Knicks Porzingis torches Bulls despite Mirotic’s 9 three pointers

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Kristaps Porzingis had no sense that he was in for a special night when he went up for his first dunk in the first quarter.Porzingis tied a career high with 29 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, Carmelo Anthony added 24 points and the New York Knicks beat the Bulls 115-107 on Wednesday night. But Porzingis, the Knicks’ 7-foot-3 rookie center, nearly had a shaky – and embarrassing – start. ”On the first dunk, I did not have my legs,” he said. ”I almost missed it. I was OK physically and able to knock down shots. The ball was moving and I had some pretty good looks.” Porzingis was one point short of becoming the first rookie since Patrick Ewing to put up 30 points and 10 rebounds in one game for the Knicks. ”I looked up at the scoreboard in the fourth quarter and saw how many (points) I had, but I didn’t know about the record,” Porzingis said. ”I don’t want to force up a shot just to break a record.” Porzingis displayed an inside-outside game that the Bulls defense couldn’t handle. He was 3 of 6 from 3-point range, which opened up the rest of the floor for his teammates.In the front end of a back-to-back with the Knicks, the Bulls failed to complete a sweep of their four-game homestand and dropped behind the Detroit Pistons in the Eastern Conference standings for the eighth and final playoff spot.Bulls forward Jimmy Butler, who was held to just seven points on 3-of-11 shooting, disagreed with coach Fred Hoiberg when he said the Bulls were outworked. He put the blame on his own shoulders. ”I see other things wrong, but that’s what he is supposed to say,” Butler said. ”He’s supposed to say it’s a team thing. I don’t think right now, I know this is a team game, but if one of your so-called best players is not doing what their supposed to do, that’s what is going to happen.You’ve seen the way I’ve been playing lately. It’s sad. My teammates won’t say it, my coaches won’t say it.” Nikola Mirotic scored a career-high 35 points for the Bulls, and Derrick Rose added 21. Mirotic was 9 of 13 from 3-point range and tied a franchise best for made 3-pointers.The Knicks led by as many as 22 in the second half. Rose and Mirotic tried to start a late rally, but each was answered by Porzingis and Anthony.Rose got the Bulls within 10 late in the fourth, but Porzingis hit a jumper. Mirotic made a 3-pointer to get it within eight at 109-101 with 3:07 left, but Anthony followed with a 3 from the corner.The Knicks were 14-of-25 from 3-point range.After establishing his outside game in the first half, Porzingis flashed through the lane for a dunk in the third quarter. ”He seems to be alive again,” Knicks coach Kurt Rambis said. ”He looked like he went through a period where his legs were dead.” The Knicks led 57-55 at the half. Porzingis scored 17 points on 7-of-9 shooting, including 3 of 4 from 3-point range. Rose led the Bulls with 12 points. Butler isn’t too concerned about the postseason picture. ”No, I’ve got to worry about my team,” he said. ”I’ve got to worry about myself. If we win enough games, we’ll be in the right (playoff) position.” Anthony isn’t rethinking his decision when he was a free agent two years ago and opted to stay with New York over the Bulls. ”No, not at all,” he said. ”It was close (to happening). It was close, real close. That’s all I can say about it.” NOTES—Anthony, who missed Sunday’s loss to Sacramento with a migraine, scored 10 points with five assists in the first half. Before the game, Hoiberg said Butler is not having any issues with his knee and he is not over compensating. ”His knee feels great and he is not,” Hoiberg said. ”He has responded very well to the plan that was put in place and has responded very well to the treatment.” Butler suffered a strained left knee that kept him out for about a month. … Before the game, Hoiberg addressed the Iowa State men’s basketball team. Hoiberg, former head coach and player for the Cyclones, left Iowa State for the Bulls after Tom Thibodeau was fired last season. Iowa State plays No. 1 seed Virginia in Midwest Regional on Friday at the United Center. … The Knicks outrebounded the Bulls 53-34.The Bulls take on the Knicks at Madison Square Garden on Thursday night to complete the home-and-home.

Dallas whollops slumping Hawks again

An opening bank shot, some pretty passing and a stylish breakaway, and it was all over.The Dallas Stars are heading to the playoffs. The Blackhawks are searching for their postseason form.Vernon Fiddler scored two of Dallas’ four goals in the first period, and the Stars clinched a playoff spot with a 6-2 victory over the Blackhawks on Tuesday night.

