Local Sports

Maroa-Forsyth's Ennis: I Don't Take This Opportunity Lightly

Former Clinton High School athletic standout, Aaron Ennis was named the head basketball coach at Maroa-Forsyth last night and he says this is an opportunity he dreamt of for some time.

 

Ennis says the opportunity at Maroa-Forsyth is not something he takes lightly and was excited to learn Monday he would be their coach.

 

 

In his journey to Maroa-Forsyth, Ennis has had stops in Argenta-Oreana where he was a student-teacher, then in Maroa-Forsyth and most recently at Tolono Unity. Central Illinois sports fans will be familiar with some of the power-house names he's been able to learn under along the way.

 

 

Ennis indicates he wants to have an up-tempo style offense that runs a half-court offense that allows their athletes to make plays. Defensively his teams will run a pressure style man-to-man offense and hopes to bring an exciting brand of basketball to Maroa-Forsyth. 

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Big Fourth Inning Sends Mahomet-Seymour Past Clinton

The Mahomet-Seymour Bulldogs scored six runs in the fourth inning and that was the difference as they beat the Clinton Maroons 9-3 in non-conference boys baseball action Tuesday afternoon in Mahomet.

 

It was the first game of the season for Clinton, who drops to 0-1, thanks to a wet start to the spring sports season.

 

Kyle Kinney started the Bulldogs scoring with a solo home run in the first inning. 

 

After the Maroons scored a pair of runs in the top of the fourth to take a 2-1 advantage, it was all Mahomet-Seymour the rest of the way as Dawson Finch paced the Bulldogs offense, going 1-for-2 with three runs batted in. 

 

Logan Peterson paced the Maroons offense, finishing 2-for-3 with two doubles and an RBI. Rustin Wertz added an RBI double as well.

 

Parker West took the loss on the mound for Clinton. He went four innings and allowed seven runs, all earned on, on five hits, issued two walks and struck out five. Logan Peterson pitched two innings of two-run ball, both unearned, in relief. 

 

Finch got the win for Mahomet-Seymour, pitching into the sixth inning. He finished with 5 1/3 innings, allowing three runs with four hits, issued four walks and struck out nine.

The Maroons are scheduled to host Ridgeview for a Saturday doubleheader at Clinton High School.

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Sages Rally Past Arthur-Lovington-Atwood-Hammond

After Arthur-Lovington-Atwood-Hammond posted three runs early, the Monticello Sages scored three runs in the third and tacked on the winning run in the fourth inning to take a 4-3 non-conference victory in boys baseball action Tuesday afternoon in Arthur.

 

Brody Macak led the Sages offense with two RBIs. Asher Bradd reached base twice via a walk and also drove in a run. 

 

Joel Edmondson and Andrew Rudolph combined to keep ALAH off the board after their three-run first. 

Edmondson finished with 3 2/3 innings and Rudolph pitched 3 1/3 innings. 

 

The Sages improve to 3-1 overall and will travel to Oakwood Thursday for a non-conference game. 

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Illinois Topples St. Louis

The Illinois baseball team beat Saint Louis, 4-1, Tuesday in the first game of a two-game midweek series. Illinois (14-3) won its seventh straight game and tied its best 17-game start since 1959.

 

Illinois was led by Jeff Korte's two-hit, two-RBI day and Cam McDonald's two RBIs and two runs. Michael Massey and Jack Yalowitz also singled twice, as Illinois outhit Saint Louis 7-5. 

 

It was a planned bullpen game for both teams with Illinois throwing four pitchers and Saint Louis sending five to the mound. Ryan Schmitt (1-0) picked up the win by throwing the fourth and fifth innings scoreless. Sean Leland followed Schmitt with an impressive three innings, allowing only one hit on a bunt and striking out six. 

 

Aidan Maldonado started on the mound for the first time in his career and pitched around five walks in three innings to allow only one run. Garrett Acton earned his seventh save on a double play ball to shortstop Ben Troike with the bases loaded and one out in the ninth.

 

Saint Louis (9-10) left 11 runners on base and was held to 2-for-15 with runners on base. Illinois was only 3-for-18 with runners on but plated runs on a ground out and sac fly.

 

The Illini are 14-3 for the fifth time since beginning 16-1 in 1959. Illinois tied its sixth-best 17-game start in program history.

 

The two teams are back at Billikin Sports Complex at 3 p.m. CT Wednesday for the two-game finale. 

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Illinois State Blanks UIC

The Illinois State baseball team defeated UIC 4-0 Tuesday afternoon at Duffy Bass Field in Normal.

 

Illinois State used four pitchers in the game to record its second shutout of the season.

 

Joe Aeilts went yard for the Redbirds, finishing 2-for-4 with two RBIs and two runs scored.

John Rave and Gunner Peterson also drove in runs for ISU.

 

Brett Wicklund was terrific for the Redbirds. He finished with six scoreless innings and struck out five, issuing just three hits.

 

The Flames had the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth inning, but Jacob Gilmore struck out the final batter of the game.

 

Illinois State will take on the University of Illinois this weekend in Champaign in a three-game series. First pitch for Friday is scheduled for 4 p.m.

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LB Clay Matthews Signs With Rams, Cobb Signs With Cowboys

Linebacker Clay Matthews agreed to a two-year contract with the Los Angeles Rams on Tuesday, returning to his native Southern California after a decade with the Green Bay Packers.

 

The 32-year-old Matthews set the Packers franchise record with 83½ sacks over his 10 seasons in Green Bay. The former USC star earned six Pro Bowl selections and won a Super Bowl ring with the Packers, although his 3½ sacks last season were a career low.

 

Matthews went to high school in Agoura Hills, California, and he lives in nearby Calabasas with his wife and growing family. Both towns are a short drive from the Rams' training complex in Thousand Oaks northwest of downtown Los Angeles.

 

Matthews will contribute to the Rams' pass rush alongside All-Pro defensive tackle Aaron Donald and linebacker Dante Fowler, who re-signed with the NFC champions earlier this month. Nose tackle Ndamukong Suh is still a free agent after his sole season with Los Angeles.

 

Matthews played four seasons for the Trojans at the Coliseum, where the Rams will play next season before moving into their multibillion-dollar stadium complex in Inglewood in 2020.

 

Matthews won four Pac-12 titles and three Rose Bowls at USC. He famously walked onto Pete Carroll's roster and redshirted on the Trojans' last national championship squad before growing into a first-round NFL pick.

 

The Rams released starting linebacker Mark Barron earlier this month, creating additional opportunities for Matthews.

 

Matthews joins veteran safety Eric Weddle and backup quarterback Blake Bortles in the Rams' compact class of free-agent signings.

 

The Dallas Cowboys have agreed to terms on a one-year contract with free-agent receiver Randall Cobb.

 

Cobb spent the first eight years of his NFL career with the Green Bay Packers, though he was limited to nine games last season because of a hamstring injury and a concussion.

