Here is the latest SEC sports news from The Associated Press – Morganton News Herald

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LAHAINA, Hawaii (AP) — Ryan Nembhard drove the lane for an authoritative dunk in the closing minutes and scored a career-high 25 points for No. 10 Creighton, which survived a tense second half to beat No. 9 Arkansas 90-87 and advance to the championship game of the Maui Invitational. Trey Alexander made two free throws with 1.9 seconds left for Creighton, which will play for the title against either No. 14 Arizona or No. 17 San Diego State. The Bluejays and Razorbacks played an electrifying second half worthy of a March Madness matchup. Arkansas has reached the Elite Eight in consecutive seasons.
SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. (AP) — Aliyah Boston had her fourth double-double of the season as top-ranked South Carolina rolled to a 79-36 victory over Cal Poly. Boston, the reigning AP Player of the Year, had 12 points and 10 rebounds for her 64th career double-double, which is the most among active NCAA players in all divisions. The Gamecocks, coming off a 76-71 overtime victory at second-ranked Stanford Sunday, led throughout. Laeticia Amihere was the leading scorer off the bench with 13 points, Zia Cooke added 11 and Ashlyn Watkins had 10 points and 11 rebounds. Annika Shah led Cal Poly with eight points, all in the fourth quarter.
UNDATED (AP) — LSU has moved up to fifth and Southern California is sixth in the College Football Playoff rankings behind Georgia, Ohio State, Michigan and TCU. The top four remained the same for the third straight week, but the teams chasing changed order after Tennessee lost to South Carolina last Saturday night. Two huge games this weekend could create more clarity. Michigan is at Ohio State and USC hosts Notre Dame, which checked in at 15th in the selection committee’s rankings.
PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas (AP) — College basketball’s early season tournaments are proving more valuable than ever for teams trying to forge an identity with multiple transfers. The transfer portal has led to more roster turnover and upheaval each year. Holiday tournaments like this week’s Battle 4 Atlantis in the Bahamas take on more value as teams need competitive games to figure out their rotations and chemistry with new additions. North Carolina State coach Kevin Keatts says there’s more value for that growth in games than in practices. Kansas coach Bill Self says it takes longer to build cohesion than many understand with freshmen and transfers.
UNDATED (AP) — The Final Four is headed to Las Vegas for the first time. The NCAA has awarded the men’s national semifinals and championship game to Allegiant Stadium for the 2027-28 season. The NCAA also announced that Ford Field in Detroit would host the Final Four in 2027, while Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis would get the 2029 event and AT&T Stadium in Dallas would get the 2030 event. The national championship this season will be decided at NRG Stadium in Houston, while State Farm Stadium in Phoenix, the Alamodome in San Antonio and Lucas Oil Stadium already had been chosen for the next three.
UNDATED (AP) — Conference title and playoff hopes are just part of what’s on the line during college football’s rivalry weekend. There’s the Golden Egg in Mississippi. The Territorial Cup in Arizona. The Old Oaken Bucket in Indiana. The Apple Cup in Washington. The Freemont Canon in Nevada. The Governor’s Cup in Kentucky. The main course of the Thanksgiving football feast are the rivalry games with championship stakes attached involving No. 3 Michigan and No. 2 Ohio State and No. 13 Notre Dame and No. 5 Southern California.
UNDATED (AP) — There’s nothing like the Iron Bowl, even when the Southeastern Conference title or a College Football Playoff berth isn’t on the line. No. 8 Alabama and Auburn matchup in Tuscaloosa on a Saturday filled with traditional rivalry matchups like Florida-Florida State, Georgia-Georgia Tech and Clemson-South Carolina. The Crimson Tide are looking to gain a 10th victory and avoid a third loss, something that hasn’t happened since 2010. Auburn and interim coach Carnell Williams can turn a forgettable season into a joyous one with a victory.
CANCUN, Mexico (AP) — Wendell Green Jr. and Johni Broome each scored 14 points and No. 13 Auburn beat Bradley 85-64 in the first round of the Cancun Challenge. Auburn advances to play in Wednesday night’s championship game of the Riviera Division. Green also had six assists and Broome, who got the start after sitting out the last game due to injury, had nine rebounds and three blocks. Green was scoreless for the first 16 minutes of the game, but he made a 3-pointer to end a 7-0 Bradley run late in the first half and he beat the halftime buzzer with a layup to give the Tigers a 45-32 lead. It was the most points Auburn has scored in the first half this season.
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Eva Hodgson scored 14 of her 21 points during a fourth quarter flurry of shotmaking, and No. 8 North Carolina rallied on multiple occasions in the second half and topped No. 18 Oregon 85-79 in the semifinals of the Phil Knight Invitational. Hodgson scored 10 points in a 90 second span of the fourth quarter after it looked as if the Ducks were about to pull away. Hodgson’s four-point play with 5:12 remaining gave North Carolina a 72-68 lead. Alyssa Ustby added 19 points for North Carolina. Te-Hina Paopao led Oregon with 18 points and Grace VanSlooten added 17 points and 11 rebounds.

