Illini win tug-of-war with Spartans

CHAMPAIGN—In a game in which neither team made even one-third of its shots, it seemed right the deciding free throws would be followed by a few more misses. Brandon Paul made two foul shots that gave Illinois the lead with 45 seconds to play, then missed the front end of two 1-and-1s in the Illini’s 42-41 win over No. 9 Michigan State on Tuesday night. The shooting — 32.6 percent for Illinois and 24.1 percent for Michigan State — was so bad that players suggested the ball may have had too much air in it.The win ended a three-game losing streak for the Illini (16-6, 5-4 Big Ten), a run that left coach Bruce Weber resorting to prayer. The loss cost the Spartans (17-5, 6-3) a chance to move into first place in the Big Ten with No. 3 Ohio State.Spartans forward Draymond Green spent much of the game on the bench with foul trouble, then was helped from the court with what appeared to be an injury to his left knee with just under four minutes to play. He didn’t return.Spartans coach Tom Izzo wasn’t sure how serious the injury was but wasn’t happy how Green or the rest of his team played under pressure Tuesday. Green finished with five points and eight rebounds in 16 minutes. Keith Appling, the other half of the two Izzo singled out, had four points and four rebounds to go with five turnovers.Paul led Illinois with 18 points. He scored 13 of Illinois’ 20 second-half points, but was 6 of 17 from the field. He was 5 of 9 from the free-throw line and the Illini finished 9 of 17. After burying those two late free throws, his misses on the 1-and-1s that followed gave the Spartans — with Green on the end of the bench wincing in pain — a chance to steal the game with 11 seconds to play.But down 42-40, Michigan State’s Derrick Nix missed the first of his two free throws. Appling then missed a driving shot with two seconds left, the final chance for the Spartans. Green hit a key layup in a 9-0 run that gave the Spartans a shot. They were up 36-35 with 5:01 to play. But just over a minute later he was being helped form the court. With 2:09 left and Michigan State up 40-37, Illinois freshman Tracy Abrams hit a 3-pointer to tie the game. After losing three games straight by a combined 11 points, Illinois badly needed to hold on against Michigan State, Abrams said. Branden Dawson had 12 points for the Spartans. While their shooting was awful, the Spartans pulled down 49 rebounds, 23 on the offensive end.In the first half, the Spartans had more rebounds (22) than points, and trailed 22-20 at halftime. Green spent the last 10:56 of the first half on the bench with three fouls, the last a technical when he complained about a foul call.The technical cost Green a sharp chewing-out by Izzo as he took his place on the bench. The game was physical, with Izzo complaining to the referees at one point, “They’re killing us down here.” Paul often matched up against Green, and relished seeing the big forward pile up fouls. Given Michigan State’s rough first half, it was hard to figure why Illinois headed to the locker room with a narrow two-point lead.The Illini were 9 of 25 from the field after 20 minutes and 3 of 7 from the free throw line. The biggest shots for Illinois in the first half were arguably two putbacks by freshman Myke Henry. The first, off a miss by D.J. Richardson, put Illinois up 18-16 with 5:43 left. The second came with 34 seconds left, off another miss by Richardson, and gave the Illini their halftime lead.


