MINNEAPOLIS—It didn’t take long for Andrew Wiggins to show the Bulls just how badly they’re going to miss Jimmy Butler.With the All-Star and defensive stopper back at home thanks to an injured knee, Wiggins torched the rest of the Bulls’ perimeter defense during a dazzling display down the stretch.Wiggins scored six of his 21 points in the final 90 seconds and the Minnesota Timberwolves closed the game with a 12-0 run to surge past the Bulls in a 112-105 victory on Saturday night.The Wolves were down five with 2:30 to play before kicking it into gear. Wiggins hit a pair of jumpers and a tough one in the paint after a quiet first three quarters. Karl-Anthony Towns had 26 points and 17 rebounds and Gorgui Dieng added a career-high 24 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists for the Wolves, who have won two in a row for the first time since Dec. 18-20.Pau Gasol had 25 points and eight rebounds and Derrick Rose had 18 points, 10 assists and five rebounds for the Bulls in their first game without Butler, how strained his left knee on Friday night against Denver.There is no timetable for Butler’s return, but the team was encouraged when an MRI showed no structural damage to his knee. ”They went to Wiggins. We had a smaller guy on him,” Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said. ”Obviously Jimmy is missed in those types of situations, guarding a bigger wing like that.” Gasol missed the game against the Nuggets on Friday night and was questionable for the game with a sore left hand. But he played with a big black wrap to protect it. He showed no ill effects, making 8 of 16 shots to keep the Bulls in the game.The Timberwolves were missing Kevin Garnett (leg), Kevin Martin (wrist) and Nikola Pekovic (foot), but Dieng has blossomed since moving into the starting lineup for Garnett six games ago. He came into the night averaging 17 points and 10 rebounds on 64 percent shooting in those games, and he made 10 of 13 shots on Saturday night.The game was tight the whole way and included 10 lead changes in the fourth quarter before Bobby Portis‘s layup gave the Bulls a 105-100 lead with under three minutes to play.The Wolves found another gear after that and closed out their first season sweep of the Bulls since 2008-09.In addition to the relatively good news the Bulls got on Butler, they also saw Mike Dunleavy make his season debut after missing the first 49 games while recovering from back surgery. Dunleavy played 14 minutes and scored five points. ”Little late the party but good to be back,” he said. ”I felt quite honestly like I hadn’t played in eight months, but I got a little better rhythm in the second half.” Hoiberg spent seven years in Minnesota as a player and executive for the Timberwolves and still has a lake home in the area. About 600 fans made the trip up from Ames, Iowa to cheer on the former Iowa State player and coach and his wife, Carol, had a suite with many friends and family from the area. ”I’ve got great memories of my time here,” said Hoiberg, who was on the Timberwolves team that lost to the Lakers in the 2004 Western Conference finals. ”I truly believe if Sam Cassell would have stayed healthy and not forced me to play point guard that we would have won a championship.” E’Twaun Moore had 17 points and seven assists while starting for Butler. … The Bulls are 2-4 on their road trip with one more to go….Ricky Rubio had 14 points, six assists and five rebounds. … The Wolves out-rebounding the Bulls 45-31 to offset a 3-point shooting deficit. They were 1 for 12 from deep while the Bulls were 8 for 20….The Bulls visit Charlotte on Monday. ??
