Bobcats Taylor hopes starting ends shooting slump
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - Bobcats small forward Jeffery Taylor is hoping a spot in the starting lineup will help shake his recent shooting slump.
Taylor takes over Friday night against the Philadelphia 76ers after the team's regular starter Michael Kidd-Gilchrist broke his left hand in Tuesday night's loss to the Dallas Mavericks.
Taylor, the team's second-round draft pick in 2012, has scored just 15 points in his last four games on 7 of 21 shooting. He averaged 10 points per game in his first 15 games this season.
Taylor played a season-low three minutes in Charlotte's loss to the Mavericks.
Taylor says, "I've struggled a little bit. I had a stretch where I was playing well and now I haven't played so well. I just need to stay at it."
Hurricanes topple Predators 5-2
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Jeff Skinner had a hat trick to lead the Carolina Hurricanes to a 5-2 victory over the Nashville Predators Thursday night.
Skinner has five goals in his past two games.
Justin Faulk and Riley Nash also scored for Carolina, winners of its past two.
Mike Fisher and Viktor Stalberg scored for Nashville, which completed a four-game homestand 0-3-1.
Faulk scored the game's first goal just 23 seconds after the opening faceoff with a wrist shot from the right faceoff dot that beat Nashville goaltender Marek Mazanec between the pads.
Nashville tied it at 50 seconds of the second on Fisher's goal.
Defenseman Victor Bartley fired a slap shot toward the Carolina net from the left point. Standing just to the left of the slot, Fisher tipped the puck over the shoulder of Carolina goaltender Justin Peters.
France focused on improved on-track product
LAS VEGAS (AP) - NASCAR continues to work on improving its on-track product, an endeavor chairman Brian France takes so seriously he plans to attend Monday's test at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
The test at Charlotte will be the second as NASCAR continues to seek a rules package that could enhance the competition.
Once that's complete, a focus could be turned to other areas of the product: France hinted Thursday that NASCAR could place a larger emphasis on winning and make changes to the qualifying process.
France also downplayed an overhaul to the 2015 Sprint Cup schedule, and said he didn't anticipate any "significant changes." NBC takes over the second half of the NASCAR television package in 2015.
Only Duke can keep Heisman from Winston
NEW YORK (AP) - The only thing standing in the way of Jameis Winston and the Heisman Trophy is the Duke Blue Devils.
The quarterback of No. 1 Florida State will not be charged with sexually assaulting a woman who accused him of raping her about a year ago. State Attorney Willie Meggs made the announcement Thursday, saying there was not enough evidence to win a conviction.
Even while Winston was being investigated for sexual assault, odds makers had pegged him as the clear favorite.
Now only a terrible performance in the Atlantic Coast Conference championship Saturday night against No. 20 Duke will keep him from a runaway Heisman victory.
Chris Huston who runs the website HeismanPundit.com says: "He'll win very comfortably."
WRIGHT ST-NC A&T
North Carolina A&T edges Wright State 62-59
GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) - Richard Pack scored 15 points and Lamont Middleton added 14 as North Carolina A&T edged Wright State 62-59 on Thursday night.
Bryan Akinkugbe hit two free throws with 1:36 remaining to give North Carolina A&T (3-5) a 60-59 lead. Wright State (5-5) then failed to score on its ensuing three possessions, missing a layup and committing two turnovers.
With North Carolina A&T leading 61-59 and 14 seconds left, Jerome Simmons had an opportunity to make it a two-possession game from the free throw line. But Simmons made just 1 of 2 for the Aggies, who were just 15-of-27 from the line. AJ Pacher and Kendall Griffin then each missed a potential game-tying 3-pointer in the waning seconds for Wright State.
Akinkugbe had 12 points for North Carolina A&T and Jeremy Underwood added 10.
Matt Vest led Wright State with 15 points.
NC WESLEYAN-COASTAL CAROLINA
Coastal Carolina roars past NC Wesleyan, 89-54
CONWAY, S.C. (AP) - Josh Cameron poured in 21 points and led six players into double figure scoring as Coastal Carolina used a big second half to cruise past North Carolina Weslyan, 89-54 Thursday night.
The Chanticleers led by nine at intermission, 35-26, but outscored the Battling Bishops by 26 points over the final 20 minutes.
All of Cameron's field goal attempts came from behind the 3-point line, where he was 6 of 10 shooting. El Hadji Ndieguene and Warren Gillis added 14 and 13 points, respectively, with Ndieguene pulling down a game-high 16 rebounds. Elijah Wilson and Colton Ray-St Cyr each scored 11 points and Uros Lieskovic added 10.
Brandon Brown, who finished with 11, was the lone scorer to reach double figures for NC Wesleyan, which shot just 23 of 66 from the field in the game.
Presbyterian beats Montreat 91-58
CLINTON, S.C. (AP) - Reggie Dillard scored a game-high 19 points and three teammates scored in double digits Thursday and Presbyterian rolled over Montreat College 91-58 with a balanced attack.
Presbyterian (3-7) took an early lead and dominated, out-rebounding Appalachian Athletic Conference Montreat 43-32 and outshooting them 53.7 percent from the field to 37.9 percent. All 11 Blue Hose players saw game time an all scored points.
Dillard had nine of Presbyterian's 19 assists, William Truss and Jordan Downing each scored 15 points and Danny Herrera added 14.
Presbyterian took a 7-6 lead on a Herrera free throw at 17:48 and pulled away with short runs, scoring six unanswered points in the final 2:36 to lead 51-37 at the half. William Truss opened the second half with a layup for Presbyterian and the Blue Hose led by as much as 25.
La'Bris Adams led Montreat (7-3) with 17 points and Melvin Irvin added 16.
Jones leads No. 2 Duke women past No. 16 Purdue
DURHAM, N.C. (AP) - Alexis Jones scored to lead No. 2 Duke in a 99-78 victory over No. 16 Purdue on Thursday night in a Big Ten/ACC Challenge game.
Chelsea Gray added 16 points for Duke (9-0). Haley Peters, who had sat out four games with a knee injury, and Elizabeth Williams had 14 points each, Tricia Liston scored 13 and Richa Jackson 11.
Duke coach Joanne P. McCallie moved one win away from reaching 500 for her career, improving to 499-183. The Blue Devils visit No. 17 Oklahoma on Sunday.
K.K. Houser scored 20 points to lead Purdue (5-2). April Wilson had 14 and Whitney Bays 11.
Duke, which leads the series 6-3, is 6-1 overall in Big Ten/ACC Challenge games while Purdue is 1-6.
The Blue Devils trailed 44-41 at halftime, their first deficit at the break this season, before running away from the Boilermakers in the second half.
Georgetown rolls over High Point 80-45
WASHINGTON (AP) - Markel Starks scored 18 points and D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera added 17, and Georgetown pulled away early in the second half for an 80-45 win over High Point Thursday night.
Joshua Smith contributed 11 points for the Hoyas (5-2), who won their fourth straight.
Georgetown led by 12 at halftime and pulled away by scoring the first 10 points of the second half in the first-ever meeting between the schools. The Hoyas led by as many as 40 points.
The Big South Conference Panthers (3-4) were led by Jorge Perez-Laham's 10 points.
Starks scored five quick points on a layup and 3-pointer to open the second half. Smith added a three-point play and Nate Lubick's hook shot made it 38-16 two minutes in.
High Point was without starter Allan Chaney, who missed his second game since collapsing on the court during the team's Nov. 24 game against Wofford.
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