Latest South Carolina sports

PANTHERS-NEWTON’S PSYCHE

Newton: I’m not playing great ball right now

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — While Cam Newton admits he’s not been 100 percent in “a long time,” the Panthers’ two-time Pro Bowl quarterback says that’s no excuse for his team’s four-game losing streak — and that he needs to play better.

Newton took blame Wednesday for the team’s recent struggles, saying “I’m not playing great ball right now.”

The fourth-year pro has completed just 52 percent of his passes for three touchdowns and six interceptions over the past four games and Carolina has fallen out of first place in the NFC South entering Sunday’s game against Atlanta.

Newton had ankle surgery in March and hurt his ribs in the preseason, forcing him out of the season opener. But he’s played in the nine games since and says he’ll continue to play through the pain.

T25-NORTH CAROLINA-OPENER

Perimeter depth offers versatility for No. 6 UNC

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) — Roy Williams has a lot more flexibility heading into the season opener for No. 6 North Carolina.

The coach has a preseason All-American in guard Marcus Paige to headline a deep set of versatile perimeter players. He also has size inside.

And that will give the Tar Heels the ability to tweak their lineup to match up with opponents from possession to possession, starting with Friday’s opener against North Carolina Central.

Williams says the team will experiment with the lineup some, but not nearly as much as in two exhibition games.

Williams started Paige, J.P. Tokoto and freshman Justin Jackson alongside Kennedy Meeks and Brice Johnson on the interior for each of the two exhibition games. He said Wednesday he’s planning to stick with that lineup this weekend.

NCHSAA PLAYOFFS-DUDLEY OUT

Dudley out of playoffs due to ineligible players

GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) — Reigning state champion Greensboro Dudley won’t compete in the North Carolina High School Athletic Association football playoffs after it used ineligible players in last week’s regular-season finale.

The governing board said Wednesday that its executive committee denied Dudley’s appeal, though Dudley is now appealing to the NCHSAA’s full board of directors Thursday.

Dudley was the No. 1 seed in the Class 4-A West bracket. Jamestown Ragsdale, Dudley’s 16th-seeded opponent, will advance to the second round barring a reversal.

Dudley had won 25 straight games and was ranked third in the final Associated Press 4-A state poll. But the NCHSAA forced Dudley to forfeit its final win, triggering a rule disqualifying a team from the playoffs if a forfeit causes a change in record and seeding after the brackets are finalized.

SEC-NEXT MAN UP

SEC teams salvaging seasons thanks to backups

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — With the regular season winding down, SEC teams are getting more than just help from plenty of players taking advantage of being the next man up.

Players such as Nick Chubb of Georgia, Joshua Dobbs at Tennessee, Florida’s Treon Harris and Kyle Allen of Texas A&M are helping salvage their teams’ seasons.

Georgia coach Mark Richt says teams have no choice but to move on by putting in the next best man.

And he says Chubb helped the Bulldogs avoid a huge drop-off at running back when Todd Gurley was suspended for four games.

JAZZ-HAWKS

Millsap, Teague help Hawks sink Jazz

ATLANTA (AP) — Paul Millsap had 30 points and 17 rebounds and Jeff Teague added 17 points to help the Atlanta Hawks beat the Utah Jazz 100-97 on Wednesday night.

Kyle Korver’s 3-pointer from the left wing with 58 seconds to play put the Hawks up 100-97 and marked the game’s 18th lead change.

Alec Burks finished with 22 points and Derrick Favors scored 20 for the Jazz.

Utah (3-6) led by eight with 4:34 remaining, but the Jazz failed to score again, missing their final seven shots.

Korver had 17 points and 10 rebounds for Atlanta (4-3). The only other points scored in the final minute were a pair of free throws from Teague with 5.7 seconds remaining.

Winning their third straight, the Hawks were playing without forwards DeMarre Carroll, a starter, and reserve Mike Scott. Carroll and Scott combined for a 21.7 scoring average in the Hawks’ first six games.