Local Sports

Monticello Girls Win Holiday Hoopla Tournament Title

Tatum McCall scored 20 points and Zanna Myers added 13 and the Monticello Lady Sages senior guards propelled them to a Holiday Hoopla tournament title with a 53-38 win over PBL Satuday night.

 

The two seniors were aided by nine points from Emily Wilson and six points from Jana Burger as they gradually pulled away.

 

Burger pulled down a game high nine rebounds and Wilson and McCall each had six boards. Burger also had three blocks and five assists.

 

The Lady Sages are now 14-0 overall.

 

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Monticello Rolls PBL For Third At Holiday Hoopla

The Monticello Sages used another lockdown defensive effort to defeat Paxton-Buckley-Loda for the second time this month 55-23 Saturday night at the Monticello Holiday Hoopla tournament and take third place.

 

After suffering a tough loss to Ridgeview Friday afternoon, the Sages played intense defense and PBL didn’t get their first point until Andrew Swanson made a free throw with 17 seconds left in the third and didn’t record their first field goal until the 5:33 mark of the second quarter.

 

The Sages led 16-1 after the first quarter and 36-12 at the intermission.

 

Calvin Fisher paced another balanced Monticello attack with 14 points, 12 came in the first half. Ben Singleton added 13 points, seven rebounds and four assists after recording his first career double-double Friday against Ridgeview.

 

The Sages made 21 field goals from 14 assists and shot 57% from the floor.

 

Senior point guard Johnny Dawson did not play Saturday with a bad ankle. He is expected to return to the lineup next Saturday when the Sages host Olympia.

 

Devin Graham started in Dawson’s absence and scored six points. Cam Dyson added six points for Monticello as well.

 

The Sages host Olympia next Saturday at 2:30 pm at Miller Gymnasium at Monticello High School. Though the two are a part of the new Illini Prairie Conference, the game will not count towards their conference records.

 

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

 

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Big Third Quarter Propels Monticello Girls Past Ridgeview

Zanna Myers and Tatum McCall took over the third quarter and propelled the Monticello Lady Sages past Ridgeview 45-29 Friday from girls Holiday Hoopla action at Monticello High School.

 

McCall and Myers each had eight points in the third quarter as the Lady Sages outscored the Lady Mustangs 20-3 to open up a 39-19 advantage after having just a 19-16 halftime lead.

 

McCall led the way for Monticello with 15 points, finishing 6-for-6 from the free throw line. Myers had a double-double with 13 points and 15 rebounds, going 6-for-7 from the line.

 

The Lady Sages as a team went 15-for-17 at the charity stripe.

 

After struggling from beyond the arc in the first half and struggling to just four points and one field goal in the second quarter, the Monticello offense came alive after Emily Wilson knocked down a three to give Monticello a 25-16 advantage.

 

Wilson finished with nine points.

 

The Lady Sages improve to 11-0 on the season and will play for the Hoopla title tomorrow night at 6pm.

 

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Ridgeview Gets Past Monticello

Ben Singleton picked up his first double-double but Monticello’s two leading scorers were held down and the Sages lost for the first time this season, 37-35 to Ridgeview in pool play at the Monticello Holiday Hoopla.

 

Singleton led the Sages with 12 points and ten rebounds. He scored nine points in the first half, helping Monticello keep pace with the Mustangs after Calvin Fisher and Nick Stokowski left with foul trouble. Stokowski only played five minutes in the first half after picking up two quick fouls.

 

Monticello trailed Ridgeview 17-16 at the intermission.

 

The Sages surged ahead in the third quarter after Jacob Donaldson picked up his third and fourth fouls. Monticello finished the third quarter on a 10-2 run after trailing 22-16 to start the quarter.

 

Donaldson quickly picked up his fifth foul 19 seconds into the fourth quarter but Monticello could not capitalize.

 

The Sages looked to be in control with a 33-29 advantage at the 4:50 mark of the fourth, but Ridgeview took control defensively and the Sages could not find a good shot as they missed their last seven shots.

 

A desperation three with time running out was no good by Fisher but he was fouled on the play with 0.4 seconds and missed the first of the three free throws, making the second and an offensive rebound chance for the Sages fell short as time expired.

 

Justin Myers scored 14 points to lead all scorers for Ridgeview. Despite missing virtually the entire fourth quarter, Donaldson finished with 12 points and seven rebounds. Tristan Campbell scored six points with a pair of fourth quarter three’s, one for the go-ahead score from top of the key that gave Ridgeview a 34-33 lead and then from the left wing that broke a 34-all tie with 50 seconds left.

 

Fisher finished with nine points and six rebounds. He was 0-for-5 from beyond the arc. Stokowski added eight points and nine rebounds.

 

The Sages only committed nine turnovers and controlled the glass 37-27, however, they could only get eight points off turnovers and six second chance points. The Sages downfall was the shot making, as they went just 15-for-50 from the floor, for 30-percent.

 

The Sages will play in the 3rd/4th place game Saturday night at 6 pm at Monticello High School. Hear all the action on 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com.

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Maroa-Forsyth Holds Off Blue Ridge

Dannish Mahmood scored 25 points to lead three Maroa-Forsyth scorers in double-figures as the Trojans held off Blue Ridge 64-61 Thursday at the Decatur St. Teresa Holiday Tournament.
 
The Trojans trailed 36-33 at the break and were much closer thanks to Mahmood's 12 first half points.
 
The Trojans held a 15-10 third quarter advantage to take control.
 
Hayden Mitchell scored 12 points for the Trojans and Aaron Woodrow added ten.
The Knights were led by Clay Stevens and Tim Crook with 14 points apiece. Dan Houser added 13 points and Nick Burrow chipped in with 12 points for a balanced attack by the Knights.
 
The Decatur St. Teresa Holiday Tournament resumes today. 

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Bucks Beat Timberwolves

Eric Bledsoe scored 26 points and Giannis Antetokounmpo added 22 points and 10 rebounds to help the Bucks rally from a 20-point deficit and win back their crowd with a 102-96 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Thursday night.
 
Bledsoe had six points and two key assists down the stretch and the Bucks found their missing defense, holding the Timberwolves to a season-low 12 points in the fourth quarter. Minnesota went cold over the last 4:21 and had its five-game winning streak snapped.
 
Bledsoe took a pass from Antetokounmpo and made an open 3-pointer from the corner to give the Bucks their first lead of the game at 95-93 with 2:25 to go. Bledsoe followed with a three-point play and then found Antetokounmpo under the basket for an easy two points, pushing the lead to 100-93 with 1:04 left.
 
Khris Middleton and John Henson added 14 apiece for Milwaukee.
 
Jamal Crawford scored 11 points.
 
Jimmy Butler finished with 20 points and seven assists. 

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Canucks Roll Blackhawks

Thomas Vanek had two goals and three assists, Brock Boeser added a goal and three assists, and the Vancouver Canucks snapped a four-game losing streak with a 5-2 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday night.
 
Sam Gagner had two goals and an assist for Vancouver (16-17-5), which returned from its Christmas break with just its second victory in the last 10 games. Jacob Markstrom made 30 saves.
 
Chicago (17-14-5) has lost three in a row after winning five straight. Nick Schmaltz and Ryan Hartman scored for the Blackhawks, and Anton Forsberg made 26 saves while subbing for injured starter Corey Crawford.
 
The Canucks snapped a 1-1 tie with seven minutes left in the second period when Vanek, who was robbed twice by Forsberg in the first, finally broke through. Boeser played the puck behind the net to Gagner, and he set up Vanek's 11th goal with a no-look pass to the forward in front.
 
Gagner then gave Vancouver a two-goal cushion 1:27 into the third when he took a pass from Vanek and beat Forsberg for his sixth of the year. Forsberg got the start after the Blackhawks put Crawford on injured reserve Wednesday with an upper-body injury.
 
Gagner, who once had an eight-point game against Chicago when he played for Edmonton in 2012, has two goals and four assists during his four-game point streak after recording just a goal and an assist over his previous nine outings.
 
Vanek got his second of the night with 3:31 left when Boeser, who retook the NHL rookie scoring lead with his four points, fed a behind-the-back pass in front to set up his linemate's 12th of the season.
 

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Drake Edges Bradley in Missouri Valley Conference Opener

Graham Woodward and Ore Arogundade hit back-to-back 3-pointers to give Drake the lead and Nick McGlynn's two free throws made it stand up for a 66-64 win over Bradley in the Missouri Valley Conference opener on Thursday night.
 
The game was tied at intermission, 33-33, and neither team could build more than a single-digit lead in the second half.
 
The game was tied, 58-58 with under four minutes to play and Darrell Brown gave Bradley the lead on a jumper with 2:55 to play. Woodward's trey gave Drake the lead for good at 61-60 and Arogundade pushed it to 64-60. Brown hit two free throws to get within two before McGlynn's free throws pushed the lead back to four. Luuk van Bree hit a layup with a second left to set the final margin.
 
Arogundade finished with 15 points to lead Drake (7-7, 1-0). Woodward added 13 points and McGlynn added 11 points and 11 rebounds.
 
Brown had 19 points to lead Bradley (10-4, 0-1).

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Monticello Blows By Tuscola

Calvin Fisher and Luke Stokowski scored ten points apiece leading a balanced Monticello attack Thursday night over Tuscola 55-25 in the nightcap of their day-night doubleheader in day one  action at the Monticello Holiday Hoopla tournament.

 

Fisher scored all ten of his points in the second quarter, as the Sages used an 18-5 quarter to open up a 28-9 lead at the intermission.

 

Stokowski scored eight of his ten in the third quarter.

 

Alek Bundy and Johnny Dawson each scored eight, Ben Singleton added six points and Devin Graham and Cam Dyson each had five points.

 

The Sages outrebounded Tuscola 29-23 with 12 offensive rebounds and 17 second chance points. Monticello forced 22 turnovers resulting in 19 points and scored 42-points in the paint.

 

The Sages return to action Friday afternoon with Ridgeview, the number one team in Class 1A.

 

Game time is 3:30 pm from Monticello High School. Hear all the action on 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com.

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Lady Sages Hold Off Lady Warriors

The Monticello Lady Sages held off a frantic comeback by the Tuscola Lady Warriors for a 54-42 victory Thursday night from the Monticello Holiday Hoopla tournament in girls basketball action.

 

Leading 45-25 after three quarters, the Lady Warriors outscored the Lady Sages 17-9 but their comeback fell short and Monticello finished day one of Holiday Hoopla play 2-0.

 

The Lady Sages were led by Tatum McCall, who finished with 22 points. Zanna Myers added 16.

 

Marissa Russo was the only Tuscola player to score in double figures. Alexis Koester added eight points, Natalie Bates and Grace Dietrich added six points.

 

The Lady Sages will take on Ridgeview tomorrow afternoon for a chance to play for the Holiday Hoopla championship. Game time is 2 pm. Hear all the action on 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com.

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Sages Blow By Argenta-Oreana

Calvin Fisher scored 12 of his game high 22 points in the second quarter as the Monticello Sages blew away Argenta-Oreana 73-46 Thursday morning at the Monticello Holiday Hoopla tournament at Monticello High School.
 
Fisher finished with a game high six rebounds. Luke Stokowski added 17 points and five rebounds and five assists and the Sages dominated the glass 38-12 and shot 60-percent from the floor for the game and scored 54 points in the paint. 
 
Drew Johnson led the Bombers with 12 points. 
 
The Sages improve to 6-0 on the season and will take on Tuscola tonight from the Holiday Hoopla at 7:30 pm.
 
Hear the action on 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com.
 
The Bombers are 1-8 overall and will battle with Ridgeview tonight at 6pm. 
 
Ridgeview beat Tuscola 62-44 in the opener of action this morning. 

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Illinois Fires Football Assistants

Illinois has fired offensive coordinator Garrick McGee and defensive backs coach Paul Williams.
 
McGee was brought in shortly after Lovie Smith was hired as head coach. He spent two seasons with the program but was never able to establish a formidable offense. In the 2016 campaign, the team averaged just 19.7 points and 315.1 yards per game, finishing 2-10 and 0-9 in the Big Ten.
 
Illinois started three different quarterbacks who combined for only eight passing touchdowns and 19 interceptions. The team ended the season last in conference with just 21 total offensive touchdowns.
 
Williams also spent two seasons with Smith. The Illini gave up 20 passing touchdowns during the 2017 season, second most in the Big Ten.
 
The moves were confirmed by the athletic department on Tuesday.

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Bulls Win; Pacers Lose Wednesday

>>Bulls Rally Past Knicks
 
Kris Dunn scored 17 points, including two clutch free throws in the final seconds, and the surging Chicago Bulls rallied to beat the New York Knicks 92-87 on Wednesday night.
 
Chicago trailed by as many as 15 in the first half, but shut down New York down the stretch of its ninth win in 11 games. The Knicks managed just three points in the final 5 1/2 minutes.
 
Lauri Markkanen scored 12 points for the Bulls, and Justin Holiday and Robin Lopez had 11 points apiece. Holiday also made three of Chicago's 10 3-pointers in 28 attempts, compared to a 4-for-23 performance from beyond the arc for New York.
 
Kristaps Porzingis led the Knicks with 23 points, and Courtney Lee had 17. New York has dropped three straight.
 
>>Mavs Rally Past Pacers
 
Dirk Nowitzki scored 15 points, Harrison Barnes made the tiebreaking free throw with 37.7 seconds left and the Mavericks snapped an eight-game road losing streak with a 98-94 victory over the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday night.
Barnes and Yogi Ferrell each scored 13 points. Ferrell, an Indianapolis native, hit a key 3-pointer to take a four-point lead with 2:09 remaining.
 
The Pacers led 90-84 with 5 minutes remaining.
 
Lance Stephenson, Myles Turner and Darren Collison had 16 points apiece for the Pacers, who played without injured leading scorer Victor Oladipo for the first time and struggled down the stretch.
 
Stephenson's layup tied it at 94, but he committed a costly turnover on the Pacers' next possession with 28 seconds remaining that the Mavericks converted into an uncontested layup.
 
The Pacers visit Chicago on Friday.

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Blues Lose; Blackhawks Put G Crawford on IR

>>Preds Drop Blues
 
Calle Jarnkrok scored his second goal in two games and Rinne made 29 saves as the Predators beat the Blues 2-1 on Wednesday night, snapping their season-high three-game losing streak.
 
Craig Smith scored his 13th of the season for the Predators, who leapfrogged the Blues to take over first place in the Central Division with 49 points.
 
Vladimir Sobotka scored his first goal in nine games for St. Louis. Jake Allen made 24 saves, but the Blues lost for the sixth time in their last eight.
 
Smith deflected Roman Josi's shot past Allen to give the Predators a 1-0 lead midway through the first period. It was Smith's first goal in his last five games.
 
Jarnkrok's one-timer made it 2-0 with 3:11 left in the second. Filip Forsberg, playing in his 300th career game, got an assist.
 
Sobotka deflected Kyle Brodziak's shot to get St. Louis on the board with 6:23 left in the third period.
 
Rinne had a shutout in St. Louis earlier this season.
 
The Blues are at the Dallas Stars on Friday night.
 
>>Blackhawks G Crawford Goes To IR
 
The Chicago Blackhawks have placed goaltender Corey Crawford on injured reserve for the second time this month.
 
Coach Joel Quenneville says Crawford is out indefinitely with an upper-body injury. He says he will have a better idea about when Crawford might be able to return when he gets back on the ice.
 
It's unclear when the injury occurred. Crawford allowed three goals on seven shots before he was replaced by Anton Forsberg in the first period of Saturday's 4-1 loss at New Jersey.
 
Crawford, who turns 33 on Sunday, is 16-9-2 in 28 games. He is among the NHL leaders with a 2.27 goals-against average and .929 save percentage.
 
The Blackhawks also recalled forward David Kampf and goaltender Jeff Glass from the minors on Wednesday. Forsberg is expected to make the ninth start of his first season with Chicago when it faces Vancouver on Thursday night.
 
Crawford also went on IR on Dec. 1 with a lower-body injury. He missed three games before returning Dec. 8 against Buffalo.

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Texas Holds Off Mizzou at Texas Bowl

The Texas Longhorns finished with just the school's first winning record since 2013 following a 33-16 victory over Missouri in the Texas Bowl on Wednesday night.
 
Freshman running back Daniel Young had 64 yards receiving with a touchdown and added 48 yards on the ground to pace Texas (7-6).
 
Shane Buechele and Sam Ehlinger split time at quarterback for Texas, and both players threw a touchdown pass. The defense helped out, too, with Anthony Wheeler scoring a TD on a fumble return in the first half and Davante Davis grabbing an interception with about three minutes left in the fourth quarter.
 
Armanti Foreman dashed 18 yards for a touchdown on the ensuing drive to extend the lead to 33-16 and put the game out of reach.
 
Michael Dickson, who won the Ray Guy Award as the nation's best punter, was selected the game's Most Valuable Player, making him the first non-offensive player to be Texas Bowl MVP and the second punter ever to win MVP of a bowl game, joining Florida State's Graham Gano, the MVP of the 2008 Champs Sports Bowl.
 
Dickson, who will forego his senior season to declare for the NFL draft, punted 11 times for 452 yards, with four landing inside the 5.
 
Drew Lock passed for 269 yards and a touchdown, but also threw an interception and lost a fumble in the loss, which snapped a six-game winning streak for the Tigers. Lock led the nation during the regular season with a Southeastern Conference-record 43 touchdown passes and had thrown three or more in eight straight games.
 
Buechele connected with Young on a 22-yard touchdown pass to put Texas up 7-0 early in the first quarter. Ehlinger found John Burt for a 7-yard score later in the first to push the lead to 14-0.
 
The Tigers (7-6) got within 14-7 when Ish Witter ran 4 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter. But Witter fumbled later in the period and Wheeler scooped it up and rumbled 38 yards for a touchdown to leave Texas up 21-7 at halftime.
 
Lock threw a 79-yard touchdown pass to Johnathon Johnson on the first play of the second half, but the 2-point conversion failed, leaving the Tigers down 21-13.
 
They cut the margin to 21-16 with a 28-yard field goal by Tucker McCann with about three minutes left in the third quarter, but weren't able to move the ball much after that.
 
The Longhorns went up 23-16 when a bad snap sailed over Lock's head and rolled out of the back of the end zone for a safety near the end of the third quarter.
 
Texas used a 41-yard field goal early in the fourth to make it 26-16 with about 12 minutes left.
 
Ehlinger was 11 of 15 for 112 yards, and Buechele finished 6 of 14 for 55 yards.

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Clinton Lady Maroons Fall to Sherrard in Riverton Tournament

As heard on WHOW, the Clinton Lady Maroons fell to the Sherrard Lady Tigers by a score of 48-30 on Wednesday afternoon in the Riverton Holiday Classic. Senior Madi Filkin led the Lady Maroons with 9 points. Aryn Scott was named the Country Financial representative Brad James Maroons Player of the Game for adding 6 points with limited playtime.

 

For Sherrard, they were led by senior Callie Minch with 13 points and senior Courtney Whitsell with 13.

 

With the loss, the Lady Maroons fall to 6-10 overall. Sherrard improves to 8-6 on the season with the win.

 

Tune in Thursday, January 4, as the Lady Maroons take on Tri-Valley. You can hear the game live on the Big 1520 AM/92.3 FM WHOW, online at dewittdailynews.com, and on the WHOW app.

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Bulls Win; Pacers Lose Tuesday

>>Bulls Topple Bucks
 
Nikola Mirotic came off the bench to score 24 points in 28 minutes and the Chicago Bulls won for the eighth time in 10 games, beating the Milwaukee Bucks 115-106 on Tuesday night.
 
Chicago's surge coincides with the return of Mirotic, who missed the beginning of the season after suffering facial fractures in an October fight with teammate Bobby Portis.
 
Kris Dunn rebounded from a 1-for-12 shooting game Saturday against Boston with 20 points and 12 assists in 33 minutes for the Bulls.
 
Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 28 points and Eric Bledsoe had 22 to pace Milwaukee, which has lost five of seven.
 
Mirotic led Chicago's bench in outscoring Milwaukee's reserves 54-25. It was the second time the Bulls won at Milwaukee in 12 days, including a 115-109 victory on Dec. 15.
 
David Nwaba tipped in a rebound to cap an 8-2 run that gave the Bulls a 100-92 lead with 6:16 to go. The closest Milwaukee got the rest of the way was 109-104 with 1:11 left.
 