”The last couple of years we’ve been that team that’s been fighting for it right up until the last couple of games, so obviously it’s nice to get the `X’ beside Dallas,” Fiddler said. ”We still know we have a lot of work ahead of us and we’re prepared to do that.”

Dallas stretched its win streak to three and improved to 4-1 against the Hawks, outscoring the Stanley Cup champions 20-11 in the season series. Colton Sceviour and Patrick Eaves also scored in the first, and Jamie Benn had two assists in his 500th NHL game.The Stars (44-21-9) lead the Western Conference with 97 points with eight games left on their schedule. They also are on track for their first division title since they took the Pacific in 2006.The Blackhawks played without starting goaltender Corey Crawford for the fourth straight game due to an upper-body injury, and Scott Darling was pulled after Dallas’ big first period. Michael Leighton made 16 saves in his first NHL appearance since Jan. 27, 2013, for Philadelphia at Tampa Bay.Crawford is day to day, but coach Joel Quenneville said after the morning skate that he isn’t sure Crawford will be able to travel with the team for its four-game road trip beginning Saturday at Calgary. Crawford’s absence is one of a whole host of issues for the Blackhawks heading into the final part of the season.

”I don’t know if it’s confidence or whatever,” Quenneville said. ”We’ve got to find a way to rectify the way we play. We’ve got to play with more urgency. It’s hard to measure confidence to me. If you play hard, you find your way through it.”

The Blackhawks (42-25-7) have dropped six of seven to fall off the pace in the tough Central Division, including a pair of losses against the Stars and one against the Kings where it wasn’t even competitive – a bad sign even for the playoff-tested Blackhawks.Andrew Shaw and Richard Panik scored for the second straight game for the Blackhawks, but their biggest stars failed to generate many quality chances.

”At the end of the day, we just have to have that unshakable confidence that good teams go through moments like this when it doesn’t matter what you do,” captain Jonathan Toews said. ”Things don’t go your way. We’ll have to work through it. That’s the only way we’re going to get better.”

Dallas grabbed control with two goals in a 25-second span of the first. Sceviour stuffed one home from behind the net that went off Darling’s stick at 11:34, and then found Fiddler all alone in front for his 11th goal of the season.It just got worse from there for the Hawks.With Toews in the penalty box for high-sticking, Eaves finished off a nice passing sequence with a one-timer for a 3-0 lead at 16:01. Four of Eaves’ nine goals this season have come against the Blackhawks.Fiddler tacked on a short-handed goal with 1:17 left, finishing a breakaway with a nice backhand shot that led to a hearty round of boos from the crowd of 22,034. Fiddler had been held off the scoresheet in his previous seven games.The four goals allowed in the first matched a season high for any period for the Blackhawks, also accomplished by Dallas in the first period of its 4-2 win at Chicago on Feb. 11. Goals by Radek Faksa at the end of the second and an empty-netter for Cody Eakin with 6:12 remaining finished the scoring, matching a season-best for the Stars and a season-worst for the Blackhawks.

”Clinching is really important, but now it’s moving on and making sure our game’s in the right place,” Dallas coach Lindy Ruff said, ”and we’ve been playing some good hockey lately.”

NOTES—Stars D Jordie Benn returned after missing eight games with a lower-body injury. D Kris Russell was scratched with a lower-body injury. … D Christian Ehrhoff, LW Brandon Mashinter, C Dennis Rasmussen and Crawford were the scratches for the Blackhawks. … Marcus Kruger (dislocated wrist) could return Saturday against the Flames. He had surgery on Dec. 18.

