Wright State hands UIC 9th straight loss(still winless vs Division One and in Horizon League)

DAYTON—Mark Alstork scored 19 points and grabbed nine rebounds and Wright State beat the UIC 80-66 on Sunday to win its sixth straight and remain atop the Horizon League standings.The win is the 100th for Billy Donlon, the second Wright State coach to reach that mark.JT Yoho scored 16 points, Biggie Minnis added 13 and Grant Benzinger had 11 for the Raiders (13-8, 7-1), who were outrebounded 40-27.After shooting 61.5 percent to lead 44-32 at halftime, Wright State cooled and made only two field goals in the first three minutes of the second half while UIC pulled within 49-42.The Raiders got hot again and led by 18 with 4:02 left and cruised. Wright State finished shooting 54 percent from the field, including 9 of 21 from long distance.Dikembe Dixson scored a career-high 29 points for the Flames (2-17, 0-8), which has lost nine straight.

Bulls wake up, spoil Lue’s Coaching debut

Chicago Bulls Logo - Red bull with script above head

CLEVELAND—They changed coaches. Everything else about the Cavaliers looked the same.And as if they don’t have enough problems, new coach Tyronn Lue said they’re out of shape.Lue didn’t make much of a difference in his coaching debut for Cleveland as Pau Gasol scored 25 points, leading the Bulls to a 96-83 win over the Cavaliers on Saturday night.Lue was promoted Friday, when the Cavaliers shockingly fired David Blatt despite him taking the team to the NBA Finals last season and currently leading the Eastern Conference. Lue admitted being nervous about sliding into Blatt’s seat, and while his team gave effort, the Cavaliers didn’t win.In fact, LeBron James, Kevin Love, Kyrie Irving and their teammates left the floor to a chorus of boos after shooting just 9 of 22 from the free-throw line.

”I’ve been booed before, along with a lot of these guys,” Lue said. ”Every time I go to Philly I get booed, so, you know, that’s not a big deal. It’s something I got to deal with.”

Lue wants his team to play at a faster pace than it did under Blatt, but the Cavs aren’t physically ready to up the tempo.

”I don’t think we’re in good enough shape,” Lue said. ”Early, we wanted to push it, we wanted to open the floor and we came out and did that and then we just dropped off the map. We got tired. I just don’t think we’re in good enough shape right now to play in the style that we want to play.”

James just missed his first triple-double this season, finishing with 26 points, 13 rebounds and nine assists. J.R. Smith added 18 points for the Cavs, who shot 37 percent from the field.

”It’s a make or miss league and tonight we couldn’t make any shots,” James said.

Jimmy Butler scored 20 points, Nikola Mirotic added 17 and Taj Gibson 15 for the Bulls who opened a 17-point lead in the third quarter and never let the Cavs get closer than eight in the fourth.

”This was a big game,” Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said. ”It’s a great sign when you come into a place like this that was buzzing. We went out and we were aggressive. We got that lead at the end of the first quarter and never looked back.”

Bothered by a lack of cohesion and chemistry in the Cavs, general manager David Griffin fired Blatt, a surprising move that came just days after Cleveland suffered a humiliating 34-point home loss to the defending champion Golden State Warriors. But Griffin detected deeper issues and felt he had no choice but to remove Blatt and promote Lue, a top assistant and former point guard who won two NBA titles as a player.Lue’s got work to do, but he was mostly pleased with his team’s effort.

”I thought our guys competed,” he said. ”I thought they went out and played hard and we just couldn’t make shots. I guess I consider this a big game and in a big game, we haven’t been able to make shots. Defensively it was great and just, offensively, we just didn’t make shots. We didn’t make free throws.”

The Cavs had been skipping the pregame introductions with the starters staying near the bench. Lue put an end to that.

”You can do what you want on the road because we don’t care about the fans on the road, but at least at home, give our fans what they came to see,” Lue said.

James didn’t have a problem with Lue’s decision.