SOUTH BEND–Notre Dame did it to North Carolina again.Demetrius Jackson scored 19 points, Bonzie Colson had 19 points and 10 rebounds, and the Fighting Irish rallied to beat the second-ranked Tar Heels 80-76 on Saturday night.Notre Dame (16-7, 7-4 Atlantic Coast Conference) trailed by 15 late in the first half. It was the first meeting between the schools since the Irish used a 26-3 run to erase a nine-point deficit during a 90-82 victory over the Tar Heels in the ACC tournament final last March. ”It feels great to beat a great team and it feels even better to do the things we had to do to win that game: Good things on the defensive end, which has been a struggle for us,” Jackson said. It was the second straight loss for the Tar Heels (19-4, 8-2), and Fighting Irish fans celebrated on the court.The Irish used an 11-2 run in the second half to get even, and a layup by Colson and a jumper for Jackson helped them open a 67-64 lead with 5:31 left. Notre Dame eventually extended the lead to 75-70 on a basket inside by Zach Auguste.The Tar Heels closed to 77-76 on a pair of free throws by Marcus Paige with 32 seconds left. But Jackson made a pair of free throws and Steve Vasturia added another to help the Irish hold on. ”It was a gritty one. They had to fight and do some tough stuff in the paint defensively,” Notre Dame coach Mike Brey said. ”Bonzie and Zach were men tonight. They were pounding against four big bodies that kept coming at them all the time.” North Carolina coach Roy Williams, who had urged his team during practice to play with more intensity following a loss at Louisville, was disappointed in the effort by the Tar Heels. ”Their coach did a heck of a lot better job of getting his guys to play with a great deal of intensity than I did,” he said. ”I look down there at the stat sheet, 19 points off turnovers for them, zero for us. Twenty-three second-chance points for them, 13 for us. Thirty-eight foul shots for them, 21 for us. I have to do a heck of a lot better job of getting my club to play with a lot more intensity than we did.” Auguste added 15 points and 10 rebounds for the Irish (16-7, 7-4). Vasturia had 13 points, and V.J. Beachem finished with 10.Paige broke out of a six-game shooting slump, finishing with 21 points. Brice Johnson had 14 points and 14 rebounds for North Carolina.No. 1 Oklahoma also lost, falling 80-69 to Kansas State. It was the first time the top two teams in the country lost to unranked schools on the same day since Jan. 21, 2006, when No. 1 Duke lost to Georgetown and No. 2 Florida was defeated by Tennessee.Paige said Notre Dame’s smaller lineup caused matchup problems for the Tar Heels. ”We’d like to be able to impose our style on them, but we can’t do that if we can’t guard,” he said. ”Then they had 23 points off of offensive rebounds in the second half which is inexplicable and inexcusable for us.” Brey credited the crowd with helping the Irish pull off the upset. ”Our crowd was fabulous,” he said. ”That was one of the great nights in our building. You just never were tired and you believed because you had the crowd behind you.” ??
Alec Peters scored 15 points and added seven rebounds and Valparaiso had little trouble with UIC on Saturday in a 73-55 win.Darien Walker finished with 12 points, and Jubril Adekoya had 11 points and six boards for the Crusaders (20-4, 10-1 Horizon League), who have won four straight and 10 of 11.UIC (3-19, 1-10) has lost 14 consecutive meetings with the Crusaders, and have not beaten them since Feb. 2009.Dikembe Dixson led the Flames with 18 points and seven rebounds. Michael Kolawole added 16 points.Keith Carter hit a 3-pointer on the opening possession and added another to bookend a 19-9 Valparaiso run. The Crusaders led 41-21 at the half and never trailed.Dixson scored a layup to pull the Flames to 52-40 with 12:27 remaining, but six straight points pushed Valparaiso’s lead back to 18
DENVER—The Bulls have had some bad losses this season, and Friday night in Pepsi Arena, this was as bad as they come. A pitiful fourth quarter in which they lost All-Star Jimmy Butler, and then the game. An impressive rally by Danilo Gallinari and the Denver Nuggets pushed aside the Bulls. Gallinari scored 33 points Friday night, and Denver stormed to a 115-110 victory after Butler left in the second quarter with a sprained left knee.Emmanuel Mudiay scored 22 points and Will Barton had 18 for the Nuggets, who outscored the Bulls 42-21 in the fourth quarter. It was their ninth straight victory over the Bulls in Denver, but the concern from the Bulls was for Butler, who was seen leaving the arena after the game on crutches. ”I talked to our trainers, the knee seems intact, the ligaments seem stable,” coach Fred Hoiberg said. ”He’ll get an MRI (Saturday morning) and we should know more after that. He’s sore. We’ve got to be prepared to play without Jimmy for a time but we don’t want to jump to conclusions.” Butler was fouled near the basket by Joffrey Lauvergne and fell awkwardly to the floor with 1:06 remaining in the first half. He was tended to by medical personnel before getting to his feet and gingerly making his way to the free-throw line, where he made one of the two foul shots.Butler was then helped to a rolling chair and wheeled into the locker room for further examination. ”We