Florida State holds off ND in key ACC showdown

TALLAHASSEE—Florida State hasn’t found itself in many close games late in the second half this season, but Wednesday night it was trailing No. 15 Notre Dame 64-62 with 5:40 remaining.The 10th-ranked Seminoles then showed that they were able to go on a late run and close out a game, going on an 11-1 run and holding on for an 83-80 victory to move into a three-way tie atop the Atlantic Coast Conference at the one-third mark in conference play.Jonathan Isaac scored nine of his 23 points during the run that put the Seminoles (17-2, 5-1) in the lead for good, including two 3-pointers.The talented 6-foot-10 freshman had 10 rebounds for his second straight game with a double-double and added seven blocked shots.

”I felt like I was in a good position. My teammates found me. I just stepped into them and shot,” said Isaac, who had 13 points in the final 6 minutes. ”I think it’s just my confidence level. I’m figuring out where I can pick my spots, where I can be aggressive. I’m just getting confident.”

Isaac is averaging 13.5 points and 8.8 rebounds since the start of conference play. Notre Dame coach Mike Brey said he was surprised that Isaac has developed into a reliable jump shooter.

”I knew he was active around the bucket, I knew he could block shots and fly and rebound,” Brey said. ”I didn’t think he could make shots. And that he made them when the game was on the line? I have a lot of respect for that young man.”

The Fighting Irish (16-3, 5-1), who had their seven-game winning streak snapped, were 15 of 21 from 3-point range and made nine in the second half to remain in the game. Rex Pfluegger brought Notre Dame within 79-77 with 17 seconds remaining with a 3-pointer but CJ Walker made two free throws to put the Seminoles up by four.Steve Vasturia (18 points) and V.J. Beachem (14 points) each made four 3-pointers for Notre Dame. Matt Farrell added 17.The Irish came into the game averaging the second-least amount of turnovers in the nation (9.4 per game). They committed a season-high 19, including 13 in the first half. Their previous season high was 13 in wins over Colgate and Saint Peter’s.On a night one of the starters (Terance Mann) was held scoreless and Michael Ojo’s lone points came on the opening dunk of the game, the bench came up big again as they outscored the Irish’s reserves 39-18. PJ Savoy led the way with 12 points, including eight straight during an 11-3 run in the first half, and Jarquez Smith added 10.Florida State is 4-1 in its run of facing six straight ranked teams. It is only the third team in ACC history to have that type of schedule in the regular season. Maryland was 0-6 in 1992-93 and North Carolina State was 1-5 in 1979-80.Vasturia became the fourth Notre Dame player to start 100 consecutive games, joining Pat Connaughton (139, 2012-15), Chris Thomas (128, 2001-05) and Pat Garrity (11, 1994-98). Vasturia’s streak started late in the 2013-14 season. … Dwayne Bacon (11 points) has scored in double figures in 28 straight games, which leads the ACC.

Two third period goals by Hinostroza lifts Hawks past Avs 6-4

DENVER—Vinnie Hinostroza scored twice in the third period, including the go-ahead goal with 11:49 remaining, and the Blackhawks rallied for a 6-4 win over the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday night.Tanner Kero had two goals and Nick Schmaltz and Brent Seabrook also scored for the Hawks, wo snapped a two-game skid.The Blackhawks switched around their line combinations, breaking up the Jonathan Toews-Marian Hossa tandem in an effort to spark the offense. It certainly worked with Hinostroza, Kero and Hossa combining for eight points. Hossa had three assists.Matt Duchene had two goals and Blake Comeau and Matt Nieto also scored for the last-place Avalanche, who wrapped up a four-game homestand with a 1-3 mark. This game felt more like a road game, though, with all the Blackhawk fans in attendance.The loudest cheer of the night came when Hinostroza scored the game-winner by tapping a shot past Semyon Varlamov.Colorado pulled Varlamov with around 35 seconds remaining, but couldn’t get anything past Corey Crawford. Kero added an empty-netter with 10.6 seconds left.Hinostroza tied the game at 4 early in the third period when he took a long pass from Seabrook and skated in all alone, lifting a wrist shot over Varlamov.The 22-year-old Hinostroza entered with four career goals.There were a combined four goals scored in a frenzied second period, with Colorado taking a 3-2 lead on Nieto’s first goal of the season. The advantage lasted all of 19 seconds as Kero answered.On the play, Hossa had his first assist of the night to give him 600 for his career. He’s the 32nd player in NHL history to record 500 goals and 600 assists.In the first period, Duchene scored a rare power-play goal for the Avalanche. They were 2 of 41 on the man advantage over the last 11 games before Duchene tipped Nathan MacKinnon’s shot past Crawford.Given how far they’re fallen, the Avalanche could soon be looking at a possible shake-up. Duchene, the team’s leading goal scorer, captain Gabriel Landeskog and defenseman Tyson Barrie have been frequently mentioned in trade rumors. The trio are part of the core that general manager Joe Sakic has been trying to build around for the last few seasons.

