Richmond wins 5th Chicago Invitational Challenge over Purdue, SIU takes third place

HOFFMAN ESTATES—Gene Teague had game highs of 17 points and 10 rebounds to lead Southern Illinois past Wright State 56-50 on Saturday for third place in the Chicago Invitational Challenge.Mamadou Seck added 11 points for the Salukis (3-3).N’Gai Evans led the Raiders (3-3) with 11 points. Vaughn Duggins and Troy Tabler scored 10 each.SIU shot only 34.1 percent (14 of 41) and 20.0 percent (2 of 10) on 3-pointers. But that was decidedly better than Wright State’s numbers of 21.6 percent (11 of 51) and 17.6 percent (3 of 17).The Salukis scored the game’s first 10 points. The Raiders did not connect from the field until a 3-pointer by Cooper Land narrowed their deficit to 12-6 with 9:16 left in the first half.Southern Illinois led 24-17 at intermission. The Salukis led by as many as 12 and never fewer than four in the second half.

Richmond’s Kevin Anderson had the gaudy numbers and the MVP trophy. He said the real credit for the Spiders’ 65-54 Championship Game victory over No. 10 Purdue on Saturday night goes to the defense.The Spiders had the shooting edge and outrebounded the Boilermakers 44-35. They also had more points in the paint (34) and on second chances (11).Richmond (6-1) jumped to an early lead over the Boilermakers (5-1), who struggled with poor shooting and turnovers for the second straight game.The win was the Spiders’ first over a top 10 team since a 69-68 victory at then-No. 10 Kansas in 2004 and their sixth over any ranked team since 2007-08.Justin Harper had 14 points and Darien Brothers added 11 for the Spiders.The Boilermakers were plagued by poor shooting for the second straight game. They were 4 of 25 (16 percent) in the first half and 16 of 53 (30.2 percent) for the game.Moore led Purdue with 16 points, while JaJuan Johnson had 13 points and 11 rebounds and reserve John Hart added 12 points.Purdue was 4 of 18 from the field in the game’s first 13 minutes and had eight straight unsuccessful possessions, four ending with turnovers.

Ramblers keep rolling, edge Dons 63-62 in SF

SAN FRANCISCO—Terrance Hill hit two free throws with 10 seconds remaining Saturday to lift Loyola to a 63-62 victory over San Francisco.Geoff McCammon hit 8 of 13 3-point attempts and finished with 26 points for the Ramblers (7-0), who overcame a 13-point deficit to remain unbeaten. Walt Gibler added 10 points and nine rebounds.San Francisco (2-3) had a chance to win it at the end, but Cody Doolin missed a long jumper from the corner with 4 seconds to go, and Rashad Green’s put-back attempt was off the mark as time expired.Michael Williams led the Dons with 16 points, while Moustapha Diarra had 11 points and 11 rebounds.San Francisco shot 46.7 percent from the field compared to Loyola’s 31.6, but turned the ball over 21 times and was only 12 of 19 from the free-throw line. Loyola was 18 of 20 from the line and scored 19 points off Dons’ turnovers.

