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Fayne leads Illinois State to 62-50 win over Evansville

Phil Fayne scored 17 points and blocked four shots as Illinois State opened Missouri Valley Conference action with a 62-50 victory over Evansville on Thursday night.

 

Fayne was 8 of 12 from the floor and grabbed five rebounds. MiKyle McIntosh added nine points and pulled down eight rebounds. Keyshawn Evans had nine points and Paris Lee chipped in eight with seven assists.

 

The Redbirds had nine blocks, one short of the school record.

 

Illinois State (9-4, 1-0) hit 23 of 61 field goal attempts (37.7 percent) while limiting the Purple Aces to just 14-of-54 shooting (25.9 percent).

 

The Redbirds, who have won five of their last six, never trailed and took a 35-25 lead into the break. They opened the second half with a 15-9 run.

 

Evansville (9-5, 0-1) had won seven straight before running into the Redbirds.

 

Jaylon Brown and Ryan Taylor led Evansville with 17 and 11 points, respectively.

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Brown scores 14, Bradley stifles Southern Illinois, 60-51

Darrell Brown scored 14 points on Thursday night and Bradley beat Southern Illinois 60-51 in the Missouri Valley Conference opener for both teams.

 

Koch Bar and Nate Kennell scored 10 apiece while Luuk van Bree and JoJo McGlaston added nine each.

 

Brown and Kennell hit back-to-back 3-pointers to give Bradley (6-8) the lead, 46-40, for good with 4:12 left. Armon Fletcher converted a 3-point play to pull SIU within two with 3:06 to go, but van Bree hit a 3 five seconds later and Kennell added another to make it 54-46 with 1:52 remaining. The Braves made 6 of 8 free throws from there to seal it.

 

Southern Illinois (7-7) shot just 27.3 percent (18 of 66) from the field - its lowest since coach Barry Hinson took over in 2012-13 - including 2 of 26 from 3-point range.

 

Sean O'Brien had 10 points and 10 rebounds for the Salukis. Thik Bol added nine and 12.

Bradley snapped a three-game skid.

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Packers End Regular Season In Detroit

The Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers are tied atop the NFC North with 9-6 records and their matchup at Ford Field Sunday night will decide the division title.

 

The loser will need Washington to lose to the New York Giants earlier in the day to claim a wild-card berth.

 

Green Bay has all the momentum, carrying a five-game winning streak into the season finale.

 

Aaron Rodgers asserted the Packers could run the table when they were 4-6 and he's one big victory from backing up that claim.

 

Rodgers is the hottest quarterback in the NFL right now. He has thrown 14 touchdown passes without an interception in the past six games. He carved up the vaunted Minnesota defense for 347 passing yards and four touchdowns and added a rushing score in a 38-25 home victory last Sunday.

 

Rodgers' favorite target, wide receiver Jordy Nelson, has 38 receptions, 528 receiving yards and five touchdowns during the winning streak. Rodgers threw four touchdown passes, two to Nelson, in the Packers' 34-27 win over the Lions at Lambeau Field earlier this season.

 

The Lions are coming off two road losses, including a 42-21 thumping by the NFC's top team, Dallas, on Monday night. In a best-case scenario, Detroit can still gain a first-round bye in the NFC playoffs if they win and both Atlanta and Seattle lose this weekend.

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Bears End Season in Minnesota

When the Minnesota Vikings traveled to Chicago in Week 8, they still held high hopes of a season that had started with a 5-0 record.

 

Minnesota lost at Philadelphia coming out of its bye before the Bears surprised many with a 20-10 victory over the Vikings that week. The downward spiral continued until Minnesota was ousted from the playoff picture with a 35-28 loss to Green Bay last week, the eighth loss in 10 games.

 

The Vikings are left searching for answers for a lost season as they host Chicago in the season finale on Sunday.

 

While the Vikings (7-8) still held on to playoff hopes, the Bears' (3-12) season faded quickly amid a debilitating string of injuries. Chicago heads to the finale with young, unproven players still proving themselves.

 

Execution has been an issue for Chicago all season. The Bears are hoping to avoid the franchise's worst record since the NFL expanded to 16 games in 1978 and the second-worst mark in team history after 1-13 in 1969.

 

With Minnesota 2-8 since its bye, Chicago is 1-6 since it had its bye.


The Bears' biggest issue -- aside from injuries -- has been turnover-differential. Chicago has an NFL-low 10 takeaways and is a minus-16.

 

Quarterback Matt Barkley has thrown eight interceptions the past two weeks. Barkley is the third Chicago quarterback to throw a pass this season.

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Kane has goal, assist in Blackhawks' 3-2 win over Predators

Patrick Kane had a goal and an assist to lead the Chicago Blackhawks to a 3-2 victory over the Nashville Predators on Thursday night.

 

Artem Anisimov and Jonathan Toews also scored and Corey Crawford made 36 saves to help Chicago snap a three-game losing streak, the Blackhawks' longest skid of the season.

 

Filip Forsberg and Mike Fisher scored for Nashville, and Ryan Johansen had two assists. The Predators have lost three straight.

 

With the score tied at 2 late in the third, Kane carried the puck into the Nashville zone on the right side and fired a wrist shot from the faceoff dot that beat Pekka Rinne on the short side. Rinne finished with 20 saves.

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Lady Sages Use Second Quarter Surge To Win Holiday Hoopla Championship

Tatum McCall scored 12 points and Zanna Myers added 11 points as the Monticello Lady Sages downed Ridgeview 49-21 in the championship game of the Holiday Hoopla Girls Basketball Tournament Thursday evening.

Marissa McPike and Rachael Lockmiller added nine points apiece as the Lady Sages scored 31 second quarter points and led 42-24 at the half.

 

The Lady Sages forced 19 more turnovers.

The Lady Sages improve to 12-2 overall.


Hear Monticello girls basketball action next Saturday, January 7 when the Lady Sages travel to Downs for a matchup with Tri-Valley for a 1 pm start time on 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com.

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Scorching Second Half Lifts PBL Past Monticello from Holiday Hoopla

Paxton-Buckley-Loda caught fire in the second half, shooting 77% and pulling away for a 73-55 victory over the Monticello Sages for a third place finish from the Monticello Holiday Hoopla Basketball tournament Thursday evening.

 

The Panthers shot 8-for-10 from three in the second half, led by Andrew Zenner’s 23 points and 12 rebounds.

 

Cole Eshlemen added 20 points, Luke Fitton scored 15 points and Colton Kleinert added ten.

 

Dalton Coplea dished out 13 assists for the Panthers.

 

Luke Stokowski led the Sages with 19 points and seven rebounds, Johnny Dawson added 11 points and Calvin Fisher scored 10 points.

 

The Sages have dropped two in a row and are 7-2 on the season.

 

PBL improves to 6-2 overall.

 

The two squads will meet again at Monticello High School Thursday, January 19 in a make up of a postponed game earlier in the season.

 

Hear Monticello boys basketball action next Friday from Rantoul at 7:30 pm on 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com.

 

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Lady Sages Rout GCMS

Marissa McPike scored 17 points as the Monticello Lady Sages dominated GCMS 56-16 in Wednesday afternoon action from the Monticello Holiday Hoopla girls basketball tournament.
 
The Lady Sages held GCMS to just six first half points as GCMS could not handle Monticello's tight, full court defense all afternoon, comitting 25 turnovers. 
 
Emily Edmondson and Zanna Myers each scored seven points. Emily Wilson chipped in with six points for the Lady Sages. 
 
Monticello improve to 11-2 overall and move on to today's championship tilt at 6 pm opposite Ridgeview. 

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Maroa-Forsyth Drops Blue Ridge

The Maroa-Forsyth boys basketball team started fast and didn't look back in a Wednesday rout of Blue Ridge 73-33.
 
The Trojans jumped out to a 24-10 lead after the first quarter then exploded for a 64-30 lead after the third quarter. 
 
Jaxson Nelson led the Trojans with 18 points while Daanish Mahmood added 16 points. Cody Marsh added 12 points for the Trojans. 
 
Dane Houser led the Knights with 10 points.

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Butler's 40 Points, Buzzer-Beater Lifts Bulls Past Nets

Jimmy Butler matched his season high with 40 points and hit an 18-footer at the buzzer roughly five minutes after being helped off the court with an apparent injury Wednesday night to give the Chicago Bulls a 101-99 comeback victory over the Brooklyn Nets.
Butler scored nine points in the final 2 1/2 minutes to rally Chicago. He finished 11 for 11 from the free throw line and grabbed 11 rebounds as the Bulls overcame a seven-point deficit in the final three minutes for their second consecutive win.
 
With just more than five minutes left, Butler came down on the foot of Brooklyn guard Randy Foye and had to be helped off the court.
 
Dwyane Wade had 16 points before leaving early in the fourth quarter with a migraine.
 
Brook Lopez had 33 points - including a career-high five 3-pointers - as the Nets dropped their 12th straight road game.
 
The Bulls travel to Indiana Friday. 
 
>>Washington Drops Indiana
 
John Wall had 36 points and 11 rebounds, and the Wizards held off the Pacers 111-105 on Wednesday night despite losing Beal to a sprained right ankle.
Wall, who started 1 of 5 from the field, finished 11 of 19 and scored 23 points in the second half.
 
Otto Porter Jr. added 22 points for Washington, and Wall finished one assist shy of his first triple-double of the season. Marcin Gortat had 13 points and 16 rebounds, while Beal scored 12 points in 18 minutes.
 
Paul George scored 34 points and Jeff Teague added 19 points and 11 assists for the Pacers, who trailed by 11 after three quarters and cut the deficit to two late in the fourth.
 
Indiana has lost four straight since beating Washington on Dec. 19.
 
Washington outrebounded the Pacers 54-34 and scored 15 second-chance points.
 
After Indiana closed to 71-68, Wall scored 12 straight Wizards points as they built the lead to 85-74 after three quarters.
 
The Pacers host the Bulls on Friday.

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Blues Blast Flyers; Blackhawks Extend Panarin

Robby Fabbri got a hat trick, David Perron and Scottie Upshall scored during St. Louis' four-goal third period and the Blues rallied to beat the Philadelphia Flyers 6-3 on Wednesday night.
Kevin Shattenkirk also scored and Carter Hutton made 17 saves as the Blues improved to 12-1-4 at home.
 
Wayne Simmonds, Nick Cousins and Brayden Schenn scored for the Flyers, who dropped their fourth game in their last five since ending a 10-game winning streak. Steve Mason made 19 saves.
 
Fabbri's second of the game with 4:59 left gave the Blues insurance, and he added an empty-netter for the hat trick two minutes later.
 
It was the first career hat trick for Fabbri, who snapped a seven-game scoring drought.
 
The Blues host Nashville on Friday night.
 
>>Blackhawks Extend Panarin
 
Artemi Panarin and the Chicago Blackhawks have agreed to terms on a $12 million, two-year contract extension.
The reigning Calder Trophy winner will count $6 million against the salary cap in the 2017-18 and 2018-19 seasons. Agent Tom Lynn confirmed the deal in an email to The Associated Press on Wednesday.
 
Panarin, 25, has 114 points in his first 117 NHL games. The Russian winger had 30 goals and 47 assists as a rookie last season, and has 15 goals and 22 assists in 37 games this season.
 
While not the long-term contract that many expected, the bridge deal keeps Panarin in Chicago along with core players Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, Marian Hossa, Artem Anisimov and Corey Crawford.

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Oregon Stuns No. 2 UCLA

Dillon Brooks hit a 3-pointer with 0.8 seconds left to give No. 21 Oregon an 89-87 victory Wednesday night in the Pac-12 opener for both teams.
 
Brooks, who finished with 23 points and nine rebounds, grabbed Bryce Alford's missed free throw with 8.9 seconds to go, dribbled to the right wing and pulled up for the game-winning shot.
Payton Pritchard added 15 points and nine assists for the Ducks (12-2, 1-0), who won their 10th consecutive game and pushed the nation's second-longest home winning streak to 34 games. Pritchard's 3-pointer pulled Oregon within one with 12.9 seconds left to set the stage for Brooks' shot.
 
Thomas Welch had 20 points and 10 rebounds for the Bruins (13-1, 0-1), and Alford had 20 points. Lonzo Ball added 14 points and TJ Leaf had 13.
 
The Bruins came in as the nation's best shooting team and fourth-best beyond the arc, and they nearly hit those marks by going 34 of 64 overall (53.1 percent) and 11 of 25 (44.0 percent) on 3-pointers.
 
However, UCLA also had 14 turnovers against 19 assists and lost the rebounding battle 37-35.
 
The Bruins used a 15-0 run sparked by three straight 3s by Ball midway through the second half to take a 72-65 lead. UCLA was up by eight with 4 minutes to play before Pritchard sparked Oregon's final rally with seven points.

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Monticello Fall to GCMS on Day 2 of Holiday Hoopla Action

Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley outscored Monticello 21-3 in the fourth quarter to complete two comebacks and beat Monticello 66-55 in day two action from the Holiday Hoopla basketball tournament Wednesday afternoon.

 

The Sages were led by Jonny Dawson, with 18 points. Isiah Florey added 13 points. Calvin Fisher chipped in with 7 points and 8 points, and Luke Stowkowki scored 6 points and had 8 rebounds.

 

GCMS was led by Mitchell McNutt with 22 points and 4 rebounds. Bryce Barnes chipped in with 16 points and 11 rebounds, and Tucker Cribbett also added 15 points.

 
With the loss, the Sages fall to 7-1 on the season. 
 
Tune in tomorrow, December 29th at 6 pm as the Sages take on PBL. You can hear the game live on 959 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com.

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Clinton Lady Maroons Defeat Virden North Mac

As heard on WHOW, the Clinton Lady Maroons defeated the Virden North Mac Lady Panthers by a score of 53-43 on Wednesday afternoon.

 

The Lady Maroons were led by junior Alyssa Saulsberry with 12 points. Saulsberry was named the Country Financial representative Stephan York Maroons Player of the Game. Junior Madi Filkin also chipped in with 11 points.

 

The Lady Panthers were led by senior Hanah Tomasko with 19 points.

 

With the win the Lady Maroons improve to 4-10 on the season and Virden North Mac fall to 5-5.

 

Tune in Thursday, January 5 as the Lady Maroons take on Tri-Valley. You can hear the game live on the Big 1520 AM/92.3 FM WHOW and online at dewittdailynews.com.

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Maryland Routs Illinois in Big Ten Opener

Melo Trimble scored 20 points and Jaylen Brantley added 13 as Maryland routed Illinois 84-59 on Tuesday in the Big Ten opener for both teams.
 
It was the sixth victory in a row for the Terrapins (13-1), who have won their conference opener in all three seasons since joining the Big Ten.
 
Malcolm Hill had 21 points for the Illini (10-4), who saw their six-game winning streak come to an end.
 
Maryland played without two of its top post players. Junior Michal Cekovsky rested a left ankle injury, and senior Damonte Dodd missed his fifth consecutive game with a sprained left knee ligament.
 
Their absences mattered little against the Illini, who never led and were outscored 48-24 in the paint.
 
The Terps were 55.9 percent from the field while Illinois, which dropped its Big Ten opener for the fourth time in five years, shot just 35.6 percent.

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Jets Get By Blackhawks, Hossa To IR

Blake Wheeler, Mark Scheifele and Drew Stafford scored and Connor Hellebuyck made 34 saves to help the Winnipeg Jets beat the Chicago Blackhawks 3-1 on Tuesday night.
 
Jacob Trouba added two assists, and Winnipeg won its second straight and fourth in five games. The Jets beat Central Division-leading Chicago for the third time in three tries this season, outscoring the Blackhawks 9-2 over those games.
Artem Anisimov scored his 15th goal in his return from missing three games with an upper-body injury, but Chicago lost its third straight for the first time since last March.
 
Chicago's Corey Crawford blocked 31 shots in his second start since returning from an appendectomy that cost him 10 games.
 
With an assist, the Blackhawks' Artemi Panarin stretched his career-best points streak to eight games. He has five goals and 14 points during the run.
 
The Blackhawks activated Anisimov off injured reserve and placed veteran right wing Marian Hossa on IR retroactive to Dec. 20.
 
Chicago announced the moves Tuesday prior to a game against the Winnipeg Jets. Both forwards have been sidelined by upper-body injuries.
 
Anisimov was put on injured reserve last Thursday and missed three games. His 14 goals and 27 points both rank third on Chicago.
 
Hossa has been out since leaving early in a loss to Ottawa a week ago. He leads the Blackhawks with 16 goals.
 
Coach Joel Quenneville says Hossa will probably miss Chicago's next three games and will "hopefully be ready to come back" when the Blackhawks face the St. Louis Blues in the NHL Winter Classic at Busch Stadium on Jan. 2.

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Westbrook's 15th Triple-Double Lifts OKC

Russell Westbrook scored 29 points, grabbed 17 rebounds, and added 11 assists for his 15th triple-double of the season, and the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Heat 106-94 on Tuesday night for their fourth straight win.
 
Westbrook nearly had the triple-double by halftime, falling two rebounds shy.
 
Enes Kanter scored 19 and Steven Adams added 15 - including a highlight-reel dunk in the first half - for the Thunder.
 
Josh Richardson tied a career high with 22 points for the Heat. James Johnson scored 16 and Tyler Johnson added 15, both off the bench, for Miami. Oklahoma City's frontcourt limited Miami center Hassan Whiteside to 12 points and eight rebounds, most of that coming in the fourth quarter.

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Monticello Routs Tuscola

The Monticello Sages outscored Tuscola 25-5 en rout to a 71-31 victory in the nightcap of the first day of Monticello’s Holiday Hoopla tournament.

Isiah Florey the Sages with 16 points. Johnny Dawson scored 15 point dished out six assists.