NOTES—Schmaltz scored his second goal of the season. The 20-year-old center was recalled from Rockford of the American Hockey League last Saturday. … Seabrook scored his first goal since Nov. 18 at Calgary. … F Rene Bourque played in his 700th NHL game…..The Blackhawks sre at Boston on Friday.

Late Matthews three pointer give Mavs wib over Bulls and 2 game series sweep.

Chicago Bulls Logo - Red bull with script above head

Wesley Matthews three pointer with 12 second left helped the Dallas Mavericks edge the Bulls 99-98 for their first three-game winning streak of the season.Six players scored in double figures for the Mavericks, including all five starters. Harrison Barnes had 20 points, Seth Curry added 18 and Dirk Nowitzki finished with 10 points and 10 rebounds.Dallas trailed 98-96 after Jimmy Butler made a long jumper over Matthews with 23 seconds left, but Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle decided against a timeout and Deron Williams drove into the lane before kicking out to Matthews for the 3, The Bulls had one last chance, but Dwyane Wade missed a potential game-winning jumper from the corner on his 35th birthday as time expired.

#21 Purdue routs Illini 91-68

Illinois Fighting Illini (2004 - 2013)

WEST LAFAYETTE—When Caleb Swanigan and Isaac Haas are in sync, it’s difficult trying to name a better power forward-center combination in college basketball.No. 21 Purdue’s two interior players certainly were in sync on Tuesday night against outmanned Illinois.Haas had 24 points and six rebounds, and power forward Swanigan added 22 points and 10 rebounds in the Boilermakers’ dominating 91-68 victory.Haas scored 13 points in the second half when the Boilermakers (15-4, 4-2 Big Ten) led by as many as 27. Swanigan had a four-point first half but was almost unstoppable during the second half, accounting for 18 points and five rebounds.

”It was Illinois’ game plan not to double us,” Swanigan said. ”You could hear their coaches yelling to them to pressure the ball. That was their game plan, and we had success with it.”

Purdue placed five players in double figures, also getting 14 from freshman guard Carsen Edwards, 11 from forward Vince Edwards – no relation – and 10 from point guard P.J. Thompson.

”We have to have balance, and we did that tonight,” Purdue coach Matt Painter said. ”When Isaac got the ball deep like he did tonight, that’s hard to stop. When Isaac is good and efficient, it really puts the other team in a bind.”

Illinois (12-7, 2-4) got 15 points from Maverick Morgan and 12 from Malcolm Hill but had no answer for the Boilermakers’ two post players, each of whom had his way around the basket.With this victory, Purdue leads the all-time series with Illinois, 100-87.

Wesley Matthews made a go-ahead 3-pointer from the wing with 12 seconds left, and the Dallas Mavericks beat the Bulls 99-98 on Tuesday night for their first three-game winning streak of the season.Six players scored in double figures for the Mavericks, including all five starters. Harrison Barnes had 20 points, Seth Curry added 18 and Dirk Nowitzki finished with 10 points and 10 rebounds.Dallas trailed 98-96 after Jimmy Butler made a long jumper over Matthews with 23 seconds left, but Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle decided against a timeout and Deron Williams drove into the lane before kicking out to Matthews for the 3. The Bulls had one last chance, but Dwyane Wade missed a potential game-winning jumper from the corner on his 35th birthday as time expired.