Badgers share Big Ten Crown, rout Wildcats 70-23

MADISON—Another week, another jaw-dropping blowout for No. 5 Wisconsin.And more turnovers and poor defense for Northwestern.This one earned the Badgers a share of the Big Ten title.And with the Big Ten’s Rose Bowl representative still to be determined, it remains to be seen if their recent run of scoreboard-scorching victories will be sufficient.Wisconsin routed Northwestern 70-23 at Camp Randall Stadium on Saturday, and will split the conference championship three ways after Ohio State and Michigan State won earlier in the day.The Badgers (11-1, 7-1 Big Ten) appear to have the inside track on the Rose Bowl, which will be determined by the Bowl Championship Series standings. Fans chanted “Rose Bowl” in the final seconds of the game, then rushed the field as fireworks exploded over the stadium.No. 8 Ohio State beat Michigan on Saturday, and No. 11 Michigan State won at Penn State. Wisconsin came into this week leading both teams in the BCS rankings.Wisconsin certainly is doing its best to impress voters in recent weeks. Its victory Saturday made it four straight by 20 points or more — and it wasn’t even the most lopsided game in that stretch, because Wisconsin beat Indiana 83-20 on Nov. 13. And it was the third time this season the Badgers scored 70 points or more.Nationally, Bielema has earned some criticism for running up the score during the Badgers’ recent run — but given the chance to score one last touchdown on Saturday, Wisconsin instead ran out the clock inside the Northwestern 10-yard line in the final two minutes of the game.That was about the only way the Wildcats could stop even UW’s second unit.Montee Ball rushed for 178 yards and four touchdowns for the Badgers. Scott Tolzien was 15 of 19 for 230 yards and four touchdowns, including a pair to wide receiver Nick Toon.It was also a dominant game by standout defensive end J.J. Watt, who forced two fumbles and made a big hit that caused an interception. Watt even blocked a Northwestern extra point try in the third quarter, leaving the crowd chanting his name. Wisconsin’s only scare came when tight end Lance Kendricks landed awkwardly on the ball after catching a 29-yard touchdown pass late in the second quarter. After lying on the turf for several minutes surrounded by the team’s medical staff, Kendricks was able to get up and walk to the locker room with assistance.Venric Mark returned a kickoff 94 yards for a touchdown for Northwestern (7-5, 3-5 Big Ten), returning nine kickoffs a total of 273 yards.Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald said Saturday’s loss wasn’t a step backward for the program.

“No, we lost a football game today,” Fitzgerald said. “We have two freshmen quarterbacks playing their second game. We turned the ball over on the road against a team that won the Big Ten championship. That’s not a step backwards, it’s a loss.”

Already without quarterback Dan Persa because of an Achilles’ tendon injury, Northwestern also was missing top running back Mike Trumpy because of a wrist injury.The Wildcats split time at quarterback between Evan Watkins and Kain Colter.They will have to wait two weeks to see which Bowl they are headed to,but with key players out and without much confidence,the Cats will be hard pressed to win their second Bowl Game ever(and first since the 1948 season).Stopping Wisconsin clearly was going to be a challenge for Northwestern’s defense, which gave up 519 yards rushing in a loss to Illinois at Wrigley Field last week.Fitzgerald said his team would have had a tough time beating anybody with four interceptions and three lost fumbles, let alone a conference champion.

Irish beat Trojans for first time since 2001 20-16

