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TODAY'S THOUGHT

His brokenhearted cry on the cross, "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do," shows God's heart toward sinners.

- John R. Rice

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 K-Heart Sports

K-HEART SPORTS - MONDAY - 01/15/18 - MORNING EDITION

The Minnesota Vikings have advanced to the NFC championship game for the first time in eight years...

      UNDATED (AP) - The Minnesota Vikings have advanced to the NFC championship game for the first time in eight years, while the Jacksonville Jaguars have earned their first AFC title game appearance since the 1999 season.
 
     Case Keenum connected with Stefon Diggs for a 61-yard touchdown on the game's final play as the Vikings stunned the Saints 29-24 at Minneapolis. Keenum threw the game-winning pass near the sideline before Diggs wormed his way past the New Orleans defenders and into the end zone. It came 25 seconds after Wil Lutz nailed a 43-yard field goal that put the Saints ahead.
 
     Both the Vikings and Saints lost two leads in the final 3:01. Alvin Kamara's 14-yard scoring grab put New Orleans ahead for the first time, but the Vikings went back on top when Kai Forbath drilled a 53-yard field goal with 1:29 to play. That was followed by Lutz's go-ahead field goal 64 seconds later.
 
     Keenum was 25 of 40 passes for 318 yards, one TD and one interception as the Vikings moved within one victory of becoming the first team to host its own Super Bowl appearance.
 
     Saints receiver Michael Thomas grabbed a pair of scoring strikes from Brees, who was 25 of 40 for 294 yards, three TDs and two interceptions.
 
     Minnesota will travel to Philadelphia to face the Eagles next Sunday.
 

     The Jaguars pulled off a surprise in Pittsburgh as rookie running back Leonard Fournette ran for 109 yards and three touchdowns in a 45-42 victory over the second-seeded Steelers. Fournette had a pair of first-quarter scoring runs before his three-yard TD burst put the Jags ahead 35-21 with 10:34 remaining.
 
     Blake Bortles threw for 214 yards, including a 14-yard scoring pass to fullback Tommy Bohanon that made it 42-28 with 4:19 left. Bortles had no interceptions and was sacked just twice for seven yards.
 
     The Jaguars appeared poised for a rout when Telvin Smith returned a Ben Roethlisberger interception 50 yards for a TD that made it 28-7 late in the first half. But the Steelers wouldn't go away as Roethlisberger proceeded to throw four of his five scoring passes.
 
     Roethlisberger passed for 469 yards, and Le'Veon Bell had 155 total yards and two touchdowns for the Steelers.
 
     Bell's eight-yard scoring run brought Pittsburgh within 42-35 with 2:18 to go. But with two timeouts remaining and the two-minute warning coming up, the Steelers elected to go for an onside kick that backfired. The decision set up Josh Lambo's game-clinching field goal.
 
     The Jaguars will take on the New England Patriots in Foxborough next Sunday.
 
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     MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Jimmy Butler scored 24 points, Jeff Teague added 22 and the Minnesota Timberwolves wrapped up a perfect homestand with a 120-103 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on Sunday night.
 
     Karl-Anthony Towns had 20 points and 11 rebounds for his NBA-leading 37th double-double of the season. The Wolves had their first 5-0 homestand since 2001, winning each game by double figures against the likes of New Orleans, Cleveland, Oklahoma City and New York.
 
     They led by as many as 26 against Portland to send the Trail Blazers to their third loss in a row.
 
     Damian Lillard scored 21 points, and C.J. McCollum and Pat Connaughton each had 18 for Portland. The Blazers had scored 110 points or more in seven straight game.
 
     That streak was in jeopardy early thanks to the Blazers' paltry 10-point second quarter and 18 total turnovers.
 
     Portland led by five early and ended the first quarter up 33-31. But the Blazers went cold in the second, shooting only 2 for 15 and scoring more points off six free throws in the quarter. The Wolves, meanwhile, put together a 14-0 run and steadily pulled away.
 
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     ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - Brandon Sutter scored 2:50 into overtime to lift the Vancouver Canucks to a 3-2 victory over the Minnesota Wild on Sunday night.
 
     Loui Eriksson and Thomas Vanek also scored to rally the Canucks who played without Daniel Sedin. The team's third-leading goal scorer with 10 was a late scratch with back spasms.
 
     Vancouver trailed late in the third period before rallying to win its second straight after going 1-7-2 in its previous 10.
 
     Jason Zucker and Daniel Winnik scored for Minnesota, which fell to 5-0-2 in its last seven homes games.
 
     Sutter, making his return after missing 21 games with a lower-body injury, took a pass from Alexander Edler just inside the Wild blue line, cut to the inside against Jonas Brodin and beat Devan Dubnyk on the stick side.
 
     Tied at 1 in the third period, Winnik scored on a one-timer from the left circle with 7:46 to play to put the Wild ahead.
 
     Vanek then redirected a slap shot from Sam Gagner between Dubnyk's pads to tie it with 3:12 left in regulation.
 
