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CHAMPAIGN—Malcolm Hill made sure Illinois didn’t blow another double-digit lead on Tuesday night in an 88-74 win over North Carolina State in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.The senior scored 22 points to lead an Illini team that bounced back following a 0-3 Thanksgiving week.When Illinois showed signs of faltering like it had in the past, Hill and other role players like Tracy Abrams (17 points) helped secure the win.

”Really proud of the way the guys responded,” Illinois coach John Groce said. ”We ratcheted it up to another level (in the second half).”

Illinois (5-3) shot 30 of 60 from the field for 50 percent to outlast N.C. State in what was a tightly contested game in which neither team had a double-digit lead until the Illini led 67-57 with about eight minutes left.The Wolfpack held a 33-32 edge at the half but Illinois came out firing, shooting 68 percent in the second half and creating large leads that the Wolfpack could not overcome.The Illini bench outscored the Wolfpack’s 39-22 and was led by Leron Black, who scored 15 points and brought in eight rebounds.Black has only played the last three games before Tuesday (suspension) and noted the adaptation it takes to understand how each player performs.

”We just kind of come together each game. We get used to playing with each other,” Black said. ”We’re just getting better as a team and getting more chemistry.”

Torin Dorn scored 17 points to lead N.C. State (5-2), which shot 53 percent from the field.Despite the hot shooting, the Wolfpack committed 19 turnovers, which prevented the offense to consistently produce and resulted in 17 Illinois points.

”The game was experienced versus inexperienced,” N.C. State coach Mark Gottfried said. ”I thought we played like an inexperienced team.”

The Illini got a much-needed win against a respectable ACC opponent after a disastrous Thanksgiving week. Illinois will need to win most if not all of the remaining nonconference games if it wants to prove it’s a NCAA Tournament team.North Carolina State: Time will tell whether this was a respectable loss. The Wolfpack will have a relatively easy path to the start of conference play.Malcolm Hill showed his potential in the NBA with a drive down the lane in the second half that left all the North Carolina State players standing still. When asked about the move, Hill said strength coach Adam Fletcher will probably tell him he should’ve dunked it.”When we play like that, we can compete against any team.” Tracy Abrams. Illinois travels to Miami on Saturday where it will play VCU in the Hoophall Miami Invitational.

Panik carries Hawks to 2-1 Shootout win over Panthers


Richard Panik raised his stick in the air with his left hand as he skated away from a defeated Roberto Luongo.At long last, his slump was over.Panik scored in regulation and then had the deciding goal in a shootout, helping the visitors Blackhawks beat Florida 2-1 on Tuesday night in the Panthers’ first game since Tom Rowe took over as interim coach.Artemi Panarin also scored in the tiebreaker and Corey Crawford matched a season high with 38 saves in the Hawks first home game in 16 days. The Blackhawks went 3-3-1 on their annual circus trip.

”That was a long trip. We were excited to come back home,” Crawford said.

Panarin beat Luongo with a slick backhand in the second round. After Aleksander Barkov was stopped by Crawford at the other end, Panik converted his chance with a well-placed wrist shot past Luongo on the glove side.

”I’m really grateful for Corey being behind us,” Panarin said through a translator. ”If it weren’t for him, the last couple games would have turned out differently. We’re lucky to have him.”

Florida (11-10-2) returned to the ice for the first time since coach Gerard Gallant was fired after a 3-2 loss at Carolina on Sunday night. Jaromir Jagr scored in the third period and Luongo made 32 saves, but the Panthers lost for the third time in four games.

”We got back to getting pucks to the net, getting 39 shots against a heck of a hockey club,” said Rowe, who was serving as Florida’s general manager at the time of the coaching change. ”So a lot of positives and a lot to build on after tonight.”

The Blackhawks (15-6-3) played without captain Jonathan Toews, who missed his third consecutive game with an upper-body injury. Fellow center Artem Anisimov left in the third after teammate Duncan Keith’s shot went off the inside of his lower right leg.