 

Along with the addition of Cobb, the Cowboys on Tuesday re-signed unrestricted free-agent long snapper L.P. Ladouceur They also signed Kerry Hyder, a defensive end from Texas Tech who was with Detroit last season.

 

Dallas has brought in Cobb and re-signed receiver Tavon Austin to a one-year deal since slot receiver Cole Beasley left in free agency last week for a four-year deal with Buffalo.

 

Cobb has 470 catches for 5,524 yards and 41 touchdowns for the Packers from 2011 through last season. The 28-year-old receiver was a Pro Bowl pick in 2014, when he had 91 catches for 1,287 yards and 12 touchdowns.

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Clippers Topple Pacers

Danilo Gallinari scored 24 points, Montrezl Harrell had 20 points and 12 rebounds, and the Clippers beat Indiana 115-109 on Tuesday night, preventing the Pacers from clinching a playoff berth.

 

Clinging to a 110-107 lead, Lou Williams hit a pullup jumper with 40 seconds left to stop a 5-0 run by Indiana.

 

Tyreke Evans answered with a layup that again drew the Pacers within three.

 

After a timeout, Bojanc Bogdanovic slipped defending Patrick Beverley, who scored and then made a rolling dice motion.

 

Bogdanovic slipped again on the Pacers' final possession and they failed to score over the final 33 seconds.

 

Evans and Bogdanovic scored 19 points each for the Pacers, whose road skid extended to seven straight games. Doug McDermott added 17 points and Domantas Sabonis had 13 points and a career-high-tying 16 rebounds playing the second night of a back-to-back.

 

The Clippers led by 17 early in the fourth only to see the Pacers close within five. Gallinari re-entered the game and promptly hit a 3-pointer that ended Indiana's 16-7 run.

 

Beverley made a 3-pointer and Gallinari and Gilgeous-Alexander combined to make four straight free throws that extended the Clippers' lead to 106-97.

 

Los Angeles closed the third by scoring eight straight points to lead 89-75 going into the fourth.

 

The Pacers visit Golden State on Thursday to end four-game Western swing.

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Blues Blast Oilers

Jaden Schwartz had three goals and an assist, David Perron added two goals and two assists, and the Blues cruised to a 7-2 rout of the Oilers.

 

Schwartz, who has 10 goals, scored once in each period for his fourth career hat trick and first since Oct. 18, 2017, against Chicago.

 

Alex Pietrangelo and Pat Maroon also scored for the Blues, who outshot Edmonton 44-17 and improved to 6-1-2 in their last nine home games against the Oilers.

 

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Zack Kassian scored for Edmonton.

 

St. Louis jumped out to a 4-0 lead before the Oilers scored twice late in the second period. The Blues added three goals in the third.

 

Blues RW Vladimir Tarasenko returned to the lineup after missing five games with an upper-body injury sustained March 7 against the Kings. 

 

Connor McDavid had his streak of eight consecutive multipoint games snapped. McDavid remains three points shy of tying his career high of 108, set last season.

 

Jordan Binnington improved to 14-3-0 in his past 17 starts.

 

The Blues host the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday.

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Former Clinton Standout Named Head Basketball Coach at Maroa-Forsyth

Former Clinton High School standout Aaron Ennis has been named head coach of the Maroa-Forsyth boys basketball program as announced by the school yesterday.

 

Ennis was a three-sport athlete at Clinton High School who played baseball at Millikin University in Decatur.

 

Since his graduation, Ennis has coached various sports at schools like Argenta-Oreana, Maroa-Forsyth, and most recently Tolono Unity.

 

In a statement from Maroa-Forsyth yesterday, quote - "Coach Ennis is an energetic coach with a passion for the game of basketball. We expect him to bring high expectations and challenge our student-athletes both on and off the court."

 

This story will be updated.

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Bulls Win; Pacers Lose Monday Night

Robin Lopez scored 24 points on 11-for-14 shooting to help the Chicago Bulls beat the Phoenix Suns 116-101 on Monday night, snapping a five-game losing streak.

 

Zach LaVine had 17 points, eight rebounds and seven assists, and Lauri Markkanen added 17 points and nine boards for Chicago. The Bulls shot 52 percent (46 for 89) from the field.

 

Deandre Ayton had 25 points and 12 rebounds, and Devin Booker also scored 25 for Phoenix, which has lost three of four after a 5-2 stretch.

 

The Suns played without one of their top scorers and main contributors to their recent run of improved basketball, as Kelly Oubre Jr. missed the game with a left thumb sprain. Guard Tyler Johnson did not play due to a sore knee, missing his third straight game, and forward T.J. Warren hasn't played since Jan. 22 due to an ankle injury. Backup center Richaun Holmes also sat out with a quadriceps strain, his second straight game missed.

 

Lopez hit four different angles of hook shots in the first quarter, helping the Bulls take a 34-20 lead into the second. Lopez scored 14 of his points with hook shots.

 

The Suns missed their first six 3-pointers, and after Cristiano Felicio's putback dunk and free throw, the Bulls took their largest lead of the game, 19 points, with 10:22 to play in the second quarter.

 

The Suns responded with an 11-2 run capped off by Troy Daniels' 3 with 7:03 to go, making it 41-31.

LaVine's layup and free throw put the Bulls up by 19 again, 54-35, with 4:12 left in the half.

 

The Suns cut it to 56-43 at halftime, with Booker making just 3 of 11 shots, including four misses from 3-point range.

 

Phoenix pulled to 56-48 early in the third, but Lopez scored the Bulls' next three baskets for a 66-52 lead with 6:57 to go. Chicago went ahead by 18 in the third and led 86-73 going into the fourth.

 

The Suns got the Bulls' lead down to nine early in the fourth, but couldn't get any closer. Antonio Blakeney dunked with 9:25 to play to give the Bulls a 91-77 lead.

 

Chicago improved to 5-7 in the second of back-to-back games.

 

The Bulls host Washington on Wednesday night.

 

>>Trailblazers Get By Pacers

 

Damian Lillard had 30 points and 15 assists as the Portland Trail Blazers beat the Indiana Pacers 106-98 on Monday night in their first game since McCollum injured his left knee.

Jusuf Nurkic added 18 points and 11 rebounds for the Blazers, who led by as many as 21. Portland has won four of five and is holding onto fourth place in the Western Conference.

 

Myles Turner had a season-high 28 points and 10 rebounds for the Pacers, who missed out on clinching a playoff spot in the East. Indiana (44-27) has lost six straight on the road.

 

The Blazers (43-27) have won 10 in a row against the Pacers in Portland.

 

Bojan Bogdanovic's layup pulled the Pacers to 100-91 with just under three minutes left, and Turner made free throws to get Indiana closer. The teams traded free throws down the stretch, but Portland was stung when Nurkic fouled out.

 

Wesley Matthews' layup closed the gap to 102-97, but Al-Farouq Aminu made free throws on the other end and Portland held on.

 

McCollum, averaging 21.3 points per game this season, got hurt during Saturday's loss at San Antonio. He has a popliteus strain and will be re-examined in a week, the team said. It isn't known whether he'll be back before the end of the regular season.

