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Pivotal NFC North game in Lions’ den

Detroit In many ways, the Thanksgiving games mark the beginning of the NFL's stretch drive. For the Detroit Lions, this may be the final chance to stay in the race for a division title. The Lions play host to the Minnesota Vikings on Thursday in a game that should drastically alter the NFC North race. If Minnesota wins, the Vikings would have a three-game lead atop the division, but if Detroit prevails, the Lions would be within one game and would have a head-to-head tiebreaker over Minnesota. Plus, Detroit has a favorable schedule after this week. "November football and December football — everything turns up a notch. And right around Thanksgiving, it really turns up," Detroit receiver Golden Tate said.

Union hockey defeats No. 3-ranked North Dakota

Union goaltender Jake Kupsky was nearly unbeatable Friday as unranked Union stunned No. 3 North Dakota, 4-1, in Grand Forks, N.D. Kupsky turned away 37 of 38 shots to lead the Dutchmen to their third straight win. The teams will face each other at 8 p.m. Saturday. Ryan Walker scored his third of the season 10:03 into the game to give the Dutchmen a 1-0 lead. Walker redirected Brandon Estes' shot from the blue line. Sebastian Vidmar added his fourth of the season a little more than four minutes later to give Union a two-goal lead. North Dakota goalie Peter Thome stopped Luc Brown's slap shot but Vidmar swooped in to poke in the rebound. Brown was credited with assists on both goals.

UAlbany returns home after first lost

Albany The travel has ended, but not the busy schedule for the University at Albany basketball team. After ending a three-game road stretch Monday night with its first loss of the season, UAlbany (6-1) begins a homestand Wednesday night with a nonconference game with Colgate. The Great Danes are ranked fifth in the latest CollegeInsider.com mid-major poll, which was released before UAlbany frittered away a nine-point halftime lead in stumbling 81-73 at Monmouth. "The good thing is, seven games in, we'll have good film from this," coach Will Brown said about the loss. "We should learn from it. We don't have a whole lot of time to think about it because we've got to turn around and play Wednesday night.

Kansas handles Syracuse at tournament

Miami Devonte' Graham matched his career-high with 35 points for the second consecutive game, and Lagerald Vick added 20 for No. 2 Kansas in a 76-60 victory over Syracuse in the HoopHall Miami Invitational. Graham shot 10-for-17 from the field and 7-for-13 from 3-point range for Kansas (7-0), which is off to its best start in seven years. Graham missed his first three tries from beyond the arc, then made seven of his next eight. Svi Mykhailuk added 11 points for the Jayhawks, who shot 49 percent. Tyus Battle scored 22 points for Syracuse (6-1), which was playing away from the Carrier Dome for the first time this season. Duke 96, South Dakota 80: Grayson Allen scored 15 of his 25 points in an eight-minute opening blitz and No.

Court should take gamble on freedom to bet sports

The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments next week on Christie v. NCAA. At issue for the justices: Whether the federal government has the right to control state lawmaking. At issue for the rest of us: Whether we have the right to make a sports bet legally. Here's a dumbed-down, microwaved version of the case that I can understand so you can understand: In 2011, New Jersey voters approved the legalization of sports betting. The NCAA, NBA, NHL, NFL and MLB challenged this, saying it would violate the 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act — better known as PASPA, or "You Can't Bet" — which essentially prohibits states from sanctioning any wagering on sporting events.

Rodger’s Quick Take

If the Giants don't want Eli Manning as their starting quarterback anymore, there are plenty of other teams that would take his services immediately. Jacksonville would be a perfect fit with former Giants head coach Tom Coughlin running the show as president of operations. Jacksonville is good, but needs an upgrade at quarterback, and the other spot would be Denver. His brother Peyton finished his career with the Broncos and won another Super Bowl ring. Why couldn't brother Eli do the same thing? If Eli agrees to waive his no-trade clause, anything is possible. Rodger Wyland is the sports director for NewsChannel 13. Listen to him weekdays from 10 a.m. to noon on WTMM (104.5 FM, "The Team").

No. 6 Shockers reach Maui final

Lahaina, Hawaii Landry Shamet scored 19 points, Conner Frankamp added 13 and No. 6 Wichita State rode its second-half defense into the Maui Invitational title game with an 80-66 victory over Marquette on Tuesday. Wichita State took control by holding sharpshooters Markus Howard and Andrew Rowsey in check long enough to build a 10-point lead. The Shockers shot 54 percent and had a 44-33 edge in the paint to earn a spot in Wednesday's title game against No. 6 Notre Dame. Rowsey had 26 points and Howard 25 for the Golden Eagles, who were held to 10-of-33 shooting in the second half after a stellar first 20 minutes. Howard scored 17 points in the first half.

Atlanta holds off Seattle to escape with win

Seattle Matt Ryan threw a pair of touchdown passes, Adrian Clayborn returned a fumble 10 yards for a score and the Atlanta Falcons held off a late rally to beat the Seattle Seahawks 34-31 on Monday night. Atlanta stayed in the hunt for an NFC playoff spot thanks to its second straight victory and handed Seattle a second consecutive home loss. Ryan threw TDs to Mohamed Sanu and Levine Toilolo, while Tevin Coleman added a one-yard TD run on Atlanta's opening possession. But it was Clayborn's fumble return that helped break open the game early in the second quarter and gave Atlanta a 21-7 lead. Seattle attempted a late rally down by 11 points.

No problem for Bearcats

Highland Heights, Ky. Gary Clark had 14 points and seven rebounds, and No. 11 Cincinnati beat winless Alabama State 83-51 on Monday night. The Bearcats (7-0) play at No. 21 Xavier on Saturday. The Musketeers have won seven of the past 10 in the crosstown rivalry, although Cincinnati won on its home court last season. Facing a ranked team for the first time in five years, Alabama State (0-7) had 20 turnovers that led to 30 Cincinnati points. Branden Johnson led the Hornets with 10 points. Cincinnati won its 30th straight home game, a streak that spans two home courts. The Bearcats are playing this season at BB&T Arena at Northern Kentucky University while their on-campus arena is renovated.

Dougherty: Bowling by the numbers at World Series

Numbers make sports better. Baseball is a game built on batting averages, ERAs and now OPS. Football offers quarterback ratings and yards after catch. Basketball, taking a page from hockey, offers plus/minus ratings. Other than league averages, bowling has been statistically lacking. Some of the elite keep a tally of their perfect games. At the PBA level, we know about the number of titles for some of the stars but little else. That's what makes what the PBA offered during the recent World Series of Bowling intriguing. The tour partnered with Lanetalk, a Swedish internet company, to track all 195 bowlers during the WSOB. For instance, for the PBA World Championship, there were 8,701 games rolled. The average score was 215.

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Louisville freshman casualty of corruption Louisville has announced that freshman forward Brian Bowen will not play for the school and that the Cardinals have parted ways with men's basketball assistant coach Kenny Johnson. The 6-foot-7 Bowen signed with Louisville in June but had been held out of practice and games since the school announced in September that it was being investigated in a federal corruption probe of bribery in college basketball. Ten people, including four assistant coaches and Adidas executive James Gatto, were initially charged in the investigation. The federal complaint stated that Gatto and others attempted to funnel $100,000 to a recruit's family to gain his commitment to play for Louisville.

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