Joakim Noah scored 23 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, and the Bulls got off to a good start without Derrick Rose, beating the Sacramento Kings 93-87 on Wednesday in the season opener.Richard Hamilton added 19 points, while Carlos Boozer chipped in with 18 points and eight rebounds.The Bulls are out to show they can get by while their superstar recovers from a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee, and this was promising even if it was a struggle.The Bulls led by 14 after a 10-0 run in the third quarter and hung on in the fourth after the Kings closed within three several times.A basket by Sacramento’s Tyreke Evans (21 points) cut it to 86-83 with 41.2 seconds left, but Luol Deng hit 1 of 2 free throws.Evans couldn’t get the ball in bounds, resulting in a five-second violation. That led to two free throws for Hamilton to make it 89-83 with 32.9 seconds left, and the Bulls hung on from there.Along with the points and rebounds, Noah set a career high with five steals. He also blocked three shots.Hamilton was relentless after being sidelined for much of last season by injuries, and Boozer was effective down the stretch scoring seven points in the fourth. That included a neat three-point play off a miss by Noah in which he crashed to the court and then hit the free throw, making it 86-78 with 2:45 remaining.The Kings, who are trying to make a jump after six straight losing seasons, got 15 points from Marcus Thornton and 14 from DeMarcus Cousins.This time last year, the Bulls were eyeing a championship run. Now, with their superstar sidelined, there’s a different vibe around the United Center.The mood changed when Rose crashed to the court late in the Bulls’ playoff-opening win over Philadelphia, sending the Bulls spiraling toward a first-round exit and casting a huge cloud over a team that many saw as the biggest threat to Miami in the Eastern Conference.To many, they’re treading water until Rose returns. The Bulls, of course, don’t see it that way.
NOTES—Bulls F Taj Gibson signed a new four year contract. Asked before the game if he’s turning down the Bulls’ offer, Gibson said that’s “the way I see it.” Without an extension, he would have become a restricted free agent.That won’t be a problem now. … The Bulls appointed Hall of Famer Scottie Pippen senior adviser to president and chief operating officer Michael Reinsdorf. Pippen has been serving as a team ambassador. In a statement issued Wednesday, Reinsdorf said the new title will “better reflect his role with the Bulls.”
The White Sox have announced that they’ve agreed to terms with right-hander Jake Peavy on a two-year, $29-million contract extension.The new deal will pay Peavy $14.5 million for each of the next two seasons. If Peavy reaches a certain innings-pitched threshold in those seasons, then he can unilaterally exercise a $15-million option for the 2015 season. Peavy’s previous contract called for a $22-million team option for 2013 and $4-million buyout. In addition to the new contract soon to be in place, the White Sox will pay Peavy the $4-million buyout on his pre-existing option.This past season, Peavy, 31, posted a 3.37 ERA across 219.0 innings (his highest workload since his Cy Young campaign of 2007). There’s never been any doubting Peavy’s stuff or dedication to craft, but he’s been unable to stay healthy for much of his Sox career. His durability this past season, however, reestablished him as a frontline starting pitcher. The Peavy extension is also the first big move by new GM Rick Hahn.
The Sox also have come to terms with Gavin Floyd on a new deal, and refused the option on Kevin Youkilis and Brett Myers,but Hahn said they would still like to re-sign both if it cam be worked out financially.
A.J.Pierzynski is a free agent.
