Hoyas hold off Demons 68-63

WASHINGTON—D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera scored 19 points and Georgetown held off DePaul from the free throw line for a 68-63 victory Saturday night.The victory keeps the Hoyas (18-8) in second place in the Big East at 10-5, a half-game ahead of Providence, which plays conference leader Villanova Tuesday. No. 19 Butler fell out of a second-place tie after falling to Xavier, 73-56 Saturday.Smith-Rivera knocked down a 3-pointer to tie the game at 19-19 with 7:43 left in the first half and Jabril Trawick followed with a 3-pointer to give the Hoyas the lead for good, 22-19.Billy Garrett Jr. hit a pair of free throws with :27 left to cut the Georgetown lead to two, 64-62, but could get no closer.Joshua Smith had 15 points and 10 rebounds for Georgetown.Forrest Robinson had 17 points and Jamee Crockett added 13 to lead DePaul (12-16, 6-9).

Hawks collapse in third period against Avs

Tyson Barrie had two goals and an assist, Gabriel Landeskog scored for the fifth straight game, and the Colorado Avalanche beat the Blackhawks 4-1 on Friday night.Colorado used a pair of costly interference penalties on Niklas Hjalmarsson and Patrick Sharpat 10:44 of the third period to win for just the third time in its last eight games. Brad Stuart added his second goal of the season when goaltender Corey Crawford badly misplayed his dump in from center ice, punctuating a frustrating performance for the Blackhawks.Hawk killer Semyon Varlamov had 27 saves for Colorado, and Landeskog also had an assist.Kris Versteeg scored in the second period for the Hawks, who dropped to 2-1-3 on its eight-game homestand. Crawford finished with 26 stops.

Bulls lose another to weak opponent–Pistons win 100-91

Chicago Bulls Logo - Red bull with script above head

AUBURN HILLS—Spencer Dinwiddie spent Thursday afternoon preparing for another weekend in the D-League.A day later, everything had changed.After a pair of trades left the Pistons short-handed, the rookie point guard was thrust into the starting lineup Friday night and outplayed Derrick Rose in Detroit’s 100-91 victory over the Bulls.

”I was getting ready to head to Grand Rapids for the weekend, and then all the crazy stuff started happening at the trade deadline,” Dinwiddie said. ”I was just trying to keep up with who was going where, and all of a sudden they told me that my plans had changed.
”I thought they meant I had gotten traded, too. Luckily, I just didn’t have to go to the D-League.”

The Pistons traded two starters, including point guard D.J. Augustin, to Oklahoma City for Reggie Jackson. But when the three-team deal wasn’t finalized by Friday night, coach Stan Van Gundy was left with only John Lucas III and Dinwiddie at the point.Lucas was the obvious choice, but Van Gundy went with a hunch.

”We had two hard practices the last two days, and everyone on the team noticed how well Spencer was playing,” he said. ”He’s always been a poised player, but he still does too much at a jogging pace. In the last two days, he had really picked up the tempo.”

Dinwiddie made it work, putting up career highs of 12 points and nine assists while Rose only had eight points and two assists in 31 minutes.

”I had butterflies about starting the game, but it was something else to play against Derrick,” Dinwiddie said. ”I’ve always loved his game, and he came back from an ACL tear, just like I’ve had to do, so it meant even more.”

The Pistons dressed only 10 players due to the trades for Jackson and Tayshaun Prince. Jackson was on Detroit’s bench, cheering wildly, but didn’t get clearance in time to play. Prince won’t arrive until Saturday.

”That was a lot of fun,” Jackson said. ”We’ve got big guys who can bang, we’ve got shooters and we’ve got guys hustling all over the floor. I can’t wait to be out there.”

Jimmy Butler had 30 points, and Joakim Noah added 10 points and 14 rebounds. Rose, Mike Dunleavy and Pau Gasol went a combined 6 for 24 from the field.

