BLOOMINGTON, Ind—Kevin ”Yogi” Ferrell scored 15 of his 17 points in the second half, leading Indiana past Illinois 56-46 on Sunday.The Hoosiers (13-7, 3-4) ended a two-game losing streak to split the season series.Illinois (13-8, 2-6) was led by Rayvonte Rice with 20 but lost its sixth straight. The Fighting Illini have not won since Jan. 4, and this one prevented them from taking their first lead in the Indiana series since 1975.It was a tough day for the offenses as both teams tried to fight their way back into the conference title hunt.The poor shooting led to an up-and-down, low-scoring game in which neither team could fully seize control until late.Indiana led 40-29, with 12:58 to go, but Illinois went on a 10-2 run to get within 42-39. The Hoosiers then scored six straight and sealed it with six free throws in the final minute.The difference was Ferrell, whose impact in the first half was mitigated by Indiana’s poor shooting.But after going just 0 for 2 from the field in the first half, Ferrell turned the game midway through the second half.Indiana, which led almost the entire first half, suddenly found itself trailing after the Illini scrambled to gain control of a loose ball and swung to a wide open Jon Ekey for a 3-pointer that made it 29-28 with 17:37 left.That’s when the Ferrell show kicked into high gear.He hit a 10-foot runner, a 17-foot jumper and split a double team with a nifty crossover move to score on a layup. After that, he drove and dished to Will Sheehey for an open 3, and ended the 12-0 run with his own 3 to give Indiana its biggest lead of the game, 40-29, with 12:58 to go.Illinois was far from finished.The Illini quickly answered with a 10-2 run to get within 42-39 at the 8:24 mark.But the Hoosiers scored six straight to make it 48-39 and the Illini spent the rest of the game playing catch-up. They never got closer than six, and Ferrell, fittingly, sealed it by going six of six from the free throw line and stealing the ball on Illinois’ last possession to seal it.Stanford Robinson finished with 10 points for Indiana.Illinois shot just 33.3 percent from the field, and coach John Groce endured his first six-game losing streak since being a North Carolina State assistant in 2000.
CHARLOTTE—D.J. Augustin says he has no hard feelings when it comes to the Charlotte Bobcats — even though they let him walk in free agency after the 2012 season.
“Just a business,” Augustin said with a smile.
He sure took care of business Saturday night.Augustin played like a man with something prove, breaking open a close game by scoring 15 of his 28 points in the fourth quarter to help the Bulls hold off the Charlotte Bobcats 89-87 and get back above .500. The Bulls (22-21) have won 10 of their last 13 games.Augustin hit 4 of 5 shots from the field in the fourth quarter, including three 3-pointers.It was the third time in the last four games Augustin has scored at least 27 points. Augustin was drafted by the Bobcats in 2008 and spent four seasons in Charlotte before the Bobcats decided to go with Kemba Walker as their starting point guard.
“It’s always fun playing against your old team,” Augustin said. “I’m with the Bulls now and that is all that matters.”
Augustin spent time with Indiana and Toronto last season before joining the Bulls this past offseason. Coach Tom Thibodeau called the 6-foot Augustin a “huge pickup.”
“We had a need and he had a need as well,” Thibodeau said. “It was good for him and it’s been great for us and he’s played better and better. He was ready when this opportunity came around. It’s not only his individual performance, but what he’s doing for our team.”
Joakim Noah added 11 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists for the Bulls, who have won 10 of their last 11 against the Bobcats. Taj Gibson had 13 points and seven rebounds, while Mike Dunleavy had 12 points and eight rebounds.Al Jefferson continued his hot play for the Bobcats (19-27) with 32 points and 13 rebounds. It was his ninth straight 20-point game.Jefferson said the discomfort from the ankle he sprained in the preseason is starting to subside. But the Bobcats aren’t getting much production from other positions with Walker still out with an ankle injury. The starting frontcourt of Ramon Sessions and Gerald Henderson was a combined 9 of 26 from the field. The Bulls came in having defeated the Bobcats by an average of 27.5 points in the last four meetings in Charlotte, but this one was close throughout the first three quarters with 14 lead changes and neither team leading by more than six points. The Bulls were up 55-54 going into the final period and quickly extended that lead to 11 sparked by eight quick points from Augustin and six from Tony Snell. The lead would get to 12 before a frantic Bobcats comeback in the final minute, with former Bull Jannero Pargo knocking down a 26-footer with 3.4 seconds left to cut the lead to three. But Augustin made two free throws to seal the win. Jefferson hit a one-handed heave from just beyond half court as time expired, although it wouldn’t matter.The Bulls surrendered 112 points to the LA Clippers on Friday night — the second-most they’ve allowed this season — but the league’s second-best defense returned to form against the Bobcats. They held Charlotte to 42 percent shooting after allowing the Clippers to beat them with 59.3 percent shooting.
