100 win over Cleveland. The Celtics took a 19-point lead into the fourth quarter and withstood a furious Cavaliers rally. Brandon Bass came up with a key block of a Dion Waiters shot in the final seconds after Cleveland had cut the lead to two points. Kyrie Irving paced Cleveland with 32 points, the eighth time in the last 10 games he's scored 20 or more.


Cavs suspended Bynum

CLEVELAND (AP) — Cavaliers center Andrew Bynum has been suspended indefinitely for detrimental conduct and banned from all team activities.

It's possible that Bynum has played his final game with the Cavs after signing a two-year, $12 million contract with the team this summer.

Earlier this season, Bynum talked about retirement and said his numerous knee problems have been a challenge to overcome. The 7-footer has been too inconsistent and doesn't seem to have any passion to play. He missed all 11 shots from the field in a game this week against Detroit.


Irish rally to win

NEW YORK (AP) — Kyle Brindza kicked five field goals including three in the decisive second half to lead No. 25 Notre Dame over Rutgers 29-16 in the Pinstripe Bowl. Tommy Rees passed for 319 yards in his final game for the 9-4 Fighting Irish. Notre Dame relied on Brindza's leg to help them pull away from a 13-all tie at halftime. Rutgers finished 6-7.


Blues lose Steen, Bruins lose Seidenberg

UNDATED (AP) — St. Louis has placed star forward Alex Steen on the injured list with a concussion. General manager Doug Armstrong says the league's No. 2 goal scorer will be out indefinitely.

Steen hasn't played since he left a game against Edmonton on Dec. 21 with what the team called an "upper body injury." His absence will be a blow to the Blues offensively. Steen leads the team in scoring with 24 goals and 38 points in 35 games. He signed a three-year $17.4 million contract extension with the Blues this month.


— The season is over for Boston defenseman Dennis Seidenberg who tore two ligaments in his right knee in Friday's win over Ottawa. General manager Peter Chiarelli says in a statement the expected recovery is six to eight months.


Streaking Ducks play at home

UNDATED (AP) — The NHL's hottest team is in action tonight, at a place where they're tough to beat. Anaheim is riding a franchise best nine-game winning streak into its home game against Phoenix. Anaheim has kept the streak going by rallying from two goals down in each of its last two games.

The Ducks are the only team in the NHL without a regulation loss at home this season. They are 13-0-2 at the Honda Center.

Anaheim is locked in a battle with Chicago for the top point total in the league. The Blackhawks are on the ice for the second straight night, visiting St. Louis. The Blues are second to Chicago in the Central Division.

There are eight games on the NHL schedule.


Belmont ups the ante

NEW YORK (AP) — The Belmont Stakes will be worth $1.5 million next year, the first purse increase for the final leg of horse racing's Triple Crown since 1998.

The Preakness Stakes announced earlier this month its purse would increase to $1.5 million. The Kentucky Derby is worth $2 million.

The purse for the June 7 Belmont will be shared among the first eight finishers. Previously, it was split between the top five finishers on a percentage basis.

The winner will earn $800,000. The eighth-place finisher will receive $30,000.


Americans roll to victory

MALMO, Sweden (AP) — Matt Grzelyck, Jack Eichel and Ryan Hartman each had a goal and an assist, leading the defending champion United States to a 6-3 victory over Slovakia at the world junior hockey tournament.

Miami of Ohio's Riley Barber, Boston University's Dan O'Regan and New Jersey Devils prospect Stefan Matteau also scored for the Americans who improved to 2-0-0 in a Group A play.


Shiffrin finishes third in GS

LIENZ, Austria (AP) — American teenager Mikaela Shiffrin wound up third at the World Cup giant slalom, giving her a second podium finish in GS this month. She previously finished second in Colorado Dec. 1. Austria's Anna Fenninger won Saturday's race for her fifth career victory.