NU bounces back with easy win over Mt.St.Marys

EVANSTON–Northwestern led 20-0 midway through the first half Thursday en route to a 70-47 victory over Mount St. Mary’s, Md.Drew Crawford led the Wildcats (9-1) with 16 points, and Luka Mirkovic scored 15. John Shurna had 13 points before being leaving the game in the second half with a sprained left ankle. Davide Curletti added 11 points.Mount St. Mary’s (3-10) missed its first 15 shots and didn’t score until a three-point play by Julian Norfleet with 10:33 left in the first half. During the Wildcats’ run, the Mountaineers committed five turnovers to none for NU.The Wildcats led 39-16 at halftime and pushed it to 60-26 in the second half.Norfleet led Mount St. Mary’s with 21 points, and Raven Barber had 10.Northwestern rebounded from its first loss of the season Tuesday against St. John’s. This was the first meeting between Northwestern and Mount St. Mary’s.

Demons get win over Owls 71-62

ROSEMONT—Freshman Cleveland Melvin scored a career-high 23 points as DePaul held on to a 19-point first half lead to give coach Oliver Purnell his 400th career victory in a 71-62 win over Florida Atlantic on Wednesday night.DePaul (6-6) led by as many as 19 in the first half, but Florida Atlantic (8-6) was able to cut into the lead.Greg Gantt hit a jumper to get the Owls within 60-52 with 5:01 left, then Raymond Taylor made a 3-pointer and Dennis Mavin converted a three-point play to get the Owls within 61-58 with 3:18 left.After Melvin scored, Mavin made two free throws to get it back within three, but the Blue Demons put it away after Melvin and Jeremiah Kelly both hit a pair of free throws to make it 67-60 with 25 seconds left.Gantt scored 20 points for Florida Atlantic and Mavin added 12.

Slumping Illini lose to Mizzou 75-64 for braggin rights.


ST. LOUIS—Missouri got a chance to brag again, this time about its nine-second knockout punch.Laurence Bowers made a four-point play with a layup and two free throws after an intentional foul with 40 seconds to go, fueling a huge final minute for the ninth-ranked Tigers in a 75-64 victory over No. 21 Illinois on Wednesday night.Missouri scored eight points in a nine-second span, breaking open a tie game to win the neutral-site ‘Braggin Rights” matchup for the second straight year.Marcus Denmon had 15 points and Bowers added 13 points and nine rebounds. Justin Safford had 11 points for the Tigers (11-1), who before last year had lost nine in a row to Illinois. Michael Dixon, a sophomore who was reinstated after a two-game suspension for violating team rules, had 10 points and six assists and played 31 minutes off the bench.Mike Davis had 17 points and eight rebounds for Illinois (10-3), which has dropped two straight after getting upset by UIC on Saturday. Mike Tisdale, who committed the intentional foul when he pushed Bowers from behind, had 13 rebounds and nine points.Davis scored only one point in the final 15 minutes.Denmon was wide open for a layup on the ensuing inbounds pass about one second later for a six-point swing. A swing that Illinois coach Bruce Weber complained was unjust.A free throw by Bowers after a technical by Weber made it 70-61 with 30.7 seconds to go.Illinois outrebounded Missouri 46-37 but missed too many close-in attempts and shot 38.6 percent overall.Bowers’ four-point play came only two seconds after Illinois’ D.J. Richardson’s 3-pointer off Dixon’s turnover tied it at 61. Denmon took the inbounds pass shy of midcourt and whipped it ahead to Bowers for a layup, and Tisdale was whistled for an intentional foul after putting both hands on Bowers’ back under the basket.Denmon missed his first five shots but his 3-pointer with 25 seconds to go in the half tied it at 27. Missouri scored the last seven points of the half and extended the run to 15-2 early in the second half, going ahead 35-29.Davis scored nine of the first 13 points for Illinois, which led by eight points with just over eight minutes to go. Illinois had 14 offensive rebounds in the half but shot just 30.8 percent. Missouri was a little bit better at 34.5 but with 10 fewer shots.