“We get knocked down but we always get back up and keep fighting,” Augustin said. “That is the motto of our team.”
NOTES—Walker missed his fourth straight game with an ankle injury. … Carlos Boozer has scored in double digits in nine straight games for the Bulls. … Sessions had 11 assists for the Bobcats. … The Bobcats had been outrebounded by 22 in the first two meetings, but held a 45-41 edge on the boards this time.
EVANSTON—The previous time No. 10 Iowa went on the road it was a nightmare. On Saturday, things were a bit smoother for the Hawkeyes. Roy Devyn Marble scored 14 points and Iowa never trailed, beating Northwestern 76-50. Gabriel Olaseni had 14 points and 10 rebounds and Mike Gesell added 11 points for the Hawkeyes (16-4, 5-2 Big Ten), who avoided losing consecutive games for the first time this season after falling 75-67 at No. 21 Michigan on Wednesday. They shot 51.9 percent from the field (28 of 54) and won their fourth in five games. That helped them recover not just from a tough loss, but from a trip that saw them stranded in Ann Arbor because of inclement weather until Thursday morning. For Iowa, that means getting contributions from the whole roster, and that kept going Saturday. Iowa, which outrebounded Northwestern 44-20, had nine players score. Marble, Iowa’s leading scorer, didn’t make his first field goal until 3:08 into the second half. That basket was part of a 7-0 run that gave the Hawkeyes a 41-30 lead, their first double-digit advantage. Northwestern never got closer than seven points during a second half Iowa dominated 46-26. He did, and once again Iowa was too much for Northwestern (10-11, 3-5) to handle, as the Wildcats shot 36.4 percent from the field (20 of 55). Saturday was a rematch of the teams’ Jan. 9 game in Iowa City which the Hawkeyes won 93-67 after shooting 64.3 percent during the second half. McCaffery was suspended for that game after getting ejected during the Hawkeyes’ previous game at Wisconsin. That first game was a turning point for Northwestern. Including the teams’ first matchup, the Wildcats started conference play 0-3 and were allowing an average of 81 points per game. In the next four games – a stretch that included a win over then-No. 23 Illinois, a victory at Indiana and a double-overtime win over Purdue – the Wildcats only gave up 51 points per game. That didn’t continue, especially during the second half when Iowa’s depth wore out Northwestern.
”I think that’s why they won. I really do,” Northwestern coach Chris Collins said. ”Our guys were playing hard. That’s what I’m saying. This wasn’t like they played harder than us. Both teams played really hard. They’re just better than us.”
Unlike the first meeting, when the Hawkeyes led 41-26 at halftime, Iowa struggled to separate from Northwestern during the first half despite making 50 percent of its shots compared to the Wildcats’ 31. Iowa was in front 30-24 at halftime but at one point went more than 6 minutes between baskets. Drew Crawford had 20 points for Northwestern, which had won three of four.
”Obviously Iowa’s a tremendous team. Give them credit, but we didn’t play our best, especially in the second half,” Crawford said. ”I think that’s a team we’re capable of competing with for 40 minutes and tonight we weren’t able to do that.”
Northwestern got Dave Sobolewski back after he missed four games (concussion), and had Crawford break the school record by playing in his 131st game and starting his 130th. He topped the marks set by John Shurna and Michael “Juice” Thompson, respectively.