     Both teams played its last game before five days off.
 
     While Vancouver is likely in sell mode as the trade deadline approaches late next month, Minnesota holds the first wild card spot in the Western Conference with five teams within four points.
 
     After Saturday's 4-1 home win over Winnipeg, Wild players stressed the importance of a strong showing Sunday to head into the break on a positive note. In its last four games, Minnesota earned six of a possible eight points.
 
     Things looked good early as Zucker converted a touch pass from Mikko Koivu for a power-play goal five minutes into the game, but with a setup by Edler, Eriksson ended an 18-game goal drought with a one-timer from the slot late in the opening period to it.
 
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     CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) - Third-ranked Virginia has a chance to move up in The Associated Press men's basketball poll today.
 
     The Cavaliers are 16-1 after running their winning streak to eight games with a 68-51 trouncing of North Carolina State. Devon Hall scored a career-high 25 points and Kyle Guy added 17 as the Cavs improved to 5-0 in the ACC.
 
     N.C. State guard Allerik Freeman was held without a point on 0-for-5 shooting in 29 minutes after entering the game as the Wolfpack's scoring leader at 15.2 points a game.
 
     Second-ranked West Virginia gave Virginia an opportunity to climb up the AP poll by losing to No. 7 Texas Tech 72-71 on Saturday.
 
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     UNDATED (AP) - The Miami Heat have taken over first place in the NBA's Southeast Division by running their season-high winning streak to seven games.
 
     Goran Dragic scored 11 of his 25 points in the fourth quarter of the Heat's 97-79 victory against the Bucks. Josh Richardson had 16 points for Miami, which trailed 43-41 before outscoring Milwaukee 41-21 in the first 16 minutes of the second half.
 
     Hassan Whiteside's 15 points and 10 rebounds helped the Heat move a half-game ahead of Washington in the Southeast standings.
 
     The Bucks missed 13 of their first 14 shots in the second half and hit 32 percent overall. Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 22 for Milwaukee.
 
     Checking out other NBA results:
 
     - Jimmy Butler scored 24 points and the Timberwolves completed their first 5-0 homestand in 17 years by whipping the Trail Blazers 120-103. Jeff Teague (teeg) dropped in 22 points for Minnesota, which led by as many as 26 and sent Portland to its third straight loss. The Wolves won each game of their homestand by double figures.
 
     - Anthony Davis poured in a season-high 48 points and grabbed 17 rebounds as the Pelicans beat the Knicks 123-118 in overtime. Jrue Holiday had 31 points for New Orleans, which trailed by 19 late in the third quarter and erased a nine-point deficit in the last 4 1/2 minutes of regulation. DeMarcus Cousins shot just 4-for-16 but still contributed 15 points, 15 boards, seven assists and five steals to help the Pelicans avoid falling to .500.
 
     - The Pacers had seven players score in double figures as Indiana clobbered the Suns 120-97. Darren Collison scored 19 points and Victor Oladipo contributed 13 of his 17 in the first half. Cory Joseph chipped in 16 points for the Pacers, who have won four of five since a five-game losing streak.
 
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     UNDATED (AP) - The Chicago Blackhawks have had an up-and-down season through 45 games, and the down side was on full display this afternoon.
 
     The Hawks were 4-0 losers at home against the Red Wings as Petr Mrazek stopped 27 shots in his second shutout of the season and 12th of his career. Anthony Mantha and Tyler Bertuzzi each had a goal and an assist for the Wings, who had dropped two straight since a season-high four-game winning streak.
 
     Chicago was fresh off an impressive 2-1 win over the Central Division-leading Jets on Friday. Detroit entered the game with a losing record and currently sits six points out of an Eastern Conference wild-card berth.
 
     Elsewhere on NHL ice:
 
     - Phil Kessel snapped a 2-2 tie in the second period and assisted on Sidney Crosby's insurance goal as the Penguins dumped the Rangers 5-2. Carl Hagelin also had a goal and an assist in Pittsburgh's fourth consecutive win. The Blueshirts dropped their third in a row after Michael Grabner and Brendan Smith tallied late in the first period to put New York ahead 2-1.
 
     - The Flames ran their season-best winning streak to seven games as Dougie Hamilton scored twice and Mike Smith handled 38 shots in a 4-1 victory over the Hurricanes. Matt Stajan had the opening goal for Calgary, which played without leading scorer Sean Monahan because of the flu. Johnny Gaudreau set up two goals to run his point streak to seven games.
 
     - The Canucks came away with a 3-2 win at Minnesota on Brandon Sutter's goal 2:50 into overtime. Sutter was back in the lineup after missing 21 games with a lower-body injury. Vancouver had dropped nine of its previous 10 and trailed 2-1 until Thomas Vanek tied it with 3:12 left in regulation.
 
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     HONOLULU (AP) - It took six extra holes to settle the Sony Open at Honolulu. Patton Zizzire outlasted James Hahn to become the first multiple winner on the PGA Tour this season. Kizzire closed with a 2-under 68 before sinking a par putt to win it. Hahn forced the playoff with a 62 to match Kizzire at 17 under.
 