Skille score twice, Hawks beat Preds 4-1


Good defense is starting to become a habit again for the Blackhawks.Jack Skille scored two goals, rookie Corey Crawford made 24 saves and the Blackhawks defeated the Nashville Predators 4-1 on Wednesday night for their third straight win.Crawford made several tough stops but benefited from another tight, disciplined effort by defending Stanley Cup champion Hawks. He lost a bid for his first shutout this season with 8:47 left in the third period when Nashville’s Sergei Kostitsyn scored a power-play goal on a deflection.En route to winning the Cup last season, the Blackhawks had the NHL’s fifth-best goals-against average, and second-lowest in the Western Conference.Skating again without star forwards Patrick Kane and Marian Hossa, the Blackhawks focused on keeping the Predators off the scoresheet and then pounced on turnovers.Dave Bolland and Bryan Bickell also scored for the Blackhawks, who allowed just two Nashville power plays. The Hawks been short-handed only three times in its past three games.Crawford made his 10th start in the Blackhawks past 12 games and outdueled Nashville rookie Anders Lindback, who finished with 31 saves in his ninth straight start.Nashville suffered its second straight regulation loss following an 8-0-2 streak.Lindback was backed up by veteran Pekka Rinne, who returned to the Predators’ active roster after missing eight games after having an arthroscopic procedure on his left knee. Lindback was 6-0-1 with two shutouts in his first seven games after taking over for Rinne. In a 6-1 loss to Los Angeles on Saturday, he was pulled after allowing three goals on nine shots.The 22-year-old Swede rebounded against the Blackhawks, but still made a few mistakes.The 6-foot-6 goalie had only himself to blame on the Hawks first goal. Bolland scored with 7:31 left in the first period following a bad pass by Lindback.The goalie tried to fire the puck quickly up the right wing boards to Nashville defenseman Kevin Klein, but the pass was picked off by Fernando Pisani. He passed to Bolland, who was alone in front of the net and beat Lindback after deking him to the ice. Skille’s power-play goal midway through the second made it 2-0. After taking a pass from Bolland, Skille’s shot from the right circle went off Lindback’s glove, clanked off the right post and landed in the net.Crawford made several of his best saves in the second. Among them were a pad stop on Joel Ward 3:40 into the period and a block of Cal O’Reilly’s drive from the slot just after Skille’s goal.Skille made it 3-0 at 9:14 of the third period on a quick, screen shot from the high slot.Kostitsyn ended Crawford’s shutout bid just under two minutes later by deflecting in Martin Erat’s low shot during a power play.Bickell completed the scoring with 2:32 remaining.

NOTES—Crawford has one career shutout, earned in March 2008 against Anaheim during a callup from the minors…..Kane missed his seventh game with an injured left ankle. Hossa sat out his 10th game with a lower-body injury, but has resumed skating……Viktor Stalberg missed his third game with concussion-like symptoms…….Nashville C David Legwand missed his 15th game with a lower-body injury……Predators RW Jordin Tootoo and D Alexander Sulzer were healthy scratches.

Bulls dominate second half, beat Wizards behind Boozer


WASHINGTON—Carlos Boozer scored 30 points and Derrick Rose added 25 to help the Bulls beat the Washington Wizards 87-80 on Wednesday night for their ninth victory in 10 games.Boozer also had 10 rebounds and a season-high seven assists to go with his second 30-point performance this season. The Bulls are 9-3 since Boozer returned after missing the first 15 games with a broken hand.The Bulls were coming off of a 45-point win against Philadelphia Tuesday, but didn’t take the lead for good until late in the third quarter against Washington.Luol Deng added 14 points.Nick Young scored 22 points for the Wizards. Kirk Hinrich added 19 against his ex team, Josh Howard 13 and Al Thornton 11 for Washington, which again fell short in an attempt for its first two-game winning streak of the season.Washington led 50-46 at the half and extended the lead to eight points — its largest margin of the game — immediately after the break.The visitors responded, sparked by Rose and Boozer, who combined to score 23 of the Bulls’ 27 points in the third quarter. The Bulls moved into the lead midway through the period with a 13-0 run, holding Washington scoreless for nearly 4 ½ minutes.Although the Wizards briefly regained the lead, Rose’s free throws gave the Bulls the edge again at 68-67 with 2 minutes left in the third, and they didn’t relinquish the lead again.Both teams had trouble scoring in the fourth quarter, with periods of 3 ½ and 2 ½ minutes where neither team recorded a point. The Bulls outscored Washington 14-10 in the final period.Rashard Lewis made his first appearance for the Wizards since being traded from Orlando in the deal that sent Gilbert Arenas to the Magic. Lewis had a relatively quiet night off the bench, finishing with eight points and five fouls.

