AFC GAMES: Buff over KC, JAX over S.Diego, Mia over NYJ, Oak over TENN NFC GAMES: N.Y.Giants over WASH, Arz over SF INT CONF GAMES: HOU over N.Orl, CIN over Stl, INDY over T.Bay, SEAT over Pitt THUR: Car over DAL SUN NIGHT:N.Eng over DENV MON NIGHT: Balt over CLEVE NFC NORTH GAMES: Minn over ATL , DET over Phil, GB over Bears Teams listed in ALL CAPS are HOME TEAMS Last Week; Les 7-7, Producers 10-4, Total to date: Les 95-66,Producers 97-64

Bulls hold back Blazer rally

Chicago Bulls Logo - Red bull with script above head

PORTLAND—This visit to Portland ended on a much happier note for Derrick Rose than the last.Rose returned after missing two games with a sprained left ankle and scored 17 points in the Bulls‘ 93-88 victory over the Trail Blazers on Tuesday night.Rose hadn’t played in Portland since he tore the meniscus in his right knee against the Blazers in November 2013, ending his season. The disappointing injury came after he missed the entire previous season because of surgery on his left knee. ”I’m just happy I got off the court,” Rose joked afterward. ”I think we played an all-right game. We won so that’s the only thing that matters.” Jimmy Butler had 22 points for the Bulls, who have won five of their last six. Butler’s highlight came at the end of the first half, when he hit a half-court buzzer beater that put the Bulls in front 48-39.But the Blazers didn’t make it easy.Rose’s floating jumper stretched the Bulls lead to 78-65 early in the fourth quarter, but Portland rallied within 78-76 on Ed Davis‘ tip shot.Damian Lillard missed a 3-pointer to tie it for Portland with 2:25 left, then missed the second of a pair of free throws with 20.7 seconds left that would have also pulled the Blazers into a tie.CJ McCollum’s quick layup got Portland within 89-88 with 13 seconds to go. But after Butler made a pair of free throws, McCollum missed on a 3-point attempt and Taj Gibson hit free throws for the final margin.Lillard finished with 19 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists, but shot 4 of 22 from the field. McCollum added 18 points. ”I thought I got a lot of good looks at the rim, the shots just didn’t go in,” Lillard said. ”I was more disappointed with the free throw that kind of just went halfway down the basket and came out.” The Blazers had won two straight after a seven-game losing streak, including a 107-93 victory on the road against the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday. Still without Meyers Leonard because of a dislocated left shoulder, the Blazers started Noah Vonleh to go against Nikola Mirotic.It was also the Bulls’ first win in Portland since 2007. Rose missed last year’s game in Portland because of a hamstring injury.Going into Tuesday night’s game, Rose said his minutes wouldn’t be restricted because of the ankle injury. His return came at an opportune time for the Bulls, who were without Aaron Brooks for the second game because of a sore hamstring. ”I felt all right. There were some plays where I had no lift on my shot as far as like driving the ball, but that’s going to come the more I play and the stronger it gets,” said Rose, who logged nearly 35 minutes. The Bulls pulled ahead 39-29 midway through the second quarter on Gibson’s 14-foot jumper. Portland pulled within six points before the break, but Butler’s 47-footer extended Chicago’s lead just before they left the court.Portland opened the second half with a 7-0 run and pulled within 48-46 on Vonleh’s 3-pointer followed by a layup. But the rally was short-lived and Butler’s reverse layup put the Bulls ahead 62-52.The game got chippy in the final minutes when Butler and Mason Plumlee got into it. In the aftermath, Plumlee was served with a flagrant foul, and Butler got a technical. After the game, Plumlee said he deserved the tech for hitting Butler hard through the screen.Pau Gasol had 12 points and 14 rebounds for the Bulls.

Cats hold off late Mizzou rally in KC

Northwestern Wildcats (1981 - Pres)

KANSAS CITY—Chris Collins watched helplessly from the sideline as Northwestern blew most of a 20-point first-half lead against Missouri in the consolation game of the CBE Classic.His first two years in charge, Collins would have ultimately been watching a loss.On Tuesday night, his guys proved just how far they’d come.Tre Demps and Bryant McIntosh scored 13 points apiece, and Northwestern held on through foul trouble and a tense closing stretch for a 67-62 victory over the Tigers.

