Hawks lose in OT on questionable penalty

TAMPA—Falling behind and staging a comeback has become the norm for the Tampa Bay Lightning.Brayden Point scored a power-play goal 3:25 into overtime, and the Lightning rallied again to beat the Blackhawks 3-2 on Wednesday night.Point took a pass from Steven Stamkos while positioned near the post and put the winner past Corey Crawford and complete a three-goal rally.

”To be down 2-0 to a team as good as Chicago, it was a great bounce-back performance,” Stamkos said.

The Hawks were short-handed after Nick Schmaltz was sent off for slashing at 3:10.Tampa Bay got also goals from Ondrej Palat and Chris Kunitz, and Andrei Vasilevskiy made 29 saves. Ryan Callahan had two assists.Patrick Kane scored twice and Crawford stopped 35 shots for the Blackhawks, who blew leads in losing both games between the teams last season.

”We had a great start,” Kane said. ”Even after 40 minutes, we’re in a good position up 2-1.”

Tampa Bay scored four third-period goals Jan 24 for a 5-2 win in Chicago, and the Lightning battled back from a 4-1 deficit to win 5-4 in overtime at home Mar. 27.Kunitz tied it 2 just 31 seconds into the third.Kane opened the scoring on a 2-on-1 at 3:49 of the first and made it 2-0 with 4:06 left in the period as the Hawk’s 26th-ranked power play unit converted a 5-on-3.

Kane has eight goals and 20 points in 14 games against Tampa Bay.The Blackhawks’ 4th-ranked short-handed unit stymied Tampa Bay’s NHL-leading power play during three consecutive man-advantage situations, including a 45-second 5-on-3, which ended midway through the first.Crawford made a terrific glove save on Stamkos’ left circle power-play breakaway shot early in the second.Palat cut the deficit to 2-1 4:27 into the second on the Lightning’s fourth short-handed goal.Vasilevskiy made a kick save on Richard Panik’s in-close chance 6 minutes into the third.Both goalies were outstanding in overtime, including Vasilevskiy’s pad save on Kane during a breakaway.

”He’s got such long legs,” Kane said. ”I made the move I wanted, got a little bit too close.”

Tampa Bay went 1 for 6 on the power play, while the Blackhawks were 1 of 4.
NOTES—Stamkos has a point in 18 of 21 games. … The Hawks had won just five times, including twice in Tampa Bay’s inaugural season of 1992-93, in regular season road games against the Lightning. The Blackhawks took two of three at Tampa Bay in the 2015 Stanley Cup Finals en route to the championship. The Blackhawks play at Florida Saturday night.

Bulls blown away by Jazz

Bulls Logo

SALT LAKE CITY—When Utah gets the engine running on the perimeter, it doesn’t take long to race away from an opponent.The Jazz beat Bulls 110-80 on Wednesday night, winning by 30 or more for the second time in three games. Utah beat Orlando by 40 points on Saturday.In both cases, the Jazz carved out huge leads behind strong perimeter shooting. Against the Bulls, the Jazz went 11 of 22 from the outside during the second and third quarters.

”The ball was pinging around,” guard Rodney Hood said. ”We had them chasing us around by moving the ball. We drove close-outs, which is big, and we found the open guy. If we continue to do that, we make the game easier for us and it’s just a matter of us making or missing.”

Derrick Favors scored 23 points, Hood added 19 and Alec Burks chipped in 15 points for the Jazz. Utah (8-11) snapped a three-game losing streak to the Bulls extending back to the 2015-16 season.Robin Lopez scored 15 points and Bobby Portis added 14 points and eight rebounds off the bench for the Bulls. Justin Holiday and Kris Dunn chipped in 12 points apiece.The Bulls (3-13) dropped to 0-3 on its Western road trip.

Bulls collapse in final 7 minutes fall to Lakers

Bulls Logo

LOS ANGELES—The Los Angeles Lakers’ first half resembled many miserable stretches of the past four seasons. Although the Bulls have plenty of their own problems, they outworked, outshot and outsmarted the Lakers while taking a 19-point lead.Coach Luke Walton reminded his young team that 14 points aren’t much in the NBA, and the Lakers proceeded to stage a rally that suggested the future might not be so miserable after all.Kyle Kuzma had 22 points, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored 11 of his 21 in the fourth quarter and the Lakers roared back from a 19-point deficit in the second half for a 103-94 victory over the Bulls on Tuesday night.Brandon Ingram had 17 points, five rebounds and five assists as the Lakers won consecutive games for the second time this season, doing so in a thrilling fashion that had their still-faithful fans standing, cheering and recalling the 16-time champion franchise’s better years.