did some really, really good things to get that lead,” Hoiberg said. ”The guys went out in the third quarter without knowing what the prognosis on Jimmy was and battled, got us that lead. We’re in complete attack mode, got the momentum and then gave it right back.” Derrick Rose led the Bulls with 30 points. Butler finished with 19 points, and Taj Gibson had 18. ”It hurt,” Rose said of Butler’s loss. ”But it’s on to the next. We couldn’t stop them when we got the lead and they were able to come back.” Butler rested for the first time this season when he missed Wednesday’s 107-102 win at Sacramento with left knee tendinitis. He suffered the injury on Monday at Utah when he banged his knee in an on-court collision. The Bulls led by two at halftime, and then outscored the Nuggets 32-18 in the third. Denver closed to 98-95 with 5:58 left when Nikola Jokic connected on a pair of 3-pointers around a 3-pointer by Doug McDermott.Gallinari’s baseline jumper with 51.2 seconds remaining gave Denver a 109-108 lead.Rose badly missed a contested jumper over Kenneth Faried and Mudiay then made the first of two free throws before Faried rebounded his missed shot from the line to give the Nuggets a four-point edge with 20 seconds left, and that was enough to hold off the Bulls.Gallinari said it took the Nuggets’ best fourth quarter of the season to complete the comeback. ”That’s maybe the most positive thing about this team and the best thing about this team: We never give up,” Gallinari said. ”We’ve been down in a lot of games, especially in the first half but we always battle back.” The game was briefly delayed in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter when the computer tracking the score failed to include a basket for the Bulls. The computer was updated once officials validated the basket by going over the play by play. ”They fixed it and we moved on,” crew chief Scott Foster said. ”The confusion came when Chicago lost two points, but the incident was solved by cross referencing the book and the play-by-play.”
NOTES—Nikola Mirotic (appendicitis) and Joakim Noah (left shoulder) did not travel with the team. … Pau Gasol sat out with a left hand sprain…… Jokic fouled out with 1:41 left…The Bulls visit Minnesota on Saturday night.
GLENDALE—Players from both teams raced through the wide-open overtime, leaving players gasping for air as they finished out shifts and tried getting to the bench.Jonathan Toews seemed to have an extra gear in the extra period, swooping in to score his fifth overtime goal of the season.Seems that extended time off served him well.Toews scored his second goal of the night in his return from a one-game suspension, lifting the Blackhawks to a 5-4 win over the Arizona Coyotes on Thursday night.
”Both teams had A-plus chances in the overtime and Johnny’s been pretty good in those situations, and had a great finish,” Joel Quenneville said.
The Hawks and Arizona played a wild game in their last meeting and again traded scoring flurries in the desert, including a five-goal second period.Once the teams hit the 3-on-3 overtime, players on both sides were exhausted, struggling even to get shots off.Toews had not played since Jan. 26 after being suspended for missing the All-Star game and still had a bit of jump for overtime. The captain skated in with a burst of speed, beating Louis Domingue with a wrister with 29 seconds left.
”When the plays going back and forth like that, somebody’s going to score,” said Toews, who also scored in the second period. ”I’m glad I’ve been able to cash in on situations like that.”
Just like their previous game, there was plenty of scoring before the overtime winner.Marian Hossa had a goal and an assist in the second period, and Kane followed Toews’ goal with his NHL-leading 31st of the season. Michal Rozsival scored his first goal of the season in the third period.Oliver Ekman-Larsson had a goal in the first period and two assists for the Coyotes. Mikkel Boedker and Jordan Martinook scored two quick goals in the second, and Shane Doan scored in the third to push the game into overtime.Arizona had a couple of chances in the overtime, but couldn’t get the puck past Corey Crawford one last time.
”Entertaining, right down to the 3-on-3 at the end,” Coyotes coach Dave Tippett said. ”Lots of people yelling and screaming, and unfortunately we let one slip away.”
The Hawks beat Arizona 7-5 on Dec. 29 and this one was had a similar feel.Hossa appeared to score a goal late in the first period on a backhander that bounced off Coyotes defenseman Klas Dahlbeck past Domingue, but it was waved off for goalie interference after a challenge by the Coyotes.Quenneville nearly climbed over the wall as he screamed at the officials after the call, leading to an unsportsmanlike penalty. He became more incensed when the Coyotes capitalized on the ensuing power play, a goal by Ekman-Larsson on a wrister.The Blackhawks used the turn of momentum as a spark.Hossa scored a goal that counted early in the period, flipping a shot past Domingue after skating in from the side of the goal. He celebrated then started yelling at the officials as he raised his hands: ”No goal? No goal?” Hossa had an assist 67 seconds later, feeding a pass across to Toews, who made a quick move to beat Domingue for a shorthanded goal.
