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Local Sports

Elite corners to play key role in title game

COLUMBUS — Two of the best cornerbacks in the nation, Shaun Wade of Ohio State and Patrick Surtain II of Alabama, are going to have their hands full during tonight’s national championship game. Both are highly decorated All-Americans and top NFL prospects — which one is best is a matter ...

Unusual path to title game ends tonight for Buckeyes

MIAMI — Trying to figure out which of Nick Saban’s Alabama teams is best is akin to picking Michelangelo’s greatest work of art or Ernest Hemingway’s best novel. They are all excellent in their own way. The first to win a national championship came in 2009 and is still the only ...

Short-handed Browns face tough task

PITTSBURGH — The Cleveland Browns waited nearly two decades to return to the playoffs. To extend their breakthrough season, they’ll have to do it without their unflappable first-year coach in a place where the franchise’s shortcomings are put into stark relief: Pittsburgh. Maybe ...

Conklin in, Ward out for wild card

CLEVELAND — The Browns flew to Pittsburgh for the playoffs with some reinforcements — and missing some regulars. Top cornerback Denzel Ward stayed in Cleveland as he recovers from COVID-19, leaving a massive hole in the Browns’ secondary as they get ready to face Ben Roethlisberger and ...

Washington, Bucks down Rutgers

PISCATAWAY, N.J. — Ohio State entered the game at No. 15 Rutgers without its senior leader in point guard C.J. Walker and 0-3 on the road in the Big Ten. The Buckeyes left with a win, but another injury. Duane Washington Jr. scored 17 points and Justice Sueing addded 12 points, 10 rebounds ...

Cavaliers fall to Milwaukee

MILWAUKEE — Khris Middleton scored 27 points and Milwaukee withstood the absence of two-time reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo to beat Cleveland, 100-90. Antetokounmpo sat out with back spasms. Bobby Portis replaced Antetokounmpo in the starting lineup and scored 17 points as the Bucks ...

Life’s lessons apply in fishing, also

Many years ago, in much simpler times, I learned a life lesson that resonates across the board in so many areas of our lives. The lesson is one that many of us learned long ago. It is this: If something is worth doing, it’s worth doing right. It is a lesson that applied in all of the ...

Browns finally get a practice in

CLEVELAND — They won’t have their coach. They’ve barely practiced, and when they make their first playoff appearance in nearly 20 years — at Pittsburgh, where they’ve lost 17 straight games — on Sunday (8:15 p.m., NBC), the Cleveland Browns will have backups at key ...

Steelers’ Sutton a versatile defender

PITTSBURGH — Cam Sutton isn’t picky. He can’t afford to be. The Pittsburgh Steelers defensive back has spent too much time during his four seasons in the league bouncing around from spot to spot. Nickelback. Dime back. Safety. Cornerback. Special teams ace. Sutton’s responsibilities ...

Phantoms beat Muskegon

YOUNGSTOWN — The Phantoms picked up their first victory since a Dec. 5 overtime win over Muskegon, with a 5-2 win over Dubuque on Friday night. The win marks coach Brad Patterson’s 126th win with the club, tying the club record. Ben Schoen continued his strong season with two goals on ...

Lindor, Carrasco traded to Mets

CLEVELAND — The Indians drafted and developed Francisco Lindor, who blossomed into an All-Star shortstop and one of baseball’s best all-around players. Cleveland chased a World Series title with him. They’ll now do it without Lindor. Knowing they could never meet his price, the ...

Browns continue to miss practice

CLEVELAND — Baker Mayfield hasn’t thrown a football in four days. The Browns haven’t practiced this week. Cleveland’s return to the NFL playoffs feels cursed. For the second straight day, the team’s headquarters and training facility stayed closed due to a COVID-19 flare-up that ...

Drummond, Nance lead the way in Cavs’ victory

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Andre Drummond had 22 points and 15 rebounds, Larry Nance Jr. added 18 points on 7-for-7 shooting from the field and the Cleveland Cavaliers defeated the Memphis Grizzlies 94-90 on Thursday night. Cedi Osman scored 16 points as Cleveland snapped a two-game skid. JaVale ...

Stefanski maintains positive outlook

CLEVELAND — Confined to his home before the season’s biggest game, coach Kevin Stefanski vowed not to let COVID-19 stop him from getting the Browns ready for the playoffs. Stefanski doesn’t know how he contracted the virus. That’s unimportant at this point. Beating the Pittsburgh ...

Sermon rushes into the spotlight

COLUMBUS — During the first four games of Ohio State’s pandemic-shortened season, transfer running back Trey Sermon was easy to overlook on a team full of big names and future NFL draft picks. Nobody is overlooking him now. Astonishing efforts in the past two games — including a ...

No Magic for Cavs

ORLANDO, Fla. — Former top overall draft pick Markelle Fultz suffered a season-ending tear of the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in the first quarter of the Orlando Magic’s 105-94 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday night. Fultz, who was off to the best start of his ...

Ben, veterans know team’s chances dwindle

PITTSBURGH — The opportunities are dwindling. Ben Roethlisberger knows it. Cam Heyward and David DeCastro too. It’s been a decade since the Pittsburgh Steelers have reached the Super Bowl and a dozen years since they’ve won it. In most places, that’s hardly a drought. Not in a place ...

Stefanski, others sidelined for Browns

CLEVELAND — Amid a masked, muted celebration in the locker room after the Browns ended the NFL’s longest playoff drought, coach Kevin Stefanski asked for a game ball and then told Pro Bowl guard Joel Bitonio to step forward. Stefanski flipped the ball to Bitonio, who had survived seven ...

Changes continue as Penguins remain in contention

PITTSBURGH — The number of players who helped the Pittsburgh Penguins to consecutive Stanley Cup titles is dwindling. Matt Murray is in Ottawa. Patric Hornqvist is in Florida. Assistant coaches Jacques Martin, Sergei Gonchar and Mark Recchi are gone, too. All part of a mini-housecleaning ...

Blue Jackets seek 5th straight berth in postseason

COLUMBUS — The Columbus Blue Jackets managed to achieve two of their most pressing offseason goals, but not without some friction. Coming off their fourth straight playoff appearance, the Blue Jackets traded for some help at center, getting Max Domi from the Montreal Canadiens in exchange ...