NEWARK—Fuquan Edwin scored 22 of his game-high 30 points in the first half to power Seton Hall to its first Big East home victory of the season, 86-69, over DePaul Saturday at the Prudential Center.Billy Garrett Jr. (illness), Charles McKinney (injury) and Cleveland Melvin (suspension team rules violation) did not play in the game… DePaul used its seventh different starting lineup of the season.Edwin’s performance didn’t come as a surprise to DePaul (10-11, 2-6 Big East) because he’s done this before against the Blue Demons. Two years ago, the senior scored a then career-best 28 points in a 94-73 Seton Hall victory. Last season, he drove for the winning points with 9.6 seconds left to defeat DePaul, 73-72.Seton Hall (12-8, 3-4) has now won seven of the last eight meetings. Edwin’s career-high is the 35 points he scored against Mercer in November. Both of his Big East career-best scoring efforts – 28 and 30 points – have come against DePaul.Brandon Young scored 23 points, R.J. Curington had 15 and Durrell McDonald scored 14 for DePaul.
ROCHESTER, Mich—Duke Mondy hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer and Oakland secured a 76-75 comeback over UIC on Saturday.Oakland led 2-0 to start but trailed the rest of the way until Travis Bader made a 3-pointer with 4:20 to play. In the remaining minutes there were five lead changes and two ties. UIC was ahead by two with 4.4 seconds to go but Mondy responded with his 3 to end the game.Mondy finished with 11 points and six steals, and Kahlil Felder led Oakland (8-14, 3-4 Horizon League) with 21 points.Jordan Harks scored 21 points for UIC as the team shot 56 percent (28 of 50) from the floor. Despite accurate shooting, the Flames (5-16, 0-7) turned the ball over four times in the last 6 minutes – giving up eight points – and ended with 22 turnovers.This was UIC’s 10th straight loss and the remain winless in Hoprizon League play.
Milton Doyle scored eight of his 28 points in overtime to lift Loyola to a 93-87 overtime victory over Northern Iowa on Saturday.Doyle hit a 3-pointer and was 5 of 6 from the line as Loyola outscored Northern Iowa 17-11 in overtime. Doyle finished 8 of 11 from the field and made 10 of his 11 free throw attempts.Loyola trailed the entire second half until Christian Thomas made a pair of free throws to tie it at 76 with 18 seconds to play. With 4 seconds remaining, Deon Mitchell missed a shot and Seth Tuttle missed the putback for Northern Iowa to send the game into overtime.Thomas finished with 20 points for Loyola (8-12, 3-5 Missouri Valley).Mitchell scored 23 points, and Tuttle added 17 to lead Northern Iowa (10-10, 4-4 Missouri Valley).
Blake Griffin had 26 points and 13 rebounds to lead the Los Angeles Clippers to a 112-95 victory over the Bulls on Friday night. Jamal Crawford added 19 points for the Clippers, who had six players score in double figures and shot 54 percent from the field – including 13 for 21 on 3-pointers. DeAndre Jordan added 10 points and 12 rebounds. Carlos Boozer scored 22 points for the Bulls, who snapped a three-game winning streak. The Clippers, playing without injured All-Star Chris Paul, have won four straight against the Bulls, and improved to 3-2 on their seven-game trip. The Bulls cut the lead to eight in the third quarter but Darren Collison answered with two quick baskets and the Clippers led 92-80 heading to the fourth. Los Angeles shot 10 for 14 on 3s and finished 64.1 percent overall from the field in the first half to take a 68-55 lead at the break. Jordan’s dunk gave the Clippers a 60-39 lead, their largest margin, with 3:52 left before halftime. The Clippers were 7 for 8 from beyond the arc in the first quarter to set a franchise record for 3s in a quarter. The Clippers led 41-26 after shooting 73.7 percent in the period. In the teams’ previous meeting, the Clippers routed the Bulls 121-82 on Nov. 24 for their worst loss of the season in the first game after Derrick Rose suffered a season-ending knee injury. The Clippers were averaging 105.4 points, fifth in the league. The Bulls were one of the NBA’s top defensive teams, holding opponents to 92.5 points per game before Friday.J.J. Redick scored 18 points and shot 4 for 7 from 3-point range. Collison, playing despite a sprained toe, had 17 points. Boozer, back from a one-game absence due to a sore left calf, scored 16 points in the first quarter. Taj Gibson added 18 points off the bench, Mike Dunleavy had 17 and Joakim Noah 12 as the Bulls shot 43 percent from the field and 6 for 19 from 3-point range. The Bulls were without Kirk Hinrich, who missed his second consecutive game with a strained right hamstring.