”I guess we used the frustration the right way,” Toews said
The Coyotes roared back with two goals in 9 seconds.Boedker had the first, beating Crawford with a wrister on a power play for his first goal in 16 games. Martinook put the Coyotes up 3-2, fighting through a cluster of sticks and skates to punch in Brad Richardson‘s feed.Kane tied the game with a wrister from the right circle that squeezed through Domingue’s pads for his NHL-leading 75th point.Rozsival put the Blackhawks back up midway through the third period, redirecting a pass from Artem Anisimov on a 4-on-4.Doan tied it up again, scoring on a wraparound to help send the game to overtime, but the Coyotes fell short of the second point.
”We were able to battle back and tie it in the third period, but I want that extra point,” Doan said.
NOTES—Doan played his 1,436th career game, tying John Bucyk for seventh on the NHL’s all-time list for most with one team. …D Jarred Tinordi missed his second straight game for undisclosed reasons. … Ekman-Larsson’s goal was his first in 16 career regular-season games against the Hawks. … Arizona has allowed a league-high 10 shorthanded goals.
EVANSTON—Chris Collins knows when his top players perform at a high level, confidence tends to trickle throughout the rest of his Northwestern line-up.The timing of Tre Demps and Bryant McIntosh stepping forward couldn’t have better.Demps scored 23 points with eight assists and McIntosh finished with 20 points and six rebounds as Northwestern snapped a five-game losing streak with an 82-58 win over Minnesota on Thursday night.The backcourt tandem played a key role in sparking a Northwestern perimeter shooting attack that hit four of its first five 3-point field goals. Demps and McIntosh combined for seven of the Wildcats’ 12 3-pointers while only committing two turnovers at a time when the Wildcats needed a boost of confidence.
”I just thought they had a great command of the game tonight,” Collins said.
Coming off a stretch of four straight Top 25 opponents – all Northwestern losses – Demps and McIntosh sparked Northwestern, which never trailed and then used a pivotal 8-0 run at the end of the first half to build a 14-point halftime lead.NU shot 61.5 percent from the field in the second half to maintain its lead. Minnesota, meanwhile, never got into any sort of rhythm offensively and remains winless in Big Ten play.Jordan Murphy scored 14 points and Nate Mason finished with eight for Minnesota (6-17, 0-11), which lost for the 12th straight time dating back to Dec. 16 when the Gophers defeated Chicago State.
”We had looks and we couldn’t make them,” Minnesota coach Richard Pitino said. ”We had times when we let it deflate us on the defensive end.”
NOTES—With a pair of second-half assists, McIntosh broke the school’s single-season assist record. McIntosh entered the game with 156 assists, one behind record holder Tim Doyle, who dished out 157 assists during the 2006-07 season. . The Wildcats completed their first season sweep of Minnesota since 2006…..Collins came into his postgame press conference barely able to speak, partially blaming the tough stretch of losses his team had endured before Thursday’s win. ”I’m an emotional guy and I try to give my guys everything that I have. When you lose, you don’t get a lot of lot of sleep so I think it’s just the accumulation of being in the fight.”….Northwestern: Travels to Ohio State on Tuesday.
SEATTLE—Brendan Westendorf scored 12 points and hit a game-winning, running 3-pointer from near half court with a second left as Seattle extended its Western Athletic Conference win streak to four, beating Chicago State 59-56 Thursday night.Coming off an upset of conference-leading Grand Canyon on a last-second tip-in by Emmanuel Chibuogwu, the Redhawks needed two Westendorf 3-pointers in the final 30 seconds to pick up the win.Trayvon Palmer scored to give CSU a 56-53 lead with 36 seconds left. Westendorf responded 11 seconds later to tie the game at 56-56. Fred Sims Jr. missed a 3-pointer at five seconds and Westendorf rebounded, headed up court and launched a last-second shot from just inside the midcourt line for the win.William Powell added 12 points for Seattle (11-11, 5-3).Palmer finished with 15 points to lead Chicago State (4-21, 0-8).
