Hawks hand Leafs a setback


Marian Hossa scored twice as the struggling Blackhawks overcame an early two-goal deficit and defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-4 on Wednesday night to end a three-game losing streak.Hossa’s goal late in the second period gave the Blackhawks their first lead at 4-3. He added an empty-net goal with 16 seconds left that turned out to be the game-winner after Toronto’s Mike Brown scored with 4 seconds remaining.Patrick Kane had a goal and an assist for the Blackhawks, and rookies Marcus Kruger and Andrew Shaw also scored for the Blackhawks, who won for only the fifth time in its last 17 contests.Tyler Bozak, Joffrey Lupul and Clarke MacArthur scored in the first period for the slumping Maple Leafs, who lost their sixth straight and 10th time in the last 11 games. Toronto was unable to hold on to a 3-1 lead it built by late in the first.Corey Crawford started in goal, but was replaced by Ray Emery to start the second after allowing three goals on 10 shots. Emery was sharp and stopped 23 of 24 shots.Toronto’s Jonas Gustavsson was shaky at times, but finished with 30 saves.Blackhawks captain and leading goal scorer Jonathan Toews missed his fifth game with an upper-body injury, believed to be a concussion. Defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson sat out his third straight, and 10th in his last 11, with concussion symptoms.Defenseman Johnny Oduya, acquired from Winnipeg just before Monday’s trade deadline, played his first game with the Hawks.The Blackhawks went 0-for-2 on the power-play and have scored just one goal in their last 41 chances.The Maple Leafs led 3-2 after a first period that mirrored the recent play and records of the two teams.Bozak opened the scoring 59 seconds in from the side of the net with a soft goal when he slipped a backhand shot under Crawford’s pads.Shaw tied it at 1 with 8:59 left in the first when he drove from the left corner into the slot and beat Gustavsson between the pads. Shaw connected in his first game after being recalled from Rockford of the AHL for the second time this season.Lupul’s power-play tip in just 28 seconds later, set up by Phil Kessel’s pinpoint feed, restored the Maple Leafs’ lead at 2-1.MacArthur made it 3-1 with 3:07 left in the first. After Mikhail Grabovski’s shot struck the skate of Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook, MacArthur shoveled in the loose puck before Seabrook could find it.Kruger’s deflection of Nick Leddy’s shot from the point cut it to 3-2 with 30 seconds remaining in the period.The Hawks led 4-3 after two periods thanks to goals by Kane and Hossa on strong efforts.Kane tied it at 3 at 8:33 of the second. He pounced on a rebound of Andrew Brunette’s shot, plowed into traffic and flipped in a high shot from a sharp angle to Gustavsson’s left.Hossa gave Chicago its first lead at 4-3 just over four minutes later. After driving down the slot and past two Toronto defenders, Hossa fired a shot just inside the left post. Emery made a tough kick save on Toronto rookie Matt Frattin with 4:30 left in the third to preserve the lead.

NOTES— Brandon Bollig appeared in his first NHL game following his recall from Rockford on Tuesday. He fought Toronto’s Luke Schenn. .Steve Montador missed his 11th game with an undisclosed injury.. Toronto C Matthew Lombardi was a healthy scratch for the first time this season. He has just one goal and two assists in his last 15 games and is a team-worst minus-13.. The game was the only one this season between THE Hawks and Toronto, both NHL “Original Six” franchises. The teams have not played more than once in season since 2001-02 and over the last nine seasons have met only seven times.