Improving UIC beats down UW-Milwaukee 71-57

Tai Odiase scored 20 points, grabbed 12 rebounds and swatted away six shots as UIC defeated UW-Milwaukee 71-57 on Tuesday night, leading from start to finish.Odiase pulled down an offensive rebound and went back up for a lay-in to start the scoring with less than a minute gone, and later dunked after grabbing another offensive board. He blocked back-to-back layup tries by UWM’s Brock Stull to prevent the Panthers from getting closer than three.Stull, who averages 12.6 ppg, finished 3 of 11 from the field and scored six points. Odiase has 205 career blocks for the Flames (11-8, 4-2 Horizon League).Bryce Nze led UWM with 22 points on 10-for-12 shooting as the Panthers (5-14, 1-5) held a slim 38-34 edge on points in the paint, and Cody Wichmann added 11 points with three 3-pointers.UIC scored 18 points off 12 UWM turnovers.

Demons fall to St.Johns again, now 1-5 in Big East

NEW YORK—Malik Ellison hit 5 of 6 3-pointers and scored a career-high 23 points to help St. John’s end a four-game slide with a 78-68 victory over DePaul on Monday night.After Billy Garrett Jr. missed a long 3-pointer for DePaul with the shot clock winding down, Marcus LoVett grabbed the long rebound and made a contested layup in transition for a 67-56 lead. It was LoVett’s only made field goal of the game. Garrett hit two free throws on the other end but Ellison answered with a 3-pointer to make it 70-58.Shamorie Ponds and Bashir Ahmed each scored 14 points for St. John’s (9-11, 3-4 Big East). Ponds sank four of St. John’s 12 3-pointers as the Red Storm made 54.5 percent from distance. Tariq Owens had 10 points, nine rebounds and four blocks.Garrett scored 16 points for DePaul (8-11, 1-5) but he had six of the Blue Demons’ 16 turnovers. Eli Cain added 15 points, Tre’Darius McCallum had 14 points and 10 rebounds, and Joe Hanel scored 12. The Blue Demons have lost seven of their last eight games.It was St. John’s final game on campus this season.

Butler rallies past Marquette 88-80

INDIANAPOLIS—Down by 16 points at the break, the No. 13 Butler Bulldogs got an earful from coach Chris Holtmann.
”At halftime, coach came in, he was very upset with our play defensively and offensively,” forward Kelan Martin said.

After a pair of free throws early in the second half put them down by 18, the Bulldogs rallied. Kelan Martin wound up with 22 points as they surged to beat Marquette 88-80 Monday.

”Whew,” Holtmann said. ”What an interesting game – a roller coaster in a lot of ways.”

A familiar one, in fact.On Nov. 23, 2011, Butler trailed by 15 at halftime before overcoming Gardner-Webb. The coach for Gardner-Webb on that trip to Hinkle Fieldhouse? Yep, Chris Holtmann.The Bulldogs (16-3, 5-2 Big East) quickly overtook Marquette (12-6, 3-3) with a 38-18 burst, with Martin’s jumper giving them their first lead of the game.Marquette regained the lead one final time with about five minutes remaining, but Martin’s shot started a 7-0 run that put Butler ahead for good.The Bulldogs outscored Marquette 63-39 in the second half, shooting an astounding 70 percent without a single turnover.Kamar Baldwin had 18 points and Martin added seven rebounds as the Bulldogs won their 14th in a row at home.Markus Howard scored 26 points for the Golden Eagles.