 

Turner scored 11 points in the opening six minutes and the Pacers led 19-12. They stretched the margin to 11, but Portland got to 31-28 by the end of the first quarter.

 

Lillard closed out the first half with a 3-pointer from nearly the pinwheel logo at center court, and the Blazers went to the locker room with a 55-48 lead. Lillard had 18 points and eight assists in the half. Turner also scored 18 to go with six rebounds.

 

After hitting just three 3-pointers in the first half, the Blazers made eight in the third quarter. Aminu had four of those and scored 14 points in the third quarter alone.

 

Domantas Sabonis received warm applause from the crowd when he entered. His dad, Arvydas, played for the Blazers from 1995-2001 and again during the 2002-03 season.

 

The Pacers visit the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday.

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Canucks Get By Blackhawks in Overtime

Bo Horvat scored 16 seconds into overtime, and the Canucks stopped Chicago's five-game win streak with a 3-2 victory over the Blackhawks on Monday night.

 

Horvat and Alexander Edler each had a goal and an assist for Vancouver, which was coming off a 3-2 shootout victory in Dallas on Sunday. Markus Granlund also scored, and Thatcher Demko made 29 saves in his third career win.

 

The Canucks (31-32-10) remain on the fringe of the playoff race in the jumbled bottom of the Western Conference, pulling within six points of Arizona for the second wild card.

 

Jonathan Toews and Erik Gustafsson scored for Chicago (32-30-10), and Corey Crawford made 31 stops. The Blackhawks pulled within four points of the Coyotes, who lost 4-1 to the Lightning.

 

The Blackhawks trailed 2-1 before Gustafsson's long slap shot went off Edler in front and past Demko with 3:13 left in regulation. But Horvat stepped up in overtime, finishing a give-and-go with Edler for his 25th of the season.

 

The Blackhawks host the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday night.

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Packers Re-Sign Veteran TE Lewis

The Green Bay Packers have re-signed veteran tight end Marcedes Lewis.

 

A 13-year veteran, Lewis played in all 16 games for the team last season, but had only three receptions for 39 yards. He was signed in 2018 to hep block in Green Bay's running game, but the Packers ranked 22nd in the league on the ground.

 

He had far more impact in his first 12 pro seasons with the Jaguars after being drafted in the first round in 2006.

 

Lewis, 34, played in 170 games with 157 starts for Jacksonville and had 4,502 career receiving yards and 33 touchdowns. He started five postseason games for Jacksonville, making 10 receptions for 111 yards and a TD.

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Clinton's Overton Makes Central Illinois Second Team All-Conference, Nelson Honorable Mention

Clinton senior basketball star Matthew Overton was named to the Central Illinois Conference second team all-conference last week.

 

Additionally, senior Ben Nelson was named an All-Conference honorable mention.

 

The CIC first team was highlighted by All-State selections Connor Heaton from Central A&M and Malcolm Miller from Shelbyville.

 

Heaton was named to Class 1A first team all-conference while Miller was a Class 2A all-state selection.

Heaton helped lead the Raiders to a state tournament appearance earlier this month. 

 

Along with Heaton, A&M's Griffin Andricks and Jacob Paradee were first-team selections. Andricks joined Miller, Heaton and Warrensburg-Latham's Jarius Ingram as unanimous first-team selections.

 

Meridian's Jacob Jones and Tuscola's Jalen Quinn were also first-team selections. Quinn was the lone underclassman to make the first team.

 

Caden Ellis from Sullivan, Austin Fitzpatrick and Christian Stoner from Decatur St. Teresa, Garret Meisenhelter from Meridian and Braydon Von Lanken were second-team selections.

 

Warrensburg-Latham's Tanner Dawson and Shelbyville's Braden Nichols were also honorable mentions.

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Clinton Otter's Swim Team Wins Small Team YMCA Swimming Championships

The Clinton Otters swim team took home the small team YMCA state title this past weekend among 42 teams from across the state at Lake Central High School in St. John, Indiana. 

 

27 swimmers qualified for the final meet of the year and Clinton won the 8 and under division, both boys and girls. 

 

As a team, the girls took home third place overall and the boys were first overall. 

 

The Otters also won the overall small team division over Belvedere and finished 15th out of 42 overall. 

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Bradley Draws Michigan State

The Missouri Valley Conference tournament champion Bradley Braves will take on second seeded Michigan State in the NCAA Tournament Thursday afternoon.

 

The Braves were the first team to receive an automatic bid after they went on an upset rampage in the MVC tournament in St. Louis last weekend, storming back to beat Northern Iowa in the title game Sunday afternoon.

 

Michigan State came back late to take down Michigan in the Big Ten Tournament title game yesterday afternoon in Chicago. Many thought the Spartans may have secured one of the top four seeds in the tournament with the win but Gonzaga was able to secure a top-seed despite losing in the Mountain West Conference tournament semis Friday.

 

Michigan State and Bradley will tip 15 minutes after the conclusion of the tournament's opener between Minnesota and Louisville in Des Moines, Iowa.

 

Duke was the overall no. 1 seed in the tournament after they won the ACC tournament. Virginia and North Carolina were the other two top-seeds, giving the ACC three top seeds in the NCAA tournament.

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Illinois Sweeps Southern Illinois

The Illinois baseball team scored a season-high 14 runs to beat Southern Illinois, 14-5, and finish the sweep Sunday at Illinois Field. Illinois (13-3) is off to its best 16-game start since 1989.

 

The sweep is Illinois' fourth in the first five weekends of 2019. The 13-3 record is tied for the 10th-best start in program history. 

 

Illinois won both games Saturday by a score of 5-4. 

 

Illinois had 18 hits Sunday, one away from a season high, including career highs in hits from Michael Massey (4), Ben Troike (4, tied), Andrew Dyke (3) and Grant Van Scoy (3). Troike added four RBIs and three runs and Dyke and Van Scoy also scored three times. Branden Comia and Kellen Sarver both had their first career three-RBI days with all of Sarver's coming on a three-run home run to give Illinois the lead in the third inning.

 

After Sarver's three-run homer in the third, Illinois scored four in the fourth, three in the fifth and four more in the sixth. All 14 of Illinois' runs came during the four-inning stretch.

 

Illinois starting pitcher Cyrillo Watson's solid start was overshadowed by the bats, as Watson went six innings and allowed only two earned runs on four hits. Watson left with a 10-run lead before Josh Harris (1.0 IP, 0 H), Caleb Larson (1.0 IP, 0 H) and Ryan Schmitt (1.0 IP, 1 R) finished the final three frames. 

 

Illinois' pitching staff finished the series with a 2.00 ERA and .208 batting average against. The hitters slashed .352/.405/.495 in three games, including Grant Van Scoy's .700 series average (7-10) and marks of .545 from Ben Troike (6-11) and .417 from Michael Massey (5-12). 

 

Illinois takes its six-game winning streak to Saint Louis University for a two-game series Tuesday-Wednesday. 