Valpo earnes NIT trip to Madison Square Garden with 60-44 win over St.Mary’s

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VALPARAISO—Alec Peters scored 20 points for his seventh straight 20-plus game and Valparaiso advanced to its first NIT semifinals with a 60-44 victory against Saint Mary’s on Tuesday night.Tevonn Walker opened the second-half scoring with a 3-pointer to give Valparaiso a 32-31 lead – its first since 17-16. Shane Hammink’s putback extended it to 40-31 and capped a 16-0 run. Saint Mary’s was held scoreless for nine-plus minutes, spanning the halves, and missed it first 10 shots of the second half.The shooting troubles continued for Saint Mary’s as the Gaels shot 20.7 percent in the second half and scored just 13 points.Keith Carter added 11 points for Valparaiso (29-6) and Vashil Fernandez caused problems inside with nine points, seven rebounds and six blocks. Peters has totaled 74 points and 24 rebounds in three NIT games.Peters sank a 3-pointer from the wing to cut Valparaiso’s deficit to 31-29 at halftime. He scored 11 in the first half but the Crusaders were hurt by seven turnovers.Dane Pineau led Saint Mary’s (29-6) with 11 points. The Gaels made four of their first seven 3-pointers but hit 1 of 12 after that.Valpo set an Athletics-Recreation Center (ARC) record with 5,444 attendees.

Bulls win third straight, 109-102 over Kings

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The Bulls have been in the habit of playing down to the level of their competition this season.Not against the Sacramento Kings on Monday night, though.Derrick Rose and Taj Gibson had 18 points each, Doug McDermott added 16 and Pau Gasol had 14 points and 14 rebounds to lead the Bulls to a 109-102 comeback victory over the Kings.Rose was 9 for 15 from the field and hit a couple of 15-foot jumpers during the decisive 10-0 run in the fourth quarter to rally from a five-point deficit.Gasol recorded his 39th double-double of the season in just 24 1/2 minutes in his first game back after missing four games with a swollen right knee.The Bulls (36-33) have won three straight and maintain slim lead on the Detroit Pistons (35-32) for the eighth and final playoff spot in Eastern Conference. ”Early in the year, I am not sure we would have won this game,” coach Fred Hoiberg said. ”Earlier, when we had a stretch like that, it would continue to spiral out of control.” Rose agreed: ”Earlier in the year, it probably would have slipped. We’re just finding ways to win, just winning games somehow.” DeMarcus Cousins had 19 points and 18 rebounds, Darren Collison had 19 points and Rudy Gay had 18 for Sacramento, which trailed throughout before taking a five-point lead midway through the fourth. ”What helped us is the way we were moving the ball,” Cousins said. ”I think in the last couple of minutes the ball got stagnant and their defense took advantage of us. We weren’t able to make any plays down the stretch.” The Bulls had an eight-point halftime lead and stretched their advantage to 69-57 early in the third quarter, but Sacramento responded with an 11-2 run to make it 71-68. After the Bulls built their advantage back up to 77-70, the Kings closed the quarter with an 11-4 run to make it 82-81 heading into the fourth.Sacramento carried the momentum into the final quarter and took an 89-86 lead on Marco Belinelli‘s 3-pointer with 8:40 left – its first advantage since late in the first quarter.Trailing 95-90, the Bulls scored 10 straight points to take a 100-95 lead. Rose hit a pull-up 15-footer over Cousins to put the Bulls back on top, 96-95, with just under 5 minutes to go.After the Kings ended the streak with a basket by Rajon Rondo, Jimmy Butler had a tip-in and Mike Dunleavy hit a 3-pointer to make it 105-97 with 1:28 remaining. ”We played well for 6 minutes tonight,” Hoiberg said. ”Luckily, it was the last 6 minutes of the game.” Kings: Rookie C Willie Cauley-Stein returned after missing the previous two games with flu-like symptoms. He was scoreless in 5 minutes. … Rookie F Ben McLemore (fractured right ring finger) missed his eighth straight game.E’Twaun Moore (left hamstring) missed his second straight and Hoiberg already declared him out the next three games, which includes games at New York and Orlando. ”He won’t travel on this upcoming trip,” Hoiberg said. ”We’ll re-evaluate him when we get back from Orlando.” The Bulls’ starting lineup of Rose, Butler, Dunleavy, Gibson and Gasol was the projected lineup heading into the season, but Monday marked just the second time those five players have been on the court to begin a game this season. ”It’s a good feeling to have your guys back and have different options,” Hoiberg said. ”We’ve still have a couple of them with plans in place with their minutes. Once we get rid of that, it’ll be a great feeling.” They’re 2-0 with that lineup.The Bulls host the New York Knicks on Wednesday night.

Hawks lose to Wild 3-2 in a shootout, 0-4 vs Minnesota this season.