”We’ll see how he is. He seemed to be OK,” coach Joel Quenneville said. ”We’ll know more tomorrow.”

The Blackhawks carried a 1-0 lead into the third, but the Panthers made the most of 69 seconds of leftover power-play time from Niklas Hjalmarsson’s second-period hooking penalty. Jonathan Marchessault’s centering pass went off Keith, and Jagr poked it in for his fourth of the season and No. 753 for his career.Florida had a chance to grab the lead when Crawford lost his stick after he was tripped by teammate Vinnie Hinostroza. But the goalie slid over in time to stop a shot from Derek MacKenzie and then fell on the puck after it went off the post.

Crawford also made a nice right pad save on Mark Pysyk with 8:09 to go, and stopped Jagr in front in the final minute.”I thought Jagr was unreal,” Rowe said. ”In this building with the speed they come at you with, and Jags was really unbelievable down low.”

Florida had 100 seconds of power-play time in overtime, but the Hawks killed it off. Luongo turned away two nice moves by Patrick Kane, and Crawford stopped Aaron Ekblad in the final seconds of OT.It was a really nice night for each goaltender, right from the start.Luongo got over to stop Panarin, and Crawford made a great pad save on Barkov before the Blackhawks jumped in front in the first. Panik got loose for a breakaway and slipped a backhand by Luongo for his seventh goal with 2:10 left in the period.It was Panik’s first goal since Oct. 22, stopping a 17-game drought. The winger had no points and a minus-2 rating in his previous 13 games.”(Dennis) Rasmussen flipped it over and the D-man touched it,” Panik said. ”So I had a breakaway and a nice score. A goal helps you with your confidence.”

The Panthers and Blackhawks each killed off a penalty during a scoreless second. Crawford also made a flashy glove save on a big drive by Keith Yandle, and Luongo stopped a long shot by Gustav Forsling. Jagr played in his 1,652nd game, passing Chris Chelios and moving into a tie with Mark Recchi for fourth on the NHL’s career list. … Toews did not participate in the morning skate, and Quenneville said he is questionable for Thursday night’s game against New Jersey. … Chicago D Brian Campbell played his first game against Florida since he left the Panthers for a one-year deal with the Blackhawks during free agency.The Blackhawks host the New Jersey Devils on Thursday night.

NU beats Wake Forest in ACC-BIG TEN Challenge.

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EVANSTON—Bryant McIntosh scored 19 of his 23 points in the second half to lead Northwestern to a 65-58 victory over Wake Forest on Monday night in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.McIntosh struggled in the first half on 2-of-8 shooting, but caught fire midway through the second, hitting 8-for-8 from the field for 19 points after the 12:02 mark. His 3 with 1:02 left gave the Wildcats (5-2) a 61-56 lead.John Collins had 12 points and 16 rebounds and Keyshawn Woods added 12 points for Wake Forest (5-2).Woods’ 3 cut the Northwestern lead to 61-58 with with 30.3 seconds left, but Sanjay Lumpkin scored four straight points to finish the game off for the Wildcats.Scottie Lindsey added 12 points and Lumpkin finished with 10 points and seven rebounds for NU.McIntosh had to leave the game early in the second half after taking a shot to the face. After being tended to on the sideline he returned to ignite a 6-0 Northwestern run.Trailing 42-38, McIntosh scored the game’s next six points to give the Wildcats a 44-42 lead with 11:01 in the second half. The Demon Deacons began a stretch on Monday where they play four of their five opponents on the opposing team’s home court. After not being able to close out Notre Dame in the final seconds last week, the Wildcats bounced back with a win over another power five opponent. Last week, they defeated Texas, which was ranked No. 22 at the time.Northwestern faces DePaul on Saturday. The Wildcats defeated the Blue Demons on the road in overtime last season.

Barkley, not bad ,but too many dropped passes prevent a come from behind win for the Bears against Tennessee.