”I was just missing shots, I guess,” Rose said. ”I didn’t touch the ball for a couple days, and coming back, I just couldn’t catch a rhythm. They were aggressive and I couldn’t find my game. Thank God we’ve got another game tomorrow, because this one hurt.”

Andre Drummond finished with 18 points and 20 rebounds for Detroit, aided greatly by one wild sequence. He grabbed a blocked shot, missed the putback, then tipped the ball four more times before getting it into the basket. He was credited with five offensive rebounds and five field-goal attempts in 5 seconds.

”That was actually a great play,” Van Gundy said. ”Obviously, you’d rather he put it in on the first try, but that showed an incredible amount of effort to keep getting to the ball and keeping it alive until he put it in. You love seeing that from a 21-year-old kid.”

The Bulls led at halftime, but the Pistons started the second half with a 24-7 run that included seven points from Caron Butler and six more from Drummond. Detroit outscored the Bulls 32-15 in the period, giving the Pistons a nine-point edge.The Bulls took advantage of Detroit’s undermanned bench, scoring the first six points of the fourth to pull to 77-74. Van Gundy, however, put his makeshift starting lineup back on the floor and the Pistons were able to hold on from the free throw line.

NOTES—The Bulls had had won 22 of 24 against the Pistons, including an 18-game winning streak that ended in 2013. … Taj Gibson had 13 points on 6-of-11 shooting in the first half, but only tried two shots in 13 second-half minutes….Pistons: Greg Monroe and Caron Butler each scored 20 points. … With the Pistons playing again Sunday afternoon, Jackson will only get a light workout with his new teammates before his first game, while Prince won’t even get that. ”The guys had tomorrow off, but we’re going to bring them in for a short practice just so Reggie can work with them,” Van Gundy said. ”Tayshaun won’t even get here in time for that, so all he will get is a quick walkthrough in the morning.”…..The Bulls host Phoenix on Saturday.

UIC falls to UW-Milwaukee-again.

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Another loss in another awful season for the UIC Flames.Steve McWhorter scored 21 points and Akeem Springs added 17 on 7-of-10 shooting to help Wisconsin-Milwaukee beat UIC 71-60 on Thursday night.J.J. Panoske scored 14 and Matt Tiby had 11 points and nine rebounds for UWM (11-16, 6-7 Horizon League).Back-to-back 3-pointers by Jay Harris gave UIC (7-21, 3-10) a 26-24 lead with three minutes left in the first half, but UWM scored the final seven to take a 31-26 lead into halftime and never again trailed.The Flames trailed by as many as 12 in the second half before Harris hit a 3 to make it 61-55 with 2:40 remaining.McWhorter answered with a layup and, after Harris missed a 3 on the other end, a three-point play to spark an 8-0 run which gave the Panthers a 69-55 lead with 46 seconds to play.Harris led UIC with 27 points and Paris Burns added 12 and six assists.

Hawks beat Penguins in a shootout again.

Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane kicked it off, and Patrick Sharp finished the job. The star-studded shootout turned into quite a show for the Blackhawks.Sharp scored the decisive goal in the tiebreaker, lifting the Blackhawks to a 2-1 victory over Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins on Sunday.Toews and Kane also converted their shootout attempts, helping the Blackhawks improve to 7-2 when the game is tied After overtime, after they went 6-8 in shootout games last season.

”I mean Jonny and Kaner, that’s a 1-2 punch that’s as good as any team in the league, and then Sharpy ends up finishing it,” Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. ”So it was necessary today, and it’s been effective for us this year.”

Nick Spaling scored in the third period for Pittsburgh, which had won four of five. Marc-Andre Fleury made 31 saves through overtime, but was unable to stop any of Hawks shootout attempts.Thanks to David Perron and Crosby, the Penguins still had a chance for a big road win before Sharp skated in and beat Fleury into the right side for the victory. Fleury slammed his stick into the post in disgust after the final play.