Chicago took the lead for good, 86-85, on a 3-pointer by Mirotic with 10:59 left.
 
The game was tied 83-all after three quarters. The teams traded baskets for much of the period, with three lead changes and four ties in the final 3:31.
 
Mirotic had 11 points in the first half and Chicago led 56-53 at halftime.
 
The Bulls host the New York Knicks on Wednesday.
 
>>Pistons Beat Pacers
 
Tobias Harris scored 30 points as the Pistons downed the Indiana Pacers 107-83.
 
Harris was 10-of-11 from the floor, including making seven of eight 3's.
Harris scored 21 points in the first quarter, as the Pistons rolled to a season-high 40 points and a 40-19 lead.
 
Andre Drummond finished with 21 points and a game-high 18 rebounds. The entire starting five for the Pacers combined for just eight rebounds and their offensive output was a season low.
 
Ish Smith (12 points) and Reggie Bullock (11) also reached double digits for Detroit.
 
Victor Oladipo led the Pacers with 13 points. Domantas Sabonis, Bojan Bogdanovic and Myles Turner each scored 10 points.
 
The victory moved the Pistons (19-14) past the Pacers (19-15) into second spot in the NBA's Central Division and gave the Pistons a 3-1 decision in the season series between the two teams, the first time Detroit had won the season set from Indiana since going 4-0 against the Pacers in 2007-08.
 
The Pacers travel to Orlando to face the Magic on Thursday.

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Duke Topples Northern Illinois At Quick Lane Bowl

Daniel Jones threw for two touchdowns and ran for another as Duke beat Northern Illinois 36-14 in the Quick Lane Bowl on Tuesday.
 
Jones finished with 338 yards of offense, while Shaun Wilson and Brittain Brown added touchdowns for Duke (7-6).
 
Marcus Childers threw for 234 yards and a score for Northern Illinois (8-5).
 
The Blue Devils took a 14-0 lead in the first quarter, sandwiching rushing touchdowns around a failed Northern Illinois fake punt on 4th-and-18 from their own 11.
 
The Huskies had two first downs and 46 yards in the quarter, but tied the game with two scores in the first 2:38 of the second. Duke, though, moved back into a 26-14 lead with two touchdowns before halftime.
 
Jones fumbled on the first possession of the second half, but Northern Illinois turned the ball back over after a failed fake field goal.

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Packers Place OL Spriggs on IR

The Green Bay Packers will have another new starting right tackle for their season finale at Detroit after Jason Spriggs was placed on injured reserve with a knee injury.
 
Spriggs left following the first play from scrimmage in Green Bay's 16-0 loss to Minnesota. Utility offensive lineman Justin McCray moved over from right guard to replace Spriggs and could take over at tackle on Sunday against the Lions.
 
McCray has made four starts this season at right tackle. Kyle Murphy started the opener for the injured Bryan Bulaga, who played five games before going on injured reserve at midseason with a knee injury. Murphy (foot) is also out for the season after getting hurt in Week 3.
 
The team signed rookie tight end Emanuel Byrd from the practice squad on Tuesday to replace Spriggs. Tight end Richard Rodgers left the Vikings game with a shoulder injury.
 
Receiver Jake Kumerow also was signed to the practice squad. Kumerow, who played in college at Division III Wisconsin-Whitewater, has spent time on the practice squads of Cincinnati and New England.

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Browns move to brink of winless season, lose 20-3 to Bears

The Cleveland Browns got pushed to the brink of a winless season, hurt by two more interceptions by DeShone Kizer and two turnovers in the red zone on the way to a 20-3 loss to the Chicago Bears on a snowy Sunday.
 
One more loss and the Browns will join the 2008 Detroit Lions as the only teams to go 0-16.
 
And the Browns will wrap up the season at AFC North leader Pittsburgh next week.
 
Then again, the Browns (0-15) keep racking up losses no matter whom they're playing.
 
They're 1-30 in two seasons under coach Hue Jackson. And after beating the then-San Diego Chargers on Christmas Eve last year, there was no holiday celebration for them this time.
 
Kizer threw for 182 yards and ran his league leading-interception total to 21. One of those was to a wide-open Kyle Fuller in the end zone in the second quarter.
 
Defensive end Myles Garrett had what looked like a 42-yard interception return for a touchdown early in the third quarter wiped out because Carl Nassib was offside.
 
Rashard Higgins lost a fumble near the goal line that Chicago (5-10) recovered in the end zone.
 
Mitchell Trubisky threw for 193 yards and ran for a touchdown against his hometown team to help the Bears pick up the win in what might be coach John Fox's final home game at Soldier Field. With a 14-33 record, he could be on his way out after three seasons.
 
Jordan Howard ran for two scores, and the Bears came away with the win after dropping six of seven.
 
The Bears were leading 6-3 when Garrett had his big interception return wiped on the first play from scrimmage in the third. And the Bears drove 60 yards on four plays, with Howard scoring from the 16.
 
Trubisky made it 20-3 when he scored on a 4-yard draw. That capped a 12-play drive that Howard kept going with his 8-yard run on fourth-and-1 at the 15.
 
Danny Trevathan then stripped Higgins at the Chicago 3 after a 17-yard reception near the end of the quarter, and the Bears' Prince Amukamara recovered the fumble in the end zone.

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Durant delivers on both ends, Warriors beat Cavaliers 99-92

Klay Thompson hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with 1:33 left, Durant delivered on both ends of the floor, and the Golden State Warriors beat the Cavaliers 99-92 on Monday in a festive holiday rematch of the past three Finals.
 
Kevin Durant's block against a driving James with 24.5 seconds left went out of bounds off  Lebron James, who said he thought he was fouled on the play. Durant finished with 25 points, seven rebounds and five blocked shots.
 
Thompson scored 24 points and Draymond Green had a triple-double with 12 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists. It was Golden State's 12th win in 13 games after its 11-game winning streak was snapped by Denver on Saturday night.
 
Warriors rookie Jordan Bell traveled with 2:13 left and James tied it. Bell made up for that mistake with a key offensive rebound and pass to Thompson for his fourth 3.
 
James' 3-pointer with 10:39 left pulled Cleveland within one, but Green answered with a 3 and Andre Iguodala scored two of his nine points the next time down. In another key sequence, Durant blocked Tristan Thompson's shot with 6:23 to go and dunked moments later.
 
The Cavs, having won six of seven and playing for the first time since Thursday, had their run of scoring at least 100 points end at 26 games.
 
The Warriors were at nearly full strength again aside from Curry, who could return this week once he goes through some scrimmages at practice.
 
Center Zaza Pachulia was available but didn't play after sitting out seven consecutive games, while Shaun Livingston came back after missing four games with a sore right knee.

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Beal's 25 points carries Wizards by Celtics 111-103

Bradley Beal scored 25 points, John Wall had 21 points and 14 assists, and the Wizards beat Boston 111-103 on Monday in the Celtics' first Christmas Day home game in franchise history.
 
Otto Porter Jr. added 20 points and Kelly Oubre Jr. finished with 16, helping Washington take the first meeting between the teams since Boston's Game 7 victory at home in the second round of the playoffs last spring.
 
Boston lost for the third time in four games. Kyrie Irving and Jayson Tatum each scored 20 points for the Celtics, and Terry Rozier had 16.
 
The Celtics are 11-8 since opening the season 16-2.
 
Boston forward Al Horford thinks it's just a normal course of a season.
 
Boston opened a 95-90 lead on Irving's 3-pointer with 6:18 left, but the Wizards responded with a 12-0 run. Beal capped the spurt with a three-point play and a breakaway dunk off a turnover.
 
The Wizards led by two at halftime and opened the third quarter by scoring 13 of the first 17 points, pulling ahead 65-54 on Marcin Gortat's three-point play. Gortat had 11 points and 10 rebounds.

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Steelers clinch first-round bye with 34-6 win over Texans

Ben Roethlisberger threw for 226 yards and two touchdowns in the first game since  Antonio Brown injured his calf, and the Steelers clinched a first-round playoff bye with a 34-6 win over the Texans. Roethlisberger threw passes to six players as Pittsburgh (12-3) romped over the lowly Texans (4-11) despite missing the NFL's leading receiver.
 
The Steelers led 20-0 at halftime after taking advantage of two turnovers by the Texans. Bell added a 10-yard TD run late in the third quarter and rookie JuJu Smith-Schuster made it 34-6 with an 18-yard touchdown grab in the fourth.
 
Bell finished with 14 carries for 69 yards and Smith-Schuster had six receptions for 75 yards.
 
T.J. Yates was 7 of 16 for 83 yards and a touchdown for the Texans, who lost their fifth straight game and for the eighth time in nine games.
 
The Steelers hurried and harassed Yates all day with Mike Hilton leading the way with three sacks and three quarterback hits, Cameron Heyward adding two and forcing a fumble. Hilton became the first cornerback with three sacks in a game since sacks became an official statistic in 1982.
 
The Steelers took a 10-0 lead when Roethlisberger connected with Justin Hunter on a 5-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter.
 
Pittsburgh added a 36-yard field goal on the next drive to push the lead to 20-0.
 

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Frazier, Black lead Illinois to 70-64 win over Missouri

Trent Frazier scored a career-high 22 points and Leron Black added 20 to lead Illinois to a 70-64 win over Missouri on Saturday night.
 
The Illini (9-5) have won five straight games in the annual pre-Christmas showdown.
 
Kassius Robertson paced the Tigers (10-3) with 22 points. Jordan Barnett added 19 points and 10 rebounds.
 
Illinois leads the overall series 25-12 in games played in St. Louis.
 
Mark Smith added 11 points for Illinois, which won its first six games before losing five of its next seven, and Michael Finke scored 10.
 
Illinois used runs of 9-0 and 10-0 to roll out to a 19-5 lead.
 
Missouri, which had a five-game winning streak snapped, missed 10 of its first 12 shots and committed 14 turnovers on its first 29 possessions over the initial 16-plus minutes.
 
The Tigers got to within 66-62 in the final minute.
 

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Vikings shut out Packers 16-0, keep eye on 1st-round bye

The Vikings took care of business on their end with a 16-0 victory Saturday night over the injury-depleted Green Bay Packers, the team's first shutout in 24 years. Having already clinched the division title, Minnesota (12-3) can wrap up a first-round bye if the Carolina Panthers lose or tie on Sunday against Tampa Bay. 

 

The Packers (7-8) managed to hold a 239-236 edge in total yards. They were still shut out twice in a season for the first time since 2006.

 

Brett Hundley was 17 of 40 for 130 yards with two interceptions in taking over at quarterback again for Aaron Rodgers, who returned to injured reserve this week after missing seven games earlier in the year with a collarbone injury.

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Cavs Get By Bulls

LeBron James scored 34 points, Kevin Love added 27 and the Cleveland Cavaliers won their 12th straight home game, 115-112 over the Chicago Bulls on Thursday night as injured point guard Isaiah Thomas moved even closer to his return.
 
James had 11 points in the fourth quarter and dropped a pair of free throws with 11.1 seconds left as the Cavs won for the 19th time in 21 games and ended Chicago's seven-game winning streak.
 
With Cleveland's Jae Crowder guarding him closely, Chicago's Denzel Valentine was short with a tying 3-pointer in the final second.
 
Dwyane Wade had three steals and two blocks in the fourth quarter for Cleveland, which improved to 3-0 against the Bulls this season.
 
Rookie Lauri Markkanen scored 25 points, Valentine had 18 and Nikola Mirotic 15 for the Bulls, who lost for the first time since Dec. 6. Chicago's win streak followed a 10-game losing skid.
 
The Bulls battled back from a 10-point deficit early in the fourth and were within four at 111-107 when James, who has been so clutch in the fourth quarter all season, sank a fadeaway baseline jumper. Chicago pulled to 113-112 on Valentine's layup before James made his two free throws and Cleveland got the key defensive stop to end it.
 
Cavs coach Tyronn Lue missed the game with an undisclosed illness. Assistant coach Larry Drew filled in for Lue, who conducted his usual media session about 90 minutes before tip-off and was in Cleveland's locker room before the team announced he was sick.
 
That wasn't the only news during a hectic pregame for the Cavs as starting guard J.R. Smith was a late scratch with a sore left knee and Thomas took the floor dressed in his uniform and participated in pregame warmups with his teammates for the first time since arriving in Cleveland.
 
Earlier in the day, Thomas was assigned to the Cavs' Canton G-League affiliate so he could practice and take part in a full-court scrimmage. There's still no definitive date for Thomas to make his debut with Cleveland, but he's closer than ever.
 
Lue did rule Thomas out of Monday's Christmas Day marquee matchup with Golden State, but it's possible the 28-year-old All-Star, who was acquired this summer in a blockbuster trade with Boston, could play next week when the team plays at Sacramento and Utah.
 
The Bulls continue three-game trip at Boston on Saturday. Chicago beat the Celtics 108-85 at home on Dec. 11.

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Illinois Hosts Mizzou in 'Braggin' Rights' Game Saturday

The latest installment of the Braggin' Rights game between Illinois and Missouri will commence Saturday night with no shortage of story lines.
 
From a top-prospect who spurned the Illini for the Tigers to the matchup of first year, touted coach to programs trying to get on the right track, this could be one of the most intense Braggin' Rights matchups in some time.
 
The story starts with the two first year coaches, Cuanzo Martin, who came to Mizzou from Cal, and the rapid rising Brad Underwood, who comes to Illinois from Oklahoma State.
 
Both dynamic personalities, excellent recruiters and coaches with a good track record, Martin's first year in Columbia, MO has gone more like what Underwood had hoped his first year would hold.
 
The Tigers enter action 10-2 overall with signature wins over Iowa State and St. John's, the Illini are sputtering, losers of five of their last seven.
 
Additionally, Martin was able to sway top Illinois prep star, Jeremiah Tillmon to the Tigers after the Illini fired ex-coach John Groce and hired Underwood.
 
Underwood would get his own splash in recruiting not long after his arrival in Champaign. Underwood and staff were able to sell Mr. Illinois Basketball, Mark Smith, who was picking between Illinois, Mizzou and numerous other power-five programs.
 
Martin also scored top prep star Michael Porter, Jr, who will not play in the Braggin' Rights matchup Saturday as he recovers from an early season back injury.
 
Porter Jr's younger brother, Jontay reclassified to the class of  '17 and committed to the Tigers over the summer. 
 
The Tigers success getting the dynamic pair of brothers was in large part due to Martin's hiring of their father, Michael Porter Sr.
 
The Illini lead the all time series 31-16 and are winners of the last four.
 
Game time from the Scottrade Center Saturday night is 7 pm. Catch the game on ESPN2. 

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Blackhawks, Blues Win

>>Stars Blank Blackhawks
 
Tyler Seguin scored two goals in the second period, Ben Bishop earned his 22nd career shutout and the Dallas Stars beat the Chicago Blackhawks 4-0 on Thursday night.
 
Bishop made 24 saves for his third shutout of the season.
 
Dallas had lost its previous three games and Chicago arrived with a five-game winning streak, but the Stars improved to 3-0 against the Blackhawks this season.
 
The win was the 800th of coach Ken Hitchcock's career.
 
Jamie Benn scored the only goal of the first period. Antoine Roussel scored barely a minute into the second before Seguin's two goals made it 4-0.
 
Corey Crawford stopped 18 shots. He won all five games during the Blackhawks' streak, allowing only seven goals. Crawford hadn't lost in regulation since Nov. 12.
 
The Blackhawks dominated early. They had the best scoring chance at 11:44 of the first period when Connor Murphy's wrist shot hit Bishop in the chest. On the rebound, the puck sat in the paint with an easy chance for Patrick Kane, but his tap-in hit the right post.
 
Kane, who leads Chicago with 34 points in 34 games, had seven points in his previous four games.
 
Dallas scored three seconds after the only first-period power play ended. Remi Elie passed from the left side through the slot to Benn, who put a wrist shot into the open right side of the net at 17:11.
 
Roussel scored 1:07 into the second period when he redirected Dan Hamhuis' shot from the left point into the net off Crawford. Hamhuis had two assists.
 
Seguin scored on the power play at 5:55. He picked up a partially blocked shot by Jason Spezza at the left of the net and backhanded the puck past Crawford.
 
Seguin set up his second goal himself, at 16:14. He dug the puck out of the right corner and passed to Devin Shore. While Shore skated toward the net, Seguin crossed over to the left side and was in position for a short wrist shot when the puck came to him.
 
The Blackhawks play on Saturday at New Jersey in the second game of a coast-to-coast-to-coast six-game trip, their longest this season.
 
>>Oilers Topple Blues
 
Drake Caggiula scored with less than a minute remaining and Edmonton won its third straight game for the first time this season, beating the St. Louis Blues 3-2 on Thursday night.
 
Caggiula took a pass in front from behind the net by Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and beat goalie Jake Allen with 49.8 seconds left. Michael Cammalleri and Connor McDavid also scored for the Oilers (16-17-2), who have won four of their last five.
Tage Thompson and Patrik Berglund scored for the Blues (22-13-2), who have lost three in a row and five of six.
 
The Blues had the best chances in a scoreless first period, outshooting Edmonton 11-5. Edmonton had a good chance midway through the second, but a shot by Darnell Nurse hit a post and slid through the crease under a diving Allen to safety. It was the Oilers' fourth post of the game to that point.
 
The scoreless deadlock continued through 40 minutes with the shots favoring the Blues 26-19.
 
Stastny had a glorious opportunity seven minutes into the third when he stole the puck from Talbot behind the net, but the goalie made a desperate leap to prevent the wraparound attempt.
 
The Blues finally scored with 10:30 left in the third period as Thompson got a shot through traffic past Talbot for his first career goal.
 
Edmonton tied it 38 seconds later on a wrist shot by Cammalleri.
 
St. Louis regained the lead with 6:38 left when Berglund scored on a one-timer, but Edmonton tied it again as McDavid waited for Allen to go down before lifting in his 13th goal of the season with 3:41 left.
 
The Blues visit the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday.

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Bears, Packers Home This Week

>>Packers Host Vikings Sunday
 
The Minnesota Vikings have clinched the division title and have an eye on securing a first-round bye and possibly earning home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs. 
 
The Green Bay Packers, on the other hand, are out of the playoff picture. Aaron Rodgers, whose right collarbone was broken during a season-defining loss at Minnesota in Week 6, is back on injured reserve after throwing three interceptions in a killer loss at Carolina.
 
The landscape of the NFL underwent a seismic shift during the first quarter of the teams' matchup in Minneapolis on Oct. 15. That's when Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr took Rodgers to the turf after a pass. Rodgers suffered a broken right collarbone. Minnesota won 23-10 to record the second of eight consecutive wins. The Packers went on to lose four of Brett Hundley's first five starts at quarterback.
 
Rodgers returned last week but the Packers lost 31-24 at Carolina. Green Bay put Rodgers back on injured reserve and has turned over the offense again to Hundley.
 
Hundley will face an enormous challenge against Minnesota's powerful defense. The Vikings rank second in the NFL in total defense and scoring defense. Defensive end Everson Griffen, who has 13 sacks, Barr and cornerback Xavier Rhodes were selected to the Pro Bowl team on Tuesday.
 
Green Bay is No. 30 in opponent passer rating (100.5) and No. 31 in opponent completion percentage (68.4). Vikings quarterback Case Keenum is No. 8 in rating (98.9) and No. 2 in completion percentage (67.9).
 
On the injury front, Packers receiver Davante Adams remains in the concussion protocol following the helmet-to-helmet hit by Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis that resulted in Davis getting a one-week suspension. Adams is second in the NFL with 10 touchdown catches.
 
Starting outside linebackers Clay Matthews (hamstring) and Nick Perry (ankle/shoulder) and guard Jahri Evans (knee) also didn't practice for Green Bay. For Minnesota, reserve cornerback Tramaine Brock (foot) was the only player to not practice.
 
>>Bears Host Browns Sunday
 
Chicago Bears rookie quarterback Mitchell Trubisky's next opportunity will arrive Sunday afternoon when Chicago (4-10) hosts the Browns (0-14) at Soldier Field. The game carries no playoff implications but could affect draft positioning as well as future jobs for coaches and players.
 
An unwanted piece of history could be on the line, too. Cleveland needs one win in its final two games to avoid joining the 2008 Detroit Lions as the only teams in NFL history to lose 16 games in a regular season.
The Browns' only victory in 2016 was on Christmas Eve against the then-San Diego Chargers. 
 