Jay Cutler took a beating in the first half and came back to lead the Bears to a last-second victory.Robbie Gould kicked a 41-yard field goal as time expired after Cutler rallied the Bears in the fourth quarter for a 23-22 win over the Carolina Panthers on Sunday.The Bears trailed 19-7 in the fourth when the game turned in a big way.The Bears (6-1) took over on the Carolina 38 after Brad Nortman shanked a 6-yard punt, and Cutler connected with Kellen Davis on a 12-yard scoring pass with just under seven minutes left.Then on Carolina’s next play from scrimmage, Steve Smith slipped on a pass pattern and Tim Jennings returned his second interception of the game 25 yards to make it 20-19.Cam Newton then drove the Panthers to the Chicago 27, and Justin Medlock’s 45-yard field goal hit the right upright and went through to put Carolina ahead 22-20 with 2:27 remaining. Medlock finished with five field goals.Cutler moved the Bears 55 yards to the 23-yard line before Gould nailed his game-winner.It was another tough loss for Newton and the Panthers, who fell to 1-6 and lost their fifth straight game.The Bears pulled this win out even though Carolina ran up 416 yards and sacked Cutler six times, with Greg Hardy getting to him three times.Cutler completed 19 of 28 passes for 186 yards after having his ribs bruised by Detroit’s Ndamukong Suh on Monday night.Brandon Marshall had 98 yards receiving and Matt Forte ran for 70 yards and a touchdown.Newton threw for 314 yards and Steve Smith added 118 receiving for Carolina, but the Panthers suffered another stinging loss after firing their general manager.With the worst record in the NFC, they fired longtime general manager Marty Hurney on Monday while making it clear no one except maybe Newton is safe. Even he’s come under criticism in recent weeks for his demeanor, and adding to the Panthers’ woes was a mounting list of injuries, with three-time Pro Bowl center Ryan Kalil (foot), cornerback Chris Gamble (shoulder) and three-time Pro Bowl linebacker Jon Beason (knee and shoulder) going down for the rest of the season in recent weeks.None of that seemed to matter for much of the day.The way this game started, it was hard to tell which team was in first place and which one was in disarray.Hardy only had two sacks this season and never more than one in a game in his career, but he created all kinds of havoc in the first half.The Panthers also had 226 yards while holding the Bears to 49 through the first two quarters.Cutler tried to hit Marshall deep in double coverage on first Bears possession and got picked off by Josh Norman near the goal line, an ominous start for the Bears.Forte’s 13-yard scoring run through a big hole in the line on the Bears’ next possession made it 7-0.Newton responded by hitting a wide open Brandon LaFell on a slant for a 62-yard gain, putting the ball on the Bear 18, but the Panthers settled for a field goal by Medlock.They had another golden opportunity late in the quarter after Cutler got sacked on consecutive plays, with Charles Johnson stripping him and Frank Alexander recovering at the Bears 16, and converted this chance.Newton fumbled the ball into the end zone after an 8-yard scramble, but Louis Murphy made the recovery to give Carolina a 10-7 lead early in the second quarter.Medlock made it a six-point game with a 31-yard field goal with 4:36 left in the half, and the Panthers were threatening to score in the final minute of the half when Peppers wrapped up Newton as he dropped back with the ball on the 40.A diving Jennings intercepted the wobbly pass along the sideline, but rather than take advantage of the opportunity, the Bears gave it right back a few plays later.
NORMAN—Everett Golson threw for 177 yards and plunged in for the decisive 1-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter, Manti Te’o bolstered his Heisman Trophy candidacy with a late interception and No. 5 Notre Dame beat No. 8 Oklahoma 30-13 on Saturday night to remain undefeated.Te’o, the standout linebacker who has a penchant for causing turnovers, dove when Landry Jones’ pass ricocheted off of Jalen Saunders and got his gloved hands under it. Kyle Brindza tacked on his third field goal soon after, and Theo Riddick added a late touchdown run as the Fighting Irish (8-0) put it away with 20 fourth-quarter points. Jones threw for 356 yards with no touchdowns for the Sooners (5-2), who were still clinging to hope they could get back in the national title race before the loss. Saunders caught 15 passes for 181 yards.Notre Dame is off to its best start in a decade, doing so as the only team in the country with four wins against Top 25 teams — including two on the road against top 10 foes.The game revived a rivalry that had been largely dormant since the 1960s, with only one meeting since then — in Bob Stoops’ first season as the Sooners’ coach in 1999. The Irish won eight of the first nine meetings, including three times when they handed Oklahoma its only loss of the season — most notably in 1957, when the Sooners’ NCAA-record 47-game winning streak was snapped.This meeting between two of college football’s two traditional powers was no different, and Notre Dame’s throwback defense gave the game a taste of days gone by.Te’o and the second-ranked Irish defense frequently gave up underneath passes but prevented them from turning into big gains, making the Sooners snap the ball over and over while the Irish waited for a mistake that would snuff out the drive. Oklahoma’s