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Illinois State Drops Sunday Finale to Central Michigan

The Illinois State Redbirds lost in the series finale to Central Michigan 11-2 on Sunday afternoon at Duffy Bass Field. 

 

The Chippewas scored seven runs in the third inning, including a grand slam, to go ahead early in the game, as they would hang on to win.

 

Jordan Libman led the Redbirds offense, going 3-for-4 with two runs scored. Joe Butler and Tyson Hays went 0-for-3 with RBIs.

 

The Redbirds used six pitchers in the defeat. Starter Matt Walker took the loss, lasting just 2 1/3 innings, allowing seven runs, six earned, on five with, a walk and struck out two. 

 

The Redbirds are 12-6 on the year after winning the both Saturday games 7-2 and 5-4. The scheduled game for Friday was canceled. 

 

Illinois State will take on the UIC Flames on Tuesday at Duffy Bass Field. First pitch for the game is slated for 5 p.m. 

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Kings Blast Bulls

Marvin Bagley had 21 points and nine rebounds, Harry Giles added 16 points and the Kings beat the Chicago Bulls 129-102 on Sunday.

 

Bagley scored 14 points in the second half to help the Kings pull away, made a handful of big plays including a coast-to-coast layup after blocking a shot by Robin Lopez, and finished one rebound shy of his 14th double-double this season.

 

Giles complemented Bagley on the interior, and took a pass from his rookie teammate and dunked to put Sacramento up 88-61 in the third quarter. Giles also tied his career high with three blocks.

 

The Kings needed it as they continue to maintain slim hopes of ending the NBA's longest active playoff drought. Sacramento, 4-8 since the All-Star break, began the day six games behind the Clippers for the eighth spot in the crowded Western Conference.

 

Buddy Hield added 16 points and inched closer to the Kings' single-season record for 3-pointers, Harrison Barnes scored 15 points and De'Aaron Fox had 17 to help Sacramento complete a second straight season sweep of Chicago.

 

Zach LaVine had 18 points for the struggling Bulls (19-52). Chicago has lost five straight.

 

Hield made two 3s and has 231 this season. He needs 10 more to break Peja Stojakovic's single-season Kings record set in 2003-04. Stojakovic is currently Sacramento's assistant general manager.

 

The Kings trailed early but got a buzzer-beating 3-pointer from Bogdan Bogdanovic to end the first quarter, then opened the second with a 20-4 run.

 

Hield had 10 points during the surge, Bagley split a pair of defenders on a three-point play, and Harrison Barnes added a breakaway dunk to put Sacramento ahead 44-27.

 

Things got chippy when Lopez and Giles picked up offsetting technical fouls with 1 second left in the first half.

 

Lauri Markkanen had 11 points and has scored in double figures for the 29th consecutive game, the longest streak by a Chicago player in eight years.

 

The Bulls are at Phoenix on Monday.

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Sabres Outlast Blues in Shootout

Sam Reinhart scored the deciding goal to lead the Sabres to a 4-3 win over the St. Louis Blues on Sunday. It came moments after his backhand chance struck the post with less than a second remaining in overtime.

 

It resulted in Buffalo's first win since March 1, and Buffalo's third win in its past 16 games.

Johan Larsson, Evan Rodrigues and Conor Sheary scored in regulation for the Sabres. Carter Hutton made 30 saves.

 

After Jack Eichel and Tyler Bozak traded goals to open the shootout, Reinhart scored on Buffalo's final attempt. Reinhart's wrist shot had just enough to get past St. Louis goalie Jake Allen, who got a piece of the shot with his glove.

 

Former Sabres center Ryan O'Reilly then had a chance to extend the shootout, but his backhand chance hit the crossbar.

 

Pat Maroon, David Perron and Brayden Schenn scored for the Blues, who remain in the thick of the Western Conference playoff race with 82 points (37-27-8). Allen made 31 saves.

 

It marked the end of an ultimately disappointing road trip for St. Louis. On Saturday, the Blues dominated the surging Pittsburgh Penguins with a 5-1 win - but that was surrounded by defeats to struggling teams like Ottawa and Buffalo.

 

The Blues return home against Edmonton on Tuesday.

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McIlroy Grinds Out Win at The PLAYERS

Rory McIlroy shot a tough 70-70 on the weekend and closed out Sunday's round with five birdies in his last 10 holes to shoot 16-under 272 on the week and clip Jim Furyk by a single stroke. With the chips down late, McIlroy went to his greatest weapon and put his name ... err face on the Players Championship trophy.

 

Following a ridiculous birdie from a tough spot in a fairway bunker on the par-4 15th to get to 15 under for the week, McIlroy unsheathed the driver on the par-5 16th and hit his tee shot 347 yards.

 

From there, it was a pretty simple birdie, even though he was a little bit off the fairway because he only had 174 yards to the stick. He walked to No. 17 at 16 under and up one on Furyk. A par at the always nervy island green led McIlroy to the 18th. With Jon Rahm and Tommy Fleetwood collapsing on themselves behind him, he knew he likely only needed par to win.

 

With some questioning whether he should again pull driver on the watery par-4 closing hole, McIlroy uncorked a missile straight down the middle. From there it was par and his first tournament win since last year's Arnold Palmer Invitational.

 

McIlroy joins Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus with four majors and 15 PGA Tour wins before age 30.

Furyk's final shot on No. 18 should go in a museum, and if not for a missed 3-footer earlier in the day, it would have gotten him into a playoff. 

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Lincoln's Froebe, Hamlin All-State Honorable Mention in 3A

Lincoln senior big man Jermaine Hamlin and junior guard Kaden Froebe have been named to the Class 3A All-State Honorable Mention as announced by the Associated Press Thursday.

 

The duo helped the Railers win a Regional title this year, they lost to Springfield Southeast in a Sectional final in Springfield. Southeast is playing for a chance at a state title today (Friday) in Peoria.

 

Southeast was led this season by first-team all-state Terrion Murdix, a 6-foot-3 senior.

 

Other first-team all-state were:

 

Terrance Hargrove, East St. Louis (6-7, Sr., F)
Adam Miller, Chicago Morgan Park (6-4, Jr., G)
Rashaun Agee, Chicago Bogan (6-8, Sr., C)
Perry Cowan, Chicago DePaul Prep (6-4, Sr., G)

 

Class 3A second team all-state:

 

Isaiah Rivera, Geneseo (6-5, Jr., SF)
Jeremiah Hernandez, Arlington Heights St. Viator (6-4, Sr., G)
Patrick Mayfield, Burlington Central (6-5, Sr., G)
Zach Toussaint, Johnsburg (6-0, Sr., G) 
Landon Wolfe, Effingham (6-5, Sr., F) 

 

Other honorable mention all-state:

 

Nate Torres, Normal U-High (6-4, Sr., F)
Khailieo Terry, Champaign Central (6-3, Soph., G)
Rolando “Pee Wee” Brown, Peoria Manual (6-2, Jr., G)
Cortez Mosley, Peoria Richwoods (6-5, Sr., F)
Connor Dillon, Peoria Notre Dame (6-2, Jr., G)
Nick Broeker, Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin (6-5, Sr., F)
Barik Olden, Morton (6-6, Sr., G)

 

In Class 4A, C.J. Wilbourn, Normal Community (6-7, Sr., F) made All-State honorable mention along with Caleb Donaldson, Bloomington (6-5, Sr., G). 

