Update on the latest in sports:

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Associated Press

Posted on November 19, 2013 at 7:01 AM

Updated Tuesday, Nov 19 at 7:06 AM

NFL-PANTHERS/PATRIOTS

Panthers beat Pats after blowing fourth-quarter lead

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — The Carolina Panthers have gone from being a nice story to becoming a legitimate playoff threat.

Cam Newton threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to Ted Ginn Jr. with 59 seconds left to give the Panthers a 24-20 comeback win over the New England Patriots. Newton also tossed scoring strikes to Brandon LaFell and Greg Olson while completing 19 of his 28 passes for 209 yards. Newton even ran seven times for 62 yards as the Panthers earned their sixth straight win to improve to 7-3, one game behind New Orleans in the NFC North.

Carolina also has a one-game lead over Chicago and San Francisco in the battle for the NFC's No. 1 wild-card berth.

The Patriots never led until Stephen Gostkowski hit a 26-yard field goal with 6:32 remaining. New England had a chance to pull out the victory, reaching the Carolina 18 with three seconds left before Tom Brady was intercepted in the end zone by safety Robert Lester as time expired.

Brady was 29 of 40 for 296 yards, one TD and one interception as the Pats fell to 7-3.

NFL-NEWS

Suspensions to Walden, Goldson...Broncos lose Moore...Dolphin inquiry begins

UNDATED (AP) — Indianapolis Colts linebacker Erik Walden and Buccaneers safety Dashon Goldson won't have to prepare for this week's NFL games.

The league has given each player a one-game suspension for wrongdoing during their team's last game. Walden pulled off the helmet of Titans tight end Delanie Walker, then slammed his own helmet into Walker's head during Indianapolis' game against Tennessee on Thursday. Goldson was penalized for unnecessary roughness for his hit on a defenseless receiver on Sunday, his third such violation.

Also in the NFL:

— The Miami Dolphins underwent interrogation Monday by an NFL special investigator. New York attorney Ted Wells began interviewing players regarding the harassment case involving tackle Jonathan Martin and suspended guard Richie Incognito.

— Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy said Scott Tolzien (tohl-ZEEN') will remain the starting quarterback as Aaron Rodgers continues to recover from a broken collarbone. Tolzien completed 24 of 34 passes for 339 yards, but threw three interceptions in the Packers' 27-13 loss to the New York Giants Sunday in his first NFL start.

— Broncos safety Rahim Moore is out indefinitely after undergoing emergency surgery for a condition known as lateral compartment syndrome that can cost patients a limb or even their life. Moore left last night's 27-17 win over Kansas City in the first half after being unable to accelerate on Jamaal Charles' 35-yard run. During the night, Moore called the team's athletic trainer because he was still experiencing pain and swelling and was told to see a doctor.

— Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome was back in his office on Monday after undergoing a series of tests at a Chicago hospital. Newsome became too ill to take the team's flight home following Sunday's overtime loss to the Bears. Coach Jim Harbaugh said Newsome's illness wasn't anything serious.

— Former NFL linebacker Thomas Howard has died following a high-speed car crash on an Oakland, California, freeway Monday morning. Howard played eight years in the NFL after being drafted by the Oakland Raiders in the second round out of Texas-El Paso in 2006. He was most recently with Atlanta before getting released last week.

NBA-SCHEDULE

Thunder nip Nuggets...Blazers, Bulls stretch streaks

UNDATED (AP) — The Oklahoma City Thunder appear to be rounding into form a few games after Russell Westbrook returned from knee surgery.

Westbrook and Kevin Durant combined for 68 points as the Thunder outlasted Denver 115-113. Durant finished with a game-high 38 points, including a tiebreaking three-pointer that put Oklahoma City ahead 108-105. Westbrook finished with 30 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists in his best all-around game of the season.

Reggie Jackson had 14 points for the Thunder, who trailed by 14 in the second half before improving to 7-3.

In other NBA action:

— Portland has a seven-game winning streak after LaMarcus Aldridge scored 27 points and Wesley Matthews in a 108-98 win at Brooklyn. Damian Lillard had 19 points for Portland, which allowed 40 points in the first quarter before the Nets went cold.