first two red zone possessions ended with field goals, and the Sooners turned to backup quarterback Blake Bell and their “Belldozer” short-yardage run package to finally punch one in and tie it at 13 with 9:10 remaining.Golson, who had to come out for the final play of the third quarter after getting flattened by Oklahoma’s Tony Jefferson, answered on the very next play with a 50-yard post pass to freshman Chris Brown – his first career reception.It took five more plays for Notre Dame to punch it in from the 15-yard line, with Golson taking a shotgun snap for a quarterback draw and diving into the line from the 1 for the score.Jones tried to rally the Sooners, but linebacker Dan Fox slammed into Saunders as the pass arrived and Te’o – seemingly always around the ball – was right there to pick it off. The Irish, who were giving up just 9.4 points per game, haven’t allowed more than 17 in a game this season. That remained true when an instant replay review wiped what appeared to be a 34-yard Jones-to-Kenny Stills touchdown pass off the board on the game’s final drive. Stills was called for offensive pass interference by shoving KeiVarae Russell down in the end zone on the next play, and Jones was sacked by Prince Shembo to deliver one final blow by the Irish defense. “It’s just the way we play,” coach Brian Kelly said as the Irish celebrated, their marching band playing the school’s familiar victory march.An Owen Field record crowd of 86,031 responded to the university’s request to “stripe the stadium,” with a candy-cane look of alternating red and white sections – appropriately so with a cold snap running through Norman.The Sooners’ offense never could get their offense – averaging 44.7 points – producing, and Stoops was denied his chance to tie Bud Wilkinson for second-place in school history with his 145th career win.It took just two snaps for the Fighting Irish to respond to Michael Hunnicutt’s 28-yard field goal that opened the scoring in the first half.Cierre Wood took a handoff and raced untouched right up the middle for a 62-yard touchdown, allowing the Fighting Irish to play from ahead as they have almost all season. Te’o racked up 11 tackles in the first half, plowing through Jones for his first sack to end one drive.The Irish plodded 13 plays afterward, eating up nearly 6 minutes while driving for Kyle Brzinda’s 28-yard field goal and a 10-3 advantage.The Sooners thought momentarily they’d tied it up on a 4-yard touchdown run by Bell, but a holding penalty against guard Bronson Irwin kept the Irish’s run of not allowing a rushing touchdown intact for a couple more quarters
EVANSTON—Kain Colter scored three rushing touchdowns and threw for another score as Northwestern defeated Iowa 28-17 on Saturday.The Wildcats (7-2, 3-2 Big Ten) have been struggling with their passing game, but had success running the ball. Colter rushed for 166 yards and Venric Mark ran for 162 yards. Mark became Northwestern’s first 1,000-yard rusher since Tyrell Sutton in 2006.Northwestern has won four of its last five against the Hawkeyes (4-3, 2-1), who fell further out of contention in the Big Ten Legends Division. Iowa was hurt by sacks, penalties and lack of execution on offense.Running back Mark Weisman, a native of Buffalo Grove, Ill., exited late in the second quarter with an injury and rushed for just 21 yards. Damon Bullock finished with 107 yards rushing for Iowa.Iowa cut the lead to 28-17 with 6:37 remaining on quarterback James Vandenberg’s 1-yard run to cap an 84-yard drive after the Hawkeyes recovered a fumble. Iowa drove to the Northwestern 24 with 1:44 left, but Vandenberg threw an incomplete pass on fourth-and-2 to end the threat. Vandenberg went 24 for 38 for 214 yards and ran for two touchdowns.Northwestern has struggled in the fourth quarter, collapsing in losses to Nebraska and Penn State.Both teams were looking to bounce back from crushing home losses. Northwestern blew a 12-point lead in the fourth quarter against Nebraska, and Iowa was routed 38-14 by Penn State last week.Northwestern jumped on Iowa early. The Wildcats scored on their opening drive on a 5-yard run by Colter for a 7-0 lead in the homecoming game. He carried the ball five times for 43 yards, including runs of 18 and 20 yards, during the drive.Iowa answered with a 40-yard field goal. The Hawkeyes reached the NU 28, but Vandenberg fumbled a snap for a loss of 6 yards for third-and-14, and Iowa had to settle for the field goal.Two plays later, NU turned the ball over, but Iowa was unable to take advantage. The Hawkeyes’ B.J. Lowery intercepted Colter’s long pass attempt, and Iowa drove to the NU 33, but the Hawkeyes committed a delay-of-game penalty on fourth-and-3 and had to punt.Northwestern marched 99 yards on its next drive, with Mark running for 72 yards on the first play. Colter later scored on a 2-yard run for a 14-3 lead.Iowa reached the Northwestern 23 before halftime, but Vandenberg was sacked for a loss of 6 yards on third down. He threw short on fourth down, turning the ball over to Northwestern, which led 14-3 at halftime.The Wildcats grabbed a 21-3 lead shortly after halftime. Northwestern started at the Iowa 4 after Tyris Jones blocked a Hawkeyes punt and Colter scored his third touchdown on a 4-yard rush.Northwestern took control on Colter’s 47-yard touchdown pass to Christian Jones with 10:43 left in the third quarter.Iowa scored its first touchdown on Vandenberg’s run with 22 seconds left in the third quarter to make it 28-10.