The North Carolina alum has a 77.8 passer rating (1,822 yards, seven TDs, seven interceptions) while rushing for 202 yards and a touchdown. In his most recent game against the Detroit Lions, he completed 31 of 46 pass attempts for 314 yards -- all season highs -- but was hounded by three interceptions.
 
The matchup of rookie quarterbacks offers an element of intrigue to an otherwise unattractive matchup. The Bears have lost five of their past six games to ensure their fourth consecutive season with double-digit losses. The Browns have dropped double-digit games nine times in the past 10 seasons and have not reached the playoffs since 2002.
 
The Bears hope to end on a high note in their home finale. They are 2-5 on the lakefront this season under coach John Fox, whose job security is tenuous at best with a 13-33 record since he joined the team in 2015.
 
Chicago running back Jordan Howard has provided a bright spot as he has rushed for 1,069 yards and seven touchdowns. Leading wide receiver Kendall Wright has 50 catches for 558 yards and a touchdown.
 
On defense, the Bears are led by Akiem Hicks, who has eight sacks but was passed over this week during Pro Bowl selections. Rookie safety Eddie Jackson leads the unit with a pair of interceptions.
 
Cleveland is led on defense by rookie defensive end Myles Garrett, the No. 1 overall pick in 2017, who has recorded five sacks in nine games. Cornerback Jason McCourty leads the team with three interceptions.
 
With a win, the Bears would complete a season sweep of the AFC North.

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Bradley Beats Southeast Missouri State

Darrell Brown scored 18 points, Elijah Childs added a career-high 15 and Bradley beat Southeast Missouri State 75-67 on Wednesday.
 
Bradley (10-2) is off to its best start since beginning the 1985-86 season with a 31-1 record.
 
Luuk van Bree chipped in 14 points and Nate Kennell 12 for Bradley, which has won back-to-back road games. The Braves entered as the nation's fourth-ranked defense, allowing only 58.5 points per game.
 
Brown scored six points during Bradley's 16-5 run to close the first half for a 41-29 lead. Childs had 13 points and six rebounds at the break.
 
Denzel Mahoney made 10 of 12 free throws and scored 17 points for SEMO (6-6). Ledarrius Brewer added 13 and Ray Kowalski 10.
 
Mahoney sank a deep 3-pointer just before the halftime buzzer for SEMO's second field goal in the final five minutes of the half.

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Illini FB Signs 15 During Early Signing Period

Illinois football coach Lovie Smith's second recruiting class included two four star players and players from various parts of the country.
 
The top recruits to sign during the early signing period was defensive lineman Calvin Avery, a top 300 player in the class from Texas, along with offensive lineman, Reuben Unije, from IMG Academy in Florida.
 
Offensive lineman Julian Pearl, from Danville, was the only recruit from Illinois to sign Wednesday.
 
The class included eight offensive players and seven defensive players.

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Bulls Win; Pacers Lose Wednesday

>>Bulls Win Seventh Straight
 
Denzel Valentine had 16 points and 10 rebounds, Nikola Mirotic had 15 points and 10 rebounds, and the Chicago Bulls beat the Orlando Magic 112-94 on Wednesday night for their seventh straight win.
 
The Bulls had lost 10 straight with Mirotic out of the lineup prior to his return Dec. 8, and they haven't lost since to improve to 10-20.
 
Nikola Vucevic scored 18 points for Orlando, which lost its sixth in a row.
 
Facing the league's fourth-worst scoring defense, the Bulls took a 43-27 lead with 9:05 left in the second quarter on Mirotic's layup, one of many easy baskets. Chicago's strong ball movement resulted in easy looks inside and out, and the team had assists on 10 of its first 15 shots.
 
Robin Lopez connected on his first four attempts for a club averaging 111.1 points per contest since Mirotic returned to the lineup - up from 95.7 points in 23 games without the forward.
 
Injury-riddled Orlando, which played without leading scorers Evan Fournier and Aaron Gordon, struggled to keep pace. The Magic made only 3 of 15 first-half 3-point tries en route to their 17th loss in 20 games.
 
The Bulls are at Cleveland on Thursday night.
 
>>Pacers Down Hawks
 
Victor Oladipo scored 23 points to lead the Indiana Pacers over the Atlanta Hawks 105-95 Wednesday night, two days after scoring 38 points in a loss to Boston.
 
Oladipo made 8 of 15 shots Wednesday, including 3 of 5 3-pointers, and Indiana built a 20-point fourth-quarter lead before the Hawks scored the final 10 points.
Indiana led just 53-51 at halftime.
 
Atlanta's reserves outscored Indiana's subs 46-28 with rookie reserve center/forward John Collins leading the way with 18 points and nine rebounds. Marco Belinelli pitched in 13 points.
 
The Pacers gradually grew their lead through the second half, peaking when young center Myles Turner (20 points, six rebounds) hit a 3-pointer for a 105-85 edge with 2:55 left.
 
The Pacers will play host to the Nets on Saturday night.

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Bears Place LB McPhee on IR

The Chicago Bears have placed linebacker Pernell McPhee on injured reserve.
 
After having offseason surgeries the past two years, McPhee will miss the final two games this season. The Bears have 15 players on IR.
 
McPhee left Saturday's loss at Detroit because of a shoulder injury - an ailment that kept him out of the previous game. The veteran missed the first six games in 2016 following surgery on his left knee, and he had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee in July.
 
The Bears also signed linebacker Jonathan Anderson on Wednesday. Chicago (4-10) hosts winless Cleveland on Sunday.

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Calgary Holds off Blues

Dougie Hamilton broke a tie at 7:57 of the third period and Calgary beat the St. Louis Blues 2-1 on Wednesday night.
 
After goalie Carter Hutton stopped Sean Monahan's shot from the blue line, Ivan Barbashev was about to skate away with the rebound when Hamilton swung at the puck and, all in one motion, knocked it off the forward's stick and into the net.
 
Michael Frolik also scored for Calgary.
 
Brayden Schenn had his team-leading 17th goal for St. Louis. The Blues have lost four of five.
 
Mike Smith made 21 saves to improve to 14-11-3. His best save came halfway through the third when he jabbed out his blocker to deny Alex Steen from 20 feet out.
 
The Blues are at Edmonton on Thursday night.

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Illinois State Holds Off Illinois-Chicago

Milik Yarbrough totaled 20 points, seven rebounds and five assists and Keyshawn Evans hit 3 of 4 free throws in the final 23 seconds to help Illinois State hold off Illinois-Chicago 71-70 on Tuesday night.
 
Phil Fayne added 16 points and six rebounds for the Redbirds (6-6), who turned 20 Flames turnovers into 15 points. Evans, Illinois State's leading scorer at 19.2 points per game, made just 3 of 14 from the field and just 1 of 8 from 3-point range, but his free throws in the final seconds helped Illinois State win back-to-back games for the second time this season.
 
Marcus Ottey led the Flames (4-7) with 23 points on 10-of-12 shooting. Dikembe Dixson scored 19 and Jordan Blount snared 11 rebounds as UIC controlled the boards 44-35.
 
The game was tied 14 times and there were 14 lead changes.
 
UIC led 29-25 before the Redbirds closed the half on an 8-0 run to lead 33-29. UIC led most of the second half, but Yarbrough's 3-point play put Illinois State up 64-62 with 3:46 remaining and his layup with 1:51 remaining was the Redbirds' last basket and gave them a 68-63 lead.

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Clinton Topples Argenta-Oreana

The Clinton Maroons jumped out to a 38-20 lead by halftime and never looked back as they rolled the Argenta-Oreana Bombers 71-31 Tuesday night in non-conference boys basketball action from Argenta-Oreana High School.
 
Seth Westfall led the Maroons with 25 points and was the Brad James Country Financial Player of the Game.
 
Jacob Hospelhorn added nine points, Cal Case had eight points and Chase Reynolds chipped in with seven, but it was Westfall who was the only scorer in double figures for Clinton.
 
Drew Johnson led the Bombers with 15 points.
 
The Maroons improve to 7-3 overall while the Bombers drop to 1-4. 
 
The Maroons are in action next January 2 when they take on LeRoy at home. 
 
The next Clinton boys basketball broadcast is Saturday, January 6, as the Maroons take on Bloomington Central Catholic in the New Year Showdown. You can hear the game live on the Big 1520 AM/92.3 FM WHOW, online at dewittdailynews.com, and on the WHOW app.

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Packers Notes

>>Packers Put Rodgers in IR
 
Aaron Rodgers is done for the season.
 
The Green Bay Packers put their star quarterback on injured reserve Tuesday, a day after they were eliminated from playoff contention.
 
Rodgers missed seven games after breaking his right collarbone Oct. 15 against Minnesota. He returned on Sunday, but the Packers lost 31-24 at Carolina. Atlanta's win against Tampa Bay on Monday night ended Green Bay's eight-year run of consecutive postseason berths.
 
Brett Hundley will get the start for Green Bay in Saturday's home game against the Vikings. Joe Callahan was signed as his backup.
 
The Packers also released fullback Joe Kerridge from the active roster and quarterback Jerod Evans from the practice squad.
 
>>Panthers LB Davis Suspension Reduced To One Game
 
The NFL has reduced linebacker Thomas Davis' suspension from two games to one following his appeal.
 
The league announced the reduced ban Tuesday. Davis was suspended Monday following his helmet-to-helmet hit on Green Bay Packers wide receiver Davante Adams. Hearing officer James Thrash, appointed jointly by the NFL and the players' union, heard the appeal.
 
Davis can return to play in Carolina's regular-season finale on Dec. 31 against Atlanta. Carolina (10-4) can clinch a playoff spot Sunday with a win against Tampa Bay (4-9).
 
Adams left Sunday's 31-24 loss to Carolina in the third quarter with a concussion after being blindsided by Davis following a Carolina interception. Davis was penalized 15 yards, but not ejected.
 
Davis, the 2015 NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year, was visibly upset on the sideline after the play. He tweeted an apology to Adams on Monday.

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Bucks Stop Cavs

The Bucks wasted another sizeable advantage in the final period Tuesday night against the Cleveland Cavaliers, but fought back this time to capture a 119-116 win.
 
Giannis Antetokounmpo, who led the Bucks with 27 points, 14 rebounds and eight assists.
 
Eric Bledsoe scored 26 points for Milwaukee, which ended a five-game losing streak to Cleveland. Khris Middleton had 18 points and 10 assists, and Malcolm Brogdon finished with 16 points.
 
LeBron James scored 39 points for Cleveland, which lost for just the second time in its last 20 games. James had seven assists but grabbed just one rebound in the waning seconds. Kevin Love finished with 21 points.
 
Milwaukee led 103-83 when Cleveland launched a furious comeback with James on the bench. Back-to-back 3-pointers by Dwyane Wade put the Cavaliers up 107-105, capping a 24-3 run and giving the visitors their first lead since the second quarter.
 
A 3-pointer by Brogdon put the Bucks back in front with 3:38 remaining. A traditional three-point play by James put the Cavaliers ahead 113-112 with about two minutes left.
 
Tony Snell responded with a 3-pointer for Milwaukee with 58.9 seconds remaining. After a Cleveland miss, Antetokounmpo grabbed a loose ball, hit a short shot and was fouled. His free throw gave the Bucks a 117-113 lead with 5.9 seconds to go.
 
Wade finished with 14 points for Cleveland, and Jeff Green had 13.

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Rangers Top Ducks

Henrik Lundqvist stopped 39 shots, Paul Carey scored twice and the Rangers beat the Anaheim Ducks 4-1 on Tuesday night to win their third straight. Kevin Hayes and Michael Grabner also scored for New York, and Nick Holden and David Desharnais each had two assists.
 
It was the 422nd career win for the 35-year-old Lundqvist, who is 9-2 over his past 12 starts, including a no decision.
 
Ondrej Kase scored for the Ducks, who have lost three straight. John Gibson made 28 saves.
 
The Ducks outshot the Rangers 16-10 in the first period and had several quality scoring opportunities. However, Lundqvist covered up a few defensive breakdowns, giving New York's offense time to get on track.
 
The Rangers scored twice in 1:24 spanning the first intermission. Desharnais found a streaking Carey at 19:14 of the first period, and Hayes scored 38 seconds into the second for a 2-0 lead.
 
Carey scored again at 13:00 of the middle frame. Desharnais stopped short near the hash marks and found Carey alone in the slot. Jimmy Vesey also assisted on the play.
 
Desharnais had been playing well on the top line while center Mika Zibanejad missed nine games with a concussion, but Zibanejad returned Tuesday. 
 
Grabner scored his 17th of the season at 16:37 of the third for a 4-1 lead. The speedy Austrian forward converted on his own rebound. The play was reviewed, but the referee's determined the puck completely crossed the goal line before an Anaheim defenseman batted the puck out of the air.
 
Kase was able to sneak a wrist shot between Lundqvist's pad at 14:43 of the third period. Getzlaf and Josh Manson got assists.
 
Anaheim scratched defenseman Brandon Montour, and Francois Beauchemin dressed in his place. Montour has now played in 33 of 35 games this season, missing one game due to injury.

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Monticello Routs P-B-L

Four players scored in double figures for Monticello as the Sages used a balanced attack to rout Paxton-Buckley-Loda 66-39 Tuesday night in non-conference boys basketball action from Paxton-Buckley-Loda High School.

 

Johnny Dawson scored eight of his 14 points in the first quarter, and the other six in the third quarter. Luke Stokowski scored nine of his 14 points in the first quarter, and the other five in the third quarter. Stokowski, a less than 50-percent free throw shooter, also went 4-for-4 from the free throw line.

 

Calvin Fisher scored seven of his 12 points in the third quarter. Alek Bundy scored ten points off the bench for Monticello.

 

Dawson grabbed a game high four rebounds.

 

The Sages shot 72-percent for the game (29-for-40) and scored 50 points in the paint. Monticello turned 22 Panthers turnovers into 37 points.

 

Bundy’s ten points off the bench along Cam Dyson and Devin Graham’s six points off the bench propelled the Sages to a 22-8 bench scoring advantage.

 

The Panthers drop to 4-2 overall and will play next at the Holiday Hoopla in Monticello.

 

The Sages are 5-0 and are also in action next at the Holiday Hoopla, next Thursday through Saturday.

 

Hear five games across the three day round-robin tournament on 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com.

 

Hear two boys basketball games on Thursday, starting at 11:30 am then at 7:30 pm. Then two games on Friday, starting at 2 pm with girls basketball, then catch boys basketball action at 3:30 pm.

 

And then Saturday, the boys will play their placement game at a time to be determined.

 

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Maroons At Argenta-Oreana Tonight

The Clinton Maroons will be trying to rebound from tough losses tonight when they square off with the Bombers of Argenta-Oreana at Argenta-Oreana High School.
 
The Maroons are coming off a tough loss to Illini Central Saturday night at the Jacksonville Shootout. The Maroons were hammered 57-35.
 
The Maroons have alternated wins and losses since sweeping the Cerro Gordo Thanksgiving Tournament to start the year.
 
Hear tonight's matchup on The Big 1520 AM/92.3 FM WHOW and online at dewittdailynews.com. Action gets underway at 7:30 pm. 

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Bulls Stay Hot, Beat 'Sixers

Nikola Mirotic and Kris Dunn each scored 22 points, and the Chicago Bulls topped the Philadelphia 76ers 117-115 on Monday night for their sixth consecutive victory.
 
Mirotic and Dunn each hit huge shots down the stretch as Chicago rallied past Philadelphia with a big finish in the fourth quarter. Mirotic also grabbed 13 rebounds, helping the Bulls remain unbeaten since he returned Dec. 8 after missing the start of the season with facial fractures after he got into a fight with teammate Bobby Portis during practice.
 
Chicago had seven players score in double figures. Justin Holiday scored all 20 of his points in the first half, and Portis finished with 12 points and 10 rebounds.
 
Ben Simmons had 19 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists for the Sixers, who lost for the sixth time in seven games. Dario Saric scored 20 of his 27 points in the second half.

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Monticello Boys Back In Action Tonight

Last year, the Monticello Sages and Paxton-Buckley-Loda Panthers played three matchups, a blowout loss each way and then a classic overtime sectional final at Monticello High School.
 
Tonight, the two teams meet again in Paxton for the first of another possible three meetings this season.
 
The Panthers are slated to be at Monticello's Holiday Hoopla next week and it is possible the two sides meet again in the postseason.
 
The Sages have largely played uncontested this year, with three of their four wins by 20-plus points and only one opponent getting beyond the 30-point threshold. 
 
Coach Kevin Roy expects P-B-L to bring excellent gaurd play into tonight's matchup and be a good test for his team, as the Holiday Hoopla looms in the background.
 
 
The Panthers enter play tonight 4-1 overall while Monticello is undefeated on the young season, at 4-0.
 
Hear tonight's action on 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com. 

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Cubs Meet With FA Darvish Without Translator

The Chicago Cubs are making a pitch for Yu Darvish.
 
The free agent right-hander says he had a "very good meeting" on Monday with Cubs officials. Darvish tweeted a statement in Japanese confirming the get-together amid reports that Chicago executives Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer were in Dallas to speak with him.
 
Darvish is one of the top starting pitchers available this offseason, and the Cubs have been busy filling holes on their staff. The NL Central champions already have signed free agent starter Tyler Chatwood and relievers Brandon Morrow and Steve Cishek.
 
Darvish was 10-12 with a 3.86 ERA last season for the Texas Rangers and Los Angeles Dodgers. The four-time All-Star pitched well in a pair of playoff starts but was hit hard by Houston in the World Series, losing both his outings as the Dodgers were beaten in seven games.
 
Darvish also used the meeting to sharpen his English. The 31-year-old says he did not bring a translator because "I wanted to put myself in a more challenging stage regarding my English."
 
The 3 1/2-hour sit-down left Darvish "very tired," but he says he "will work hard again tomorrow speaking English."

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Packers Notes

>>Panthers LB Suspended For Hit On Packers WR Adams
 
Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis has been suspended for two games by the NFL following his helmet-to-helmet hit on Green Bay Packers wide receiver Davante Adams.
 
The league announced the decision Monday.
 
Adams left Sunday's 31-24 loss to Carolina in the third quarter with a concussion after being blindsided by Davis following a Carolina interception. Davis was penalized 15 yards, but not ejected.
 
Davis, the 2015 NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year, was visibly upset on the sideline after the play.
 
Adams, who has suffered two concussions this season, took to social media on Monday to criticize Davis, saying there is no room in the game for hits like that.
 
Davis has three days to appeal.
 
The 34-year-old Davis is a repeat offender in the league's eyes. He was fined $48,620 for a hit earlier this year on Tampa Bay wide receiver Adam Humphries.
 
Davis can return to the Panthers on Jan. 1 should the team qualify for the postseason. Carolina (10-4) can clinch a playoff spot on Sunday with a win against Tampa Bay (4-9).
 
>>McCarthy Not Ruling Out Rodgers Vs Minnesota
 
Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy left the door open for quarterback Aaron Rodgers to play against the Minnesota Vikings this weekend.
 
"Aaron Rodgers is sore, rightfully so," McCarthy said Monday night, one day after Rodgers' return from a fractured right collarbone wasn't enough in the Packers' 31-24 loss to the Carolina Panthers. "He was hit too many times, took two big hits. So we're working through that. So we'll see what tomorrow brings."
 
McCarthy made the comments before the Atlanta Falcons beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to eliminate the Packers from playoff contention and mark the end of the team's eight-year run of consecutive postseason berths.
 
Despite the return of Rodgers, who broke his collarbone Oct. 15 at Minnesota and missed the next seven games, the Packers put their streak in jeopardy by losing to the Panthers when a late rally fell short. After throwing three interceptions while looking rusty earlier in the game, Rodgers threw a 24-yard touchdown pass to tight end Richard Rodgers with 2:43 left in the game. The Packers then recovered the onside kick and were in position to force overtime when wide receiver Geronimo Allison fumbled at the Carolina 28-yard line with 1:50 to go.

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Lady Maroons Fall to EPG Titans

The Lady Maroons fell to the EPG Titans by a score of 33-19 on Monday night. The Lady Maroons were led by Country Financial Player of the Game, Destiny Schlesinger who had 8 points. Madi Filkin also chipped in 4 points.
 
The Titans were led by Aubrey Staton with 15 points.
 
With the loss the Lady Maroons fall to 5-9.
 