 

Calvin Fisher added 13 points and five rebounds while Luke Stokowski had 12 points and five rebounds.

 

The Sages move on to a semi-final basketball game tomorrow afternoon when they take on GCMS at 3:30 pm.

 

Hear all the action on 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com.

 

Also hear girls basketball action at 2 pm, also against GCMS.

 

Monticello is now 7-0 on the season while Tuscola is 5-4.

 

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Sages Defeat Sangamon Valley

The Monticello Sagtesa defeated the Sangamon Valley Storm by a score of 67 to 32 on Tuesday afternoon. The Sages were led by Isiah Florey with 13 points and 2 assists. Calvin Fisher also 10 chipped in with 12 points, 6 assists and 5 rebounds. Luke Stokowski added 10 points, 5 assists and 4 rebounds. Devin Graham added 5 points, Noah Wright added 9 points and Benton Singleton chipped in with 10 points and 6 rebounds. 

 

The Storm was led by Jacob Oakleaf and Nathan Doty, who both scored 11 points. 

 

WIth the win, the Sages improve to 6-0 on the season, while Sangamon Valley fall to 0-7 on the season. 

 

Tune in tomorrow, December 28th as the Sages take on GCMS. You can hear the game live on 959 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com.

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Annual Holiday Hoopla Opens Today

The annual Monticello Booster Club's Holiday Hoopla tournament opens today with the Sages boys basketball team playing a pair of games on the tournament's opening day. 
 
Monticello will open play against Sangamon Valley at 11:30 am. That game follows the tournament opener betwen GCMS and Tuscola.
The Sages return to action later tonight, taking on Tuscola at 7:30 pm. 
 
Hear both games on 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com. 
 
The remaining games today are Neoga taking on Argenta-Oreana (2 pm), Paxton-Buckley-Loda taking on Ridgeview (3:30 pm) and Sangamon Valley versus GCMS (6 pm).
 
Wednesday, Monticello returns to the court at 3:30 pm when they take on GCMS.
 
Argenta-Oreana and Paxton-Buckley-Loda open the day at 10 am. Neoga and Ridgeview follow at 11:30 am. Then Tuscola and Sangamon Valley tussle at 2 pm.
 
Ridgeview verse Argenta-Oreana then Paxton-Buckley-Loda and Neoga finish the day's action.
 
The placement games start at 3 pm Thursday, with the championship game at 7:30 pm.
 
The tournament is divided up into two pools. Monticello is joined in the 'purple pool' by Sangamon Valley, GCMS, and Tuscola while the 'gold pool' consists of Ridgeview, Neoga, Argenta-Oreana and Paxton-Buckley-Loda. 
 
Hear Monticello girls basketball action tomorrow afternoon at 2 pm on WEZC and dewittdailynews.com, as they take on GCMS in the girls side of the bracket. 

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Illini Open Big Ten Play Against Maryland

The Illinois Fighting Illini will put a six-game win streak on the line this afternoon when they head to College Park to take on Maryland.
The Illini finished the non-conference schedule 10-3 overall while Maryland is 12-1.
 
Illinois finished the non-conference slate with their sixth straight win in the Braggin' Rights rivalry game against Missouri last Wednesday night. 
 
The Terrapins non-conference 12-1 run includes wins over Georgetown, Kansas State, and Oklahoma State.
 
Last year, as a top 25 team, Maryland trounced Illinois 81-55, also at College Park.
 
The two sides will meet twice this year, the second meeting in another two and a half weeks, on January 14. 
 
Game time today is 4 pm on ESPN 2. 

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Blackhawks Return to Action After Holiday Break

The National Hockey League drops the puck tonight following the holiday break.
 
The Blackhawks return to the ice hosting the Winnipeg Jets at the United Center. The Chicago Blackhawks lead the Central Division and the Western Conference and are close to first place overall in the NHL.
 
The Blackhawks will try to avoid losing three straight for the first time in nearly 10 months when they meet the Jets on Tuesday night.
 
Chicago has not dropped three in a row since a four-game slide from March 9 to March 16. And trying to reverse course could be a difficult task for the Blackhawks, who have been outscored 6-1 in two losses to the Jets in 2016-17, including a 2-1 defeat on Dec. 4 at the United Center.
 
The Blackhawks are also is looking for a split of a four-game homestand. After a win over the San Jose Sharks on Dec. 18 and a one-goal loss to the Ottawa Senators two nights later, the Blackhawks dropped a 2-1 overtime decision to Colorado Avalanche, currently last in the NHL with 25 points.
 
The Blackhawks follow tonight's tilt with road matchups at Nashville Thursday then Carolina Friday before they go to St. Louis for their Winter Classic matchup at Busch Stadium with the Blues next Monday. 

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Bulls Get By Pacers

Dwyane Wade scored 21 points, Nikola Mirotic added a season-high 20 and the Chicago Bulls survived a poor shooting performance for a 90-85 victory over the Indiana Pacers Monday night to snap a three-game losing streak.
 
Jimmy Butler had 16 points despite making only 3 of 12 field-goal attempts. Chicago, which had dropped nine of 12, was 32-for-83 (38.6 percent) from the field for the game.
 
Aaron Brooks had a season-high 19 points to lead the Pacers, who have lost three straight.
 
Indiana, which dropped to 4-12 on the road, has lost five straight and eight of nine at the United Center.
 
Michael Carter-Williams returned to the Bulls lineup after missing nearly two months with left knee and left wrist injuries. He finished with one point (0-for-5 from the field) in 18 minutes.

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Louisville Moves Up In Latest AP Poll; Coaches Poll Unchanged

The past week of college basketball provided little action that should cause a major stir in the pot that is the AP top 25 rankings. However we did have then-No. 6 ranked Kentucky falling on the road to No. 10 Louisville. As a result, the top-10 got a bit of a new look in the final poll of 2016.
 
Villanova remains number one with 56 first place votes. UCLA, second in the country, received three first place votes. Kansas, Baylor, who received six first place votes and Duke round out the top five.
 
With Louisville's jump to sixth, Gonzaga, Kentucky, North Carolina, and Creighton round out the top ten.
 
The Big Ten was well represented as Wisconsin, Purdue and Indiana came in at 14-16. 
 
For the third straight week, the 25 teams ranked in the USA Today Coaches poll are the same. The spots have shifted, but we haven't seen movement in and out of the polls since early December. It's been a long time since that happened.
 
Expect some shakeup a come Jan. 1, as conference play begins in earnest this week across the country. No. 2 UCLA plays at No. 21 Oregon, top-ranked Villanova plays at No. 9 Creighton; we've got a lot to look forward to, and the polls will get a fresh look in 2017.
 
For this week, the biggest movers: South Carolina's fall from 20 to 25th is the biggest drop, while Louisville's rise from 11th to seventh is the largest leap. Kentucky falls to No. 8 after losing at the Cardinals on Wednesday.
 
The ACC still leads the way with six ranked teams.

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Rodgers, Nelson shred Vikings as surging Packers win 38-25

Aaron Rodgers threw for 347 yards and four touchdowns, Jordy Nelson shredded Minnesota's secondary for 154 yards and two scores, and the resurgent Green Bay Packers beat the Vikings 38-25 on Saturday.
 
Green Bay (9-6) built a 28-13 lead at halftime, with Rodgers accounting for all four scores. He finished 28 of 38, and shrugged off his right calf injury after scrambling for a 6-yard touchdown late in the second quarter and making a rare Lambeau Leap.
 
Playing again without running back Adrian Peterson, the Vikings (7-8) had success through the air. Sam Bradford threw for 382 yards and three touchdowns, including a 71-yard touchdown pass to Adam Thielen in the second quarter. Thielen had a career-high 202 yards and two scores.

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MacKinnnon's OT goal lifts Avalanche over Blackhawks 2-1

Nathan MacKinnon scored 25 seconds into overtime to lift the Colorado Avalanche to a 2-1 win over the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday night.
 
Cruising in with Tyson Barrie on a 2-on-1 break, MacKinnon beat Corey Crawford with a high shot that ticked off the post and ended the Avalanche's five-game losing streak.
 
Mikko Rantanen scored on a deflection at 5:42 of the third period for the Avalanche's first goal in 167 minutes and 43 seconds of play. Colorado was shut out in its previous two games, including a 6-0 loss to the Maple Leafs on Thursday.

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Cousins leads way as Redskins pound Bears 41-21

Kirk Cousins threw for a touchdown and ran for two more, and the Washington Redskins gave their fading playoff hopes a boost with a 41-21 victory over the Chicago Bears on Saturday.
 
DeSean Jackson added 114 yards receiving, and Washington (8-6-1) intercepted Matt Barkley five times. It added up to an easy win for the Redskins after they relinquished control of the second wild card with a loss to Carolina on Monday night.
 
Eighth in the NFC behind Green Bay and Tampa Bay coming in, Washington scored 14 points in the first quarter after struggling early in recent games and never really was threatened by the struggling Bears (3-12).
 
Cousins, shaky against Carolina, was 18 of 29 for 270 yards. He threw a 17-yard touchdown to Chris Thompson in the first quarter and scored on a 9-yard run in the second. He also pushed in from the 1 late in the third to make it 31-14.
 
Jackson had a 57-yard reception, but left after he got hit in the jaw while blocking in the third quarter. Pierre Garcon caught four passes for 94 yards.
 
Thompson had a rushing touchdown in the first quarter to go with his scoring catch. Josh Norman and Bashaud Breeland each had two interceptions, and the Redskins won their seventh straight against Chicago.
 
Barkley's five interceptions matched the second-highest total in Bears history and were the most since Jay Cutler threw five against San Francisco on Nov. 12, 2009.
 
Cameron Meredith added 135 yards receiving and Alshon Jeffery had 92. Jordan Howard ran for 119 yards, but the Bears simply got overmatched after back-to-back three-point losses.
 
The best they can do now is finish 4-12 and match their worst record since 2002. The last time they won fewer than four games in a non-strike year was when they went 3-11 in 1973.
 
The Redskins grabbed a 14-0 lead after being held to a total of three first-quarter points in the previous four games.
 
Washington scored on four straight possessions, starting with Thompson's 7-yard run up the middle midway through the quarter.
 
The Bears cut it to 24-14 in the closing minute of the half on a 21-yard catch by Meredith after a leaping Jeffery hauled in a 37-yard pass.
 

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Steelers win AFC North after rallying by Ravens 31-27

The Pittsburgh Steelers rode Ben Roethlisberger's right arm and Antonio Brown's left arm to the AFC North title.
 
Roethlisberger shook off a pair of interceptions to throw two late touchdowns, including a 4-yard strike to Brown with 9 seconds remaining to lift the Steelers to a 31-27 victory over the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday night. Brown caught Roethlisberger's pass just short of the goal line and stretched the ball into the end zone with his left hand to cap a wild fourth quarter and give Pittsburgh (10-5) its second division title in three years.
 
The Ravens took the lead on Kyle Juszczyk's 10-yard burst up the middle with 1:18 remaining. But Roethlisberger calmly led the Steelers 75 yards in 10 plays, the last 4 coming as Brown fought through a pair of tacklers to assure the Steelers of a third straight playoff berth.
 
The Ravens (8-7) were officially eliminated when Joe Flacco's pass near midfield was intercepted on the final play.
 
Kansas City secured a playoff berth with the Baltimore loss.

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Illinois State cruises to 3rd place in Diamond Head Classic

Paris Lee scored 18 points, Deontae Hawkins added 16 and Illinois State cruised past Tulsa 68-56 on Sunday for third place in the Diamond Head Classic.
 
Illinois State (8-4) opened the game on a 16-0 run and Tulsa (6-6) didn't get on the board until freshman Joseph Battle hit a 3-pointer at the 13:19 mark. The Golden Hurricane's were just one for their first 11 shots from the field.
 
Pat Birt made Tulsa's second basket - also a 3 - with 9:39 left and the Golden Hurricane's trailed 23-7. Their third make was also from behind the arc but Illinois State answered with a 3 for an 18-point lead and the Redbirds led by double figures until the final minutes of the game.
 
The Redbirds led by as many as 20 points in the first half and had a 16-point advantage at the break.
 
Junior Etou made 13 of 14 free-throw attempts and scored a career-high 22 points for Tulsa, which missed its first eight field-goal attempts of the second half. The Golden Hurricane's were just 14-of-52 shooting (26.9 percent) and turned it over 18 times.
 

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Aldridge's season-high 33 help Spurs hold off Bulls

LaMarcus Aldridge had a season-high 33 points and the San Antonio Spurs held on to beat the Chicago Bulls 119-100 on Sunday after nearly blowing a hot start.
 
Kawhi Leonard added 25 points, 10 rebounds and four assists. Tony Parker had 13 points and eight assists.
 
Chicago rallied from a 20-point deficit to lead by three points midway through the third quarter but could not sustain the push, taking its third straight loss.
 
Parker had nine points in the final quarter while San Antonio improved to 9-4 at home after losing three of its first four at the AT&T Center.
 
Dwyane Wade led the Bulls with 24 points, including 10 in the final quarter. Jimmy Butler added 19 points, and every Chicago starter except Rajon Rondo scored in double figures. Rondo was held to six points and two assists in 30 minutes.

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Killorn gets go-ahead goal, Lightning beat Blues 5-2

The Tampa Bay Lightning are starting to have success at home during a key time, while the St. Louis Blues had another road defeat and lost a goalie, too.

 

Alex Killorn scored a go-ahead goal early in the third period, Jonathan Drouin added two late goals and the Lightning rallied from a two-goal deficit to beat the Blues 5-2 on Thursday night.

 

Killorn put Tampa Bay up 3-2 from the high slot 5:25 into the third period to help the Lightning go 2-0 starting a stretch of seven of eight games at home. Drouin made it 4-2 with 1:40 remaining, a play that Blues goalie Jake Allen was hurt on trying to make a save, before adding an empty-netter.

 

Tampa Bay also got goals from Brian Boyle and Michael Bournival. Andrei Vasilevskiy made 21 saves and Victor Hedman had three assists.
 

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Illinois State beats Hawaii 71-47 in Diamond Head Classic

Deontae Hawkins had 16 points and Illinois State scored 18 straight points in the second half to beat Hawaii 71-45 in the quarterfinals of the Diamond Head Classic on Thursday night.

 

Phil Fayne scored 14 Madison Williams added 11 points for the Redbirds (7-3), who advanced to the semifinals to face San Francisco on Friday night. The Rainbow Warriors (4-6) will host Utah in the consolation bracket.

 

Illinois State scored the first 10 points of the game and led the entire way. The Redbirds held Hawaii to 25.5 percent shooting and had their largest lead at 69-36.

 

The Rainbow Warriors closed within 14 on Brocke Stepteau's 3-pointer with 15:10 left in the second half. That was Hawaii's last field goal until Matthew Owies' putback with 1:54 left ended a streak of 15 missed shots from the field.

 

Stepteau, Noah Allen and Gibson Johnson had 10 points each for Hawaii.

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Celtics top Pacers 109-102

Isaiah Thomas scored 14 of his 28 points in the final period, leading the Boston Celtics to a 109-102 victory against the Indiana Pacers.

 

Avery Bradley and Jae Crowder each scored 15 points for the Celtics, who have won four in a row. Marcus Smart had 12 points, and Amir Johnson and Kelly Olnyk finished with 11 apiece.

 

Boston outscored Indiana 29-9 in the second quarter, turning a nine-point deficit into a 51-40 halftime lead. The Pacers pulled within four late in the game, but were unable to catch the Celtics down the stretch.

 

Jeff Teague led Indiana with 31 points and eight assists. CJ Miles also scored 19 points, and Thaddeus Young had 15 points and 12 rebounds for his second straight double-double.

 

Miles made a 3-pointer to trim Boston's lead to 87-83 with 5:26 left, but Al Horford responded with a reverse layup for Boston. Thomas then made two foul shots and a layup to make it 93-83 with 4:10 to go.

 

Thomas and Crowder each made two free throws in the final 15 seconds to help the Celtics hold on for the win.

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Maroa-Forsyth Comeback Falls Short vs Mt. Pulaski

Jaxson Nelson scored 12 of his 20 points in a frantic fourth quarter for Maroa-Forsyth, but the Trojans comeback bid fell short against Mt. Pulaski as the Hilltoppers held on for a 63-61 win Wednesday night from the Decatur St. Teresa Holiday tournament. 
Trailing 49-38 after the third quarter, Maroa-Forsyth outscored Mt. Pulaski 23-14 in the fourth quarter. 
 
Daanish Mahmood led the Trojans with 22 points.
 
Lucas Aylesworth scored 18 of his game high 25 points in the second half while Eli Griesheim added 13 points and Peyton Taylor chipped in with 12 points.
 
St. T topped Sullivan 48-35 and Heyworth downed Blue Ridge 79-33 in the holiday tournament. 

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Hill, Morgan Lead Illini To Braggin' Rights Game Win

Malcolm Hill scored 21 points and Maverick Morgan had a double-double to lead Illinois to a 75-66 win over Missouri on Wednesday.
Morgan hit 7 of 8 free throws and finished with 19 points and 11 rebounds. Jalen Coleman-Lands scored 12.
 
The Illini (10-3) have won six in a row including the last four in the border series.
 
Kevin Puryear led Missouri (5-6) with 17 points. Terrence Phillips had 14 points and Jordan Geist added 12.
 
Illinois jumped out to a 15-5 lead and never trailed, holding off a pair of second-half rallies that saw Missouri pull within four points.
 
Michael Finke hit a 3-pointer to push the lead to 67-59 after the Tigers made it 63-59 just 79 seconds earlier.
 
Illinois hit 10 of its first 15 shots to take control early as Missouri missed 10 of its first 12.
 
Illinois has won 24 of 36 games since the series was moved to St. Louis.
 