”I thought the first half was fantastic, the way we executed, the defense. Then we just had to hold on for dear life,” Collins said. ”This is a game in the last couple of years we would have lost. There’s no question in my mind.”

The Wildcats (4-1), who lost to ninth-ranked North Carolina in the semifinals, did not make a field goal for the final 5 minutes, 41 seconds as the Tigers made one final run.Kevin Puryear’s basket with 1:43 left got Missouri (2-3) within 65-59, and Scottie Lindsey’s miss at the other end and two free throws by Wes Clark made things interesting. But after a Demps turnover, Puryear could only make the second of two free throws with 33.8 seconds left.Demps made one of two at the other end to give Northwestern a 66-62 advantage, and Clark’s 3-point try rattled out moments later, allowing the Wildcats to escape with the win.

”We knew we had to bring our own energy. We knew there weren’t going to be many fans in the stands,” said the Wildcats’ Sanjay Lumpkin. ”I mean, they made a lot of shots. They made their run and we were just fortunate to make big plays at the end of the game.”

Terrance Phillips had 16 points to lead Missouri. Puryear finished with 14.The Wildcats threatened to turn the game into a rout in the first half, knocking down just about every shot they took from the perimeter. By the time Lumpkin rattled in his 3-pointer with 7:45 remaining in the half, Northwestern had built a 31-11 advantage.The Tigers’ eventual comeback came in bits and pieces.Puryear got things started with back-to-back baskets, and Ryan Rosburg contributed a couple of nice plays in the paint. Slowly, the Wildcats’ lead began to erode, and four straight foul shots by Namon Wright to end the first half got Missouri within 38-24.

”I think once we got going,” Phillips said, ”a fire got lit under us.”

The Tigers kept coming out of the break, too. Phillips started to score in transition, the rest of the Tigers began getting to the basket for easy looks, and the lead was finally cut to 61-57 with 3:51 to go – the closest the game had been since the opening minutes.But while the Wildcats went cold from the field, they managed to create enough offense to get to the free-throw line, where they were able to eventually put the game away.

#2 Maryland pulls away from ISU in Mexico

PUERTO AVENTURAS, Mexico—Rasheed Sulaimon scored 16 points and Melo Trimble added 15 to help No. 2 Maryland beat Illinois State 77-66 on Tuesday night in the Cancun Challenge.With the game tied at 62, back-to-back 3-pointers by Jared Nickens and Sulaimon gave the Terrapins (4-0) a six-point cushion 3:45 left.The Redbirds (2-3) tried to rally, but too many turnovers (17) stifled them.MiKyle McIntosh scored 17 points and Paris Lee added 15 for ISU.Maryland will face Rhode Island for the Riviera Division title on Wednesday. Illinois State plays TCU in the consolation game.

NU gives N.Carolina battle, but falls 80-69 in KC

Northwestern Wildcats (1981 - Pres)

KANSAS CITY—Justin Jackson had 21 points and 13 rebounds to lead a balanced effort for ninth-ranked North Carolina, which bounced back from a surprising loss over the weekend to beat Northwestern 80-69 on Monday night in the CBE Classic semifinals.Kennedy Meeks and Joel Berry II added 12 points apiece, and Theo Pinson, Isaiah Hicks had Brice Johnson each had 10 for the Tar Heels (4-1), who tumbled from their top spot in the AP poll earlier in the day after their 71-67 loss at Northern Iowa.North Carolina will play Kansas State for the tournament title Tuesday night.Tre Demps led the Wildcats (3-1) with 21 points, including 10 straight for his team during a second-half charge that trimmed North Carolina’s lead to 48-46 with 17:20 left.But unlike their game against the Panthers, when the Tar Heels allowed a 29-8 second-half run to put them on the ropes, Jackson and Pinson made sure to answer the Northwestern salvo.Jackson started it off with a basket at the other end, and Pinson knocked down a 3, before Jackson made two foul shots. Nate Britt hit his own 3 moments later, and a basket by Berry capped a 12-2 run that forced Northwestern coach Chris Collins to call timeout.The Tar Heels stretched their lead to 20 later in the second half before Northwestern made a brief run in the closing minutes, making the final score look a bit more respectable.Alex Olah contributed 10 points for the Wildcats, while leading scorer Bryant McIntosh – who had a career-best 32 against Columbia – managed 14 points on just 3-for-15 shooting.The Tar Heels once again played without Marcus Paige, who broke a bone in his right hand on Nov. 3. The senior All-American has been sitting on the North Carolina bench, but the school has yet to indicate when he may be cleared to return to action.Not that they needed his steady hand Monday night. The Tar Heels only had nine turnovers, a big reason why they were able to answer every Northwestern run.