”It’s almost unfortunate that it wasn’t a playoff game where I guess you could see a real winner and win,” Perron said. ”They got the two points today, but I thought we were satisfied with how we played the whole 65 minutes.”

Niklas Hjalmarsson scored in the second period for the Blackhawks, who also posted a shootout win at Pittsburgh on Jan. 21 in their only other scheduled meeting this season. Corey Crawford finished with 36 stops.The Blackhawks have captured six of a possible eight points through the first half of a season-high eight-game homestand.

”We can’t be giving up any points,” Crawford said. ”Teams below us in our division are starting to play really good hockey. Especially at home, we’ve got to get as many as we can.”

The Hawks jumped in front when Hjalmarsson beat Fleury with a long slap shot early in the second. Following a faceoff in the Pittsburgh zone, Brandon Saad played the puck back to Hjalmarsson to set up the second goal of the season for the steady defenseman.The Penguins responded in the third period. Beau Bennett got free for a shot that was stopped by Crawford, but Spaling sent the rebound into the upper left corner for his ninth of the season.Perron was stopped by Crawford on a prime opportunity midway through overtime, and Fleury made a nice save on Marian Hossa to help the send the game to the shootout.

”That’s two games we’ve played against this team and we’ve played well defensively,” Pittsburgh coach Mike Johnston said. ”We had our scoring chances and we didn’t convert. I thought our power play looked good, too.”

Crosby was shut out after he had two goals in Thursday night’s 5-4 shootout victory at Ottawa. The captain also was a part of a strange sequence at the end of the second period.Crosby was sent off for tripping Blackhawks defenseman Johnny Oduya, drawing loud cheers from the crowd of 22,169. But replays showed Oduya went down on his own and the officials conferred before rescinding the penalty, allowing Crosby to leave the box.The All-Star center was whistled for tripping Toews in the third, leading to more cheers from the sellout crowd. But the Penguins killed off the ensuing power play.

NOTES—Penguins D Christian Ehrhoff (concussion protocol) skated Sunday morning. He was injured Jan. 28 at Washington and has missed the last eight games. … Blackhawks F Ben Smith returned to the lineup after he was a healthy scratch for Friday night’s win over New Jersey for the first time this season. Michal Rozsival also played after missing the game against the Devils with an upper body injury. … Bennett finished with a game-high nine shots. … Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin attended the game. … Former Blackhawks defenseman Steve Montador was found unconscious in his home early Sunday morning and was later pronounced dead, according to police in Canada. Montador, 35, made his NHL debut in 2001 with Calgary and played for six teams in parts of 10 seasons.

East ourscores West 163-158 in joke of NBA All-Star Game

NEW YORK—This was an Joke of an NBA All-Star game on epic proportions. This was awful!! Mixing Broadway and basketball, this NBA All-Star Game was a West Side Story.Russell Westbrook scored 41 points, one shy of the All-Star record, and the Western Conference beat the East 163-158 on Sunday night in the highest-scoring All-Star Game ever.The Oklahoma City speedster had a record 27 points by halftime and closed out the scoring with two free throws, falling one point shy of Wilt Chamberlain’s 42 points in the 1962 game. He was voted the game’s MVP at Madison Square Garden.The NBA’s return to New York showed off everything about the Big Apple, and by the time Frank Sinatra’s ”New York, New York” played after the game, it was clear Westbrook was king of the hill.

”It’s amazing. It’s a blessing to be here in New York City,” Westbrook said during the MVP ceremony.

James Harden added 29 points, eight rebounds and eight assists for the West, which built a 20-point lead in the first half and then pulled away after it was tied at 148 with a little more than 4 minutes remaining.The combined 321 points surpassed the 318 scored last season, and the 48 3-pointers smashed last year’s record of 30.LeBron James finished with 30 points, but couldn’t lead the East to the victory in his favorite NBA arena.

”Don’t get no better, man. You play in the Garden in front of these fans,” James said.

