ISU routs Drake, back on track.

DES MOINES—Paris Lee scored 26 points on 11-for-17 shooting, Keyshawn Evans scored 16 points and Illinois State drubbed Drake 82-53 on Tuesday night.Illinois State (20-5, 12-1 Missouri Valley) rebounded from Saturday’s 86-45 defeat against Wichita State and moved a half-game up of the Shockers (21-4, 11-1) for first place in the conference. Deontae Hawkins added 15 points for the Redbirds.ISU led 37-34 at halftime, and just after intermission, Ore Arogundade made a 3 to bring Drake within 42-41. But the Redbirds took control with a 16-4 run, with nine points coming from Lee, and never looked back.The Redbirds shot 69.2 percent (18 for 26) in the second half, including 4 for 8 from 3-point range. Drake (7-18, 5-8) shot 18.2 percent (6 for 33) from the floor and 3 for 15 from 3-point range.Billy Wampler scored 12 points and was the only player in double figures for the Bulldogs.

Wade scores last 7 points as Bulls escape near collapse in Sacramento

Chicago Bulls Logo - Red bull with script above head

SACRAMENTO—Dwyane Wade scored 31 points, including the final seven to help the Bulls hold off the Sacramento Kings 112-107 on Monday night.After the Bulls squandered a 27-point lead in the second half, Wade hit a tiebreaking 20-footer to put them ahead for good, 109-107, with 13 seconds left. Then he stole the inbounds pass following a timeout and went the length of the court for a dunk to make it a four-point lead.Wade added a free throw with a second to play following the second technical foul of the night on a furious DeMarcus Cousins, who thought he was fouled on a 3-point attempt. Cousins was ejected after picking up his 16th technical of the season, a total that triggers an automatic one-game suspension.Michael Carter-Williams had 21 points for the Bulls, and Robin Lopez scored 17. Jerian Grant added 13 points as the Bulls won their third in four games.Jimmy Butler missed his second straight game with a sore heel.

Falcons blow biggest Super Bowl lead, Patriots win in first SB overtime ever.

 

HOUSTON—But the Patriots overcame a 25-point deficit to take the game to overtime. They then won it, 34-28, on the very first series after James White dived in from two yards out. The 31 unanswered points in the thrilling comeback cements the Patriots’ legacy as the greatest NFL franchise this century.It was New England’s ninth Super Bowl appearance in team history, and the seventh in the Bill Belichick-Tom Brady era. And if not for Eli Manning and the New York Giants , Bill and Tom would be 7-0 in the championship game. We’re guessing they’ll settle for 5-2, especially given the “THAT DID NOT JUST HAPPEN” way they went about winning this one.We won’t lie: We were convinced this game was over at halftime; the Falcons led 21-0 late in the second quarter, 28-9 to start the final quarter, and 28-20 at the two-minute warning. You might notice that with each update the Patriots crept closer while the Falcons went from confident to hopeful to apprehensive to dejected as Brady marched New England down the field again and again and again and again, until the they had even out-Patriots’d the Patriots.Not only did the Pats overcome the largest deficit in Super Bowl history, they played in the first overtime game in Super Bowl history, and oh, by the way, Brady set a Super Bowl record for passing yards. (And before you say, yeah, but he had the benefit of overtime, we’ll kindly point out that he managed the feat before the end of regulation.

Shockers drop big one on ISU in second half.

WICHITA—Conner Frankamp scored 18 points and Shaquille Morris had 11 points and 11 rebounds and Wichita State put a beat down on Illinois State in an 86-45 win on Saturday night as the Shockers drew even atop the Missouri Valley Conference standing.Illinois State beat Wichita State 76-62 on Jan. 14 and entered Saturday’s game with a one-game lead in conference.Wichita State led 35-22 at halftime and used a 19-2 run to start the second half pushing the lead to 30 points in less than six minutes. Wichita State (21-4, 11-1) shot 8 for 9 from the floor during that span.The Shockers shot 57 percent from the floor (30 for 53) to 33 percent (18 for 54) for Illinois State (19-5, 11-1). The Redbirds were a paltry 4 for 22 from behind the 3-point line and didn’t have one player in double-figure scoring.Markis McDuffie added 16 points for Wichita State and Zach Brown chipped in 10.Phil Fayne led the Redbirds with nine points.