>>TCU Routs Bradley
 
Desmond Bane scored 18 points and had seven rebounds as TCU never trailed in a 74-42 victory over Bradley on Wednesday night in the Horned Frogs' last game before opening Big 12 Conference play.
Bane had three 3-pointers for the Frogs (11-1), who are 9-0 at home this season. Brandon Parrish also had three 3s, all of his long-range shots coming in a 63-second span of the first half.
 
Koch Bar had eight points and nine rebounds for Bradley (5-8), which has lost three in a row and five of six. Bar was one of three Braves who finished with eight points.
 
The teams were a combined 3-of-14 shooting before Parrish hit a 3 with 14:22 left in the first half to put TCU up 8-2. After Parrish rebounded a Bradley miss, he made another 3-pointer. The senior guard then had a personal foul, but the Bulldogs missed both free throws and Parrish made yet another shot from beyond the arc to make it 14-2 at the 13:19 mark.
 
Karviar Shepherd had nine points and eight rebounds, while Kenrich Williams added 10 and eight for TCU.

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Wizards Drop Bulls

John Wall had 23 points and nine assists, and the Washington Wizards rallied past the Chicago Bulls 107-97 on Wednesday night for their third road victory of the season.
Trey Burke and Marcus Thornton came off the Washington bench to spark a decisive fourth-quarter burst. After the teams entered the fourth quarter tied at 77, Burke and Thornton combined for 10 points to give the Wizards a 91-85 lead.
 
Chicago closed to 97-93 with less than 3 minutes left, but Bradley Beal, Marcin Gortat and Wall followed with baskets to seal it.
 
Beal finished with 21 points, while Gortat had 14 points and 11 rebounds. Burke scored 10 and Thornton had six.
 
Wall did not attempt a shot in the opening 9:30, then scored 19 points in the final three quarters.
 
Jimmy Butler led a balanced Chicago offense with 20 points, and Dwyane Wade added 19. Rajon Rondo had 10 assists.

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Bears CB Fuller to IR, Misses Entire Season

Chicago Bears cornerback Kyle Fuller will miss the entire season because of a knee injury.
The Bears decided not to activate the third-year pro before Wednesday's deadline. They had a 21-day practice window to evaluate him.
 
A first-round draft pick in 2014, Fuller had arthroscopic surgery in the preseason and went on injured reserve in late September. He says he still feels pain and expected a quicker recovery.
 
Fuller says he believes he is in the team's plans for next season, though he hasn't gotten any indications from general manager Ryan Pace. He also responded "yes" when asked if he wants to remain in Chicago.
 
Fuller was drafted by former GM Phil Emery for a 4-3 defense. The Bears use a 3-4.

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Knicks Storm Back, Beat Pacers

Carmelo Anthony matched a season high with 35 points and the Knicks used a big second-half turnaround to beat the Indiana Pacers 118-111 on Tuesday night.
The Knicks fell behind by 15 in the third quarter, then suddenly seized control to snap a three-game losing streak. Anthony scored 26 in the second half.
 
Derrick Rose had 24 points and Kristaps Porzingis added 21 for the Knicks, who returned home after a poor finish to their five-game trip out West. They started slowly but improved to 10-4 at home.
 
Thaddeus Young and Myles Turner each scored 21 points for the Pacers, who seemed headed to a third straight victory for about 30 minutes. It was mostly all New York from there as Indiana had its seven-game winning streak in the series snapped.
 
The Pacers host Boston on Thursday.

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Blues Win; Blackhawks Lose

>>Ottowa Edges Chicago
 
Derick Brassard and Tom Pyatt scored 10 seconds apart during Ottawa's three-goal second period, and the Senators beat the Chicago Blackhawks 4-3 on Tuesday night for their third consecutive victory.
Bobby Ryan added a goal and an assist as Ottawa stopped a seven-game road losing streak against Chicago, earning its first win at the United Center since March 28, 2001. Dion Phaneuf scored a power-play goal, and Kyle Turris had two assists.
 
Artemi Panarin, Tyler Motte and Richard Panik scored for the Blackhawks, who had won five in a row and six of seven. Scott Darling made 26 saves while dropping to 6-3-1 in 10 starts since Corey Crawford had an emergency appendectomy on Dec. 3.
 
Chicago played without center Artem Anisimov for the second straight game due to an upper-body injury, and forward Marian Hossa left in the first period. The Blackhawks did not provide a reason for Hossa's departure.
 
>>Blues Beat Stars in Overtime
 
David Perron put in a wraparound goal at 1:55 of overtime, lifting the Blues to a 3-2 victory over the Dallas Stars on Tuesday night.
On a delayed penalty, Jaden Schwartz left the puck to Perron to the left of the net, skated behind it and scored from the right side before Dallas goalie Antti Niemi could recover.
 
St. Louis' Patrik Berglund had tied the game 2-2 with 31 seconds left in the second period as he shot from the slot through a tight group of Niemi, defenseman Johnny Oduya and Perron. Dallas challenged the goal, claiming goaltender interference, but it was upheld.
 
Schwartz scored in the first period for the Blues and Jake Allen had 36 saves.
 
Dallas' Jason Spezza scored for a 2-1 lead less than a minute before Berglund tied the game, and assisted on Patrick Eaves' power-play goal in the first period.
 
Niemi finished with 19 saves.
 
The Blues are at Tampa Bay on Thursday night in the finale of a two-game trip. 

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CBB: Bradley, SIU, Western Illinois Lose

Terence Davis scored 19 points, including three 3-pointers, Sebastian Saiz had his sixth double-double of the season and Mississippi defeated Bradley 66-49 on Monday night.
Cullen Neal scored 12 while Sebastian Saiz had 10 points and 13 rebounds for the Rebels (8-3), who were never seriously threatened.
 
Darrell Brown scored 14 points for Bradley (5-7).
 
The Braves shot 18 of 58 (31 percent) from the field overall, trailed 38-19 at halftime and never got closer than 17 points again.
 
Ole Miss was 23 of 55 (41 percent) from the field, including 9 of 28 from 3-point range, and out rebounded Bradley 41-36.
 
Ole Miss went on an 11-0 run during a two-minute frame late in the first half to build a 19-point halftime cushion. Neal and Burnett combined for three 3-point shots before Davis capped the decisive surge with a twisting layup.
 
>>Purdue Rolls Western Illinois
 
Caleb Swanigan had 21 points and 21 rebounds, Isaac Haas scored 18 points and No. 15 Purdue beat Western Illinois 82-50 on Monday night.
 
Swanigan went 7 for 16 from the field and 6 for 7 at the free-throw line in his ninth double-double of the season. He had 26 points and 10 rebounds in Saturday's 86-81 victory against No. 25 Notre Dame in the Crossroads Classic.
 
Purdue (10-2) also got 16 points from Vince Edwards in its fifth consecutive victory.
 
>>UNLV Tops Southern Illinois
 
Tyrell Green made 9 of 13 shots and scored a career-high tying 23 points, including a tie-breaking 3-pointer with 1:09 to play, and UNLV scored the final seven points in its 68-61 win over Southern Illinois on Monday night.
 
Kris Clyburn added 11 points and seven boards and Jalen Poyser scored 10. Jovan Mooring had a career-high six rebounds, tied a career best with six assists and scored all of his four points in the final 39 seconds.
 
UNLV (7-5) used an 11-2 run to take a 61-57 lead with 4:03 left. Thik Bol hit a jumper and Armon Fletcher made two free throws for SIU to tie it with 1:33 to go. Mooring hit Green for the go-ahead 3 and then stole a pass near midcourt and took it for a layup. After grabbing a rebound on the other end, he made two free throws to cap the scoring before coming up with another steal to clinch it.
 
Fletcher and Mike Rodriguez led Southern Illinois (6-6) with 15 points apiece.
 
The Salukis shot just 39 percent, compared to 57 percent shooting by UNLV, but scored 22 points off 23 UNLV turnovers to keep it close.

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Bulls Rout Pistons; Pacers Win

Jimmy Butler scored 19 points, Rajon Rondo had 10 points, 14 assists and eight rebounds, and the Chicago Bulls beat the Detroit Pistons 113-82 on Monday night to snap a three-game losing streak.
Taj Gibson added 16 points, Robin Lopez had 14 and Dwyane Wade, Doug McDermott and Nikola Mirotic had 13 apiece for Chicago, which had lost six of eight.
 
Jon Leuer scored 16 points for the Pistons, who have dropped three straight and four of five.
 
After scoring just 69 points in a 26-point loss on Friday, the Bulls busted out for 69 points in the first two quarters, their best for any half this season.
 
Chicago, which entered tied for sixth-worst in the NBA with a .436 field-goal percentage, made 17 of 21 shots (81 percent) in taking a 35-19 lead at the end of the first quarter.
 
>>Pacers Hold On Versus Wizards
 
Paul George was supposed to get the ball with the game tied at 105 and 4.6 seconds left. Instead, it was Thaddeus Young who popped up to the top of the key to take Jeff Teague's inbound pass.
Young squared up his defender, Markieff Morris, drove to the left side of the lane and tossed in a runner with 0.9 seconds remaining to give the Pacers a 107-105 victory over the Washington Wizards on Monday night.
 
George scored 27 and finished with nine rebounds. Teague added 23 points to go along with his 10 assists, but the Pacers needed the last of Young's 12 points after the Wizards scored seven straight to tie it. Young also added 11 rebounds.
 
Bradley Beal missed a potential winning 3-pointer at the buzzer and scored 22 points.
 
Marcin Gortat finished with 21 points and 13 rebounds, John Wall added 19 points and 10 assists, and Otto Porter Jr. scored 17 points and grabbed nine rebounds.
 
Myles Turner finished with eight rebounds to go along with his 20 points and five blocks, including an emphatic rejection in the third quarter that sent Wall's layup into the third row of the crowd. Turner fouled out of the game with a little less than two minutes remaining.
 
George's jumper with 2 minutes to play gave Indiana a 105-98 lead, before the Wizards fought back with a 7-0 scoring run, tying the game on Beal's jumper with 15 seconds to go. The back-and-forth scoring was a common theme during the final quarter, and one the Pacers outlasted.
 
The Pacers are in New York tonight.

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Bears WR Royal To Miss Remainder of Season

Receiver Eddie Royal will miss the Chicago Bears' final two games because of a toe injury.
Royal will become the 18th Bears player on injured reserve after coach John Fox announced Monday that the nine-year veteran is done for the year.
 
Sidelined since Nov. 27, Royal has been limited to nine games in each of his two seasons in Chicago after agreeing to a three-year deal in March 2015. He caught 33 passes for 369 yards this year after finishing with 37 receptions for 238 yards and a TD last season.
 
Royal has 408 catches for 4,357 yards and 28 touchdowns with Denver, San Diego and Chicago.

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Edmonton Tops Blues

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored 2:55 into OT after taking a pass from Connor McDavid, lifting the Oilers over the St. Louis Blues 3-2 on Monday night.
 
The winner came after Patrick Maroon, a St. Louis native, got his first goal in nine career games against the Blues by tipping a shot by Brandon Davidson 5:47 into the third period.
Cameras caught Maroon's son Anthony celebrating the score in the stands, and Maroon cried when he was shown the video during a postgame television interview.
 
''I don't get to see him as much,'' he said, choking back tears. ''It's pretty special.
 
McDavid became the first NHL player with 40 points by assisting on the OT goal.
 
The OT goal frustrated St. Louis goalie Carter Hutton, who stopped 32 shots on his 31st birthday. It was his first start since Dec. 3, when the Blues lost to the Jets in overtime.
 
St. Louis scored first when Kyle Brodziak connected on a wrist shot 4:20 into the game. Nugent-Hopkins tried to poke the puck over the blue line, but Kevin Shattenkirk got it and passed to a wide open Brodziak, who beat Cam Talbot on his glove side.
 
Edmonton tied at about seven minutes later. Leon Draisaitl won a faceoff and Tyler Pitlick buried the shot, beating Hutton on his right side. Draisaitl also assisted on Maroon's goal.
 
The Blues took the lead back 33 seconds later when Vladimir Tarasenko hit a wrist shot from the right circle.
 
Tarasenko leads all NHL players with 15 points (six goals and nine assists) in December. Tarasenko has points in 17 of his last 21 games with 12 goals and 17 assists.
 
The Blues are at Dallas tonight.

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Kentucky Jumps Into Top 5 of Coaches Poll

Kentucky's big win over North Carolina in the CBS Sports Classic was so good and fun, it prompted the coaches voting in the weekly USA Today Coaches Poll to push UK into the top five.
 
Aside from that, here's the shocker: the polls saw no changes. Not in terms of who's out and who's in. For the first time this season, the top 25 did not move teams from week to week. It's the same 25 now that it was a week ago.
 
Biggest riser: Butler jumped five spots after it's win in the Crossroads Classic over Indiana. Biggest faller: Yes, Indiana. The Hoosiers go from No. 9 to No. 16.
 
Villanova, UCLA, Kansas, Duke and Kentucky are this week's top 5 while Baylor, Gonzaga, North Carolina, Creighton, and Virginia round out the top 10.
 
Two top-10 teams fell this week -- one at the hands of another top-10 team -- which prompted some movement of the AP poll this week.
 
Villanova, UCLA, Kansas, Baylor and Durk round out the top 5 in the AP poll and Kentucky, Gonzaga, North Carolina, Creighton and Louisville fill out the top ten. 

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Last Second Field Goal Lifts Packers Past Bears

Aaron Rodgers hit Jordy Nelson with a 60-yard pass to set up Mason Crosby's 32-yard field goal as time expired to lift the Green Bay Packers to a 30-27 victory over the Bears in one of the coldest games ever played in Chicago on Sunday afternoon.
 
Wide receiver-turned-running back Ty Montgomery ran for a career-high 162 yards and two touchdowns, and the Packers (8-6) earned their fourth straight victory despite blowing a 17-point lead in the fourth quarter.
 
They also moved ahead of Minnesota for sole possession of second place in the NFC North and pulled within a game of division leader Detroit, with the Vikings getting pounded by Indianapolis and the Lions losing to the New York Giants.
 
The Bears (3-11) had tied it on a field goal by Connor Barth with 1:19 left. The Packers took over at their 27, and on third down at the 26, Rodgers unleashed a deep pass down the middle of the field to Nelson, who got behind Cre'Von LeBlanc.
 
With no timeouts, the Packers downed the ball before Crosby booted his winner.
 
The game-time temperature for their matchup against Green Bay on Sunday was 11 degrees with a minus-4 wind chill.
 
Chicago hosted the Packers in 3-degree temperature and a minus-15 wind chill - the lowest ever for a Bears home game - on Dec. 18, 1983. The Bears' coldest home game, temperature-wise, was against Green Bay on Dec. 22, 2008, when it was 2 degrees with a minus-13 wind chill.
 
Green Bay, of course, played the coldest NFL game on record when it beat Dallas in the 1967 NFL championship game - the "Ice Bowl."
 
Rodgers threw for 252 yards despite problems his left hamstring and right calf that kept him out of practice during the week.
 
Montgomery had several big runs, including a 61-yarder, after coach Mike McCarthy announced he is now a full-time running back. He also scored from the 4 on the game's opening possession and added a 3-yard TD in the third quarter that made it 20-10.
 
Christine Michael ran for a 42-yard touchdown. Julius Peppers had a strip-sack that led to a field goal. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix added two interceptions, and the Packers tied the NFL's oldest rivalry for the first time since 1933 at 94-94-6.
 
Chicago's Matt Barkley threw for 362 yards and two touchdowns, but was picked off three times.
 
Alshon Jeffery came on strong near the end to finish with 89 yards on six catches in his return from a four-game suspension for violating the NFL's policy against performance-enhancing drugs.
 
Deonte Thompson led Chicago with 110 yards receiving. Cameron Meredith added nine catches for 104 yards, but the Bears lost for the fifth time in six games.
 
The Packers as though they were on their way to an easy win after that huge third quarter. But the Bears came storming back.
 
An 8-yard touchdown catch by Jeffery and 9-yard run by Jordan Howard midway through the fourth cut it to 27-24.
 
The Bears took over on their 21 with 5:42 remaining and had a third down at the Packers 4 when Micah Hyde reached in front of Meredith at the goal line, forcing Chicago to settle for Barth's tying field goal.
 
The Packers host Minnesota on Saturday while the Bears host Washington on Saturday.

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Blackhawks Tank Sharks

Ryan Hartman, Vinnie Hinostroza and Patrick Kane scored in the third period, and the streaking Chicago Blackhawks beat the San Jose Sharks 4-1 on Sunday night for their fifth consecutive victory.
 
The division leaders in the Western Conference were tied at 1 when Hinostroza won a faceoff for Chicago and Hartman whipped the puck right by Martin Jones on the stick side at 6:59. It was Hartman's first goal since Nov. 25 at Anaheim, ending an 11-game drought.
 
Hinostroza then got his third of the season when he shot it through Jones' legs at 17:40 on a break with Marian Hossa. Hinostroza also scored in Chicago's 6-4 win at St. Louis on Saturday night.
 
Kane added an empty-netter as Chicago improved to 13-2-3 at home. Duncan Keith scored his first goal of the season in the second, and Scott Darling made 33 saves.

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Illinois, Illinois State Win This Weekend

Paris Lee scored 24 points, including four 3-pointers, to lead Illinois State to an 81-72 win over Saint Joseph's on Sunday.
 
Deontae Hawkins added 21 points to go with eight rebounds, MiKyle McIntosh had 14 points and Phil Fayne 10 for Illinois State (6-3), which remains undefeated on its home court this season. Lee shot 8 for 11 from the field, hitting 4 of 6 from long range, and sank all four free throw attempts.
 
