Sports Digest: Pacers rout the Nets

2013-12-23T23:30:00Z 2014-01-02T19:42:29Z Sports Digest: Pacers rout the Nets nwitimes.com
December 23, 2013 11:30 pm

Pro basketball

STEPHENSON LEADS PACERS' ROUT AGAINST NETS:  Lance Stephenson scored a career-high 26 points in his hometown, Paul George also had 26, and the Pacers went on to their third straight easy victory, 103-86 over the Nets on Monday night.

Stephenson, who recorded his NBA-leading third triple-double of the season Sunday in a rout of Boston, did most of his damage as a scorer, back where he did plenty of it in high school. He became the career scoring leader in New York state, scoring nearly 3,000 points at Abraham Lincoln High School.

Pro football

BOWMAN RETURN CAPS OFF NINERS WIN: NaVorro Bowman returned an interception 89 yards for a touchdown with 1:10 remaining, and the 49ers clinched a playoff berth with a wild 34-24 victory against the Falcons in the final regular-season game at Candlestick Park.

Matt Ryan threw a 39-yard touchdown pass to Roddy White with 8:42 remaining and a 2-yard score to Tony Gonzalez with 2:09 left as the Falcons (4-11) made things interesting until the end.

Atlanta's Jason Snelling recovered the ensuing onside kick as the Falcons got the ball back and were driving for a potential go-ahead score when San Francisco (11-4) capitalized with one of its biggest takeaways yet.

STATUS OF ROGERS, OTHER PACKERS UP IN THE AIR:  Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy isn't sure if quarterback Aaron Rodgers will start the team's winner-take-all NFC North matchup with the Bears on Sunday at Soldier Field.

McCarthy did say Monday that the team wants to make a decision on Rodgers' availability "sooner than later."

Rodgers, who has not played since fracturing his left collarbone against the Bears at Lambeau Field on Nov. 4, has missed the past seven games.

Four-time Pro Bowl outside linebacker Clay Matthews, who missed four games earlier this season after breaking his right thumb against Detroit on Oct. 6, broke the thumb again Sunday and may be lost for the season. Running back Eddie Lacy, who has been hobbled by a sprained right ankle since suffering the initial injury Dec. 8, hurt the ankle again Sunday and could be out, too.

ROMO'S STATUS UNCERTAIN FOR SUNDAY'S GAME WITH EAGLES: Tony Romo limped so badly on one play against Washington, he barely made it to the spot where he had to hand off.

The obvious limp was gone by the time the Dallas quarterback moved forward in the pocket and threw a fourth-down touchdown pass to DeMarco Murray that gave Dallas a season-saving 24-23 win over the Redskins.

The severity of his back injury is likely to remain a question all week as the Cowboys prepare for their third straight season finale for the NFC East title and a playoff berth, this time against Philadelphia on Sunday night.

BRONCOS' MILLER OUT FOR SEASON WITH TORN ACL: The Broncos began the season without strongside linebacker Von Miller, and they'll end it without him, too.

Miller is done for the year after tests Monday revealed a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee, which he injured in the first quarter of Denver's 37-13 win at Houston over the weekend.

College football

BARTOLOMEO'S GREYHOUNDS IMPRESS AGAIN: The University of Indianapolis football team closed out the 2013 season ranked 18th in the final American Football Coaches Association Division II Coaches' Top 25 Poll, released Monday.

The Greyhounds are coached by Andrean grad Bob Bartolomeo (Butler '77), who has compiled a 33-14 (.702) record in four seasons at the helm.

It marked the second consecutive season the Greyhounds were listed in the year's final poll, as the team reached an end-of-year program high of 15th in last season's final AFCA top 25. UIndy is one of only 15 Division II teams in the country to appear in the previous two AFCA final polls.

The Greyhounds compiled a 10-2 record this season on the way to their second consecutive Great Lakes Valley Conference title and NCAA playoff appearance. The 2013 campaign ended at home in a 27-14 loss to now-11th-ranked West Texas A&M in the first round of the playoffs.

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