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Saints hold off Bears–Replay does in Bears

NEW ORLEANS—Drew Brees delivered accurate, aggressive throws downfield in tense moments, when conventional wisdom might have called for a more conservative play.New Orleans’ defense came up with a fourth-down stop and rookie Marshon Lattimore’s interception on its final two series.Kicker Wil Lutz hit from 45 and 49 yards in the second half, hitting the longer kick inside the final two minutes.Frequent clutch performances in all phases allowed the surging Saints to once again overcome some potentially disastrous mistakes and win their fifth straight, 20-12 over the feisty Bears on Sunday.

”This was encouraging because I think in the past there’s been very little room for error,” said Brees, who completed 23 of 28 passes for 299 yards without an interception against a Bears defense that ranked sixth against the pass. ”While it’s frustrating that I don’t feel like we’re playing our best football – really, anywhere near our best football – we’re still finding ways to win.”

Running backs Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara each ran for touchdowns for New Orleans (5-2). Ingram finished with 99 yards from scrimmage, including 75 on the ground, but his two late fumbles kept the Bears (3-5) in the game into the final minutes.

”I was terrible. I let my teammates down, put us in a bad position,” Ingram said. ”The game was only close because I sucked.”

Kamara had 76 yards from scrimmage – 48 receiving, including his 34-yard, back-shoulder catch along the sideline in the fourth quarter.The Saints were threatening to score both times the Bears stripped the ball from Ingram.

”We found a way to make it interesting,” Payton said. ”To turn the ball over like we did, you don’t deserve to win games like that.”

The Vistors converted the first fumble into its only touchdown with 3:43 left on Tarik Cohen’s short dive over a pile of players at the goal line. The second turnover occurred with a little more than two minutes left on the Bears 30, but they was unable to get a first down as rookie Mitchell Trubisky’s fourth-and-1 pass fell incomplete.John Fox said he considered running the ball, which is his team’s strength, but stopped short of expressing regret over his decision.

”It was like flipping a coin,” Fox said. ”It was 50-50.”

The Bears had one more chance to tie after Lutz’s field goal with 1:35 left, but Lattimore’s interception ended that threat.

”It’s hard to predict a rookie’s growth. But he has got exceptional ball skills and a lot of confidence,” Payton said of Lattimore.

Trubisky completed 14 of 32 passes for 164 yards in his fourth start. Jordan Howard had 102 yards rushing on 23 carries.

”We’re getting closer as an offense. Nobody has their heads down,” Trubisky said. ”I’m really excited for where this team is headed.”

In the third quarter, the Bears had a TD overturned on video review after Zach Miller’s 25-yard catch, during which the tight end’s left leg bent unnaturally as he landed. As Miller was carted off the field with what Fox said was a dislocated knee, officials ruled that replay showed the ground caused the ball to loosen in Miller’s grasp as his upper body crashed to the turf.On the game’s opening possession, the Bears defense was offside on a field goal attempt, putting New Orleans’ offense back on the field. The result was Kamara’s 8-yard touchdown run.Later, Trubisky took a third-down sack by end Trey Hendrickson in Saints territory. That pushed back Connor Barth’s field goal attempt to 48 yards, and he hooked it.

Hawks struggle continues as Avs bounce back from embarrassing loss in Vegas

The Blackhawks have lost three in a row and are 1-4-1 in their last six games. They got goals from Ryan Hartman, Nick Schmaltz and Artem Anisimov, and Corey Crawford had seven saves in relief of Anton Forsberg.Forsberg had 16 saves before being pulled after Colorado took a 5-0 lead on Andrighetto’s goal at 6:44 of the second.The Hawks woke up after Andrighetto’s goal. Schmaltz and Anisimov scored later in the second as they swarmed the Avalanche. They outshot Colorado 13-7 in the second and had several chances to make it a two-goal game.Bernier made a glove save on Hartman’s breakaway at 6:51 of the third, and Grimaldi, recalled from the AHL on Friday, tipped in Erik Johnson’s shot from the point at 8:45 for his first goal of the season.