Illinois State led 41-27 at the break but had to hold off a Saint Joseph's surge in the second half that twice cut the deficit to five. The Redbirds responded with a 9-2 spurt that included 3-pointers from Hawkins and Lee to stretch the advantage to 57-45 with 8:47 left and hung on from there.
 
Shavar Newkirk led Saint Joseph's (5-5) with 21 points and Charlie Brown added 14.
 
>>Abrams Helps Illinois Hold On Against BYU
 
Tracy Abrams scored 15 points and Maverick Morgan had 14 points and 10 rebounds as Illinois held off BYU 75-73 on Saturday night at the United Center.
Eric Mika led BYU with 25 points in the second game of the State Farm Chicago Legends doubleheader.
 
Jalen Coleman-Lands had 12 points and Michael Finke and Malcolm Hill 10 apiece for the Illini (9-3), who have won five straight.
 
BYU (7-4) shot just 43 percent from the field after averaging 85.8 points on the strength of its transition game. Nick Emery added 16 points and TJ Haws 10 for the Cougars.
 
Illinois made 10 of 26 3s.

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Abreu, White Sox Agree To One Year Deal

First baseman Jose Abreu and the Chicago White Sox have agreed on a one-year contract for $10,825,000.
 
The deal Saturday avoids salary arbitration.
 
Abreu hit 25 home runs with 100 RBIs while batting .293.
 
Abreu has had at least 30 doubles, 25 homers and 100 RBIs in each of his first three seasons in the majors, all with the White Sox.
 
The 29-year-old Cuban is the seventh player in big league history with at least 100 RBIs in his first three years, and the first since Hideki Matsui from 2003-05.
 
The White Sox went 78-84 last season and have since traded ace Chris Sale and center fielder Adam Eaton for packages of prospects.

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Tiger Woods To Reportedly Design Chicago Golf Course

Tiger Woods' career as a golf course designer has begun to take off. The 14-time major winner has launched his TGR Design firm and his Bluejack National design in the Houston, Texas area was named the best new private course of 2016 by Golf Digest.
 
His next big project in the United States will reportedly be overseeing the renovation of Chicago's Jackson Park golf courses into a championship level 18-hole course and either a short course -- like the one he just debuted at Diamante in Mexico -- or a par-3 course, according to the Chicago Tribune.
 
"This project can create incredible possibilities for the community on the South Side," Woods said in a statement to the Chicago Tribune through TGR Design. "We want to design a course that everyone will enjoy."
 
President Barack Obama is reportedly among those that pushed Woods into taking on the project as lead designer, calling Woods to encourage him as the park renovation is in Obama's hometown of Chicago -- and not far from the planned Obama Presidential Center, according to the report.
 
The project will be funded by the soon to be formed Chicago Parks Golf Alliance, a non-profit created by mayor Rahm Emanuel to help raise money for the project as well as create other youth golf programs in the city, per the Tribune.
 
Groundbreaking on the project will begin in the spring, but the current Jackson Park golf courses will remain open for the next two years with a target date for the completion of the project set for 2020. The goal is to have the new course host a PGA Tour event -- they are reportedly targeting the BMW Championship -- as early as 2021.
 
Despite the $30 million renovation and desires to become part of the PGA Tour rotation, the new course will remain a public course, making it one of the rare public PGA Tour courses in the country -- the most famous of those being Bethpage Black in New York.

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Monticello Sages Defeat Sullivan Redskins

As heard on WEZC, the Monticello Sages defeated the Sullivan Redskins by a score of 74-34 on Friday night. The Sages were led by Luke Stokowski with 16 points and seven rebounds. Jonny Dawson chipped in with 15 points and five assists. Isiah Florey added 13 points and had five rebounds and five assists. Calvin Fisher had 10 points and six rebounds.

 

The Redskins were led by Queintan Britton with 11 points.

 

With the win the Sages improve to 5-0 on the season.

 

Tune in Tuesday, December 20, as the Sages take on Paxton-Buckley-Loda. You can hear the game live on 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com.

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Lady Sages Route Warrensburg-Latham

As heard on WEZC Thursday night, Monticello outscored Warrensburg-Latham 27-2 in the second quarter and went on to rout the Lady Cardinals, 56-16. 
The Lady Sages led 43-11 at the break and did not look back in a balanced effort across the board.
 
Marissa McPike led Monticello with 13 points. Zanna Myers added 12 and Rachael Lockmiller finished with 11 points. Tatum McCall chipped in with 10.
 
The Lady Sages have won five in a row and are now 7-1 on the season.
 
They will play at Mattoon on Saturday before a week long break leading up to the annual Holiday Hoopla at Monticello High School.
 
Tune in tonight for Monticello boys basketball action on 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com.

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Bucks Get By Bulls; Pacers Lose to New Orleans

Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 30 points and Jabari Parker added 28 to lead the Milwaukee Bucks to a 108-97 victory over the Chicago Bulls on Thursday night.
Milwaukee led the entire game and held a 24-point advantage early in the fourth quarter but had to hold on to snap a three-game losing streak, its longest of the season.
 
Antetokounmpo has totaled 88 points and 35 rebounds in his last three games, and Parker has reached at least 27 points in four of his last five.
 
Chicago lost for the fifth time in seven games and dropped its third straight on the road despite 21 points from Jimmy Butler and 20 from Dwyane Wade. The Bulls also got 19 points from Taj Gibson.
 
The Bulls begin a three-game homestand tonight against Milwaukee.
 
>>New Orleans Edges Pacers
 
Anthony Davis finished with 35 points, 16 rebounds and five blocked shots as the New Orleands Pelicans emphatically closed out a 102-95 victory over the Indiana Pacers on Thursday night.
He highlighted his latest dynamic performance with two 3-pointers and a couple of driving dunks. During a pivotal 15-0 Pelicans run inside the final 5 minutes, he converted a three-point play on a driving dunk, hit a 3, added four free throws and blocked two shots.
 
Rookie Buddy Hield also hurt the Pacers with a career-high 21 points, hitting five 3s along the way.
 
Jrue Holiday, who started the Pelicans' decisive surge with a driving layup, had 16 points and 14 assists, while Terrence Jones added 10 points, 11 rebounds and two blocked shots.
 
Myles Turner scored 26 points on 11-of-14 shooting for Indiana, but the Pacers missed eight straight shots during a 4-minute scoring drought late in the fourth quarter. Indiana's Jeff Teague had 21 points and 10 assists and Paul George had 18 points.
 
Al Jefferson scored 14 points for the Pacers. 
 
The Pacers visit Detroit on Saturday night to complete a three-game trip.

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Blackhawks Escape Islanders; Blues Blast Devils

Richard Panik scored the tiebreaking goal with 6:13 left in the third period to lift the Chicago Blackhawks over the New York Islanders 5-4 on Thursday night.
Panik's eighth of the season gave Chicago its fourth victory in five games and eighth in the last 10 meetings with the Islanders.
 
Scott Darling made 28 saves as the Blackhawks (20-8-4) rallied from an early 2-0 deficit.
 
The teams entered the third period tied at 4.
 
Anders Lee scored his ninth goal of the season for New York, and eighth in the last 11 games, to break a 3-all tie 22 seconds into the second. That followed a wild first period in which each team scored three times.
 
The Blackhawks travel Saturday night to St. Louis.
 
>>Blues Blast Devils
 
Vladimir Tarasenko had a goal and two assists and Alex Pietrangelo scored the go-ahead goal as the St. Louis Blues beat the New Jersey Devils 5-2 on Thursday night.
Jori Lehtera, Nail Yakupov and Patrik Berglund also scored for the Blues, who overcame an early two-goal deficit. Jake Allen made 24 saves as St. Louis improved to 13-1-3 on home ice.
 
Adam Henrique and Miles Wood scored for the Devils, while Cory Schneider made 26 saves. New Jersey's losing streak is at a season-high four games and the Devils dropped their seventh straight game against St. Louis.
 
Tarasenko got the Blues on the board when he scored his second goal in three games on the power play with 2:54 left in the first period. 
 
Tarasenko found Pietrangelo through the back door for an even strength goal to give the Blues a 3-2 lead at 7:45 of the second period.
 
The three-point night gave Tarasenko 10 points (two goals, eight assists) in his last five games.
 
The Blues host Chicago on Saturday night.

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Bears, Packers Meet on Sunday

Aaron Rodgers and the Packers (7-6) will go for their fourth win in a row on Sunday afternoon when they visit the Chicago Bears (3-10) at Soldier Field. Frigid temperatures are forecast along Lake Michigan with highs expected to be at or near 0 degrees Fahrenheit at kickoff.
 
Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy had his team practice outside this week to brace for the deep freeze. McCarthy knows a setback could be devastating to his team's playoff hopes as it aims to reach the postseason for the eighth consecutive year.
 
The Bears already have secured their third straight season with double-digit losses, but they look forward to the chance to play spoiler against their rivals to the north.
 
Already, the Bears have knocked off division rivals Detroit and Minnesota at Soldier Field this season. Chicago is 3-3 overall on its home turf as it goes for a home sweep against the NFC North.
 
Green Bay is 2-4 on the road but has played much better on both sides of the ball in recent weeks. During their current three-game winning streak, the Packers have outscored opponents 86-36.
 
Rodgers leads the NFL with 32 touchdown passes and has thrown for multiple touchdowns in eight consecutive games.
 
Rodgers torched the Bears for 39 completions (a franchise record), 326 passing yards and three touchdowns on Oct. 20 as the Packers cruised to a 26-10 win. Wide receiver Davante Adams hauled in 13 passes for 132 yards and two touchdowns as Rodgers' preferred target.
 
When the Bears have the ball, they will turn to inexperienced but improving signal-caller Matt Barkley. The former USC standout will make his fourth consecutive start in place of injured teammates Jay Cutler and Brian Hoyer. In his past three games, Barkley has passed for four touchdowns and two interceptions.
 
Wide receiver Alshon Jeffery is set to return after serving a four-game suspension for violating the NFL's policy on performance-enhancing substances.
 
Jeffery has 40 catches for 630 yards and one touchdown in nine games this season.
 
Bears running back Jordan Howard needs 31 rushing yards to reach 1,000 as a rookie. Meanwhile, in the opposite huddle, Packers wide receiver Jordy Nelson needs 87 yards through the air for his fourth career season with 1,000 receiving yards.

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Domestic Abuse Case Against Mets Closer Familia Dropped

Thursday morning, the domestic violence case against Mets closer Jeurys Familia was dismissed by a judge in New Jersey.
 
Familia was arrested at his Fort Lee, New Jersey home on October 31 and charged with simple assault after police found reason "to believe that domestic violence had occurred." The victim, Familia's wife Bianca Rivas, asked for the charge to be dropped last month because she does not fear for her safety. Police found Rivas with a scratch on her neck and a bruised cheek.
 
Now, just because the case was dismissed in court, it doesn't mean Familia is free from discipline by MLB. The league can still suspend him under their domestic violence policy. Aroldis Chapman was suspended 30 games last year even though he was not charged with a crime following his alleged domestic violence incident last October. Chances are Familia will receive a similar ban.
 
The prosecutor could have gone forward with the case against Familia even though Rivas asked for the charge to be dropped. The maximum penalty for simple assault in New Jersey is six months in jail, two years probation, and a $1,000 fine.
 
The Mets are said to be in the market for relief help to help bolster the bullpen while Familia serves a potential suspension.

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White Sox, SP Holland Agree To One-Year Contract

The White Sox added to their starting rotation, agreeing to a $6 million, one-year contract with left-hander Derek Holland.
Holland can make $2 million in performance bonuses: $1 million each for 150 and 200 innings.
 
The 30-year-old played on World Series teams with Texas in 2010 and 2011 but missed significant time the past three seasons because of injuries. He became a free agent when the Rangers declined their $11 million option and chose to pay the left-hander a $1.5 million buyout.
 
Holland, who had a $10 million salary this year, missed two months because of inflammation in his left shoulder and finished 7-9 with a 4.95 ERA in 22 games. He won 16 games in 2011 and was 62-50 with a 4.35 ERA in eight seasons with the Rangers.
 
Chicago designated lefty Matt Purke for assignment on Wednesday to open a roster spot.

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Bears' Jeffery Takes Responsibility for 4-Game Suspension; Rodgers Misses Practice

Chicago Bears receiver Alshon Jeffery accepted responsibility for his four-game suspension for violating the NFL's policy against performance-enhancing drugs and acknowledged letting down the team.
He says the Bears (3-10) likely would have won a few more games had he been playing. They dropped three of four in his absence and will host Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers (7-6) on Sunday.
 
Asked if he let down the team, Jeffery responded, "Most definitely."
 
With an expiring contract, Jeffery has three games left to regain the trust of the team and the front office. That effort kicked into gear with his return to practice on Wednesday.
 
>>Rodgers Misses Practice, Focuses on Rehab
 
Aaron Rodgers will miss Green Bay Packers practice on Wednesday to focus on rehabbing his leg injuries, a plan that coach Mike McCarthy says will likely stay in place for the quarterback through practice Thursday.
But signs point to Rodgers still being ready to play Sunday in Chicago. McCarthy says that Rodgers told him not to hold anything back for the game plan against the Bears.
 
Rodgers hurt his left hamstring a few weeks ago against the Philadelphia Eagles. He hurt his right calf while throwing a 66-yard touchdown pass to Davante Adams on the third play of Sunday's 38-10 victory over the Seattle Seahawks.
 
McCarthy says he's planning for the Bears game similarly to how he prepared for Seattle.

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Heat Beat Pacers

Hassan Whiteside had 26 points and 22 rebounds, and the Miami Heat clamped down defensively to beat the Indiana Pacers 95-89 on Wednesday night. Miami held the Pacers to 37 percent shooting and outrebounded them 58-38.
Tyler Johnson and James Johnson combined for 29 points off the bench.
 
Paul George scored 22 for the Pacers, who were hoping for a season-best third straight win and instead managed just 10 points in the fourth quarter. CJ Miles added 15 for Indiana.
 
Neither team led by more than seven, and the Heat got to that margin after James Johnson found Goran Dragic for a layup and a 92-85 lead with 3:35 left.
 
The Pacers visit New Orleans tonight, the second game in a three-game, four-day trip.

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Timberwolves Drop Bulls

Zach LaVine scored 24 points, Andrew Wiggins added 23 and the Timberwolves rallied to beat the Bulls 99-94 in Minnesota coach Tom Thibodeau's return to Chicago on Tuesday night.
The Timberwolves wiped out a 21-point deficit and got Thibodeau a victory in his first game in Chicago since the Bulls fired him in an acrimonious split in 2015.
 
Gorgui Dieng and Karl-Anthony Towns each scored 16 points, and the Timberwolves snapped a four-game losing streak.
 
Jimmy Butler led Chicago with 27 points, and Robin Lopez added 14. But the Bulls continued a pattern of letdowns against losing teams, this time falling to one that came in tied for the NBA's worst record.

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Blackhawks Beat Rangers; Nashville Blows By Blues

Artem Anisimov scored the tiebreaking goal late in the second period to lead the Chicago Blackhawks over the New York Rangers 2-1 on Tuesday night.
Trevor van Riemsdyk also scored as the Central Division leaders improved to 3-0-1 in their last four games. Scott Darling stopped 33 shots, upping his record to 7-2-2.
 
Artemi Panarin had two assists and Anisimov had one as Chicago got even with New York following a 1-0 overtime loss at home to the Rangers last Friday.
 
Jesper Fast scored for the Rangers and Antti Raanta, starting for the fourth straight game, made 24 saves. Raanta had won three consecutive starts, including shutouts in the last two. New York had won four of its last five.
 
Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews was activated from injured reserve earlier in the day after missing nine games with an upper-body injury.
 
>>Nashville Blows By Blues
 
Mike Fisher scored twice and the Predators rallied to beat the St. Louis Blues 6-3 on Tuesday night.
 
James Neal, Filip Forsberg, Ryan Johansen and Mike Ribeiro also scored for Nashville, which snapped a two-game skid.
 
After trailing 3-0, the Predators scored six straight goals to earn their 10th home victory of the season.
 
Kevin Shattenkirk, Ryan Reaves and Brad Hunt scored for St. Louis, which lost three of four on its road trip.
 
The Blues return home Thursday to play New Jersey.

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Bears Sign TE Pruitt, Wavie DB Bausby

The Chicago Bears have signed tight end Mycole Pruitt and waived defensive back De'Vante Bausby.
 
Pruitt, a second-year pro, has 11 receptions for 96 yards over 18 games with Minnesota.
 
Bausby, a Pittsburg State product, entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent with Kansas City in 2015. He had 12 tackles in four games for Chicago this season.
 
The Bears announced the moves on Tuesday.

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Monticello Sages Defeat Fisher Bunnies

In a game heard on WEZC, the Monticello Sages defeated the Fisher Bunnies by a score of 56-37 on Tuesday night. The Sages were led by Isiah Florey and Calvin Fisher with 14 points each. Luke Stokowski chipped in with 13 points and nine rebounds. Johnny Dawson added 13 points and five assists.

 

With the win the Sages improve to 4-0 on the season, and Fisher falls to 5-3.

 

Tune in Friday, December 16, as the Sages take on Sullivan. You can hear the game live on 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com.

 

 

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Pacers Drop Hornets

Paul George and Myles Turner scored 22 points each to lead the Pacers to a 110-94 win over the Hornets on Monday night, snapping Indiana's four-game losing streak against Charlotte in the regular season.
 
Jeff Teague had 16 points, 11 assists and five rebounds, and Rodney Stuckey added 14 points for the Pacers, who have won two straight since returning home from a five-game road trip.
 
Marco Belinelli scored 14 points for the Hornets, Marvin Williams and Nicolas Batum each had 13 and Kemba Walker added 12.
 