Rose stays hot as Bulls ‘take it out’ on hapless Wizards

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WASHINGTON—Fresh off an embarrassing performance Sunday in Miami, Derrick Rose couldn’t wait to make up for it a day later.And, boy, did he ever.Rose scored a season-high 35 points to lead the Bulls to a 98-88 win over the Washington Wizards on Monday night. It came a day after the reigning league MVP missed two key free throws and a possible game-tying jumper in the final 30 seconds in a four-point loss to the Miami Heat.He got off to a hot start against the Wizards, scoring 13 points in the first quarter as the Bulls improved their Eastern Conference-leading record to 18-5. The Bears who never trailed, led by as many as 22 and never let Washington get closer than eight points in the second half. In the first quarter, Rose took the Wizards out of the game with a dazzling array of shots — three floaters, a driving layup, a gorgeous reverse layup and a nifty running bank shot. The Bulls took a quick 21-10 lead, and the Wizards were in trouble. Rose scored 15 of the Bulls 25 third-quarter points as it built a 22-point lead.In the fourth quarter, the Wizards got within eight, but never really made it competitive.Rose was 10 for 20 from the field with a 3-pointer, and hit 14 of 15 from the line. He had eight assists. Many in the season-high crowd of 18,357 were chanting “M-V-P! M-V-P!” as Rose showed off his skills. He had help from Carlos Boozer, who had 18 points — six in the first four minutes — and 12 in the fourth quarter. Kyle Korver had 17 — 14 in the first half — and five 3-pointers. Joakim Noah chipped in with 14 points, 13 rebounds and tied a career high with seven assists.Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau credited Rose for the impressive win.The Wizards are just 4-16. They had won two of their previous three games, both against the woeful Charlotte Bobcats, who have the worst record in the NBA.John Wall led the Wizards with 20 points, while Nick Young had 17, and JaVale McGee scored 16.Randy Wittman, who replaced Flip Saunders as coach last Tuesday, said the Bulls, who held Washington to a franchise-low 64 points in their last meeting on Jan. 11, were the best team he’d seen this season.Wittman didn’t find any fault with his team and knows Wall is little match at this stage for Rose.He marveled at Rose’s ability to easily move about much larger Wizards.The Bulls quickly opened up a 21-10 lead and had a 26-16 advantage after the first quarter. Midway through the second, the Wizards scored seven straight to cut the lead to 36-30, but the Bulls stretched their lead to 51-40 at halftime.The Bulls ran off 11 straight points in the third quarter to take a 70-49 lead with 5:24 left.Before the game, Rose vowed not to repeat Sunday.Against Washington, Rose came out quickly — hitting six of eight shots from the field in the first quarter.Early in the fourth, the Bulls led by 19, but Washington cut it to eight with 6:50 to play. Boozer hit three straight baskets, and the Bulls led 92-78.

NOTES—Wizards F Andray Blatche will miss three-to-five weeks with a strained left calf, Wittman announced before the game.,,,Washington recalled C Hamady Ndiaye from Iowa of the D-League…..The Bulls played without Richard Hamilton (right thigh) and Luol Deng (left wrist). It was the fifth straight game Deng missed……This was the second of a nine-game road trip for the Bulls — their longest since 1992-93….The Bulls have won seven straight between the teams.

Bulls can’t get over hump, fall to Heat 97-93

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MIAMI—The odds had to overwhelmingly be in the Buls favor. Down by a point with 22.7 seconds left, with Derrick Rose heading to the line to shoot a pair of free throws. The reigning NBA MVP. He was a perfect 29 for 29 from the foul line in the fourth quarter this season. As if this moment needed extra significance, it was coming against the Miami Heat, the team that downed Rose and the Bulls in last season’s Eastern Conference finals by taking the series’ last four games.Rose missed the first. Missed the second, too. And missed a potentially game-tying jumper with 3.7 seconds left to boot, as somehow the Heat held on for a wild 97-93 win on Sunday. LeBron James — the player who Rose supplanted as the league MVP — scored 35 points for Miami, which never trailed yet never could relax until Chris Bosh sealed it by making two free throws with 0.1 seconds left. Bosh scored 24 points and added 12 rebounds for the Heat (15-5), who got 15 points from Dwyane Wade and pulled within one game of the Bulls (17-5) in the East.Richard Hamilton and Joakim Noah each scored 11 for the Buls, who got 10 apiece from Ronnie Brewer and Carlos Boozer. Oh, that doesn’t even begin to tell the story of this one. “I let my team down,” Rose said. It had a little of everything. James leaped over — yes, over — 5-foot-11 John Lucas for an alley-oop dunk from Wade in the opening minutes, saying afterward he never saw the Bulls’ guard in his path. Wade missed nine of his first 10 shots, airballing the last of those. James missed a pair of free throws 5.1 seconds after Rose misfired on his tries in the final moments. There were skirmishes, hard fouls, pushing and screaming and shoving. Even an inadvertent whistle in the final moments that ultimately didn’t hurt Miami, although the Heat strongly believed the whistle took away their advantage. This wasn’t the playoffs. It only seemed that way. The Bulls trailed by 12 points midway through the second quarter, though never let Miami pull completely away. Not even in the fourth quarter, when it seemed like Miami was on the cusp: James connected on a long jumper to close the third quarter, then he and Shane Battier set each other up for 3-pointers on the first two possessions of the fourth for an 82-71 lead. The Bulls called time-out, and Rose willed the Bulls back. A floating jumper made it 84-82, and a knifing layup that he made seem simply effortless knotted the game for the fourth and final time with 6:55 left. The Heat answered with a 10-2 run, before the Bulls rallied again, Rose’s three-point play with 49.1 seconds left cutting the lead to 94-93. On the play where he missed the free throws, Rose then lost the ball on a drive, but drew contact from Miami’s Udonis Haslem and went to the line. Rose’s first hit the front of the rim and bounced away, and his second rimmed out. James grabbed the rebound and was fouled by Noah — only to miss both free throws himself. After James’ second miss, Wade said he knocked the ball away and Bosh appeared to emerge with control, but an inadvertent whistle led to a jump ball. James — who talked Bosh out of taking the tap himself — outleaped Taj Gibson, getting the ball to Mario Chalmers, who made one free throw for a two-point lead. The Buls wound up getting one last chance with 9.9 seconds left, calling time out. Naturally, it went to Rose, who weaved his way into the lane — but came up short. Bosh got the rebound, and Miami began celebrating. The Bulls played without forward Luol Deng and guard C.J. Watson, both sidelined with wrist injuries. Watson may be back in the lineup as early as Monday, and Deng – who has a torn ligament in his left, non-shooting, wrist — is “very close” to a return, Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said. Insistence that this was “just another game” notwithstanding, Miami started quickly. Wade appeared a bit more emotionally charged than usual after joining his teammates in the pregame huddle, and the Heat ran out to a fast early edge. Maybe it would be more accurate to say they “jumped” out to that lead. Wade set James up for three dunks in the first seven minutes, the last of which is probably going to be replayed for quite a while. James appeared to be forgotten as he hovered on the weak side of the floor, so he darted toward the basket. Wade tossed a lob his way — and the two-time MVP went over Lucas for a dunk that put Miami up 16-7. More than two hours later, that play — so wild that the NBA quickly tweeted video of the slam — almost seemed forgotten. The Heat celebrated, and the Bulls lamented. Just like in last season’s East finals.