NOTES—Taj Gibson played for the first time since sustaining a concussion against the Clippers on Saturday, although he saw action for only the final 30 seconds of the first half. … Young has scored at least 20 points in five straight games, the longest such stretch of his career. … Several members of the University of Maryland football team watched the game as part of the festivities prior to their appearance in Washington’s Military Bowl. … The Wizards had three second-half technicals, as Andray Blatche, JaVale McGee and coach Flip Saunders were all whistled for arguing foul calls.

ROUT!!!! Bulls 121-Sixers 76.


The Bulls were just looking for a quicker start and better defensive play against the Philadelphia 76ers on Tuesday.What they got was perhaps the season’s most complete effort in a 121-76 rout.Derrick Rose collected his seventh double-double with 22 points and 12 assists. Luol Deng also had 22 points and four other Bulls hit double figures as the Bulls led by as many as 51 points late in the game.Despite missing two big men, the Bulls dominated nearly every offensive category and recorded its most lopsided win of the season.Carlos Boozer had 16 points and 11 rebounds, and Kurt Thomas added 12 points. Andre Iguodala scored 17 points and reserve Thaddeus Young added 12 for Philadelphia.The Bulls, coming off a 100-99 loss to the Clippers, trailed only in the opening minute. The Bulls then used a 10-0 run later in the first quarter to open its first double-digit lead. The advantage grew to 90-50 with 1:01 left in the third and 50 with less than five minutes to play.The winners were without 6-foot-9 forward Taj Gibson, who suffered a concussion during the home loss to the Clippers. He was the second Bulls big man sidelined in the last week following Joakim Noah’s thumb surgery last Thursday.Rose shook off a sore right wrist and scored 11 points in the first quarter. Deng added 10 as the Bulls opened a 33-19 lead. They made 10 of its first 14 shots (71 percent) in the first 8:40.The Bulls’ lead never slipped under 10 points in the second quarter. Kyle Korver had eight points off the bench, including a pair of 3-pointers to help the Bulls to a 61-43 lead by intermission.The lead passed 30 points during a 16-0 run and hit 40 with 1:01 remaining when Rose hit his second 3 pointer of the game to open a 90-50 lead. James Johnson’s two free throws with less than five minutes to play pushed the lead past 50.

“I told the guys that I’ll give you one,” said 76ers coach Doug Collins, whose team came into the game with six wins in its last eight games. “In the NBA you’re going to have games like this, it just happens.It’ll be easier tomorrow [at Boston]. Our effort will be better tomorrow. We were just discombobulated on offense tonight. I didn’t recognize us out there. I didn’t even know what plays we were running.”

The Bulls shot a season-high 64.5 percent, while Philadelphia managed just 28 of 80 (35 percent), its lowest of the season.

NOTES—The crowd of 21,521 was the Bulls’ 14th straight sellout this season. They led the NBA in average attendance entering the game with a 21,397 average…..Both teams play on Wednesday on the road. The 76ers travel to Boston while the Bulls are at the Wizards….Tom Thibodeau said after the game that he was uncertain about Gibson’s status for the Wizards but said the Bulls forward was training on a stationary cycle at practice and looked better.