”That’s what the coach wants and that’s what we’re doing,” he said. ”There’s no fighting, ifs, ands or buts.”

Lue spent several seasons coaching under Doc Rivers in Boston and with the Clippers. The two remain close and Lue sought advice from his former boss.

”Doc just said, `embrace it. It’s a tough time right now. I think you’re ready, you’re built for this. You’ve been groomed very well, just enjoy it. Don’t put a lot of pressure on yourself, just enjoy the moment, embrace it and just have fun,”’ Lue said. ”That’s what I’m going to try to do and we’ll see how it ends up.”

Gibson wore goggles after suffering a scratched cornea during Friday night’s loss in Boston. He added eight rebounds.

”It was hard last night,” Gibson said. ”I couldn’t see. It’s still a little blurry, but I wanted to play and help us win.”

NOTES—E’Twaun Moore injured his right hamstring in the first quarter and did not return. … Hoiberg was sorry to learn of Blatt’s firing. He met him in 2014 while on a recruiting visit for Iowa State. ”I think the world of David Blatt as a person,” Hoiberg said. ”He’s a hell of a basketball coach. It’s a tough part of this business when something like that happens.”….Cleveland is 0-2 against the Bulls this season. … Smith played in his 800th career game. … G Mo Williams, who found himself on the outside of Blatt’s rotations, was on the floor in the first quarter but didn’t play again. He sat out 10 of Cleveland’s previous 13 games….The Bulls host Miami on Monday.

Indiana clobbers slumping NU 89-57

Northwestern Wildcats (1981 - Pres)

BLOOMINGTON—Kevin ”Yogi” Ferrell scored 17 points, had six more assists and led No. 25 Indiana to an 89-57 blowout over Northwestern, the Hoosiers’ 12th consecutive victory.There’s little to quibble with right now.The Hoosiers (17-3) are off to their first 7-0 Big Ten start since 1992-93. They’ve won consecutive conference games by more than 20 points for the first time since January 2007.Indiana has matched its longest winning streak since Crean’s arrival in 2008 and is one win from matching the school’s longest winning streak since Bob Knight was fired in 2000. Players are having fun with it, too.During a pregame ceremony to honor Ferrell as the school’s new career assists leader, the senior guard smiled. He smiled again when he got knocked to the court during the game and was even laughing during the postgame news conference. ”He (Ferrell) gets a pretty good amount of assists, I don’t know if you’ve heard,” Max Bielfeldt joked after scoring 13 points and grabbing four rebounds.The Wildcats (15-6, 3-5) found out it’s a major pain to play these suddenly hot Hoosiers.Alex Olah scored 19 points and Tre Demps added 17, not nearly enough to prevent a third straight loss. ”They have a lot of guys who can put pressure on you with their driving ability and everyone can shoot,” coach Chris Collins said. ”I mean they’ve made 32 3s in the last two games. It’s incredible shooting.” That was far too much for Northwestern.Indiana scored the first 10 points, used an 11-0 run late in the first half to extend the lead to 41-22 and after the Hoosiers opened the second half by scoring the first six points, they led 49-26.Northwestern never led, couldn’t get closer than four points in the first half or 18 in the second half.Indiana’s shooting touch didn’t cool off during a four-day break. After making a school-record 19 3s in Tuesday night’s 34-point victory over Illinois, the Hoosiers were 13 of 28 from beyond the arc Saturday. ”There hasn’t been a team to slow them down yet. So, yeah, our defense was exposed and so have the six other defenses that played them. They scored 103 in their last game, tonight we held them to 89,” Collins said.The Wildcats are facing their toughest stretch of the season. After losing at No. 7 Maryland and Indiana this week, they face No. 11 Michigan State and visit No. 9 Iowa next week. NOTES—How dominant were the Hoosiers on Saturday? They shot 52.6 percent from the field, 46.4 percent on 3s, outrebounded Northwestern 40-23 and limited the Wildcats to 5 of 15 on 3-point attempts. Indiana has won three straight home games by 25 or more points for the first time since 1987-88….Allowed a season high 89 points and endured its most lopsided loss of the season. … Indiana native Bryant McIntosh had four points, six rebounds and six assists. He needs nine more assists to break Tim Doyle’s season school record (157), which was set in 2006-07…..Indiana: Ferrell has 559 career assists and moved into the school’s top 10 in scoring by passing Eric Anderson (1,715 points). Ferrell has 1,720. … Bielfeldt made one 3 in the game, giving him 12 this season. That’s one more than he had in first three seasons at Michigan…..NU hosts No. 11 Michigan State on Thursday