Harden’s 3-pointer snapped the final tie with 4:02 to play and Chris Paul followed with consecutive baskets. Westbrook’s fifth 3-pointer put it away at 158-149 with 2:22 to go.

”We just talk about having fun all game long and then at a certain point in the fourth quarter it’s time to win,” Paul said.

Atlanta’s Kyle Korver made seven 3-pointers and scored 21 points for the East, while Washington’s John Wall had 19.But right from the start, the players were sharing the stage.Christina Aguilera appeared from behind a giant big apple, and belted out some New York-inspired numbers to start the show, joined by the Rockettes.Entertainment’s elite were all over the arena, with players hobnobbing with Jay-Z and Floyd Mayweather near their courtside seats at halftime. But the biggest roar came for a star from another sport – politics.President Bill Clinton, who had a big night of his own at Madison Square Garden when he was nominated here during the 1992 Democratic National Convention, got a pair of loud ovations when he was shown during Queen Latifah’s performance of the national anthem.Players were quizzed during comedic skits on New York talk and terms, and fuhgeddaboudit, the Bulls Pau Gasol had no idea what a stoop was. (Stephen Curry knew it was a porch in the front of a building).Pau won the jump ball against little brother Marc to begin the first All-Star Game featuring two sibling starters, but for a while it looked as if that would be the East’s only win of the night.The West shot out to a 20-point lead, but the East chipped away and cut it to 83-82 before pop star Ariana Grande’s halftime performance.It was New York’s first time hosting the weekend since 1998 and a rare journey to the north for the NBA, which has preferred to stage the festivities in the warmth of the South and West.Even some of the NBA’s most fashionable had to choose bundling up over dressing up, a concession to the frigid temperatures they faced during the weekend. But next year might be worse, when the game heads north of the border to Toronto.Carmelo Anthony struggled to 14 points on 6-of-20 shooting for the East in what may have been his final game of the season. The Knicks star has been battling a sore knee for much of the season and may opt for surgery with the team owning the NBA’s worst record.But even the Knicks’ misery couldn’t dampen the spirts for this basketball-rich city. Players on the floor were surrounded by some of New York’s hoops royalty, such as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Julius Erving. There was even time to celebrate the Knicks: Willis Reed, Walt Frazier, Bill Bradley, Phil Jackson, Earl Monroe and Bernard King were honored during a break in the action.Tim Duncan had one basket in his 15th All-Star Game, second only to Abdul-Jabbar’s 18. Duncan’s first was here in 1998, as was Kobe Bryant’s.Bryant had to sit out along with Anthony Davis and Blake Griffin, leaving the West without three elected starters. But they had more than enough talent left, not surprising in another season where the West is the more powerful conference from top to bottom.East coach Mike Budenholzer played his four Atlanta Hawks together in the first quarter, Al Horford joining Jeff Teague, Paul Millsap and Korver.

”I thought we would all be out there together quite a bit. We were kind of hand signaling to run a few plays, but you weren’t really running plays,” Korver said. ”It was just up and down. But it was great for the Hawks and for the city of Atlanta. It was really cool.”

Gasol(Pau)had 10 points and 12 rebounds, and Bulls teammate Jimmy Butler added 6 points and 2 steals in limited pay.

NU ends ten game losing streak, beat Iowa 66-61 in OT

Northwestern Wildcats (1981 - Pres)

EVANSTON—Once the shock wore off and the sting went away, Tre Demps had little doubt Northwestern would pull out the victory.Bryant McIntosh scored 18 points and the Wildcats ended a 10-game losing streak with a 66-61 overtime win over Iowa after the Hawkeyes’ Jarrod Uthoff nailed a 3 at the end of regulation on Sunday afternoon.Demps scored 16 and Alex Olah had 11 points, 13 rebounds and five blocks and the Wildcats (11-14, 2-10 Big Ten) regrouped after Uthoff forced OT with a huge, contested shot.