PISCATAWAY—For all their struggles in the Big Ten Conference this year, this was one of those games that players from Rutgers and Illinois are not going to forget.Three overtimes. Rutgers’ best player missing a go-ahead free throw with 3.3 seconds left in regulation. Illinois blowing a seven-point lead in the final 29.2 seconds of the first overtime. Career highs galore. Excitement. Fun. It was everything college basketball is about.Malcolm Hill scored 10 of his 32 points from the free throw line in the third overtime and Illinois outlasted Rutgers 110-101 on Wednesday night, extending the Scarlet Knights’ losing streak to 10 games. ”It’s fun after you win, it’s depressing when you lose, so I mean, the first thing I did was lay down when we got back in the locker room,” said Hill, who also had a career-high 14 rebounds for the Illini (11-12, 3-7). ”This is a game you’ll remember for a long time, you can tell your family and friends back home about it. Illinois also got career-highs of 26 points from Jalen Coleman-Lands and 20 from Maverick Morgan. Kendrick Nunn added 10 points and 13 rebounds.Corey Sanders had career highs of 39 points and 12 assists for Rutgers (6-17, 0-10) but he missed a free throw with 3.3 seconds to play in regulation that would have put the Scarlet Knights ahead. Jonathan Laurent had a career-best 23 points for the Scarlet Knights.Rutgers has now lost its last 24 regular-season conference games dating to a win over Wisconsin on Jan. 11, 2015, and 25 straight league games counting the tournament. ”We didn’t get the ”W,” Rutgers coach Eddie Jordan said. ”A lot of good things happened and we’re proud of our guys. Some individual performances were magnificent, but we need everyone, our top seven guys to play at a high level, and we didn’t get that again.” This was a thrilling game until the final overtime.Hill hit two free throws with 3:56 left in the third extra five minutes to give Illinois a 95-93 lead. The Illini proceeded to score the first nine points to take a 102-93 lead. Nunn, who had a horrible night shooting, made a big 3-pointer after making only 2 of his first 12 shots.Rutgers had a chance to win the game in the closing seconds of regulation.Hill hit a foul-line jumper with 9.7 seconds to play to give Illinois a 75-74 lead.Instead of calling their last time out, Sanders took the inbounds pass and dribbled the length of the court and was fouled by Khalid Lewis on his drive along the right side of the lane with 3.3 seconds to play. He hit the first free throw to tie and missed the second.Hill got the rebound and was fouled by Grier with less than a second to play. However, it was only the Scarlet Knights fifth team foul so it was not a shooting situation.The Illini appeared to put the game away in the first overtime, opening an 86-79 lead with 29.2 seconds to play. However, they turned the ball over twice and allowed Rutgers to close to within 86-84 when Sanders hit two free throws.Lewis had a chance to ice the game with 11 seconds to go but he missed the second of two free throws and Sanders performed some magic in the waning seconds. He missed a game-tying 3-pointer, got his own rebound, dribbled back beyond the 3-point line and hit a fadeaway 3-pointer at the buzzer to tie the game at 87, causing his bench to mob him in celebration.Sanders missed two shots late in the second overtime that would have given Rutgers the lead and Hill missed a game-winning attempt at the buzzer.The last overtime was all Illinois, which was 21 of 22 from the free throw line in the overtimes.
MiKyle McIntosh scored 21 points and grabbed six rebounds as Illinois State beat Loyola 78-70 on Wednesday night.McIntosh was 9 of 15 from the field for the Redbirds (13-11, 7-4 Missouri Valley Conference) who were 58.3 percent from the field overall, 68 percent from the line and had a 32-19 rebounding edge over the Ramblers (10-13, 3-8). Deontae Hawkins added 14 points and five rebounds and DeVaughn Akoon-Purcell had 12 points and five assists.Loyola had a 40 at the break and took it to 46-37 early in the second half. McIntosh made a 3-point play to put Illinois State on top, 54-53, with 11:07 to go. Later, the Redbirds used an 11-4 run capped by a Hawkins 3-pointer to make it 68-61 with 3:10 remaining and they led the rest of the way.Montel James had 15 points and five rebounds for the Ramblers.