”Anytime you go out there and compete, and you look to your right and your left and everybody is competing as hard as you are, that’s a great feeling,” said rookie Lonzo Ball, who had eight points, 13 rebounds and four assists.

Los Angeles is off to an 8-10 start and sitting in eighth place in the Western Conference – small achievements, but important steps for a young team just starting to believe it can compete.The Lakers weren’t competitive in the first half while committing 13 turnovers, and they trailed 61-42 early in the second half. But they put together a 38-19 run spurred by an energetic third quarter from reserves Jordan Clarkson, Josh Hart and Julius Randle, who finished with 10 points and 10 rebounds.Caldwell-Pope’s layup with 3:08 to play gave the Lakers their first lead since the first quarter, and the veteran added back-to-back 3-pointers. The Lakers finished strong for their first win over the Bulls at Staples Center in three tries.
”I was shocked we were only down 14 at the half, to be honest,” Walton said. ”It was a learning opportunity for the guys to be down 20 and realize you don’t need hero shots. You just need to tighten down on what we are doing, and you can get back in the game.”
Denzel Valentine scored 17 points and Antonio Blakeney added 15 – all in the first half – for the Bulls, who dropped to 3-12 with their seventh loss in eight games.
”They grabbed the momentum and ran with it,” said Kris Dunn, who had 12 points and six assists in his second start of the season for the Bulls. ”Caldwell-Pope, he hit some big shots. They were more aggressive than we were and started getting to the free throw line.”
Fred Hoiberg promoted Dunn to the starting lineup in place of Jerian Grant, and the coach expects it to be a long-term move. Dunn has been a steady force off the bench, and Hoiberg expects Grant to take a similar role with the reserves going forward. … David Nwaba missed the game with a sprained ankle. The LA native became a steady bench contributor for the Lakers last season, but the Bulls snatched him off waivers in July while the Lakers shuffled their roster.Los Angeles visits the United Center on Jan. 26. … F Larry Nance Jr. could be back with the team as early as next week. He had surgery on his broken left hand only three weeks ago, but has healed quicker than expected.Brook Lopez had four points on 2-for-10 shooting and nine rebounds for the Lakers against his twin brother, Robin, who had 14 points and three rebounds for the Bulls. The twins grew up in North Hollywood rooting for the Lakers, who acquired Brook Lopez in a trade with Brooklyn last summer.

”I don’t want to sound selfish, but it was personally fun for me,” Robin Lopez said. ”I don’t know how much fun he had.”

After posting his second career triple-double Sunday against Denver, Ball missed seven of his first eight shots , but provided strong playmaking down the stretch. The point guard also has 29 rebounds in LA’s last two games.The Bulls went 13 for 45 (28.9 percent) from the field in the second half, including 4 of 22 on 3-pointers. They committed seven turnovers and only forced one. ”We look at the first half, and we had a really good defensive effort against a high-scoring team,” Hoiberg said. ”But you have to sustain it for 48 minutes.”
The Bulls play the Utah Jazz in Salt Lake City on Wednesday night.

Bears edged by Lions as Barth misses game tying Field Goal

Matt Prater booted the go-ahead field goal through the gusting wind right down the middle with enough room to clear the crossbar.He also gained some revenge against a coach who cut him.Prater kicked a 52-yard field goal with 1:35 remaining, Matthew Stafford threw for 299 yards and two touchdowns and the Detroit Lions held on to beat the Bears 27-24 on Sunday.Detroit (6-4) took the lead after Tarik Cohen had tied it for the Bears (3-7) with a 15-yard touchdown run that ended with him leaping across the goal line.Prater kicked the winner after Stafford led a 42-yard drive to the 34. The Lions escaped with their third straight win when the Bears’ Connor Barth was wide right on a 46-yarder in the closing seconds.