CHAMPAIGN—Nate Sudfeld came off Indiana’s bench to throw for two touchdowns and the Hoosiers defense throttled Illinois on Saturday in a 31-17 win.
The win ended a five-game losing streak for the Hoosiers (3-5, 1-3 Big Ten) that included tight losses to Ohio State, Navy and Michigan State. It also ended an 11-game Big Ten drought that dated to 2010.Sudfeld took over after starting quarterback Cameron Coffman was benched following a first-quarter interception. His second scoring pass, a 17-yarder to Shane Wynn midway through the fourth quarter, put the Hoosiers up 31-17 and finished Illinois.The Illini (2-6, 0-4) were led by Donovonn Young’s career-high 124 rushing yards. Illinois has lost five in a row.Saturday was homecoming for Illinois, but as Memorial Stadium emptied, the Hoosiers did all of the celebrating. The team gathered in the southeast corner of the stadium with a few dozen red-clad fans who likely shared the team’s relief in finally getting a win.Indiana’s Big Ten losing streak dated to October 2010, and this season’s losing skid included painful near-misses against Ohio State – 52-49 two weeks ago – and Navy. The Hoosiers looked to have last weekend’s 31-30 loss to Navy in hand until almost the end.This week, the defense earned its share of the win.Indiana entered the game with just 12 sacks in seven games. But on Saturday, Illinois quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase scrambled for his own safety. Scheelhaase finished 12 of 27 for 176 yards and was sacked seven times.The last sack sealed the win. Down 31-17, Illinois stayed alive with a drive to the Hoosiers 4 with just over 2 minutes to play. On first down, defensive end Ryan Phillis punched through the Illinois line and put Scheelhaase on his back for an 11-yard loss. The Illini came no closer to the end zone and Indiana took over with nothing to do but drain the clock.Sudfeld wasn’t asked to do much more than manage the game. He finished with 107 yards on 10-of-15 passing.But his efficiency – combined with key Illinois mistakes – pulled the Hoosiers from a 14-7 deficit to a second-quarter lead they never gave up.Illinois went up 14-7 early in the second on a 5-yard touchdown run by Scheelhaase and were set to stick Indiana with a three-and-out on the next series before Justin Staples was called for a late hit out of bounds on a third-and-3 play at the Hoosier 33. Sudfeld wasted no time, hitting Cody Latimer deep over the middle on the next play for 48 yards and a first-and-goal at the Illinois 6.Two plays later, Stephen Houston took a screen pass from Sudfeld and dove into the end zone, squeezing just inside the right pylon. With the point after, the Hoosiers tied it at 14.Indiana soon took its first lead on a pair of tough-to-justify mistakes by Illinois.The first was return man Tommy Davis’ puzzling decision to sprint across the field to try to field a Nick Stoner punt that was angling out of bounds. The diving Davis got a hand on the ball as he went out of bounds, leaving it for Indiana’s Greg Heban to recover at the Illinois 22.Three plays later, on third down, the Hoosiers used a long count to pull Illinois defensive tackle Glenn Foster offside, setting up a first-and goal at the 7. On the next play, Houston breezed around the left end for a touchdown and a 21-14 Indiana lead.Illinois had eight penalties for 81 yards.The penalties, sacks and turnovers were costly. The Illini had one of their best rushing days of the season with 196 yards, and had 23 first downs to Indiana’s 14.Indiana returns home to face Iowa next weekend, while the Illini will look for a way to end their losing streak at Ohio State.