”Obviously, I got to do a lot better job. I take full responsibility for anything that happens with our team,” Marquette coach Steve Wojciechowski said.At times when teams have made a run on us in the second half where we have had leads, our answer is always `call my play and I’ll bail us out with the basket,”’ he said. ”Butler’s answer to adversity tonight was to play better defense. The way they answer adversity is the way you win. The way we try to answer adversity is the way you lose.”

The Bulldogs face DePaul and Seton Hall on the road before returning home to welcome Georgetown and No. 7 Creighton.After losing to Creighton on Jan. 11, the Bulldogs bounced back with a win over No. 22 Xavier on Saturday, then rallied to top Marquette.Butler travels to DePaul on Saturday.

McDermott’s career high 31 carries Bulls past Grizzlies

Chicago Bulls Logo - Red bull with script above head

MEMPHIS—Doug McDermott scored a career-high 31 points, Jimmy Butler had a pair of key baskets in the closing minute and the Bulls surprised the Memphis Grizzlies 108-104 on Sunday night.The Bulls broke a 104-all tie with 25 seconds left on a 15-footer from Butler and a pair of free throws by McDermott. Butler had 16 points to help the Bulls win their second straight.Taj Gibson finished with 18 points and eight rebounds for the Bulls.Mike Conley led Memphis with 28 points and eight assists, and Marc Gasol had 24 points and 11 rebounds.The Bulls were without second-leading scorer Dwyane Wade, who did not play on the second night of a back-to-back after the Bulls beat New Orleans at home Saturday.The game featured 16 lead changes and 11 ties, with neither team holding a double-digit lead.

Hawks blow 2-0 lead, lose to Wild 3-2

Playing on the road for the second straight night against one of their biggest rivals, Devan Dubnyk and the Minnesota Wild rallied to another impressive victory.Dubnyk made 33 saves, Jason Pominville scored in the third period and Minnesota beat the Blackhawks 3-2 on Sunday to grab sole possession of the top spot in the Western Conference.Nino Niederreiter and Chris Stewart also scored as Minnesota earned its fourth straight win and improved to 17-1-1 since Dec. 4. The Wild also beat the Blackhawks for the eighth straight time.

”To beat this team eight times in a row is really something,” said Boudreau, who was behind the bench in Anaheim when the Ducks were eliminated by the Blackhawks in the 2015 Western Conference finals. ”I don’t understand how you can do it. I wish I had had that knowledge a couple years ago.”

Minnesota (28-9-5) jumped in front for good when Marco Scandella shot the puck behind the net and it caromed right to Pominville standing all alone on the right side of the crease. He knocked it into the open net for his sixth of the season at 5:08.Minnesota defenseman Ryan Suter was sent off for tripping with 22.4 seconds left, but the Hawks were unable to get a good look even with the 6-on-4 advantage.

”It’s a big game, just point-wise,” Dubnyk said. ”If we want to be in first place, we’re going to have to win games against these guys.”

Patrick Kane scored twice on a whopping 12 shots for the Blackhawks (27-14-5), who were coming off an ugly 6-0 loss at Washington. Artem Anisimov, battling an illness, had two assists, and Corey Crawford made 29 stops.

”Frustrating. Even though it was 2-0, at 2-2 you still feel good being in a tie game going to the third at home playing a team playing on back-to-back nights,” Kane said. ”Tough not to get anything out of that game.”

Joel Quenneville called Friday night’s performance against the Capitals a failure ”across the board,” and he went with seven defensemen for the Blackhawks’ first game of the season against Minnesota. He also leaned heavily on Kane, who has six goals and 12 assists in his last 14 games.

”Kaner had the touch tonight,” Quenneville said.

The reigning NHL MVP beat Dubnyk on the stick side at 4:33 of the first, and then added his 14th of the season in the second. The winger dug the puck out of the faceoff circle and snapped it over Dubnyk’s left shoulder for a 2-0 lead at 4:16.Minnesota got one back after Anisimov was sent off for tripping at 5:04 of the second. Jonas Brodin’s long shot went off Wild center Mikael Granlund in front and dropped to the ice near Niederreiter, who slammed it in for his 12th.Stewart tied it at 2 when he beat Crawford on the short side from the left circle with 9 minutes left. Stewart also scored in Minnesota’s 5-4 victory at Dallas on Saturday night.