”It was pretty difficult, just with the winds gusty, couldn’t really tell what it was doing,” said Prater, a two-time Pro Bowl selection. ”Good thing I had (holder) Sam (Martin) kind of caddie me, said play it at the left upright. Then I think he was almost jumping on me. And I kind of lost it. I don’t know, I started yelling at coach Fox maybe, but it was fun.”

Fox was coaching Denver in 2014 when the Broncos cut Prater. They did that just days before he was to rejoin the team following a four-game suspension for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy to start that season.

As for Barth? He wasn’t even close as he attempted to force overtime. He is now 11 of 16 on the season, all five misses from 40 and beyond.

”I think I hit the ground a little bit and just didn’t make good contact,” he said. ”So, it was a tough one.”

Stafford completed 21 of 31 passes. Marvin Jones Jr. had four receptions for 85 yards and a TD.DJ Hayden ran back a fumbled snap for a touchdown to give Detroit seven return TDs this season, tying a team record. And the Lions beat the Bears for the eighth time in nine games.Detroit also improved to 3-0 against the NFC North. All those wins are on the road, with one coming at division leading-Minnesota. The Lions host the Vikings on Thursday.The Bears dropped its third straight even though Jordan Howard ran for 125 yards and a touchdown. Mitchell Trubisky faded after a strong start, throwing for 179 yards and a TD. His 19-yard scramble on fourth-and-13 in the final minute put the ball on the Detroit 43.He then hit Dontrelle Inman with a 15-yard pass, giving Barth a chance to force overtime. But the Bears once again came up short after a rough loss to Green Bay that reignited the heat on Fox.Bears linebacker Leonard Floyd was taken from the field on a cart early in the fourth quarter with what Fox described as a ”fairly serious” knee injury he suffered trying to defend a run.Several teammates kneeled nearby as the medical staff tended to him on the field. Cornerback Kyle Fuller was seen bleeding from his left wrist after the play, though he returned to the game.Moments after Floyd went down, Prater kicked a 27-yard field goal to make it 24-17 with about 10 minutes left.
NOTES—Josh Bellamy got shaken up blocking on a pass play in the third quarter and entered the concussion protocol. … RG Kyle Long (finger) was back in the lineup after being limited to one special-teams play last week. … LB Danny Trevathan (calf) and TE Dion Sims (illness) were inactive for the second straight week…..The Bears visit the Philadelphia Eagles next Sunday.



Cats get routed by Red Raiders

Image result for northwestern wildcats logo

UNCASVILLE—A veteran Texas Tech squad didn’t want to wait until the Big 12 season to try and earn respect.The Red Raiders started that campaign Sunday with Keenan Evans scoring 25 points to lead his team over No. 20 Northwestern 85-49 in the championship game of the Hall of Fame Tip-Off Tournament.Evans scored 54 points in the two wins for the Red Raiders (4-0), who were picked seventh in the preseason Big 12 poll. Zach Smith added 11 points, while Tommy Hamilton IV and Niem Stevenson each had 10.

”We want to be that team that comes out and throws that first punch every game,” Evans said. ”Knowing they are a ranked team, we want to be ranked, too.”

The Red Raiders never let up, shooting 60.4 percent and handing coach Chris Collins his worst loss in five years at Northwestern, surpassing an 89-57 road defeat to then-No. 25 Indiana on Jan. 23, 2016.

”We came out with low energy, low talk and quite frankly played terrible defense,” said guard Scottie Lindsay, who led the Wildcats (3-2) with 20 points.

Irish win Home finale, just get by Midshipmen

SOUTH BEND—With their slim College Football Playoff hopes fading, Brandon Wimbush and Notre Dame finally found a rhythm and put Navy away.Wimbush threw for 164 yards and two touchdowns and ran for a score as No. 9 Notre Dame rallied in the rain and wind to beat Navy 24-17 Saturday.Wearing throwback uniforms with the name Rockne on the back of every player’s jersey and helmets designed to evoke the leather lids from the era of Knute Rockne, one of the Fighting Irish’s most famous names, Notre Dame (9-2, No. 8 College Football Playoff) kept their slight shot at a spot in the national championship playoffs alive heading into their regular-season finale next Saturday at Stanford.Wimbush, who threw two interceptions and lost a fumble in Notre Dame’s 41-8 loss at No. 2 Miami two Saturdays ago, started slow before connecting with Kevin Stepherson twice and added his 14th rushing TD of the year as the Irish scored on three straight possessions late in the longest-running matchup between teams from different regions of the country, dating to 1927.