The Bears got some good QB play in Matt Barkley’s first NFL start. After a mostly sluggesh first half, the Rookie from USC hit on two TD passes in the fourth quarter, to go with one that had  given the Bears a brief 7-0 lead, but a last minute effort fell short when Barkey’s pass on 4th and goal from the Tennessee 7, fell incomplete and the Bears(2-9)frel short 27-21 before a half empty Soldier Field.Too many dropped passes, including one by Marquis Wilson in the end zone(which could have put the Bears ahead in the last half minute)did the Home team in. The Titans, scored 27 straight points to take a seemingly safe 27-7 lead, but when the Bears forced the Visitors into two field goals, that kept the door open. The Titans had little or no pass rush on Barkley and he took advantage. Marc Mariotta tossed 3 TD passes for the Titans. The question is now, will Barkley start next week against the once victorious San Francisco 49ers, or could Jay Cutler be a surprise starter since John Fox has refused to rule the Bears starter out for the season.


Cats rout Illini, become Bowl eligible and keep Land of Lincoln Trophy.

Northwestern Wildcats (1981 - Pres)Illinois Fighting Illini (2004 - 2013)

EVANSTON—Justin Jackson ran his way into the Northwestern record books in just three seasons and could finish his career as the school’s all-time leading rusher.Still, he is content right now to share the running back position with emerging newcomer John Moten.Jackson rushed for 173 yards and three touchdowns, Moten added 128 yards and two touchdowns and Northwestern became bowl eligible with a 42-21 victory over Illinois on Saturday.

”It’s cool,” Jackson said. ”I think John’s come a long way. He’s obviously shown the player he can be. It’s pretty exciting.”

Clayton Thorson completed 13 of 20 passes for 121 yards and a touchdown as the Wildcats improved to 6-6 and 5-4 in the Big Ten.

”I’m excited that I get one more opportunity to be with them on the field in a game,” Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald said.

”The first couple of weeks certainly didn’t look good, but it’s a credit to the seniors we were able to come back.”

Wes Lunt completed 28 of 54 passes for 377 yards and two touchdowns (with one interception) for Illinois (3-9, 2-7), which closed out its first season under coach Lovie Smith with three straight losses.

”We have an idea of what we need to do and what direction we need to go in all areas,” Smith said. ”This is the start. You don’t like to be in this situation, but that’s normally how it happens.”

After trailing 21-0, Illinois rallied for two touchdowns to pull within 21-14 at halftime and appeared headed for a game-tying score on its first possession of the second half when things fell apart.First, running back Reggie Corbin fumbled at the 8-yard line and safety Godwin Igwebuike recovered to give the ball – and momentum – back to Northwestern.Two plays later, Illinois safety Stanley Green was ejected after a targeting penalty for a hit on wide receiver Flynn Nagel. The 15-yard penalty (on top of the 10-yard completion) advanced the ball to the NU 46. Jackson then broke a 54-yard scoring run to make it 28-14 with 9:24 remaining in the third quarter.Leading 35-21 early in the fourth quarter, NU put the game away on a 4-yard TD run by Jackson. The score was set up by a 66-yard interception return by Montre Hartage to the 5.The Illini’s 28 first-time starters this season heading into Saturday were the most in the nation, which is a sign the program is in the early stages of a rebuilding plan. To have any chance of flipping the record next season, more consistent offensive production is a must. Lunt’s 19-yard TD pass to Malik Turner in the second was the Illini’s first TD in nine quarters.Although it’s a far cry from last year’s 10 wins, winning two of the final three games to become bowl eligible is an accomplishment for a program that doesn’t take winning for granted – especially after losing to Western Michigan and Illinois State to start the season.Jackson moved into second place on NU’s all-time rushing list – passing Darnell Autry (3,793) and Tyrell Sutton (3,886) – with 3,905 yards. Jackson, who has 27 career rushing TDs, trails only Damien Anderson (4,485).

”It’s pretty cool,” Jackson said. ”There’s obviously a history of good running backs coming through here. I’m just glad we could get a win on a day like this.”