Tune in Tuesday at 7 pm as the Clinton boys take on Argenta-Oreana. You can hear the game live on The Big 1520 AM/ 92.3 FM WHOW and online at dewittdailynews.com.

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Lady Maroons vs EPG

EPG won the game with a score of 33-19.

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Bradley Wins; Illinois Loses Saturday

>>New Mexico State Downs Illinois
 
AJ Harris had the game-winning 3-point play, Zach Lofton scored 23 points and New Mexico State rallied late for a 74-69 win over Illinois after losing a 15-point lead.
 
With the score tied at 69 in the final minute, Illinois had the ball coming out of a timeout with a chance to take the lead. But the Aggies came up with a steal and Harris converted on the fastbreak while being fouled. He hit the free throw with 29.2 seconds to go to make it 72-69.
 
Harris had 16 points on 7-for-8 shooting.
 
Eli Chuha had 11 points and hit a pair of free throws with three seconds left to seal the win.
 
Leron Black had 17 points and Te-Jon Lucas added 14 for Illinois (8-5).
 
New Mexico State (9-2) led by as many as 15 points in the first half before Illinois opened the second half with a 13-1 run for a tie at 39.
 
The Illini led 48-43 with just under 10 minutes to play before the Aggies rallied.
 
Illinois faces Missouri on Saturday at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis.
 
>>Bradley Beats Chicago State
 
Luuk van Bree led a balanced attack with 15 points, Darrell Brown had a double-double and Bradley took control early to defeat Chicago State 84-58 on Saturday.
Brown had 11 points and a career-high 10 assists for the Braves (8-2), who are off to their best start since opening 9-1 32 years ago. Donte Thomas and Jayden Hodgson added 13 points apiece.
 
Bradley, fifth in the country allowing just 58 points a game, held the Cougars to that mark even though they shot better than what the Braves allow. Chicago State shot 40 percent (22 of 55), making 6 of 18 behind the arc. Brady has held opponents to 26 percent from 3 and 36.3 percent overall.
 
Nate Kennell's 3-pointer capped an 8-0 run that had the Braves up 15-5 less than five minutes into the game and it was 48-30 at the half. The Cougars got it down to 12 on back-to-back baskets by Deionte Simmons but Bradley answered with a 17-2 run. Hodgson sandwiched a pair of 3s around one by van Bree that made it 73-46 with 6:52 left.
 
Montana Byrde had 14 points and Simmons 12 for Chicago State (2-12), which has lost eight straight.

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Bears, Packers Lose This Week

>>Rodgers Returns But Panthers Top Packers
 
Cam Newton threw for 242 yards and four touchdowns, and the Panthers spoiled Aaron Rodgers' return from a broken collarbone with a 31-24 win over the Green Bay Packers.
 
Damiere Byrd had two touchdown catches, and Christian McCaffrey had 136 yards from scrimmage, including a 7-yard touchdown reception and the Panthers won their fourth straight at home.
 
Greg Olsen had his most productive game since returning from a broken foot, catching nine passes for 116 yards and a TD as the Panthers (10-4) kept pace with the first-place New Orleans Saints in the NFC South.
 
Carolina's defense forced four turnovers, including a strip by cornerback James Bradberry on Packers wide receiver Geronimo Allison with 1:28 to seal the win and prevent the Packers from possibly playing in their third straight overtime game.
 
Rodgers, making his first appearance since Oct. 15, threw for 290 yards with three touchdowns but was intercepted three times as the Packers' playoff hopes took a potentially critical blow.
 
At 7-7, the Packers are on the cusp of not making the playoffs for the first time since 2008.
 
The Packers will host the Vikings on Saturday night.
 
>>Lions Beat Bears Saturday
 
atthew Stafford threw two touchdown passes and avoided mistakes, allowing the Detroit Lions to stay in the playoff picture with a 20-10 victory over the Chicago Bears on Saturday night.
 
Detroit (8-6) has won two straight and needs to close the regular season with two more wins to keep its postseason hopes alive.
 
The Bears (4-10) have lost six of seven, sealing a third season with double-digit losses in three years under embattled coach John Fox.
 
Stafford threw a 3-yard touchdown pass to TJ Jones with 6:10 left in the first half after Fox chose to punt on fourth-and-1 from the Chicago 45. He threw an 8-yard pass to Eric Ebron for a 20-3 lead early in the third quarter after Darius Slay's first of two interceptions in the game.
 
Stafford was 25 of 33 for 237 yards and didn't turn the ball over for the first time since Week 11.

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Blackhawks Win Sunday, Blues Lose

>>Blackhawks Beat Wild
 
Patrick Kane scored two slick goals, Corey Crawford made 27 saves and the Chicago Blackhawks beat the Minnesota Wild 4-1 Sunday night for their season-high fifth straight win.
 
Ryan Hartman also scored for Chicago, snapping a 17-game drought dating to Oct. 28. Tommy Wingels added a short-handed empty-netter.
 
Matt Dumba scored at 5:56 of the third, spoiling Crawford's shutout bid on a screened shot from the right point. The Wild dropped their second straight after a four-game winning streak.
 
Kane, who has seven points in his last four games, connected on a one-timer and a breakaway to give him 14 goals this season and four in the last three games. The Chicago forward's 298th and 299th career goals moved him into fifth place in team history, ahead of Dennis Hull.
 
Alex Stalock made 42 saves his third straight start in place of Minnesota No. 1 goalie Devan Dubnyk, who is sidelined with a lower-body injury.
 
Dumba, a defenseman, has scored Minnesota's last three goals to increase his total to six. He scored twice in the Wild's 3-2 loss at home to Edmonton on Saturday.
 
The Wild ousthot the Blackhawks 13-9 in the first and had the better chances, but Kane connected at 10:56 for the only goal of the period. Completing a rush and give-and-go with Nick Schmaltz, Kane ripped in a one-timer from the right circle as Stalock slid across the crease.
 
Crawford came up with several sharp saves to preserve the lead, including a close-in stop on Charlie Coyle with 10 seconds left in the first.
 
The Blackhawks dominated in the second, outshooting Minnesota 22-6. After Stalock stopped several prime chances, Chicago took 2-0 lead on Kane's second goal, capping a breakaway with 4:24 left. Kane slipped behind the Wild defense, and just as he reached the Minnesota blue line he took Jordan Oesterle's stretch pass from deep in Chicago territory. Kane accelerated straight down the slot and fired a low shot between Stalock's pads.
 
Hartman made it 3-0 at 1:41 of third with a determined effort. He picked up the puck along the left boards, plowed to the net and beat Stalock with a high shot on the stick side.
 
Dumba cut it to 3-1 just over 4 minutes later when his drive from the blue line sailed through traffic and over Crawford's right shoulder.
 
Wingels backhanded in an long empty-netter to complete the scoring with 4 minutes left - and Stalock pulled for an extra attacker during a Minnesota power play.
 
The Blackhawks are in Dallas on Thursday night to open a stretch of six straight road games.
 
>>Jets Blank Blues
 
Less that 24 hours after Winnipeg was shut out in St. Louis, Connor Hellebuyck made 24 saves as the Jets returned the favor with a 4-0 victory over the Blues on Sunday night.
 
Hellebuyck got his second shutout of the season and eighth of his career. It came one night after Carter Hutton stopped 48 shots for the Blues in their win at home.
Jake Allen was back in goal for St. Louis and finished with 42 saves in the loss.
 
Mark Scheifele and Josh Morrissey also scored for Winnipeg. Morrissey also had an assist, and Andrew Copp and Jacob Trouba added two each to help the Jets improve to 2-4-1 in their last seven games.
 
Lowry got the Jets on the scoreboard at 4:32 of the second. Brandon Tanev brought the puck behind the St. Louis net and was hit by two Blues players with the puck popping loose. Copp picked it up and sent a pass in the crease to Lowry, who put it in for his fifth of the season.
 
Laine used a wrist shot on Allen's blocker side to get his league-leading 10th power-play goal of the season with 4:47 left in the second while Alex Pietrangelo sat in the penalty box for cross-checking.
 
Scheifele scored his 15th when he re-directed Morrissey's shot from near the top of the circle at with 8:06 left in the third to make it 3-0.
 
Morrissey then capped the scoring less than two minutes later with his shot from the high slot.
 
The Blues are at Calgary on Wednesday night in the second of a four-game trip.

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Pacers Down Nets

Victor Oladipo scored 26 points, reserve Domantas Sabonis had 17 and the Pacers beat the Brooklyn Nets 109-97 on Sunday night.
 
Myles Turner added 16 points, Cory Joseph chipped in 15 and Darren Collison scored 14 for the Pacers.
 
The Nets' Allen Crabbe shook off his recent struggles, scoring 17 points in the first half on 5-for-7 shooting, including four 3s. He took only one shot and didn't score in the second half.
 
Trailing by one at the end of the opening quarter, the Pacers got a jolt from Oladipo, the team's leading scorer at 24.5 points per game.
 
After Crabbe's 3-pointer cut the lead to 51-45 with 2:25 left in the first half, Oladipo reeled off eight straight points for a 59-48 advantage at the end of the second period.
 
When Brooklyn drew within five points in the beginning of the fourth quarter, Indiana's summer acquisition capped a 10-3 run with five consecutive points, landing an alley-oop dunk that drew the attention of the Barclays Center crowd.
 
Quincy Acy, Caris LeVert and Joe Harris each had 14 points in Brooklyn's third straight loss.
 
The Pacers led by 14 with 7:08 remaining in the fourth quarter before Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and LeVert combined for a 6-0 run in little over a minute to close the gap to 94-86.
 
Indiana then bounced back with eight straight points, including a basket by Joseph that led to a technical foul on Atkinson.
 
The Pacers host the Boston Celtics on Monday night.

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Maroons Defeated by Chargers

The Clinton Maroons fell to the Illini West Chargers by a score of 60-47 Saturday evening. The Maroons were led by Country Financial's Player of the Game, Chase Reynolds, and Austin Baker, both with 11 points.
 
The Chargers were led by Jackson Porter with a total of 33 points.
 
With the loss the Maroons fall to 6 and 3 while the Chargers improve to 6 and 3 this season.
 
Tune in next Tuesday at 7 pm as the Maroons take on Argenta-Oreana. You can hear the game live on The Big 1520 AM/92.3 FM WHOW and online at dewittdailynews.com.

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Maroons vs Chargers

Illini West won the game with a score of 60-47.

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Former Rochester/Illini QB Wes Lunt seeking NFL gig

Wes Lunt left the legendary Rochester football program with all the potential for playing football on Sundays. Injuries and a departure from Oklahoma State led to Illinois during a rebuilding phase. After spending a chunk of the preseason with the Minnesota Vikings and landing tryouts with the Bengals and Bills, he landed another tryout with the Broncos this month. Lunt says no one was trying to put him on that team's 2017 quarterback carousel...
 
 
Lunt says his Vikings audition didn't give him the kind of resume he was hoping for, but the tryouts will pay off, whether he lands a pro gig or not....
 
Lunt hopes to coach football in the future. He says if he doesn't land an NFL quarterbacking job, he'll likely move on to focusing on his coaching career by late January.

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Monticello Dominates Sullivan

Calvin Fisher scored 15 of his game high 19 points in the second half and the Monticello Sages routed the Sullivan Redskins 63-17 in non-conference boys basketball action Friday night from Sullivan High School.

 

Fisher grabbed a game high seven rebounds and dished out four assists in 20 minutes.

 

Luke Stokowski scored 12 points and the Sages shot 58% from the floor.

 

Isiah Plank led the Redskins with seven points.

 

The Sagers controlled the board 31-19 and scored 50 points in the paint.

 

They forced 18 turnovers and scored 25 points off those turnovers.

 

Monticello also dished out 20 assists on 28 field goals and committed only 12 turnovers.

 

The Sages improve to 4-0 overall. They’ll take on P-B-L Tuesday night in Paxton. Hear the action starting at 7:30 pm on 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com.

 

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Sages at Sullivan

The Sages win the game with a score of 63-27.

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Monticello Tops Warrensburg-Latham

Zanna Myers scored 14 of her game high 24 points in the third quarter as the Monticello Lady Sages beat Warrensburg-Latham 47-25 in non-conference girls basketball action from Monticello High School on Thursday night.
 
Tatum McCall scored 10 of her 11 points in the first quarter.
 
Jensen Cearlock and Makenzie Yarloch each scored seven points to lead the Lady Cardinals.
 
Monticello improves to 7-0 overall and the Lady Cardinals drop to 3-7.
 
The Lady Sages take on Mattoon at Monticello High School Saturday afternoon and then are off until Holiday Hoopla action Dec. 28-30.
 
The next Lady Sages basketball broadcast is Friday, December 29 at 2 pm when the Lady Sages take on Ridgeview in day two action of the Holiday Hoopla.

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Cubs, RP Cishek Agree To Deal

A person familiar with the negotiations says side-arming reliever Steve Cishek and the Chicago Cubs have agreed to a two-year contract.
 
A 31-year-old right-hander, Cishek had a 2.01 ERA and a 3-2 record in 49 relief appearances this year for Seattle and Tampa Bay, which acquired him on July 28. He would join rejoin a rebuilt Cubs bullpen that includes right-hander Brandon Morrow, who finalized a $21 million, two-year contract on Tuesday.
 
Cishek is 24-28 with a 2.73 ERA and 121 saves over eight seasons.
 
His eight-year major league career started with the Florida and Miami Marlins from 2010-15. He was traded to St. Louis in July 2015, became a free agent and signed a $10 million, two-year contract with the Mariners.
 
He had 25 saves for the Mariners in 2016 but lost his closer role after six blown saves. Cishek threw a tying wild pitch as he failed to hold a 6-3 lead in a 7-6 loss at the Cubs on July 31, and the following night he allowed a tiebreaking home run to Boston's Mookie Betts leading off the ninth inning in a 2-1 defeat.

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White Sox Send Rule 5 Pick To Texas

The Texas Rangers have acquired outfielder Carlos Tocci from the Chicago White Sox and signed infielder Hanser Alberto and right-hander Kevin Jepsen to minor league contracts, with invitations to major league spring training.
 
The Rangers got Tocci from the White Sox for cash after Chicago selected the 22-year-old in the Rule 5 draft Thursday. Anthony Gose, a Texas outfielder assigned to Triple-A Round Rock, was selected by Houston in the Rule 5 draft.
 
Tocci hit .294 with three home runs and 52 RBIs in 130 minor league games in the Philadelphia system last season.
 
Alberto, a 25-year-old utility man, became a free agent when he wasn't offered a major league contract by the Rangers after spending last season on the disabled list with shoulder issues that led to surgery in June.
 
The 33-year-old Jepsen didn't appear in the majors last season. In 2015, he tied for the AL lead with 75 relief appearances and had a career-best 15 saves with Minnesota and Tampa Bay.

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Kane, Schmaltz lead Blackhawks past Jets 5-1 for 4th in row

Patrick Kane and Nick Schmaltz each had a goal and an assist as the Chicago Blackhawks extended their season-high winning streak to four games with a 5-1 victory over the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday night.
 
Vinnie Hinostroza, Tommy Wingels and Michal Kempny also scored for the Blackhawks (16-11-5). Corey Crawford made 27 saves in the first of five games this season between the Central Division foes.
 
The loss ended Winnipeg's string of seven straight wins at home.
 
Connor Hellebuyck made 25 saves for the Jets (18-9-5). Hellebuyck had been unbeaten in regulation at home this season (11-1-1).
 
Chicago led 3-0 after the first period and 4-0 after two. The Blackhawks scored on their first, second and fifth shots of the game.
 
Schmaltz then re-directed a point shot by Duncan Keith just more than four minutes later. Shots on goal favored Chicago 12-6 after the first.
 
Kempny's slap shot sailed over Hellebuyck's blocker less than three minutes later to restore the four-goal gap at 5-1.
 
Winnipeg forward Matt Hendricks had a goal disallowed a minute later as the referee ruled Crawford had the puck under his pad and Hendricks pushed it in.

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Clinton Lady Maroons Fall to St. Teresa

As heard on WHOW, the Clinton Lady Maroons fell to the St. Teresa Lady Bulldogs by a score of 41-31. The leading scorer for the Maroons was Destiny Schlesinger with 13 points. Schlesinger was named as the Country Financial representative Brad James Maroons Player of the Game. Senior Alyssa Saulsbery chipped in with 8 points.

 

For the Lady Bulldogs, they were led by senior Anna Hooker with 9 points. Addison Fyke added 8 and Madison Peck contributed 7.

 

With the loss the Lady Maroons fall to 5-8 overall and 1-2 in the CIC. St. Teresa improves to 5-3 on the season and 2-1 in conference action.

 

Tune in Saturday, December 16, as the Maroons take on Illini West at the Jacksonville Shootout. You can hear the game live on the Big 1520 AM/92.3 FM WHOW, online at dewittdailynews.com, and on the WHOW app. Game time is set for 4:15 and the broadcast will begin shortly before then.

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Monticello Girls Host Warrensburg-Latham Tonight on WEZC; WEZC Announces Monticello Holiday Hoopla Coverage

>>Monticello Girls Basketball Hosts Warrensburg-Latham Tonight
 
The Monticello Lady Sages will play host to the Warrensburg-Latham Lady Cardinals tonight at Monticello High at 7:30 pm in non-conference girls basketball action.
 
The Lady Sages defeat Decatur St. Teresa 49-37 Saturday afternoon and are 6-0 on the season. 
 
The Lady Sages will host Mattoon Saturday before taking a nine day hiatus and returning to action for the annual Holiday Hoopla at Monticello High School December 28-30.
 
Hear tonight's action on 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailyews.com.
 
>>WEZC Sets Monticello Holiday Hoopla Coverage
The Monticello Holiday Hoopla Schedule has been set and you can hear five games across the three day event on 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com.
 
The Holiday Hoopla features a two four-team pool with a boys and girls schedule. 
 
Starting Thursday morning at 11:30 am, the boys squad will take on Argenta-Oreana, then return to action at 7:30 pm to take on Tuscola.
 
On Friday afternoon at 2 pm, the girls squad takes on Ridgeview then at 3:30 pm hear the boys squad take on Ridgeview. 
 
Action concludes Saturday with placement games with tip times to be determined.
 
The opposite pool of the boys tournament includes GCMS, Neoga, PBL, and Fithian-Oakwood. 
 
Hear all the action on 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com. 

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Illinois, Bradley Win in Routs

>>Illinois Routs Longwood
 
Aaron Jordan scored 22 points, Trent Frazier added 20, and Illinois beat Longwood 92-45 on Wednesday night.
 
Michael Finke scored 19 points and grabbed seven rebounds. He hit the first basket of the game on a baseline jumper, buried his first two shots from downtown, and scored 14 of his 19 points in the first half.
 
The Lancers held a 12-10 lead with roughly 12 minutes remaining in the first half, but after a 3 by Finke, Longwood would never take the lead again. Illinois finished the half on an 18-4 run and entered the break with a 26-point lead.
 
Jordan, who leads the Illini with 29 made 3-pointers, was 4 of 8 from beyond the arc.
 
Illinois (8-4) outrebounded Longwood 52 to 23 and shot 51.4 percent in the first half.
 
Longwood (3-7) committed 24 turnovers and struggled to operate under Illinois' pressure. The Lancers shot 34 percent from the field, 31.3 percent from beyond the arc and hit 16 field goals.
 
JaShaun Smith scored 10 points for the Lancers (3-7). Leading scorer Isaiah Walton, averaging 18.9 points per game, was held to four points in 14 minutes before leaving the game with a lower leg injury.
 
The Illini will have a few days off before heading to Chicago on Saturday. Illinois is scheduled to face New Mexico in the Dynegy Shootout.
 
>>Bradley Blasts Arkansa-Little Rock
 
Donte Thomas scored 12 points to lead five in double figures as Bradley shot 61 percent from the floor to rout Little Rock 86-46 on Wednesday night.
 
Bradley (8-2) bounced back from a 75-52 loss at San Diego State on Sunday, and improved to 6-0 at home while allowing the fewest points by an opponent this season.
Nate Kennell, Darrell Brown, Luuk van Bree and Ryan Stipanovich each added 11 points for the Braves, who made 31 of 51 field goals, including 10 3-pointers. Brown had five of the Braves' 21 assists.
 
Bradley entered with the nation's eighth-ranked defense at 59.9 points per game, and forced 20 Little Rock turnovers.
 