”It certainly would have been what we were looking for,” Joel Quenneville said of Hartman’s chance. ”We hit the post and it’s 2-0. It could of have 1-1 and they score in the dying seconds of the first. As bad as the first period was it wasn’t horrendous. Chances were 4-3.”

Hartman made it 6-3 with his fourth goal at 15:05. Chicago pulled Crawford with 3:22 left.The Hawks host Philadelphia Wednesday night.

Bulls fail to show up as OKC wins blow out 101-69

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Russell Westbrook had yet another triple-double milestone to accomplish.Westbrook had recorded a triple-double against every NBA opponent except for the Bulls. He marked that team off his list at last.Westbrook had 12 points, 13 rebounds and 13 assists to lead the Oklahoma City Thunder to a 101-69 rout of the Bulls on Saturday night. He became the first player in league history to record a triple-double against 29 different opponents.Westbrook has even done it against his own team.

”He had one against us in practice,” Carmelo Anthony said with a smile.

Anthony scored 21 points and Paul George had 20 for the Thunder, who won their first road game in three attempts after losing three of their last four games overall. Steven Adams and Raymond Felton had 12 points apiece for the Thunder.Lauri Markkanen scored 15 points to lead the rebuilding Bulls, who were coming off their first win in four games this season after beating the Atlanta Hawks 91-86 on Thursday. Justin Holiday added 11 points and Robin Lopez had 10 for the Bulls, which shot 28.2 percent from the field.

”We took a step in the wrong direction tonight,” coach Fred Hoiberg said. ”We didn’t compete. We didn’t stay together. We didn’t fight through adversity as a team. We were careless. We were stagnant.”

ND breaks away from NC State for 35-14 win

SOUTH BEND—There was plenty of Love in the air and on the ground as No. 9 Notre Dame continued its comeback season with a convincing 35-14 victory over 14-ranked North Carolina State on a blustery Saturday afternoon.

”It’s amazing running behind those guys,” Notre Dame running back Josh Adams said after he rushed for 202 yards on 27 carries, including a 77-yard touchdown burst in the third quarter. ”I just love those guys.”

The long run came almost eight minutes after cornerback Julian Love returned an interception 69 yards for a touchdown, his second interception return for a touchdown this season. The two touchdowns put the Irish, up 21-14 at halftime, on cruise control.Adams, whose sixth 100-yard rushing game of the season and second 200-yard effort, has been catapulted into the Heisman Trophy race by his offensive line that produced 318 rushing yards. The 6-foot-2, 225-pound junior now has 1,169 yards on 132 carries, an average of 8.9 yards per carry.

”There’s 11 guys on offense, 11 on defense and 11 on special teams,” said Adams, who wears No. 33, about the on-line campaign ”33 Trucking.” ”I don’t think it’s built around me. We’re just trying to stay focused in what we want to accomplish.”

The sixth straight victory by Brian Kelly’s team, now 7-1, avenged a 10-3 loss at N.C. State last year in windy and rainy conditions caused by Hurricane Matthew that was the low point of a 4-8 campaign. N.C. State (6-2) saw its six-game winning streak come to an end.

”Our guys were up to the task,” Kelly said. ”They continually come out with energy and a mindset to get after the opponent.”

The two long third-quarter plays broke open a game that Notre Dame led 21-14 at halftime.

”I thought we really needed it,” said Love, who also had three passes broken up. ”We were up but you always need that turn of momentum, that crushing blow to an opponent.”

Love’s interception ended N.C. State quarterback Ryan Finley’s streak of consecutive passes without throwing an interception at 339. Earlier this season, Love had a 50-yard interception return for a TD in Notre Dame’s 38-18 victory at Michigan State.

”That was a huge momentum play,” N.C. State coach Dave Doeren said. ”I thought their defensive kids played well We were able to score just one touchdown.”