Bulls earn rare win in Alamo City

Chicago Bulls Logo - Red bull with script above head

SAN ANTONIO—Derrick Rose scored 29 points and the Bulls stayed on a roll by cooling off the streaking San Antonio Spurs 96-89 on Wednesday night.Rose shook off a scary-looking collision with Tony Parker early that kept the reigning MVP on the floor clutching his right knee for several minutes. But he never left the game and the Bulls became just the second team to win in San Antonio this season.Gary Neal led the Spurs with 21 points. San Antonio floundered late and had its homecoming spoiled after going 8-1 during the winningest nine-game road trip in NBA history. Joakim Noah added 10 points and 13 rebounds for the Bulls, who have won 11 of 13 and nudged a half-game past Miami for first place in the Eastern Conference.Tim Duncan had 18 points and 10 rebounds. He brought the Spurs back from an 11-point deficit in the third quarter after starting out rusty following the longest midseason break of his career. The 35-year-old wasn’t at All-Star weekend for the first time but relished the rest in the compressed, lockout-shortened schedule.Duncan scored 12 in the third while Parker — who was an All-Star — struggled to keep pace with Rose. Parker finished with 11 points on 5-of-16 shooting, had nine assists and stumbled through his lowest-scoring game in a month.In fact, Parker’s most memorable play may have been the one that nearly appeared to take out Rose. The point guards banged knees late in the first quarter in a collision that left Parker standing but Rose writhing on his back.Bulls trainers rushed to his side and kneeled over him for several minutes before Rose finally stood up and walked to the bench. He spent the ensuing timeout pacing the sideline, shaking out his knee, then immediately proved he was OK by darting toward the basket and finishing a tough layup on the very next possession.After scoring 32 points and sinking a crucial jumper with 19.4 seconds left to beat lowly New Orleans on Tuesday night, Rose delivered late again. He scored 13 in the second half and hit a 9-foot bank shot with 1:46 left that put his team up 87-82.Duncan quickly answered, but on the next possession Rose all but finished off the Spurs. This time it was a tough 18-footer over Duncan’s outstretched hand that put the Bulls up 89-84, and Luol Deng’s 3-pointer with 39.6 seconds left stretched the lead to six and sealed a winning start to Chicago’s three-game road swing.San Antonio has been practically invincible at home. But the Spurs, now 13-2 at the AT&T Center, aren’t going anywhere soon: They’ll play their next six at home as amends for spending the last month on their most successful Rodeo Road Trip ever.Danny Green added 11 points for the Spurs. C.J. Watson scored 12 off the bench for the Bulls, and Deng finished with 10.Richard Hamilton started again for the Bulls after returning from a monthlong absence Tuesday against the Hornets. Hamilton has been bothered by a sore thigh and played just 15 minutes, scoring two points on 1-of-8 shooting.

NOTES—The Spurs and Bulls won’t play again this season, they have played an NBA-high 37 games, but its schedule gets somewhat lighter in the second half. The Bulls will play their remaining 29 games over the next 57 days.

Cats come up just short against Ohio State-again.


EVANSTON—Jared Sullinger knew the pass was coming to him. And why not after he had powered and muscled his way through Northwestern defenders all game? Teammate Aaron Craft delivered the ball right where Sullinger wanted it. He turned and banked in the game-winner with 3.1 seconds left Wednesday night as No. 10 Ohio State recovered after squandering a 13-point lead to beat Northwestern 75-73.

“Craft threw a perfect pass to me and led me right to the angle of the backboard. He let me turn over my left shoulder and finish with my right hook. The bread and butter,” said Sullinger, who had 22 points and 18 rebounds.

“Craft told me he was going to throw it to me. No ifs, ands or buts about it, he said. He threw it to me and I made the shot.”

Northwestern’s Alex Marcotullio tied the game on a 3-pointer with 7.7 seconds to go as the Wildcats went on a late 8-0 run.But after a timeout, Craft did as promised and got the ball to Sullinger.

After Sullinger’s basket, Northwestern’s John Shurna came down court and threw up a long desperation shot that hit the rim at the buzzer.

“Disappointment. Kind of a tough way to go out,” said Shurna, the leading scorer in Northwestern history who finished with 22 points in his regular-season home finale at Welsh-Ryan Arena.

Shurna’s shot that could have won the game looked on target but as Northwestern has found out most of this season in its quest for a first-ever NCAA tournament bid, close isn’t good enough.

“Thought it had a chance,” Shurna said. “Put it up there and hope for the best. … That’s all you can do.”