Cameron Corcoran scored 14 points and Jaizec Lottie chipped in 12 for Little Rock (2-8), which shot 35.6 percent (16 of 45) from the field. The Trojans made 9 of 25 (36 percent) from beyond the arc, just the second team to shoot over 30 percent from 3-point range against the Braves this season.

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Bulls Stay Hot, Beat Jazz; Pacers Lose

>>Bulls Stay Hot, Edge Jazz
 
Nikola Mirotic scored 29 points, Kris Dunn hit a clutch jumper with 22 seconds left and the Chicago Bulls beat the Utah Jazz 103-100 on Wednesday night for their fourth straight victory.
 
Mirotic made 11 of 18 shots from the field and grabbed nine rebounds in his best performance since he returned last week after missing the start of the season with facial fractures. The 6-foot-10 forward got hurt in a practice fight with teammate Bobby Portis, throwing the future of both players in question, but the Bulls are perfect since Mirotic returned to the court.
 
Robin Lopez added 16 points for Chicago, and Dunn finished with 13 points, eight assists and eight rebounds. Portis scored each of his nine points in the fourth after he got off to a slow start.
 
Donovan Mitchell led Utah with 32 points on 15-for-26 shooting, but the Jazz dropped their fourth straight game. Rodney Hood scored 15 points after missing the previous seven games with left ankle soreness.
 
Mitchell's driving layup trimmed Chicago's lead to 98-96 with 1:28 left. Following a couple of empty possessions, Dunn made a stepback jumper over Alec Burks to restore the Bulls' four-point advantage.
 
Chicago struggled at the line in the final seconds, giving Utah one final chance. But Mitchell missed a running 3-point try as time expired.
 
Ricky Rubio added 14 points for Utah, which has dropped the first two on a six-game road trip. Burks finished with 13 points.
 
Chicago played without rookie forward Lauri Markkanen, who missed his second straight game due to back spasms. Markkanen, who is averaging 14.7 points and 8.1 rebounds, was originally listed in the starting lineup, but was replaced by Mirotic shortly before the game.
 
Utah trailed by as many 12 in the second quarter, but closed the half with a 17-6 run and kept up its solid play at the start of the third. Jonas Jerebko's reverse layup with 7:06 left gave the Jazz a 63-58 lead, leading to a timeout by the Bulls.
 
The Bulls visit Milwaukee on Friday night.
 
>>Thunder Beat Pacers in Geogre's Return to Indiana
 
On a night the four-time All-Star was repeatedly booed and couldn't seem to make a shot, Paul George finally sunk two free throws with 10.7 seconds left Wednesday to seal Oklahoma City's 100-95 victory at Indiana.
George went 3 of 14 from the field, 2 of 7 on 3-pointers, had two rebounds and four turnovers. But spurned fans who are still upset George's camp went public with his free agent intentions last summer made sure the box score was the most pleasant part of George's night.
 
Steven Adams finished with 23 points and 13 rebounds while reigning MVP Russell Westbrook recorded his ninth triple-double of the season - 10 points, 17 rebounds and 12 assists.
 
Victor Oladipo, one of the returning pieces in the George trade with Oklahoma City, led Indiana with 19 points and nearly brought them all the way back from an 11-point deficit with 5:16 left. The Pacers got to 96-94 with 1:07 to go and had a chance to tie it when they got the ball with 15.2 seconds left and down 98-95.
 
Bojan Bogdanovic had 15 points while Thaddeus Young had 11 points, 10 rebounds and seven steals. 
 
Domentas Sabonis, the other player the Pacers acquired for George, wound up with eight points and six rebounds.
 
The Pacers host Detroit on Friday, seeking a seventh straight home win in the series.

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Cardinals Acquire Marcel Ozuna From Marlins

Not long after missing out on Giancarlo Stanton, the Cardinals have reportedly acquired a different hard-hitting Marlins outfielder: on Wednesday, St. Louis reportedly completed a trade for Marcell Ozuna. Craig Mish of Sirius XM and Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com have each reported that the deal is done, pending a physical. 
 
Ozuna, 27, is coming off an excellent 2017 in which he slashed .312/.376/.548 (145 OPS+) with 37 home runs in 159 games. In trading for Ozuna, the Cardinals are betting that he's capable of repeating such a breakout performance, as he had a career OPS+ of 103 coming into last season. 
 
It's expected they'll be receiving multiple pitching prospects and at least one position prospect. Jon Heyman reports that right-hander Sandy Alcantara is one of those arms. The 22-year-old right-hander made eight relief appearances for the Cardinals last season. He has elite fastball and sinker velocity and also mixes in a hard slider. 
 
If Alcantara continues making progress with his changeup, then he may have a future as a rotation cornerstone (of his 72 minor-league appearances, 68 were starts). 
 
The Marlins will also reportedly acquire outfield prospect Magneuris Sierra.

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Blackhawks Win; Blues Lose

>>Kane Lifts Blackhawks Past Panthers
 
Patrick Kane scored 2:24 into overtime to lift the Chicago Blackhawks to their third straight win, 3-2 over the Florida Panthers on Tuesday night.
 
Kane gained a step on Florida's Mike Matheson, broke in on James Reimer and beat the goalie with a high shot on the stick side for his 11th goal.
 
Chicago captain Jonathan Toews tied it at 2 with 6:02 left in the third period, breaking in alone and also beating Reimer high on the stick side after a terrific pass from Brandon Saad. It was Toews' third goal in five games and No. 9 on the season.
 
Toews and Saad each had a goal and an assist. Blackhawks rookie Alex DeBrincat added two assists.
 
Nick Bjugstad scored in the second for Florida, and Jamie McGinn put the Panthers in front with his fifth of the season 3:53 into the third. Reimer made 25 saves.
 
Corey Crawford had 35 stops for the Blackhawks, who had lost five in a row before their win streak.
 
The Blackhawks had the better chances in the first and broke through when Saad opened the scoring with 3:11 left in the period.
 
Saad partially fanned on a one-timer at the edge of the crease after taking DeBrincat's nifty feed from behind the net, but the puck slid in past Reimer's outstretched left skate.
 
Bjugstad tied it 11:12 into the second when he beat Crawford low on the stick side on a breakaway. Bjugstad got the puck behind Chicago's defense after Aleksander Barkov flipped it from inside the Panthers zone.
 
Chicago center Artem Anisimov missed on a point-blank chance late in the second, and McGinn scored in the third after the Blackhawks lost control of the puck just inside their blue line.
 
McGinn skated in for a 2-on-1 with Vincent Trochek, and then found himself alone on the left side of the crease after Chicago defenseman Brent Seabrook fell down. He beat Crawford on the short side, lifting a shot between the goalie's right shoulder and the left post.
 
After Toews tied it, Anisimov tipped a shot off the post with two minutes left in regulation.
 
The Blackhawks visit Winnipeg on Wednesday.
 
>>Lightning Blank Blues
 
Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 32 shots, Nikita Kucherov and Brayden Point scored and the Lightning beat the St. Louis Blues 3-0 on Tuesday night in a matchup of the NHL's top two teams.
Tyler Johnson added an empty netter as Tampa Bay (22-6-2) earned its fifth straight win. It was Vasilevskiy's third shutout of the season and the seventh of his career.
 
Jake Allen made 22 saves for St. Louis, which had won four in a row. The Blues (21-9-2) were shut out for the third time at home this season.
 
Point put Tampa Bay in front when he lifted in a rebound of his own shot at 19:15 of the first period. From the side of the net, Johnson fed Point in the slot. His shot hit the crossbar and caromed to the right. Point alertly followed the puck and extended his point streak to five games, setting a career high.
 
Vasilevskiy had several nice saves, turning away Vladimir Tarasenko on a 2-on-1 breakaway in the second period. Vasilevskiy leads the league in wins with 20, and Allen is second with 17.
 
The Lightning got to Allen again when Kucherov scored on a wrist shot at 15:37 of the final period. It was his 21st goal of the season.
 
The Blues host Anaheim on Thursday.

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Bears, Packers Notes

>>Rodgers Cleared To Play
 
Aaron Rodgers has been "medically cleared to return" to action after missing seven games with a broken right collarbone, the Green Bay Packers quarterback announced on Instagram Tuesday night.
 
Rodgers was hurt during a loss to Minnesota on Oct. 15 and had surgery four days later. He returned to practice on Dec. 2 and is eligible to rejoin the 53-man roster on Friday, which means the two-time MVP could suit up for Green Bay's game at Carolina on Sunday.
 
"It's been a long road ... but I'm happy to say I've been medically cleared to return," Rodgers wrote on Tuesday night.
 
The Packers (7-6) likely need to win their final three games to make the playoffs.
 
Rodgers had his collarbone scanned on Monday morning. That afternoon, with the team in the middle of game-planning for Carolina, coach Mike McCarthy wasn't sure whether Rodgers or backup Brett Hundley would be his quarterback.
 
The Packers were 4-2 in Rodgers' six starts, including the Minnesota game, where he was hurt on the second possession on a hit by Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr. In the three prior games, he threw 10 touchdown passes with only one interception in in consecutive victories over Cincinnati, Chicago and Dallas.
 
After playing the Panthers, who at 9-4 are in position for the top NFC wild card, the Packers have a rematch against NFC North-leading Minnesota before finishing the season at Detroit. Green Bay's final three opponents have a combined record of 26-13.
 
The Packers went 3-4 in Hundley's seven starts, including back-to-back overtime wins over Tampa Bay and Cleveland that kept their playoff hopes alive and made Rodgers' return a tantalizing possibility.
 
>>Former Bears Special Teams Star, Devin Hester, Announces Retirement
 
Devin Hester, the all-purpose speedster who holds the NFL record for kick return touchdowns with 20, has announced his retirement from the NFL.
 
In a post on social media, the 35-year-old Hester said had realized it was time .
 
"Good news: Commissioner Goodell, you can put the kickoff back at the 30," Hester wrote. "Bad news: Y'all will have to find a new favorite returner."
 
Hester played for Atlanta, Baltimore and Seattle, but his best years were with the Chicago Bears, which took him in the second round (57th overall) out of Miami in 2006. At the end of his rookie season, he took the opening kickoff of the Super Bowl 92 yards for a touchdown against Indianapolis, though the Colts won the game.
 
He is the third-leading punt returner in NFL history and was selected to the Pro Bowl in 2006, 2007, 2010 and 2014.

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Cubs Notes; Ohtani Could Have Elbow Damage

>>Cubs Announce Signing of RP Brandon Morrow
 
Brandon Morrow has agreed to a two-year contract with the Chicago Cubs, taking one of the top free-agent relievers off the market.
 
The 33-year-old Morrow went 6-0 with a 2.06 ERA and two saves in 45 appearances for the NL champion Los Angeles Dodgers last season. He also pitched in 14 playoff games, helping the Dodgers eliminate the Cubs in the NLCS.
 
Morrow could step into the closer role for Chicago. Wade Davis had a career-high 32 saves for the Cubs and made the NL All-Star team this year, but he is a free agent.
 
Morrow's contract includes a 2020 club option that could become guaranteed depending on his performance.
 
The Cubs also announced Tuesday night they had agreed to a two-year deal with left-hander Drew Smyly. He is recovering from Tommy John surgery in June and might not be able to return next season.
 
>>Cubs Extend Radio Announcer Ron Coomer
 
Chicago Cubs radio analyst Ron Coomer has agreed to a multiyear contract extension.
 
The team and Entercom, the company that owns its flagship radio station, announced the agreement on Tuesday.
 
The 51-year-old Coomer has been working alongside play-by-play announcer Pat Hughes since 2013. Primarily a corner infielder during his nine major league seasons, he made the All-Star team with the Minnesota Twins in 1999 and played for the Cubs in 2001.
 
Coomer is from the Chicago area.
 
>>Hyped Prospect Ohtani Could Have Damage in Pitching Elbow
 
Last Friday, new broke that the Angels were the team that landed Japanese phenom Shohei Ohtani. The two-way star wants to keep hitting, but most teams were after him for his pitching, which includes a 102-mph fastball in his arsenal. Interestingly, Ohtani's medicals included news that he had a platelet-rich plasma injection in his right (pitching) elbow back in October. 
From Tom Verducci at Sports Illustrated: 
 
Quote - "MLB circulated Ohtani's medical history. Sources from two of the teams say the report included a notation that Ohtani underwent a platelet-rich plasma injection on his right elbow in October".
 
Having PRP injection sometimes helps pitchers avoid Tommy John surgery (Masahiro Tanaka comes to mind), but could also be used just to deal with inflammation. In Ohtani's case, he had a first-degree sprain in his ulnar collateral ligament, according to Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports.
 
The Angels released a statement late Tuesday night about their newest acquisition. Per USA Today's Bob Nightengale via Twitter:
 
Quote - "Angels statement on Ohtani/ Based on the readings of the MRI’s there are no signs of acute or new trauma in the elbow. His elbow looked consistent with pitchers at his age and usage level. We were pleased with the results of the physical and we are happy to have the player."
 
Ohtani only made five starts last season due to thigh and ankle injuries. He was 3-2 with a 3.20 ERA and 29 strikeouts in 25 1/3 innings. In 2016, he was 10-4 with a 1.86 ERA and 174 strikeouts in 140 innings. 

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Monticello Blows By Fisher

Luke Stokowski recorded his first double-double this season and the Monticello defense held Fisher to 23% shooting for the game as the Sages blew by Fisher 55-28 at Monticello High School in non-conference boys basketball action Tuesday night.

 

Stokowski’s 14 points and 14 rebounds were a game high. He scored eight of his 14 points in the first quarter.

 

Calvin Fisher finished with 10 points, picking up two personal fouls in the first minute-and-a-half of the game, forcing him to the bench until about the five minute mark of the second quarter, when he scored six points of his 10 points.

 

Ben Singleton added nine points and four rebounds.

 

Stokowski also dished out four assists for a game high.

 

Monticello held the Bunnies to single digit scoring in all four quarters and only Jaden Jones-Watkins scored in double figures for Fisher, finishing with 11 points.

 

The Sages again won the battle of the boards, with a 35-24 advantage. They also controlled the paint, with a 40-8 scoring advantage.

 

The Sages are on the road for their next two ballgames, at Sullivan Friday night and then at Paxton-Buckley-Loda next Tuesday night before they return home for Holiday Hoopla action the Thursday through Saturday after Christmas.

 

Hear Friday night’s action on 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com.

 

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Monticello vs Fisher

The Sages win the game with a score of 55-28.

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Stars Outlast Rangers in Shootout

Jason Spezza scored in the shootout, and the Stars snapped a three-game losing streak with a 2-1 victory over the Rangers.
 
Kari Lehtonen made 24 saves for Dallas in the opener of its four-game East Coast road trip against the Metropolitan Division. It was Lehtonen's 299th career NHL victory.
 
Dallas outshot New York 45-25, but Pavelec kept the Rangers in the game with an outstanding performance in goal.
 
The Stars had a 1-0 lead before Rick Nash tied it for the Rangers when he tipped in Brady Skjei's wrist shot with 3:41 left in regulation. Nash made contact with Lehtonen but the goalie was well outside the blue paint. Hitchcock challenged the play, but the referees stayed with the original call.
 
Julius Honka put Dallas in front when he drove a slap shot past Pavelec at 6:30 of the second period for his first of the season. The 2014 first-round pick rejoined the lineup after sitting for the previous three games.

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Bulls Blow Out Celtics

Nikola Mirotic scored 24 points, Bobby Portis added a career-high 23 and the Chicago Bulls blew out Boston 108-85 on Monday night with Celtics star Kyrie Irving sidelined because of a bruised left quadriceps.
 
Owners of the NBA's worst record, the Bulls built an 18-point lead in the second quarter against the Eastern Conference leaders. And when Boston cut it to 12 in the fourth, the Bulls simply pulled away for their third straight win.
 
Mirotic made his first start of the season with leading scorer Lauri Markkanen sidelined because of back spasms. The 6-foot-10 forward hit 9 of 14 shots and grabbed eight rebounds in his third appearance.
 
Portis shot 10 of 15 and nailed all three 3-pointers.
 
Before Monday night, Mirotic and Portis had only made headlines together this season for the wrong reasons. Mirotic missed the first 23 games with facial fractures he suffered in a fight at practice with Portis.
 
Al Horford scored 15 for Boston. Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart and Terry Rozier added 13 points apiece in the Celtics' most lopsided loss of the season.
 
Boston got within 12 in the fourth quarter when Portis hit a jumper and Mirotic made a 3 to make it 90-73 with just under eight minutes left. The Bulls remained in control the rest of the way.
 
Mirotic came through with 16 points as Chicago grabbed a 56-42 halftime lead. Portis scored 15 in the first half.
 
The Bulls wiped out a four-point deficit and led 52-34 after a 24-2 run in the second quarter. Portis scored 10 during that stretch, nailing two 3s, and Mirotic finished it with a short hook.

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Villanova College Basketball's New No 1; Arizona State Jumps

The Associated Press top 25 poll saw a major shakeup on Monday thanks to a combined six losses suffered by the previous top 10 teams over the past week -- including three top 10 teams losing to sub-75 KenPom teams.
 
Duke fell from its perch at No. 1 to No. 4 after losing to Boston College; previous No. 2 Kansas dropped to 13 after losing twice this week as favorites; and last week's No. 5, Florida, sunk all the way to No. 22 after losing twice to put an exclamation mark on one of the wackiest weeks of weird upsets the sport has seen in awhile.
 
The mayhem ushered in a new No. 1 in the sport in Villanova, which now sits atop the rankings with a perfect 10-0 record after jumping from No. 4 a week ago. The Wildcats are the only team other than Duke, which was No.  1 dating all the way back to the preseason until this week, to sit atop the AP poll so far this season.
 
>>Ducks Escape Southern Texas
 
Payton Pritchard scored 16 points, and Troy Brown had 10 points and 12 rebounds as Oregon struggled to down winless Texas Southern 74-68 on Monday night.
 
The difference-maker was Kenny Wooten with 13 points and four blocks for the Ducks (7-3), who started the second half on a 16-2 run to open a 48-33 lead but still couldn't shake the Tigers (0-9).
Texas Southern trailed 65-64 with 3 1/2 minutes to play before driving layups by Pritchard and Paul White gave Oregon some breathing room. White had 11 points as six Ducks scored in double figures.
 
Brown scored seven of Oregon's last 12 points, capped by a 3-pointer of an assist from Pritchard.
 
Donte Clark led the Tigers with 17 points and Demontrae Jefferson had 16.
 
The Ducks were 13 of 17 at the foul line in the second half after shooting just five free throws in the first 20 minutes.
 
The Ducks shot 13 of 25 in the second half to finish 25 of 59 for the game (42.4 percent). Wooten was 6 of 7 from the floor and Pritchard 5 of 8.
 
Oregon hosts Portland State on Wednesday night.

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All-Americans Released in For College Football

After a weekend of awards in college football, the AP All-America team was announced on Monday with new Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield and Oklahoma leading the way on the first team. Oklahoma led all schools with three first team selections, while the Big Ten had was the most well-represented conference on the first team (7), and Clemson had the most players selected to all three teams (6).  
 