NOTES—The Wildcats have won once in five tries against North Carolina. This was the first meeting between the schools since Nov. 29, 1978. … McIntosh added eight assists. … The Wildcats were outrebounded 39-26 by the bigger, longer Tar Heels….Charles Scott, the first black scholarship athlete to play for the Tar Heels, was inducted into the College Basketball Hall of Fame over the weekend. … Jackson was coming off a career-high 25 points against Northern Iowa. He also had four assists Monday night….NU takes on Missouri in the tournament’s third-place game.North Carolina plays Kansas State for its first CBE Classic championship.

Illinois escapes with win at buzzer over Chicago State

Illinois Fighting Illini (2004 - 2013)Related image

SPRINGFIELD, Ill.—Jalen Coleman-Lands sank a 3-pointer from the corner at the buzzer, allowing Illinois to escape with an 82-79 victory over Chicago State Monday night.Michael Finke scored 17 to lead Illinois (2-3). The Illini needed a 14-0 run in the second half to tie it the game at 66, and then needed the game’s final possession to steal the win.After Chicago State (3-2) was called for a shot clock violation with 4.6 seconds left, Illinois rushed the ball up the court to find Coleman-Lands open in the corner. Coleman-Lands, Malcolm Hill and Michael Thorne Jr. scored 12 apiece for the Illini.Elliott Cole had 21 points to lead Chicago State. The Cougars led by 14 in both halves.Illinois won all 11 previous meetings with Chicago State by an average of 29 points.The Illini weren’t too concerned with style points. They just needed a win. Illinois was already off to its worst start in 50 years. Another loss would have tied the school record for the worst start after five games.Chicago State made it difficult, building a 40-26 lead in the first half. The Cougars led the final 10 minutes of the opening half and didn’t trail again until the closing moments. Illinois grabbed a 77-75 lead on Thorne’s basket.

Demons salvage 7th place in Virgin Islands

ST. THOMAS, U.S. Virgin Islands—Tommy Hamilton scored 20 points and blocked Norfolk State’s final shot to help DePaul take an 82-78 victory on Monday in the seventh-place game at the Paradise Jam.Zaynah Robinson scored to get the Spartans within 79-78 with 19 seconds to go. Aaron Simpson made a free throw for DePaul to make it 80-78. Robinson then drove to the hoop but Hamilton blocked his shot. Simpson came up with the ball, was fouled and made both free throws with three seconds remaining.Hamilton had tied the game with a basket and Billy Garrett’s 3-pointer gave the Blue Demons a 79-76 advantage.Garrett finished with 22 points and Simpson 12 for DePaul (2-3), which snapped a three-game losing streak.D’Shon Taylor had 23 points, Charles Oliver 20 and Jeff Short 16 for the Spartans (1-4), who made a school-record 14 3-pointers, 10 in the second half to erase a 14-point deficit.

Bears fall to Broncos 17-15 with poor Red Zone execution.