”I started seeing things a little more clear and adjusted to the tempo Navy was playing at,” Wimbush said.

He threw a 30-yard touchdown to Stepherson in the third quarter and a 9-yarder for the eventual winning touchdown with 11:49 to go in the fourth quarter.

”I thought he was gritty and hung with it,” Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said of his quarterback’s play in the wet and windy (gusts of 20 mph or more) conditions during the game. ”I was proud of the way he responded.”

Stepherson, who missed the first four games of the season as he worked through some issues with Kelly, caught five passes for 103 yards.

”He means a lot to our offense and you can see the results,” Wimbush said. ”He’s become such a huge factor in our offense.”

Running back Josh Adams, who was limited to 62 rushing yards by injuries in Notre Dame’s previous two games against Wake Forest and Miami, topped the century mark for the seventh time, finishing with 106 yards on 18 carries.The Irish outgained the Midshipmen (6-4) 327-318, but Navy outrushed Notre Dame 277-163 and had a huge advantage in time of possession, 42:42 to 17:18.

Hawks continue to dominate Pens, win 2-1

PITTSBURGH—It was an adventurous night for Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford.Crawford briefly left the game in the second period after a collision. He returned and was interfered with during an apparent tying goal that was waved off and then stood firm during a late surge to secure the win.Crawford’s strong play allowed Artem Anisimov’s third-period power-play goal to stand as the game-winner, and the Blackhawks continued their winning streak against the Pittsburgh Penguins with a 2-1 victory on Saturday night.

”I like the response out there,” Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. ”(Crawford) had his bell rung a little bit, and (the Penguins) had some great looks at the end. We felt good after that interference call, he made a key save in the dying seconds and we found a way.”

Anisimov scored his 10th goal of the season just 21 seconds after Pittsburgh tied the game. Gustav Forsling scored his second for the Blackhawks, who won their eighth straight against the two-time defending Stanley Cup champion Penguins.The Blackhawks, with five power-play goals in their last three games, have won three of their last four after taking two of their previous seven.Crawford made 35 saves, including a right-pad stop on Phil Kessel in the final 20 seconds.”They got the puck in the slot and instead of shooting it, he fed it over,” Crawford said. ”I just kind of dove over there. I don’t know how it stayed out, but that’s a good thing.”

In the second, Crawford left the crease to cover the puck, and the Penguins’ Evgeni Malkin clipped him in the head and was assessed an interference penalty. Anton Forsberg entered the game and didn’t face a shot until Crawford returned nearly three minutes later.

”I think it was more precautionary,” Crawford said of his brief departure. ”I don’t think we were too worried. It was only a couple minutes. It wasn’t bad at all.”

Matt Hunwick scored his second of the season, a short-handed goal, for Pittsburgh. He missed the previous 15 games with a concussion.The Penguins haven’t defeated the Blackhawks since a 4-1 victory in Pittsburgh on March 30, 2014. Pittsburgh has lost seven of its past 11 games, but the prior six losses were on the road. The Penguins had won six in a row at home and took their first home loss in regulation this season.Matt Murray stopped 36 shots for Pittsburgh, which has allowed eight power-play goals in the last five games.Hunwick tied the game at 8:00 of the third period with the second short-handed goal of his career. Hunwick’s harmless-looking backhander deflected off the stick defenseman Duncan Keith and between Crawford’s legs.Anisimov put the Hawks back in front 21 seconds later when he corralled a puck off the end boards and tucked it behind Murray. Anisimov, who recorded his first career hat trick Wednesday against the New York Rangers, scored his ninth goal in nine games.The Penguins thought they had the equalizer when Jake Guentzel put a wrist shot behind Crawford with 8:27 to play. But the goal was overturned after it was determined that Olli Maatta interfered with Crawford.

”It looked like interference live and the replay verified it,” Quenneville said.

