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Sports news briefs — Dec. 23

Compiled from wire reports

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College football

Auburn’s Malzahn named top coach

• Gus Malzahn inherited a demoralized Auburn team that had just gone through the program’s worst season in decades with a stagnant offense and pliant defense.

As is his way, the coach known for fast play on offense went to work in a hurry. He led the second-ranked Tigers’ transformation into Southeastern Conference champions and has them in the national championship game Jan. 6 against No. 1 Florida State.

Malzahn’s quick work made him the Associated Press national coach of the year.

“It’s very humbling,” he said Monday. “Any time you get awards like this, it’s a team thing, as far as our staff and our players. It’s been fun to be a part of this year.”

Malzahn received 33 votes from AP Top 25 college football poll voters to beat out Duke’s David Cutcliffe. Cutcliffe received 17 votes after leading Duke (10-3) to its first 10-win season. Florida State’s Jimbo Fisher and Michigan State’s Mark Dantonio each received three votes.

• SMU says coach June Jones agreed to a three-year contract extension. The school announced Monday that Jones had signed a deal that keeps him in place through 2017. Jones has won two Conference USA championships at SMU, which completed its first season in the American Athletic Conference this season. The Mustangs finished 5-7 overall, ending a streak of four consecutive bowl appearances. Jones has a 36-41 record at SMU and is 112-82 for his college coaching career.

• Michigan coach Brady Hoke says quarterback Devin Gardner is still slowed by a turf toe injury. The coach says Gardner, who is wearing a protective boot, would have to practice by Wednesday to play in Saturday’s Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl. Hoke says Gardner had a setback and met with doctors last Friday.

• Boise State University quarterback Joe Southwick said he was unfairly dismissed from the Hawaii Bowl, arguing he was falsely accused of urinating from a hotel balcony. Southwick, a senior who was sent home Friday by interim head coach Bob Gregory shortly after the team arrived in Hawaii, took a polygraph test after arriving in Boise in his bid to prove his innocence, KTVB reported Sunday.

Soccer

Aresenal, Chelsea match ends nil-nil

• Arsenal was held to a 0-0 draw by Chelsea in swirling rain Monday, missing a chance to return to the top of the Premier League. The game between the London rivals at Emirates Stadium failed to produce the expected drama, with few attempts on goal. Arsenal and Liverpool share the Premier League point lead, with Liverpool ahead on goal difference. Chelsea is fourth, two points out of first place.

• Tottenham has appointed inexperienced Tim Sherwood as coach until the end of next season in a surprise move by the club a week after Andre Villas-Boas was fired. The Englishman had not managed a team until his switch from his technical job at Tottenham to interim manager last Monday.

Other sports

Grant’s departure leaves hole at ND

• Notre Dame coach Mike Brey said the loss of leading scorer Jerian Grant to an academic violation might be the biggest he’s faced in his 14 seasons at the school. The news broke Sunday evening when the university posted a message from Grant on its website. Grant said he is no longer enrolled at Notre Dame because of an academic matter that he didn’t handle properly. Grant was averaging 19 points and also led the Irish (8-4) in assists and steals.

• The Buffalo Sabres shuffled their lineup by recalling defenseman Mark Pysyk and forward Johan Larsson from their AHL affiliate in Rochester. The Sabres also demoted defenseman Chad Ruhwedel to Rochester.

• The Tennis Integrity Unit says Spanish player Guillermo Olaso has been banned from the sport for five years and fined $25,000 for match-fixing.

• Akiko Suzuki earned a spot on the Japanese Olympic team by winning her first national title at the All-Japan figure skating championships in Saitama, Japan.

— From wire reports


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