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WWAY's Sunday night sports - Nov. 18

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BAYAMON, PR (AP) - Le'Bryan Nash has 23 points and Marcus Smart added 20 points, seven rebounds, seven assists and Oklahoma State earned a 76-56 win over No. 6 N.C. State in the title game of the Puerto Rico Tipoff on Sunday.

Phil Forte had 17 points for the Cowboys (4-0), who outrebounded the Wolfpack 45-34.

Rodney Purvis had 16 points and T.J. Warren added 15 points for the Wolfpack (3-1), who shot only 28.6 percent from the field.

Smart was the tournament MVP. He was joined by Nash, Warren, Tennessee's Jarnell Stokes and Akron's Zeke Marshall on the all-tournament team.

Smart had a pair of 3-pointers early, part of an 8-2 run in the first half that gave the Cowboys a 13-9 lead.

Smart finished with 18 points in the first half as the Cowboys led 38-28 at the break.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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NEW YORK (AP) - Notre Dame is a victory away from playing for the BCS title. Alabama and Georgia each need two, and could have to go through each other.

A day after Oregon and Kansas State lost to give up control of the BCS race, the Fighting Irish (.9973) moved into first-place in the standings for the first time.

Notre Dame (11-0), ranked No. 1 in both polls and by the computer ratings, needs only to beat slumping rival Southern California on Saturday in Los Angeles to earn its first trip to the BCS title game.

Alabama (.9333) and Georgia (.8763) also have rivalry games Saturday. The Crimson Tide hosts Auburn and the Bulldogs play Georgia Tech at home.

If the favorites win, the SEC championship game will be a national semifinal of sorts, with the winner advancing to the BCS title game.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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CHARLOTTE, NC (AP) - The season is starting to become a blur for the Carolina Panthers as one heartbreaking loss bleeds into another.

But it's hard to imagine one tougher to swallow than Sunday's 27-21 overtime defeat to the rival Tampa Bay Buccaneers in which the Panthers surrendered an 11-point lead with six minutes left in regulation.

"It's kind of been the story of our season," quarterback Cam Newton said.

No doubt.

Of Carolina's last six losses, the Panthers (2-8) have led in the fourth quarter in five of them.

"We just have an uncanny ability to lose at the end and this obviously takes the cake," tight end Greg Olsen said. "So, it's really disappointing. I think guys played really hard. I think guys fought their way to the end and we just didn't have some plays go our way."

Added receiver Brandon LaFell: "This is a game that we felt like we should have won. This is a game we could have won."

Josh Freeman threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to Dallas Clark in overtime to cap the Buccaneers' comeback win. It was Freeman's third touchdown pass of the game for the Bucs (6-4), who have won five of their last six to pull into playoff contention.

But rather than celebrating their dramatic win, Clark talked afterward about learning from it.

"We learned a lesson today that we can't just show up and win a game," Clark said. "I hope guys will get it. We're lucky it's not a loss. I hope we go back and look at the film and say, 'Hey we didn't play well.' Sure, we played well enough to make some plays to win at the end, but to get where we want to go, that's not good enough football."

Carolina appeared to have the game in hand when Newton connected on a 29-yard touchdown strike to LaFell to go up 21-10 with six minutes left in regulation.

But after a 40-yard field goal by Connor Barth, the Panthers' offense couldn't put the game away and had to punt.

Freeman quickly led the Bucs 80 yards on seven plays in 50 seconds, despite not having any timeouts. Along the way, the Bucs benefited from a personal foul penalty on linebacker Thomas Davis for hitting a defenseless receiver.

Freeman finished the drive with a perfectly thrown 24-yard touchdown pass to Vincent Jackson between three defenders with 12 seconds left. He went back to Jackson for a 2-point conversion on a slant route to send it into overtime.

In overtime, the Bucs won the coin toss and moved quickly down the field with Freeman finding an open Clark on a wheel route along the left sideline for the winner.

"You've got to love it when the linebacker swears as you're heading up field," Clark said with a laugh.

Freeman said it was a play the Bucs worked on all week and he's glad that was the call.

"When we got to overtime we stepped into the huddle and everybody was ready to go and we started talking like, 'Hey let's just execute one play at a time and do our jobs and try to get out of this thing with a touchdown,'" Freeman said.

The Bucs came in as one of the hottest teams in the league, having scored an average of 35.6 points per game during the past five games. Freeman had thrown 13 touchdown passes and only one interception in those games.

But after Tampa Bay jumped to a 10-0 lead the Panthers' defense shut them down for most of the remainder of the three quarters, forcing three turnovers. A 74-yard interception return for a touchdown by Captain Munnerlyn and a key fumble by rookie Doug Martin on a fourth-and-goal at the 1-yard line loomed large.