FIRST TEAM
 
QB: Baker Mayfield (Oklahoma)
RB: Bryce Love (Stanford), Rashaad Penny (San Diego State)
OT: Orlando Brown (Oklahoma), Mike McGlinchey (Notre Dame)
OG: Quenton Nelson (Notre Dame), Braden Smith (Auburn)
C: Billy Price (Ohio State)
TE: Mark Andrews (Oklahoma)
WR: James Washington (Oklahoma State), Anthony Miller (Memphis)
AP: Saquon Barkley (Penn State)
K: Matt Gay (Utah)
DE: Bradly Chubb (NC State), Clelin Ferrell (Clemson)
DT: Hercules Mata'afa (Washington State), Maurice Hurst (Michigan)
LB: Roquan Smith (Georgia), Josey Jewell (Iowa), T.J. Edwards (Wisconsin)
CB: Josh Jackson (Iowa), Denzel Ward (Ohio State)
S: Minkah Fitzpatrick (Alabama), DeShon Elliott (Texas)
P: Michael Dickson (Texas)
 
SECOND TEAM
 
QB: Lamar Jackson (Louisville)
RB: Jonathan Taylor (Wisconsin), Kerryon Johnson (Auburn)
OT: Mich Hyatt (Clemson), Isaiah Wynn (Georgia)
OG: Cody O'Connell (Washington State), Will Hernandez (UTEP)
C: Bradley Bozeman (Alabama)
TE: Troy Fumagalli (Wisconsin)
WR: David Sills V (West Virginia), Michael Gallup (Colorado State)
AP: Dante Pettis (Washington)
K: Daniel Carlson (Auburn)
DE: Sutton Smith (Northern Illinois), Nick Bosa (Ohio State)
DT: Ed Oliver (Houston), Christian Wilkins (Clemson)
LB: Malik Jefferson (Texas), Ogbonnia Okoronkwo (Oklahoma), Dorian O'Daniel (Clemson)
CB: Jalen Davis (Utah State), Carlton Davis (Auburn)
S: Derwin James (Florida State), Justin Reid (Stanford)
P: Johnny Townsend (Florida)
 
THIRD TEAM 
 
QB: Mason Rudolph (Oklahoma State)
RB: Ronald Jones II (USC), Devin Singletary (FAU)
OT: David Edwards (Wisconsin), Jonah Williams (Alabama)
OG: Beau Benzschawel (Wisconsin), Tyrone Crowder (Clemson)
C: Frank Ragnow (Arkansas)
TE: Jaylen Samuels (NC State)
WR: Steve Ishmael (Syracuse), A.J. Brown (Ole Miss)
AP: D.J. Reed (Kansas State)
K: Eddy Piniero (Florida)
DE: Austin Bryant (Clemson), Mat Boesen (TCU)
DT: Vita Vea (Washington), Harrison Phillips (Stanford)
LB: Micah Kiser (Virginia), Tremaine Edmunds (Virginia Tech), Devin Bush (Michigan)
CB: Andraez Williams (LSU), Jack Jones (USC)
S: Armani Watts (Texas A&M), Quin Blanding (Virginia)
P: Mitch Wisnowsky (Utah) 

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Maroons Top Rochester

Seth Westfall led four Clinton scorers in double figures with 19 points as the Maroons beat Rochester 66-56 Saturday night in non-conference boys basketball action from Rochester High School.
 
The Maroons jumped out early on the Rockets, leading 18-5 after one quarter, a deficit Rochester could not overcome. 
 
With the lead trimmed to 45-42 after three quarters, the Maroons closed the game out with a 21-14 fourth quarter edge.
 
Maroons Coach Clay Haurberg said quote - "We got out to a hot start, and that proved to be pivotal, as we had a rough time during the middle two periods. Shots weren’t dropping and we gave up a batch of second and even third shots to them. We kept positive and the kids kept their energy high which served us well in the 4th. Seth Westfall really played well in the paint tonight and our guards got some big shots in that last quarter. We struggled mightily at the foul line throughout the game, but hit the big ones down the stretch. Our guys showed great composure when things looked a little shaky.”
 
Dalton Smith added 14 points for the Maroons, Austin Rauch chipped in with 12 points and Chase Reynolds added 11. 
 
Austin Baker shot 6-for-8 from the free throw and finished with eight points.
 
The Maroons shot 18-for-30 from the line.
 
Jordan Leach led Rochester with 16 points and Jayden Reed added 11 points.
 
The Rockets shot only six free throws and committed 23 fouls. 
 
Rochester drops to 0-4 overall while the Maroons are 6-4.
 
The Maroons are off for another week when they return to action next Saturday afternoon at the Jacksonville Shootout taking on Illini West at approximately 4:15. Hear the action on The Big 1520 AM/92.3 FM and online at dewittdailynews.com.

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Monticello Tops St. Teresa

Another balanced scoring attack helped the Monticello Lady Sages beat Decatur St. Teresa 49-37 Saturday afternoon in non-conference girls basketball action from Decatur St. Teresa High School.
 
The Lady Sages were led by Zanna Myers with 19 points. Emily Wilson scored 11 points and Tatum McCall added 10 points.
 
The Lady Sages improve to 7-0 on the season with the win.
 
The Lady Sages return to action Thursday night when they host Warrensburg-Latham. Hear the action on 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com.

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Illinois, Illinois State Lose Saturday

>>UNLV Beats Illinois
 
Jovan Mooring shot 50 percent from the field and scored 27 points to lead UNLV to an 89-82 victory over Illinois on Saturday night at the MGM Grand Garden.
 
After squandering an 11-point lead and falling behind by three points with 10:25 left, the Runnin' Rebels closed on a 33-23 run to seal the win.
 
Brandon McCoy scored 22 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for UNLV (8-2), while Shakur Juiston and Jordan Johnson each had 10 points.
 
Illinois (7-4) was led by Mark Smith, who had 17 points, and Trent Frazier, who added 16 points for the Illni.
 
After UNLV opened the second half with two free throws from Kris Clyburn, the Illni went on an 18-5 run to take a 54-52 lead, with all of the Rebels' points coming from the charity stripe. UNLV's first field goal of the second half came from Tervell Beck at the 11:52 mark, tying the game at 54-all.
 
The Runnin' Rebels wasted no time with their offensive game, hitting their first six shots from the field, while opening a 14-4 lead before back-to-back baskets by Shakur Juiston made it 29-19 midway through the first half.
 
But Illinois answered with a 12-0 run to take a two-point lead with six minutes left in the half. UNLV answered with a 14-2 run of its own, culminated by Anthony Smith, who soared above the rim for an impressive put-back slam dunk.
 
The Runnin' Rebels hit 16 of 31 from the field in the first half. After its slow start, the Illni shot 44.8 percent (13 of 29) from the field, including 5 of 11 from 3-point range, over the first 20 minutes.
 
Illinois hosts Longwood on Tuesday.
 
>>Murray State Topples Illinois State
 
Terrell Miller Jr. scored 25 points, Shaq Buchanan added 16, and Murray State held off Illinois State 78-72 on Saturday to win its fifth straight.
 
The Racers scored 11 straight and pulled ahead 47-34 early in the second half for its largest lead of the game. The Redbirds closed to 70-68 on William Tinsley's 3, but Jonathan Stark replied with a 3 and the Racers led 75-70 on Jalen Durpree's layup with 1:26 left. Milik Yarbrough's jumper made it a three-point game, but Ja Morant sealed it with three free throws in the final 20 seconds.
 
Morant scored 15 points with nine rebounds, Stark had 13, and the Racers (6-1) outshot the Redbirds 50 percent to 41 percent.
 
Yarbrough scored a career-high 30 points on 10-of-19 shooting and Taylor Bruninga added 11 points for Illinois State (4-6).

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Bears, Packers Win Sunday

>>Tribusky, Howard Lead Bears Past Bengals
 
Rookie Mitchell Trubisky threw for a touchdown and ran for another in his best showing yet, and the Chicago Bears ended a five-game losing streak by routing the lackluster Cincinnati Bengals 33-7 on Sunday, their most lopsided victory in five years.
 
Jordan Howard ran for 147 yards and a pair of touchdowns as the Bears (4-9) dominated a matchup of the NFL's worst offenses. Their rookie quarterback took full advantage of an injury-depleted defense, completing a career-high 25 passes out of 32 attempts for 271 yards. He also ran 4 yards for a score.
 
The Bengals (5-8) were coming off a 23-20 loss to the Steelers on Monday night that crushed their playoff hopes and gutted their defense.
 
The Bears piled up a season-high 482 yards against a unit missing starting cornerbacks Adam "Pacman" Jones and Dre Kirkpatrick as well as linebackers Vontaze Burfict and Nick Vigil.
 
It was Cincinnati's worst home drubbing since a 34-3 loss to Baltimore in 2008. Many of the 52,002 fans headed for the exits early in the fourth quarter.
 
Everyone in the NFL's lowest-ranked offense had a big game. Tarik Cohen ran for 80 yards, and Kendall Wright caught 10 passes for 107 yards - the first Bears receiver to top 100 yards this season.
 
Andy Dalton was picked off for the first time since Oct. 22 in Pittsburgh, ending his career-best streak of 193 attempts without an interception. The interception set up Trubisky's 1-yard touchdown pass that put the Bears in control 26-7 early in the fourth quarter, their biggest lead of the season.
 
The Bears play at Detroit on Saturday. They lost to the Lions 27-24 on Nov. 19.
 
>>Packers Storm Back To Beat Browns; Rodgers To Return Against Carolina
 
Brett Hundley threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to Davante Adams in overtime as the Packers rallied from a two-touchdown deficit in the fourth quarter for a 27-21 win on Sunday over the winless and luckless Cleveland Browns.
 
Hundley pulled out his third win — and second straight in OT — since replacing Rodgers, and now the Packers (7-6) will get back their quarterback after their season appeared doomed when he broke his collarbone in October.
On third-and-6 in overtime, Hundley threw a short pass to Adams , who spun out of Myles Garrett's arms and went in untouched with 5:05 left as the Packers set the stage for Rodgers' return. He returned to practice this week, and as long as he's cleared by Green Bay's medical staff, Rodgers will be back on the field next Sunday when the Packers play Carolina.
 
It was another devastating loss for the Browns (0-13), who made several critical mistakes late in regulation before Kizer's poor decision on his final throw.
 
Kizer was rolling to his left and tried to throw across his body to Rashard Higgins when his arm was hit by linebacker Clay Matthews.
 
A 65-yard punt return by Trevor Davis set up Green Bay's score, which came after Hundley was ruled down inside the 1 after an apparent 6-yard scoring run. Out of timeouts, coach Mike McCarthy elected not to risk a run and Hundley rifled his pass into the corner for Adams, who beat Jason McCourty on the play.
 
Hundley's tight spiral was reminiscent of so many thrown by Rodgers, who stayed warm on the sideline inside a large green sideline jacket.
 
Hundley finished 35 of 46 with three touchdowns and made the big plays when he had to against the lowly Browns.
 
Cleveland was in position to run out the clock before overtime but rookie tight end David Njoku dropped a key third-down pass. Cleveland's punt team couldn't bring down Davis, who weaved his way to the Browns 25.
 
Kizer threw three touchdown passes, one to Josh Gordon, and went 20 of 28 for 214 yards.
 
Isaiah Crowell rushed for 121 yards on 19 carries. Gordon, playing his first home game since Dec. 14, 2014, had three catches for 69 yards and caught an 18-yard TD pass in the first quarter that he celebrated by putting on sunglasses.
 
The Packers travel to Carolina on Sunday.

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Blackhawks, Blues Win

>>Blackhawks Down Coyotes
 
Corey Crawford made 31 saves, Artem Anisimov scored with 4:47 left in the third period and the Chicago Blackhawks beat the Arizona Coyotes 3-1 on Sunday night.
 
Tommy Wingels and Nick Schmaltz also scored in the third as Chicago earned its second straight win after dropping five in a row. Patrick Kane had two assists to run his career total to 781 points, breaking a tie with Doug Wilson for fifth on the franchise scoring list.
 
Kane found an open Anisimov in the right circle for the center's team-high 13th goal, giving the Blackhawks a 2-1 lead. The connection occurred just 71 seconds after Anthony Duclair tied it at 1 with his seventh goal for Arizona, tipping home Alex Goligoski's pass in front.
 
Kane then set up Schmaltz with a slick pass with 3:02 left. It was Schmaltz's first goal since Nov. 27 and No. 5 on the season.
 
Scott Wedgewood made 34 saves for Arizona, which dropped its fourth straight game.
 
Wedgewood and Crawford were locked in a scoreless duel when John Hayden made a nice pass to set up Wingels' one-timer 7:36 into the third period. Wingels also scored a tying short-handed goal in the third during Chicago's 3-2 overtime win against Buffalo on Friday night.
 
The Coyotes were coming off a 1-0 loss at Columbus on Saturday night, but they skated right with the Blackhawks for most of the game.
 
Goligoski rattled the cage behind Crawford on a power-play shot in the second period. Kevin Connauton also had an open backhander stopped by Crawford with about eight minutes left in the second.
 
The Blackhawks host the Florida Panthers on Tuesday night.
 
>>Blues Hold Off Sabres
 
Vladimir Tarasenko scored with 36 seconds left in overtime, and the short-handed St. Louis Blues beat the Buffalo Sabres 3-2 on Sunday night.
 
Brayden Schenn and Paul Stastny also scored, and Joel Edmundson recorded two assists as the Blues topped the Sabres for the 10th time in their last 11 meetings. Jake Allen made 22 saves, improving to 5-1 in six career starts against Buffalo.
Evan Rodrigues, in just his third game this season after coming back from a hand injury, scored both goals for the Sabres, who have lost six of seven. Robin Lehner made 42 saves.
 
Tarasenko used his speed to get around the Sabres defense and notch his 14th goal of the season. Tarasenko tried to go backhand-forehand, but the puck deflected off Lehner's outstretched stick and into the net before he could finish the move.
 
The Blues won their fourth straight despite being without second-leading scorer Jaden Schwartz and top defenseman Alex Pietrangelo, taking 58 combined points out of the St. Louis lineup.
 
Schenn scored his 16th goal of the season just 40 seconds into the game to give the Blues a 1-0 lead. It was ninth goal in 18 career games against the Sabres.
 
Stastny scored his first goal in seven games to make it 2-0 with 3:43 left in the second period. Stastny put home a rebound off a shot by Tarasenko that went wide but caromed off the end boards right to his stick.
 
Rodrigues scored on a power play early in the third. Rodrigues was left unmarked at the side of the net when an Evander Kane pass deflected off of Sam Reinhart directly to his tape.
 
Rodrigues tied the game moments after the Sabres pulled Lehner for an extra attacker, putting home a rebound off a slap shot by Marco Scandella with 1:27 left.
 
The Blues host Tampa Bay on Tuesday.

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Pacers Roll Nuggets In Overtime

Victor Oladipo, who starred in college at Indiana University, had a career-high 47 points and added seven rebounds and six assists to lead the Pacers to a 126-116 overtime win over the Denver Nuggets on Sunday.
 
The Pacers trailed 114-106 with 2:54 remaining in the fourth before scoring eight straight points, capped by Thad Young's putback with 5 seconds left to tie it. Then, Indiana got the first nine points in overtime to secure its fourth straight win - all at home - while outscoring the Nuggets 12-2 in the extra period.
On a night where most will remember all the baskets Oladipo made, the most crucial of his plays came with his drive to the basket with 7 seconds left that pulled defenders away from the rim and allowed Young to tip in his miss.
 
Myles Turner finished with 24 points and eight rebounds, and Lance Stephenson had 12 points, six rebounds and six assists for the Pacers.
 
Wilson Chandler keyed a hot start for Denver by scoring eight of the Nuggets' first 10 points on the way to a 35-22 lead heading into the second quarter. And that deficit grew. Indiana trailed by as many as 19 in the second quarter after a slow start on offense. But the key moment of the game came near the end of the first half when the Pacers hit their stride, climbing back into the game with a 21-8 scoring run to head into halftime trailing 66-59.
 
Trey Lyles led the Nuggets with a career-high 25 points, Gary Harris and Will Barton each had 21 points, and Chandler finished with 18.
 
The Pacers host Oklahoma City on Wednesday night, when former Pacers forward Paul George is set to make his first return to Indianapolis.
 
Oladipo's made six 3-pointers with the biggest coming with 2:10 to play in the third quarter to give Indiana its first lead of the game.

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Cubs Sign RHP Chatwood

Right-hander Tyler Chatwood and the Chicago Cubs have agreed to a $38 million, three-year contract.
 
The Cubs announced the agreement on Thursday.
 
Chatwood is joining a team with three straight NL Championship Series appearances and a World Series title in 2016. He figures to slot into the rotation behind Jon Lester, Kyle Hendricks and Jose Quintana.
 
Chatwood, who turns 28 next week, was 8-15 with a 4.69 ERA in 33 appearances, including 25 starts, for Colorado last year. He is 40-46 with a 4.31 ERA over six seasons with the Los Angeles Angels (2011) and Rockies (2012-14, 2016-17). He was limited to four starts in 2014 and missed the 2015 season because of Tommy John surgery.

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Maroa-Forsyth Drops Argenta-Oreana

The Maroa-Forsyth Trojans used a 24-11 third quarter and opened up a 54-32 advantage heading into the fourth quarter, allowing them to get by Argenta-Oreana 65-48 Thursday night in non-conference boys basketball action from the Macon County Tournament Thursday night from Cerro-Gordo Bement High School. 
 
Drew Hicks hit a pair of threes in the third quarter outburst and Daahnish Mahmood also had six points in the third. 
 
Mahmood scored 22 of his game high 30 points in the first half. Aaron Agee scored 12 points for the Trojans.
 
Drew Johnson paced a balanced scoring attack for the Bombers with 12 points. 
 
Nate Logan and Logan Batson each added eight points apiece and Kyle Rigsby chipped in with seven points.
 
The Trojans improve to 3-4 overall and host Warrensburg-Latham next Thursday.
 
The Bombers are at Unity next Tuesday. 

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Packers Head To Cleveland For Crucial Matchup With Browns

Pressure comes in different forms on Sundays in the NFL, a fact that will be on full display at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland when the Browns host the Green Bay Packers.
 
The Browns (0-12) are trying to avoid being the only team other than the 2008 Detroit Lions to lose every game in a 16-game season. There certainly is pressure there, particularly since they're playing in front of their home crowd.
 
The Packers (6-6) are still in the hunt for a wild-card spot in the NFC, but they can't afford to lose, especially to a winless team. The Detroit Lions and Dallas Cowboys are also 6-6 while the Seattle Seahawks and Carolina Panthers are 8-4 and the Atlanta Falcons sit at 7-5. Only two wild-card spots are available to those six teams.
 
Helping Green Bay is a head-to-head win over the Seahawks in the opener and a date with the Panthers in Charlotte a week after playing the Browns.
 
Star quarterback Aaron Rodgers, recovering from a broken collarbone, is eligible to return for the game with the Panthers. That game won't have much meaning, though, if they don't beat the Browns first.
 
Third-year quarterback Brett Hundley will be starting for Green Bay in place of Rodgers. He was the winning quarterback in the Packers' 26-20 overtime victory against the Buccaneers last week, but he did it completing 13 of 22 passes for 84 yards. He was sacked twice and posted a 48.3 passer rating.
 
The Packers ran for 199 yards against the Buccaneers. Rookie Jamaal Williams rushed for 113 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries.
 
Both teams are dealing with injuries. Inside linebacker Jake Ryan (neck/illness), cornerback Davon House (shoulder) and defensive lineman Quinton Dial (chest/knee) did not practice with the Packers on Wednesday.
 
Safety Jabrill Peppers (knee), cornerback Briean Boddy-Calhoun (knee) and defensive lineman Danny Shelton (chest/ribs) did not practice with the Browns.

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Blues Blank Stars

Jake Allen posted his first zero of the season with 29 saves, helping the St. Louis Blues beat the Dallas Stars 3-0.
 
Brayden Schenn got his team-leading 14th goal two days after netting a hat trick against Montreal. Colton Parayko and Vladimir Tarasenko also scored.
 
Allen got his 16th career shutout, tying Glenn Hall (1967-71) for third on the franchise's career list.
 
Dallas has lost two in a row since a season-high five game winning streak. Kari Lehtonen stopped 24 shots.
 
The Blues scored twice on the power play after connecting on just 2 of 17 chances in their previous four games. Schenn, acquired in an offseason trade with Philadelphia, pounced on a rebound from close range midway through the first period for a 1-0 lead.
 
Parayko blasted a shot from just inside the blue line that eluded Lehtonen early in the third period.
 
Tarasenko scored into an empty net with 47.6 seconds left, ending a six-game scoreless streak.
 
Dallas is 0-6 against the top three teams in the Central Division - St. Louis, Winnipeg and Nashville. The Stars have been outscored 25-8.
 
The Blues are at Detroit on Saturday afternoon.

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Bears At Bengals Sunday

The Cincinnati Bengals are not ready to concede their playoff campaign quite yet as they prepare to host the Chicago Bears on Sunday afternoon at Paul Brown Stadium.
 
However, it will take a miracle finish for Cincinnati (5-7) to climb back into the postseason picture. The Bengals are looking to bounce back from a penalty-filled, injury-riddled game Monday night against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
 
The violent ruckus in Cincinnati's 23-20 loss left players on both sides seriously injured, including Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict (concussion) and running back Joe Mixon (concussion).
 
Bengals safety George Iloka initially was suspended one game for delivering a head shot against Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown, but Iloka's suspension was overturned on appeal.
 
On the opposite side of the field, the Bears will take anything they can get. Chicago has lost a season-worst five straight games and is dead last in the NFL in total offense at 275.8 yards per game.
 