Moten, a redshirt freshman, set the tone with two first-quarter touchdowns, including a 43-yarder. Jackson answered with three of his own, including a mesmerizing 54-yarder.He said his long run was aided by watching. ”Sometimes you can see stuff from the sidelines you don’t necessarily see on the field,” he said. ”I saw some things from his long runs and applied it when I was on the field.”

NOTES—The Illini’s season is over….Northwestern’s regular season is over, but the Wildcats will make a second straight bowl appearance

Hawks fall in OT to Kings, but split on their Circus Trip.

LOS ANGELES—Jeff Carter scored his 10th goal of the season 1:06 into overtime, and the Kings beat the Blackhawks 2-1 on Saturday night for their season-best fifth consecutive victory.Alec Martinez scored and Peter Budaj stopped 18 shots for the Kings, who persevered through a back-and-forth game for their third straight win over the Blackhawks at Staples Center.These Kings don’t often light up scoreboards, and they aren’t the same defensive powerhouse without injured goalie Jonathan Quick. They’re still thriving in coach Darryl Sutter’s disciplined system – even against the Hawks, the Western Conference leaders.Just seven seconds after Los Angeles failed to score on a power play stretching into overtime, Carter fired an exceptional wrist shot past Scott Darling for his fifth goal in five games. Carter also had an early assist, giving him a team-leading 19 points in 22 games.The veteran power forward has been carrying the Kings’ offense with the absence of Marian Gaborik and the struggles of captain Anze Kopitar, who hasn’t scored a goal in 11 games since Oct. 25.Gaborik also made his season debut for the Kings, playing in his first regular-season game since Feb. 12. The $34 million Slovak wing broke his foot during the World Cup of Hockey.Patrick Kane scored and Darling stopped 27 shots in his first loss for the Blackhawks, who finished their seven-game circus road trip at 3-3-1.Captain Jonathan Toews missed his second straight game with an injury, butthe Hawks nearly swept its two-game stop in Southern California following a win over Anaheim on Friday.

”I think the last couple of games, we’ve played better than we have for most of the year, as far as being a team,” defenseman Duncan Keith said.

The Hawks didn’t get a shot on goal for the first 11:40, but Kane scored his eighth goal of the season with a redirection on the Blackhawks’ first shot. Kane scored in his second straight game in Southern California after last season’s NHL MVP failed to score a goal on the first five games of the circus trip.Los Angeles evened it early in the second period when Martinez fired a shot over Darling’s shoulder for his fifth goal and 14th point, extending his five-game scoring streak. The defenseman and 2014 Stanley Cup Final hero became the Kings’ second-leading scorer with that goal.An apparent goal by Toffoli was waved off on video review just 72 seconds into the first period. Officials ruled Blackhawks defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson was shoved into Darling for goaltender interference.

”It’s a long trip and a lot of good teams, LA included,” Darling said. ”I thought we really had quite a good effort … especially without the best player in the world, Jonathan Toews. The guys stepped up and really filled the gap there.”

NOTES—The Kings are 9-2-0 with six straight victories at home. … Gaborik missed the first 21 games this season, and he missed the final 28 games of last season with a knee injury. He returned for four playoff games last spring. … F Andrew Desjardins and D Michal Kempny returned to Hawks lineup after being scratches Friday at Anaheim. They replaced F Jordin Tootoo and D Michal Rozsival. … Kyle Clifford was scratched for the second time all season to make room for Gaborik. D Tom Gilbert also replaced D Matt Greene in Los Angeles’ lineup….The Blackhawks finally return home to face Florida on Tuesday.