Trailing 14-10, the Bucs appeared ready to take the lead after driving 15 plays to the Carolina 1.

But on fourth down, coach Greg Schiano went for the touchdown instead of the field goal and linebacker Davis plowed into Martin, forcing the ball out near the goal line. Fellow linebacker Luke Kuechly, the team's first-round draft pick, recovered in the end zone for a touchback.

Officials reviewed the play to see if Martin got in, but the call stood.

The Panthers seized the momentum when Newton led the team 80 yards for a score to build a 21-10 lead.

But once again, the Panthers couldn't finish.

Second-year coach Ron Rivera, whose job security only grew more tenuous after the loss, said the game was all about missed opportunities. Rivera said the loss "is right up there at the top" in terms of toughest ones to swallow.

"This is about as bad as it gets," he said.

NOTES: Freeman has now thrown 16 touchdown passes in the last six games. ... Panthers WR Steve Smith injured his hand and DE Charles Johnson hurt his head during the game, but both returned. ... Martin had 138 yards rushing for the Bucs. ... Carolina had 97 yards rushing after being held to 10 in the last meeting with the Bucs in the season opener.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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HOMESTEAD, Fla. (AP) - Here's a tweet for Brad Keselowski: NASCAR champion.

Roger Penske must like the sound of that, too.

The kid who stole the show at the season-opening Daytona 500 ended the year under the biggest spotlight of them all Sunday, beating five-time champion Jimmie Johnson to deliver the first Sprint Cup championship to Penske Racing.

It's a trophy that had eluded Penske since he first entered NASCAR in 1972. Although his motorsports organization is considered the gold standard of IndyCar racing - 15 Indianapolis 500 wins - and his empire has made Penske one of the most successful businessmen in America, his NASCAR team operation was always just average.

Then came Keselowski, the blue collar, Twitter-loving, Michigan native who convinced "The Captain" his NASCAR team could be a winner, too.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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ELON, NC (UNCW) -- Elon closed the game on a 14-2 run to erase a six-point deficit and defeat UNCW, 67-61, in collegiate women’s basketball action Sunday at Alumni Gym.

The Phoenix improved to 2-1 on the season with the win while the Seahawks moved to 0-3 overall as they wrapped up their season-opening road swing.

Senior Ali Ford scored a game-high 19 points to lead Elon, including six straight late in the second half to start the decisive run. Senior Kelsey Evans joined Ford in double figures with 13 points and added 10 rebounds to finish with a double-double as the Phoenix posted a commanding 49-36 advantage on the glass. Senior Shon Redmond chipped in nine points and added a program-record 10 steals.

Senior Karneshia Garrett scored 18 points and added 12 rebounds for her first double-double of the season to lead UNCW. Senior Chelsea McGowen scored 10 points and added nine rebounds while freshman Dana Brown joined the duo in double figures with 10 points, all of which came in the second half.

Trailing 59-53 with just four minutes remaining, Ford hit a three-pointer and converted all three free throws on back-to-back possessions to tie the game at 59-all with just 2:58 on the clock.

The Phoenix would take the lead moments later, converting a UNCW turnover into a jumper by freshman Jessica Farmer to take a 61-59 lead at the 2:31 mark.

The two sides would go more than nearly 90 seconds between points before a jumper by Redmond att the 1:03 mark stretched the Elon edge to four, 63-59.

The Phoenix keep the Seahawks off the scoreboard on their next three trips down the floor while converting four of six free-throw attempts to expand their cushion to eight, 67-59. A layup by Garrett in the final seconds would determine the final six-point margin.

In the first half, Elon held a slim 15-14 advantage before a free throw by Evans started a 12-2 spurt that would stretch the Phoenix cushion to double figures, 27-16, with 9:48 on the clock.

The Seahawks responded to the Elon push as Lee would tally all eight of her first-half points over a four-minute span to key a 10-3 run that would trim the Phoenix edge to four, 30-26, with just four minutes remaining on the clock. Elon tallied seven of the final 11 points of the frame to take a 37-30 lead into the break.

The two sides would trade baskets through the first eight minutes of the second half before a jumper by McGowen at the 11:50 mark sent the Seahawks on a 17-6 run that would last over six minutes to give UNCW its 59-53 lead and set up Elon’s decisive run.

UNCW returns to action Nov. 28 as it entertains North Carolina Central in a 7 p.m. contest at Trask Coliseum. Elon hosts American in a 2 p.m. matinee on Nov. 24.

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