Sports

AUBURN, Ala. (AP) — Jaylin Williams scored 20 points, Wendell Green Jr. had 17, and No. 19 Auburn beat Georgia State 72-64 Wednesday night. The Tigers (9-1) rebounded from their first loss, 82-73 against Memphis, with a hot-shooting second half after struggling for the first 23 minutes. Auburn hit 18 of 27 shots (66.7%) in the half but struggled to shake the Panthers (5-5), who actually led by six a few minutes after coming back from the locker room.

STATESBORO, Ga. (AP) — Kalil Thomas scored 21 points to help Morehead State defeat Georgia Southern 74-71 on Wednesday night. Thomas was 8 of 9 shooting (4 for 5 from distance) for the Eagles (6-5). Mark Freeman scored 13 points while going 3 of 7 from the floor, including 1 for 3 from distance, and 6 for 6 from the line, and added five assists. Alex Gross shot 5 of 9 from the field and 3 for 3 from the line to finish with 13 points.

AL KHOR, Qatar (AP) — Kylian Mbappé vs. Lionel Messi. Soccer's latest superstar against perhaps the sport's greatest player in the World Cup final just about everyone was hoping for. France and Mbappé are headed back to the biggest game in soccer, and to a much-anticipated matchup with Argentina, after ending Morocco’s historic run at the World Cup on Wednesday.

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) — The Atlanta Falcons will have more on the line than retaining hope in the weak NFC South race as rookie quarterback Desmond Ridder makes his debut as the starter on Sunday at New Orleans. That game is the start of a four-week audition for Ridder that could help determine the Falcons' long-term plan at quarterback.

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Franz Wagner scored 24 points, Orlando had a franchise-record 50 points in the first quarter and the Magic beat the Atlanta Hawks 135-124 on Wednesday night for their fourth straight victory. Cole Anthony finished the first period with two free throws to make it 50-22, the most points the Magic have ever scored in any quarter. Orlando has its first four-game winning streak since the first four games of the 2020-21 season.

CHICAGO (AP) — Soaked with beer and still wearing his No. 8 jersey, Alex Ovechkin held three pucks in his right hand as he posed for a picture with the rest of the jubilant Washington Capitals in the visiting locker room at the United Center. Three pucks that added up to 800.

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) — The Atlanta Falcons on Tuesday released running back Damien Williams, the veteran who never returned after a rib injury in his first game with the team. The release of Williams came one day after coach Arthur Smith announced rookie quarterback Desmond Ridder will start in Sunday's game at New Orleans. Marcus Mariota has been benched, leaving his status for the remainder of the season uncertain.

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio State didn’t get to control its playoff destiny after losing to rival Michigan at the end of the regular season. No matter. The Buckeyes are in the postseason, and they're yearning for redemption.

Mike Leach, the gruff, pioneering and unfiltered college football coach who helped revolutionize the passing game with the Air Raid offense, has died following complications from a heart condition, Mississippi State said Tuesday. He was 61. Leach, who was in his third season as head coach at Mississippi State, fell ill Sunday at his home in Starkville, Mississippi. He was treated at a local hospital before being airlifted to the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, about 120 miles away.

LUSAIL, Qatar (AP) — Lionel Messi is back in the World Cup final with Argentina on his mission to win soccer’s biggest prize for the first time. And, at 35, he could hardly be playing any better. Messi converted a penalty and had a hand in the other two goals by Julián Álvarez, leading Argentina to a 3-0 win over Croatia on Tuesday that set up a meeting with either France or Morocco in Sunday’s title match.

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