”First reaction, it feels kind of like a knife into my heart,” Demps said. ”But I think Coach (Chris Collins) did a great job lifting our spirits up so we could battle for another five minutes.”

Uthoff, who scored a career-high 25 points for Iowa (15-10, 6-6), nailed a long off-balance 3 from the wing at the end of regulation even though Vic Law was all over him. But the Wildcats scored seven straight in overtime, ending their longest slide since they dropped 12 in a row in the 1999-2000 season.Northwestern was trailing 57-55 when Demps scored on a layup with 3:15 left to start the decisive rally. He fed Scottie Lindsey for a layup to put the Wildcats ahead with 1:29 left.Two free throws by McIntosh made it 62-57 with 42 seconds remaining, and following a layup by Uthoff, the Hawkeyes came away empty-handed after Mike Gesell stole the ball from Demps.Lindsey blocked a layup by Aaron White, and Alex Olah hit two free throws to make it 64-59 with 19 seconds remaining. But Iowa wasn’t quite finished.A put-back by Gabriel Olaseni cut the lead to three with eight seconds left before Dave Sobolewski hit two free throws.Then, Olah rebounded a missed 3 by Gesell in the closing seconds and the Wildcats hung on. Iowa coach Fran McCaffery ran over to the referees as they were walking off the court and gestured at them. He declined comment on the officiating, but Uthoff thought a few more fouls probably should have been called against Northwestern.

”I know I got fouled a couple of times and it looked like White and (Adam) Woodbury got fouled, but I can’t tell you for sure until I watch the film,” Uthoff said.

The victory was the first for Northwestern since a win at Rutgers in the conference opener on Dec. 30.The Wildcats found the touch from the outside, hitting 9 of 20 3-pointers after making just 3 of 15 in Tuesday’s blowout loss to Michigan State. Demps hit 4 of 7 from long range.The Hawkeyes’ NCAA hopes took a significant hit with another loss to Northwestern. They also fell to the Wildcats in the first round of last year’s Big Ten tournament after pounding them twice by 26.

”We need to finish out the season with all wins,” said Uthoff, who hit 8 of 16 shots and five 3-pointers. ”This is a tough loss.”

White was just 1 of 12 with six points, and the Hawkeyes shot just 32.3 percent.Even so, Iowa nearly pulled this one out thanks to a thrilling finish in regulation.After a timeout by the Wildcats, Gesell drove up to the right and handed off to Uthoff, who managed to bury an off-balance 3 from the wing as time expired even though Law gave him no room.As tough as that shot was for the Wildcats, Collins liked his players’ response.

”We stayed positive and we said we’re gonna let this go. We got so far, we’re gonna finish this game,” Olah said.

NOTES—The Hawkeyes are 3-3 in Big Ten road games…..The Collins family goes way back with McCaffery, to when he was playing at Penn in the early 1980s and Doug Collins was an assistant there. Chris Collins was a ballboy. ”I hated it because they had a tradition at Penn,” Chris said. ”The first basket, they just crushed the floor with all these streamers, and I had to go out there for 10 minutes and clean up streamers. He was laughing at me as a college kid.”….NU visits Minnesota on Wednesday.

#5 Badgers too much at home for Illini

Illinois Fighting Illini (2004 - 2013)

MADISON—Frank Kaminsky started hot for Wisconsin, then Bronson Koenig and Nigel Hayes finished off Illinois.Kaminsky had 23 points and 11 rebounds, and the fifth-ranked Badgers won 68-49 on Sunday to clinch the best start in school history.Kaminsky hit eight of his first nine shots on his way to 17 first-half points, but was then held scoreless for more than 16 minutes. But Koenig and Hayes combined to score 23 points in the second half as Wisconsin (23-2, 11-1 Big Ten) put the game away.