Trubisky, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2017 draft, will make his ninth career start. He has a 74.6 passer rating for the season (1,237 passing yards, five touchdowns, four interceptions), and he is averaging 6.7 yards per scramble with 194 rushing yards.
 
The Bears offer another challenge on the ground with running back Jordan Howard, who needs 115 rushing yards to lock up his second consecutive 1,000-yard effort. Undersized rookie running back Tarik Cohen, whose game reminds many of a young Darren Sproles, also is proving effective with 578 yards from scrimmage (267 rushing, 311 receiving).
 
The Bengals will counter on offense with quarterback Andy Dalton, who is 180 passing yards shy of hitting 25,000 for his career.
 
Dalton will face Chicago for only the second time in seven seasons. 

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Clinton Lady Maroons Fall to Central A&M

In a game heard on WHOW, the Clinton Lady Maroons fell to the Central A&M Lady Raiders by a score of 72-39 on Thursday night. The Country Financial representative Brad James Maroons Player of the Game Madi Filkin, led the Maroons with 15 points.

 

The Lady Raiders were led by sophomore Channing Reed with 16. Junior Channing Collins added 12 points.

 

With the loss, the Lady Maroons fall to 4-6 overall and 1-1 in the Central Illinois Conference. With the win, Central A&M improves to 6-5 on the season, and 2-0 in conference action.

 

Tune in Thursday, December 14, as the Lady Maroons travel to St. Teresa. You can hear the game live on the Big 1520 AM/92.3 FM WHOW, online at dewittdailynews.com, and on the WHOW app.

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Illinois Escapes Austin Peay

Michael Finke scored 17 points and grabbed eight rebounds to help Illinois squeeze out a 64-57 victory over Austin Peay on Wednesday night.
 
The Illini (7-3) shot just 39.6 percent from the field and made just 21 field goals, but it was enough to snap a three-game losing streak.
 
Illinois made 6 of 9 shot attempts to start the game and jumped out to an early 13-6 lead but went scoreless for almost six minutes. The Governors went on an 11-0 run to take the lead but weren't able to sustain an offensive rhythm either, shooting only 41.4 percent from the field.
 
The turning point came with just under five minutes left in the game. Locked at 50, Kipper Nichols stole an entry pass to the post and pushed the ball ahead. On the other end, Da'Monte Williams spotted up on the right wing, and nailed a 3-pointer to push the Illini ahead for good.
 
With 19.6 seconds left, Te'Jon Lucas was fouled on a layup attempt. He knocked down both free throws to make it a two-possession game and seal the victory.
 
In his first career start, Williams finished with five points, four rebounds and a team-high three steals.
 
The Governors were led by freshman Terry Taylor and senior Averyl Ugba. Both players combined for 28 points and 15 rebounds, but their performances weren't enough to help Austin Peay (4-5) steal a victory from its fourth Power Five opponent of the season.
 
Illinois has now won 12 consecutive non-conference home games.

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Clinton 8th Grade Girls Fall To Chatham-Glenwood At Taylorville Sectional

The Clinton Lady Maroons 8th grade girls basketball team fell to Chatham-Glenwood 43-30 Wednesday night in the IESA Class 4A Sectional from Taylorville Junior High School.
 
The Lady Maroons were led by Kaitlyn Rauch with 12 points.
 
Two Chatham-Glenwood scorers reached double figures.
 
Chatham-Glenwood moves on to the state tournament Saturday morning where they will play Normal Parkside.

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Caps Blast Blackhawks

Tom Wilson had two goals and two assists and Alex Ovechkin had a goal and three assists in the Washington Capitals' 6-2 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday night.
 
Nicklas Backstrom ended a 21-game stretch without a goal and added two assists, and Washington's top-line trio each scored a goal in the first period when the Capitals opened a 3-0 lead. Backstrom hadn't scored since Oct. 14 in Philadelphia.
 
Braden Holtby made 37 saves for Washington to help the Capitals win for the sixth time in seven games. Brett Connolly scored in his third straight game, and Evgeny Kuznetsov added a goal. Wilson had his first four-point game, and Ovechkin also extended his goals streak to three games.
 
Lance Bouma and Jonathan Toews scored for Chicago. The Blackhawks are 0-3-2 in their last five.
 
Anton Forsberg, starting in place of the injured Corey Crawford, was pulled after Ovechkin's goal made it 3-0 with 4:38 left in the first. J.F Berube finished in goal for Chicago.
 
Washington has won seven of its last eight against the Blackhawks. Chicago has lost seven in a row in Washington since January 2006.
 
Backstrom ended his goal drought ended at 11:54 of the first when he finished a tic-tac-toe sequence by one-timing Ovechkin's pass past Forsberg for his fourth of the season.
 
Wilson's spinning shot from the left circle eluded Forsberg with 5:07 to go, and Ovechkin scored his 21st goal when he cleaned up 29 seconds later after Forsberg made the initial save on Wilson's breakaway.
 
The Blackhawks host Buffalo on Friday night.

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Pacers Rally Past Bulls

Victor Oladipo scored 27 points, including a clutch 3-pointer with 31.1 seconds left, and the Indiana Pacers beat the Chicago Bulls 98-96 on Wednesday night.
 
Bojan Bogdanovic had 17 points for Indiana, and Darren Collison finished with 14. Myles Turner had 11 points and blocked four shots, and Thaddeus Young finished with 10 points and nine rebounds.
 
The lowly Bulls led by as many as 17, but couldn't hold off the Pacers in the final moments. Oladipo's 3 gave Indiana its first lead at 97-96, and he tacked on a free throw with 12.8 seconds left.
 
Lauri Markkanen missed a potential game-winning 3-pointer in the final seconds of Chicago's 10th straight loss.
 
Kris Dunn had 18 points, six rebounds and six assists for the Bulls (3-20), and Robin Lopez scored 16 points. Denzel Valentine finished with 15 points and eight boards.
 
The Bulls play at Charlotte on Friday while the Pacers host Cleveland on Friday.

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BYU Downs Illinois State

Elijah Bryant scored 17 points with nine rebounds and nine assists, TJ Haws scored 20 points and BYU defeated Illinois State 80-68 on Wednesday night.
 
Bryant started off with a 3-pointer and Yoeli Childs and Jahshire Hardnett each added jumpers three minutes in and the Cougars never trailed. BYU went on an 11-0 run in which the Redbirds went close to five minutes without scoring. Bryant made back-to-back 3s for a 28-7 lead with 6:55 before intermission.
 
BYU led 39-17 at halftime and Illinois State managed just 7-for-30 shooting (23 percent), which included 15 missed 3-point attempts. The Cougars made half their 30 shots.
 
Childs added 17 points and seven rebounds for BYU (7-2), winners of four straight. The Cougars passed out 22 assists on 31-of-58 shooting for 53.4 percent.
 
Phil Fayne led Illinois State (4-5) with 19 points, Taylor Bruninga had 18, Milik Yarbrough, 15 and Keyshawn Evans had 14.

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Bears' Kyle Long Goes On IR

The Chicago Bears have placed right guard Kyle Long on injured reserve for the second straight season.
 

The three-time Pro Bowler has been trying to play through a left shoulder injury he suffered in 2016. He aggravated it during Sunday's loss to the San Francisco 49ers and sat out the second half.
 
Long also suffered a season-ending ankle injury last season and has dealt with a finger issue this season. Coach John Fox had said the Bears (3-9) might hold him out of the final four games, and they made it official Tuesday with the move to IR.
 
The Bears placed defensive lineman Mitch Unrein (knee) on injured reserve and signed linebacker Howard Jones and offensive lineman Cameron Lee from the practice squad.

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Blues Outlast Canadiens

Braden Schenn scored three goals as St. Louis ended a three-game skid with a 4-3 victory over the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday night.
 
Scottie Upshall also scored for St. Louis, which outshot the Canadiens 30-25 and had the edge in play for most of the game.
 
Shea Weber scored twice and Jordie Benn also had a goal for Montreal, which had won five in a row. Goaltender Carey Price lost for the first time in six games since returning from a lower-body injury.
 
Schenn scored five minutes into the game, set up by Jaden Schwartz from behind the net.
 
The Canadiens didn't get their first shot on goal until after the 12-minute mark, but then it didn't take long to score as Benn's point shot through traffic got by Jake Allen at 15:28. Benn, who tied a career high with his fourth of the season, has six goals in 41 games for Montreal after scoring 11 in 302 games for Dallas.
 
Andy McDonald and David Backes retained the Blues' team record with goals six seconds apart in 2010.
 
Andrew Shaw won a draw back to Weber for a low shot inside the right post at 17:04. It was Weber's 500th career point.
 
Shaw won another faceoff to Weber for another low blast that went through Allen's legs to tie the game 6:34 into the third.
 
Schenn's third goal, which broke a tie with 7:49 left to play, was no fault of Price's. The Blues star threw the pass in front intended for Jaden Schwartz and saw the puck go in off defenseman David Schlemko's skate.
 
The Blues host Dallas on Thursday night.

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Monticello Dominates Auburn

In a game heard on 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com, the Monticello Sages dominated the Auburn Trojans 60-23 Tuesday night in non-conference boys basketball action from Monticello High School.

 

Calvin Fisher paced Monticello with 17 points, six rebounds, five assists and four steals. Luke Stokowski added 11 points and seven rebounds.

 

The Sages shot 61% for the game and scored 48 points in the paint to Auburn’s six. The Sages dominated the glass 36-13 and forced the Trojans into 18 turnovers that resulted in 21 points.

 

Ben Singleton scored eight points. Alek Bundy and Devin Graham scored six points apiece off the bench. The Sages bench scored 21 points Tuesday.

 

The Sages held the Trojans to two points in the second and fourth quarters. They led 29-11 at the half and 46-21 after three quarters.

 

Auburn drops to 0-2 and Monticello is 2-0.

 

They have a week off before a game next Tuesday at home hosting Fisher at 7:30 pm. Hear all the action on 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com.

 

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Monticello vs Auburn

Monticellowins the game with a score of 60-23.

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Duke Atop Latest Polls

For the fifth consecutive week, Duke is the No. 1 team in the AP top 25 poll which was updated on Monday.
 
The Blue Devils were the unanimous No. 1 team a week ago, and were once again in the Week 5 rankings after dumping Indiana on the road and South Dakota comfortably in Durham this week. With St. Francis PA and Boston College on tap this week, the odds are favorable that the five-week streak of being on top will become six.
Elsewhere in the rankings, Kansas, Michigan State and Villanova held steady at Nos. 2 through 4. Previous No. 5 Notre Dame dropped to 9 after falling to Michigan State in East Lansing while Florida moved up one spot to 5. Wichita State, which notched a massive non-conference win over Baylor this weekend, moved to No. 6.
 
Duke remains the No. 1 team in the latest USA Today Coaches Poll, a slot it earned in the preseason and has held throughout the early season thanks to a flawless 10-0 record.
 
The Blue Devils received all but two first place votes this week, splitting with Kansas and Michigan State, which got one a piece.
 
Behind the Blue Devils is a mostly familiar top 5 of Kansas, Michigan State and Villanova, with Florida making a leap after previous No. 5 Notre Dame fell to No. 9 after losing to Michigan State. The Gators are 5-1 with their lone loss to No. 1 Duke, and have a grueling schedule ahead beginning this week with Florida State and Cincinnati.

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Pacers Win, Bulls Lose Monday

>>Cavs Beat Bulls
 
Dwyane Wade and Kevin Love each scored 24 points, LeBron James had 23 and the Cleveland Cavaliers beat the Chicago Bulls 113-91 Monday night for their 12th straight win.
 
Backed by a trio of stars, the Cavaliers matched their longest winning streak since the 2014-15 season.
Wade made 9 of 13 shots in his first game in Chicago since agreeing to a buyout with his hometown team in late September. Love grabbed 13 rebounds and made 8 of 13 from the field. James finished 9 of 15 with seven rebounds and six assists. The Cavaliers shot just under 52 percent.
 
Kris Dunn led Chicago with 15 points. Robin Lopez and Justin Holiday scored 14 apiece as the Bulls fell to 3-19 with their ninth straight loss.
 
The matchup between the three-time defending Eastern Conference champions and the team with the NBA's worst record went as expected.
 
Third in the league in scoring coming into the game, the Cavaliers grabbed a 61-45 halftime lead.
 
James scored 15 in the half, driving hard and hitting from the perimeter while Wade chipped in with 12 points.
 
James' shot from atop the key in the closing seconds of the first quarter sparked a 13-0 run that broke open a five-point game. Wade scored six points during that stretch, helping Cleveland bump its lead to 40-22.
 
Love had 10 of his team's first 13 points in the third as Cleveland increased it to 74-50. And the Cavaliers remained in control the rest of the way.
 
The Bulls visit Indiana on Wednesday night.
 
>>Pacers Topple Knicks
 
Thaddeus Young scored 20 points to lead seven Indiana players in double figures as the Pacers routed the Knicks 115-97 on Monday night.
Bojan Bogdanovic scored 19 points and Victor Oladipo added 16 for the Pacers (13-11), who led by 26 at half and 95-65 after three quarters.
 
The Knicks (11-12) were without leading scorers Kristaps Porzingis (25.8 ppg) and Tim Hardaway Jr. (17.8 ppg) for a second consecutive loss. Porzingis is dealing with a sprained right ankle and illness and Hardaway has a lower left leg injury.
 
Reserve Willy Hernangomez led the Knicks with 14 points.
 
Wednesday the Pacers host Chicago, which lost at home to Indiana 105-87 on Nov. 10.

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Monticello Holds Off Central A&M

Zanna Myers scored 29 points and Tatum McCall added 20 points as Monticello held off Central A&M 75-58 in non-conference girls basketball action Monday night at Monticello High School.

 

McCall scored 14 of her 20 points in the third quarter while Myers scored 20 first half points to pace all scorers.

Myers also drained 13-of-16 free throws and McCall finished 5-for-6 from the stripe and the Lady Sages made 26-for-34 free throws as a team.

 

Jayna Burger added eight points off the bench and Emily Wilson chipped in with seven.

 

Taryn Sams led the Lady Raiders with 22 points, McKenna Denton added 15 points off the bench and Channing Collins finished with 13 points.

 

Central A&M drops to 5-5 overall while the Lady Sages are 5-0.

 

The Lady Sages are at Decatur St. Teresa High School Saturday afternoon and return home for a game with Warrensburg-Latham before the Holiday Hoopla Tournament after Christmas.

 

Hear the action against Warrensburg-Latham on 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com.

 

Tune in tonight to 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com as the boys basketball squad hosts Auburn for their home opener.

 

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Unity Drops Clinton

Unity held the Clinton to a six-point second quarter, stretching a lead at the half to 30-19 and then used a 19-8 third quarter to roll past the Maroons 57-35 in non-conference boys basketball action from Unity High School Saturday night.
 
JT Wheeler paced three Unity players in double figures with a game hight 18 points. Cale Shonkwiler finished with ten points and Jonathan Decker added 12.
 
Seth Westfall led the Maroons with 20 points and Clinton shot a dismal 3-for-10 from the foul line.
 
Coach Clay Haurberg said this one boiled down to rebounding and lack of defensive intensity.
 
Quote - "We gave up too many second shots tonight. We've got to rebound better as a team. Our defense has been up and down thus far, and tonight we did not have the kind of intensity on defense that is necessary to be successful. Offensively, we were out of sync and turned the ball over too often, especially in middle two periods of the game."
 
The Maroons are at Rochester Saturday night for a 6:30 pm tipoff.

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Illinois, Bradley Lose Sunday

>>Illini Rally Falls Short Against Maryland
 
Anthony Cowan scored 27 points, including the game-winning free throw, to lift Maryland past Illinois 92-91 in overtime on Sunday.
 
Justin Jackson scored 20 and Kevin Huerter added 17 for Maryland (7-3, 1-1 in Big Ten).
 
Leron Black led Illinois (6-3, 1-1), while Mark Alstork scored 17 and Aaron Jordan added 15.
 
Maryland held a commanding 45-26 lead at the half, led by Cowan's 16 points, 9 from outside the 3-point line.
 
In the first half, the Terrapins shot 73.1 percent from the field, while Illinois was held to 32.4 percent at the mid-point. Illinois got hot in the second half, shooting 70 percent from the field to Maryland's 40.7 percent.
 
Illinois mounted a furious comeback in the second half, taking its first lead of the game 74-73 with 1:51 left in regulation. Bruno Fernando tipped in a shot at the buzzer to send the game into overtime with the score tied at 75. Cowan sank a free throw with six seconds left left in overtime for the win.
 
It was the third loss in a row for the Illini, after losing at Wake Forest and in overtime at Northwestern in its conference opener. Maryland also was coming off two losses, at Syracuse and to Purdue at home.
 
After both teams turned over the ball to open the game. Maryland went on a 10-0 run before Illinois coach Brad Underwood went to the bench early, removing all five starters. Illinois slowly crept back into the game, at one point pulling to within three points, 14-11, before the Terrapins began to systematically pound the ball inside and outside against a smaller Illinois team for its commanding halftime lead.
 
Illinois plays Austin Peay at home on Wednesday.
 
>>San Diego State Blows Out Bradley
 
Redshirt freshman Jalen McDaniels came off the bench to help spark an opening 22-3 run and finished with 14 points and 12 rebounds in San Diego State's 75-52 victory against Bradley on Sunday.
 
Malik Pope and Jeremy Hemsley scored 13 apiece for SDSU (7-2), which won its second straight game.
 
Darrell Brown scored 12 for Bradley (7-2), which had its five-game winning streak snapped.
 
McDaniels came in less than five minutes into the game and had an immediate impact en route to his first career double-double. With the Aztecs leading 11-3, he had a put-back and a tip-in on consecutive possessions. After Nolan Narain made a layup, McDaniels hit a 3-pointer for a 20-3 lead. Hemsley finished an 11-0 burst with two free throws for a 19-point lead just 9:48 into the game.
 
McDaniels' 14 points were a season-high and his 12 rebounds were one shy of his season-high.
 
Bradley made just one of its first eight shots and shot only 33.3 percent in the first half. SDSU led 37-23 at halftime.
 
SDSU guard Trey Kell missed his second straight game with a sprained right ankle.
 
Bradley hosts Little Rock on Wednesday night.

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Packers Win, Bears Lose Sunday

>>Packers Beat Buccaneers
 
Aaron Jones' 20-yard scoring run on his only carry , with 5:59 left in overtime, gave Green Bay a 26-20 win Sunday over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
 
With the passing game struggling, the Packers (6-6) wore down the Buccaneers on the ground. Aaron Rodgers' replacement, Brett Hundley, had runs of 18 and 7 yards on the drive to start overtime.
Getting seven sacks from the defense along with a blocked punt by Kyler Fackrell, the Packers grinded out a win to keep their postseason hopes alive. They still trail NFC North leader Minnesota by four games, but there is renewed optimism at Lambeau Field with the possibility of Rodgers returning from a collarbone injury in a couple weeks.
 
Jameis Winston threw two touchdown passes to Cameron Brate in the quarterback's shaky return from a shoulder injury. But the defense couldn't hold up in overtime for the last-place Buccaneers (4-8).
 
Winston had defenders in his face all day and had trouble holding on to the ball. Linebacker Clay Matthews had 2 1/2 sacks of Green Bay's seven sacks.
 
Back after missing three games with a right shoulder injury, Winston fumbled on a sack by Kenny Clark in the second quarter. Defensive lineman Dean Lowry snatched the loose ball in the air and rumbled 62 yards for a touchdown and Lambeau leap with a 17-7 lead.
 
Hundley finished 13 of 22 for 84 yards, adding seven carries for 66 yards. Jamaal Williams ran for 113 yards on 21 carries for Green Bay.
 
The Packers visit the Cleveland Browns on Dec. 10.
 
>>San Francisco Edges Chicago
 
Robbie Gould kicked a 24-yard field goal in the closing seconds, Jimmy Garoppolo threw for 293 yards in his first San Francisco start, and the 49ers beat the Chicago Bears 15-14 on Sunday.
 
Gould made five field goals in his first appearance at Soldier Field since Chicago cut him prior to the 2016 opener. The Bears' all-time leader in points and field goals made, he shouted at their sideline after he nailed the winner.
 
Garoppolo was solid in his first start since the 49ers (2-10) acquired him from New England before the trade deadline in October. The suburban Chicago product completed 26 of 37 passes with an interception. And the 49ers picked up the win after losing their first five road games.
 