Irish say bye-bye to bad 2016 season with blowout loss to USC

LOS ANGELES—A miserable season for Notre Dame mercifully came to an end, and in ugly fashion.By the time Adoree Jackson effortlessly hurdled Notre Dame’s kicker and sprinted off to strike a Heisman pose in the end zone, every rain-soaked soul already knew they were seeing the culmination of something special for Southern California.Jackson might have punctuated his three-year career at the Coliseum with one last virtuoso display of his talent, although he hasn’t decided yet.The Trojans unquestionably wrapped up their regular season by with a fitting climax to a two-month crescendo.Jackson returned a punt and a kickoff for touchdowns and caught a scoring pass to propel No. 12 USC to its eighth consecutive victory, 45-27 over Notre Dame on Saturday in the 88th edition of their famed intersectional rivalry.Sam Darnold passed for 205 yards and two TDs, and Ronald Jones II rushed for 134 yards and an early score as USC (9-3, No. 12 CFP) claimed the Jeweled Shillelagh for the 11th time in 15 years. Ajene Harris also returned an interception 33 yards for a score shortly before halftime for the Trojans, who fell just short of the Pac-12 South title.But if Jackson, the Trojans’ do-everything cornerback, heads to the NFL next season, he left LA with one of the most memorable performances in this rivalry game’s history.USC fans chanted ”One more year!” throughout the second half at the smiling junior, who has scored five touchdowns against Notre Dame in his career. He returned a punt 55 yards for a score before turning a short pass into a 52-yard TD and then taking a kickoff 97 yards for his third score, leaping over John Chereson along the way.

”The returns and reception were just great blocks by everybody,” Jackson said. ”They made it look easier than it was. I knew something special would happen when I trust them. They set things up, and it makes a highlight play.”

With an unbeaten run through October and November, USC completed a perfect home schedule and remained in contention for the league championship until the final hour of the regular season.Colorado was beaten convincingly by USC last month, but the Buffaloes’ win over Utah kept them one game ahead of the Trojans atop the division and sent them into the conference title game next week against Washington. USC would have advanced if the Utes had beaten Colorado.USC still could be in contention for a Rose Bowl berth, particularly if the Huskies rout Colorado. The Trojans will get a week off from practice before learning their postseason fate.

”What an accomplishment by a group of kids that have been through some adversity and come out the other side of it,” USC coach Clay Helton said. ”What this team and this group have is something special. Over my 21 years (in coaching), I’ll always remember this. It’s a special group.”

JuJu Smith-Schuster caught a touchdown pass in the fourth quarter to punctuate the prolific junior receiver’s own probable Coliseum finale. Smith-Schuster is looking toward a bowl game, but also is thinking about the future.”If Adoree comes back, I’m for sure coming back and we’re going to win the natty,” Smith-Schuster said, referring to the national championship.Josh Adams ran for 180 yards and DeShone Kizer passed for 220 yards and two scores for the Fighting Irish (4-8), who finished their worst season since 2007 with their largest margin of defeat this year.

”I thought we could play with anybody this year,” said Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly, who shrugged off suggestions his job could be in jeopardy. ”We just have not been able to sustain consistent performance for four quarters.”

Chris Finke, Kevin Stepherson and Equanimeous St. Brown caught TD passes for the Irish.Notre Dame’s frustration boiled over when defensive lineman Jerry Tillery made two particularly chippy plays in the second half.

Tillery first kicked USC running back Aca’Cedric Ware in the helmet while Ware was on the ground with an apparent head injury. Tillery then received an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty a few minutes later when he stomped on prone USC offensive tackle Zach Banner’s foot.

”You just can’t do stupid things like that,” Notre Dame defensive lineman Jarron Jones said. ”That’s going to reflect on you as a player. That’s going to reflect on your character.”

Banner summed up the Trojans’ feelings with a reference to Tillery’s jersey: ”(No.) 99 is dirty.”

NOTES—Referee Ron Cherry left the game in the third quarter after getting flattened in an accidental collision with USC linebacker Michael Hutchings. Cherry appeared to be unconscious after hitting the turf, but eventually walked up the tunnel unaided. USC said Cherry was evaluated for a concussion at a nearby hospital, but should be released later Saturday……This was an embarrassing end to an uncommonly ugly year for the Irish. Kelly will find little to salvage from this trip to LA, and Tillery was already receiving heavy online criticism for his dirty play before the game ended…..The Trojans have evolved into one of the nation’s best teams over the last two months. It happened slightly too late to get into the national title conversation, but Helton clearly harnessed USC’s formidable talent heading into the postseason and 2017.