For the second straight game, Charlie Coyle came through in the shootout to keep the Minnesota Wild within one point of a playoff spot.Coyle scored the only goal in the tiebreaker to lift the Wild to a 3-2 victory over the Blackhawks on Sunday night.Coyle, Minnesota’s first shooter, beat Scott Darling with a backhander a night after he and Zach Parise scored in the shootout in a home win over Carolina.Minnesota remained one point behind Colorado, which beat Edmonton, for the Western Conference’s second and final wild-card spot.Nino Niederreiter had his 18th goal and added an assist, and Erik Haula also scored in regulation as the Wild improved to 4-0 against the Blackhawks this season. ”We love playing in these games. I’m sure they do too,” Haula said. ”It doesn’t really matter right now; just getting in the playoffs is what matters.” Devan Dubnyk stopped 29 shots through overtime and then was perfect in the shootout against Chicago’s Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Artemi Panarin. Andrew Shaw scored his 12th goal to end an 11-game drought and linemate Richard Panik connected to end a 14-game streak without a goal to bring the Blackhawks back from a 2-0 deficit. ”They got an early lead and put us behind the 8-ball,” Shaw said, ”but we knew if we kept sticking to our game we could fight our way back and that’s exactly what we did.” Darling made his third straight start and finished with 32 saves, including several point-blank stops, as Blackhawks No. 1 goalie Corey Crawford remained sidelined day-to-day with an upper-body injury. ”He played unbelievable,” Shaw said. ”He made some big-time saves, especially late in the game there. He was our first star tonight.” Kane, the NHL’s leading scorer, got up slowly after colliding with Minnesota’s Matt Dumba at the Wild blue line early in the third, but returned minutes later.The Blackhawks outshot Minnesota 13-7 in the scoreless first but generated almost nothing during a 4-minute power play early in the period, set up by Parise’s double-minor for high-sticking Michal Rozsival.The pace picked up late in the period, spurred by a high-energy shift by the fourth line of Shaw, Panik and Andrew Desjardins. Dubnyk made a point-blank save on Desjardins with 3:08 left to keep it scoreless.Minnesota jumped out to a 2-0 lead early in the second on goals by Haula and Niederreiter.Haula opened the scoring at 50 seconds on a shot from between the circles after taking Justin Fontaine’s deflected centering pass.Niederreiter outmuscled Marian Hossa and wrapped in a rebound of Jordan Schroeder’s shot at 7:04, just 9 seconds after the Hawks killed Hossa’s tripping penalty.Shaw cut it to 2-1 just 1:34 later following a nice move as he drove into the slot from the right boards. Shaw’s shot squeezed between Dubnyk’s right arm and torso, and trickled into the net.Capping another buzzing shift by his line, Panik tied it at 2 all with 6:39 left in the second on a wraparound shot from the right side of the net that banked in off Dubnyk’s left skate.Minnesota outshot the Blackhawks 15-7 in the scoreless third.Darling robbed Parise on two point-blank chances during a Wild power play early in the third to maintain the tie. He then stopped Haula with a close-in glove save at 8:25.The Hawks killed a goalie interference penalty to Artem Anisimov in overtime by blocking four shots – and getting lucky when Parise fired a shot off the side of a wide open net with Darling down and out of position.


NOTES—Minnesota LW Thomas Vanek, who has 18 goals and 23 assists and entered fourth on team in points, was a healthy scratch for second straight game. Vanek hasn’t scored since Feb. 25, a stretch of 10 contests. …Marcus Kruger, out since Dec. 17 with a wrist injury, has resumed skating and is expected to accompany the Blackhawks on four-game road trip that starts Saturday in Calgary. … Injured Wild players were F Jason Pominville (lower-body), who missed his sixth game, and G Darcy Kuemper (upper-body), who sat out his second. Dubnyk was backed up by Steve Michalek. … Darling was backed up by Michael Leighton, who lost to Blackhawks in the 2010 Stanley Cup finals when was in goal for Philadelphia.

Irish escape Stephen F.Austin on last second tip in.