NOTES—Clippers coach Doc Rivers said the Bulls shouldn’t let coach Tom Thibodeau get away. Thibodeau was on Rivers’ coaching staff from 2007-10 with the Boston Celtics. ”I think it would be nuts not to have him here,” Rivers said. ”He’s the best coach, one of the best coaches, in the league, so if you have that, that’s an asset. And I don’t think any right-minded organization would allow that asset to leave. Because with all this adversity they’ve had with injuries, if you allow that one to leave, things will fall apart – and that would be pretty much a guarantee.” Thibodeau declined to address rumors about his future. … Hinrich will possibly miss the Bulls’ trip to Charlotte on Saturday as he continues to receive treatment, Thibodeau said. … Thibodeau said it would be a great experience for Rose to play for Team USA if he is healthy. Rose was one of 28 players named to the 2014-16 national team pool. The FIBA Basketball World Cup will be Aug. 30-Sept. 14 in Spain. Rose is out for the NBA season after undergoing knee surgery on Nov. 25. … Thibodeau picked up a technical foul with the Bulls trailing 86-74 with 2:10 left in the third quarter.
ST. PAUL—Last year, the Blackhawks gave the Minnesota Wild a quick exit from the playoffs.This year, the Wild are giving the defending Stanley Cup champions all they can handle.Jason Pominville and Matt Cooke scored first-period goals and Darcy Kuemper made 33 saves and the Wild defeated the Blackhawks 2-1 on Thursday night.After losing a five-game series in the first round of last year’s playoffs, the Wild have won three of four against the Blackhawks this season.
“I know we get geared up to play that team,” Wild coach Mike Yeo said. “I think the fact that we’ve played them as much as we have, I think our guys are confident going into the game knowing we can play with them.Obviously they’re such a great team, and we have so much respect for them, we haven’t taken any nights off against that hockey team.”
Kuemper was making his sixth consecutive start as Minnesota’s top two goalies, Josh Harding and Niklas Backstrom, have been sidelined with health problems. The Wild are 5-3 with the rookie in the net this season.
“I’m pretty confident right now,” Kuemper said. “Obviously I just want to go in there and every time I get a chance, help the team win. And when you’re getting wins like this, obviously it’s easy to keep rolling and come to the rink every day with a smile.”
Patrick Kane spoiled Kuemper’s shutout bid when he scored his 24th goal of the season with 31.2 seconds left to bring the Blackhawks to within one. But Kuemper stopped one final flurry in the last 10 seconds and Zach Parise cleared the puck from Minnesota’s zone to run out the clock.Pominville opened the scoring at 8:08 of the first period. Dany Heatley carried the puck across the Hawk blue line and passed to Mikael Granlund near the goal mouth. Granlund spun back around and slid the puck across the slot, where Pominville was waiting to send it in the open net for his 20th of the season.
“He’s the type of player that doesn’t really need to know I’m there,” Pominville said of Granlund. “He just has a feel for it.”
The Blackhawks killed off a 5-on-3 power play, but Minnesota doubled its lead late in the first period. Justin Fontaine won a race to a loose puck and tipped it to Cooke, who slipped it past Antti Raanta from the left faceoff circle.
“They made a decent play,” Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. “After the big kill, that was a deflating goal, but there was still a lot of hockey left.”
Raanta, who entered the game with a 12-1-3 record this season, was upset with himself after the game for putting his team in a 2-0 hole early.
“Their first goal was pretty nice, tic-tac-toe, but the second one was too easy,” Raanta said. “When they get two goals in the first period, you’re behind all the time. It’s much harder to play because Minnesota was defensively so good. Every goal counts and today there was one easy goal so that’s not a good thing.”
Kuemper got a little help from his defense to keep it 2-0 late in the second. During a Minnesota power play, Pominville tripped at the Chicago blue line and Marian Hossa pounced for a short-handed breakaway. But defenseman Ryan Suter caught up to Hossa just in time to prevent him from getting a clean shot.Kane’s goal prevented them from being shut out for the first time in 120 games, but the Blackhawks lost in regulation for only the second time since Dec. 15.
