Marquette rolls past Xavier

MILWAUKEE — Markus Howard scored 35 points with five 3-pointers and Marquette beat Xavier 85-65 on Wednesday to end a two-game losing streak.

Sacar Anim scored 12 points with eight rebounds and three steals for Marquette (12-5, 2-3 Big East Conference). Koby McEwen and Theo John each score 10 while John grabbed seven rebounds.

Tyrique Jones scored 16 points for the Musketeers (12-6, 1-4). Naji Marshall added 15 points and eight rebounds, Paul Scruggs 11 and Zach Freemantly 10.

Both teams take on Georgetown the next time they take the floor. Marquette will be on the road for its matchup against the Hoyas on Saturday, while Xavier heads home to host Georgetown on Wednesday.

Sabonis too much for T-Wolves

MINNEAPOLIS — Domantas Sabonis matched a season high with 29 points and added 13 rebounds and six assists to lead the Indiana Pacers to a 104-99 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday night.

Malcolm Brogdon added 21 points and Doug McDermott scored 14 off the bench for the Pacers, who have won three straight games.

Jarrett Culver led Minnesota with 17 points and Gorgui Dieng had 15 points and 11 boards. The Timberwolves have lost three in a row.

Minnesota big man Karl-Anthony Towns missed his 15th straight game with a left knee sprain. A combination of several players matched up on Sabonis struggled early to keep him in check in Towns’ absence.

Panther's Kuechly retiring

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Carolina Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly is retiring from the NFL after eight seasons.

The 28-year-old Kuechly made the surprising announcement Tuesday night in a video posted on the team’s website. He said, “I think now is the right chance to move on."

Kuechly was selected to seven Pro Bowls and was a first-team All-Pro five times. However, he suffered three concussions during his career, which may have led to his decision.

On Nov. 17, 2016, Kuechly suffered a concussion after colliding with a Saints player. He left the game on a cart crying uncontrollably, a striking moment that shook the Panthers organization and players around the league and highlighted the NFL's ongoing problem with brain injuries.

Kuechly fought back tears at times during his announcement. He did not specifically mention concussions but referenced the ongoing toll of the game on his body.

Zion expected back next Wed.

METAIRIE, La. — Zion Williamson, the top choice in last summer’s NBA draft, is scheduled to make his regular season debut for the Pelicans on Jan. 22 when New Orleans hosts the the San Antonio Spurs, Pelicans basketball operations chief David Griffin said Wednesday.

“Everything's moving in the right direction,” Griffin said. “I really believe very strongly he is a radically improved physical version of himself in way that frankly we took the extra time to ensure.”

The former Duke star has missed New Orleans’ first 41 games this season while rehabilitating from arthroscopic surgery to repair the lateral meniscus in his right knee. The timeline set for his return calls for him to miss three more games, starting with Thursday night's home game against Utah.

Griffin also indicated that Williamson's minutes will be closely monitored and likely limited for the time being.

Golden Knights fire Gallant

Gerard Gallant was abruptly fired by the Vegas Golden Knights on Wednesday less than two years after leading them to the Stanley Cup Final in their first season of existence and winning NHL coach of the year honors along the way.

Peter DeBoer, fired last month by the San Jose Sharks, takes over immediately and will be the Vegas coach the rest of the season.

General manager Kelly McCrimmon announced the change in the aftermath of a 4-2 loss to Buffalo on Tuesday night that dropped Vegas out of a playoff position in the Western Conference. The Golden Knights have lost four in a row, matching the longest point drought in their brief franchise history.

From news services