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BROOKLYN—Rex Plfueger tapped in a miss with 1.5 seconds left and Notre Dame survived a valiant effort by No. 14 seed Stephen F. Austin 76-75 on Sunday to reach the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament for the second consecutive season.With 17.5 seconds left, sixth-seed Notre Dame grabbed an SFA rebound down one and put it in the hands of Demetrius Jackson. The point guard drove to the basket and missed. Zach Auguste followed for the Irish (23-11) but could not convert. The ball slipped off the rim and with one hand Pflueger flipped it in for his only basket of the game.A long heave from Stephen F. Austin (28-6) went wide and Notre Dame celebrated by swarming Pflueger.The Irish advance to play either Wisconsin or Xavier Friday in the East Regional at Philadelphia.Thomas Walkup, the hero of Stephen F. Austin’s first-round upset of West Virginia, scored 21.Jackson had 18 points, helping the Irish erase a five-point lead in the last two minutes with a driving layup and two free throws.The Lumberjacks’ first-round win against West Virginia was a defensive grind, with both teams pressuring the ball and making few shots. No mid-major has been as dominate in its conference over the last three seasons as SFA, making its third straight tournament appearance. The Lumberjacks never flinched in the face of West Virginia’s full-court press and on Sunday they went shot-for-shot with the Fighting Irish.The loss snapped a 21-game winning streak for SFA, the longest in the country.Notre Dame finally started putting a little distance between itself and SFA when V.J. Beachem hit a fallaway to make it 62-55 with a 9:18 left.Then Walkup answered with a conventional three-point play and Demetrious Floyd made back-to-back 3s and with 6:58 left it was 64-all.When Floyd made a 3 in transition with 3:31 left, it gave SFA a 73-70 lead. SFA forced turnovers on Notre Dame’s next two possessions – the Lumberjacks lead the nation in taking it away – and Walkup made to from the line to up the lead to five. It was the last points of the tournament for Stephen F. Austin.Walkup picked up his third foul with 17:53 left in the second half. He stayed in and dropped in a jumper a few moments later, but coach Brad Underwood had to sit his star for a chunk of the second half that he might not have otherwise.The Lumberjacks showed they could pick up for the two-time Southland Conference player of the year, getting offense from T.J. Holyfield (15 points) and Floyd (16).Beachem’s first miss from the field of the NCAA tournament came on a 3 at the 15-minute mark of the first half. … This is the first time since the tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1985 that Notre Dame has reached the round of 16 two straight seasons.The Irish will try to make it consecutive seasons in the Elite Eight against Xavier or Wisconsin.

Bulls beat Jazz to keep playoff slot(8th seed)for now.

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A sense of urgency has been an issue with the Bulls much of the season. It’s less of one now that they are battling just to get into the playoffs.Derrick Rose scored 22 points to lead the short-handed Bulls to a 92-85 victory over Utah on Saturday night, snapping the Jazz’s four-game winning streak.Taj Gibson had 15 points and 10 rebounds, and Nikola Mirotic added 15 points.Rose was 10 for 15 from the field as the Bulls won their second straight. The Bulls (35-33) remained in eighth place in the Eastern Conference.

”Getting off to a great lead needs to be a constant for us,” Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said. ”For the past few games, we have gotten going and jumped out to double-digit leads.It had to be the urgency with what is at stake right now.”

The Bulls have battled injuries throughout the season and they were playing without Pau Gasol (right knee swelling) and E’Twaun Moore (left hamstring).Utah, which is battling for a playoff spot in the Western Conference, started a five-game road trip with a loss. Derrick Favors led the Jazz with 24 points.Gordon Hayward, the team’s leading scorer with 20.1 points per game, had nine points on 4-for-13 shooting after missing two games with plantar fasciitis of the right foot.Rose, who has had his own injury woes the last few years, got the Bulls off to a fast start. He put in 16 first-half points on 7-for-10 shooting (including 2 for 2 on 3-pointers) in just 15 minutes.That was enough to stake the Home team to a 50-40 halftime advantage.

”They scored on seven straight possessions to start the game,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. ”That was essentially the margin of victory at the end of the game.”

Utah inched closer early in the third quarter, trimming the deficit to 58-52, but the Bulls responded with a 14-5 run for a 72-57 advantage. The Bulls took a 79-67 lead into the fourth quarter.The Bulls had an 87-73 edge midway through the fourth, but had to survive a 10-2 Utah run to hang on for the win.Now the Bulls, who have the slimmest of leads over the Detroit Pistons (36-34), want to hang on for the postseason. Gibson, though, said scoreboard watching isn’t part of their plans.

”We can’t do that right now,” he said. ”We have to focus on getting wins. You get a nice win streak going you could find yourself in sixth. You can’t focus on other teams. You have to focus on yourself.”