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Illinois Ends Season With Loss to Iowa At Big Ten Tournament

Nicholas Baer made a career-high five of Iowa’s 12 3-pointers and scored 17 points, helping the Hawkeyes pull away from Illinois for an 83-62 victory on Thursday in the second round of the Big Ten Tournament.

 

The Hawkeyes went 12 for 23 from beyond the arc and turned 15 Illini turnovers into 24 points.

 

The Fighting Illini (12-21) used a 9-0 run to trim the Hawkeyes’ lead to 30-29 with 4:38 left in the first half, but they gradually fell off the pace from there.

 

Iowa grabbed control by ripping off 23 of 28 points during the decisive stretch in the second half. Baer made three of the Hawkeyes’ six 3s during the run, and Luka Garza connected from long range to make it 71-47 with 7:48 left.

 

While Baer took aim from long range, Tyler Cook had the biggest highlight of the game when he reached back to slam home Jordan Bohannon’s perfectly placed pass on an inbounds play early in the second half.

 

Wieskamp scored 13 points for Iowa, and Cook finished with 12. Connor McCaffery had eight of the Hawkeyes’ 25 assists on 31 baskets.

 

The Illini shot 52 percent from the field and placed four players in double figures, but couldn’t keep up defensively. Trent Frazier and Tevian Jones each scored 11 points, and Ayo Dosunmu finished with 10.

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Pacers Edge Thunder

Wesley Matthews tipped in a basket with 1.8 seconds left and Indiana rallied from a 19-point deficit to beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 108-106. Damontas Sabonis added 26 points against this former team.

 

Paul George shrugged off resounding boos to score 36 points, and Russell Westbrook, who added his 27th triple-double of the season but missed a 3-pointer from beyond the top of the key as the buzzer sounded.

 

Westbrook finished with 19 points, 14 rebounds and 11 assists. 

 

George turned the ball over twice, slipped as the Pacers started their final possession and got knocked to the floor on a pick - giving Indiana the one-man advantage that allowed Matthews to free himself for the putback on Bojan Bogdanovic's errant 16-footer.

 

Matthews finished with 16 points and seven rebounds to help Indiana cut its magic number for clinching a playoff spot to one.

 

The Pacers' second straight win also kept them in third place in the Eastern Conference while the Thunder slipped into a tie for fifth in the West.

 

 Steven Adams had 17 points and eight rebounds.

 

Darren Collison had 17 points, six rebounds and seven assists.

 

Bogdanovic scored 23 points.

 

The Pacers begin a crucial four-game road trip at Denver on Saturday.

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Senators Blank Blues

Anders Nilsson stopped 34 shots for his second shutout of the season as the Senators beat the Blues 2-0 on Thursday night. Christian Wolanin and Chris Tierney scored to help Ottawa snap a three-game losing streak. The shutout was Nilsson's sixth of his career.

 

Defenseman Erik Brannstrom and forward Max Veronneau made their NHL debuts for the rebuilding Senators.

 

Jake Allen made 19 saves in the loss for the Blues.

 

The Senators opened the scoring with 6:33 left in the second when Wolanin took a cross-ice pass from Mikkel Boedker. Wolanin had an empty net to shoot at as Allen and the rest of the Blues were focusing on Boedker.

 

Tierney scored into an empty net with 57 seconds to play.

 

The Blues at Pittsburgh on Saturday.

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Fleetwood, Bradley Lead At PLAYERS, Rory, DJ, Tiger All Near Top

Day 1 of the 2019 Players Championship was as entertaining as ever even with the move from May back to March. Tommy Fleetwood and Keegan Bradley lead, but the leaderboard is absolutely loaded with big names and great players. 

 

The Englishman finished second in the field from tee to green and putted well enough to notch seven birdies. Through his first nine holes on the easier side of the course (the back nine), Fleetwood was a pedestrian 1 under. Then he played the front nine of the course in 30 while the field average was over 36. A spectacular close. Bradley was the opposite. He played the back nine of the course in 31 and the front in 34. Together, they shot a best ball 60.

 

Same old story for McIlroy this season. Elite ball-striking, average to above-average putting, top of leaderboards. Maybe the most notable part of McIlroy's day was a bad break he got on his 18th hole (ninth on the course), where his approach hole high hit a drainage top and caromed beyond the green. He couldn't get up and down for birdie. 

 

Several of the T10s are intriguing as well. That -3 number includes former winners Sergio Garcia and Matt Kuchar as well as Dustin Johnson, Ian Poulter, Patrick Reed, Brandt Snedeker, Tony Finau, Jon Rahm and Haotong Li. With Nos. 1 and 2 playing as two of the easiest holes on the course, any of these guys could leapfrog the ones ahead of them early in the day on Friday.

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Illinois rallies late to beat Northwestern 74-69 in OT

Giorgi Bezhanishvili scored 26 points, Trent Frazier added 21, including the go-ahead 3-pointer late, and Illinois rallied for a 74-69 overtime victory against Northwestern on Wednesday night in the opening round of the Big Ten Tournament.

 

Andres Feliz had 11 points and a career-high 10 rebounds as Illinois (12-20) won for just the second time in seven games.

 

A.J. Turner scored 20 points and Dererk Pardon added 17 for Northwestern (13-19), which has dropped 12 of 13.

 

The Wildcats were playing without leading-scorer Vic Law, who sat out with a right knee injury.

Law was injured in the regular-season finale against Purdue. He banged his knee against the shin of Purdue’s Carsen Edwards and had to be helped off the court. He sat on the bench on Wednesday but was not in uniform.

 

After Northwestern’s Aaron Falzon scored five quick points in overtime to give the Wildcats a 66-63 lead, Illinois scored eight straight to turn around the back-and-forth battle for the final time.

 

Frazier made a 3-pointer for a 68-66 lead with just under three minutes to go and Ayo Dosunmu hit another 3 on the next possession for a 71-66 advantage.

 

Northwestern settled down on offense after a rough start as Illinois took a 30-27 halftime lead.

The Wildcats then made their first five shots to start the second half and took their first lead of the game, 35-34, on a 3-pointer by Turner.

 

Northwestern took its biggest lead of the game, 48-43, with just under 12 minutes to play before the Fighting Illini ran off five straight points, tying it on a Frazier 3-pointer with 10 minutes remaining.

 

After a Wildcats free throw, Bezhanishvili scored inside to put Illinois on top, 50-49, with nine minutes to go.

 

Northwestern was able to survive a 1-for-10 shooting stretch in the middle of the second half and took a 59-58 lead with 1:28 left on 1 of 2 free throws. Frazier answered with a 3-point play with 35 seconds to go, but Turner was fouled by Bezhanishvili (his fifth) with 17.1 seconds left. Turner made both to tie the score at 61 and force OT.