LOS ANGELES—Robert Hughes scored on a 5-yard run with 2:23 to play, and Notre Dame rallied to snap an eight-game losing streak in college football’s best intersectional rivalry with a 20-16 victory over Southern California on Saturday night.Freshman quarterback Tommy Rees overcame four turnovers to lead bowl-bound Notre Dame’s decisive 77-yard go-ahead drive in the final minutes of its first win over USC since 2001.The Irish weren’t safe on a cold, rainy night at the Coliseum — even after USC’s Ronald Johnson dropped a long pass from Mitch Mustain at the Notre Dame 15 with 1:17 to play and no defender within 10 yards of him.Mustain, making his first USC start in place of injured Matt Barkley, shook off the drop to move the Trojans to the Notre Dame 23, but safety Harrison Smith intercepted a poor throw at the goal line with 36 seconds left.Rees passed for 149 yards in his third career start, making huge mistakes but also throwing touchdown passes to Michael Floyd and Duval Kamara. Floyd had 11 catches for 86 yards on his 21st birthday for the Irish (7-5), who won three straight to close coach Brian Kelly’s first regular season.The Champs Sports Bowl in Orlando is expected to be the Irish’s postseason destination, but the Las Vegas Bowl also showed up to scout Notre Dame.USC’s struggling offense scored all of its points off Rees’ turnovers. Joe Houston kicked his third field goal for USC with 6:25 to play after another short drive set up by Rees’ third interception, but the Notre Dame finally kicked into gear on a 77-yard drive.Tailbacks Cierre Wood and Hughes made big runs before Hughes scored on a charge straight up the middle.Johnson will remember his drop on Senior Night for the rest of his life. The normally sure-handed senior held his hands to his helmet in disbelief after bobbling away a sure TD pass in the final minutes of his final home game.Mustain passed for 177 yards while Barkley watched with a high ankle sprain for the Trojans (7-5), who have lost two straight heading into next week’s season finale at UCLA. USC’s streaks of 19 straight nonconference victories and 15 straight at home also ended in the 82nd edition of a rivalry dating to 1926.Neither team was ranked heading into the game for just the ninth time, but Kelly became the first Notre Dame coach to beat USC in his first try since Lou Holtz in 1986 – not a bad finish to a tumultuous regular season touched by tragedy with the death of a student videographer last month.Notre Dame took a 13-3 lead into halftime with two late touchdown passes by Rees, but USC hung in with big plays from its defense. Mustain’s tying 1-yard TD sneak in the third quarter was preceded by Rees’ fumble forced by USC’s Nick Perry, who returned it to the Notre Dame 2.Notre Dame’s defense finally gave up a touchdown after 13 straight quarters without allowing one, its longest such stretch since 1980.Marshall Jones then picked off Rees’ throw at the Notre Dame 38, and Houston made a 37-yard field goal to put the Trojans ahead.Mustain was once among the nation’s top high school quarterbacks, but he hadn’t started a game since his freshman season as Arkansas in 2006, when he went 8-0 for the Razorbacks. After transferring in the wake of coaching turmoil, he spent the last three seasons backing up Mark Sanchez and Barkley, who sprained his ankle in last week’s loss at Oregon State.Before the game, USC coach Lane Kiffin stood at the mouth of the Coliseum tunnel and hugged each senior as he ran onto the field for the final time.After USC lost safety T.J. McDonald early to a shoulder injury early on, Rees finally got the Irish rolling midway through the second quarter on a 16-play, 79-yard drive capped by Floyd’s 1-yard TD catch 2:39 before halftime.Notre Dame moved quickly after getting the ball back, with Rees hitting Kamara on the goal line with 7 seconds left – although David Ruffer’s extra point attempt clanged off the upright.

