Howard, Harden lead Rockets over Magic 98-88
HOUSTON (AP) - Dwight Howard celebrated his 28th birthday in a big way, getting 20 points and 22 rebounds Sunday night to lead the Houston Rockets over the Orlando Magic 98-88.
James Harden scored 27 points and also had 10 assists and eight rebounds for the Rockets. Terrence Jones contributed 16 points and 13 rebounds.
Jones also picked up two big blocks in the third period, including one on Victor Oladipo as time expired to preserve the score 83-61 Houston.
Chandler Parsons, who missed two games because of a sore back, started for Houston and had 18 points.
Glenn Davis scored 18 points in Orlando's fifth straight loss.
Arizona State, Texas Tech to play in Holiday Bowl
SAN DIEGO (AP) - Pac-12 South Division champion Arizona State and Texas Tech have accepted invitations to play in the Holiday Bowl on Dec. 30 at Qualcomm Stadium.
It will be the fourth appearance for Arizona State (10-3) and the second appearance for Texas Tech (7-5).
Arizona State lost to Stanford 38-14 in the Pac-12 championship game Saturday night.
No. 22 Duke-No. 20 Texas A&M in Chick-fil-A Bowl
ATLANTA (AP) - Johnny Manziel might play his final college game in the Chick-fil-A Bowl.
No. 20 Texas A&M, led by Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel, will face No. 22 Duke in the New Year's Eve bowl at the Georgia Dome.
The announcement was made Sunday night.
Manziel is a third-year sophomore, making him eligible to enter the 2014 NFL draft. He hasn't revealed his plans for next season after guiding Texas A&M to an 8-4 record. The Aggies lost their final two games to LSU and Missouri, losing out on a shot at playing in a Jan. 1 game.
Duke (10-3) was a surprising division winner in the Atlantic Coast Conference. The Blue Devils were routed by top-ranked Florida State 45-7 in the league championship game Saturday night.
No. 3 Lady Vols pull away from Texas 75-61
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Isabelle Harrison had 18 points and eight rebounds Sunday to lead No. 3 Tennessee to a 75-61 victory over Texas.
Although the Lady Vols (8-0) never trailed, they only led 28-27 at halftime and continued their season-long habit of playing better in the second half. Tennessee has been tied or behind in three of its eight games this season, yet won them all by at least nine points.
Ariel Massengale had 15 points and seven assists for Tennessee. Meighan Simmons scored 13 points and Cierra Burdick added 10 points off the bench.
Nneka Enemkpali led Texas (6-3) with 12 points and 11 rebounds. All but two of her points came in the first half. Chassidy Fussell added 12 points despite shooting 1 of 10 from 3-point range.
Krystle Henderson had 11 points and Empress Davenport added 10.
Mississippi State to play Rice in Liberty Bowl
The Mississippi State Bulldogs are the pick out of the Southeastern Conference to play Rice in the Liberty Bowl on Dec. 31 in Memphis.
Liberty Bowl officials made the announcement Sunday night.
Bowl officials passed over Vanderbilt (8-4) who played in Memphis two years ago.
Picking Mississippi State gives bowl officials a team marking the 50th anniversary of its first game in this bowl. The Bulldogs beat North Carolina State 16-12 in 1963 when this bowl was played in Philadelphia, Pa.
The Bulldogs (6-6) needed overtime to beat Ole Miss in the Egg Bowl to become bowl eligible for a fourth straight season.
Rice (10-3) accepted its berth Saturday after beating Marshall 41-24 in the Conference USA championship game.
SEC runner-up Missouri, Oklahoma St in Cotton Bowl
SEC runner-up Missouri is headed to the Cotton Bowl, where the ninth-ranked Tigers will play No. 13 Oklahoma State.
The matchup for the Jan. 3 game was announced Sunday night.
Missouri (11-2) is coming off a 59-42 loss to Auburn in the SEC championship game in only its second season in that league.
Oklahoma State (10-2) was on track for a Big 12 title and a spot in the Bowl Championship Series before a 33-24 loss to Oklahoma on Saturday.
SEC teams have won the last five Cotton Bowls, and nine of the last 10, over Big 12 teams. The lone exception was the 2008 game when Missouri, then in the Big 12, beat Arkansas 38-7.
Oklahoma State is in its 11th bowl in 12 years, a span than includes Cotton Bowl losses to Mississippi in 2004 and 2010.
Syracuse, Minnesota to meet in Texas Bowl
HOUSTON (AP) - Minnesota will play in the Texas Bowl for the second year in a row when it faces Syracuse on Dec. 27.
The Gophers (8-4) improved by two wins in 2013 but have wound up in Houston yet again. Minnesota blew a 10-point lead in the final 1:10 and lost to Texas Tech 34-31 in last year's Texas Bowl.
Syracuse (6-6) finished 4-4 in its first season in the ACC and rallied past Boston College in the regular-season finale to earn bowl eligibility.
Minnesota is 3-1 against Syracuse, including a 17-10 win in 2012.
WEST TEXAS A&M-COACH
W Texas A&M keeps interim coach after playoff run
CANYON, Texas (AP) - West Texas A&M is keeping Mike Nesbitt after he led the Buffaloes to the Division II quarterfinals as interim coach following the firing of Don Carthel days before the season started amid an NCAA investigation.
The school says the move will be announced at a news conference Monday.
The Buffaloes went 11-3 under Nesbitt and beat Indianapolis and Ohio Dominican before losing to Grand Valley State 35-28 on Saturday. West Texas A&M finished third in the Lone Star Conference but had the best overall record and got the league's only playoff bid.
Athletic director Michael McBroom said Carthel was fired Aug. 22 for providing false information to the NCAA. Carthel said he paid for Texas Rangers tickets for two of his players, but they reimbursed him.
Bears to face Knights in Fiesta Bowl
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) - No. 6 Baylor has completed its turnaround with a trip to the Fiesta Bowl against No. 15 Central Florida.
Once the perennial patsies of the Big 12, the Bears (11-1) won their first conference title since 1980 by knocking off Texas on Saturday.
Baylor became a national-title contender this season behind the country's most prolific offense and will be playing in its first BCS bowl after winning 11 games for the first time.
Waiting for the Bears will be Central Florida (11-1), which received the American Athletic Conference's automatic BCS bid.
The Knights earned the AAC title with Louisville's loss to Cincinnati and closed out the season by holding off SMU in icy Texas on Saturday to earn their first BCS bowl spot.
TEXAS-PERMIAN BASIN-TEXAS A&M-CC
Dees' scores 24 points, as UTPB tops TAMUCC 82-77
CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas (AP) - Anthony Dees scored 13 of his 24 points in the second half as Texas-Permian Basin topped Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 82-77 Sunday night.
Dees' three-point play gave the Falcons (5-2) their biggest lead of the game, 71-63, with 3:26 to play, but TAMU-CC responded by scoring seven of the game's next nine points to trim its deficit to three with 1:35 left. The Islanders, however, were forced to foul, and UTPB made 9 of 12 free throws, including 5 of 6 by Dees, down the stretch to seal the victory.
The Islanders opened up their biggest lead of the game, 49-41, on a Joy Williamson layup with 14:24 to play, but the Falcons responded with a 22-8 spurt and never trailed again.
John Jordan scored 25 points, and Jeff Beverly added 20 for TAMUCC (3-8), which has now lost six straight.
The game served as an exhibition for UTPB.
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