St.Johns hands Cats first loss in MSG Holiday Festival Title Game

NEW YORK—St.Johns ended the undefeated start for Northwestern with an 85-69 victory over the Wildcats in the championship game of the Holiday Festival at Madison Square Garden.Dwight Hardy scored 24 points and Justin Brownlee added a career-high 21 and St. John’s shot 80 percent from the field in the second half to hand the Wildcats their first loss of the season.The Red Storm came into the Festival off losses to St. Bonaventure and Fordham, games where they blew 20-point leads. The opening 62-57 win over Davidson and the championship seemed to make those losses seem long ago.John Shurna had 28 points and Drew Crawford added 17 for the Wildcats (8-1), who were trying to match their best start since 1993-94. They entered the game as one of the last nine unbeaten teams in Division I.Brownlee was assigned Shurna and Polee had Crawford for most of the second half. Shurna, one of the best long-range shooters in college basketball, didn’t score over the final 12 1/2 minutes, while Crawford had just five points in the second half, including a 3-pointer with less than a minute to play.The Red Storm, whose last of 15 Festival titles was in 2005, won their second inseason tournament. Brownlee had his then-career-high of 20 points in the championship game win over Arizona State at the Great Alaska Shootout.It is the first time St. John’s has won two inseason tournaments since Hall of Fame coach Lou Carnesecca led the then-Redmen to wins in the Lapchick Memorial and the Cougar Classic.Brownlee was named MVP of both of the tournaments.The Cats led 40-37 at halftime and it didn’t take long for the Red Storm to start hitting almost everything they threw at the basket.St. John’s hit eight of its first 10 shots from the field with a side jumper by Polee giving the Red Storm a 54-51 lead with 11:49 to play. They kept shooting – they finished 16 of 20 from the field in the second half, and the lead kept growing. Justin Burrell, who finished with a season-high 17 points, made it 75-62 with 2:56 left and most of the crowd of 5,583 started celebrating the win.Shurna came into the game shooting 63.6 percent from the field, sixth in the country, and 61.9 from 3-point range, third nationally. He finished 10 for 17 from the field, including 4 of 6 on 3-pointers.NU shot 29.7 percent in the second half (11 of 37).Lavin, who spent the last seven years working as a television analyst after coaching at UCLA, earned his first win over a Big Ten team since an 87-82 win at Purdue in December 2000. The Boilermakers coach was Gene Keady, Lavin’s first boss who now sits next to him on the bench as an adviser.The win gives St. John’s a 2-1 lead in the all-time series with Northwestern. The Wildcats won the last meeting 62-60 in the first round of the 1966 Holiday Festival.

Bears blow away Vikes at the “U”. NFC North Champs!!!

 MINNEAPOLIS—Slow start,but then no contest here at the U. The Bears are NFC North Champs after routing the Minnesota Vikings 40-14. Devin Hester made history,Jay Cutler tossed three TD passes,and the field was not an issue.

After all the hub bup,the Bears and Vikings got this Monday night game under way with Zambonis blowing snow off the field and the Vikings receiving the opening kickoff and with about 70% of the stands full. Robbie Gould kicked off to Lorenzo Booker who retruned 32 yards to his 40.The Bears defense looked just as bad at the start of this game as they did last week again New England. Brett Favre was a surprise starter and with Adrian Peterson not active,handed to Toby Gerhart for three yards,and then for six,and then for a first down for nine and a first down,triggering the Viiking horn for the first time. Favre scrambled to the left and found Percy Harvin who made a diving catch at the 31. Then Gerhart got 8 to the 23. Finally Favre and Harvin connected on a screen and the recever broke a D.J.Moore tackle and scored standing up to makle it 7-0 just 3:38 into the game.Danieal Manning returned the kickoff 19 yards to his 34. Matt Forte ran off right guard 7 yards,then he picked up one to his 42.Jay Cutler on third down found Earle Bennet for eight yards at the 43 for a first down. His pass was then almost picked off,but dropped by Ben Leber. He then hit Bennett who fumbled but Greg Olsen recovered at the Minnesoita 44 making it third and three. After being forced to used a time out,Cutler under a blitz threw a pass into the slipper turf and Brad Maynard’s punt was fair caught by Grag Camarillo at his 14. After a Gerhart no gain, Favre unloaded a pass that Tim Jennings intercepted,but Julius Peppers was off side.Gerhart was then stuffed for no gain again on second down. Favre had another pass tipped by Henry Melton and Peppers picked it off at the Minnesota 14. Cutler hit Olsen for a short two yard gain. Forte was then held to a gain of just a yard. On third down, Cutler tossed incompleted pass as he and Johnny Knox had their timming off.Gould thus kicked a 29 yard field goal. The Vikings started at their 31.On a third and six,the snap was air mailed over Favre’s head and he raced back to recover’s it at his 11. Chris Kluwe punted it out at the Vikings 47. Former Viking Chester Taylor ran for 4 but Chris Williams was nailed for illegal hand to the face. Then a long screen pass play to Taylor was wiped out when a holding was called on Olen Kruetz. But on first and 30, Cutler found Knox on a 67 yard bomb to stun the crowd and the Vikings and give the Bears their first lead 10-7 with 1:55 remaing in the first quarter.The Bears got the only score of the second quarter by driving 70 yards in eight plays and getting to the Minnesota 15. Cutler then hit Devin Hester in stride for a touchdown to make it 17-7.Favre left the game when he was hit by former Northwestern Wildcat Corey Wooton and was replaced by Joe Webb. Cutler later had an apperent score to Devin Aromashodu,but offsetting penalties wiped that out and the half ended with no more scoring.

