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Sports Log

Gonzaga back at No. 1 in AP men’s basketball Top 25; Auburn up to No. 2

Drew Timme and the Bulldogs are back on top of the AP Top 25.Young Kwak/Associated Press

A wild week of upsets led to big changes in the AP Top 25. Amid the chaos, a familiar team returned to the top. Preseason No. 1 Gonzaga climbed back atop The Associated Press men’s college basketball poll on Monday, ending Baylor’s five-week run. The Bulldogs had 25 first-place votes, 11 fewer than No. 2 Auburn, but edged the Tigers in overall points to take the top spot. Auburn has its highest ranking since reaching No. 2 in 1999-2000 after moving up two spots. Arizona, Purdue, and Baylor rounded out the top five. Gonzaga (14-2, 3-0 West Coast) continued its roll since losing to Alabama on Dec. 4, stretching its winning streak to seven games with blowouts over BYU and Santa Clara last week. The rest of the AP Top 25 didn’t fare quite as well, with 13 teams losing, including nine on Saturday. Eight teams fell to unranked opponents. Baylor’s tenure at the top ended with losses to No. 18 Texas Tech and Oklahoma State. It was the first time the Bears lost consecutive home games in nearly six years and ended the reigning national champions’ winning streak at 21 games. No. 16 Southern California also saw its undefeated season come to a crashing end with losses to Stanford and Oregon sandwiched around a win over Oregon State. Seton Hall dropped out of the poll from No. 20 after losing to DePaul and Marquette. “They’re not very happy,” Bears senior Matthew Mayer said when asked the mood of the Baylor coaches. Neither are UCLA’s. The Bruins climbed to No. 3 in last week’s poll and dropped six spots this week after losing 84-81 to Oregon in overtime. The win was the 700th of Ducks coach Dana Altman’s career and dropped UCLA six spots to No. 9 in this week’s poll. “You’re either humbled and hungry like they were trying to pull off the so-called upset, or you’re arrogant without cause because we’ve won nothing,” an incensed UCLA coach Mick Cronin said.

Harvard men top Dartmouth

Noah Kirkwood had 24 points to lead Harvard past Dartmouth.Phelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press

Noah Kirkwood had 24 points as the Harvard men’s basketball team edged past Dartmouth 60-59. Louis Lesmond had 12 points for Harvard (10-5, 2-1 Ivy League). Dame Adelekun had 14 points, eight rebounds and three blocks for the Big Green (4-11, 1-3). Ryan Cornish added 13 points and Aaryn Rai had 10 rebounds . . . Te-Hina Paopao had 22 points and eight rebounds as Oregon beat No. 9 Connecticut 72-59. Sedona Prince added 14 points as Oregon women’s basketball (10-5, 2-1) won its second game against a Top-10 team in three days. The Ducks defeated seventh-ranked Arizona 68-66 in overtime on Saturday. Freshman Caroline Ducharme scored 22 points while Olivia Nelson-Ododa added 17 for the Huskies (9-4, 4-0), who were without their top two scorers due to injury. UConn was without senior guard Christyn Williams due to COVID protocols while All-American guard Paige Bueckers remains out with a tibial plateau fracture.

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HOCKEY

Meier pots five for Sharks

Timo Meier set a San Jose franchise record with five goals, and the Sharks used a huge first period to beat the Los Angeles Kings 6-2. Meier, a sixth-year winger who made his first All-Star team this season, had a hat trick before the first period even ended. He scored his fourth goal less than two minutes into the second period and broke the Sharks’ record with his fifth just 27 seconds before the second intermission. Meier had a chance for his sixth goal midway through the third period when he took the puck down the left side with open ice ahead of him, but Kings defenseman Mikey Anderson knocked the puck away as Meier approached the net. It was the first five-goal game in the NHL since the New York Rangers’ Mika Zibanejad on March 5, 2020, against Washington.

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SOCCER

Lewandowski wins FIFA best player vote ahead of Messi, Salah

Bayern's Robert Lewandowski came in for a major award this week.Martin Meissner/Associated Press

Robert Lewandowski was voted the best men’s player in the world, retaining the FIFA award he won last year despite being left off the ballot paper filed by runner-up Lionel Messi. The Bayern Munich forward overturned the result last month of the Ballon d’Or prize where he placed second behind Messi, who finally led Argentina to a senior title at the 2021 Copa América. Mohamed Salah of Liverpool placed third. “I am very honored to win this trophy,” Lewandowski said on a video link from Munich. The trophy was presented by club officials during the online ceremony hosted at FIFA headquarters in Zurich. Lewandowski was the overwhelming choice of national team captains and coaches plus selected media in more than 200 countries, yet was almost caught by Messi, who got more than double the number of votes from fans worldwide than the Poland captain.

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MISC

Former NBA great Yao Ming addresses Peng Shuai, Olympics

Former NBA great Yao Ming said he and others had a pleasant talk when they met last month with Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai, whose disappearance after making a sexual assault allegation against a former government official raised international concern. Yao, who played for the Houston Rockets from 2002-11 and is now president of the Chinese Basketball Association, used stories and humor to deflect challenging questions at a news conference to promote the Beijing Winter Olympics, which open in 18 days. Asked about China’s relations with the United States, which has announced a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Games, Yao likened sporting and cultural events to the community temple gatherings he went to as a child in Shanghai. “On that occasion, even with the neighbors I had bickered with, I would nod my head (in greeting),” he said. “Then we went on with whatever we needed to do. I think we need more of this kind of temple gathering.” He also called sports a bridge for communication, saying there are sometimes collisions on bridges, but “we hope we can keep the bridge.” Peng, who won Grand Slam titles in women’s doubles, denied making the assault allegation to a Singapore newspaper on the same day photos of her with Yao and two former Olympians were posted on social media. The photos appeared to be part of a campaign to respond to international demands that Peng be allowed to talk freely about her situation. The former Rockets center also said he wants to invite Boston Celtics center Enes Kanter Freedom, who has argued for a boycott of the Beijing Olympics, to visit China to develop a deeper understanding of the country.

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