Ohio State (24-6, 12-5), which had lost three of five, still has a chance to tie for the Big Ten title if it can win at No. 5 Michigan State in Sunday’s regular season finale. The Spartans already have at least a share of the championship, despite losing to Indiana on Tuesday night.Deshaun Thomas added 19 points and 10 rebounds and Craft scored 14 points with four 3-pointers for the Buckeyes, who outrebounded Northwestern 44-18, including 20-6 on the offensive boards.Drew Crawford scored 23 points for the Wildcats (17-12, 7-10), who have one regular-season game left, at Iowa.Ohio State had beaten the Wildcats 87-54 in the league opener in late December, but this one was certainly more competitive – just not on the boards.The Buckeyes led 73-65 with about three minutes left before Northwestern rallied as Dave Sobolweski hit a 3-pointer and Reggie Cobb made two free throws. Cobb later came up with a steal and called a timeout, setting up Marcotullio’s game-tying 3-pointer.The Buckeyes hit their first six field goal attempts and dominated the rebounding 22-5 in the first half with Sullinger and Thomas controlling the inside.Sullinger had 13 points and eight rebounds and Thomas had 12 points and five rebounds as Ohio State shot 59 percent from the field. The Wildcats, who play three guards and two forwards, had no one to match up with the Buckeyes’ inside duo.Ohio State led 39-29 at halftime.

UWM ousts UIC from Horizon Tourney

MILWAUKEE—James Haarsma scored 18 points and Ryan Allen 17 to lead Milwaukee to a 68-55 win against cold-shooting UIC on Tuesday night in the opening round of the Horizon League tournament.Tony Meier collected seven points and 11 rebounds for the fourth-seeded Panthers (20-12), who scored 34 of the game’s first 40 points en route to their fifth straight win. Milwaukee faces No. 5 seed Butler in a second-round game on Friday.Hayden Humes had 14 points and four steals and Gary Talton 11 points for the ninth-seeded Flames (8-22), who shot 22.2 percent (6 of 27) en route to trailing 35-14 at halftime.A Haarsma 3-pointer gave the Panthers a 34-6 lead. UIC went scoreless for a 5:49 stretch of the first half.Darrin Williams had 10 points for the Flames.

Loyola season ends with 80-71 loss to Detroit.

DETROIT—Eli Holman scored 20 points, leading five Detroit players in double figures, as the Titans beat Loyola 80-71 in the first round of the Horizon League tournament Tuesday night.Third-seeded Detroit (19-13) won for the seventh time in eight games and will face sixth-seeded Youngstown State in the second round Friday night at Valparaiso, Ind.Chase Simon scored 19, Doug Anderson 18 and Ray McCallum and Jason Calliste 10 each for the Titans, who beat Loyola for the eighth straight time.The 10th-seeded Ramblers (7-23) got game highs of 20 points and eight rebounds from Ben Averkamp. Jordan Hicks scored 14 and Denzel Brito and Walt Gibler 12 apiece.Loyola shot 50 percent but committed 23 turnovers to Detroit’s 22.The Titans reeled off 12 straight points for a 26-16 lead with 5:36 left in the first half and did not trail again.

Hawks get defenseman Oduya from Jets, send Scott to Rangers

The Blackhawks have acquired veteran defenseman Johnny Oduya from the Winnipeg Jets for a 2nd,3rd round pick.

Oduya has two goals and 11 assists in 63 games with the Jets this season. The 30-year-old Swedish defenseman is in his seventh year in the NHL and comes to the Blackhawks after three years with the with the Jets/Thrashers franchise.He is a minus 9. The defenseman is an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season.

In a separate deal, the Blackhawks also sent defenseman John Scott to the Rangers for a fifth-round pick for Scott