NOTES—Gasol missed a fourth straight game, but Hoiberg is optimistic the veteran will be able to return soon. ”He did a little bit of spot shooting (Friday) and did some lateral movement (Saturday),” Hoiberg said. ”We hope to get him back doing a little bit in practice (Sunday).”…Despite the Bulls’ double-digit lead at halftime, Gibson was not happy with a few missed defensive assignments and called out a few players in the locker room.

”He jumped the locker room and really got on our guys,” Hoiberg said. ”He is taking more of a leadership role with Pau being out.”

When asked what he said, Gibson was tight-lipped: ”None of your business. Some things don’t have to be said in the media. I said what I said at halftime. We responded well and we have to move on.”…The Bulls host Sacramento on Monday night

Hawks end skid with 4-0 shutout of Jets behind Darling

WINNIPEG—Andrew Ladd was honored by his former team. Then, he went out and scored against them.Ladd had a goal, Scott Darling made 28 saves for his first shutout of the season, and the Blackhawks snapped a four-game losing streak with a 4-0 victory over the Winnipeg Jets on Friday night. ”Looking at a four-game slide there, maybe it’s better it happens now rather than later in the season and playoffs and then you’re done,” Patrick Kane said. ”We can learn from this. And, you know, if we lose one or two down the road here we can look back on this situation as a team and as a group and realize how we got ourselves out of it.” It was Ladd’s first appearance in Winnipeg since the former Jets captain was traded back to the Blackhawks on Feb. 25 in a multiplayer deal that included current Jets forward Marko Dano. Ladd received a standing ovation from MTS Centre crowd when a video tribute was played in the first period. He raised his stick to the fans in appreciation. ”It was awesome,” Ladd said. ”I always appreciated the fans and the people of Winnipeg when I was here. I appreciated the ovations and can’t say enough about the city.” Jets forward Blake Wheeler said the fans’ response to Ladd was ”classy.”Added Winnipeg forward Adam Lowry: ”It’s always nice to see the fans react like that. He was a great teammate and a great friend and he meant a lot to this organization and to this city.” Kane and Marian Hossa opened the scoring 26 seconds apart late in the second period, and Tomas Fleischmann also had a goal for the Blackhawks. Darling earned the second shutout of his two-year career with the Blackhawks in his 20th game of the season.Ondrej Pavelec turned aside 32 shots for Winnipeg, which started a four-game homestand. ”It was a tight game there until the end of the second,” said Darling, whose only other shutout was last year in his rookie season with the Hawks. ”Pavelec made some big saves to keep them in it and the boys really shut it down in the third period. It was huge by them to help me out.” The Blackhawks had a 13-11 edge in shots on goal after the scoreless first period, which featured Pavelec making a highlight-reel, full-arm snapping glove save on Dale Weise late in the period.Darling had his own impressive moment in the second when he sprawled out on his stomach to stop Drew Stafford‘s shot.Kane scored his 39th goal of the season, and recorded his 91st point, at 16:56 when he raced in alone on Pavelec and sent a backhander over the netminder’s shoulder on the short side.A shot by Artem Anisimov went off the stick of Winnipeg defenseman and former Hawk Dustin Byfuglien onto Hossa’s stick, and he fired the puck by Pavelec at 17:22 for his 12th goal of the season and 2-0 lead.Ladd and Fleischmann scored 1:45 apart in the third period.Ladd netted his 20th goal at 3:06 after Jonathan Toews sent him a pass from the side of the net out in front. A turnover by Winnipeg led to Fleischmann’s 12th goal at 4:51 for the 4-0 lead.


NOTES—The Blackhawks are 37-6-4 when scoring first, they are home to Minnesota the Sunday night.