Hester returned the second halkf kickoff 79 yards to the Minnesota six.Forte was stuffed for a one yard gain on first down.Cutler then threw one away with nobody open.He then missed Bennett over the middle and Gould booted a 23 yarder to up the Bears lead to 20-7.After stopping the Vikes three and out, Kluwe’s punt resulted in history as Hester returned it 64 yards for a TD which set an NFL record, his 14th combined regular season kickoff and punt return score,breaking the mark he had shared with Brian Mitchell who had needed 223 games while Hester need just 74 games. This does not include Hester’s return of a missed field goal or his kick off return for a TD in Super Bowl XLVI.A horrible pass interference call on Major Wright put the Vikings in scoring range,and Webb then hit Harvin for 13 yards to the 13 before running it in to cut the Bears lead to 27-14.The Vikes tried an on side kick but Manning grabbed it and got to his 47.Cutler hit Hester at the Minnesota 45.Then he zinged one to Knox at the 34.Forte was hit behind the line for -2,but followed that up with a gain of five.Olsen then grabbed a Cutler pass for 11q at the 20 to move the chains.Forte picked up another first down with eleven to the nine for a first and goal.Cutler then found Rashied Davis up the middle with a zaler beam between two DB’s and it was 34-14 Bears with 5:16 left in the third quarter. Yet another stop on the Vikings, and the Bears drove deep enough for Gould to kick a 34 yard field goal to make it 37-14. Booker returned the kickoff 49 yards to the Bears 34 as the lenghty period finally ended. Webb hit Harvin for 14 yards to the Bears 19.The Vikings didn’tkeep the ball much longer as Melton recoivered a Gerhart fumble at the Bears 17.The next Viking drive ended with a Chris Harris interception which he returned 25 yards to the Minnesota 32.Kevin Williams picked up a personal foul on first down and the ball was spotted at the 19.Forte ran 14 yards to the 5 for a first and goal. He then added two more to the two.Taylor was stopped for no gain twice. Gould then booted a 20 yard chip shot to make it 40-14 with 7:03 left.Peanut Tillman picked off a Webb pass and returned it 57 yards to the Minnesota 35 with 2:58 left. Garrett Wolfe ran twice to get down to the two minute warning.They then turned the ball over on downs the the Vikes ran the clock out.


Cats beat St.Francis to advance to MSG Title Game

NEW YORK—Drew Crawford scored 25 points and had nine rebounds, eight assists, three blocks and two steals to lead Northwestern over St. Francis (N.Y.) 92-61 on Monday night.The Wildcats (8-0) scored 40 points in the paint and 35 off of 21 turnovers in the Madison Square Garden Holiday Festival.Jon Shurna, the Big 10 Player of the Week, added 26 points and four steals for Northwestern.The Wildcats shot 50.7 percent from the field (34 of 67), including 10 of 22 from 3-point range (45.5 percent). St. Francis shot 40.7 percent from the field (22 of 54), but managed just 12 of 22 from the free-throw line (59.1 percent) and snapped a five-game winning streak.Juice Thompson added 14 points and JerShon Cobb had 11 for NU.The Terriers (6-4) were led by Travis Nichols with 10 points off the bench. Dre Calloway added 14 and Akeem Bennett 11 for St. Francis.The Cats will face the Davidson-St.Johns winner Tuesday night in the Championship game.

ISU edges UNC-Wilmington


WILMINGTON—Jon Ekey scored 22 points and grabbed 12 rebounds as Illinois State defeated North Carolina-Wilmington 62-60 in overtime on Monday night.The Redbirds (8-3) were outscored 33-27 in the second half before going 3 for 4 from the field in overtime for their third straight win against the Seahawks (5-5).Illinois State opened overtime missing three straight free throws before Jackie Carmichael made the back end of his pair for a 54-53 lead with 2:50 to play.The teams traded baskets before UNC-Wilmington tied it at 56 on Keith Rendleman’s jumper. Alex Rubin then hit a 3 with 44 seconds left and Carmichael followed with a dunk to help the Redbirds to pull away, 61-56, with 10 seconds to play.John Wilkins added 13 points and Carmichael finished with 11 for Illinois State. The Redbirds outrebounded UNC-Wilmington 40-30.Chad Tomko had 23 points for the Seahawks.