Hawks swept in SoCal. Ducks win 3-1

ANAHEIM—Teemu Selanne scored a power-play goal and had an assist to move into 20th place on the NHL’s career scoring list, and Anaheim kept rolling in its return from an eight-game road trip, beating the slumping Blackhawks 3-1 Sunday night. Jonas Hiller made 18 saves in his 21st consecutive start for the Ducks, who won for the ninth time in 12 games during their improbable playoff push. Andrew Cogliano scored his first goal of February for the Ducks, and Sheldon Brookbank also scored as Anaheim avoided a four-game season sweep by the Hawks.After falling 20 points out of eighth place in the West during an awful start, Anaheim has been the NHL’s best team since Jan. 1, going 17-4-4 for a league-high 38 points. Anaheim got just two days off following the longest continuous road trip in franchise history before starting a key stretch of five games in seven days. The Ducks are just six points out of playoff position — but still in 13th place in the Western Conference standings. Selanne inched up the NHL scoring list by setting up Brookbank’s goal in the second period before scoring his 21st of the season from a sharp angle during a two-man advantage in the third. The 41-year-old Finnish Flash caught and passed Luc Robitaille with 1,395 points, and his 246th career power-play goal put him one behind Robitaille for fourth in league history.Selanne is the second-oldest player in NHL history to score at least 21 goals in a season, trailing only Gordie Howe, who did it twice after his 41st birthday. Patrick Kane ended the Blackhawks’ monthlong 0-for-39 power-play drought with a first-period goal, and Ray Emery stopped 35 shots against his former Anaheim teammates in his team’s third consecutive loss. The Blackhawks have lost 12 of 16 overall, yet still sit comfortably in sixth place in the West, nine points ahead of Anaheim. Kane scored the Blackhawks’ first power-play goal since Jan. 24.The Blackhawks played their fourth straight game without captain Jonathan Toews, who is home in Chicago with an apparent concussion. Coach Joel Quenneville hopes Toews and defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson will return Wednesday against Toronto, but the Blackhawks struggled through a two-game Southern California road trip, losing 4-0 up the I-5 freeway in Los Angeles one night earlier. Cogliano tied it with 20 seconds left in the period, but only after the referees immediately waved off his goal. Cogliano clearly kicked the puck toward the net with his right skate, but a lengthy video review at the league offices in Toronto revealed Cogliano poked the puck through Emery’s legs with his stick after Emery stopped the kick with his pads. Anaheim thoroughly controlled the second period, but wasn’t rewarded until Selanne passed from behind the Chicago net to Brookbank, who fired it off Duncan Keith and past Emery. The goal was Brookbank’s second in five games after playing 167 straight games without a goal.

NOTES—The Blackhawks have never swept Anaheim in a season series….Longtime Montreal captain Saku Koivu played his 200th game with the Ducks….Cogliano’s score snapped a 12-game drought….The biggest regular-season crowd in Honda Center history welcomed the Ducks back from the road, with 17,601 tickets sold in a standing-room-only crowd.

Illini (finally) win, beat Hawkeyes 65-54

CHAMPAIGN—Meyers Leonard had 22 points and 14 rebounds off the bench as Illinois defeated Iowa 65-54 on Sunday night to end a six-game losing streak.The Illini (17-12, 6-10 Big Ten) hadn’t won in February and had lost nine of 10 since defeating Ohio State in early January.Brandon Paul added 17 points and D.J. Richardson scored 12 for Illinois.Leonard had 15 points by halftime.Matt Gatens powered the Hawkeyes (15-14, 7-9) with 22 points and 5 of 6 shooting from 3-point range. But Gatens was held in check by Paul in the second half, scoring just five points.Illinois led 34-23 at the break and weathered a Hawkeye run that closed the gap to 38-34 early in the second half.

West hold off East in All Star Game. Rose and Deng come out HEALTHY!