Notre Dame junior quarterback Brandon Wimbush had three first-half touchdowns, his 11th rushing TD of the season and two scoring passes of 25 yards to Durham Smythe and 11 yards to Kevin Stepherson. The scoring pass to Smythe came after Germaine Pratt of N.C. State fell on a blocked Irish punt to put the Wolfpack up 7-0.

NU wins in extra time again–3OT vs MSU

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EVANSTON—A gory injury couldn’t knock Nate Hall out of the game or stop him from coming up with Northwestern’s biggest interception of the season.Hall picked off Brian Lewerke in the end zone on the game’s final play – even though he had 30 stitches in his left hand – after Clayton Thorson threw a 22-yard touchdown to Flynn Nagel in the third overtime to lead the Wildcats to a 39-31 victory over No. 16 Michigan State on Saturday.NU had a third down at the 22 when Thorson hit Nagel on a crossing pattern for the go-ahead TD. Cameron Green caught the two-point conversion to make it an eight-point game, and two big plays by the defense on one snap preserved the victory .Lineman Joe Gaziano stripped Lewerke as he dropped back on second down at the 25. Hall heard the crowd roar and figured there was a sack, but he stayed locked in coverage.Lewerke picked up the loose ball and fired toward the goal line. Hall reached up and came down with a pass intended for Matt Sokol , setting off a wild celebration with the sideline emptying and fans pouring out of the stands.

”We’re taught to stay in coverage,” Hall said. ”That’s exactly what I did.”

That Hall finished the game was quite an achievement. He missed most of the second quarter after his middle and index fingers got bent so far back they broke the skin.His interception set off a wild celebration, with the sideline emptying and fans pouring out of the stands.

”We’ve always kind of had the same mentality,” Nagel said. ”We’ve known that we can be a good team. We are a good team. I think we’re not just starting to prove that.”

The win was the third straight for the Wildcats (5-3, 3-2 Big Ten) and their second in overtime in as many weeks. Michigan State (6-2, 4-1) came up short after winning four in a row.Thorson threw for 356 yards and two touchdowns. Jackson had 41 yards rushing and 51 receiving. But the star running back threw for a touchdown early in the fourth quarter on his first career pass.Nagel added 87 yards receiving, and Cameron Green had 76 yards and a TD catch.

”We kept playing,” Thorson said. ”So proud of our guys. These are the games that – just think back to playing NCAA Football and going to triple-overtime with my brothers – this is something I’ve always wanted to do.”

Lewerke threw for 445 yards and four touchdowns. But he was second guessing his decision on the game’s final play.

”I should have thrown it away, but I saw Sokol running on the right side and it looked like he had a couple of steps on a guy,” he said. ”It just takes a little bit bigger of an arm to make that throw and obviously I probably shouldn’t have thrown it in that situation.”

Cody White had 165 yards receiving and two TDs. But instead of heading into next week’s home game against No. 2 Penn State unbeaten with a perfect conference record, the Spartans came up short facing a resurgent team.After Michigan State deferred to start the first OT, Thorson threw a 14-yard touchdown to Green.Lewerke then hit Felton Davis with a 6-yarder to tie it and gave the Spartans a 31-24 lead with an 11-yarder to White. But Jackson tied it again with a 3-yard run for his 38th career touchdown, tying Damien Anderson’s program record.

”They’re seeing the return on the investment, that the work (they’re) putting in, (they’re) getting the reward,” coach Pat Fitzgerald said.

Jackson also gave Northwestern a 17-10 lead early in the fourth. He took a handoff from Thorson and threw a wobbly 12-yard touchdown to Bennett Skowronek in the back of the end zone.Michigan State’s Matt Coghlin hit the right upright attempting a 32-yard field goal with about six minutes left in regulation. But the Spartans got another chance.Lewerke scrambled for 5 yards on a fourth-and-4 from the 30 and threw a 13-yard touchdown to Felton Davis III in the left corner of the end zone to tie it with 25 seconds left in regulation.The Spartans could have really made things interesting in the Big Ten with back-to-back games against No. 2 Penn State and No. 6 Ohio State coming up.The Wildcats squeezed out another tight win and once again seem to be hitting their stride after a slow start, just as they did last year.NU visits Nebraska on Nov. 4.