NOTES—James had a large icepack strapped to his right shoulder during a first-half stint of rest. He was grabbing at the shoulder in pain early in the first quarter after a collision, but did not appear to have a serious issue…Boozer said he needed more than 20 tickets for the game. He’s been spending part of his offseasons in Miami for several years.

Emery named new Bears GM

LAKE FOREST—The Bears have hired Kansas City Chiefs director of college scouting Phil Emery as their new general manager.Emery was an area scout for the Bears from 1998-2004 and replaces Jerry Angelo, who was fired after an injury-riddled 8-8 season. Emery and New England Patriots director of pro personnel Jason Licht were finalists and both interviewed twice. The Bears also interviewed San Diego Chargers director of player personnel Jimmy Raye, New York Giants director of college scouting Marc Ross, and current director of player personnel Tim Ruskell.Emery’s hiring comes after a major collapse marked by season-ending injuries to quarterback Jay Cutler and running back Matt Forte, as well as a drug scandal involving backup receiver Sam Hurd. The Bears dropped five in a row after a 7-3 start, spoiling a promising season before closing with a win at Minnesota. The Bears have now missed the playoffs four times in five years following a trip to the Super Bowl after the 2006 season. Angelo was fired two days later, though he was signed through 2013. The Bears also parted with offensive coordinator Mike Martz, who had an expiring contract, and quarterbacks coach Shane Day but made it clear head coach Lovie Smith was safe for next season. Since then, they’ve promoted offensive line coach Mike Tice to coordinator and announced they will hire a passing coordinator to work with their QBs. Emery has one mandate from president Ted Phillips: Close the talent gap with Green Bay and Detroit in the NFC North. Another criteria was to be able to work well with Smith, an area where Emery was thought to have the edge because of his previous ties with the Bears. From 2004-08, Emery served as director of college scouting for the Atlanta Falcons and also worked as a regional scout for the Falcons leading up to the 2009 draft. Emery started his career as a student assistant at his alma mater, Wayne State, before joining Central Michigan as a graduate assistant. He went on to become the offensive line/strength and conditioning coach at Western New Mexico for three seasons before taking the position of defensive line coach at Georgetown College. Emery served as the defensive line and strength and conditioning coach at Saginaw Valley State from 1985-87 before joining Tennessee as the Volunteers’ assistant strength and conditioning coach from 1987-91.He made his last collegiate stop as the director of strength and conditioning services and as an associate professor at the U.S. Naval Academy from 1991-98. During Angelo’s 11-year run, the Bears won four division championships, reached the Super Bowl and got back to the NFC Championship Game last season. But he was undone on several fronts — especially this season when backup Caleb Hanie struggled mightily after Cutler was hurt.Emery inherits a team that could use help on both lines, in the secondary and at wide receiver. Forte’s rookie contract is up, and Pro Bowl linebacker Lance Briggs has made it clear he wants to renegotiate even though his six-year deal runs through 2013. He’ll also be running a team that features a franchise quarterback in Cutler along with stars such as Forte, Briggs, Julius Peppers and Brian Urlacher. As dramatic as the Bears’ fall was, they still seemed poised for a playoff run at one point.They never recovered, though, once they lost Cutler.He broke his right thumb trying to make a tackle following a late interception with the Bears on the way to their fifth straight win against San Diego on Nov. 20, and that’s when the season soured. Forte sprained a ligament in his right knee against Kansas City on Dec. 4, leaving the offense without its two best players. That would be tough for any team to handle, but the injuries exposed an eye-opening lack of depth. Hurd’s arrest on federal drug charges in mid-December was just another blow for a team that was already sinking fast.Besides the issues behind center, backup running back Marion Barber made some key mental and physical mistakes in losses to Kansas City and Denver. Receiver Roy Williams struggled to hang onto the ball, and the defense slumped late in the season, giving up 38 points to Seattle and 35 against Green Bay the following week. One area where they certainly need to improve is in the draft, where Angelo had more swings and misses in recent years than hits. High-profile picks such as Rex Grossman and Cedric Benson were disappointments at times, and 2008 first-rounder Chris Williams has mostly struggled. Gabe Carimi, their first-round pick last year, missed most of his rookie season with a right knee injury. The Bears plan to introduce Emery in a Monday news conference at Halas Hall.