”We didn’t have the best legs right from the get-go, but I feel like we found a way,” Niederreiter said. ”Then we kind of find a rhythm and kept going.”

Kane played more than 27 minutes in his first multigoal game of the season. … The Blackhawks scratched forwards Andrew Desjardins and Jordin Tootoo. … D Nate Prosser and RW Kurtis Gabriel were inactive for Minnesota.The Blackhawks are at Colorado on Tuesday night.

Wildcats blow out Iowa 89-54

Northwestern Wildcats (1981 - Pres)

EVANSTON—Northwestern has found much of its success this season behind strong guard play and stout defense.Both of those elements were at their absolute peak on Sunday, as Scottie Lindsey scored 22, Bryant McIntosh had 20 and the Wildcats dominated both ends of the court in a convincing 89-54 win over Iowa.

“You close your eyes and you envision a night like tonight,” Northwestern coach Chris Collins said. “That’s what I dreamed of. It was as loud as it’s been in (Welsh-Ryan Arena) since I’ve been here.”

Lindsey had a career-high eight rebounds while McIntosh, who was honored before the game for scoring his 1000th career point on Jan. 5 against Minnesota, shot an efficient 9 for 11 from the field and added 10 assists for his first double-double this season.

“They were both really good,” Collins said. “Quietly, they like to view themselves as an elite backcourt. I thought they were both tremendous tonight.”

The Wildcats defense also impressed. Facing a Hawkeyes team that ranked near the top of the Big Ten at 83.0 points per game, the Wildcats limited Iowa (11-8, 3-3 Big Ten) to 35.3 percent from the field, 23.5 percent from behind the arc and the team’s lowest scoring total in 14 games.Northwestern (15-4, 4-2) is second in the Big Ten with 63.9 points allowed per game.Peter Jok felt the brunt of that defensive effort. Entering Sunday with a Big Ten-best 22.9 points per game, Jok had just four points against the Wildcats, snapping a streak of 22 games where he scored in double figures.

“Personally, I didn’t have any energy tonight and I think they fed off that,” Jok said. “I’ve just got to toughen up and be a better leader. I didn’t think I was a very good leader tonight.”

Northwestern opened the contest with a quick 8-0 advantage and seldom wavered from there. Iowa nearly closed the gap in the first half, cutting the deficit to three, but the Wildcats quickly answered with a 14-1 run.The Wildcats have won three straight. Their last conference victory of 20 or more points came in a 98-59 rout on Feb. 27, 2016 against Rutgers.Tyler Cook and Ryan Kriener each had 14 points to lead Iowa.It marks the Hawkeyes second defeat this season of 30 or more, as Iowa lost 74-41 on Nov. 25 to then-No. 6 Virginia.Northwestern out-rebounded Iowa 39 to 24, and holds a plus-23 rebounding margin over the three-game winning streak.

“They were focused and locked down,” Cook said. “We let them do what they wanted to do and that’s why tonight went their way.”

Northwestern held a moment of silence prior to the game for former Wildcats women’s basketball player Jordan Hankins. Sunday marked the team’s first home game since the 19-year-old was found dead in her dorm room on Monday.NU sealed the game with a 20-1 second-half run, capped by a McIntosh-to-Dererk Pardon alley oop. The 35-point margin of victory is the Wildcats’ largest ever over Iowa.

NOTES—The Hawkeyes road woes continue. Failing to carry momentum from their home win over then-No. 17 Purdue on Thursday, Iowa dropped to 1-6 away from home and 0-4 in true road games Sunday….The Wildcats unselfish offense continues to play a key role in the team’s success. They entered Sunday leading the Big Ten with a 1.6 assist-to-turnover ratio, and boosted that number with 29 assists to 12 turnovers against the Hawkeyes…..Northwestern travels to Ohio State on Jan. 22.