Ramblers outlast Drake 68-63

Loyola-Chi. Ramblers logo

Montel James scored 17 points, and his reverse layup with just more than a minute left gave Loyola the lead for good in a 68-63 win over Drake Saturday.Trailing 66-63, Billy Wampler and Reed Timmer both missed 3-point attempts with nine seconds to play. Officials awarded the ball to the Ramblers after determining the ball went off a Drake player attempting to recover Timmer’s miss.Milton Doyle‘s free throws with 7.9 seconds left clinched it for Loyola (9-11, 2-6 Missouri Valley).James tied the score at 60 making one of two free throws before his layup gave the Ramblers the lead. James hit two more free throws, then Drake (5-15, 0-8) got a three from Kyle Abrahamson with 29 second left to cut the lead to 64-63.Graham Woodard, and Abrahamson combined to hit three-straight 3s to give Drake a 60-59 lead with 2:51 left.Ore Arogundade led Drake with 12 points.

Hawks get an Everglades butt kicking from Panthers 4-0

SUNRISE—Aaron Ekblad came back, and the Florida Panthers made an emphatic return to their winning ways.Against the reigning Stanley Cup champions, no less.Roberto Luongo stopped 27 shots for his fourth shutout of the season, Ekblad scored in his first game back after recovering from a concussion and the Panthers easily handled the Blackhawks 4-0 on Friday night to snap a four-game slide.Florida had lost its last eight meetings with the Blackhawks, last beating them on March 8, 2011. The Hawks outscored Florida 25-11 in those games.Reilly Smith, Quinton Howden and former Hawk defenseman Brian Campbell also scored for Florida, which took a 3-0 lead after one period and started a big weekend in a big way.The Panthers play rival Tampa Bay – the reigning Eastern Conference champions – at home on Saturday.Scott Darling stopped 28 shots for the Blackhawks, who lost on consecutive nights in the state of Florida. The Blackhawks lost in Tampa on Thursday, after winning 12 straight to match the Panthers for the longest winning streak in the league this season.And while Florida’s winning streak is over, Ekblad’s isn’t. The Panthers have now won 13 straight games with him in the lineup.Florida was winless in its previous four games while the second-year All-Star defenseman recovered from a concussion suffered when he got leveled by Matt Hendricks in Edmonton on Jan. 10. Hendricks was suspended three games for the play, and Ekblad missed nearly two weeks.By the time Ekblad got into the scoring column, the Panthers had this one well in hand.Florida struck for three in the first period, its most since getting four in the first 20 minutes against Philadelphia to open the season on Oct. 10. Smith and Campbell got the first two, and Howden sneaked the third past Darling with 2.1 seconds left in the period.His was unassisted, and so was Ekblad’s at 2:51 of the second – a blast from the right circle after a turnover.Luongo did the rest, getting his 72nd career shutout.The Blackhawks pulled Darling with 8:23 left in the third, but he couldn’t stay off the ice for long – a faceoff sent him back to the ice after only 3 seconds of an empty net, and then a holding call against center Artemi Panarin with 7:52 remaining brought him back again to face a Florida power play.

