NCAA

Gore, Brown set to play Sunday for 49ers

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Gore, Brown set to play Sunday for 49ers

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) Frank Gore carries a heavy load every week for the 49ers and it will be more of the same when San Francisco hosts the Miami Dolphins on Sunday.

``Frank is one of the best, if not the best, back in the league,'' 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said Friday. ``So, he's going to run and he's feeling good. He had a good week at practice.''

Gore, who gained 58 yards on 23 carries last Sunday against the Rams, and cornerback Tarell Brown took a little time off to heal nagging injuries this week - but both insisted they will be ready for the Dolphins.

``I could play right now,'' Gore said. ``I feel all right.''

Gore is nursing a wrist problem, while Brown's hamstring has been problematic.

``I'll be fine, I just have to listen to the trainers,'' Brown said. ``I just needed a day to let it rest.''

San Francisco will be trying to rebound from a 16-13 overtime loss to St. Louis.

``We've responded well,'' Brown said. ``You never want to lose, but at the same time it's part of the game. You just have to stay focused.''

Harbaugh said there were two ways to respond after a loss.

``You're ticked off, and when you're ticked off you're going to do one of two things: You're going to come back and do something about it, or you go cower in the corner and shrivel up in the fetal position,'' he said. ``I haven't seen any of the latter around here. You come back, chest somebody up and let's do something about it.''

Wide receiver Mario Manningham remains doubtful with a shoulder injury, and several other players are listed as probable.

Manningham's absence could clear the way for rookie A.J. Jenkins to make an impact.

``Yes, I've seen progress from A.J.,'' Harbaugh said. ``He's been on his assignments. He's executed well when he's been out there. He's given great effort and football rewards that effort.''

Gore, who went to the University of Miami, needs 28 yards rushing against the Dolphins to reach 1,000 for the sixth time. Only the Rams' Steven Jackson has more 1,000-yard seasons (seven) among active players.

Gore also needs one touchdown to match Roger Craig and Joe Perry (50) for most in franchise history.

``Whatever it takes,'' Gore said. ``If there's a successful play and we win, and I'm part of it, I'm good.''

Harbaugh did say the coaching staff has been talking about ways to share the load at running back.

``It's part of the game plan,'' he said. ``We have some other backs that we feel confident with.''

The 49ers have won nine consecutive home games in December, second only to the New England Patriots (19). The Dolphins have won the past two meetings between the teams, the last on Dec. 14, 2008, in Miami. The Dolphins also won in San Francisco in 2004.

The 49ers last beat Miami at home in 2001.

NOTES: Dolphins OT Jonathan Martin played for Harbaugh at Stanford. ... The 49ers' defense has allowed 23 opposing drives to reach the red zone, the fewest in the NFL.

Cavaliers clamp down on Pitt

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Cavaliers clamp down on Pitt

PITTSBURGH -- No. 1 Virginia allowed just seven points in the first half and secured the regular-season Atlantic Coast Conference title outright with a 66-37 win over Pittsburgh on Saturday.

Freshman guard De'Andre Hunter came off the bench to lead the Cavaliers (26-2, 14-1 ACC) with 14 points in a game that didn't take big offensive efforts from Virginia's regulars. Of the five starters, only guard Ty Jerome exceeded his season average with 13 points.

The game was never competitive, as Virginia started on an 8-0 run and Pitt didn't make a field goal until Jared Wilson-Frame hit a 3-pointer at the midway point of the first half.

Virginia coach Tony Bennett rested most of his regulars in the second half. Reserve Nigel Johnson added 12 points on 4-of-6 shooting.

Parker Stewart led Pitt (8-22, 0-17) with 12 points, all on 3-pointers. Pitt had next to no presence inside. The Panthers were outscored 28-8 in the paint and out-rebounded 36-24. Seven of Pitt's 11 made field goals were from beyond the arc.

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3 reasons the Caps beat the Sabres

3 reasons the Caps beat the Sabres

The Caps could not shake Buffalo for two periods, but a dominant finish on Saturday helped them pull away for a 5-1 win. Here's how they finally put away the Sabres.

A quick start

Strong starts go a long way towards helping a team in the middle of a slump. It's a confidence boost for a group in desperate need of one and the Caps got that boost on Saturday from Evgeny Kuznetsov. Kuznetsov used his wheels to zip in behind the defense and score just 50 seconds into the game. Washington led 1-0 at the end of the first, just the second time in 19 games they have held a lead after the opening 20 minutes.

RELATED: SEE THE 3 STARS FROM CAPS-SABRES HERE

Andre Burakovsky snapping a second period slump

It looked in the second period like the Caps were caught trying to protect the lead again, but Andre Burakovsky woke the team back up with his incredible highlight end-to-end goal. It really looked like Buffalo was going to tie the game at one, but instead, Burakovsky extended the lead to two. Going end to end the way he did shows a player who is starting to play with some confidence, something Burakovsky has lacked for much of the season.

Ovechkin's two-goal third period

Buffalo would not go away. Sam Reinhart got the Sabres on the board just 14 seconds into the third period and suddenly the Caps found themselves in a one-goal game again. But Ovechkin ended any hopes for the comeback as he struck in the top corner of the net on the power play from the office. He would later add a deflection goal to extend the lead to 5-1, giving a scuffling Washington team the dominant win they so sorely needed.