Bad foul allows Minnesota to force OT,and to then beat Illini

MINNEAPOLIS—Chip Armelin scored a season-high 14 points, and Austin Hollins highlighted a whirlwind comeback in the final minutes to finish with 14 points as Minnesota defeated Illinois 77-72 in overtime Saturday.Andre Hollins matched his namesake’s energy and production down the stretch – they’re not related – and had 14 points to help the Gophers (16-6, 4-5 Big Ten) prevail despite shooting only 18 for 29 from the free-throw line after halftime.Brandon Paul had 22 of his 28 points after the break for the Illini (15-6, 4-4), who surged ahead on a series of slick layups by Paul. But Meyers Leonard, who finished with 17 points and 13 rebounds, committed a costly fifth foul with 4 seconds left to give Austin Hollins a three-point play that tied the game.

Hummel shot gives Boilers late win over Wildcats

EVANSTON—Robbie Hummel hit a baseline jumper with 9 seconds to play as Purdue claimed a 58-56 victory over Northwestern on Saturday.Hummel took a feed from Lewis Jackson and fired a 15-footer to break a 56-56 tie. A potential game-winning 3-pointer by Wildcats forward John Shurna bounced off the glass at the buzzer.Terone Johnson scored 14 points, D.J. Byrd had 12 and Hummel added 11 as the Boilermakers (15-7, 5-4 Big Ten) snapped a two-game losing streak.Drew Crawford scored a game-high 23 points for the Wildcats (12-8, 2-6), while Shurna added 15.The loss was the third straight for Northwestern and furture hurts their chances of a first even NCAA Tournament birth.

ISU beats SIU as Redbirds jump over .500 in Valley.

NORMAL—Jackie Carmichael had 19 points and 11 rebounds Saturday as Illinois State beat Southern Illinois 60-40.John Wilkins scored 10 points and matched Carmichael with 11 boards – tying Wilkins’ career high – for the Redbirds (14-8, 6-5 Missouri Valley). Carmichael and Wilkins each blocked three SIU shots.ISU led 26-17 at halftime and ran off 16 straight points during a 9-minute stretch in the second half to put it out of reach.Jeff Early and Taylor Diamond had 10 points to lead the Salukis (7-15, 4-7), who shot 30 percent from the field.The 40 points is a season low for SIU. The Salukis scored 42 at Wichita State a week ago.