NOTES—With Ekblad and Campbell, Florida had two defensemen score in the same game for the first time since last Feb. 10. … The last time the Hawks trailed by more than four goals was Feb. 22, 2015, when it trailed 6-1 at Boston. Smith scored for the Bruins in that game as well. … Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville’s final game as a player was a loss in the 1992 Calder Cup finals to the Adirondack Red Wings, a former American Hockey League franchise where Panthers coach Gerard Gallant once played. … Florida is 27-12-4 with Ekblad in the lineup this season, and went 0-3-1 without him. … Chicago is now 10-7-1 after a loss.


Bulls slump continues in Boston

Chicago Bulls Logo - Red bull with script above head

BOSTON—Isaiah Thomas scored 22 points and the Boston Celtics held off a furious rally in the fourth quarter to beat the Bulls 110-101 on Friday night.Avery Bradley added 21 points, and Jared Sullinger finished with 18 points and 12 rebounds as the Celtics ended a two-game losing skid.The victory also gives Boston a 2-1 win in the season series with the Bulls.The Celtics were up by 15 points at the half before seeing their lead drop all the way to a point in the fourth quarter.Jimmy Butler led the Bulls with 28 points and 14 rebounds. Derrick Rose added 27 points, and Pau Gasol finished with 18 points and 11 rebounds.The Bulls have lost six of their last eight.After a pedestrian first half, Rose took over by scoring 16 points in the third quarter to get the Bulls within eight entering the final period.Rose rested at the start of the fourth, but the Celtics reserves weren’t able to maintain their small cushion and went cold offensively as the Bulls continued to attack the paint.With Rose back on the court Boston’s lead continued to dwindle, falling all the way to 97-96 on a pair of free throws by Butler with 4:58 remaining.The Celtics settled down after a timeout, scoring eight straight points to get it back to 105-96.Boston was active on both ends in the first half, leading by as many as 16 at one point.They also shared the basketball and had 17 assists on their 26 made field goals.Butler had the steadiest hand offensively for the Bulls, quietly notching 11 points and 11 rebounds by halftime.It helped lessen the damage of the Bulls 13 first-half turnovers. NOTES—The Bulls dropped to 6-16 when their opponent scores 100 or more points….Celtics F Amir Johnson sat out Friday’s game for personal reasons, but is expected to rejoin the team in Philadelphia on Sunday, weather permitting.The Bulls play at Cleveland on Saturday.

Hawks winning streak snapped at 12 as Lightning win 2-1 on power play goal after ??? penalty