Purdue rolls past SIU in Chicago Challenge, meet Richmond for Title Saturday night

HOFFMAN ESTATES—The Chicago Invitational Challenge has returned to the Sears Centre for the 5th annual event after last year’s was held at the UIC Pavilion due to financial problems the building in Hoffman Estates was having last year at this time.Purdue is hoping to succ3eed fellow Big Ten member Norwester as CIC Champs and earned a Saturday night matchup with Richmond(5-1) in the Title game after overcoming a 1-of-13 shooting at the start as E’Twaun Moore and JaJuan Johnson led the Boilermakers past Southern Illinois 79-60.Moore finished with 31 points and nine rebounds while and Johnson added 18 as Purdue(5-0) earned a date with Richmond (5-1) in Saturday’s invitational championship game at the Sears Centre.The Salukis(2-3) led 13-7 lead, but saw the Boilers go on a 15-2 run to earn a 36-28 lead by halftime.It was all Purdue in the second half.SIU was topped by Justin Bocut with 18 points, while John Freeman and Carlson Fay had 15 and 10 points.

NOTES—This was just the third meeting between SIU and Purdue,and both team had fan support…..The Salukis will play Wright State for third place…..Illinois,Xavier,and Dayton were the other CIC champs in addition to NU.


Melo beats Bulls at buzzer. Rose sits with stiff neck

DENVER—From almost the same spot on the floor where he missed a last-second shot three weeks ago, Carmelo Anthony swished a game-winning jumper.Anthony’s 23-footer, his second chance in the final moments, sailed over the outstretched hand of Luol Deng and dropped cleanly through the net, giving the Denver Nuggets a 98-97 victory over the short handed Bulls on Friday night.The Nuggets came back for their fifth consecutive win at home after blowing a 19-point, third-quarter lead.Anthony finished with 22 points, including his 14th career game-winner.Nene added 18 points and Ty Lawson had 17.C.J. Watson led the Bulls with 33 points and Deng had 24. Joakim Noah added 17 points and 16 rebounds.Both teams played without their starting point guards. Derrick Rose had a sore neck, apparently from having slept on it wrong the night before. Denver’s Chauncey Billups missed a second consecutive game since spraining his right wrist and breaking his nose in last Saturday’s game against New Jersey.Trailing throughout the game, the Bulls tied it at 82 on a 19-foot jumper by Watson. Kyle Korver drained a 3-pointer with 6:05 remaining to give the visitors their first lead, 85-82.With the Bulls leading 91-88, the Nuggets went back in front 94-91 with 2:10 left on successive driving layups by J.R. Smith, Anthony and Lawson.But Watson answered with three consecutive baskets for the Bulls, banking in a go-ahead jumper and driving in for a twisting layup with 30 seconds remaining to make it 97-94.After Anthony made a pair of free throws to get the Nuggets within one, newly signed Bulls guard John Lucas III was fouled with 12.9 seconds remaining and missed both free throws.Anthony drove the lane and forced up a shot in traffic that missed, but the ball rolled out of bounds off the Bulls and the Nuggets had another chance with 4 seconds remaining.Anthony was thankful for another chance.Anthony got the inbounds pass from Lawson, opting against another drive to the basket and instead pulling up and squaring his shoulders before letting the basketball fly over Deng.Up by 10 at the half, the Nuggets scored 11 of the first 13 points in the third quarter, including two 3-pointers by Lawson, to go in front 59-40 with 9:32 left in the period.But they couldn’t shake the Bulls, who fought back to within a point of the Nuggets four separate times in the final 1:56 of the third, the last time when Korver made a pair of free throws. But Anthony then hit a 20-foot jumper and the Nuggets took a 76-73 lead into the fourth quarter.The Bulls, who went to double-overtime Wednesday before pulling out a win at Phoenix, got off to a sluggish start. The Nuggets opened up a 17-point, first-quarter lead behind Nene, who had 10 points in the period on 5-of-5 shooting.

NOTES—The Bulls announced the signing of Lucas before the game, giving them 14 players on their roster….A slam dunk by Noah late in the second quarter initially was determined to have beaten the shot clock but video review showed it had not and it was nullified….Billups has missed only 12 games since coming to the Nuggets in a trade with Detroit on Nov. 3, 2008…..Arron Afflalo has connected for multiple 3-pointers six times.

Hawks control third period to get by struggling Ducks

ANAHEIM—The Blackhawks used some old-fashioned sharpshooting to break open a tie game against the Anaheim Ducks.Patrick Sharp scored for the fourth time in five games to give the Hawks the lead for good in a three-goal third period that carried the defending Stanley Cup champions to a 4-1 victory Friday. He also set up a short-handed goal by defenseman Duncan Keith that knotted the score in the second period.Sharp has 14 goals in his first 24 games. Last season, he didn’t get his 14th goal until his 41st game.Defenseman Nicklas Hjalmarsson ended a 44-game goal drought, Troy Brouwer also scored, and Corey Crawford made 26 saves against an offense that generated 90 shots on net over the previous two games while losing both.The Hawks held the Ryan Getzlaf-Corey Perry-Bobby Ryan line to just seven shots on net.Dan Sexton scored on a power play for the Ducks, who have just 10 goals during a six-game losing streak that began Nov. 14 at the United Center with a 3-2 overtime defeat that snapped a six-game winning streak. Right wing Teemu Selanne sat out his second straight game because of a groin injury.The Blackhawks had just finished killing off an Anaheim power play when Ducks defenseman Andy Sutton, playing in just his third game with Anaheim after missing the first 21 games of the season because of a broken right thumb, committed a costly turnover that resulted in the go-ahead goal.The 12-year veteran carried the puck out from behind his own net and attempted a backhanded outlet pass to Nick Bonino — but put it right onto the stick of Sharp, who quickly beat Jonas Hiller high to the glove side.Hjalmarsson beat Hiller to the stick side with a screened shot from the left point with 14:04 remaining for his first goal since March 3. Brouwer added his fourth goal with 10:20 to play, beating Hiller to the glove side with a one-timer from the slot. At that point, Carlyle changed goalies.