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     MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) - Top-seeded Rafael Nadal didn't show any side effects from a right knee injury that sidelined him at the end of last season, beating Victor Estrella Burgos 6-1, 6-1, 6-1 in a first-round match. Nadal will play Leonardo Mayer in the second round on Wednesday. Mayer beat Nicolas Jarry 6-2, 7-6 (1), 6-3 earlier Monday.
 
     Caroline Wozniacki was an easy 6-2, 6-3 winner over Michaela Buzarnescu in a first-round match at Melbourne Park. At No. 2, Wozniacki is playing here at her highest seeding since appearing as the top-seeded player at the 2012 Australian Open when she lost in the quarterfinals.
 
     Men's Third-seeded Grigor Dimitrov advanced to the second round at the Australian Open for the seventh time with a 6-3, 6-2, 6-1 win over qualifier Dennis Novak.
 
     Add Jack Sock's name to the list of Americans departing Monday from the Australian Open.
 
     On the same day the U.S. lost eight women's players, including 2017 finalist Venus Williams and U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens, Sock was defeated by Japan's Yuichi Sugita of Japan 6-1, 7-6 (4), 5-7, 6-3 in the first round. Sock, who's never advanced beyond the third round at the Australian Open, was the highest-ranked American man at No. 8 and had his highest seeding at a major. 16th seed John Isner lost 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 to Matt Ebden.
 
     U.S. Open finalist and 11th seed Kevin Anderson lost in five sets to Kyle Edmund on Show Court 3, the first seeded man to lose at the Australian Open.
 
     Also on opening day of the year's first Grand Slam:
 
     - Coco VandeWeghe also fell on opening day, as did countrywomen Alison Riske and Sofia Kenin.
 
     - French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko made a positive start with a 6-1, 6-4 win over 37-year-old Francesca Schiavone.
 
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     UNDATED (AP) - The Arizona Wildcats have hired Kevin Sumlin as their new football coach. The former Texas A&M head coach is expected to sign a five-year contract, pending approval by the Arizona Board of Regents. An introductory news conference is scheduled for Tuesday. He replaces Rich Rodriguez, who was fired Jan. 2 amid sexual harassment allegations.
 
     Sumlin was fired in November after six seasons at Texas A&M and had reportedly been in the mix for numerous jobs. He went 51-26 with the Aggies and is 84-43 during a 10-year head coaching career that includes four seasons at Houston.
 
     In other college football news:
 
     - Washington star running back Myles Gaskin will return to school for his senior season rather than enter the NFL draft. Gaskin finished the 2017 season with 1,380 yards and had 24 total TDs.
 
     - Southern California defensive lineman Rasheem Green will skip his final year of eligibility to enter the NFL draft. He's the fourth member of the 2017 Pac-12 champions to enter the draft early, joining quarterback Sam Darnold, running back Ronald Jones II and receiver Deontay Burnett.
 
     - Clemson All-American defensive end Clelin Ferrell has decided to return to the Tigers next season. The 6-foot-5, 280-pound redshirt sophomore was considered a likely first-round selection in the NFL draft after leading the Tigers with 9 1/2 sacks and 18 tackles for loss.
 
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     UNDATED (AP) - Anaheim Ducks forward Andrew Cogliano has been suspended for two games without pay by the NHL, ending the fourth-longest consecutive games streak in NHL history. Cogliano had the longest active games streak at 830. Doug Jarvis holds the record of 964. Florida defenseman Keith Yandle takes over the NHL's longest active streak at 676. Cogliano was suspended for an interference penalty against Los Angeles forward Adrian Kempe on Saturday night in the Ducks' 4-2 victory and was assessed a minor penalty for interference. Cogliano hit Kempe after the Kings player released the puck, but the NHL says "substantial head contact" merited the additional discipline.
 
     - Canadiens forward Phillip Danault has been released from a hospital after tests for a head injury. Danault was hit in the head by Boston defenseman Zdeno Chara's slap shot Saturday night and stretchered off the ice. It wasn't immediately clear when Danault might return to the lineup.
 
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     NEW YORK (AP) - The New York Mets have worked out a one-year contract with free agent first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, pending a physical.
 
     The 35-year-old Gonzalez was limited to 71 games last season because of a herniated disk in his back, and was left off the Los Angeles Dodgers' postseason roster. The five-time All-Star is a lifetime .288 hitter with 311 career home runs.
 
     Gonzalez is owed more than $21 million next season, but the Mets would be responsible for just $545,000 if he makes the team.
 
     Also in the majors:
 
     - Hall of Fame umpire Doug Harvey has died in California at age 87. Harvey umpired in the National League from 1962 through 1992, and was a crew chief for 18 of his 31 seasons. He worked almost 4,700 regular-season games, six All-Star games and five World Series.
 

 


   (Copyright 2018 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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