TAMPA—Anton Stralman insisted the surging Tampa Bay Lightning didn’t derive any extra satisfaction out of beating the Blackhawks to end a franchise-record 12-game winning streak for the defending Stanley Cup champions. ”No, not really,” the veteran defenseman said after the Lightning extended a roll of their own to a season-best seven games with a 2-1 victory Thursday night. ”It’s all about our winning streak now.” Stralman’s sixth goal of the season erased an early deficit and Nikita Kucherov snapped a second-period tie with his 20th goal for the Lightning, who will try to match the longest winning streak in club history Saturday night at Florida. ”This might have been our best game all season. We played for 60 minutes,” Stralman said. ”This is the way we want to play, obviously. This is how we can play.” Ben Bishop had 17 saves as the Blackhawks were held to a season-low 18 shots. Corey Crawford stopped 31 shots to keep the Blackhawks in the game, but it wasn’t enough to extend a career-best nine-game winning streak for the goaltender. ”They were definitely the better team. We didn’t generate much. We didn’t get much traffic and pucks to the net and didn’t get the offensive zone time we like,” Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. ”We had a few shifts, but they were few and far between.” The victory gave Tampa Bay split of the season series with the Blackhawks, who won last year’s Stanley Cup final against the Lightning in six games. ”That was a fun game. Obviously it brought back memories of last year,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. ”They are a really good team. We played extremely well to beat them. … One streak was ending tonight and I’m glad it’s theirs.” Stralman scored in the first period and Victor Hedman had two assists for Tampa Bay. Artem Anisimov scored the Blackhawks lone goal in the opening minute of the game. ”It’s just one of those games, I guess,” Crawford said, adding that the Hawks didn’t play that poorly. ”We worked hard. It’s just some things didn’t go for us. … That happens sometimes.” The Blackhawks went 0 for 3 on the power play and were held to the lowest shot total since taking 19 during a 2-1 overtime loss at Calgary on Nov. 20.Tampa Bay, meanwhile, has its longest winning streak since the 2003-04 season that ended with the team winning its only Stanley Cup title. The Blackhawks won the first meeting between the teams this season, 1-0 on Jonathan Toews‘ goal 17 seconds into overtime.Anisimov scored off a backhand pass from Patrick Kane just 43 seconds into the game, but the Blackhawks managed just three shots the remainder of the opening period – two of them in the final 5 seconds.Kucherov’s power play goal snapped a 1-1 tie with 3:11 left in the second period. It came after the Hawks successfully killed Kane’s penalty for high-sticking, only to give the Lightning another opportunity when their star was called for interference as he exited the penalty box and contacted the puck before getting both skates on the ice.The go-ahead goal was the 20th goal of the season for Kucherov, tied with Steven Stamkos for the team lead. He has four in his last three games.Both teams made news earlier in the day, with the Blackhawks trading Ryan Garbutt to Anaheim in exchange for Jiri Sekac and Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman addressing the suspension of disgruntled forward Jonathan Drouin, who failed to report for a minor league game the previous night.Drouin, the third overall pick in the 2013, has asked to be traded. He’s been slowed by injuries this season and was assigned to Syracuse of the AHL on Jan. 2, a move Yzerman at the time said was intended to give the 20-year-old an opportunity to play more.Yzerman said there has been significant interest in Drouin, but that no deal was imminent. The GM added that he can’t answer yet if the current situation will impact offers from other teams. ”Anything is possible,” Yzerman said. ”I told Jonathan and his agent that we will trade him if and when we can make a deal that’s good for the Tampa Bay Lightning.”


NOTES—Richard Panik did not play after oversleeping and reporting late to the team’s morning skate. … Bishop has allowed two or fewer goals in 22 of his last 27 starts. …Joel Quenneville said Sekac could make his Blackhawks debut Friday, when the team continues its road trip at Florida. … Kucherov has six goals and four assists during a seven-game point streak.

Hot shooting Warriors blow out Bulls 125-94

Chicago Bulls Logo - Red bull with script above head

Stephen Curry glanced at the ”72” banner hanging from the rafters during the morning shootaround. A number that for two decades seemed unattainable just might be in reach for the Warriors if they keep playing this way.Curry scored 25 points, and Golden State made it look easy again, beating the Bulls 125-94 on Wednesday night.Curry tied a season high with 11 of his team’s 38 assists and grabbed seven rebounds.Klay Thompson added 20 points. Harrison Barnes scored 19, and the defending champions simply outclassed the Bulls after embarrassing LeBron James and the Cavaliers in Cleveland on Monday night.That’s two straight dominant wins over two of the Eastern Conference’s top teams after losing at Detroit and dropping two of three. ”Good teams bounce back quick and we were able to do that,” Curry said. ”It says a lot about our resiliency.” The Warriors are more than just a good team. They’re a team that set a league record with a 24-0 start. And they’re a team that could challenge the single-season mark of 72 wins set by the 1995-96 Bulls. ”I feel like we kind of have that chip back on our shoulders,” Draymond Green said. ”It kind of fell off a little bit.” The Warriors built a big lead in the first quarter and never were threatened after that, improving their league-best road record to 20-4.Derrick Rose scored 29 and Jimmy Butler added 23 points after a slow start. Pau Gasol was a nonfactor with one point and the Bulls missed 19 of 20 3-pointers on the way to their fifth loss in seven games. ”It’s embarrassing,” Rose said. ”We stopped communicating while we were out there. You could easily tell there was no communication on both sides of the ball. The only thing we can do from it is learn.” Two nights after they pounded Cleveland in the arena where they captured the championship last spring, the Warriors wasted little time seizing control in this one.Playing in the shadows of that ”72” banner, they continued their assault on the mark.Golden State was trailing by one midway through the first quarter when a cutting Curry converted a three-point play. Rose, who committed the foul, got subbed out after a strong start. And in a flash, the Warriors broke this one open.They were up 34-18 going into the second and led by as many as 21 before heading to the locker room with a 63-44 cushion.Curry had 15 points and seven assists in the half. Barnes scored 11 and the Warriors simply put on a clinic in ball movement that led to 30 points in the paint.Rose scored 21, but the rest of the team combined for just 23 points in the half. The numbers barely describe how one-sided this was.There were comical moments like when E’Twaun Moore crashed to the floor in the first quarter trying to defend a crossover by Curry, who buried a 19-foot jumper. There was a neat pass from Shaun Livingston to Leandro Barbosa for a reverse layup that made it 41-20 early in the second. There was also a somewhat scary moment when the Bulls’ Aaron Brooks tripped Rose, sending him into Curry as they raced out to defend a 3-point attempt from the corner with 4:28 left in the half.