Bulls win 2OT thriller from Suns

PHOENIX—Derrick Rose scored 35 points and hit numerous big shots, helping the road-weary Bulls rally from a 23-point, second-quarter deficit to beat the Phoenix Suns 123-115 in double-overtime Wednesday night.The game was tied at 101 after regulation following Rose’s two free throws with 14 seconds remaining. Rose, who also had 12 assists, again came through in the clutch, tying the score at 111 with 0.1 seconds left in the first overtime on a reverse layup. He then scored the Bulls’ first five points in the second overtime, giving the Bulls a 116-113 lead.Luol Deng contributed 26 points and 10 rebounds for the Bulls. Reserve Kyle Korver scored 24 and Joakim Noah had 17 points and 15 rebounds.Grant Hill led the Suns with a season-high 27 points and Hakim Warrick had a season-high 23 points, all in the first half, including 19 in the second quarter. Jason Richardson finished with 20, Steve Nash had 14 points and 16 assists, and Channing Frye scored 16.The Bulls never led until the first overtime, when a jumper by Rose gave then a 103-101 advantage.But the Suns forged ahead 108-107 on a 3-pointer by Richardson. Two free throws by Frye made it 110-107 before Noah tapped in a shot. A foul shot by Richardson made it 111-109, leading to Rose’s dramatic last-second basket.Warrick had a sensational second period, scoring 14 consecutive Phoenix points on an assortment of shots — a jumper, a stuff, a vicious dunk, a layup and free throws. Through the first two periods, he was nearly flawless, hitting seven of eight field goal attempts and nine of 10 free throws.He helped the Suns open a 50-27 lead before the Bulls battled back to close the gap to 62-50 at halftime. Deng led the comeback, amassing 13 points by halftime. The Suns’ 62 points were a season high for a half, as were their 36 points in the first quarter, when they led 36-17.During the opening quarter, the Suns were extremely efficient, hitting 63.6 percent of their shots (14 for 22) and not committing a turnover.The third period turned into a duel between Hill and Rose. The Suns’ 38-year-old forward pumped in 12 points during the quarter and the Bulls’ backcourt star scored 10 as Phoenix maintained its 12-point lead, 84-72. Taj Gibson was a late scratch for the Bulls, resting a tender right ankle.
NOTES—This was the Bulls’ fifth game in their seven-game “circus” road trip. They complete their long journey Friday night at Denver and Saturday night at Sacramento. … Offseason acquisition Carlos Boozer, who has not played this season because of surgery on a broken right hand, is expected to return to the Bulls’ lineup next month. … This is Chicago’s 20th anniversary season of its first NBA championship. On March 12, the Bulls will welcome back former players and coaches from the 1990-91 season for a recognition ceremony during halftime of their home game against Utah. … The Suns have played 11 of their 15 games against playoff teams from last season.

Niemi beats former team as Sharks knock off Hawks 5-2

SAN JOSE—Antti Niemi made 30 saves in his first game against the Blackhawks since leading them to the Stanley Cup championship last season to help the San Jose Sharks snap a three-game losing streak with a 5-2 victory on Wednesday.Patrick Marleau scored twice and Dany Heatley, Joe Pavelski and Jamal Mayers added goals to help the Sharks gain a small measure of revenge after being swept out of the Western Conference finals by Niemi and the Blackhawks six months ago.Niemi played all but one period of the Blackhawks’ run to the Stanley Cup title, going 16-6 with a 2.63 goals-against average and two shutouts.He stopped 129 of 136 shots in the Western Conference finals to help the Hawks sweep the Sharks but was allowed to leave as an unrestricted free agent when the Blackhawks decided not to pay him the $2.75 million salary he was awarded in arbitration.San Jose signed him to a $2 million, one-year contract shortly after and Niemi has struggled early this season with his new team. Sharks coach Todd McLellan gave him the nod against his former team in hopes it would spark Niemi. The move paid off.Using the same butterfly style that stymied the Sharks last May, Niemi held his former team in check. The Blackhawks had won five straight games in San Jose and nine of 10 overall against the Sharks.Niemi was at his best in the second period, helping kill off 44 seconds of a two-man advantage. One of his best saves came after Scott Nichol returned from his penalty. Niemi stopped Viktor Stalberg alone in front of the net to preserve a 3-1 lead.The Sharks had scored twice in the period to take the two-goal lead. Nichol helped set up the first one when he did a good job maintaining possession behind the net to extend the play. John McCarthy then took a pass from Nichol and fed Mayers for his first goal with San Jose to make it 2-0.The Blackhawks answered 31 seconds later when Jake Dowell’s pass from behind the net deflected off Jack Skille’s skate and then off Dowell for a goal.Pavelski restored the two-goal lead when he beat Marty Turco less than two minutes later with a slap shot from the slot for a power-play goal.Despite allowing a goal to Patrick Sharp early in the third, the Sharks managed to keep the lead after blowing a pair of two-goal advantages in the third period during their three-game losing streak.Marleau’s insurance power-play goal with 6:13 remaining off a nice feed from Joe Thornton ended Hawk hopes for a comeback. Marleau added an empty-net goal for the final margin. These teams have been up and down early this season after dominating the Western Conference a year ago. They are both in the middle of the pack as the Blackhawks have struggled to overcome the losses of Niemi and a host of other key players from their title team, and the Sharks have been unable to generate consistent scoring.San Jose was shut out at home 3-0 by Columbus in its previous game Saturday. That marked the fourth shutout already this season after being blanked just twice all of last season.The Sharks struck first this game thanks to a Hawk turnover in the defensive zone. Devin Setoguchi intercepted Nick Boynton’s clearing attempt and pushed the puck through Duncan Keith’s legs to Thornton. Thornton skated behind the net and fed an unguarded Heatley for the goal.

