COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — No. 19 Illinois and No. 18 Iowa meet on Sunday in a key Big Ten game. Illinois (15-5, 7-2) is tied for first place with No. 14 Michigan State in a league that has shown some parity in the first month of conference play. Still the Illini are the surprise team so far, reeling off seven straight wins. They won at Michigan last Saturday and at home against Minnesota on Thursday night. It will be the first meeting of the season for Iowa and Illinois. They’ll meet again in the regular-season finale on March 8. The Hawkeye women (18-3, 9-1) lead the Big Ten, average 80 points and extended their winning streak to nine on Thursday. They’ll travel to Michigan on Sunday.
MILWAUKEE (AP) — Will Barton had 24 points and eight assists to lead the tired and short-handed Denver Nuggets to a 127-115 victory that snapped Milwaukee’s nine-game winning streak and handed the NBA-leading Bucks just their third home loss this season. Malik Beasley scored 16 points, Nikola Jokić had 15 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists, and Michael Porter Jr. added 15 points and 11 rebounds as every member of the Nuggets that played scored in double figures.
UNDATED (AP) — Coming to the NBA All-Star Game: No. 24, Giannis Antetokounmpo and No. 2, LeBron James. As part of what will be a long series of tributes to Kobe Bryant, as well as his daughter Gianna, the NBA announced Friday that every player on Team Giannis will wear 24 on their jerseys at this year’s All-Star Game Feb. 16 in Chicago and every player on Team LeBron will wear 2. Kobe Bryant spent the last 10 seasons of his career in a No. 24 jersey. Gianna Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter, wore No. 2 on her jersey.
MIAMI (AP) — Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson joins Tom Brady as the only unanimous choice for The Associated Press NFL Most Valuable Player award. Jackson drew all 50 votes from a nationwide panel of media members who regularly cover the league. He broke an NFL record for quarterbacks with 1,206 yards rushing, leading an offense that set a league mark with 3,296 yards on the ground.
MIAMI (AP) — New Orleans’ Michael Thomas has become only the second wide receiver to win The Associated Press NFL Offensive Player of the Year award, joining Hall of Fame wideout Jerry Rice. New England’s Stephon Gilmore has become the first cornerback in a decade to win The Associated Press NFL Defensive Player of the Year award. And John Harbaugh has won The Associated Press NFL Coach of the Year award after guiding the Baltimore Ravens to a league-best 14-2 record, including 12 consecutive wins to end the regular season.
MIAMI (AP) — Former Steelers linebacker Troy Polamalu has been elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame along with another hard-hitting safety, Steve Atwater of Denver. Also voted in were receiver Isaac Bruce, running back Edgerrin James and guard Steve Hutchinson. Selected in his first year of eligibility, Polamalu was a four-time All-Pro, was voted to eight Pro Bowls and finished with two Super Bowl rings in three trips with Pittsburgh.
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Second-ranked Gonzaga was given a tough test by San Francisco before the Bulldogs earned their 36th consecutive regular-season victory in West Coast Conference play. Corey Kispert’s three-point play with 1:33 left put the Zags ahead for good before he added a jumper about a minute later to help Gonzaga secure an 83-79 triumph at San Francisco. Admon Gilder made two free throws with 3.6 seconds left to seal the Bulldogs’ 15th straight win overall.
UNDATED (AP) — MaCio Teague had 19 points and six rebounds as top-ranked Baylor dumped TCU, 68-52. Devon Dotson scored 13 of his 21 points while third-ranked Kansas was building a 44-35 halftime lead in a 78-75 squeaker over Texas Tech. No. 4 San Diego State remains the only unbeaten team in Division I after Matt Mitchell scored 24 of his season-high 28 points in the second half, including three straight 3-pointers, to help rally the Aztecs to an 80-68 victory against Utah State.