NOTES—The Bulls held a moment of silence before the game for longtime NBA and college coach John Bach, who died this week at age 91…..The funeral was Wednesday, and Hoiberg and his staff attended as well as Golden State coach Steve Kerr and assistant Ron Adams…..Bach’s defensive expertise as an assistant to Phil Jackson helped the Bulls win three NBA titles from 1991 to 1993. He was the head coach of the Golden State Warriors from 1983-86 before joining the Bulls as an assistant…..Green said he was fine after taking a shot to the face from Taj Gibson early in the third quarter. He returned to the game in the fourth…..Fred Hoiberg said Joakim Noah is ”in great spirits” after having what could be season-ending surgery to repair his dislocated left shoulder on Tuesday. He said Noah hopes to rejoin the team this weekend, although he is not sure when and where he will rehab…The Bulls visit Boston on Friday.

Garrett “and one” with 1.1 second left gives DePaul win at Marquette

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MILWAUKEE—Myke Henry had 17 points and 12 rebounds, and Billy Garrett Jr. added 14 points, including a conventional 3-point play with 1.1 seconds left, to help DePaul beat Marquette 57-56 Wednesday night.Duane Wilson led Marquette with 19 points on 7-of-10 shooting.Luke Fischer made two free throws to put the Golden Eagles (12-7, 2-5 Big East) up five with 5:09 left. Marquette went scoreless over the next three minutes, 32 seconds as DePaul scored five in a row, tying it at 52.Wilson made a jumper and, after Garrett hit two free throws on the other end, putback his own miss with 8.4 seconds to play and Marquette led 56-54.Garrett drove the lane, made the tying layup and was fouled with 1.1 seconds remaining. His ensuing foul shot proved to be the winner.DePaul shot just 38.6 percent from the field – compared to 47.6 for Marquette – but converted 16 offensive rebounds into 12 second-chance points.

ISU wins latest ‘War on I-74’ 55-52 over Bradley


PEORIA—Paris Lee scored 16 points, including a 3-pointer to give Illinois State an eight-point lead with 3:37 left, and the Redbirds held on Wednesday night to beat Bradley 55-52 despite missing four free throws in the final 1:17.DeVaughn Akoon-Purcell added 15 points and Deontae Hawkins grabbed 15 rebounds to help Illinois State (10-10, 4-3 Missouri Valley) snap a three-game losing streak.Tony Wills missed the front-end of a one-and-one for the Redbirds, who led 52-48 with 1:17 left. Bradley (3-17, 1-6) got as close as 54-52 and had a chance to tie on a 3-point attempt at the buzzer.The Redbirds led by four at halftime and stretched it to 41-27 with a 14-4 run to open the second.Ronnie Suggs had 16 points and eight rebounds and Donte Thomas scored 12 to lead the Braves.