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Perlini, Blackhawks hold on for 5-4 win over Maple Leafs

Brendan Perlini had a goal and two assists, and the Blackhawks held off a furious Toronto comeback to beat the Maple Leafs 5-4 on Wednesday night.

 

Brandon Saad had a goal and an assist, and Duncan Keith, Dominik Kahun and Alex DeBrincat also scored as Chicago jumped out to a 5-0 lead before holding on. Dylan Strome added two assists for the Blackhawks, who have won four straight and crept within four points of the Arizona Coyotes for the second wild card in the Western Conference.

 

Chicago led 5-1 after two periods but then gave up 29 shots in the third.

 

Corey Crawford stopped 17 of 18 shots through two periods before leaving the game due to illness. Colin Delia had 26 saves during the onslaught in the third.

 

Before their current win streak, the Blackhawks had lost four of five. However, the trend has been positive lately in a streaky campaign as they won for 15th time in 21 games.

 

Auston Matthews, Morgan Rielly, and Andreas Johnsson each had a goal and an assist for Toronto, and John Tavares also scored. William Nylander and Mitch Marner each had two assists. Frederik Andersen gave up four goals on 14 shots in the first before he was replaced by Garret Sparks, who finished with 24 saves.

 

The Maple Leafs were coming off a 6-2 home loss to Tampa Bay on Monday after a three-game trip to western Canada, and followed it up with a sloppy, uninspired performance through two periods.

Chicago dominated from the opening faceoff and went ahead 1-0 at 3:19 of the first period when Keith's shot that was deflected by Nylander, rattled around between Andersen's pads and slid over the goal line.

 

The Blackhawks went up by two with 7:05 left when Perlini cut into the middle and whipped a knuckling puck against the grain on Andersen for his 12th of the season and fifth in the last four games.

 

Tavares lost the puck at the offensive blue line, leading to a 2-on-1 break the other way that saw Patrick Kane feed Kahun for his 12th with 2:47 remaining.

 

Saad was left all alone in front to tuck his 23rd with 1:14 left in the period as four Toronto players were caught puck-watching.

 

Andersen was replaced by Sparks to start the second, marking the first time in his career he's been pulled in consecutive games.

 

Chicago made it 5-0 with 7 1/2 minutes remaining in the middle period when DeBrincat roofed a shot past Sparks for his 38th.

 

Toronto finally got on the board with 1:33 left in the second when Rielly had his shot deflected in by Johnsson for his 20th.

 

Matthews pulled the Maple Leafs to 5-2 at 7:57 of the third with his 32nd. Rielly's shot on the power play got through traffic and beat Delia with just over 9 minutes remaining, and Tavares stuffed his career-high 39th with 1:31 left.
 

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IHSA Boys Basketball Super-Sectional Scores

Class 3A

 

At DeKalb NIU

 

Glenbard South 52

Peoria Manual 69

 

At Joliet Central

 

Chicago Bogan 68

Normal U-High 53

 

At Springfield Bank of Springfield Center

 

East St. Louis 56

Springfield Southeast 52

 

Class 4A

 

At Northwestern

 

Chicago Simeon 54

Chicago Curie 56

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Lakers Down Bulls

LeBron James had 36 points and 10 rebounds, and the Los Angeles Lakers overcame a 20-point deficit to beat the Chicago Bulls 123-107 on Tuesday night and end a five-game losing streak.

 

Kyle Kuzma added 21 points after missing two games with an ankle injury. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored 24 points off the bench for the Lakers, who outscored the Bulls 43-24 in the third quarter.

 

Robin Lopez had 20 points and seven rebounds, and Otto Porter Jr. finished with 19 for the Bulls.

 

The Bulls led 60-55 at the half. Ryan Arcidiacono and Lopez led Chicago with 12 apiece. James finished with 16 points and seven rebounds in the half and Caldwell-Pope added 11 points.

 

James continued the momentum in the third quarter. He scored the first six points for Los Angeles, including a breakaway reverse dunk from Kuzma. The Lakers took a 66-64 lead when James found Kuzma for a layup with 8:49 in the third quarter. Kuzma, who scored 12 points in the period, made a 3 to ignite a 16-0 run late in the quarter. Rajon Rondo buried a 3 to give the Lakers a 98-84 lead going to the fourth.

 

Lauri Markkanen struggled again with his shot. He was 4 of 17 for 11 points.

 

The Bulls visit the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday.

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Pacers Down Knicks

Bojan Bogdanovic started making shots. Thaddeus Young did the dirty work inside. And Darren Collison saved the game in the final minute.

 

Together, they helped Indiana overcome an inexplicably sluggish start and an equally confounding final seven minutes to hold off reeling New York for a 103-98 victory that kept them tied with Philadelphia for the No. 3 spot in the Eastern Conference.

 

Bogdanovic led Indiana with 24 points. Young finished with 10 points, six rebounds four assists and three steals.

 

Collison, meanwhile, bailed them out by making a 16-footer with 24.2 seconds left to give the Pacers a 101-95 lead and again when New York nearly stole the inbound pass after Emmanuel Mudiay's 3-pointer cut the deficit to three.

 

Instead, Collison retrieved the ball, drew the foul and made two free throws to seal the win and snap a two-game losing streak. Collison finished with 16 points and nine rebounds.

 

Mudiay led the Knicks with 21 points and Damyean Dotson scored 18 - not quite enough to snap a losing streak that is now at seven. The Knicks also have lost six straight to Indiana.

 

After New York took a 47-37 lead midway through the second quarter, Indiana charged back to make it 55-52 at halftime then opened the third quarter with three straight 3s to for a 12-point advantage.

 

Indiana extended the lead to 97-81 on Turner's layup with 7:14 to go, but the Knicks only allowed two baskets the rest of the game - and still lost.

 

DeAndre Jordan had 12 points and 16 rebounds, his 12th double-double since joining the team. Kevin Knox had 16 points.

 

Wesley Matthews scored 14 points against the team that released him following last month's trade with Dallas. Turner had 15 points and nine rebounds. 

 

The Pacers turned the game by going 6 of 9 on 3s in the third quarter.

 

The Pacers welcome Paul George back to town with Oklahoma City on Thursday.

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Coyotes Down Blues

Darcy Kuemper made 39 saves, Richard Panik and Vinnie Hinostroza scored, and the Coyotes beat the St. Louis Blues 3-1 on Tuesday.

 

Kuemper was back on his game one night after he allowed four goals on 16 shots before he was pulled during the second period of the Coyotes' 7-1 loss to the Blackhawks. He has won 10 of his last 12 starts to improve to 23-16-5 this season.

 

The Coyotes have won 12 of 16 to move one point ahead of Minnesota for the final Western Conference wild card.

 

Jaden Schwartz scored for St. Louis, and Jordan Binnington stopped 19 shots.