”Our guys really don’t go out there and say, `OK, let’s make sure Frank gets his X number of points and then we’ll go get ours,”’ coach Bo Ryan said. ”We took what they gave us. That’s all we ever do.”

Koenig finished with 15 points, and Hayes added 14.Illinois (17-9, 7-6) started the game hot, and four 3-pointers in just more than three minutes infuriated Ryan. Wisconsin responded by clamping down on defense.The Illini then missed seven of their last eight shots in the half, and the Badgers sandwiched a 20-4 run around halftime. Illinois got no closer than nine points the rest of the way.

”It just goes to show you that we can beat you in a lot of different ways,” Kaminsky said.

Malcolm Hill scored 15 points and Rayvonte Rice added 10 to lead Illinois, which had won four straight.The Illini had held all four opponents to under 60 points and 40 percent shooting. But of those teams, only Michigan State ranks in the top half of the Big Ten in scoring average.Illinois coach John Groce said he was most disappointed that his team was outrebounded 32-25 and allowed Wisconsin to turn 15 offensive rebounds into 12 points.

”Now you’ve got to sit down and guard them again,” Groce said. ”They’re already the No. 1 offensive efficiency team in the last 17 years of analytics, so it would be preferable to guard them one time, instead of multiple times in a trip down the floor.”

NOTES—The last time the Illini defeated a top-five team on the road was March 5, 1989, when Nick Anderson’s 35-footer at the buzzer led Illinois past No. 3 Indiana 70-67. … Rice had averaged 21.5 points and nine rebounds in his games against Wisconsin last season…..Josh Gasser will need at least one more game to become only the second player in school history with 1,000 points, 500 rebounds and 250 assists. He came into Sunday needing 10 points to accomplish the feat but was held to three points on 1-of-5 shooting. Michael Finley finished his Wisconsin career with 2,147 points, 648 rebounds and 371 assists…..Rice was a bit better Sunday than he was Thursday against Michigan, his first action after missing nine games because of injury and suspension. Rice, who wore a wrap on his non-shooting hand, was 4 of 12 from the field, including 1 of 5 from the 3-point line. In Thursday’s win, he had four points on 2-of-7 shooting.

Ramblers hold off Bradley 58-53

Loyola-Chi. Ramblers logo

PEORIA—Earl Peterson made a key layup with 13 seconds left as Loyola held on to beat Bradley 58-53 on Sunday.Devon Turk drained his second 3 to give Loyola a 53-47 lead with 3:43 to play. Bradley scored the next six points, capped by Nate Wells’ jumper to tie it at 53 with :44 left.Peterson answered with a layup, but Bradley’s Tramique Sutherland missed his layup on the other end. Christian Thomas split a pair of free throws and Julius Rajala hit a jumper to seal it for the Ramblers.Thomas scored 13 points and Ben Richardson chipped in 11 to lead Loyola (16-10, 6-8 Missouri Valley).Josh Cunningham scored 13 points, Sutherland had 12 points and Wells added 10 for Bradley (8-19, 3-11), which shot just 17 of 46 overall (37 percent).

Cleveland State rallied past UIC 67-59

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CLEVELAND—Anton Grady matched a career-high with six blocks, and added nine points with 13 rebounds to help Cleveland State beat UIC 67-59 on Sunday.Cleveland State (16-11, 10-3 Horizon League) bounced back after a one-point loss at Detroit on Friday night to remain in second place in the league, a game back of Valparaiso (24-4, 11-2).Trey Lewis scored 18 points and Marlin Mason added 11, and Charlie Lee dished out eight assists for Cleveland State.Ahman Fells drained three consecutive 3-pointers to pull the Flames within 60-56 with 2:22 remaining. Cleveland State answered with a pair of Lee free throws and a Mason dunk to give the Vikings an eight-point lead with 1:33 to play, and the Flames then missed six of their last seven field goals.Fells scored 17 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, and Paris Burns finished with 17 points and five assists for UIC (7-20, 3-9).