SIU continues to own Ramblers, 67-61

Image result for siu salukis logo

Sean O’Brien scored 19 points and grabbed 10 rebounds and Southern Illinois gained enough breathing room over the final three minutes to earn a 67-61 win over Loyola at Gentile Arena on Saturday.O’Brien finished 9 of 11 from the field and had four of the Salukis seven total assists. Mike Rodriguez scored 14 points and Armon Fletcher added 12 for Southern Illinois (14-11, 7-5 Missouri Valley). The Salukis are now 5-2 against their in-state rivals since the Ramblers joined the Missouri Valley in 2014.Donte Ingram scored 22 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to lead Loyola (16-9, 6-6), who have now fallen a game behind the Salukis for third place in the conference. Milton Doyle had 15 points for the Ramblers.SIU led 58-55 with two minutes left when Thik Bol threw home a dunk and added three free throws for an eight point Salukis lead with 30 seconds remaining.

Illini continue to slide as Gophers win 68-59

Illinois Fighting Illini (2004 - 2013)

CHAMPAIGN—There was plenty of glamour at the State Farm Center before and during the game with the Cubs World Series trophy in the building, but Minnesota overcame a slow start to steal the show with a 68-59 win over Illinois on Saturday afternoon.The Gophers had a week off after its loss to Maryland and Minnesota players held a players-only meeting during the week to discuss the five-game losing streak, and the challenge in character is something players and Minnesota coach Richard Pitino thought was a difference in the win.

”I told them `you guys need to start taking ownership,”’ Pitino said. ”I’m proud of them for breaking through.”

Reggie Lynch scored 15 points to lead Minnesota (16-7, 4-6 Big Ten) in a team effort where Akeem Springs added 14 points and Nate Mason and Amir Coffey had 13 apiece.The Golden Gophers struggled for much of the first half before taking the lead in the last five minutes and ending the half tied at 35. Minnesota scored the first seven points of the second half to take the lead for good, 42-35.Minnesota players knew that they have to dig deep if they wanted to avoid their six-straight loss, and with the momentum heading in Illinois’ way, the Gophers made sure something changed.

”We didn’t let it get into our heads and break us down,” Lynch said. ”We fought through and knew we had one of the best defenses in the nation and the country, so we imposed our will and it showed in this game.”

Five Minnesota players finished scoring in double figures. Despite a late-surge by the Illini that cut the Gophers’ lead down to six, the team stayed composed.

”We really controlled the second half with terrific defense and we stayed poised and were confident,” Pitino said. ”They made each other better.”

Kipper Nichols led the way for Illinois (13-11, 3-8 Big Ten) with a career-high 16 points. Malcolm Hill added 13 points and four rebounds.Neither team shot well but Minnesota went 7 of 19 from 3-point range to 4 of 22 for Illinois.The poor shooting effort was something that Illinois coach John Groce thought was unfortunate, even though he wasn’t mad about his team’s shot selection in the loss.

”Unfortunately we didn’t make enough shots today,” Groce said.

It just continues to crumble for the Illini, who travel to Evanston to play rival Northwestern before a lighter schedule.Malcolm Hill and Jalen Coleman-Lands combined to shoot 0-15 from 3-point range for the Illini,only has a few days to prepare for its rival No. 25 NU on Tuesday.

Hawks fall behind, then rally past Stars 5-3. Minnesota next.

DALLAS—In a period that included goals from stars Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin, a rare one from Trevor van Riemsdyk proved to be the difference.Van Riemsdyk put in a rebound for his second goal of the season with 4:03 left, lifting the Blackhawks over the Dallas Stars 5-3 on Saturday night. Goalie Kari Lehtonen stopped a close-range shot by Artem Anisimov, but van Riemsdyk followed to put the puck under Lehtonen and make it 4-3.The 25-year-old van Riemsdyk has five goals in 130 career games. Rookie Gustav Forsling also scored his second of the season for the Blackhawks, who are in second place behind Minnesota in the Central Division.

”We’re going to need everybody,” Joel Quenneville said. ”Talk about everybody or anybody, not just worried about the young guys. We need everyone to be progressing at a good rate here. Our last two games, there were a lot of good things.”

Van Riemsdyk’s older brother, James, also had a late game-winning goal on Saturday, helping the Toronto Maple Leafs beat the Boston Bruins 6-5.Toews added an empty-net goal in the final second for his 10th of the season. Kane tied the game with his 17th goal just 35 seconds after Seguin put the Stars ahead 3-2 at 9:24.Kane beat defenseman John Klingberg, skated across the goal mouth and put the puck into the right side of the net.

”We’re behind and all of a sudden Kane makes an extremely amazing play with quickness and beats (Lehtonen) with a nice move and we’re back in the game,” Quenneville said. ”Another nice finish on the winner and we’ll take it. We came back in a situation where lately our thirds haven’t been great.”