KALAMAZOO—Jordan Lynch threw four touchdown passes and ran for two more Saturday, leading Northern Illinois to a 48-34 victory over Western Michigan.
Lynch was 18 for 28 for 274 yards and no interceptions, and carried 21 times for 136 yards for the Huskies (8-1, 5-0 Mid-American), who have won eight in a row since losing to Iowa. Lynch threw two touchdown passes each to Tommylee Lewis and Da’Ron Brown. Martel Moore had 120 receiving yards for Northern Illinois.The Broncos (3-6, 1-4) led 21-17 at halftime behind a pair of touchdown passes from Tyler Van Tubbergen to Eric Monette. Van Tubbergen, who finished with 333 passing yards, later ran for a touchdown, and Monette finished with 142 yards.NIU got a 54-yard field goal from Mathew Sims on the last play of the first half, then scored four TDs while blanking Western Michigan until midway through the fourth quarter.
SOUTH BEND—Nate Robinson replaced a slightly injured Kirk Hinrich in the starting lineup and had 21 points and eight assists, helping the Bulls hold off the Indiana Pacers, 97-90 at Notre Dame’s Joyce Center.Luol Deng added 17 points for the Bulls, who never trailed and finished the preseason with a 5-2 record, best in the Central Division. Roy Hibbert led Indiana (4-3) with 17 points and eight rebounds. David West had 16 points and nine boards, and D.J. Augustin totaled 10 points and 13 assists for the Pacers.Taj Gibson had nine points and 11 rebounds off the bench for the Bulls.Hinrich did not play after straining his right groin Tuesday against Oklahoma City.The Bulls led by 12 early in the fourth quarter, but the Pacers whittled it down to just three with 1:08 to play following West’s three-point play. The Bulls answered with consecutive jumpers in the final minute from Richard Hamilton and Robinson, who drained a fallaway with 18 seconds left that just beat the shot clock.The Bulls led by as many as 15 points in the first quarter. Indiana got the lead down to 52-43 by halftime, thanks to 10 points off the bench from Ian Mahinmi, who finished with 14.
NOTES—The Bulls open the Regular Season Wednesday night at the United Center against the Sacramento Kings…..This was the Bulls first appearence since October 1885 when they lost to the Seattle Super Sonics whom they then beat in six games during the June 1886 NBA Finals.
The White Sox announced Rick Hahn as their new general manager. The move has been in the works for quite some time, and was reported right before the season ended. Current general manager Kenny Williams is being promoted to executive vice president under the new arrangement. Hahn has been a popular candidate for GM jobs in the past. He’s either interviewed, or been asked to interview with at least five teams.Hahn will be entering his 13 season with the club. He’s well respected within the organization, and has been an instrumental part of negotiating contracts with prominent White Sox players. While Hahn has more of an analytical background, Williams has sent him on scouting trips in recent years. There is no doubt that Han will be very busy this offseason for many reasons.
Carlos Boozer had 24 points, 12 rebounds and five assists to lead the Bulls to a 94-89 preseason victory over the Oklahoma City Thunderon Tuesday night.The Thunder played without three-time NBA scoring champion Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, who were rested by coach Scott Brooks. Serge Ibaka picked up the slack for the Thunder with 24 points on 10-of-17 shooting. James Harden, who won the NBA’s Sixth Man Award last season, got a rare start and scored 13 points but was just 2 of 17 from the floor. Ibaka did not play in the fourth quarter.Luol Deng scored 21 points and Joakim Noah finished with 15 points and 10 rebounds for the Bulls, who led by as many as 14 early in the third quarter.Harden made two free throws and then found rookie Perry Jones for a dunk to cut the lead to 87-84 with 44.1 seconds left, but Boozer answered with a fadeaway jumper to put the Bulls up 89-84 with 34.4 seconds to go.Richard Hamilton secured the game for the Bulls with four free throws in the final 13 seconds. He finished with 13 points.Jones scored 14 points in 20 minutes.Boozer scored 13 points and Deng added 10 in the first half to help the Bulls take a 51-40 lead at the break.After scoring eight points in the first half, Kirk Hinrich sat out the second half with a right groin strain.