Chicago (3-9) dropped its fifth straight, and coach John Fox fell to 12-32 in three seasons with the Bears.
 
Mitchell Trubisky was 12 of 15 for 102 yards and a touchdown.
 
Tarik Cohen returned a punt 61 yards for a touchdown. That made him the first NFL rookie with rushing, receiving, passing and punt return TDs in a season since Gale Sayers in 1965
 
The 49ers were trailing 14-12 when Garoppolo connected with Trent Taylor on third down for a 33-yard pass to the Chicago 18 with two minutes left. Kyle Juszczyk kept the drive going with a 3-yard run on third-and-2 at the 10.
 
Garoppolo threw for 172 yards in the first half. But the 49ers committed six penalties and headed to the locker room trailing 14-9.
 
The Bears grabbed a 7-3 lead in the closing seconds of the first quarter when Trubisky hit Dontrelle Inman in the back of the end zone for an 8-yard touchdown. Kyle Fuller set that up when he ripped the ball out of Louis Murphy's hands for an interception at the Chicago 41.
 
Cohen made it 14-6 in the second quarter with his big punt return, racing to the end zone after he initially ran about 15 yards in the wrong direction.
 
The Bears visit Cincinnati on Dec. 10.

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Kings Stop Blackhawks

Jonathan Quick made 24 saves, Christian Folin scored the game's first goal midway through the third period and the Los Angeles Kings beat the Chicago Blackhawks 3-1 on Sunday night for their fifth straight win.
 
Folin's shot from the right point sailed over Anton Forsberg's glove with Anze Kopitar screening at 9:29. Dustin Brown scored an empty-net goal with 2:03 left to make it 2-0, and Kopitar added another empty-netter after Chicago's Jonathan Toews scored with Forsberg pulled for an extra skater.
 
Chicago has lost four straight. Forsberg made 21 saves in his second straight start in place of Corey Crawford, who's out with a lower-body injury.
 
The Kings have allowed six goals during their streak, which has them atop the Pacific Division and second in the Western Conference. The run follows a 1-6-1 slide.
 
Quick turned aside some tough chances before losing a bid for his third shutout this season.
 
The Kings' Adrian Kempe narrowly missed on a point-blank tip-in attempt midway through the second, then a loose puck tipped off the right post during a goalmouth scrum.
 
A point shot by Chicago's Cody Franson glanced of Brandon Saad's skate at the edge of the crease and clanged off the left post with 5:20 left. Quick then came through with a snappy glove save on Ryan Hartman's backhander with 1:58 left.
 
Marian Gaborik broke in alone just under two minutes into the third after stealing the puck from Patrick Sharp at the Chicago blue line. Forsberg stopped Gaborik point-blank with a glove save.
 
The Blackhawks pPlay at Washington on Wednesday night.

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Cardinals Among Two Final Offers for Stanton

NL MVP Giancarlo Stanton's time with the Miami Marlins appears to be about up.
 
That's because the Marlins have agreed to the "general framework" of trades with both the San Francisco Giants and St. Louis Cardinals, contingent on whether Stanton will agree to either deal, per MLB Network's Jon Paul Morosi:
 
Quote - "Sources: #Marlins have agreed to general framework of Giancarlo Stanton trades with both #STLCards and #SFGiants; the deals are on hold, while Marlins wait for Stanton to inform them whether he’d accept either trade. @MLB @MLBNetwork"
 
Adding, quote - "Worth saying again: Giancarlo Stanton is in control here, due to full no-trade. If he wants to wait on the #Dodgers, he can — even if that means saying no to everyone else this offseason and revisiting in July/August or next winter. @MLB @MLBNetwork"
 
Stanton has a full no-trade clause.
 
In recent days, Stanton or his representatives have met with both the Cardinals and the Giants, suggesting he's better positioned than not in order to make a decision. Sunday morning, Jon Heyman reported Stanton was open to joining both clubs, but might favor the Giants.
 
It's unclear who the Marlins would be getting in return. Names like Joe Panik, Chris Shaw, and Tyler Beede have been bandied about on the Giants' side, while the Cardinals have a slew of young pitchers to offer the Marlins. Right-hander Sandy Alcantara is said to be part of the St. Louis offer.
 
The primary motivator on the Marlins' side has been saving money, so it's fair to assume they won't be getting an appropriate amount of talent in return -- not for one of the best players in baseball.

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Final Polls Released, Including CFP

The debate is over. The College Football Playoff is now set, and three of the four teams making the final field are conference champions that clinched their spots by virtue of wins on Saturday.
 
1. Clemson (12-1)
2. Oklahoma (12-1)
3. Georgia (12-1)
4. Alabama (11-1)
That means the Tigers will take on the Crimson Tide in the Sugar Bowl -- a rematch of the last two national championships -- while the Sooners and Bulldogs will square off in the Rose Bowl in a pair of CFP Semifinal games on Monday, Jan. 1.
 
It also means No. 5 Ohio State (11-2) was left out of the top four due in large part to its 31-point road loss to Iowa and despite the Buckeyes winning a conference championship and two games against teams in the final top 10. Slotting in at No. 6 is Wisconsin (12-1), ahead of Pac-12 champion USC (11-2).
 
The committee is sending several messages, some of which people have not wanted to hear, with the selection of Alabama over Ohio State.  The first of those is that they have no problem selecting two teams from the same conference.  Conference champion Georgia and SEC West division runner-up Alabama are both in the field.
 
Another message is that conference championships do not mean a lot.  We learned that last year, too, but people do not like to hear that. The committee has said all along that being a conference champion is just a tiebreaker, which means that the committee did not feel that it was close between Alabama and Ohio State.
 
The two major polls are in, and they're in agreement: Clemson, Oklahoma, Georgia and Alabama are the best four teams in the country.
 
The Tigers and Sooners maintain the top two spots, Georgia moved up three spots to No. 3 after topping Auburn 28-7 in the SEC Championship Game and Alabama moves up one spot to No. 4 -- one spot ahead of Ohio State, which topped Wisconsin on Saturday night in the Big Ten Championship Game.
 
In the AP Top 25, it's the Crimson Tide. Coach Nick Saban's crew chimed in above the Buckeyes despite not winning their division. Clemson maintained the top spot, with Oklahoma holding strong at No. 2 and Georgia jumping from No. 6 to No. 3 after dominating Auburn 28-7 in the SEC Championship Game.

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Illinois State beats Tulsa 65-58

Milik Yarbrough had 22 points, six rebounds and four assists, Phil Fayne added 17 points and eight boards, and Illinois State beat Tulsa 65-58 on Saturday night.
 
Lawson Korita gave Tulsa its first lead, 49-47, since it was 4-2.
 
Yarbrough made two free throws with 1:43 left to extend Illinois State's lead to 60-51. After Sterling Taplin hit a 3-pointer to cut it to six, Phil Fayne dunked and Illinois State held on.
 
Keyshawn Evans scored 12 points with five assists for Illinois State (4-4), which had 11 steals and forced 21 turnovers.
 
Yarbrough had 15 points in the first half as the Redbirds led by four points.
 
Junior Etou had 10 points and eight rebounds for Tulsa (4-4), which was held to 36 percent shooting. Jaleel Wheeler grabbed a team-high nine rebounds as Tulsa outrebounded the Redbirds 49-29.
 

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Bradley cruises to 67-5 win over Eastern Illinois

Elijah Childs scored 14 points to go with nine rebounds, Dwayne Lautier-Ogunleye got his first career double-double and Bradley slipped past Eastern Illinois 67-56 on Friday night.
 
Trailing by four in the first half, Bradley (7-1) got a 3-pointer from JoJo McGlaston to spark a 16-3 run that put the Braves on top for good.
 
Lautier-Ogunleye finished with 13 points and 10 boards. Jayden Hodgson added 12 points and Darrell Brown scored 11 for Bradley, which shot 52 percent from the field to win its fifth straight.
 
Eastern Illinois (2-5) tightened the gap to 35-33 early in the second half with a 9-0 spurt capped with Muusa Dama's free throw, but that was as close as the Panthers got as Bradley pulled away again with an 11-2 run that included Hodgson's 3-pointer.
 
Dama led Eastern Illinois with 20 points on 7-for-14 shooting and Terrell Lewis added 13 points.

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Northwestern outlasts Illinois in overtime, 72-68

Scottie Lindsey scored five of his game-high 22 points in overtime and Northwestern trailed for much of the evening before pulling out a 72-68 victory over Illinois on Friday night in the Big Ten opener for both teams.
 
Vic Law added 16 points before fouling out in overtime and Bryant McIntosh had 14 points and six assists for Northwestern (5-3).
 
Leron Black led Illinois (6-2) with 15 points, whle Te'Jon Lucas and Mark Alstork had 14 points apiece.
 
Lindsey, the Wildcats' second-leading scorer this season, did not start after going 0 for 8 from the floor in Northwestern's 52-51 loss to Georgia Tech on Tuesday night.
 
His two free throws with 59 seconds left broke a 68-68 tie. Dererk Pardon had two key blocked shots in the final minute.
 
It was the earliest Big Ten game in Illinois' century-long history in the league. The Big Ten season was moved up because the league will hold its conference tournament a week early in order to stage it at Madison Square Garden in New York.

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Monticello Holds Off Bismarck-Henning

The Monticello Sages played a sharp first half of basketball and held on against a frantic Bismarck-Henning team Friday night in the season opener of boys basketball action from Bismarck-Henning High School.

 

Monticello opened a 39-18 halftime advantage shooting 19-for-23 from the floor but the Blue Devils started making threes in the second and got within 11 before the Sages held on down the stretch.

 

Luke Stokowski led the Sages with 21 points and nine rebounds. Calvin Fisher added 16 points and Ben Singleton chipped in with 14 points.

 

Monticello shot 73% from the floor.

 

Bismarck-Henning’s Wyatt Edwards led all scorers with 29 points.

 

Monticello attempted only one three pointer and outscored Bismarck-Henning 58-12 and dominated the glass 29-9.

 

The Blue Devils fall to 4-2 overall while the Sages open the year 1-0.

 

The Sages will host Auburn Tuesday night at Monticello High School. Hear all the action on 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com.

 

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Clinton Maroons Defeat Maroa Forsyth

As heard on WHOW, the Clinton Maroons defeated the Maroa Forsyth Trojans by a score of 63-46 on Friday night. The Maroons were led by senior Seth Westfall with 15 points, and was the Country Financial representative Brad James Maroons Player of the Game. Senior Austin Baker chipped in with 14 points.

 

The Trojans were led by junior Aaron Agee with 15 points.

 

With the win, the Maroons improve to 5-1 and Maroa falls to 0-2.

 

Tune in Thursday, December 7 as the Lady Maroons are on the road at Central A&M. You can hear the game live on the Big 1520 AM/92.3 FM WHOW, online at dewittdailynews.com, and on the WHOW app.

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Monticello Opens New Season Tonight

Fresh off the school's first final four appearance in the IHSA state basketball tournament, the Monticello Sages have their sights set high for this year.
 
Head Coach Kevin Roy is excited about bringing back a good amount of experience from last year's squad and is pleased his team has the goal of going back to Peoria in March.
 
 
Coach Roy says this year's team has the potential to be deeper and more athletic, which should help them play any style of basketball.
 
 
The Sages open the season tonight at Bismark-Henning at 7:30 pm. Hear the action on 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com. 
 
The Sages open the home slate Tuesday night, hosting Auburn.
 
Hear Sages basketball all season on WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com. 

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Nuggets Rally Past Bulls

Will Barton provided the early spark, then delivered in the final moments to help the Denver Nuggets escape with a narrow victory.
 
Barton capped a career-high 37 points with a driving layup with 3.2 seconds left and the Nuggets overcame the loss of Nikola Jokic to beat the Chicago Bulls 111-110 on Thursday night.
 
Gary Harris added 21 points, and Kenneth Faried had 14 points and 13 rebounds for Denver, which lost another big man to injury when Jokic was hurt.
 
Lauri Markanen and Robin Lopez had 20 points each for Chicago, and Kris Dunn added 19. The Bulls have lost seven straight to finish 2-13 in November and drop to 3-17 overall.
 
Chicago led 68-62 at halftime but Denver rallied to briefly take the lead in the third quarter. Grant hit a 3-pointer at the end of the third to put the Bulls ahead 92-91.
 
The Bulls host Sacramento tonight.
 

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Stars Get By Blackhawks in Overtime

Mattias Janmark scored his second goal of the game 51 seconds into overtime and the Dallas Stars beat the Chicago Blackhawks 4-3 on Thursday night.
 
Radek Faksa had a goal and an assist and Remi Elie also scored for Dallas, which has won three straight and five of six. Ben Bishop made 19 saves.
Janmark skated in and beat Corey Crawford over the goaltender's right shoulder for his sixth of the season, giving the Stars the opener of the home-and-home series between division rivals. Dallas hosts Chicago on Saturday night.
 
Patrick Kane had a goal and an assist for the Blackhawks, who dropped to 1-1-1 in a seven-day stretch with five games. Alex DeBrincat and Artem Anisimov also scored, and Nick Schmaltz had two assists.
 
Chicago trailed 3-2 before Kane redirected defenseman Gustav Forsling's shot past Bishop at 4:34 of the third. Kane has at least one point in eight of his last nine games.
 
Elie, who replaced an ailing Martin Hanzal in the lineup, had three good looks at a potential go-ahead score with about 5 1/2 minutes left, but Crawford turned him away each time. Crawford finished with 31 saves.
 
Dallas led 2-1 after a strange first period. The Stars jumped in front when Janmark stuffed home a wraparound off Crawford's left skate at 14:46, but the Blackhawks responded nine seconds later on DeBrincat's wrist shot by Bishop on the stick side.
 
It was DeBrincat's fourth goal in his last three games and 10th of November, making him the first rookie in franchise history with 10 goals in a calendar month, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
 
Chicago had four power plays in the opening period and was still outscored by Dallas with the man advantage. Faksa buried his first career penalty shot after Kane was called for hooking on a short-handed breakaway, making it 2-1 at 17:20.
 
Faksa has four goals in his last two games. He had a natural hat trick in Dallas' 3-0 win at Vegas on Tuesday night.
 
Chicago's fourth power-play opportunity carried over into the second, and it took advantage. With Elie in the box for slashing, Kane made a terrific pass to Anisimov in front for his ninth goal in November and his team-leading 12th on the season.
 
Elie made up for the costly penalty later in the second. He went in all alone on Crawford after a nice pass from Faksa and scored his third of the season with a nifty move, making it 3-2 at 14:04.
 
Following the trip to Dallas, Chicago returns home to face the Los Angeles Kings on Sunday night.

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Bears, Packers Notes

>>Bears Host 49ers Sunday
 
Jimmy Garoppolo will make his first start for the 49ers and the third of his career when he and his teammates visit the Chicago Bears on Sunday afternoon at Soldier Field. 
 
It is familiar territory for Garoppolo, who grew up in the Chicago suburb of Arlington Heights, Ill., and played at Rolling Meadows High School before earning a scholarship to play at Eastern Illinois.
The 49ers acquired him from the New England Patriots in exchange for a 2018 second-round pick on Halloween, and Garoppolo spent the past month on the sideline learning the offense under first-year coach Kyle Shanahan.
 
An injury to fellow signal-caller C.J. Beathard last week opened the door for Shanahan to make the change at starter. Garoppolo came off the bench after Beathard got hurt, and he completed both of his pass attempts for 18 yards and a touchdown.
 
Chicago (3-8) also has pinned its future hopes on a young quarterback with a big arm and little experience. Mitchell Trubisky will make his eighth start as he looks to rebound from a career-worst 38.3 passer rating in a 31-3 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.
 
Trubisky, 23, has passed for 1,135 yards, four touchdowns and four interceptions since the Bears selected him No. 2 overall in the 2017 draft. San Francisco initially owned the No. 2 pick but accepted a generous package of additional draft picks from Chicago in exchange for moving one spot down to No. 3.
 
Including his time in New England behind future Hall of Famer Tom Brady, Garoppolo has thrown 96 NFL passes without an interception. 
 
Chicago needs a victory to avoid, at least for the moment, its fourth consecutive losing season.
 
>>Packers Look To Right The Ship Against Bucs Sunday
 
Heading into Sunday's game at Lambeau Field, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Green Bay Packers are limping to the finish line.
 
The Packers were 4-1 before Aaron Rodgers went down with a broken collarbone. They've won just one of their last six games with Brett Hundley orchestrating the offense and are clinging to scant playoff hopes at 5-6.
With third-year quarterback Jameis Winston, the Buccaneers won two of their first three games before enduring a five-game losing streak.
 
The Buccaneers hope to get a lift with the return of Winston, who missed the past three games with an injured right (throwing) shoulder, though they did go 2-1 with Ryan Fitzpatrick.
 
Winston and his productive group of pass catchers will get an inviting matchup against Green Bay's beleaguered pass defense. While Hundley has struggled during Green Bay's slump, its secondary hasn't been any better, with opposing quarterbacks averaging 304 passing yards the past five games. Pittsburgh's Ben Roethlisberger set seasons highs for completion percentage, passing yards and touchdowns and led a last-second scoring drive to beat the Packers 31-28 on Sunday night.
 
Tampa Bay's defense hasn't been any better, mostly because it can't get off the field other than by forcing turnovers. Last year, the Buccaneers had the NFL's best third-down defense. This year, it owns the worst.
 
Injuries have chewed up both teams. While Winston could return, Tampa Bay put two of its top offensive linemen, right tackle Demar Dotson and center Ali Marpet, on injured reserve Wednesday.
 
Moreover, cornerback Vernon Hargreaves (hamstring), receiver DeSean Jackson (foot) and running back Doug Martin (concussion) were among six players who did not practice.
 
For the Packers, two top defensive players who missed the Pittsburgh game, defensive tackle Kenny Clark (ankle) and outside linebacker Clay Matthews (groin), returned to practice, as did running back Aaron Jones (knee). Cornerback Kevin King, who has been bothered by a shoulder injury for months, did not practice. At 6-foot-3, he'd provide size against 6-5 Buccaneers receiver Mike Evans.
 
Rodgers remains on injured reserve for the Packers, though he could return to practice on Saturday. If the Packers can beat the Buccaneers on Sunday and the Browns next week to stay in the playoff chase, Rodgers could return to face Carolina on Dec. 17.
 
>>Bears Demps Returns To Practice
 
Chicago Bears safety Quintin Demps has practiced for the first time since breaking his left arm in late September.
His return to practice on Thursday opened a 21-day window for the Bears to decide whether to activate him from injured reserve or have him miss the remainder of the season. Demps started the first three games. He was injured against Pittsburgh on Sept. 24.
 
Demps says it "felt great" to practice, though he doesn't think he will be ready to play against San Francisco on Sunday. Injuries have left the Bears short-handed at safety.
 
Chicago re-signed safety Chris Prosinski while waiving linebacker Howard Jones on Thursday. Prosinski played for the Bears from 2015-16, appearing in 29 games and making six starts.
 
>>Packers Trying To Recoup Ex-TE Bennet's Bonuses
 
Just when you thought the Martellus Bennett saga had come to an end with the Patriots placing the tight end on injured reserve with shoulder and hamstring injuries, the Packers are going after the money. According to a report from ESPN.com's Rob Demovsky, the Packers have filed paperwork in an attempt to collect a portion of Bennett's signing bonus. 
 
Bennett signed a three-year, $21 million deal (that contained $6.3 million guaranteed) with the Packers this offseason. He began publicly musing about retirement after 2017 once Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers was injured on a hit by Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr and the Packers' offense dropped off. 
 
Eventually he told the Packers he wanted to have season-ending surgery for a shoulder injury. Rather than shutting him down, the Packers released him and claimed that he had previously failed to report the injury. 
He had only 24 catches and 233 yards in seven games with Green Bay. 
 
The Patriots claimed Bennett off waivers, and then he played for them a few days later. 

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Tiger 3-Back of Loaded Leader Board in Bahamas

Tommy Fleetwood leads at 6 under, but he's trailed closely by Rickie Fowler and Matt Kuchar at 5 under. Following those two are Kevin Chappell, Justin Rose, Dustin Johnson and Jordan Spieth at 4 under at the 2017 Hero World Challenge 
 
Then at 3 under are Tiger Woods, Justin Thomas and two others. Woods had five birdies and two bogeys, but impressed throughout.

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