Dallas is 0-18-2 when trailing after two periods.Benn tied it 40 seconds into the third, and Radek Faksa also scored for Dallas. Lehtonen made 31 saves.Corey Crawford stopped 31 shots for the Blackhawks, who are 4-0 against Dallas this season. Ryan Hartman (12th) and Forsling scored in the second period for the Blackhawks.To start the second, Faksa chased down the puck low in the left faceoff circle and sent a shot from a sharp angle behind Crawford eight seconds in.Hartman took a pass from Tanner Kero on the edge of the left circle and beat Lehtonen at 6:34.With the score tied, Lehtonen stopped a breakaway by Kane at 8:08. Just 26 seconds later, Forsling fired a shot from the blue line through the slot and over a screen by Marcus Kruger, who ducked as the puck passed him.Benn’s goal was on a backhand from the left of the net.

NOTES—The Blackhawks had lost three of four games before Saturday. … Dallas finished a season-high six-game homestand 2-2-2. … Anisimov has gone 13 games without a goal. He and Marian Hossa each had two assists. Hossa has 41 points (21 goals, 20 assists) in 45 career games vs. Dallas….The Blackhawks play their fourth of six straight on the road when they visit Central Division leader Minnesota on Wednesday.

Bulls take Rockets to overtime-despite missing Butler(sore heel).

Chicago Bulls Logo - Red bull with script above head

HOUSTON—James Harden had 42 points, 12 rebounds and nine assists to rally the Houston Rockets past the Bulls 121-117 in overtime Friday night.Harden hit a step-back jumper over Paul Zipser with 36.1 seconds remaining in the extra period and was fouled. He made the free throw to give the Rockets a two-point lead they never relinquished.After losing to Atlanta on Thursday night, the Rockets improved to 12-1 this season in the second of back-to-back games.The Bulls played without star forward Jimmy Butler, who was nursing a bruised heel. Starting in his place, Michael Carter-Williams had 23 points, nine rebounds and six assists before fouling out with two minutes remaining in overtime.Harden hit a step-back jumper over Carter-Williams to tie the game at 108 with 27.3 seconds remaining in regulation.On the next possession, Dwyane Wade lost his dribble when guarded by Trevor Ariza, leading to a shot-clock violation with 3.3 seconds to go. Harden tried the same move against Carter-Williams at the buzzer, but his shot fell short.The Bulls dominated the Rockets’ interior defense, outscoring Houston 60-46 in the paint. Taj Gibson scored 20 points for the Bulls, and Wade had 19 points, nine rebounds and six assists.The Rockets built a lead that reached 17 midway through the second quarter as they opened the period on a 26-7 run, all with Harden on the bench. The visitors cut Houston’s lead to 60-49 at halftime.The Bulls started the third quarter on a run of their own, outscoring the Rockets 24-12 out of the extended halftime break and entered the fourth quarter with a two-point lead.

NOTES—In a special halftime ceremony, the Rockets retired Yao Ming’s No. 11 jersey with a dedication that featured Yao’s family, former teammates, fellow Hall of Famers Hakeem Olajuwon and Dikembe Mutombo as well as NBA Commissioner Adam Silver…..In the fourth quarter, Zipser was elbowed in the face by Harden on a rebound and called for a foul. After a review, Harden also received a technical foul. . Zipser, Doug McDermott and Nikola Mirotic all scored in double figures off the bench…..Harden scored his 10,000th point with the Rockets late in the second quarter. He passed Yao for sixth place in franchise history. Harden scored 2,795 points in his first three seasons with Oklahoma City. . Ryan Anderson’s shooting woes continued as he went 0 for 7 from the field, including 0 for 6 from 3-point range. He also missed both his free throw attempts.The Bulls have a game at Sacramento on Monday night, the third stop on a six-game road trip.

Blackhawks offense wakes up, 4-3-win in Arizona

GLENDALE—The first period was one of Blackhawks best all season, but it gave way to a penalty-ridden second. Through it all, the Hawks found a cure for their ailing power play and stopped a three-game slide.Patrick Kane had a goal and an assist, Duncan Keith added two assists and the Blackhawks defeated the Arizona Coyotes 4-3 on Thursday night.The Hawks led twice by three goals but yielded three in the second period and had to hold on. Ryan Hartman, Marian Hossa and Artemi Panarin also scored for the Blackhawks.Christian Dvorak and Brendan Perlini each had a goal and an assist for the Coyotes. Oliver Ekman-Larsson also scored for Arizona.The Blackhawks scored twice in 72 seconds during the first period, their initial goal coming 15 seconds into a power play. Kane’s left-handed shot pinged off the crossbar and down into the cage at 8:44.Hartman made it 2-0 at the 9:56 mark, his long shot zipping through several players in front and past Arizona goalie Mike Smith.