NOTES—Duncan Keith missed his first game of the season Thursday. He was a pregame scratch due to illness. … Blackhawks senior adviser Scotty Bowman is scheduled to have right knee replacement surgery Friday in Tampa, Fla. The 13-time Stanley Cup champion has a residence about an hour from Tampa. … Kuemper’s mask broke during the second period, and he used Backstrom’s mask for about 10 minutes while it was being fixed.
COLUMBUS—Ohio State snapped out of their funk. Illinois? Uh no! All Lenzelle Smith Jr. wanted was to see his teammates happy for a change.They hadn’t been for the past 19 days.LaQuinton Ross scored 18 points and Smith had 16 — and each added critical points down the stretch — to help the No. 17 #Buckeyes end a four-game skid with a 62-55 win over the Fighting Illini at Value City Arena on Thursday night.
“You want to see your team smile as much as possible,” said Smith, a senior. “I can tell you that prior to this game there were no smiles, there was no laughter. Guys were kind of in their shells. Now I feel like everybody’s out now and I’m looking forward to playing the next game with a lot of confidence.”
Aaron Craft added 11 points, six rebounds and five assists for the Buckeyes (16-4, 3-4 Big Ten), who had lost four in a row for the first time since 2007-08.
“This was a big win,” coach Thad Matta said. “We told our guys this was a one-game season just from the standpoint that we knew we had six days off afterward. To their credit they did a tremendous job of laying it all on the line.”
Over their win drought, the Buckeyes had wilted in the final 5 minutes, had shot poorly and hadn’t been able to stop opposing teams.Against another team stuck in a four-game slide, they finally found some answers.Illinois (13-7, 2-5) pulled to 41-40 on 3s by Jon Ekey and Joseph Bertrand and pulled even at 46 on Tracy Abrams’ slash through the lane. He missed the cap on a possible three-point play, however, and at the other end Shannon Scott fed Ross for a 3 from the left wing.The teams traded missed chances until Smith stepped in front of a bad pass by Tracy Abrams and fed Scott for a left-handed layup with 3:50 remaining for a 51-46 advantage.With the Buckeyes hanging on 52-50, Ross drove the lane against the Illinois zone and was fouled, banking in a shot and adding the accompanying free throw with 2:07 left.
“It was everybody being connected tonight,” Ross said of the difference for the Buckeyes. “We had a lot of togetherness. You saw guys jumping up and down. It was just a group effort. Everybody did what they had to. We pitched in.”
The Illini then turned it over on an offensive foul by Rice before Smith poured in a 3 from in front of the Ohio State bench for a 58-50 lead with 75 seconds remaining.Illinois never threatened again.
“I thought Ross’ and-1 was huge. I thought Smith’s 3 was huge,” said Illini coach John Groce, a former Ohio State assistant. “Those were two big plays.”
Bertrand had 19 points, Ekey 11 and Nnanna Egwu 10 for the Illini (13-7, 2-5), who haven’t won since Jan. 4 and play three of their next four games against ranked opponents.Rayvonte Rice, averaging 17.4 points a game, was 0 for 8 from the field and went scoreless. The Illini have lost their last six Big Ten road games and fell to 1-4 against ranked teams this season.The Buckeyes won their first 15 games and were ranked No. 3 when they suddenly spiraled down the polls and the Big Ten rankings. They fought back to score 20 of the final 23 points to force overtime at No. 5 Michigan State before losing. Then they blew a nine-point lead in the second half in a home loss to Iowa.
BAKERSFIELD—Clarke Rosenberg scored 21 points as Chicago State stole a 71-63 win at Cal State Bakersfield Thursday night.The Cougars collected 13 steals and forced 14 turnovers to earn the win on the road.Erik Kinney made a pair of free throws to cut the Chicago State lead to four at 56-52 with 3:34 to play, but Johnny Griffin and Corey Gray each responded with a pair of free throws and Rosenberg added a layup and a jumper to push the lead back to 10 points, 64-54 with under two minutes to play.Chicago State (9-10, 4-1 WAC) got 14 points each from Matt Ross and Quinton Pippen as the team shot 23 of 53 from the field (43.4 percent).Issiah Grayson was 10 of 14 from the field for 238 points to lead CS Bakersfield (8-11, 1-4), with Stephon Johnson adding another 12 points.