C.J. Miles made the go ahead 3-pointer with 5.6 seconds remaining in the third quarter to start an 11-1 run by the Pacers. It gave Indiana a 76-73 lead and Stuckey's two free throws with 8:56 to play put the Pacers ahead 84-74.
 
The Hornets had a short spurt in the fourth as Frank Kaminsky made a 3-pointer and Jeremy Lamb scored on a fast break layup to make it 87-82 with 7:03 left. But Turner's 3 with 1:12 put the Pacers ahead 103-92 to seal it for Indiana.
 
George and Turner each had five rebounds. 
 
The Pacers are at Miami on Wednesday night, where they have lost three straight regular season games.

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College Football All-Americans Announced

The Associated Press released its All-America teams on Monday, and to the surprise of no one, the top spots were dominated by players from the SEC and the Big Ten.
 
The skill position nods on offense landed elsewhere -- Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson, Texas running back D'Onta Foreman and Florida State running back Dalvin Cook were all First Team picks along with Oklahoma's Dede Westbrook and Western Michigan's Corey Davis -- but in the trenches, it was all about the big boys from the SEC and Big Ten. 
Each conference had seven players named to the All-America First Team -- more than any other conference.
 
Alabama's Cam Robinson and Wisconsin's Ryan Ramczyk were All-American tackles while Indiana senior Dan Feeney and Washington State's Cody O'Connell were All-American guards. 
 
Ohio State's Pat Elflein was the first-team All-American center while Ole Miss senior Evan Engram was the first-team tight end. 
 
Curtis Samuel of Ohio State was the all-purpose first team All-American and Arizona State kicker Zane Gonzalez made first team All-American. 
 
Texas A&M and Tennessee juniors Myles Garrett and Derek Barnett were first team All-Defense at defensive ends.
 
Houston's Ed Oliver was the only freshman to make the All-American teams at first team defensive tackle. He was joined by Alabama junior Jonathan Allen.
 
Michigan standout Jabrill Peppers was a first team at linebacker joined by Alabama's Reuben Foster and Vanderbilt's Zach Cunningham.
 
Cornerback first team All-American were Michigan's Jourdan Lewis and USC's Adoree' Jackson. 
 
Ohio State and Alabama sophomore safeties Malik Hooker and Minkah Fitzpatrick made the first team.

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Pats Hold On, Edge Ravens

Tom Brady connected with Chris Hogan for a 79-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter to help the New England Patriots overcome a sloppy second half and claim a 30-23 win over the Baltimore Ravens on Monday night.
 
Brady threw for 406 yards and three touchdowns, becoming the fourth NFL quarterback with at least 450 career touchdown passes. He also threw just his second interception of the season.
 
LeGarrette Blount rushes for 72 yards on 18 carries, passing 1,000 yards for the first time since his rookie season with Tampa Bay in 2010.
 
The Patriots (11-2) have won four straight games and eight of their last nine as they continue to inch toward their eighth straight AFC East title.
 
The loss ends a two-game win streak for the Ravens (7-6), who now face a challenging route to the playoffs with two of their last three on the road.
 
Joe Flacco did his best to keep Baltimore in the game, finishing 37 of 52 for 324 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. The 37 completions set a franchise record.

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Villanova Stays Atop AP, Coaches Basketball Polls

The top of the college basketball AP poll remains nearly the same, with the top 11 holding firm, but there were a few games that caused a shakeup down the poll.
 
Villanova received 56 first place votes while UCLA received three and Baylor six, who came in fourth behind third ranked Kansas. Duke rounded out the top five while Kentucky, North Carolina, Gonzaga, Indiana and Creighton fill out the top-10.
 
Saint Mary's loss this week sent them from 12th to 20th while Florida State re-enters the top 25 at no. 23 and Southern California ranks in at 24th. 
 
For the first time this season, every undefeated team in college basketball is ranked in a national poll. In this week's coaches poll, Villanova remains at No. 1 and UCLA at No. 2, while Baylor is No. 5, Gonzaga is No. 8, Creighton is No. 10, South Carolina is No. 15 and USC, making its debut in the coaches poll, is No. 25. That's it -- only seven unbeatens left in the sport.
 
Saint Mary's, which took an unexpected loss at home to UT Arlington on Thursday, took the biggest drop in this week's poll (ninth to 20th). The biggest jump is Florida State, which enters the rankings at No. 23 -- 10 spots higher than the Noles were a week ago.
 
Also, the ACC now has six teams ranked, two more than any other conference.

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Lady Maroons Defeat Argenta-Oreana

The Lady Maroons defeated the Argenta Oreana Bombers by a final score of 58-31 on Monday night. The Lady Maroons were led by Junior Alyssa Saulsbery with a total of 15 points. Sophomore Savanah Moore chipped in with a total of 14 points. Moore was also awarded the Stephen York Country Financial Player of the Game.
 
The Argenta Oreana Bombers were led by Junior Maggie Millington with a total of 17 points. Camilyn Newbanks and Katelyn Buhlig also chipped in with 6 points each.
 
With the win the Lady Maroons improve to 4-7, and the Lady Bombers fall to 0-7.
 
Tune in December 28th at 3:00PM, as the Lady Maroons take on the Riverton Holiday Tournament. You can hear the big game live on The Big 1520AM/92.3FM WHOW and online at dewittdailynews.com

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Packers Rout Seahawks, Bears Fall To Lions

Matthew Stafford ran for a go-ahead, 7-yard touchdown with 3:17 left after throwing two interceptions in the fourth quarter, one that was returned for a score on the previous possession, and the Detroit Lions held on for a 20-17 win over the Chicago Bears on Sunday.
 
Matt Barkley completed two passes that put the Bears in a position to at least attempt a tying field goal in the final minute, but both were negated by penalties, before turning the ball over on downs from the Detroit 44.
 
The NFC North-leading Lions (9-4) have won five straight and eight of nine, moving them a step closer to winning a division title for the first time in 23 years.
 
Chicago (3-10) has lost four of five.
 
Barkley , in the first road start of his career, perfectly led Cameron Meredith on a 31-yard TD to pull the Bears within three late in the third quarter.
 
Stafford, who put a white glove on his right hand during the game for an undisclosed reason, was picked off twice after he threw only one interception the previous eight games. Demontre Hurst intercepted Stafford's pass in Chicago's end zone after it ricocheted off teammate Bryce Callahan and receiver Golden Tate early in the fourth quarter. Cre'Von LeBlanc returned an interception 24 yards midway through the fourth to put Chicago up 17-13.
 
>>Packers Rout Seahawks
 
Aaron Rodgers finished with 246 yards and three scores before leaving early in the fourth quarter with his team up by 25 in a decisive 38-10 win over the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday.
 
The Packers (7-6) won their third straight game to keep their playoff hopes alive.
 
The Packers are two games back of first-place Detroit in the NFC North, but play division opponents in the last three weeks of the season.
Rodgers, who is already playing with a sore left hamstring, finished 18 of 23. He was sacked just once, an impressive accomplishment for a Packers offensive line against a formidable defense for Seattle (8-4-1).
 
Green Bay gained 330 yards in Seattle's first game without former All-Pro safety Earl Thomas, who is out for the season with a broken leg.
The Packers' defense flustered Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson, who threw a career-high five interceptions.
 
Rodgers threw two touchdown passes to Jordy Nelson. They have connected on 57 TD passes overall, tying Hall of Famer Brett Favre and Antonio Freeman for the most touchdown passes from a quarterback to a receiver in franchise history.
 
The Packers begin their season-ending stretch of three straight NFC North games with a trip to Chicago on Dec. 18 to play the Bears.

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Illinois Blows By Central Michigan; ISU, Bradley Win

Tracy Abrams scored a career-high 31 points and led Illinois in a 92-73 drubbing of Central Michigan on Saturday afternoon.
 
Abrams scored 23 points in the first half and finished 7 of 8 from 3-point range on a day when he scored his 1,000th career point with Illinois (8-3).
 
Leron Black played another compete game from the bench, scoring a career-high 21 points.
 
Marcus Keene led Central Michigan (8-3) with 25 points and Braylon Rayson added 18.
 
Illinois won the rebound battle 49-25 and outscored the Chippewas in the paint 34-14.
 
Illinois will have the week of before the team travels to Chicago to play BYU in the State Farm Chicago Legends game.
 
>>ISU Tops UT-Martin
 
Paris Lee, the Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Week, joined four starters with 12 points each as Illinois State dismantled Tennessee-Martin, 74-57 to win its Star Wars Day match-up Saturday afternoon.
 
MiKyle McIntosh, Deontae Hawkins and Phil Fayne joined Lee with a dozen points each and Tony Wills finished with 10 points as the Redbirds remained unbeaten in five home games (5-3.) Lee passed out five assists and collected two steals.
 
Illinois State raced to a 23-7 lead in the first 10 minutes of the game and led by 15, 43-28, at intermission. The win was the Redbirds fifth straight win over the Skyhawks.
 
Illinois State hit 25 of 56 from the field (44.6 percent), including 12 of 28 from distance.
 
Kedar Edwards finished with 15 points to lead UT Martin (8-3). Matthew Butler added 12 points. The Skyhawks hit 17 of 53 from the field (32.1 percent).
 
>>Bradley Routes Chicago State
 
Dwayne Lautier-Ogunleye and Luuk van Bree had 15 points apiece as Bradley drubbed Chicago State 83-48 on Saturday night.
 
Lautier-Ogunleye had six rebounds and dished out four assists. Van Bree was 6 of 9 from the floor, making 3 of 5 from long range.
 
Darrell Brown nailed 4 of 6 from beyond the arc for 14 points and Antoine Pittman and Jayden Hodgson added 10 apiece for Bradley (5-5).
 
The Braves, who never trailed, held a 31-19 lead at the break and finished the game on a 27-6 run. Chicago State never threatened.
 
Bradley made 24 of 46 (52.2 percent) field goal attempts while limiting Chicago State to just 16-of-59 (27.1 percent) shooting.
 
Bradley shot 43.5 percent in the first half while limiting Chicago State to 21.5 percent.
 
Trayvon Palmer had 21 points to lead Chicago State (3-5).

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Blackhawks Blast Stars; Blues Lose

Marian Hossa, Artem Anisimov and Artemi Panarin scored to lead the Central Division-leading Chicago Blackhawks over the Dallas Stars 3-1 on Sunday night.
 
Chicago's Scott Darling made 23 saves in his fifth straight start while No. 1 goalie Corey Crawford recovers from an appendectomy. Darling has permitted just seven goals during the stretch, but the Blackhawks have scored only nine while going 2-2-1.
 
Devin Shore scored for Dallas, which lost its second straight and third in four.
 
Dallas' Kari Lehtonen blocked 24 shots while making his fifth straight start.
 
The 37-year-old Hossa scored his team-leading 15th goal and has three in three games.
 
Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews missed his ninth game and defenseman Brent Seabrook his second with upper-body injuries.
 
>>Wild Get By Blues
 
Matt Dumba, Nino Niederreiter and Mikael Granlund scored, Devan Dubnyk made 22 saves and Minnesota held on to beat the Blues 3-1 on Sunday night for their fourth straight win.
 
Dumba scored for the second straight game in the second period and Niederreiter got his eighth goal about seven minutes later. Granlund added an empty-net goal.
Dubnyk is 6-0-2 in his last eight games, posting a 1.69 goals-against average and .941 save percentage since Nov. 23.
 
Vladimir Tarasenko scored his 14th goal of the season for St. Louis. Jake Allen stopped 22 shots for the Blues, who had won five of their past seven games.
 
Tarasenko, who had six goals against the Wild in the playoffs two years ago, scored for the 10th time in the past 18 games. He is tied for fifth in the league with 14 goals.
 
A four-game trip ends Tuesday night at Nashville for St. Louis.

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Knicks Edge Lakers

Kristaps Porzingis had 26 points and 12 rebounds, Derrick Rose scored 25 in his return from injury and the Knicks beat Los Angeles 118-112 Sunday night for their sixth win in seven games.
 
Brandon Jennings scored 15 of his season high-tying 19 points in the fourth quarter as the Knicks moved a season-best four games over .500 (14-10) with a dynamic effort in the final minutes, capped by Rose's jumper with 19.4 seconds left.
 
The Lakers had a narrow lead in the fourth quarter before Jennings went off, hitting back-to-back 3-pointers and threading a slick pass to Courtney Lee for a three-point play to put the Knicks up 97-89 with 6:46 left.
 
Lou Williams scored 24 points in his latest big game off the bench for the sliding Lakers, who lost their sixth straight despite the return of D'Angelo Russell and Nick Young.
 
Luol Deng set season highs with five 3-pointers and 22 points, but Los Angeles (10-16) hasn't won in December.
 
The Knicks are at Phoenix on Tuesday while the Lakers visit the Kings on Monday to open a seven-game road trip.

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Clinton Maroons Fall to Rochester

As heard on WHOW, the Clinton Maroons fell to the Rochester Rockets by a score of 43-39 in a non conference game Saturday night. The Maroons were led by junior Seth Westfall with 10 points. Senior Preston Beiber also chipped in with 8 points. Beiber was named the Country Financial representative Stephan York Maroons Player of the Game. 

 

The Rockets were led by senior Collin Stallworth with 22 points.

 

With the loss the Maroons fall to 4-3 on the season.

 

Tune in Saturday, December 17, as the Maroons play in the Jacksonville Shootout with an 8:15 start time. You can hear the game live on the Big 1520 AM/92.3 FM WHOW and online at dewittdailynews.com.

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HS GBB: Monticello Routes St. Teresa

As heard on WEZC, Zanna Myers scored 10 of her 20 points in the first quarter helping Monticello open up an 11-1 run to start the game against Decatur St. Teresa and routing the Lady Bulldogs 57-42 Saturday from Monticello High School in non-conference girls basketball action.

 

The Lady Sages opened a 21-7 first quarter advantage and 38-21 halftime lead.

 

Myers’ 20 points paced the Monticello. Rachael Lockmiller added 19 points and Tatum McCall chipped in with 12 points.

 

DaeLin Switzer led St. T with 12 and McKenna Thornton added nine points.

 

Monticello is 7-1 after Saturday's win while the Lady Bulldogs drop to 5-1.

 

Next week on WEZC, tune in for boys basketball action on Tuesday night at 7:30 pm as they travel to Fisher.

 

Thursday, hear girls basketball action as the Lady Sages travel to Warrensburg-Latham at 7:30.


Then Friday, hear more boys basketball action when Monticello hosts Paxton-Buckley-Loda. Game time Friday is 7:30 pm. 

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Bulls Beat Spurs

Dwyane Wade scored 20 points, and the Chicago Bulls handed San Antonio its first road loss after a 13-0 start, hanging on to beat the Spurs 95-91 on Thursday night.
 
San Antonio fell one win shy of matching the NBA's best road start set by the Golden State Warriors last season. The Spurs cut an 18-point deficit midway through the third quarter to four in the closing minutes, only to come up short.
 
Kawhi Leonard scored 24 for San Antonio. Patty Mills added 16 points, hitting 4 of 6 3-pointers. Former Bull Pau Gasol had 13 points and 10 rebounds in his first game in Chicago since signing with San Antonio in the summer, but the Spurs lost a road game for the first time since Oklahoma City knocked them out in the Western Conference semifinals last season.
 
Jimmy Butler scored all of his 13 points for Chicago in the second half. Rajon Rondo added 12 points, nine assists and 10 rebounds, and Chicago picked up the win after dropping three in a row and six of nine.
 
The Spurs hadn't dropped a regular-season road game since Denver beat them on April 8.

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Islanders Rally Past Blues

Anders Lees second goal of the game with just over seven minutes remaining lifted the Islanders to a 3-2 victory over the St. Louis Blues on Thursday night.
 
Lees go-ahead score on a slap shot came after Casey Cizikas won a faceoff in the Blues zone and sent the puck back to Lee, who rifled it past Allen with 7:18 left for his eighth of the season.
John Tavares also scored and Thomas Greiss stopped 24 shots to help the Islanders improve their season-best stretch to 5-0-1 in their last six games.
 
Robby Fabbri and Kyle Brodziak had goals for the Blues, who fell to 3-7-1 away from home while going 12-1-3 at Scottrade Center. Jake Allen, who came in with eight straight wins, finished with 24 saves.
 
Fabbri opened the scoring for the Blues at 4:36 of the first, knocking the puck past Greiss for his sixth of the season.
 
Lee answered for the Islanders at 6:51, just 12 seconds after Blues forward Jori Lehtera was penalized for high-sticking. Lee tipped Nick Leddys shot from the point past Allen.
 
Tavares then scored his eighth goal with a shot from the high slot at 8:31 to put the Islanders ahead 2-1.
 
The Blues are at New Jersey tonight.

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Bears Travel To Detroit

Overconfidence should not be an issue for the Detroit Lions this Sunday. While the Chicago Bears have only three wins, one of them came at Detroit's expense.
 
The Lions (8-4) own a four-game winning streak and a two-game lead over Green Bay and Minnesota in the NFC North, but they know they can't look past the other team in the division. The Bears posted a 17-14 victory in the first meeting at Soldier Field on Oct. 2.
Chicago (3-9) has been one of the league's most injury-riddled teams this season. The Bears defeated San Francisco, 26-6, on Sunday behind a stout defense and a workhorse performance from rookie running back Jordan Howard.
 
He rushed for 117 yards on 32 carries and scored three touchdowns in snowy conditions. Howard, who emerged after season-opening starter Jeremy Langford was injured, gained 111 yards in 23 carries against the Lions.
 