The Blackhawks routed Pittsburgh, 10-1, in Chicago on Oct. 5, the second night of the regular season. Murray, in the second game of a back-to-back, allowed six goals on 31 shots after relieving former backup Antti Niemi in the first period of Chicago’s season opener.The Blackhawks hit two posts, Nick Schmaltz and Jonathan Toews couldn’t convert breakaways, and Riley Sheahan made a sliding stop on Patrick Sharp along the side of a partially empty net to prevent a goal.Forsling had the lone goal of the period, scored on the power play when he squeezed a wrist shot through Murray’s pads.

NOTES—The Hawks and Pittsburgh have combined to win six of the last nine Stanley Cups. … Blackhawks rookie forward Alex DeBrincat has six points during a four-game point streak. … Maatta played after missing the team’s morning skate with an undisclosed illness. Defenseman Chad Ruhwedel was scratched for Pittsburgh. … Keith played after missing practice the past two days with an undisclosed illness. … The Penguins held a moment of silence for Brian Shaw, a local police officer who was killed during a traffic stop on Friday.

NU beats La Salle in Hall of Fame Tip Off

Image result for northwestern wildcats logo

UNCASVILLE—Bryant McIntosh and his Northwestern teammates put forth a strong defensive effort in the first half to help them beat La Salle.McIntosh scored 21 points and Scottie Lindsey added 20 to lead the No. 20 Wildcats to an 82-74 win over La Salle in the Hall of Fame Tip-Off Tournament on Saturday.
”In the first half we came out ready to play,” said McIntosh, who hit five 3-pointers and had seven assists. ”We really defended and held them to 24 points.”
The Wildcats (3-1) advance to play Texas Tech in Sunday’s championship. Northwestern has not won an in-season tournament since the 2013 South Padre Island Invitational.Derek Pardon added 14 points and seven rebounds for the Wildcats. Aaron Falzon chipped in 11 points.Northwestern made 12 of 21 3-point attempts and shot 56 percent from the field. It was the second straight game the Wildcats made a dozen 3-pointers after going 12 of 28 against Creighton.
”We have a good shooting team, especially now when you add Aaron Falzon,” Northwestern coach Chris Collins said. “We have a number of guys out there that can come in there and do that.”
After suffering its first loss of the season to Creighton, 92-88 on Wednesday, Northwestern struggled early against the Explorers (3-1). Tied 13-13, the Wildcats loosened up with a 9-1 run that was capped by Lindsey’s layup at 9:38 to make it 22-14.Northwestern dominated inside and out the rest of the first half on the way to a 46-24 lead.
”I thought we had great energy in the first half,” Collins said. ”We built the lead and I thought we executed really well, made shots.”
B.J. Johnson led La Salle with 22 points and seven rebounds. Johnson scored 15 points in the second half as the Explorers tried to comeback from a double-digit deficit by shooting 67.9 percent (19-for-28).NU shot 62.1 percent (18-for-29) overall in the first half to La Salle’s 31.3 percent (10-for-32).

Cats win 6th straight, rout Gophers 39-0.

Image result for northwestern wildcats logo

EVANSTON—Clayton Thorson had three touchdown passes, Justin Jackson added 166 yards rushing on 31 carries and Northwestern won its sixth straight with a 39-0 rout of Minnesota on Saturday.The Wildcats (8-3, 6-2 Big Ten) also forced five turnovers on defense. Cornerback Montre Hartage had an interception and a fumble recovery to set up up two touchdowns.Thorson finished 9 of 13 for 86 yards in a game played mostly in rain and wind. Garrett Dickerson had two touchdown receptions.Minnesota quarterback Demry Croft completed just 2 of 11 passes for 43 yards with three interceptions. Rodney Smith had 96 yards rushing for the Gophers (5-6, 2-6).Jackson has 1,010 yards on the season and became just the second Big Ten player – and 9th in FBS history – to rush for 1,000 yards in four straight seasons. Wisconsin’s Ron Dayne (1996-99) is the other Big Ten player.Jackson has 5,139 career yards and moved past Michigan’s Mike Hart (5,040) for fifth place on the Big Ten’s all-time rushing list.Northwestern has won 21 of the last 22 games in which Jackson has rushed for 100 yards or more.The Gophers had dropped four of five games before breaking out for a 54-21 win over Nebraska last week. But any hopes that the performance could spark a late-season turnaround were quickly dashed on Saturday.With a seventh straight win in the season finale next week, the Wildcats will be in line for a major bowl. The offense’s red zone efficiency has played a major role in the winning streak. By going 5 for 5 on Saturday (all touchdowns), the Wildcats have converted 27 of 28 red-zone trips into points during the streak.The Gophers host No. 4 Wisconsin in the regular-season finale on Saturday.The Wildcats conclude the season at Illinois on Saturday.