 

Schwartz scored a power-play goal with 1:11 left to give St. Louis a chance. Schwartz's seventh goal of the season snapped a streak of eight consecutive games without registering a point, and marked the 300th point of his career.

 

Arizona put it away when Ekman-Larsson added an empty-net goal with 22 seconds remaining.

 

The Blues are at Ottawa to start a three-game road trip Thursday.

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Packers Splurge in Free Agency; OBJ To Browns, RB Bell to Jets

After missing the playoffs in back-to-back years, the Green Bay Packers are spending big in free agency to try to get back the postseason.

 

The Packers agreed to $183 million worth of contracts Tuesday with edge rusher Za'Darius Smith, linebacker Preston Smith, safety Adrian Amos and offensive lineman Billy Turner. The signings should improve a defense that ranked 18th in the NFL in 2018 and add some more protection for quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

 

Za'Darius Smith is getting the biggest deal: $66 million over four years with $34.5 million in the first two years, according to his agency, SportsTrust Advisors. Smith, 26, led the Baltimore Ravens with 8½ sacks last season — including three in one game against Tennessee — and has 18½ in his 58-game career.

 

Smith is one of four defenders the Ravens have already lost in free agency, along with linebackers C.J. Mosley (Jets) and Terrell Suggs (Cardinals) and safety Eric Weddle (Rams).

 

>>Giants Trade OBJ To Browns, Jets Sign RB Bell

 

The rumors can end because a trade is happening: Odell Beckham Jr. has been traded from the Giants to the Browns. 

 

According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, the trade involves the Browns sending their first-round pick in 2019 (No. 17 overall), one of the Browns third-round picks this year (their second one) as well as safety Jabrill Peppers. 

 

Baker Mayfield, who should have been the 2018 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, will be throwing to Beckham, Jarvis Landry (OBJ's teammate at LSU), Antonio Callaway and David Njoku. 

 

Le'Veon Bell dropped an album on Spotify at midnight, it contained no clues and then he signed with the Jets, per CBS Sports NFL insider Jason La Canfora.

 

The news was first reported by Adam Schefter of ESPN, who also reported the details of the contract: four years, $52.5 million with $35 million guaranteed and the possibility to go up as high as $61 million with incentives.

 

Bell sat out all of 2018 after the Steelers franchise tagged him for a second time, thinking he would hit free agency and make a pile of money, including making up for the $14 million he lost out on by not playing on the tag last year. Instead, as La Canfora noted, his market was soft. 

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Lincoln's Hamlin, Froebe Make Apollo Conference All Conference First Team

Lincoln Senior Jermaine Hamlin and junior Kaden Froebe have been named to the Apollo Conference's All-Conference First team as announced Monday.

 

The duo helped lead the Railers to a Regional championship at Clinton High School and helped them reach a Sectional final last Friday where they were defeated by Springfield Southeast. 

 

Mahomet-Seymour's Grant Coleman was also named a first team all-conference. Additionally, Taylorville's Jase Bergschneider and Effingham's Landon Wolfe were also first-team all-conference.

 

Class 3A Super-Sectional action tonight...

 

At DeKalb NIU

 

Glenbard South 6:00pm

Peoria Manual

 

At Joliet Central

 

Chicago Bogan 7:00pm

Normal U-High

 

At Springfield Bank of Springfield Center

 

East St. Loui 7:00pm

Springfield Southeast

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Dosunmu, Frazier Among Illini To Get Post-Season Honors

The Big Ten All-Conference teams and individual award winners were announced Monday. Illinois freshman guard Ayo Dosunmu was named to the All-Freshman Team along with honorable mention All-Big Ten honors from both the coaches and media, while sophomore guard Trent Frazier was an honorable mention All-Big Ten selection by the media. 

 

Additionally, senior guard Aaron Jordan was recognized by the conference office as Illinois' Big Ten Sportsmanship Award honoree.

 

Dosunmo is a two-time Big Ten Freshman of the Week and leads the team in scoring at 14.1 ppg (16th in Big Ten, 3rd among B1G freshmen) and assists at 3.1 apg (10th in B1G).

 

Frazier is second on team scoring at 13.6 ppg.

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Illinois OF Jack Yalowitz Named Big Ten Player of the Week

Illinois senior Jack Yalowitz was named Big Ten Player of the Week, the conference office announced Monday. 

 

Yalowitz led Illinois with seven hits, two homers and six RBIs in a sweep at Grand Canyon last weekend. He slugged 1.167 for the weekend and batted .583 to jump his season batting average to. 354. 

 

Yalowitz had a huge night Friday, going 4-for-4 with two homers and five RBIs to help the Illini hand GCU its first Friday loss of the season (previous wins vs. Wichita State, TCU and USC). After tying career highs in hits (4), homers (2) and RBIs (5), Yalowitz stayed hot through the weekend with three more hits, two runs and an RBI over the final two games. Illinois completed the sweep for the third time in the first four weekends. 

 

It is Yalowitz's first career Big Ten Player of the Week honor.

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Bears Re-Up With TE Braunecker

The Chicago Bears have re-signed tight end Ben Braunecker to a two-year contract.

 

The 6-foot-4 Braunecker made three starts for the Bears last season, including the playoff loss to Philadelphia, and appeared in 16 games in all. In three seasons, he has seven catches for 83 yards.

 

He has 11 tackles on special teams.

 

The undrafted free agent out of Harvard joined the Bears in 2016. Terms were not disclosed in Monday's announcement.

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Perlini's Big Night Leads Blackhawks Past Coyotes

Brendan Perlini scored three goals against his former team, and Chicago ripped the Arizona Coyotes 7-1 on Monday night for its third straight win.

 

Patrick Kane fired in his 41st goal as Chicago moved within five points of the second wild card in the Western Conference. Jonathan Toews, Brandon Saad and Chris Kunitz also scored, and Corey Crawford made 24 saves.

 

Perlini has six goals in his last five games and 11 for the season. He has clicked on a line with Dylan Strome, who joined him in a trade from Arizona on Nov. 25, 2018, for center Nick Schmaltz.

 

Perlini missed on a couple more prime chances before barely tapping in a sliding puck for his third goal with 3.6 seconds left.

 

Arizona had won eight of nine to surge back into the playoff picture. Richard Panik scored against his former team early in the first period, but the Blackhawks took charge midway through the opening frame.

 

Toews converted a penalty shot in the second period to reach 30 goals for the first time since the 2010-11 season and third time overall.

 

Arizona's Darcy Kuemper made his 10th straight start, but was replaced by Calvin Pickard after giving up four goals on 16 shots. Pickard blocked 15 of 18 shots.

 

The Blackhawks are at Toronto on Wednesday night.

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Gonzaga Tops Final CBB Polls

The final AP Top 25 of the regular season has Gonzaga holding on at No. 1, while Virginia is again No. 2 and North Carolina checks in right behind. Rounding out the top five is No. 4 Kentucky and No. 5 Duke, which fends off Michigan State and Texas Tech, both of which -- unlike Duke -- finished atop their regular-season standings in their respective conferences. 

