Panthers beat Saints...Cougars pound Cardinals...Harden leads Rockets...'Nova wins again

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Cam Newton threw a 40-yard touchdown pass to Ted Ginn Jr. and the Carolina Panthers carried a 23-3 lead into the fourth quarter before holding off the visiting New Orleans Saints, 23-20. The Panthers finished the game without former NFL Defensive Player of the Year Luke Kuechly (KEEK'-lee), two-time All-Pro center Ryan Kalil, defensive end Mario Addison and cornerback Leonard Johnson, all because of injuries. Saints quarterback Drew Brees (breez) threw for two TDs in the final 11 1/2 minutes and finished with 285 passing yards.

HOUSTON (AP) — Third-ranked Louisville's national championship hopes took a big hit with a 36-10 loss at Houston. Duke Catolon scored three touchdowns and the Cougars raced out to a 31-0 halftime lead before dropping the Cardinals to 9-2. Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson was sacked a season-high 11 times and ran for a season-worst 33 yards after racking up 338 yards rushing over the previous two games.

UNDATED (AP) — James Harden had another strong performance on Thursday after entering the night ranked first in the NBA in assists and fourth in scoring. Harden recorded his third triple-double of the season by contributing 26 points, 14 assists and 12 rebounds in Houston's 126-109 drubbing of Portland. The game was tied until the Rockets outscored the Trail Blazers 38-21 in the third quarter.

UNDATED (AP) — Third-ranked Villanova is 3-0 for the fourth consecutive season after Eric Paschall had 17 points to lead the Wildcats' balanced attack in a 76-65 win over Western Michigan. Chris Boucher had 25 points and nine rebounds to lead fourth-ranked Oregon to its 27th consecutive home victory, 76-54 over Valparaiso. Vitto Brown scored 12 points and Khalil Iverson added 11 as No. 9 Wisconsin thumped Chicago State, 69-51.

UNDATED (AP) — Devan Dubnyk (DOOB'-nihk) won a goaltending battle with Tuukka (TOO'-kah) Rask as the Minnesota Wild pulled out a 1-0 win over Boston. Dubnyk turned back 24 shots in his NHL-leading fourth shutout of the season and 23rd of his career. Rask matched zeroes with Dubnyk until Mikael Granlund scored with 44.5 seconds left.

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