Brock Osweiler refused to let a day go to waste while he waited for his chance – and watched one of the game’s greatest quarterbacks.He had a chance to learn from Peyton Manning and made the most of his opportunity when he finally got called on.Osweiler threw for two touchdowns filling in for the injured Manning, and the Denver Broncos stopped Jeremy Langford on a 2-point conversion run in the final minute to beat the Bears 17-15.Langford scored on a 2-yard run with 24 seconds left to cap a 65-yard drive. But the Broncos were ready for the run on the conversion attempt and stopped Langford to secure a narrow victory.Osweiler completed 20 of 27 passes for 250 yards in the first start of his four-year career, while the five-time MVP stayed back in Denver because of injuries to his foot, ribs and shoulder. Osweiler got sacked five times, but he kept his poise against an aggressive defense. It all added up to a neat birthday for a backup who turned 25 on Sunday. ”I don’t know if anybody believed me, but I really was telling the truth – I have not wasted a single day sitting behind Peyton,” Osweiler said. ”I fully recognize that he might be the greatest quarterback to ever play, if not one of the greatest. I wasn’t going to let one of those days go by where I didn’t learn something. I’ve been very appreciative for my situation.” Ronnie Hillman ran for 102 yards. The AFC West-leading Broncos (8-2) played turnover-free ball and got back to winning against former coach John Fox after dropping two in a row.Osweiler threw a 48-yard touchdown to Demaryius Thomas on Denver’s first possession of the game and a 10-yarder to Cody Latimer early in the fourth quarter to make it 17-9 after the Bears cut the lead to one. ”He does this all of the time in practice, in preseason,” linebacker Von Miller said. ”I kind of came out here and expected it. What he did is what I expected him to do.” The Bears (4-6) drove to the Denver 4 after Latimer’s touchdown, only to have Jay Cutler‘s fourth-down pass to Langford in a crowd in the end zone get broken up.Asked why he went for it rather than kick a field goal, Fox said: ”I think we hadn’t made many trips down there, and when we had, we hadn’t scored touchdowns. It had been kind of a field-goal game. At that point in the game, we felt that was going to be maybe our last opportunity so we were aggressive and came up short on fourth-and-4.” The Bears also came up short in its bid to hit the .500 mark.The Bears had won two in a row to jump into playoff contention in the NFC, something few would have expected this season. They are clearly making strides under Fox, who split with Denver in January after leading the Broncos to four first-place finishes in the division and a trip to the Super Bowl.But the Bears had trouble reaching the end zone against the league’s No. 1 defense, even though the Broncos were missing outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware (back). The Bears settled for three field goals by Robbie Gould before that late touchdown.Jay Cutler threw for 265 yards in his first meaningful game against Denver since the trade to Bears in 2009, even though the Bears were missing running back Matt Forte (knee) and receiver Alshon Jeffery (groin, shoulder). He had an interception and lost a fumble in the fourth quarter with the Bears on the Denver 33.Cutler got hit by Von Miller as he was throwing and the ball popped up off a lineman before Denver’s Malik Jackson cradled it.The Broncos had a chance to add to a four-point lead midway through the third quarter after Danny Trevathan returned an interception to the Bears 25, only to come away empty-handed.Denver went for it on fourth-and-1 at the 2 rather than kick a field goal. That backfired when Hillman tripped on Osweiler’s foot and got stopped for no gain. ”I’ve got to get my big feet out of the way,” Osweiler said. For at least one week, a 6-foot-8 quarterback with size 17s did a good job filling some big shoes.

Bad third period does in Blackhawks against Canucks. 1-1-1 on Circus Trip so far.

VANCOUVER—Coming off a disastrous road trip and teetering toward another third-period collapse, Henrik and Daniel Sedin showed once again why they’re the heart and soul of the Vancouver Canucks.The superstar twins combined for nine points on Saturday night, including four after the Blackhawks tied the game with less than 9 minutes to go, and the Canucks won 6-3.Daniel Sedin had three goals and an assist, while Henrik Sedin added a goal and four assists for his first career five-point game.The Canucks were coming off a dismal 1-4-2 trip and picked up just their fifth win in the last 17 games.Daniel added a goal and an assist while playing with the Sedins to round out the top line’s 11-point night and help Vancouver avoid losing for a sixth time when leading after two periods.Ryan Miller made 26 saves as the Canucks ended a four-game slide, while Alexandre Burrows scored into an empty net late. Jonathan Toews had a goal and an assist for the Blackhawks (11-8-2), while Ryan Garbutt and Artem Anisimov also scored. Corey Crawford stopped 14 shots in taking the loss, he wasn’t very sharp. Patrick Kane had an assist to stretch his career-best points streak to 16 games.

”They had their way out there,” Kane said. ”It’s disappointing. I thought we played pretty well for most of the game.” Well, not really

Down 3-2 through 40 minutes, the Blackhawks tied it at 12:20 of the third when Anisimov swatted a loose puck home for his ninth of the season.But the Canucks retook the lead with 5:25 left when Daniel Sedin beat Crawford off a pass from Henrik Sedin on the shortside for his ninth to make it 4-3 before tipping home another feed from his brother just 2:01 later..Burrows then scored his fifth into an empty net with under a minute to go.Tied 2-2 after the first, Vancouver went ahead at 7:22 of the second on the power play. Henrik Sedin stole the puck from Duncan Keith and fed Daniel Sedin, who beat Crawford with a quick shot.The Hawks were playing their third game in four nights but opened the scoring on the power play at 6:17 of the opening period on the first shot of the game when Toews beat Miller upstairs for his seventh.Vancouver got that one back on a 5-on-3 at 9:32 when Henrik Sedin gathered a cross-ice feed from Daniel Sedin and fired home for his sixth.

