Latest South Carolina sports

HORNETS-BLAZERS

Blazers rally to beat Hornets 102-100

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Damian Lillard had 29 points and the Trail Blazers trailed by as many as 23 points in the first half before rallying in the fourth quarter to beat the Charlotte Hornets 102-100 on Tuesday night.

Charlotte’s Gary Neal made a layup at the final buzzer that would have sent the game into overtime, but the refs reversed the call after a review.

LaMarcus Aldridge added 25 points and 14 rebounds for the Blazers, who have won four of their last five games and improved to 5-1 at the Moda Center.

Al Jefferson scored 22 points, while Lance Stephenson had 14 points and 14 rebounds for the Hornets.

PANTHERS-PROBLEMS

Rivera: Newton is fine, not time to panic

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Panthers coach Ron Rivera walked into his news conference and, before taking any questions, said “No, he’s not injured.”

Rivera did his best Tuesday to dispute published reports that two-time Pro Bowl quarterback Cam Newton was injured during Carolina’s 45-21 loss to Philadelphia on Monday night.

Rivera says he’s spoken to trainers and says Newton is “fine” despite being sacked a career-high nine times.

That’s a small piece of good news for a Carolina team mired in a four-game losing streak and is 1-6-1 in its past eight games.

Rivera says “I know there is a sense of panic, but I’m not going there.”

He later added that despite the lopsided defeat, the Panthers are “on the cusp” of turning things around and can still win the NFC South.

T25-CLEMSON-RODRIGUEZ

Clemson’s Rodriguez wins Armed Forces award

CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) — Clemson receiver and Bronze Star Medal recipient Daniel Rodriguez earned the Armed Forces Merit Award from the Football Writers Association of America.

Rodriguez is a senior who also plays special teams for the 18th-ranked Tigers. The award, announced Tuesday, is presented to an individual or group with a military background who’s made an impact on college football.

Rodriguez served in the Army from 2006-10 and fought in the Battle of Kamdesh in Afghanistan in 2009 where 38 U.S. troops faced 300 Taliban fighters. Eight Americans were killed in the fighting and 22 were wounded, including Rodriguez. He was also awarded the Purple Heart.

In 2012, Rodriguez was offered a walk-on spot with Clemson and has played in 35 straight games for the Tigers.

TENNESSEE-IMPROVED LINE

Tennessee’s young O-line starting to grow up

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The emergence of quarterback Joshua Dobbs is helping Tennessee’s young offensive line show signs of growth.

After giving up 30 sacks in its first seven games, the Volunteers have allowed just two sacks the past two games. In its last game, Tennessee didn’t allow any sacks and gained 645 yards — its fourth-highest total ever — to rally to a 45-42 overtime victory at South Carolina.

That performance gives Tennessee (4-5, 1-4 SEC) reason to feel good about its line play heading into Saturday’s game with Kentucky (5-5, 2-5).

Dobbs’ mobility certainly has helped, but the line itself also deserves plenty of credit for its ability to withstand adversity. Tennessee was the only Football Bowl Subdivision team that opened the season without any returning starters on its offensive line.

NASCAR-HOMESTEAD-TICKETS

NASCAR championship finale at Homestead sold out

HOMESTEAD, Fla. (AP) — NASCAR’s season-ending championship race has sold out all of its grandstand seats.

Homestead-Miami Speedway President Matthew Becherer says all premium seating has also been sold out for Sunday’s finale.

Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick, Joey Logano and Ryan Newman are the four drivers racing for the Sprint Cup championship. The title will go to the highest-finishing driver.

Tickets remain available for the Truck Series finale on Friday night and the Nationwide Series finale on Saturday.

Phoenix International Raceway sold all of its seating for last week’s race. The championship field was set at Phoenix, and tickets for that event were gone a week in advance.