”One of our best periods in a long time,” Hossa said. ”It’s nice to have a few power-play goals to be able to give us some confidence.”

Smith finished with 22 saves, but several kept the Coyotes in the game. Corey Crawford turned aside 24 shots for the Blackhawks, who entered with one goal on their last 20 power plays, scored on the man advantage again at 14:15. Hossa, stopped by Smith on a breakaway early in the game, zoomed past defender Alex Goligoski and fired in on the move for a 3-0 lead.Hossa’s 19 goals lead the Blackhawks this season.

”Power play did some nice things. Great shot by Kaner, showed some speed in the middle, did some good things in the zone as well,” Joel Quenneville said. ”Nice to get that going. That really helped us get off to such a great start in the game.”

As always out here, many in the sellout crowd of 17,125 wore Blackhawks jerseys. Coyotes fans finally got their chance to cheer when defenseman Luke Schenn and Andrew Desjardins threw punches late in the period.Schenn got the better of the fight, leaving Desjardins bloodied, but took the worst of the punishment as far as penalty minutes. Schenn was handed seven minutes for fighting and instigating, and a 10-minute misconduct.Two quick penalties nine seconds apart to start the second period gave the Coyotes a 5-on-3 power play, and Ekman-Larsson scored off a pass from Radim Vrbata to cut the Blackhawks’ lead to 3-1. Arizona has scored in the second period of six straight games.Panarin made it 4-1 at 5:24 with his 18th goal of the season. Kane helped set it up when he fought for a loose puck, and was credited with an assist.The Coyotes benefited from 10 second-period minutes in penalties against the Blackhawks and made it 4-2 at 14:24 when Dvorak got a deflection of Shane Doan’s shot past Crawford. Perlini scored at 15:51 to cut the margin to one, and the Blackhawks had to kill what started as a 5-on-3 disadvantage in the closing minutes of the period.Crawford did the splits to block a try from Alex Burmistrov during that Coyotes power play.Arizona pulled Smith for an extra attacker with 1:25 to play, but couldn’t come up with a tying goal.

”I liked how we stabilized the game in the third period,” Quenneville said.

NOTES—The Blackhawks are 14-3-4 in their last 21 games against Arizona, and 9-2-1 on the road. … The Hawks served three delay-of-game penalties in the second period. … Smith passed Bob Essensa for most saves in franchise history. Smith needed 14 to surpass Essensa and has 8,064. … Coyotes forward Max Domi returned from a broken hand. Domi, out since Dec. 9, needed surgery and missed 23 games. ”It’s going to take him some games to get up to speed,” Tippett said….The Blackhawks are at Dallas on Saturday, the third stop on a six-game road swing. It’s the team’s second-longest trip this season.

Butler, Bulls stun OKC 128-100

Chicago Bulls Logo - Red bull with script above head

OKLAHOMA CITY—Jimmy Butler scored 28 points to help the Bulls rout the Oklahoma City Thunder 128-100 on Wednesday night.Dwyane Wade had 18 points and seven assists for the Bulls, who shot 60 percent from the field overall and 68 percent in the second half.Russell Westbrook had 28 points and eight assists and Jerami Grant scored a season-high 15 points for the Thunder, who lost their third straight overall and had their five-game home winning streak snapped. It took until the fourth quarter for someone other than Westbrook to reach 10 points for the Thunder. Oklahoma City shot just 38 percent from the field and made 10 of 37 3-pointers. It was the second-worst loss of the season for Oklahoma City, behind a 34-point loss in Memphis.Butler scored 18 points in the first half to help the Bulls take a 55-47 lead at the break.The Bulls started the second half on a 17-4 run to take a 72-51 lead. The Thunder trimmed the deficit to 14, but the Bulls bounced right back and led 94-73 at the end of the third quarter.Westbrook played less than a minute in the fourth quarter, sitting down for good with 8:14 remaining and the Bulls ahead 108-82.

NOTES—Jerian Grant and his brother, Jerami were on opposing teams. Jerian scored 12 points. The game ended with Jerami playfully guarding Jerian. … Cristiano Felicio made a hook shot as time expired in the first quarter to put the Bulls up 21-20. … C Robin Lopez was issued a technical foul in the third quarter. … The Bulls won 105-96 on Christmas Day last season in Oklahoma City…..Enes Kanter missed his third consecutive game with a fractured right forearm. He was on the bench with a cast on the arm. … F Domantas Sabonis went 0 for 5 in the first half and finished 1 for 10 with two points.The Bulls will play at Houston on Friday.