Ilini outlast Demons in first meeting in 60 years

HomeIllinois Fighting Illini

CHAMPAIGN—Mark Smith shot 40 percent from the field and made just one of his five 3-point attempts.Bu still found a way to be effective – scoring a career-high 21 points – in Illinois’ 82-73 victory over DePaul on Friday night in their first meeting in 60 years.Entering the game, Smith hadn’t missed a free throw all season and that trend continued against the Blue Demons. He led all players with 12 attempts at the charity stripe, including eight in the first half.

”Credit to Mark Smith, a freshman who was probably the most poised player,” DePaul coach Dave Leitao said. ”He made plays and got lost in the game.”

Kipper Nichols also had a strong outing, tying his career-high with 16 points. He also chipped in with four rebounds and one steal.Illinois (3-0) made just 5 of 23 3-pointers and shot 42 percent from the field and 21.7 percent from downtown but it wasn’t because of Nichols. Coming off the bench, he nailed two of his three attempts.

”I love productivity off the bench,” Illinois coach Brad Underwood said. ”I try to find that. I try to create it. I don’t want just bodies coming in.”

The Blue Demons hung with the Illini all game, but were never quite able to get over the hump. DePaul led for just 3 minutes and 44 seconds.Led by freshman Justin Roberts – who scored a career-high 19 points – DePaul went on an 11-2 run to close within 49-47 with 14 minutes to play. But the Illini responded with a 9-2 run of their own, highlighted by an and-one layup and right hand jam from Nichols, who scored the last seven in the surge.Eventually, Illinois’ pressure – which forced 18 turnovers – and 22 second-chance points, became too much for DePaul to overcome.

”I thought they stuck to their game plan really, really well,” Leitao said. ”I knew rebounding was going to be something they were going to focus on.”

DePaul shot just 32 percent in the second half and Tre’Darius McCallum – the Blue Demons’ leading scorer – was held scoreless in 22 minutes.Aaron Jordan had another strong outing off the bench. He scored seven points on 2-of-4 shooting and led Illinois with nine rebounds. He has the Illini’s most consistent player off the bench so far this season.

”He is just finding ways to stuff the stat sheet,” Underwood said.

The Blue Demons lost starting guard Devin Gage to an ankle injury in the first half. However, Roberts showed that he can be the Blue Demon’s main’ playmaker in extended minutes. Along with his 19 points, he also had five rebounds and four assists.The Illini continue to struggle shooting from beyond the arc, but were still able to pull out a win behind strong performances from its underclassmen. Smith (freshman) and Nichols (sophomore) were the only players on Illinois to score in double figures.Illinois entered the game leading the all-time series between the teams 12-6, but the last of those meetings was in December 1957, a 75-70 win in Champaign. The teams were led by two coaches with what now seem like impossibly long tenures. DePaul’s Ray Meyer, who coached the Blue Demons from 1942-94, and Illinois’ Harry Combes. He coached the Illini from 1947-67.The Illini and Blue Demons combined to commit 59 fouls and shoot 63 free throws. Marin Maric and Jaylen Butz fouled out for DePaul, while Black fouled out for Illinois. Both teams also had multiple players with four fouls, forcing both coaches to go deep into their bench. Eventually, 10 players played for the Illini, while 11 saw time for the Blue Demons.DePaul will have another Big Ten match up against Michigan State on Thanksgiving. The Spartans are ranked No. 2 in the country.Then the Demons host Northwestern Dec 16.The Illini continue their home stand Sunday against Marshall. Led by junior Jon Elmore, who is averaging 28.3 points and 7.7 assists, the Herd are 2-1.