NOTES—The Hawks will spend a couple of days in Las Vegas before starting the ‘California’ portion of this Circus Trip Wednesday night in San Jose.

NU wins wild one from Wisconsin in Madison

Northwestern Wildcats (1981 - Pres)

MADISON—No. 21 Northwestern finished strong, and benefited from a few favorable calls and a slew of Wisconsin mistakes.It made for a finish that was so wild even Wildcats coach Pat Fitzgerald was a little stunned.Justin Jackson ran for 139 yards and a touchdown, and the Wildcats used a goal-line stand to hold on for a 13-7 victory over the 21st-ranked Badgers on Saturday. ”I’m still kind of speechless. I’m not sure what I just said. I don’t know how that unfolded … but it did,” Fitzgerald said. The Wildcats (9-2, 5-2) moved into a tie for second in the Big Ten’s West Division with the Badgers (8-3, 5-2), who had won five in a row.At several different points, it looked as if Wisconsin’s win streak would continue for at least another week. But five turnovers, five sacks for the Wildcats, and a sluggish running game ultimately doomed the Badgers.And they still had a chance at the end.With 1:47 left, Joel Stave drove the Badgers from the 26 to the Northwestern 1. But Stave was forced to leave before Wisconsin’s final play from scrimmage after he was dazed by a sack.Bart Houston’s pass to the end zone sailed just out of reach of Tanner McEvoy on fourth-and goal from the 11 with 2 seconds left, sealing the win for Northwestern. ”To see the way our defense rose up and got the stop on fourth down – we did it all the way to the last play,” Fitzgerald said. Northwestern snapped a four-game road losing streak to Wisconsin with its first win in Madison since a 47-44 victory in double overtime in 2000.Jackson had 35 carries on a chilly day, including an 8-yard touchdown run in the first quarter set up by the first of two interceptions for Stave.The Badgers’ bend-but-don’t break defense benefited from two missed field goals for Northwestern. But Wisconsin missed out on several opportunities to move ahead.What at first looked like a touchdown reception for Jazz Peavy on first-and-goal from the 1 on the final drive was ruled incomplete after a review. ”I thought he had a couple feet down, a couple steps,” coach Paul Chryst said before adding, ”doesn’t matter what I think.” On the previous play, Stave hit tight end Troy Fumagalli on a pass inside the 5 and Fumagalli looked as if he rolled into the end zone for a score. But a review showed Fumagalli’s knee was down at the 1.In the third quarter, Alex Erickson’s 78-yard punt return for a touchdown that could have given the Badgers the lead was negated after officials ruled Erickson had called for a fair catch.Stave, Erickson and 17 other Wisconsin seniors will have a few painful memories of their final game at Camp Randall Stadium. ”You turn the ball over five times … and even have a chance to win the game, that’s a credit to that group,” Chryst said. ”I actually thought we won it a couple times but we didn’t and you’ve just got to keep playing.” Northwestern held Wisconsin to minus-26 yards rushing, a number skewed by the yardage attached to the five sacks. Deonte Gibson had three sacks.But Northwestern could never shake free of Wisconsin despite the Badgers’ mistakes.The Wildcats’ Jack Mitchell missed two of four field goal attempts. He did make a 37-yarder with 4 minutes left, allowing the Wildcats to capitalize on Stave’s second interception of the day.Stave finished 20 of 34 for 229 yards. Peavy, a sophomore, had a breakout performance with five catches for 88 yards.Otherwise, the Wildcats dominated the line of scrimmage and allowed just a 9-yard touchdown run by Corey Clement in the third quarter. Clement finished with 24 yards on 10 carries.Other than Jackson, NU didn’t have much production. Clayton Thorson was 9 of 20 for 60 yards against Wisconsin’s top-ranked defense.The Wildcats’ opportunistic defense was a little better. ”We just wanted to prove to Wisconsin, the rest of the nation and the Big Ten that we were a great defense,” Gibson said, ”and I think we got that done today.”