Lakers bench out does Bulls

LOS ANGELES—Proviso East Alum Shannon Brown matched his season high with 21 points, hitting five 3-pointers against his hometown team, and Kobe Bryant added 20 points in the Los Angeles Lakers‘ fifth straight victory, 98-91 over the Bulls on Tuesday night.Lamar Odom had 21 points and eight rebounds, but the two-time defending NBA champions trailed early in the fourth quarter before making a decisive 17-2 run when Derrick Rose finally slowed down.Rose scored 30 points with a series of his usual daredevil drives to the hoop, but managed just three points for the Bulls in the final period, all on free throws.Los Angeles reserves Brown and Steve Blake led the lengthy run, which included 10 straight points. The Bulls went more than 5 ½ minutes between field goals late in their seventh straight loss to the Lakers.The Bulls got just one field goal and 10 points in the final 8:13, and the Lakers improved to 8-1 at home with their 13th win in 15 games to start the season. Joakim Noah had 19 points and 13 rebounds for the Bulls, who dropped to 2-2 on their seven-game road trip while the circus occupies the United Center.USC product Taj Gibson had 16 points and 12 rebounds, and Luol Deng scored 11 of his 13 points in the first quarter.The Bulls still has won five of seven while getting off to its best start since coach Phil Jackson roamed the sideline in 1996.Two nights after his historic 10-for-10 performance from the field, Pau Gasol managed just 12 points on 3-for-10 shooting and 11 rebounds for the Lakers, whose height advantage didn’t bother Rose in the slightest.The Lakers struggled all night to keep up with the star guard, who scored 27 points in the first three quarters with nonstop aggressive drives to the hoop.But after the Bulls took the lead early in the fourth quarter, Los Angeles responded with that lengthy run including two 3-pointers by Steve Blake and one apiece from Matt Barnes and Brown, turning an 81-79 deficit into a 96-83 lead with 4:27 left.Brown found his groove early for the Lakers, hitting four 3-pointers in the first half when he wasn’t attacking the rim with aggression. The athletic reserve guard has made a quantum leap forward this season, particularly after honing his steady jumper during the summer after re-signing with the Lakers at less than his probable market value so he could chase a third championship ring.Rose was even better for the Bulls, getting 16 points and seven assists in the first half before scoring 11 more points in the third quarter. The Lakers double-teamed Rose from midcourt onward, yet he still penetrated the paint whenever he wished, causing a ripple of unease in Staples Center.Two of the NBA’s deepest teams are thriving without key players who will make them even deeper. Injured power forward Carlos Boozer watched the game from Bulls bench. The Lakers are hoping Andrew Bynum will return early next month from offseason knee surgery.

NOTES—The Lakers held a moment of silence before the game for Lucas Anthony Tang, the 2-year-old boy who died Sunday night after falling from a third-level luxury suite at Staples Center. … Fans near courtside included Rahm Emanuel, the Chicago mayoral candidate and former White House chief of staff, who sat with his brother, superagent Ari Emanuel, and actor Chris O’Donnell, a fellow Chicago-area native. Denzel Washington also attended the game.