Illinois still winless in Big Ten after loss to Wisconsin

Illinois Fighting Illini

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) Wisconsin has relied all season on star freshman running back Jonathan Taylor to provide the winning edge.
When Taylor went down with an injury against Illinois on Saturday, the fifth-ranked Badgers showed how well they can play defense, forcing three turnovers to help key a 24-10 victory.
Wisconsin had five sacks and three quarterback hurries against the Illini’s inexperienced quarterbacks. The pressure up front led to two interceptions, one by defensive back Joe Ferguson, and a fumble recovery.


”When someone does get a pick or fumble, everybody is juiced-up and excited for them,” Ferguson said. ”It makes everyone else want to make a play.”
On offense, Wisconsin did just enough to get by. Alec Ingold and Garrett Groshek scored on short runs in the first half, and offensive lineman Michael Deiter added another touchdown on a trick play late in the game.
Taylor entered the game averaging 158.6 yards rushing, but only had 73 before leaving the game in the second quarter. Head coach Paul Chryst said he does not know the extent of the injury.

”It was fun to see other guys have to step up,” Chryst said. ”We’ll find out more about JT at practice this week.”

Alex Hornibrook made enough throws to get the victory for Wisconsin (8-0, 5-0 Big Ten). None was better than on the trick play that freed Deiter for his first career touchdown.Hornibrook dropped back on third-and-goal from the 4 and rushed right before throwing a backward pass to Deiter on the other side. The 328-pound Deiter caught it and hustled in for the score.
”I was super nervous,” Deiter said. ”I’ve never touched a football in a football game other than (at) center. I had the whole offensive line out in front of me. There was no way I wasn’t going to get in.”
Wisconsin gained 303 yards, well below its season average of 462.7 yards, but was able to overcome a sluggish performance for its 11th consecutive conference victory.
After starting with consecutive three-and-outs, Wisconsin came alive behind Taylor, who gained 52 yards to set up Ingold’s 1-yard plunge on his only carry of the game. That capped a 15-play, 92-yard drive that took just over eight minutes.
Without Taylor to contend with, the Illinois defense held its own, keeping the score at 17-3 until the fourth quarter. But the Illini offense never found a rhythm.


”It was an outstanding defense that we were going against,” Illini coach Lovie Smith said. ”We couldn’t establish the run. We had our moments with the passing game, but not enough consistency to win.”
Sophomore Jeff George Jr. and freshman Cam Thomas combined to go 9 of 31 for 152 yards. Thomas threw the interceptions, the second coming midway through the fourth quarter and ending any hopes of a comeback.
The Illini (2-6, 0-5) finally found the end zone on a 3-yard run by Kendrick Foster, but it came with less than a minute left in the game.

Rinne sticks it to Hawks again, goal scoring drought continues.


The Nashville Predators killed off six power plays, helping the Predators edge the Blackhawks 2-1 on Friday.
”Our goalie played real well tonight,” forward Craig Smith said. ”Kudos to him and our penalty killers. They were monsters.”

Smith followed Calle Jarnkrok’s first of the season with career goal No. 100, helping the Predators rebound from consecutive losses to Calgary and the New York Rangers. Nashville also lost 2-1 to Chicago in overtime during their first meeting on Oct. 14.

”Obviously, not the start we wanted but we were able to hang in there and then from the second period on I thought we played pretty well and started creating more and more offense,” Rinne said.

Corey Crawford had 28 stops, but the Blackhawks lost for the fourth time in five games. Coach Joel Quenneville tweaked his lines in search of more offense and ther Hawks generated plenty of opportunities, but couldn’t finish with Rinne on top of his game in net.