Quarterback Matt Barkley wasn't supposed to start any games for the Bears this season but injuries to Jay Cutler and Brian Hoyer -- who passed for 302 yards and two touchdowns in the first meeting -- have thrust the 26-year-old into that role. Barkley only attempted 18 passes against the 49ers in the inclement weather, and completed 11 for 192 yards. But he didn't throw any interceptions after getting picked off twice in each of his first appearances this season.
 
Top wideout Alshon Jeffery is finishing up his four-game suspension for taking a banned substance.

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Packers Host Seahawks

With victories over Philadelphia and Houston the past two weeks, the Green Bay Packers are one-third of the way to running the table in their final six games. Sunday's game against the Seattle Seahawks at Lambeau Field (4:25 p.m. ET, FOX) looms as by far the biggest barrier.
 
Green Bay (6-6) remains two games behind Detroit in the NFC North but has gotten back into the wild-card chase, where it trails Tampa Bay (7-5) by one game.
With Dallas (11-1) running away in the NFC race for home-field advantage, Seattle (8-3-1) is battling Detroit (8-4) for a first-round bye. The Seahawks have won four of their last five games, including a blowout of Carolina on Sunday night in which Russell Wilson threw for 277 yards and Thomas Rawls ran for 106 of the team's 240 rushing yards.
 
Injuries will be a major storyline for the Packers. Starting outside linebacker Nick Perry, the team's leader with eight sacks, has been ruled out with an injured left hand.
 
Fellow starter Clay Matthews, was "extremely limited" against the Texans with an injured shoulder. Starting inside linebackers Jake Ryan (ankle), who returned last week from a two-game absence, and Blake Martinez (knee), who has missed the past two games, are ailing, too.
 
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers is battling a hamstring injury -- not particularly good news for the Packers, considering Seattle ranks fourth in the league with 31 sacks.

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Boras, Cubs Will Talk Arrieta Extension in January

If an extension isn't signed before next offseason, Cubs starting pitcher Jake Arrieta will hit free agency after the 2017 World Series. We've heard things here and there about a possible extension in the past, but most of the time the discussion ends with Arrieta seeming pretty confident in betting on himself.
Still, there's always the chance that the Cubs make Arrieta an offer he can't refuse, especially since he wasn't the Terminator anymore down the stretch in 2016. Arrieta's agent, Scott Boras, held court as usual at the Winter Meetings.
 
Jesse Rogers of ESPN Chicago tweeted yesterday Boras says the window for extension talks is now. Boras indicated they would talk about the extension in January when arbitration talks take place.
 
Since being traded to the Cubs in 2013, Arrieta has gone 54-21 with a 2.52 ERA (153 ERA+), 0.99 WHIP and 630 strikeouts in 634 2/3 innings.

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Cardinals, CF Fowler May Be Close To Deal

The Cardinals may soon have a new center fielder and leadoff hitter.
 
Free agent Dexter Fowler, most recently a member of the rival Cubs, is believed to be nearing a contract agreement with the Cardinals. Things are so close to being done that he'll reportedly be in St. Louis for a physical Friday.
Last offseason Fowler reportedly agreed to a three-year deal with the Orioles before backing away because Baltimore refused to give him an opt-out clause. Fowler eventually re-signed with the Cubs on a one-year contract and helped them win the the World Series.
 
The Cardinals have played Randal Grichuk in center field for most of the last two seasons, and while he deserves an A for effort, Grichuk is a corner outfielder all the way. Fowler will be a big upgrade defensively, and he'll also allow the team to slide Matt Carpenter down in the lineup, into a more traditional run producing spot.
 
Fowler, 31 in March, hit .276/.393/.447 (126 OPS+) with 13 home runs and 13 steals in 2016. 
 
The Cardinals will surrender their first-round pick, No. 19 overall, if they sign Fowler, because he rejected a qualifying offer from the Cubs. Chicago will gain a supplemental first-round pick once another team signs Fowler.
 
The Cubs signed Jon Jay to a one-year contract earlier this offseason. He figures to platoon in center field with young Albert Almora.

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Lady Maroons Fall to Central A&M

The Lady Maroons fall to Central A&M by a final score of 64-38. The Lady Maroons were lead by Junior Madison Filkin with a total of 17 points. Filkin also received the Stephen York Country Financial Player of the Game award. Sophomore Savanah Moore also chipped in with a total of 5 points.
 
Central A&M was lead by Senior Emma Meyer with a total of 20 points, and Senior Olivia Jordan chipped in with a total of 11 points.
 
With the loss, the Lady Maroons fall to 3-6, and Central A&M improves to 5-6.
 
Tune in Saturday afternoon, December 10th, as the Lady Maroons travel to Pana. You can hear the game live on The Big 15.20 AM/92.3 FM WHOW and online at dewittdailynews.com
 

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Monticello Announces Holiday Hoopla Matchups

The annual Monticello Booster Club's Holiday Hoopla tournament is just a few weeks away and yesterday Monticello officials released the tournaments pairings.
 
The host Sages will play two games Tuesday, December 27, following the Christmas holiday.
 
The Sages open play against Sangamon Valley at 11:30 am. That game follows the tournament opener betwen GCMS and Tuscola.
 
The Sages return to action later that night, taking on Tuscola at 7:30 pm. 
 
The remaining games on Tuesday are Neoga taking on Argenta-Oreana (2 pm), Paxton-Buckley-Loda taking on Ridgeview (3:30 pm) and Sangamon Valley versus GCMS (6 pm).
 
Wednesday, Monticello returns to the court at 3:30 pm when they take on GCMS.
 
Argenta-Oreana and Paxton-Buckley-Loda open the day at 10 am. Neoga and Ridgeview follow at 11:30 am. Then Tuscola and Sangamon Valley tussle at 2 pm.
 
Ridgeview verse Argenta-Oreana then Paxton-Buckley-Loda and Neoga finish the day's action.
 
The placement games start at 3 pm Thursday, with the championship game at 7:30 pm.
 
The tournament is divided up into two pools. Monticello is joined in the 'purple pool' by Sangamon Valley, GCMS, and Tuscola while the 'gold pool' consists of Ridgeview, Neoga, Argenta-Oreana and Paxton-Buckley-Loda. 
 
Hear all Monticello boys basketball action during the annual Holiday Hoopla on 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com. 

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Maroa-Forsyth Downs Sangamon Valley

The Maroa-Forsyth Trojans outscored Sangamon Valley 23-2 in the second quarter Wednesday night, propelling them to a  69-55 victory Wednesday night in non-conference boys basketball action.
Danish Mahmood led the Trojans with 20 points and Jaxson Nelson scored 16 points. Ian Bennen added 12 points.
 
Nathan Doty scored 16 of his team leading 26 points in the first quarter and Seth Manion added 11 points for the Storm. 
 
The Trojans return to action tonight in the Macon County tournament, taking on Meridian at 8:30 pm. 

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Tulsa Rallies Late Past ISU; Louisville Drops Southern Illinois

Junior Etou and Sterling Taplin each scored 15 points, and Taplin's layup with 11 seconds to play lifted Tulsa past Illinois State 70-68 on Wednesday night.
 
Down 65-57, Tulsa (4-3) went on a 13-3 run in the last 5:15 to close out the game. MiKyle McIntosh's layup with 15:35 left put Illinois State (4-3) out in front 50-36, finishing a 14-4 run to start the second half after leading 36-32 at the break.
 
The Golden Hurricane started the game on a 12-4 run before Illinois State got back in it and took a 22-19 lead on a pair of McIntosh free throws.
 
Tulsa's Will Magnay had 13 boards and 10 points and Jaleel Wheeler had nine rebounds.
 
Paris Lee led the Redbirds with 18 points and six assists. McIntosh added 15 points and seven rebounds.
 
Tulsa missed 10 free throws and shot just 6 for 23 (26.1 percent) from 3-point range.
 
>>Louisville Dominates Southern Illinois
 
Mangok Mathiang scored 15 points to lead No. 11 Louisville to a 74-51 victory over Southern Illinois on Tuesday night.
 
The 6-foot-10 senior got the Cardinals (8-1) off to a hot start as he scored the team's first seven points, and Louisville settled in from there, extending the lead to 21-4 in the game's first 8 minutes. In making six of nine shots, Mathiang finished two points shy of his career high in just 22 minutes.
 
As Southern Illinois (5-4) came to the Yum! Center with no one taller than 6-9, Louisville used its size to its advantage. The Cardinals blocked nine shots and outrebounded the Salukis 43-31.
 
Sophomore Deng Adel posted his first double-double for Louisville, as the 6-7 forward finished with 12 points and a career-high 12 rebounds, besting the seven he grabbed against Boston College last February.
 
Sean O'Brien led the Salukis with 15 points and 11 rebounds while Mike Rodriguez added 15 points.

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Cubs, Royals Make Swap

The World Series champion Chicago Cubs have acquired star closer Wade Davis from the Kansas City Royals for outfielder Jorge Soler.
 
The trade was announced Wednesday at the winter meetings.
 
Davis will take over the ninth-inning role held by Aroldis Chapman, who became a free agent after the Cubs won their first championship since 1908.
 
The 31-year-old Davis went 2-1 with 27 saves in 30 tries and a 1.87 ERA last season. He spent time on the disabled with a forearm injury and was limited to 43 1/3 innings, but returned to pitch in September.
 
Davis has done especially well in the postseason and helped the Royals win the 2015 crown. In 27 1/3 postseason innings as a reliever, he has a 0.33 ERA with 39 strikeouts.
 
The 24-year-old Soler hit .238 with 12 home runs and 31 RBIs in 86 games last season. He missed almost two months because of a strained left hamstring.

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White Sox Trade Eaton to Nationals For Three Prospects

The Washington Nationals acquired center fielder Adam Eaton from the Chicago White Sox for three young pitchers, including top prospect Lucas Giolito and hard-throwing Reynaldo Lopez, who made the team's postseason roster in 2016.
The trade was made Wednesday, the last full day of the winter meetings outside the nation's capital, and comes after Washington failed in its bid to get left-handed pitcher Chris Sale from the White Sox, who instead sent him to Boston.
 
By putting Eaton in center, the Nationals can move Trea Turner - runner-up for 2016 NL Rookie of the Year - back to his natural position, shortstop. Eaton has three guaranteed seasons left in a $23.5 million, five-year contract that calls for him to earn $4 million next year, $6 million in 2018 and $8.4 million in 2019.

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Chapman Re-Signs With Yankees

The Yankees and free agent closer Aroldis Chapman have agreed to a five-year contract worth $86 million, according to Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal and multiple reports.
 
Chapman, 28, spent most of 2016 with the Yankees before they traded him to the Cubs prior to the non-waiver deadline. For the Cubs and Yankees last season, he pitched to a 1.55 ERA and a 5.0 K/BB ratio. For his career, Chapman boasts an ERA+ 192 across parts of seven major-league seasons. In large part because of a fastball that averages triple digits, he's struck out 42.6 percent of opposing hitters over that span -- a remarkable figure.
 
Chapman's $86 million deal rather easily breaks Mark Melancon's record for largest closer contract -- $62 million -- that he set earlier this week. Of benefit to the Yankees is that signing Chapman, because he was traded mid-season and thus could not be tendered a qualifying offer, will not cost them a compensatory draft pick.
 
Ken Rosenthal reports the deal includes a three-year opt-out, a full no-trade in the first three years and limited trade the final two years.

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Pacers Drop Suns

Paul George had 25 points and 13 rebounds and the Indiana Pacers pulled away in the fourth quarter to beat the struggling Phoenix Suns 109-94 on Wednesday night.
 
George defended the high scoring Devin Booker and helped hold the second-year guard to 13 points on 4-of-13 shooting. Booker also committed four turnovers.
 
Myles Turner added 20 points, and Jeff Teague had 19 points and a season-high 11 assists.
 
Indiana had a 9-0 run midway through the fourth quarter to open a 97-87 lead.
 
Eric Bledsoe led Phoenix with 15 points, and Tyson Chandler had 10 points and 10 rebounds. The Suns shot 40 percent from the field and made only 9 of 33 3-pointers. They have lost five of six.
 
Indiana has won four of six. The Pacers haven't won or lost more than two games in a row this season.
 
The Pacers play at Dallas on Friday night in the finale of a five-game trip.

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Oregon To Hire USF's Taggart

Oregon has decided to hire South Florida coach Willie Taggart to take over in Eugene, a source close to the process tells CBS Sports' Dennis Dodd. The school later made the announcement official.
 
Taggart will reportedly earn an average of $3.3 million per season on a five-year contract, according to Fox Sports.
 
Taggart was both a record-setting quarterback and offensive assistant under Jack Harbaugh at Western Kentucky before a short stint with Jim Harbaugh at Stanford. He moved from the Pac-12 to taking over as coach at Western Kentucky in 2010, bringing the Hilltoppers from 2-10 to a bowl game in just three seasons.
 
The Bradenton, Florida, native then replaced Skip Holtz at USF. He quickly rebuilt the Bulls, too, going from 2-10 (again) to 10-2 in 2016, his fourth year with the program. It's the best record in South Florida history.
 
Considered one of the brightest young offensive coaches in college football, Taggart has been a popular target for several jobs after setting a program record for wins and breaking several single-season offensive records with the Bulls in 2016.
 
Dodd reported Tuesday that Alabama offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin looks to be the top candidate at USF.

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Rantoul Races Past Maroons

The Rantoul Eagles raced toa 44-22 halftime lead Tuesday night and never looked back as the Clinton Maroons feel 87-44 at Rantoul in non-conference boys basketball action Tuesday night.
 
Kevin Williams led the Eagles with 17 points. Martrellian Gibson added 16 points and Erick Johnson scored 14.
 
Dalton Smith led the Maroons with 12 points. He was the only Clinton scorer in double-figures. 
 
Will Scott, Austin Rauch, and Kaleb Murphy-Leach added six apiece. 
 
Rantoul improves to 6-2 overall while the Maroons drop to 4-3. 
 
The Maroons play host to Rochester Saturday night at 7:30 pm. Hear the action on 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com.

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Sages Topple Auburn

As heard on WEZC, Calvin Fisher scored a career high 23 points while grabbing seven rebounds in a Monticello 54-44 victory at Auburn Tuesday night in non-conference boys basketball action.
 
Luke Stokowski added 11 points and also grabbed seven rebounds. 
 
Despite shooting 9-for-22 from the free throw line, the Sages held Auburn to 27% shooting while shooting 54% from the floor. 
 
Fisher made all five of the Sages three point attempts, going 5-of-8 from distance.
 
Ben Eaker led Auburn with 14 points and Connor Berola added 12 points and nine rebounds.
 
The Sages return to action next Tuesday night when they travel to Fisher. Hear the action on 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com. Tip time is 7:30 pm.

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Illinois Tops IUPUI; Ball State Blows Out Bradley

When the IUPUI's Darell Combs banked in a 3-point shot with 2:24 left in the game, Hill had a flashback to Illinois' 84-80 loss to Winthrop. Hill took charge and scored 32 points - 23 in the second half - to help the Illini hold off the Jaguars 85-77 on Tuesday night.
 
The Illini opened with a 10-0 run but committed eight turnovers, allowing IUPUI to rally to a 42-41 halftime lead.
 
Mike Thorne Jr. hit a jumper, Hill dunked and Illinois pulled ahead in the second half by shooting 60 percent from the field.
 
Leron Black scored 16 points and grabbed nine rebounds. He was a presence throughout the game, including a key rebound with 23 seconds left, despite battling foul trouble.
 
Matt O'Leary led IUPUI (3-6) with 25 points, shooting 7 of 15 from the field and 4 of 9 from beyond the arc.
 
D.J. Williams played eight minutes and scored five points off the bench.
 
The fighting Illini have the next few days off before entering the final stretch of their nonconference season when they play Central Michigan on Saturday afternoon.
 
>>Ball State Blows Out Bradley
 
Trey Moses had 17 points and nine rebounds and Tayler Persons added 15 points with six assists as Ball State took an early led and rolled to an 80-63 win over Bradley on Tuesday night.
 
Moses was 5 of 9 from the floor and grabbed five offensive boards. Sean Sellers nailed 4 of 6 from distance for 14 points, Ryan Weber added 13 and Tahjai Teague chipped in 11 for Ball State (5-4).
 
The Cardinals jumped to an early lead and led 34-23 at the half. Weber nailed back-to-back treys to give Ball State its biggest lead, 70-51 at the 5:10 mark.
 
Ball State hit 58 percent from the floor while holding Bradley to 21-of-49 shooting. The Cardinals scored 13 second-chance points and added seven more off its fast break.
 
Luuk van Bree, Darrell Brown and Dwayne Lautier-Ogunleye had nine points apiece for Bradley (4-5).

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Pistons Get By Bulls

Tobias Harris scored 22 points and the Detroit Pistons beat the Chicago Bulls 102-91 on Tuesday night.
Andre Drummond added 15 points and 10 rebounds for the Pistons, who won for the fourth time in five games.
 
Jimmy Butler scored 32 points and Dwyane Wade added 19 points and seven assists for Chicago, which lost its third straight. The Bulls were playing their fourth game in five nights and struggled in the fourth quarter.
 
Drummond dominated early, scoring 10 points on three dunks and two tips. Even when he went to the bench with foul trouble, the Pistons put together an 11-0 run to lead 36-21 early in the second quarter.
 
Rajon Rondo had 10 points in his return to the Chicago lineup.

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Blackhawks Blank Coyotes; Blues Get By Coyotes

Marian Hossa had two goals, Scott Darling made 22 saves and the Chicago Blackhawks beat the Arizona Coyotes 4-0 on Tuesday night to snap a two-game slide.
Artem Anisimov and Dennis Rasmussen also scored to help Chicago maintain a three-point lead over St. Louis in the Central Division.
 
Darling made a handful of tough stops but wasn't heavily tested in his first shutout this season and third of his career. He started his third straight game in place of No. 1 goalie Corey Crawford, who had an appendectomy in Philadelphia on Saturday.
 