— Luol Deng (LOO'-ul dehng) scored 21 points and the Chicago Bulls earned their fifth straight win by downing Charlotte 86-81. Carlos Boozer had 12 points and 17 rebounds for the Bulls, who won despite shooting just 36 percent from the field.

— Zach Randolph delivered 26 points and 15 rebounds to help Memphis earn a 106-102 win over the Clippers in Los Angeles. Marc Gasol finished with 23 points, nine rebounds and eight assists for the Grizzlies.

— Stephen Curry scored 22 points and had eight assists as Golden State topped Utah 98-87, leaving the Jazz a league-worst 1-11. Klay Thompson and Harrison Barnes had 17 apiece for the Warriors, while David Lee added 14 points and 14 rebounds.

— Monta (MAHN'-tay) Ellis scored 13 of his 24 points in the third quarter to fuel the Mavericks' second-half rally in a 97-94 win against Philadelphia. Dirk Nowitzki and Shawn Marion had 20 points apiece for Dallas.

NBA-LAKERS/BRYANT

Kobe closer to returning

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (AP) — Kobe Bryant says he has been medically cleared to resume basketball activities.

It's another step in his comeback after he tore his left Achilles tendon seven months ago. Bryant returned to practice over the weekend, doing some drills with his teammates. However, a team spokesman says there's no timetable for Bryant to play in a game.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL SCHEDULE

Spartans struggle before winning

UNDATED (AP) — Michigan State took the court on Monday after moving to the top of The Associated Press men's basketball poll for the first time in 13 years. The Spartans found themselves tied against Portland with 12:26 remaining until Travis Trice drained a three-pointer to spark an 82-67 win over the Pilots.

Trice followed his tiebreaking three with a steal and a layup seconds later before the Spartans grabbed their first double-digit lead of the night midway through the second half.

Keith Appling finished with 25 points and Adreian Payne added 19 for Michigan State.

Also in top-25 action:

— No. 5 Arizona crushed Fairleigh Dickenson 100-50 in the NIT Season Tip-Off as Gabe York scored 20 points and Nick Johnson added 16. The Wildcats blew it open with runs of 18-3 and 18-2 in the first half.

— Jabari Parker had 21 points and 10 rebounds as sixth-ranked Duke beat UNC Asheville 91-55 in the opening round of the NIT Season Tip-Off. Rodney Hood had 15 of his 18 points in the first half for the Blue Devils.

— Ninth-ranked Syracuse barely beat St. Francis of Brooklyn 56-50 as Jerami Grant scored 13 points and led a late rally. Grant hit the tying bucket with 1:43 remaining and set up a go-ahead basket in the final minute to help the Orange improve to 4-0.

— Casey Prather had 10 points and nine rebounds as No. 16 Florida knocked off Southern 67-53. The Gators finished the game without point guard Kasey Hill, who sprained his left ankle in the second half.

— Jordan Adams scored seven straight points during a 14-0 run and finished with 21 as No. 22 UCLA beat Sacramento State 86-50. Zach LaVine and Norman Powell added 14 points each for the 3-0 Bruins.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL-POLL

New number one

NEW YORK (AP) — Michigan State picked up 51 of 65 first-place votes to land atop The Associated Press men's basketball poll. The Spartans earned the top spot by beating then-top-ranked Kentucky last week 78-74 in Chicago in the earliest matchup of the top two teams in the country.

Kansas moved from No. 5 to No. 2, receiving seven first-place votes following its win over Duke. Louisville stayed third and got the other seven first-place votes. Kentucky dropped to fourth and was followed by Arizona, Duke, Oklahoma State, Ohio State, Syracuse and VCU.

MLB-GIANTS

Hudson, Giants reach deal

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Tim Hudson will be pitching in the Bay Area once again.

The San Francisco Giants have worked out a two-year, $23 million contract with Hudson, who was 8-7 with a 3.97 ERA in 21 starts for Atlanta this year. He needed season-ending surgery after breaking his right ankle in a first-base collision with Mets outfielder Eric Young on July 24.

Hudson made his major league debut with the Athletics in 1999 and went 92-39 in six seasons with Oakland.

MLB-PHILLIES

Ruiz possible deal

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Two people familiar with the negotiations tell the Associated Press that Carlos Ruiz and the Phillies have agreed to a $26 million, three-year contract that will keep the former All-Star catcher in Philadelphia.