”Usually if you play that way, you know you’re going to end up with a couple goals,” Blackhawks star Patrick Kane said, ”so try to stay with it here and hopefully it comes.”

Artem Anisimov scored in the first. John Hayden had a good look at a potential tying goal with 4:15 remaining, but Rinne was there.The Blackhawks have just 11 regulation goals in their last six games.

”It’s a tough loss, but we played well,” Crawford said. ”We can definitely build on a lot of things tonight.”

Nashville was outplayed for most of the first period, but rebounded nicely in the second. Jarnkrok picked off a bad pass by Duncan Keith and beat Crawford from the slot 57 seconds into the period, tying it at 1.The Predators grabbed the lead on Smith’s power-play goal at 11:02. With Jan Rutta in the box for tripping, Smith sent a wrist shot past Crawford on the goaltender’s stick side for his second of the season.The Blackhawks had three power plays of their own in the second, and the Predators killed off each one. They were outshot 13-8 in the period despite all that time with the man advantage.

”Pekka gave us a chance after that first period, because we took on a lot of shots, a lot of attempts, a lot of zone time,” Nashville coach Peter Laviolette said. ”He made so many big saves that allowed it to stay 1-0. And we got going after that. We were pretty good in the second and the third.”

The Hawks got two of their best scoring opportunities with Nashville on the power play. Brandon Saad was denied on a short-handed breakaway about eight minutes into the game. Rinne turned away Nick Schmaltz on another breakaway late in the first, but Anisimov followed the play and knocked it in for his second of the season.

NOTES—Blackhawks forward Lance Bouma skated off gingerly after he blocked P.K. Subban’s shot early in the third, but returned to the game. … Nashville swept Chicago in the first round of the playoffs last season. … The Blackhawks had 21 shots in the first, matching their season high for any period. … Saad celebrated his 25th birthday. … Bulls rookie Lauri Markkanen attended the game and played ”Shoot The Puck” before the third period. Rinne said he planned to meet his fellow Finn after the victory….The Blackhawks visit the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday night.


Bulls get first win,,91-86 over Atlanta

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The Bulls needed a big play, and Lauri Markkanen wanted the ball.Nothing timid about this rookie.Markkanen made a key 3-pointer with 48.5 seconds left in his fourth NBA game, helping the Bulls beat the Atlanta Hawks 91-86 on Thursday night for their first win of the season.

”I’m not afraid of big moments,” Markkanen said. ”Even though my shot wasn’t falling early on, I still believe every shot I shoot, I believe it’s going in.”

The 7-foot forward finished with 14 points and 12 rebounds, leading a dominant rebounding effort for the Bulls. Robin Lopez had 16 points and eight rebounds, and reserve David Nwaba finished with 15 points and 11 boards, helping the Bulls to a whopping 62-40 advantage on the glass.

”I think in the past few games we had struggled to close out possessions,” Lopez said. ”We had solid defensive possessions, but we let the opposing team get offensive rebounds and tonight I thought we did a great job of getting rebounding, of team rebounding.”

Marco Belinelli made five 3-pointers on his way to 23 points for Atlanta, which went 1-4 on the franchise’s longest road trip to begin a season. Kent Bazemore scored 16 points and Mike Muscala finished with 14 points and 10 boards.Belinelli made a 3 to give Atlanta an 86-85 lead with 1:48 left, but the Hawks never scored again. Lopez passed to Justin Holiday for a reverse layup and Jerian Grant found Markkanen for his big 3 in the final minute, making it 90-86.

”It was a tough way to end,” Muscala said.

Grant added a free throw in the final seconds, helping the Bulls close it out. Holiday had 13 points and 10 rebounds, and Grant finished with 11 points and seven assists.Rookie John Collins had 13 points on 5-for-6 shooting for the Hawks, who won three of four against the Bulls last season. Playing without point guard Dennis Schroder, who missed his second straight game with a sprained left ankle, Atlanta did not attempt a free throw in the fourth quarter, while the Bulls went 9 for 12 at the line in the final period.
”They basically won the game at the free-throw line,” coach Mike Budenholzer said. ”That’s the difference. And both teams are struggling to score, we just kind of gifted them with free throws.”