ND beats Michigan to move into second round of NCAA Tournament

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 BROOKLYN—Notre Dame had a terrible first half and the Fighting Irish were uncharacteristically careless with the ball all game.Still, sixth-seeded Notre Dame managed to move on in the NCAA Tournament with a 70-63 victory over 11th-seeded Michigan on Friday night in the first round of the East Regional at Barclays Center.This run might not be as successful as the one last season. when the Irish lost a heartbreaker to then-undefeated Kentucky in the regional final – but it started with an unlikely victory.Notre Dame, which led the nation in turnovers for a while this season, finished with 16 turnovers, almost double their regular season average of 9.7, and the Wolverines turned them into 19 points. This was the fourth straight game the Irish had double figures in turnovers. ”This is two out of three games where we’ve had 15, 16, 17 turnovers,” Notre Dame coach Mike Brey said. ”I asked them, can we shave it down to maybe 10 on Sunday and not throw it all over the place?” Notre Dame will face 14th-seeded Stephen F. Austin in the second round on Sunday. The Lumberjacks upset third-seeded West Virginia 70-56.V.J. Beacham scored 18 points, including the 3-pointer that gave Notre Dame the lead for good as the Fighting Irish rallied to win. Notre Dame (22-11) didn’t take a lead in the game until Beacham’s 3 as the shot clock ran out with 9:26 left to make it 51-48. There were five more lead changes and three ties to come. ”It’s just a good feeling,” Beacham said. ”Demetrius (Jackson) found me and I had my feet set. I was just able to knock it down. It was really our movement. We got the ball screen. We were moving so hard that my man had to help and Demetrius found me and I was just able to knock it down.Beacham’s shot at the end (of the shot clock), we played 29 seconds of good defense on that play,” Michigan coach John Beilein said. Beacham finished 7 for 7 from the field, including hitting all four of his 3-point attempts. ”I just tried to step up and knock down the shots. My teammates were really finding me,” Beacham said. ”So I was just stepping up trying to knock down the shots and I was fortunate that all of them dropped tonight.” Michigan (23-13) controlled the first half, taking a 41-29 lead. Notre Dame scored the first eight points of the second half to get within 41-37. ”Notre Dame’s strategy of coming out in the second half and being much more aggressive with their man-to-man defense was the key,” Beilein said. ”I did not like the way we reacted to it, and we’ll just have to get better at that. They came out and denied some passes and put us back on our heels for a few minutes, and that was not a good thing. So it got them right back in the game, and then it was a dogfight who was going to make the last couple of shots was going to win the game.” Beacham’s 3 with 4:24 left gave Notre Dame a 62-59 lead, one they never gave up.Bonzie Colson had 12 points for Notre Dame but the final minutes were where he shined. He had a big blocked shot with just under 2 minutes to play and he converted a rebound for a 66-61 lead with 1:35 to go. He then iced the game with two free throws that made it 68-63 with 11 seconds left.Zach Auguste had 10 points and 12 rebounds for the Irish, who finished with a 33-25 advantage on the boards.Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkam had 15 points for Michigan and Derrick Walton Jr. had 10 points and eight assists.Michigan: The Wolverines won the previous two NCAA Tournament meetings with Notre Dame in 1974 and 1976. … Michigan entered the game having won eight of its last 10 NCAA Tournament games. … Michigan beat Tulsa 67-62 on Wednesday in the First Four. Wichita State, the other 11th seed to win a First Four game, advanced to the second round with a victory over Arizona…..Notre Dame: Auguste averaged 15.7 points and 11.9 rebounds over the last 12 games. … Notre Dame had eight blocked shots….Notre Dame faces Stephen F. Austin on Sunday in the second round.

Valpo beats FSU in NIT second round.

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VALPARAISO—Alec Peters scored 16 of his 26 in the first half and finished with nine rebounds, while Shane Hammink added 18 points to help top-seeded Valparaiso beat No. 4 seed Florida State 81-69 in the second round of the NIT on Thursday night.Keith Carter added 13 points and six assists, while Jubril Adekoya scored 11 with five rebounds and five assists for Valparaiso.Malik Beasley scored eight-straight points to pull Florida State (20-14) within three with 12:53 to play, but Valpo answered with a 12-3 run to push its lead to 63-51. Peters converted a 3-point play before Adekoya hit a 3 to start the spurt, and Victor Nickerson scored the final six – capped by his dunk with 9:12 left. The Seminoles trailed by at least seven the rest of the way.The Crusaders (28-6) will play the winner of Sunday’s game between third-seeded Georgia and No. 2 seed Saint Mary’s on March 22.A 3-pointer by Peters sparked a 7-0 run to open the game and Valpo, which led from wire-to-wire in its first-round win over Texas Southern, never trailed.The Crusaders shot 54.2 percent in the first half and took a 39-29 lead into the break.Xavier Rathan-Mayes led Florida State with 19 points. Beasley scored 14.