Once a boxing champion, Kyiv’s mayor is up against a challenge bigger than any he faced in the ring: keeping Ukraine’s capital functioning during a war. Vitali Klitschko spoke to The Associated Press in his City Hall office. The body armor propped against a radiator, the spent shell casing amid clutter on his desk and the reminders of his heavyweight career all shout that Klitschko is an extraordinary mayor, in extraordinarily difficult times. He says it would take “weeks” to explain all the challenges he faces as Russia pummels the capital and other cities. Foremost among them: Keeping the city livable in the face of repeated Russian bombardments.

Only one of the thousands of Mexican fans expected to travel to Qatar can boast of having attended 10 World Cups and more than 450 matches for the country’s national team. His name is Héctor Chávez but he is better known as “Caramelo.” Chávez wears a black charro hat on his head, a green El Tri jersey and carries a Mexican flag with the letters of his native state of Chihuahua embroidered on the front. Chávez says “it’s a lot of sacrifice. I would say it’s even a Via Crucis for so many games I have attended.”

Longtime UConn associate head coach Chris Dailey fainted before the start of the No. 5 Huskies’ game against 10th-ranked North Carolina State on Sunday. She was OK according to coach Geno Auriemma. As the national anthem ended, Dailey had to be held up by UConn personnel before she was laid down on the court. She was attended to by medical personnel for a few minutes before she was stretchered off the court. Dailey, who is 63, waved to the crowd and smiled as she left the court.
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Eva Hodgson scored 14 of her 21 points during a fourth quarter flurry of shot-making, and No. 8 North Carolina rallied i…

Saudi Arabia’s shocking victory Tuesday over Argentina at the World Cup was celebrated across the Arab world. From Syria and Jordan to Gaza and Qatar — host of this year’s World Cup — overjoyed soccer fans basked in the moment, one of the biggest upsets in the tournament’s history. Immediately after their team’s 2-1 come-from-behind victory, Saudi fans who witnessed the match in person flooded the streets outside Lusail Stadium waving their country’s green and white flags while chanting and singing — and even hugging distraught Argentina fans. Qatar’s ruling emir attended the match, and at one point wrapped a Saudi flag over his shoulders.

No. 19 Illinois rallied from a 15-point deficit to beat No. 8 UCLA 79-70 in the Continental Tire Main Event. Terrence Shannon Jr. made 8 of 9 3-pointers and scored 29 points with 10 rebounds. The Illini will play No. 16 Virginia in Sunday’s championship game. UCLA faces fifth-ranked Baylor in the consolation game. UCLA led 44-29 early in the second half. The Bruins were in front by 10 points when Illinois then went on a 22-6 run take a lead it never gave back.

Dak Prescott was nearly perfect in directing a balanced, dynamic offense. Micah Parsons again wreaked havoc in leading a dominant defense. Behind Prescott and Parsons, Dallas dismantled Minnesota and put the rest of the NFL on notice with a convincing 40-3 victory on the road against a team that had won seven straight games. No team owns a more impressive win this season. The 7-3 Cowboys are unlikely to win the NFC East. They trail the Philadelphia Eagles by two games and already lost to them. But they proved why they’ll be a dangerous team that nobody will want to face in January.

The 90-minute soccer match is turning into 100-plus at the World Cup. And that is what FIFA wants in order to give fans more entertainment. The five longest periods of stoppage time for a single half of soccer at any World Cup have all been played in Qatar. That’s according to statistics site Opta Joe. England and Iran went into the 15th minute of stoppage time in the first half Monday and the 14th in the second half. FIFA cites several reasons for stoppages that include video reviews of incidents and longer goal celebrations. Referees have been told to compensate for them all.

Ashley Joens scored 26 points, Stephanie Soares had 23 and No. 7 Iowa State survived a scare in its first road game of the season, holding off Northern Iowa 88-85. Emily Ryan’s 3-pointer with 2:03 remaining gave Iowa State an 86-85 lead after Northern Iowa had erased a 13-point deficit early in the fourth quarter. Ryan added a jumper in the lane 48 seconds later to extend the lead. Northern Iowa had a chance to tie it, but Kayla Laube’s 3-point attempt hit off the side of the rim with 1 second left. Grace Boffeli led Northern Iowa with 26 points.
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