Kane, Hawks hold off Ducks 3-2

ANAHEIM—When the Blackhawks make their usual visit to Anaheim on Black Friday, they always have a raucous cheering section of jersey-clad fans crowded against the glass from the pregame warmup onward.Although those fans didn’t get to see captain Jonathan Toews this time, that only made the Blackhawks’ latest win in Orange County even more impressive.Patrick Kane had a goal and an assist, and the Blackhawks hung on to beat the Ducks 3-2 for their fifth consecutive win in the clubs’ post-Thanksgiving rivalry game. The Western Conference leaders have won five straight regular-season games in Anaheim since March 2013.

”That’s a big two points against a good team without maybe our most important player,” Kane said. ”You’ve got to feel good about that one.”

Artem Anisimov and Ryan Hartman also scored as the Blackhawks snapped their first two-game skid since opening week even without Toews, who missed his first game of the season due to an upper-body injury. Playing the sixth game of its draining circus road trip, the Hawks took a 3-0 lead in the second period and hung on against Anaheim’s late surge with superb play from Corey Crawford, who made 34 saves.

”When you’re missing a captain and one of your better players, you need to step up,” Hartman said. ”I think we all did that and played a really solid game.”

Nick Ritchie and Jakob Silfverberg scored and John Gibson stopped 22 shots for the Ducks, who wrapped up a five-game homestand on a three-game skid despite fairly solid play during that stretch. Anaheim is used to feeling frustration after facing the Blackhawks, who knocked them out of the 2015 playoffs in a memorable seven-game Western Conference finals.The Ducks fell to 4-4-2 against the Blackhawks on Black Friday. They haven’t won this rivalry game since 2009.

”We just have to find a way to get us over the top,” Anaheim coach Randy Carlyle said. ”We’re going to focus on the process. It’s hard, and there’s a lot of positives, but you can’t go down 3-0 to a hockey club and expect to come back in every game.”

The Ducks’ inexplicably poor production from their top line continued. Corey Perry hasn’t scored a goal in 13 games, and captain Ryan Getzlaf hasn’t found the net in 15 games since Oct. 16.

”We’ve got to score goals, and that comes on me, Perrs and whoever plays on our wing,” Getzlaf said. ”We play a lot of minutes, so we’ve got to put more pucks on net and score some goals. We’ve been getting lots of opportunities, lots of looks. When the season starts turning, you’ve got to put those pucks in the net.”

The Ducks hosted an afternoon game on the day after Thanksgiving for the 16th time in their 22-season history, including 10 meetings with the Blackhawks. The game has become an annual tradition for both franchises – and for hundreds of Blackhawks fans who show up in balmy Anaheim in even larger numbers than usual to roar for their cold-weather hometown.Anisimov put the Blackhawks up in the first period by finishing a two-man rush set up by Brent Seabrook’s beautiful outlet pass to Kane. Anisimov’s ninth goal of the season snapped his seven-game drought.Kane scored his seventh goal on a long shot off another pass from Seabrook during a power play early in the second period.Hartman connected late in the period, but Ritchie trimmed the lead 10 seconds later with an impressive shot in the slot, going through Seabrook’s legs and into the top corner.An apparent goal by Anaheim’s Ondrej Kase was waved off early in the third period when the puck went off his glove before ricocheting into the net. Moments later, Silfverberg scored his seventh goal of a standout season on a wraparound.

NOTES—Toews was injured Wednesday at San Jose, and he is questionable for Saturday’s game at Los Angeles. Rookie Vinnie Hinostroza took his spot, centering a line with Marian Hossa and Ryan Hartman. … Anaheim dominated the faceoff circle, winning 49 of the 67 draws. … Logan Shaw debuted for the Ducks, who acquired the forward in a trade with Florida on Nov. 16. … The Ducks wore their orange third jerseys….The Blackhawks face the L.A. Kings at Staples Center on Saturday.