NIU continues futility season with loss to Buffalo

DE KALB—Javon McCrea had 14 points and 12 rebounds Saturday and Buffalo defeated Northern Illinois 74-59.Zach Filzen scored 12 points, making four 3-pointers, and Mitchell Watt had 10 points and four blocked shots for the Bulls (12-6, 5-2 Mid-American), who broke away from a 15-15 game with a 10-2 run and were in control after that. Buffalo led 37-28 at the break and by as many as 25 points in the second half before NIU scored 10 of the game’s last 12 points.Abdel Nader was the only Huskie in double figures with 11 points. Northern Illinois (2-17, 1-6) shot 28 percent from the field in the game

CSU now 2-19 after loss at North Dakota



GRAND FORKS—Chicago State once had a Hockey Program,and they were sure not in North Dakota’s class then. Not much better in Basketball now.Patrick Mitchell scored 18 points, all on 3-pointers, to lead North Dakota past Chicago State 71-61 on Saturday.Troy Huff added a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds for North Dakota (10-10, 2-1 Great West), which has won two straight and four of five.Brandon Brekke had his fifth straight double-figure game with 16 points, and Jamal Webb added 10 as North Dakota improved to 10-1 at home.Lee Fisher led the Cougars (2-19, 1-3) with 20 points. Ardarius Simmons added 18 points, and Quincy Ukaigwe grabbed 11 rebounds.North Dakota outshot Chicago State 45 percent to 36, though the Cougars hit 10 of 24 3-pointers. The Fighting Soux blocked nine shots.Chicago State trailed 8-0 out of the gate and 31-22 at the break. Huff scored North Dakota’s first five points after halftime for a 36-24 lead, and the Cougars never got closer than seven.

Bulls bounce back, beat Bucks before starting on nine game road trip

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Derrick Rose scored a season-high 34 points to lead the Bulls to a 107-100 win over the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday night.Rose outdueled Milwaukee counterpart Brandon Jennings, hitting 14 of 24 from the floor and scoring 18 of his points in the second half.Carlos Boozer had 20 points and 13 rebounds and Joakim Noah added 15 points and 16 rebounds as the Bulls back from its first home loss of the season against Indiana on Wednesday.Jennings led Milwaukee with 25 points and seven rebounds. Rookie Jon Leuer scored all 19 of his points in the second half.The Bucks played without center Andrew Bogut, who fractured his left ankle in a win at Houston on Wednesday. The Bucks are now 0-6 without Bogut this season.Former Bull Drew Gooden started in place of Bogut and had 23 points, 15 rebounds and six assists.The Bulls have won six straight against the Bucks.After the Bulls pushed their lead to 14 in the fourth quarter, Milwaukee closed within six behind Leuer, who led a 16-8 run and scored 13 points in the period. Rose hit a runner from the baseline with 2:44 left, extending the lead to eight, and the Bulls led by at least five the rest of the way.Jennings entered the game on a hot streak, averaging 26 points over his previous five games. On Friday, he surpassed the 20-point mark for the sixth straight time, the longest streak of his career.The reigning MVP was even one-upped by Jennings in the first quarter when the third-year player had 16 points in just over 10 minutes. Jennings hit three 3-pointers and six of eight shots overall in the period.The Bulls led 51-50 at the break, mostly thanks to 13 offensive rebounds and 17 second-chance points in the first half.The Bulls started the second half on a 16-4 run and stretched its lead to as many as 13 points in the third quarter. Rose rarely looked to pass and scored 14 points in the period, giving him 30 entering the final 12 minutes.

NOTES—Milwaukee announced on Friday that Bogut is expected to miss eight to 12 weeks.. The Bulls played without two starters. Forward Luol Deng missed his third straight game with a sprained left wrist. Guard Richard Hamilton was a late scratch because of a bruised right thigh. Hamilton missed 10 games earlier this season with a sore left groin… The Bucks were seeking their first four-game road win streak since taking six straight away from home from Feb. 5 to Feb. 27, 2010. Milwaukee lost its first eight road games this season.. The Bulls have won 18 consecutive regular season games when Boozer has scored at least 14 points, the longest active streak in the NBA.. The Bulls don’t play at home again until Feb. 14 because the United Center will be taken over by Disney on Ice. The Bulls play their next nine games on the road starting with Sunday afternoon’s game at Miami.