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Associated Press

Posted on February 11, 2014 at 4:36 AM

ROCKETS-TIMBERWOLVES

Howard leads Rockets past Timberwolves 107-89

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Dwight Howard had 18 points and 15 rebounds, and the surging Houston Rockets used a fourth-quarter push to hold off the Minnesota Timberwolves 107-89 Monday night for their sixth consecutive victory.

Chandler Parsons had 20 points and James Harden scored 19 for the Rockets, who have won six straight for the first time since taking seven in a row from Jan. 13-23, 2012.

Back after missing one game with a bruised left quadriceps, Kevin Love led Minnesota with 31 points and 10 rebounds. Chase Budinger had 15 points and Alexey Shved scored 11 off the bench for the Timberwolves, who have lost four straight and six of seven.

SPURS-PISTONS

Pistons beat Spurs 109-100 in Loyer's debut

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) — Brandon Jennings scored 21 points, and the Detroit Pistons beat the San Antonio Spurs 109-100 on Monday night in John Loyer's first game as interim coach.

Detroit abruptly fired Maurice Cheeks on Sunday after only 50 games as coach, but although they've been unimpressive for the most part this season, the Pistons have played better lately. The comfortable win over the Spurs was Detroit's fifth in seven games.

Rodney Stuckey scored 20 points for the Pistons, and Greg Monroe added 15 points and 10 rebounds.

Marco Belinelli led the Spurs with 20 points.

T25-OKLAHOMA ST-TEXAS

Oklahoma State to travel to No. 19 Texas

STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) — The Oklahoma State Cowboys are preparing for their first game without suspended All-American Marcus Smart.

The Cowboys travel to Austin, Texas, to take on No. 19 Texas on Tuesday. Tipoff is scheduled for 6 p.m.

Smart was suspended three games Sunday by the Big 12 for shoving a fan in the closing seconds of the Cowboys' loss at Texas Tech on Saturday.

OSU is 16-7 overall this season and 4-6 in the Big 12 following a 65-61 loss at Texas Tech. Texas is 18-5 on the season and 7-3 in the conference after losing 74-57 at Kansas State on Saturday.

MISSOURI-GAY PLAYER

Pinkel, Mizzou applaud Michael Sam's courage

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Michael Sam was just another recruit when he left his small Houston-area hometown and arrived in Missouri. Playing for the Tigers, the Hitchcock, Texas, native turned into a private loquacious leader ready to make a trailblazing announcement.

The defensive star wants to become the first openly gay NFL player.

Missouri coach Gary Pinkel, athletic director Mike Alden and other school officials applauded Sam's courage Monday at Faurot Field. As a backdrop, the first two letters of Sam's last name were etched in snow to join the giant "M'' just beyond the north end zone.

T25-COLLEGE BKB POLL

Syracuse still unanimous No. 1 in AP Top 25

Syracuse is a unanimous No. 1 in The Associated Press college basketball poll for the second straight week while SMU moved into the Top 25 for the first time in almost three decades.

The Orange (23-0) received all 65 first-place votes from the national media panel Monday. Arizona, Florida, Wichita State, San Diego State and Villanova remained second through sixth. Wichita State (25-0) is the only other unbeaten team in Division I.

Kansas moved up one spot to seventh and Duke jumped three spots to eighth. Michigan State and Cincinnati round out the Top Ten.

Wisconsin and Ohio State, Nos. 21 and 22, both returned to the rankings after a one-week absence. SMU, which beat then-No. 7 Cincinnati last week, moved in at No. 23, the Mustangs' first ranking since the next-to-last poll of 1984-85, a season they were ranked as high as No. 2.

Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Gonzaga fell out of the Top 25.

EX-PLAYER SENTENCED

Ex-Arizona, NFL player gets prison for tax fraud

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Former NFL player Greg Boyd has been sentenced to almost three years in prison for income tax fraud.

A statement issued by the U.S. attorney's office in Austin says Boyd was sentenced to two years and nine months in prison. He could have gotten up to nine years in prison.

A jury found Boyd guilty in November of filing fraudulent income tax returns in 2004, 2005 and 2006, reporting no income each year. Boyd said he believed that only federal employees, federal contractors and investors in federal securities owed income taxes.

Boyd was a defensive back at Arizona. He was Miami's 13th-round pick in the 1973 NFL draft before being traded to New England, where he played in 1973. He played in New Orleans in 1974.

ASTROS-COSART TWEET

Astros pitching prospect sorry for tweet

HOUSTON (AP) — Astros pitcher Jarred Cosart has apologized after he reportedly used a gay slur to describe pop star Justin Bieber when he tweeted a message to a former teammate.

Cosart deleted the offensive tweet from his account and apologized for "a very poor choice of words." He also says in a tweet that the earlier post does not reflect who he is as a person.

The Astros also released a statement Monday night calling Cosart's tweet "unacceptable" for any member of the organization. The Astros say they talked to Cosart about the post and he is "extremely remorseful."

The 23-year-old Cosart went 1-1 with a 1.95 ERA in 10 starts last season. He is expected to contend for a spot in Houston's rotation this year.

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