Bulls close Circus Trip with win in Philly

Chicago Bulls Logo - Red bull with script above head

PHILADELPHIA—After a long, six-game road trip, the Bulls are heading home with a winning record and an infusion of confidence.Jimmy Butler and Dwayne Wade had 26 points apiece to lead the Bulls to a 105-89 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Friday night.Taj Gibson added 12 points for the Bulls, who finished a six-game road trip with a 4-2 record. Butler rested for the entire fourth quarter of the blowout.

”On this trip, the way we performed, we started to understand we’re a good team and can play with anyone in any building,” Wade said. ”It was a very successful trip and we finished it off right.”

Chicago led from start to finish against the short-handed 76ers, who played without center Joel Embiid.

”I like the way we’re playing,” Butler said. ”If we keep guarding, rebounding and doing what we’re supposed to do, we’re going to win a lot of games. Now we have to go home and win a couple more.”

Ersan Ilyasova had 14 points to pace Philadelphia, which certainly could’ve used Embiid.

”You saw an NBA team that’s good,” Philadelphia coach Brett Brown said. ”That’s a good team, a really good team.”

The Bulls ran away from the 76ers with a dominant third quarter in which they outscored Philadelphia 33-17 to enter the fourth quarter ahead 90-64.

”To come out with this type of effort was terrific,” Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said. ”We had good urgency out of the gate.”

Butler had nine points in the period as the Bulls did damage inside and outside. Wade’s fastbreak dunk early in the period helped the Bulls match their largest lead to that point at 67-52. And the advantage was 20, 79-59, with 4:35 left in the period after a pretty sequence that featured a Wade layup from Rajon Rondo followed by a Butler layup from Wade. The Bulls ended the quarter with consecutive 3-pointers from Denzel Valentine and Nikola Mirotic.The lead was 28 points with just over seven minutes left in the game when Hoiberg emptied his bench.Hoiberg said a long road trip can test a team’s mettle.
”You either come out of it loving each other or hating each other, and I think our guys grew,” he said. ”Now we have to go home and play with the same type of urgency and effort.”
A leading candidate for Rookie of the Year, Embiid missed his fifth game as part of his rehab plan for a foot injury that cost him the last two seasons. Embiid is averaging 17.8 points and 7.6 rebounds in just 22.6 minutes as he is on a minutes restriction.That restriction caused him to sit out the second overtime of Philadelphia’s 104-99 loss to Memphis on Wednesday night. Embiid could return for Sunday’s home game against the Cleveland Cavaliers though Brown was noncommittal.During the third quarter, fans chanted ”Free The Process! Free The Process” in reference to Embiid’s nickname, ”The Process.”

Northern ends season with 31-21 win at Kent State

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KENT—Joel Bouagnon ran for two touchdowns, Daniel Santacaterina and Jordan Huff each ran for scores, and Northern Illinois beat Kent State 31-21 in Friday’s season finale for both teams.Santacaterina was 13 of 23 for 258 yards passing with an interception for the Huskies (5-7, 5-3), who won’t win the Mid-American Conference’s West Division for the first time in six seasons. Santacaterina scored on a 3-yard run and Huff’s 1-yard TD run in the third quarter put the Huskies up 14-7.Christian Hagan kicked a go-ahead 34-yard field goal in the third quarter. Bouagnon gained 133 yards on 29 carries and scored fourth-quarter TDs on 9- and 2-yard runs.A NIU fumble set up George Bollas’ 85-yard second-quarter TD run, which tied it at 7. Bollas hit Ernest Calhoun on a 57-yard TD pass after Kent State missed two field goal tries, and found Brice Fackler on a 10-yarder in the fourth quarter.Bollas passed for 203 yards with two interceptions for the Golden Flash (3-9, 2-6).