Digest for 12-27-13


LOCAL

UAPB’s basketball broadcasts announced

Two upcoming Arkansas-Pine Bluff men’s basketball games will air on cable television with another to be webcast later in the season.

UAPB’s next game, at Auburn on Monday, will air on Comcast/Charter Sports Southeast (CSS). Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.

The Jan. 27 UAPB at Texas Southern game, scheduled for an 8 p.m. tip, will air on ESPNU. The game will pit the Golden Lions against the defending SWAC regular-season champion Tigers.

UAPB will travel to Grambling State for a March 1 game to be streamed live on SWAC Digital Network (www.swac.org). Tipoff then is set for 3 p.m.

ESPN2 will carry live the SWAC men’s championship game at 3:30 p.m. March 15.

NATIONAL

Pitt edges Bowling Green

DETROIT — Chad Voytik came on in relief and helped lead Pittsburgh to a postseason victory, as Chris Blewitt’s 39-yard field goal with 1:17 remaining gave the Panthers a 30-27 win over Bowling Green in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl at Ford Field.

Voytik, a redshirt freshman, ran for a key touchdown after relieving injured starting quarterback Tom Savage in the second half and played mistake-free ball as James Conner and Tyler Boyd carried Pitt (7-6) to its first bowl victory and winning season since 2010.

Conner set the Panthers’ bowl rushing record with 229 yards and a touchdown on 26 carries, while Boyd returned a punt for a score and caught eight passes for a program-record 173 yards.

New Bowling Green head coach Dino Babers watched from the sideline as the MAC- champion Falcons (10-4) rallied from an early 14-point deficit before falling just short of tying a program record for wins in a season

Matt Johnson threw for 273 yards with two touchdowns, but took two costly sacks on Bowling Green’s final possession.

Lions WR Johnson misses practice

ALLEN PARK, Mich. — Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson was held out of practice on Thursday, due to a nagging knee/ankle issue.

Lions head coach Jim Schwartz said that a decision on whether or not the club’s leading receiver will suit up in Sunday’s season finale against Minnesota may not come until shortly before game time.

Johnson had been listed as questionable for last week’s 23-20 overtime loss against the New York Giants. He played limited minutes in the contest, recording just three catches for 43 yards.

Also sitting out the session were tackle LaAdrian Waddle (ankle), cornerbacks Bill Bentley (concussion) and Chris Houston (toe), linebacker DeAndre Levy (foot), safety Johnson Wendling (ankle) and guard/center Dylan Gandy.

Florida hires Roper as OC

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Florida Gators head football coach Will Muschamp announced the hiring of former Duke assistant Kurt Roper as the team’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.

Roper had spent the last six years as the Blue Devils’ offensive coordinator and helped guide Duke to a school-record 10 wins and a berth in the Chick-fil- A Bowl this past season.

“I’m excited to have Coach Roper join our staff,” Muschamp said. “He has a diverse, up-tempo background on offense and does a good job of adapting to what the players do best. The most important thing though is he has always remained balanced.”

Roper was one of five finalists this season for the Broyles Award, given annually to the nation’s top assistant coach.

Byrd sidelined for Capital One Bowl

COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina junior wide receiver Damiere Byrd has been ruled out for the Capital One Bowl, scheduled for New Year’s Day in Orlando.

Byrd injured his knee at practice last week in preparation for the game and Gamecocks head coach Steve Spurrier confirmed on Thursday that the speedy wide receiver will miss the contest.

The native of southern New Jersey has totaled 575 yards and four touchdowns on 33 receptions for 10-2 South Carolina.

James, Durant still lead NBA All-Star voting

NEW YORK — LeBron James of Miami and Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant continued to lead voting for the NBA All-Star Game in their conferences after the second release of results Thursday.

This season’s game will be played Feb. 16 in New Orleans.

James was the league’s top overall vote-getter with 854,105 votes, followed in the Eastern Conference by Indiana’s Paul George (712,808) and New York’s Carmelo Anthony (580,795).

James’ teammate, Dwyane Wade, was the leading vote-getter in the East among guards with 565,455 votes and was followed by Cleveland’s Kyrie Irving (524,000).

Durant tops the Western Conference with 850,728 votes and was joined in the frontcourt by Houston’s Dwight Howard (408,623) and the Los Angeles Clippers’ Blake Griffin (399,357).

Lakers guard Kobe Bryant, who has played in just six games this season due to an Achilles injury and fractured knee, leads Western Conference backcourt players with 723,031 votes and was followed by the Clippers’ Chris Paul (533,647).

Voting will continue through Jan. 20 and the starters will be announced on Jan. 23.