The 37-year-old Hossa scored his team-leading 13th and 14th goals in his 27th game - surpassing his total of 13 last season in 64 contests.
 
>>Blues Get By Canadiens in Overtime
 
Jaden Schwartz completed a late rally with a pair of goals, including one in overtime, to lead the Blues to a 3-2 victory over the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday night.
 
Paul Stastny also scored for St. Louis, which has won four of five. The Blues charged back from a 2-0 third-period deficit and have a point in their last 13 home games.
 
Tomas Plekanec and Paul Byron scored for Montreal, which completed a five-game trip 2-3.
 
Goalie Jake Allen made 28 saves to improve to 13-3-3.
 
St. Louis struggled through most of the contest, unable to solve backup goaltender Al Montoya until the third period.
 
Stastny started the rally with a goal at 7:40 of the third period.
 
Schwartz tied it 2:51 later to set the stage for his third game-winning goal of the season. He took a pass from Alexander Steen and calmly lifted a backhander past Montoya with 1:22 left in overtime.
 
The Canadiens were without leading scorer Alex Galchenyuk, who injured his knee in Sunday's 5-4 win at Los Angeles. 
 
The Blues begin a four-game trip at the New York Islanders on Thursday night.

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White Sox Trade Sale To Red Sox; Cubs Close to Deal for Royals Closer Davis

All-Star ace Chris Sale is joining the reloading Boston Red Sox, leaving behind his shredded reputation with the Chicago White Sox.
 
Boston acquired Sale on Tuesday for a package of four prospects, including high-priced Yoan Moncada.
 
Sale was a top trade target at the winter meetings and the AL East champion Red Sox were getting him instead of Washington, which also pursued.
 
A few hours earlier, Boston got prime setup man Tyler Thornburg from Milwaukee. After that deal was announced, without tipping his hand, Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said: "We're trying to win now, as you can see."
 
Boston acquired Sale for minor league pitchers Michael Kopech and Victor Diaz, outfielder Luis Basabe and Moncada, a third baseman.
 
>>Cubs Close To Deal With Royals for Closer Davis
 
Coming off their first World Series title in several generations, the Cubs had few glaring needs heading into the offseason. Much of their young core is still intact, but they did need some bullpen depth. It appears they're going to bolster it by adding an elite arm to the back end.
 
Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reports that the Cubs are "close" to completing a trade for Royals closer Wade Davis that would send Cubs outfielder Jorge Soler to Kansas City.
 
Davis, 31, saved 27 games in 30 chances with a 1.87 ERA, 1.13 WHIP and 47 strikeouts in 43 1/3 innings. He was bothered by forearm soreness during the season, limiting him to a much smaller workload than normal. There were two DL stints and slightly diminished velocity late in the season.
 
That said, Davis was arguably the best reliever in baseball in 2014-15, posting a combined 0.97 ERA, 0.82 WHIP and 187 strikeouts in 139 1/3 innings.
 
Jayson Stark of ESPN.com reported the Nationals were making a late push for Davis. Other reports indicated the Dodgers were involved here as well.
 
Davis is set to make $10 million this season before hitting free agency. 
 
In parts of three seasons, Soler has hit .258/.328/.436 (107 OPS+) with 35 doubles, 27 homers and 98 RBI in 765 plate appearances. There have been spurts that illustrate his massive upside, such as his performance in the 2015 playoffs, but he's also had lots of injury woes, namely on his hamstrings.
 
Again, Soler has huge upside and is signed on a nine-year, $30 million deal that runs through 2020.

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Thompson's 60 Points Leads Warriors in Rout of Pacers; Bulls Lose

Klay Thompson went off for 60 points in 29 minutes and the Warriors whipped the Indiana Pacers 142-106 on Monday night.
 
Thompson joined Hall of Famers Wilt Chamberlain, Rick Barry and Joe Fulks as the only Warriors to score 60 points. 
 
Kevin Durant added 20 points, eight rebounds, four assists and two blocks for Golden State.
 
Steph Curry had 13 points and 11 assists.
 
Paul George had 21 points and 10 rebounds a night after playing nearly 34 minutes and much of that with tissue in his bloody nose.
 
The Pacers continue their five-game road trip with the second-to-last game Wednesday at Phoenix, where the Pacers have lost eight of the last 11 meetings.
 
>>Blazers Beat Bulls
 
Damian Lillard had 30 points and seven assists, CJ McCollum scored 24 and the Portland Trail Blazers beat the Chicago Bulls 112-110 on Monday night for their third consecutive victory.
Allen Crabbe added 17 points for Portland, which opened a five-game trip with its fourth win in five games. Maurice Harkless had 11 and Evan Turner finished with 10, providing a nice boost in the fourth quarter.
 
Dwyane Wade scored 34 points for the Bulls, and Jimmy Butler finished with 26 points, seven rebounds and five assists. Robin Lopez had seven points and 14 rebounds.
 
Chicago played without point guard Rajon Rondo, suspended one game for conduct detrimental to the team. There was no public indication from the Bulls on what triggered Rondo's suspension. He is expected to return Tuesday night in Detroit.

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Cutler To IR

The Chicago Bears have placed quarterback Jay Cutler on injured reserve because of a season-ending right shoulder injury.
 
The Bears announced the move Monday. Coach John Fox said last week that Cutler would not play again this season.
Cutler injured his shoulder during a loss to the New York Giants on Nov. 20, but finished the game. He made five starts this season and completed 81 of 137 passes for 1,059 yards with four touchdowns and five interceptions.
 
Because he doesn't have a high salary-cap figure for 2017, Cutler could be traded or cut in the offseason.
 
Matt Barkley has started the past two games for Chicago (3-9), including Sunday's win over San Francisco.
 
The Bears also signed defensive back Johnthan Banks and waived linebacker Lamin Barrow from injured reserve Monday.
 
Banks has appeared in 52 games with 37 starts over four seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2013-16) and Detroit Lions (2016). He has 132 tackles and seven interceptions in his career.
 
Barrow has appeared in 32 games for the Denver Broncos (2014) and Bears (2015).

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Cubs, White Sox Notes

>>Report Has White Sox, Nationals Close To Sale Deal
 
It appears one of the best pitchers in baseball may soon join one of the best teams in baseball.
 
The White Sox and Nationals are still working on a Chris Sale trade, and at this point the two sides are only haggling over the final pieces of the deal. It seems this could go down soon.
Ken Rosenthal reported last night the White Sox would get top prospects Lucas Giolito and Victor Robles.
 
Robles has been mentioned as a possible centerpiece in an Andrew McCutchen trade with the Pirates. The fact Robles could now be heading to Chicago is an indication the McCutchen deal won't happen. The Nationals have reportedly been trying to acquire both McCutchen and Sale.
 
Sale would join NL Cy Young award winner Max Scherzer to form baseball best righty-lefty rotation tandem in baseball. Add in Stephen Strasburg and the Nationals will have one of the best rotation front threes in the game. 
 
The Nationals are very much in win-now mode. Bryce Harper will be a free agent after the 2018 season -- he reportedly wants north of $400 million to remain with the team -- and Scherzer is in the prime of his career right now. This is the team's best chance to win a World Series. In 2017 and 2018. Sale will increase their chances of winning at some point in the next two years tremendously.
 
The White Sox, meanwhile, would presumably be open for business following a Sale trade. Once you trade the face of your franchise, there's no reason to stop there. Others like Jose Quintana, Adam Eaton, Jose Abreu, Todd Frazier, David Robertson, and Melky Cabrera could all be made available as well.
 
>>Cubs Raising Ticket Prices Nearly 20-Percent
 
The Chicago Cubs gave their long-suffering fans a World Series championship last season and now fans are going to have to give the Cubs something: More money.
 
The team says the average season ticket price at Wrigley Field will climb 19.5 percent next season. The best seats will go up the most: 31 percent for club box infield seats and 22 percent for seats in the bleachers. Other seats will go up between 6 percent and 17 percent.
 
Cubs Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing Colin Faulkner says last year's team created "unprecedented demand" for tickets and that the higher prices shouldn't be a surprise.
 
The increase marks the second straight season that the team has raised the face value of its tickets by at least 10 percent.
 
>>Giants Sign Closer Melancon
 
The San Francisco Giants might be landing their closer in three-time All-Star Mark Melancon. The free agent has a deal with the Giants, pending a physical, Buster Olney of ESPN.com reports.
 
Olney further reports that it's a four-year deal worth $62 million. That's a record for relievers in free agency, as the previous high was Jonathan Papelbon's four-year, $50 million deal with the Phillies.
 
Melancon, 31, saved 47 games in 51 chances last season for the Pirates and Nationals. He pitched to a 1.64 ERA, 0.90 WHIP and 65 strikeouts against only 12 walks in 71 1/3 innings. Over the past four seasons, Melancon has a 1.80 ERA, 0.91 WHIP and 147 saves in 162 chances (91 percent). He's been the closer for four straight playoff teams, too.
 
>>Dodgers Resign Rich Hill
 
Perhaps the top free-agent starting pitcher this offseason has found a home, as lefty Rich Hill has signed back with the Dodgers. The club announced the three-year deal as official Monday, and it's for a reported $48 million (via Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports).
 
Hill will be 37 next season, but he's coming off an impressive 2016 campaign that caps off an impressive comeback. He hadn't even made a start since 2009 until September of 2015. In four starts for the Red Sox, Hill posted a 1.55 ERA. That was good enough to land him a one-year deal with the Athletics. He was so good for Oakland that the Dodgers traded for him (and Josh Reddick) in front of the trade deadline.
 
In all, Hill was 12-5 with a 2.12 ERA (187 ERA+), 1.00 WHIP and 129 strikeouts in 110 1/3 innings. His only issue was a blister problem that lingered for a bit in July and August.
 
The Dodgers' rotation is lefty-heavy, with Clayton Kershaw, Hill and Julio Urias being the top options. Righties Kenta Maeda and Brandon McCarthy remain in the mix as well as southpaws Scott Kazmir, Hyun-Jin Ryu and Alex Wood.

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Heisman Finalists Announced

The finalists have been announced as five players will be headed to New York City for the 2016 Heisman Trophy presentation on Saturday, Dec. 10.
 
Lamar Jackson has been the Heisman frontrunner from the first game of the season and is looking to bring back Louisville's first Heisman. 
 
However, the Cardinals' late season struggles may have opened the door a bit for other players to close the gap on Jackson. Now, he will be heading to New York with four others hoping to take home college football's most prestigious individual award.
 
Jackson led the Cardinals to a 9-3 record and racked up 3,390 passing yards, 30 touchdowns and nine interceptions. He completed 57.6 percent of his passes and also ran for 1,538 yards and 21 touchdowns.
 
Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma: Mayfield had another extremely effective and efficient season passing the ball in Norman, completing 71.2 percent of his passes (No. 1 nationally) and leading the nation in passing yards per attempt at 11.1. He finished the season with 3,669 yards, 38 touchdowns and eight interceptions.
 
Jabrill Peppers, LB/DB, Michigan: Peppers had 751 all-purpose yards this season and scored four touchdowns (three rushing, one returning punts), while being a force on the Michigan defense with 71 tackles, 15 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks and one interception as a linebacker and defensive back. He also played special teams, of course.
 
Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson: Watson led the Tigers to a 12-1 record, second straight ACC title and another College Football Playoff appearance. On the season, Watson completed 67.6 percent of his passes for 3,914 yards, 37 touchdowns and 15 interceptions and rushed for an additional 529 yards and six touchdowns.
 
Dede Westbrook, WR, Oklahoma: Westbrook was the Sooners' most explosive playmaker this season, averaging 19.8 yards per reception. For the year, he hauled in 74 catches for 1,465 yards and 16 touchdowns. He finished the season fourth in the nation in receiving touchdowns and fifth in receiving yards.

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Villanova College Basketball's New No. 1

This weekend of college hoops had a little bit of everything. No. 1 Kentucky fell at home. No. 10 Baylor notched another top-10 win. And Saturday's big slate of games caused a shakeup, once again, at the top of the poll.
UCLA jumped from 11th last week to second and even received two first place votes. The top five was rounded out by Kansas, Baylor, and Duke.
 
Kentucky dropped to sixth while North Carolina dropped to seventh. Gonzaga, Indiana and Creighton round out the top 10.
 
West Virginia jumped from 25th to 15th.
 
Cincinnati and Notre Dame entered the top 25 this week. 

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Bears, Packers Win

>>Howard's Three TDs Leads Bears Past 49ers
 
Jordan Howard ran for 117 yards and a career-high three touchdowns and the Chicago Bears handed San Francisco its 11th straight loss, beating the 49ers 26-6 on a snowy Sunday.
 
The 49ers (1-11) extended their franchise-record losing streak and set a club low with 6 yards net passing on a day when Colin Kaepernick got lifted for Blaine Gabbert.
 
The Bears (3-9) finished with a season high in points and picked up a rare win in a matchup between two of the NFL's worst teams.
 
Matt Barkley, making his second start with Jay Cutler sidelined by a season-ending shoulder injury, went nearly the entire first half without a completion.
 
But he led a touchdown drive near the end of the second quarter and finished 11 of 18 for 192 yards.
 
Howard, who came in with two rushing touchdowns, scored on a 1-yard run near the end of the first half.
 
A fifth-round draft pick from Indiana, he added a 2-yard touchdown on the opening drive of the third and a 5-yard run midway through the quarter.
 
Howard's three rush TDs are tied for the second-most by a Bears rookie in a game.
 
Kaepernick completed just 1 of 5 passes for 4 yards and was sacked five times. He also ran for 20 yards on six attempts before Gabbert replaced him in the fourth quarter.
 
Gabbert was 4 of 10 for 35 yards and sacked for a safety near the end of the game.
 
Carlos Hyde ran for 92 yards, but the 49ers remained winless since they shut out Los Angeles in the season opener.
 
>>Packers Hold On For Win Over Texans
 
Aaron Rodgers was 20 of 30 and threw for 209 yards and two touchdowns, Jordy Nelson had 118 yards receiving and a score, and Green Bay pulled away from the Texans with two fourth-quarter touchdowns beating Houston 21-13 on Sunday for their second straight win as they try to keep pace with Detroit in the NFC North.
 
With snow falling at Lambeau Field, the Green Bay Packers were back in their element and the Packers are back at .500.
 
Brock Osweiler connected with DeAndre Hopkins for a 44-yard touchdown pass with 1:51 left to get within eight for Houston. Nick Novak missed the extra point, with footing slippery at Lambeau.
 
Osweiler finished 22 of 35 for 202 yards.
 
Randall Cobb did a snow angel in the end zone after a sliding, 9-yard touchdown catch in the second quarter that gave the Packers a 7-0 lead. 
 
In the third quarter, Ryan Griffin did a Lambeau Leap into the waiting arms of a group of Texans fans after his 6-yard touchdown catch on fourth-and-1 finished a 10-play, 63-yard drive to tie the game at 7.
 
The Texans are tied with idle Tennessee and a half-game ahead of Indianapolis, which plays the New York Jets on Monday night, for the AFC South lead.
 
Julius Peppers' sack of Osweiler on second-and-1 at the Houston 41 with 56 seconds left in the second quarter gave the 15-year veteran 142 1/2 for his career, snapping a tie for fifth on the career list with Michael Strahan. Chris Doleman is fourth on that list with 150 1/2.

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Jets Top Blackhawks

Andrew Copp scored the tiebreaking goal with 4:45 left, Bryan Little got his third goal in three games and the Winnipeg Jets edged the Chicago Blackhawks 2-1 on Sunday night.
 
Copp beat Scott Darling on the stick side with a shot from the right circle that slipped just inside the left post.
 
Chicago's Artemi Panarin scored with 6:54 remaining to tie it at 1, moments after Copp hit the post, to spoil Connor Hellebuyck's bid for a second shutout against Chicago in less than a month. Panarin completed a give-and-go with Patrick Kane, beating Hellebuyck to the glove side.
 
Hellebuyck finished with 25 saves and outdueled Darling, who started his second straight game for the Blackhawks in place of No. 1 goalie Corey Crawford. Darling made 30 saves, including three on breakaways.
 
Little's power-play goal with 43:4 seconds left in the second period was his fourth point in four games since missing 23 with a lower-body injury.

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Pacers Outlast Clippers

Thaddeus Young scored 17 points and Paul George added 16 after missing four of the last five games in the Pacers' 111-102 victory on Sunday night that gave them a sweep of the season series for the first time since 2013-14.
 
Indiana came back from 15 points down in the first quarter and held on after the Clippers got within four in the fourth.
 
Rodney Stuckey also had 16 points and Jeff Teague added 15 points for the Pacers. CJ Miles had 12 points after missing six games with a sore left knee.
 
Blake Griffin had 24 points and 16 rebounds for the Clippers, whose two-game winning streak was snapped in their return to Staples Center. They went 3-3 on their recent six-game road trip, including a 91-70 loss at Indiana last week.
 
Los Angeles led by 15 in the first quarter and appeared on its way to victory, especially when the Pacers missed 15 of 22 shots.
 
DeAndreJordan had 15 rebounds for the Clippers. Chris Paul added 18 points and 11 assists.
 
The Pacers visit Western Conference-leading Golden State on Monday night in the second game of a back-to-back.

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Illini Surge Past VCU; Illinois State Win; Bradley Crushed

Sophomore Leron Black tied a career-high with 18 points and Illinois held Virginia Commonwealth to 30-percent shooting to win 64-46 Saturday in the HoopHall Miami Invitational.
 
Malcolm Hill added 16 points, five assists and two steals, and Jalen Coleman-Lands had 12 points for Illinois (6-3).
 
VCU (6-2), which was off to its best start since 1993, had a three-game winning streak snapped.
 