The people spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal hasn't been officially announced. The contract also includes a club option for 2017.

The 34-year-old hit .268 in 92 games last year after serving a 25-game suspension for using a banned amphetamine.

MLB-RODRIGUEZ-GRIEVANCE

A-Rod continues battle

UNDATED (AP) — Alex Rodriguez was back at Major League Baseball's office for the resumption of the grievance hearing to overturn his 211-game suspension.

It was unclear whether the New York Yankees third baseman would testify. MLB has been expected to assert that Rodriguez should not be allowed to testify at his grievance if he first refused to answer baseball's questions at the investigatory interview.

He had been scheduled for an investigatory interview with MLB on Friday, but the session was postponed when Rodriguez's side said he was ill with flu-like systems and could not travel from California.

Rodriguez was suspended for 211 games by MLB on Aug. 5 for alleged violations of the sport's drug agreement and labor contract, and the players' association filed a grievance to overturn the penalty.

Meanwhile, Boca Raton, Florida, police say they have reopened an investigation into the theft of documents related to baseball's inquiry of Rodriguez. An officer said the investigation was reopened several weeks ago based on new information stemming from Rodriguez's lawsuit against Major League Baseball. The documents were stolen in March from the car of Porter Fischer, who took them from Biogenesis, the Miami clinic where he worked and which allegedly provided drugs to Rodriguez and other players.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

Meyer not crazy about current BCS format...Mizzou's Franklin ready

UNDATED (AP) — Ohio State head football coach Urban Meyer says The Bowl Championship Series "is a flawed system." Meyer's unbeaten Buckeyes are currently ranked third in the BCS standings behind Alabama and Florida State, boxed out of the national title game should things remain the same for the rest of the season.

Meyer says that while there was a time the championship series served a purpose, he welcomes changes coming next season with the four team playoff.

Ohio State has won a nation's best 22 games in a row but is ranked a distant No. 3 in the latest BCS rankings, far behind top dogs Alabama and Florida State and barely ahead of Baylor.

In other college football news:

— Missouri coach Gary Pinkel says quarterback James Franklin will lead the eighth-ranked Tigers at Ole Miss this weekend after missing four starts with a sprained throwing shoulder. Franklin had been enjoying a career season through five games and positioned his team for a win at Georgia on Oct. 12 before he was hurt.

— Utah QB Travis Wilson will miss the rest of the season after the team discovered a preexisting medical condition during a concussion diagnosis last week. Wilson suffered a concussion in a 20-19 loss to Arizona State a week earlier. Utes coach Kyle Whittingham says an initial concussion scan turned up evidence of a preexisting head trauma and a follow-up angiogram confirmed it. It is not known if the condition will cut short Wilson's career.

— The athletic director at Washington State says the school has extended the contract of football coach Mike Leach for two years, ensuring he'll be at the helm through the 2018 season. Leach has led WSU to a 5-5 record in his second season as the Cougars prepare for Saturday's game against Utah in Pullman.

— The University of North Dakota has fired head football coach Chris Mussman after a 3-8 season, including a 2-6 record in the Big Sky Conference. Mussman coached six seasons with UND and had an overall record of 31-34, which included the school's transition to Division I.

NHL-SCHEDULE

Canes lose in Ward's return

UNDATED (AP) — Cam Ward returned to the Carolina Hurricanes net on Monday after missing 10 straight games with a leg injury. Ward finished with 27 saves, but the Canes were no match for Boston in a 4-1 loss to the Bruins.

Ward surrendered two goals on Boston's first four shots as Reilly Smith and Carl Soderberg each had a goal and an assist. The B's also helped themselves by killing four Carolina power plays, running their streak of successful penalty kills to 32 since allowing goals in five straight.

Also on ice:

— Pittsburgh won for only the second time in six games by scoring three times in the third period of a 3-1 triumph over Anaheim. Brian Gibbons scored the go-ahead goal on his first NHL shot, Brandon Sutter netted the eventual game-winner 62 seconds later and Sidney Crosby added the insurance goal with 12:04 left.

— Calgary ended a six-game skid by beating Winnipeg 5-4 on Sean Monahan's goal in the eighth round of a shootout. T.J. Brodie and Mike Cammalleri each had a goal and an assist for the Flames, who blew four one-goal leads before finally winning.

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