Markkanen, the seventh overall pick in the June draft, made five 3-pointers and scored 19 points in Tuesday’s 119-112 loss at Cleveland, drawing praise from LeBron James for his shooting skills. He got off to a slow start against Atlanta, going 1 for 8 from the field in the first half, but he got back on track by putting the ball on the floor.He drove to the rim for a dunk and a three-point play with 8:33 left in the third. He added a slick driving layup with 6:48 to go, giving the Bulls a 49-44 lead after they trailed by as many as seven in the first half.Lopez has a framed picture of pop star Britney Spears in his locker. He said he found it after the Bulls season-opening loss to Toronto at the Air Canada Centre last Thursday.

Bucks return to Milwaukee Arena for one game, but fall to Celtics

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MILWAUKEE—The Milwaukee Bucks wanted to play a game in the aging arena where the team got its start to celebrate the franchise’s half-century in existence.Al Horford and the Boston Celtics spoiled the party.Horford had 27 points and nine rebounds, held league scoring leader Giannis Antetokounmpo in check for long stretches and sank back-to-back 3-pointers late in the third quarter as the Celtics beat the Bucks 96-89 on Thursday night.
”He was great on both ends of the floor,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens said. ”He guarded Giannis a large part of the night and I thought did a great job on him and then he obviously hit the big 3s.”

Kyrie Irving added 24 points and seven assists for Boston, which avenged a loss to Milwaukee in Boston earlier this month.The game was played at the UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena, formerly known as the MECCA, which served as the Bucks’ home from 1968 until the team moved into the Bradley Center in 1988. The Bucks chose to play one game this season at the 11,000-seat arena to mark the team’s 50th anniversary. The Bucks will move into a new arena next season.Antetokounmpo had 28 points. Khris Middleton and Malcolm Brogdon added 15 apiece.Antetokounmpo, who came into the game leading the league with nearly 37 points per game, scored just 11 in the first half before matching that total in the third quarter as the Bucks built a seven-point lead midway through the period.

Bulls fade in fourth quarter, drop to 0-3 with loss to Cavs

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CLEVELAND—LeBron James scored 34 points as the Cleveland Cavaliers, using another early season lineup, awakened after a sluggish first half and beat the winless Bulls 119-112 on Tuesday night.Although he often handles the ball and runs Cleveland’s offense, James had not officially been listed as a guard since 2012 with Miami. The superstar added 13 assists, including a no-look, behind-the-back dish to Jae Crowder for a 3-pointer during Cleveland’s 15-3 spurt in the third quarter.The Bulls did all they could. James just did more.

”You’re playing against the best player on the planet,” Fred Hoiberg said.

Kevin Love had 20 points and 12 rebounds, and Dwyane Wade, who asked Cavs coach Tyronn Lue to take him out of the starting lineup, came off the bench and added 11 points.Justin Holiday scored 25 and rookie Lauri Markkanen 19 for the Bulls, who made a season-high 17 3-pointers. The 7-foot Markkanen became the first player in NBA history to make 10 3-pointers in his first three career games.Cleveland trailed 92-91 entering the fourth before Love dropped a 3 and Kyle Korver made a pair of 3s in 33 seconds. The Bulls closed within six in the final two minutes, but the Cavs came up with two offensive rebounds to reset the shot clock before James drove past Markkanen for a left-handed layup to make it 118-110.It was vintage James, perhaps the only player in the game who can play either guard spot, both forward positons and center.It’s how he was raised.The Cavs were coming off an embarrassing loss to Orlando and their defense was atrocious in the first half, when the Bulls made 12 3-pointers and scored 65 points – 12 less than in their previous game.