ORLANDO—Kobe Bryant took Michael Jordan’s record, then nearly lost the game to LeBron James. Bryant and the best of the West held off a furious East comeback, winning 152-149 in the NBA All-Star game on Sunday night.Bryant scored 27 points, moving past Jordan as the career scoring leader in the game. MVP Kevin Durant had 36, and Thunder teammate Russell Westbrook finished with 21.James and the East cut a 21-point deficit to one in the closing seconds, but weren’t able to move in front. James had 36 points and fellow Heat star Dwyane Wade finished with a triple-double. Blake Griffin scored 22 points for the West, which rang up 89 points in the first half, setting an All-Star record. But he won the game with his defense, picking off James’ pass when the East had a chance to tie in the final seconds.Griffin then hit one free throw with 1.1 seconds left, and Wade was off on a 3-point attempt from the corner. He finished with 24 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists, joining Jordan and James as the only players with All-Star game triple-doubles.Durant was the MVP, leaving Bryant tied for the All-Star record with his four. But he got a bigger mark in his 13th All-Star game. He broke Jordan’s record of 262 points on a dunk with 4:57 left in the third quarter and now has 271 for his career. He entered with 244 and passed Oscar Robertson (246 points) and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (251) earlier in the game.It nearly wasn’t enough, as the East’s comeback had the crowd filled with entertainers and athletes chanting for defense – never a part of the All-Star game vocabulary – in the final seconds. With Bryant covering him, James hit two long 3-pointers in the final period, and the East had a chance when Bryant, with the crowd loudly booing, missed a free throw with 18 seconds left and the West up 151-149. But New Jersey’s Deron Williams was short on a 3-pointer, and after the East came up with it, James fired a pass into a crowd that Griffin intercepted. On a colorful night in Orlando, from pregame performer Nicki Minaj’s pink and green hair to the neon sneakers many of the stars wore, Dwight Howard had nine points and 10 rebounds as the game’s host. The NBA’s first All-Star game in Orlando in 20 years wasn’t close after 2 ½ quarters. But players always say it gets competitive in the final five minutes, and James was again up for the challenge. He hiked his scoring average to 25.9 points over his eight All-Star games, and someday he’ll probably take the record Bryant set Sunday. But he couldn’t quite catch Kobe in the game. With the 2-year-old Amway Center considered by many the finest arena in the league, the NBA brought its midseason showcase back to Orlando for the first time since the memorable 1992 game, when Magic Johnson was MVP three months after retiring from the league because of the HIV virus.This one was once in jeopardy of being lost when the lockout lasted into late November. Without a settlement then, All-Star weekend may have been wiped out, as it was in 1999 following a work stoppage.The party was saved. James and Howard, wearing bright orange shoes, danced onto the stage for pregame introductions, Howard breaking into an enormous grin when fans gave him a thunderous ovation as the last All-Star introduced. He insists that he and Magic fans still have a love affair despite his trade request, understanding he still loves the city even if not his team, and urged everyone to ignore the trade talk for a weekend and have fun.Then Andrew Bynum blocked his first shot attempt.The speedy Westbrook had the East looking like it was standing still late in the first half, and it was 88-69 at the break. Howard and Derrick Rose ditched their orange sneakers in the second half — James kept his — and the East quickly got back into it, trimming 12 points off its deficit in less than 6 minutes. They even started to defend — Wade whacked Bryant so hard on a drive that the Lakers star needed a break between free throws to wipe blood from his nose before sinking it to tie Jordan. Rose scored 14 on 6-8 shooting, Luol Demg was 0-2 and did not score.Williams scored 20 points for the East, Carmelo Anthony had 19, and Rose finished with 14. Kevin Love, who won the 3-point contest on Saturday, scored 17 points for the West, which has won two in a row. Chris Paul had eight points and 12 assists.

Rush hammer Iowa 43-22 in Pre Season game

Chicago Sky

MOLINE—The Chicago Rush dominated in all facets of the team’s preseason game against the Iowa Barnstormers at the iWireless Center Saturday night, defeating former Coach Mike Honhensee’s Iowa team 43-22.

The Rush defense kick started the 2012 season with a sack and a forced fumble on the opening play of the game by DL Lindsay Witten. DL Alex Daniels recovered the ball for the first touchdown of the game. Iowa answered with a touchdown reception by Rush foe, WR Jesse Schmidt from former Rush QB JJ Raterink. The Rush defense came up with another big play as Rush DB Vic Hall blocked a pass from Raterink forcing Iowa to attempt a 36-yard field goal. The missed attempt was recovered by WR Reggie Gray to end the first quarter.

The Rush defense held the Barnstormers to a scoreless second quarter, while Rush kicker Mike Salerno completed a pair of field goals. DB Brandon Freeman snagged the first Rush interception of the game to close the first half with the Rush leading 26-6.

The two teams exchanged field goals to open the second half including a 47-yard field goal by Barnstormers kicker George Pierson. Rush FB JJ Payne contributed on offense with a 10-yard touchdown reception. Payne led the offense with two touchdowns on the night.

The Barnstormers’ WR Chris Matthews had a late fourth quarter touchdown reception. However, the Rush defense held strong and closed out the game before the Barnstormers could score again.
Russ Michna earlier hit Gray for a touchdown. Few starters on either team played in the second half.

NOTES—The Rush start the season on Saturday night March 10 vs Tampa Bay at Allstate Arena….WR Troy McBroom,who was recently signed,did not pass his physical and was released.