Black went 6 for 13, had eight rebounds and was chosen the game's most valuable player. The Rams shot a season-worst 16 for 53, including 2 for 18 (11 percent) from 3-point range.
 
JeQuan Lewis, averaging a team-high 15.7 points, was held to three points. Mo Alie-Cox led the Rams with 10 points. They came in shooting 50 percent this season and had scored at least 63 points in every game.
 
The Illini missed 10 of their first 11 shots while falling behind 11-4. A 9-0 run put them ahead 22-14, and they led the rest of the way.
 
>>Illinois State Tops New Mexico
 
Paris Lee scored 18 points, dished out a career-high 11 assists and hit a pair of free throws with 23 seconds remaining to lift Illinois State to a 79-74 win over New Mexico on Saturday night.
 
Illinois State (4-2) led by as many as 10 points late in the second half before New Mexico rallied, cutting the deficit to 75-74 on Elijah Brown's 3-pointer with a minute left in the game. Lee hit a jumper at the other end to extend the Redbirds' advantage back to three, then got both free throws after being sent to the line with 23 seconds left.
 
New Mexico missed its last two shots, both 3-point attempts.
 
Deontae Hawkins added 14 points for Illinois State, Keyshawn Evans got 12 points, all from long range, and Phil Fayne had 10 rebounds.
 
Brown finished with 21 points to lead New Mexico (5-3) and Damien Jefferson added 12 points.
 
>>Nevada Rolls Bradley
 
Jordan Caroline and D.J. Fenner combined for 44 points as Nevada dominated Bradley 91-69 in the Mountain West/Missouri Valley Challenge on Saturday.
Caroline had a career-high 23 points on 6-of-9 shooting. Fenner, who had 13 points in the first half, made a career-high 5 of 6 from beyond the arc to finish with 21 points. Marcus Marshall and Leland King II added 12 points each and Lindsey Drew chipped in 11 and grabbed a career-high 14 rebounds for Nevada (7-2), which has won seven of the last eight games.
 
Nevada controlled the game from the beginning, hitting 17 of 30 (56.7 percent) from the floor in the first half, the best first period the Wolfpack has had this season. They were 30 of 54 (55.6 percent) for the game and made 11 of 23 from long range. They never trailed and led 46-26 at the break.
 
Dwayne Lautier-Ogunleye led Bradley (4-4) with 15 points.

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College Football Playoff Set

The debate is over. The 2016 College Football Playoff is now set and the four teams making the final field are the ones that have been predicted for weeks.
 
1. Alabama (13-0)
2. Clemson (12-1)
3. Ohio State (11-1)
4. Washington (12-1)
 
That means the Crimson Tide will take on the Huskies in the Peach Bowl semifinal (Atlanta), while the Tigers face the Buckeyes in semifinal action at the Fiesta Bowl (Glendale, Arizona). The winners will square off in the CFP National Championship in Tampa, Florida.
 
It also means No. 5 Penn State (10-2) was left out of the top four after making a convincing case by winning nine straight games including the Big Ten Championship Game in epic comeback fashion late Saturday. Michigan checked in at No. 6, giving the Big Ten three of the top six teams in the CFP Rankings.
 
The Buckeyes played the toughest schedule of anyone in the rankings with four games against top 10 teams, three of which were on the road, and compiled a 3-1 record against those teams. Ohio State didn't win the Big Ten, but clearly, the Buckeyes were the league's best team. Washington held its spot from last week at No. 4 in the rankings after beating Colorado 41-10 for the Pac-12 championship to end the season with a 12-1 record.

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Former Commissioner Selig, Executive Scheurholtz Elected to Baseball Hall of Fame

The Hall of Fame has two new members.
 
Hall of Fame president Jeff Idelson announced Sunday that former commissioner Bud Selig and longtime executive John Schuerholz have been voted into the Hall of Fame by the Today's Game Era Committee. The announcement was made during a live MLB Network broadcast.
The Today's Game Era Committee consists of 16 members. The committee includes current Hall of Famers, executives and media members. Twelve votes are needed to be elected. Schuerholz was voted in unanimously. Selig received 15 votes.
 
Selig, 82, served as baseball's acting commissioner from 1992-98 and official commissioner from 1998-2015. Under his watch, MLB expanded to 30 teams, implemented interleague play, underwent divisional realignment, added a third round to the postseason (in which the playoff field expanded from four teams to 10) and grew financially by a tremendous amount.
 
Of course, Selig's tenure was not without its black marks. He presided over the so-called Steroid Era, held a vote to contract to Twins and Expos in 2001, and watched the All-Star Game finish in a tie in 2002. Despite all that, Selig will go down as arguably the most successful commissioner in MLB history.
 
Before taking over as commissioner, Selig owned the Milwaukee Brewers from 1970 until taking over as commissioner. He purchased the Seattle Pilots -- a 1969 expansion team -- through bankruptcy court and moved the franchise to Milwaukee. Selig retired in 2015 and currently holds the title of commissioner emeritus.
 

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Holliday Signs With Yankees

The Yankees are in the middle of the youth movement, but they will have a veteran DH in their lineup next year.
Sunday night, the club agreed to terms with veteran outfielder Matt Holliday on a one-year contract. He became a free agent earlier this offseason when the Cardinals declined his $17 million club option.
 
Ken Rosenthal reports the deal is worth $13-million for one year.
 
Holliday, 36, hit .246/.322/.461 (107 OPS+) with 20 home runs in 110 games around a thumb injury in 2016. He'll step in as New York's full-time DH, which figures to help him stay healthy and avoid wearing down later in the season.

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Matsuyama Wins Hero World Challenge

Hideki Matsuyama finished at 18 under after a 73 on Sunday to win the Hero World Challenge.
 
For Matsuyama, it is his fourth win worldwide in his last five starts, including the WGC-HSBC Champions in China earlier this fall. He held off Henrik Stenson by two strokes despite shooting a poor 39 on the back nine on Sunday.
 
Stenson closed with three birdies in his last five holes, but Matsuyama's lead was too much to overcome.
 
Fowler (-13) had a nice weekend of 68-69, and it was humorous to see where his mind was at on Saturday afternoon as Oklahoma and Oklahoma State (Fowler's alma mater) played for the Big 12 title.
 
Michael Collins of ESPN Tweeted Sunday Fowler was checking the score throughout the Saturday of the tournament. 
 
Dustin Johnson (-13) absolutely engorged himself on the par 5s where he was 11 under on the week. He didn't do much on any of the other holes, though.

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Monticello Sages Defeat Bismark

In a game heard on WEZC, the Monticello Sages defeated Bismark-Henning by a score of 46-45 on Friday night. The Sages were led by Blake Reifsteck with 18 points. Austin Farnsworth also chipped in with 12 points.

 

Bismark-Henning was led by Jonny Dawson with 14 points and Luke Stokowski added 10 points.

 

With the win the Sages improve to 3-2 on the season, and Bismark-Henning falls to 2-0.

 

Tune in Tuesday, December 6 as the Sages take on Auburn. You can hear the game live on 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com.

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Lockmiller Leads Sages Past Mt. Pulaski

As heard on WEZC and dewittdailynews.com, Rachael Lockmiller scored 17 points as the Monticello Lady Sages overcame a slow start and beat Mt. Pulaski 47-28 Thursday night from Mt. Pulaski Hig School. 
 
After a slow first half for both sides where defense kept anyone from gaining any momentum, Monticello led 15-6. 
 
In the third quarter, Zanna Myers scored all eight of her points for the night as the Lady Sages opened up a 32-12 advantage.
 
Marissa McPike scored nine points for the Lady Sages who improved to 4-1.
 
The Lady Hilltoppers were led by Skyler Hayes' 16 points.
 
Mt. Pulaski drops to 3-3 on the season.
 
The next girls basketball broadcast on 95.9 FM WEZC and at dewittdailynews.com will be next Saturday afternoon, when the Lady Sages host Decatur St. Teresa at Monticello High School.
 
Tune in tonight for the Monticello boys basketball home opener. The Sages host Bismarck-Henning at 7:30 pm. Hear it on 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com.
 
>>Central Illinois Conference Tournament Scores from Thursday:
 
Decatur St. Teresa 59, Central A&M 47*
Clinton 75, Shelbyville 24*
Macon Meridian 32, Warrensburg-Latham 29*
Tuscola 65, Sullivan 54*

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Cardinals Trade SP Garcia To Braves

The Cardinals traded veteran left-hander Jaime Garcia to the Braves in exchange for prospects, the teams announced Thursday. The three prospects headed back to St. Louis are infielder Luke Dykstra and right-handers Chris Ellis and John Gant.
 
Garcia, 30, is coming off a 2016 season in which he mostly struggled across 30 starts and a pair of relief appearances. For his career, he owns a strong 109 ERA+ and a K/BB ratio of 2.77. He flashes strong ground-ball tendencies, but on occasion Garcia has had trouble staying healthy. He's in the final year of his contract and owed $12 million for the upcoming season.
 
Despite an active offseason in terms of adding starting pitching, the Braves may still be in the mix to add an ace on the order of Chris Sale or Chris Archer.
 
On the Cardinals' side of things, Dykstra, 21, has batted .300/.335/.385 across parts of three minor-league seasons. He spent 2016 in the Class A South Atlantic League. The son of former big-leaguer Lenny Dykstra, he was a seventh-round draft choice in 2014.
 
Ellis, 24 and a former third-rounder out of Ole Miss, has a 4.61 ERA and 1.73 K/BB ratio in 63 minor-league games, 56 of which have been starts. He reached Triple-A last season.
 
The 24-year-old Gant worked 50 big-league innings for the Braves in 2016 (4.86 ERA, 2.33 K/BB ratio).

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Blackhawks, Blues Win

Marian Hossa scored his team-leading 12th goal through a screen at 1:31 of overtime to lift the Chicago Blackhawks to a 4-3 victory over the New Jersey Devils on Thursday night.
 
Hossa's shot through traffic from high in the slot beat Cory Schneider on the glove side, moments after New Jersey's Mike Cammalleri hit the post on a prime chance against Chicago's Corey Crawford.
 
New Jersey's Travis Zajac scored his third goal of the game at 8:49 of the third to tie it 3-all after scores by Chicago's Artem Anisimov and Niklas Hjalmarsson late in the second period had put the Blackhawks ahead.
 
Marcus Kruger also connected for Western Conference-leading Chicago to end a 22-game drought as the Blackhawks won their second straight and played beyond regulation for third consecutive time. They are 3-0-1 in their last four.
 
The Devils have dropped four straight (0-2-2).
 
>>Tarasenko's Hat Trick Leads Blues Over Lightning
 
Vladimir Tarasenko scored three goals and Kevin Shattenkirk added two to lead the Blues to a 5-4 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday night.
 
The Blues have won three in a row and six straight at home.
Tampa Bay lost its season-high fourth consecutive game.
 
Jake Allen made 22 saves in improving to 12-3-3.
 
Tampa Bay goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy gave up four goals on 16 shots and was replaced by St. Louis native Ben Bishop early in the second period.
 
St. Louis has scored three goals or more in each of its last nine games after an earlier string of six successive games with one goal or less.
 
Tarasenko, who leads the team with 13 goals, recorded his fourth career hat trick. He scored twice in the game's opening 9:37 to stake his team to a 2-0 lead.
 
Tarasenko, known for his speed and puck-handling skills, scored his second goal on a rare one-timer off a perfect pass from Alexander Steen, who added three assists in his return after missing six games with a shoulder injury.
 
Shattenkirk, who also had two assists, added two power-play goals, the second coming just 1:44 into second period for a 4-1 lead.
 
Cedric Paquette scored twice for the Lightning, who have been outscored 19-9 during the four-game skid.
 
Nikita Kucherov and Tyler Johnson also scored for Tampa Bay. Paquette's second goal trimmed the deficit to 5-4 with 8:02 remaining in the third period.
 
The Blues host Winnipeg on Saturday in the fourth of five straight games at home.

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Cutler Out for Season; Bears, Packers in Action Sunday

Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler will have season-ending surgery on his right shoulder.
 
Coach John Fox announced Thursday that the veteran quarterback will have an operation to repair the labrum in his shoulder. The procedure is scheduled for Saturday.
Cutler injured his shoulder during a loss to the New York Giants on Nov. 20 but finished the game.
 
Matt Barkley figures to start his second straight game when the Bears (2-9) host San Francisco (1-10) in a matchup between struggling teams on Sunday.
 
>>Packers Host Texans Sunday
 
The Green Bay Packers were favored to win the NFC North but are clinging to faint playoff hopes. Green Bay (5-6) snapped a four-game losing streak at Philadelphia on Monday but is two games behind Detroit and one game behind Minnesota in the division standings. This week they welcome the Houston Texans to Lambeau Field.
After back-to-back losses at Oakland and home against San Diego, the Texans are 6-5. A heavy favorite to win the AFC South entering the season, they are clinging to a half-game lead over Tennessee (6-6) and a one-game lead over Indianapolis (5-6).
 
Aaron Rodgers is battling a hamstring injury that occurred during the third quarter of Monday's game, but linebacker Clay Matthews is nursing an injured shoulder sustained on a devastating blind-side block by lineman Allen Barbre during the opening series. Matthews, who has missed four games this season with an injured hamstring, got through the game with a pain-killing injection.
 
The Texans rank 29th in the league in scoring at 17.6 points per game.
 
>>Bears Host Niners
 
In a battle between two last-place teams, the San Francisco 49ers (1-10) will visit the Chicago Bears (2-9) on Sunday afternoon at Soldier Field.
The game carries significance heading into 2017. Both teams are on track to receive top-five picks in NFL draft, and this weekend's matchup could help determine the order of selection.
 
Quarterback Matt Barkley made his first NFL start last week against the Tennessee Titans and likely will be under center once again this week. He completed 28 of 54 passes for 316 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions and nearly engineered a fourth-quarter comeback before the Bears' final drive stalled inside the Titans' 10-yard line.
 
Colin Kaepernick is creating a buzz with his performance on the field. In four starts in November, he passed for 1,110 yards, eight touchdowns and two interceptions for a 96.0 rating. He scrambled 29 times for 223 yards and a touchdown.

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Balance Leads Redbirds Past IUPUI

Paris Lee scored 18 points with six assists and Illinois State defeated IUPUI 77-63 on Wednesday night for the Redbirds' second straight win.
 
Lee was 7 of 9 from the floor, including 3 of 4 on 3-pointers with all five Illinois State starters in double figures. MiKyle McIntosh added 14 points, Deontae Hawkins 13, D.J. Clayton 12 and Phil Fayne 11 for the Redbirds (3-2), who shot 50 percent. All five had at least six rebounds with Clayton pulling down eight and Illinois State outrebounding the Jaguars 42-31.
 
Matt O'Leary scored 17 points, for his career-high sixth straight game in double figures and added seven rebounds for IUPUI (2-5). Ron Patterson, with three 3-pointers, scored 15 points and Darell Combs 13.
 
A 14-2 run with six points from Fayne gave Illinois State a 25-14 lead with they extended to 44-29 at halftime. The Redbirds maintained a double-digit lead in the second half.

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Late Layup Sends Lakers Past Bulls; Portland Crushes Indiana

Julius Randle made a strong move against Nikola Mirotic for a tiebreaking layup with 45.1 seconds left, and the Los Angeles Lakers held off the Chicago Bulls for a gritty 96-90 victory on Wednesday night.
 
Randle had 13 points and matched a career high with 20 rebounds as Los Angeles bounced back from an ugly 105-88 loss at New Orleans on Tuesday night. Lou Williams and Jordan Clarkson scored 18 points apiece, and Larry Nance Jr. finished with 12 points and 11 boards.
 
Randle's drive and layup gave Los Angeles a 92-90 lead. After Jimmy Butler missed on the other side for Chicago, Williams went 1 for 2 at the line with 20 seconds to go.
 
Butler then missed another 3 and Randle and Nance combined for three foul shots to help Los Angeles hold on.
 
The Bulls host the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday night, and LeBron James pays up after he lost his bet with buddy Wade over the World Series. James is expected to wear a Chicago Cubs uniform before the game.
 
>>Portland Crushes Indiana
 
Damian Lillard's 28 points, 10 assists and four steals led the Portland Trailblazers past the Indiana Pacers 131-109 Wednesday night.
 
Maurice Harkless added 23 points for the Blazers, who led by as many as 28 in their fifth consecutive victory over the Pacers.
 
The Trail Blazers had lost six of their last eight games as they've struggled to find consistency on defense. Portland was coming off a 130-114 loss at home to the Houston Rockets on Sunday.
 
Jeff Teague led Indiana with 25 points, while Myles Turner had 19 points and 10 rebounds. It was the first of a five-game road swing for the Pacers, who had won two straight.
 
The Pacers will visit the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday.

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Cowboys Visit Reeling Vikings for Thursday Night Football

Something's got to give Thursday night when the Dallas Cowboys take on the Minnesota Viking's on NFL's Thursday night football.
 
Dallas is third in the league in scoring, averaging 28.7 points per game, and is fifth in total offense with 407.6 yards per game. Minnesota's defense has allowed the second-fewest points per game at 17.5 and is third in total defense, giving up 307 yards per game.
Only two teams have created more takeaways than Minnesota's 20 this season. The Vikings have 12 interceptions and eight fumble recoveries and are second in the league with a plus-12 turnover-differential.
 
Dak Prescott and Dallas have protected the ball, turning the ball over just seven times this season, the second-fewest in the league.
 
Only four teams have fewer takeaways than Dallas' 10.
 
Both teams play Thursday with a full week's worth of rest after they played on Thanksgiving. Dallas held on at home for a 31-26 win against the Redskins. Minnesota lost for the fifth time in six games at Detroit in a 16-13 finale.

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