 

The biggest jump in this week's poll is Auburn, which comes in at No. 22 after being unranked a week ago. Marquette has dropped four straight games but have still managed to stay in the Top 25; the Golden Eagles are 23rd and slip seven spots this week. Kansas and Cincinnati, both of which fell four spots, are behind Marquette in terms of most spots dropped. 

 

Gonzaga is once again the No. 1 team in America in the updated USA Today Coaches Poll Top 25, which was released on Monday. The Zags held their spot for a third consecutive week. 

 

Trailing at Nos. 2 and 3 this week are Virginia and North Carolina, which held steady from a week ago. Rounding out the top five is Kentucky, which moved up two spots to No. 4 with wins over Ole Miss and Florida, and Duke, which dropped one spot to No. 5 after going 1-1 with a loss to UNC this past week.

Gonzaga received 28 of a possible 32 first-place votes, while Virginia received the remaining four.

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Tiger Returning To Action At The Players This Weekend

Tiger Woods is good to go. The Players Championship is days away. Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson and Rickie Fowler are all cruising into the biggest event of the year so far. All is well in the golf world (until the first rules blunder at TPC Sawgrass).

 

The groups for the first two days are about what you would think for an event that includes 50 of the top 50 in the Official World Golf Rankings. Woods gets 2018 Players winner Webb Simpson and 2018 Masters champ Patrick Reed in his group on Thursday and Friday. It's a (nice) reprieve from last year's pairing with Phil Mickelson in the first two rounds.

 

That's not the only monster group either. Rory McIlroy and Matt Kuchar will play with Mickelson in Rounds 1 and 2. Justin Rose and Justin Thomas get Xander Schauffele as a third. Dustin Johnson, Jon Rahm and Sergio Garcia are together. And Rickie Fowler, Brooks Koepka and Jordan Spieth round out the biggest boy groups.

 

Thursday and Friday will be jam-packed with all sorts of coverage, too, much of it revolving around Woods and his first tournament since finishing T10 at the WGC-Mexico Championship at the end of February. Big Cat skipped the Arnold Palmer Invitational last week with a strained neck but says he's ready to roll at TPC Sawgrass where he finished T11 in 2018.

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Monticello Boys Baseball Season Opens Today

The Monticello Sages boys baseball team opens their 2019 season today when they head to LeRoy to take on the Panthers for a 4:30 first pitch.

 

The Sages finished their 2018 season with a 25-5 record and a loss in a regional final to St. Joseph-Ogden with a 10-7 loss. 

 

While losing a large chunk of an explosive offense last year, the Sages return seniors Asher Bradd, a commit of DII University of Illinois-Springfileld, and Alek Bundy, who will be the anchors of this year's offense atop their lineup.

 

Sages head coach Chris Jones returns for his tenth season at the helm of the program with an overall record of 158-94.

 

Game time today from LeRoy is 4:30 pm and can be heard on 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com.

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Bradley Wins Missouri Valley Conference Championship, On To NCAA Tournament

A huge rally by Bradley resulted in quite a reward - its first trip to the NCAA Tournament since 2006.

Down by 18 points with 17 minutes left, Elijah Childs and the Braves surged past Northern Iowa 57-54 Sunday in the Missouri Valley Conference championship game.

 

Childs scored 16 points and Dwayne Lautier-Ogunleye added 13 for fifth-seeded Bradley (20-14).

The Braves advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the ninth time overall - in their last appearance, as a 13th seed, they beat Kansas and Pittsburgh before losing to Memphis.

 

Bradley trailed 35-17 before breaking loose. The Braves used a 12-0 run to get close.

 

Luqman Lundy had 11 points and eight rebounds as Bradley won the MVC Tournament title for the first time since 1988.

 

AJ Green led sixth-seeded Northern Iowa (16-18) with 23 points.

 

The Panthers took a 48-41 lead on Green's jumper with just over six minutes left. Bradley closed the game on a 16-6 run over the final 5:58.

 

Childs started the comeback with a short jumper. Lautier-Ogunleye brought the Braves to within 49-48 with a 3-pointer. He then put his team in front to stay with four successive free throws after a dead ball foul against Luke McDonnell led to a four-point play.

 

Northern Iowa had a chance to go in front, but Green missed a jumper with five seconds left. Lautier-Ogunleye made two foul shots three seconds later.

 

Bradley claimed its third MVC crown to go with titles in 1980 and 1988. The Braves hit the 20-win mark for the 27th time in school history and second in a row.

 

Northern Iowa was well on the way to its ninth NCAA Tournament appearance when it took a 38-28 lead midway through the final half.

 

Bradley is headed to the NCAA Tournament after winning nine of their last 11 games.

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Penn State Rolls Illinois

Josh Reaves scored a career-high 26 points and grabbed 11 rebounds to lead Penn State over Illinois 72-56 in the regular-season finale for both teams.

 

The win guaranteed Penn State (14-17, 7-13) a first-round bye in the Big Ten Tournament and cemented Reaves’ legacy as one of the most versatile players to ever step on the Bryce Jordan Center hardwood.

 

Reaves made 10 of 17 field-goal attempts including a career-best 6 of 10 from 3-point range to lead the Nittany Lions in a game they led for all but 3:23 of the second half. He added four steals, two assists and a block which moved him into the program’s top 10 in the latter category. He needs six steals to become Penn State’s all-time leader.

 

Lamar Stevens added 16 points for the Nittany Lions, who won their second in a row.

 

Ayo Dosunmo and Giorgi Bezhanishvili scored 16 points apiece for Illinois (11-20, 7-13).

 

Penn State trailed 32-31 at halftime but Reaves made sure that didn’t stick. He scored 11 of Penn State’s first 16 points in the second and his fourth 3-pointer gave Penn State a lead it wouldn’t relinquish just over three minutes into the half.

 

The Nittany Lions pulled away to lead by as many as 14.

 

After both teams traded baskets in the opening minutes of the game, Illinois used a 14-7 run and led 19-12 midway through the half. The Nittany Lions had gone 1 for 12 from 3-point range to that point but got three in a row from Reaves and Rasir Bolton before a 3-point play from Stevens put Penn State up 26-25.

 

The Illini ended the first half with an 8-5 run that included a pair of 3-pointers from Dosunmo.

The Illini lost five of six to end the regular season and will play in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament. They entered with a chance to be seeded as high as eighth had they beaten Penn State and gotten some help.

 

Both teams will play in the Big Ten Tournament in Chicago, which begins on Wednesday. Illinois opens with Northwestern with an 8 pm tip. 

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Bulls, Pacers Lose Sunday

>>Pistons Top Bulls

 

Playing at noon on the day after daylight saving time went into effect, the Pistons scored 42 third-quarter points en route to a 131-107 rout of the Chicago Bulls and their fifth straight win.

 

Detroit finished the quarter with a 103-80 lead, good enough to let coach Dwane Casey rest Blake Griffin, Andre Drummond and Reggie Jackson rest for the entire fourth quarter.

 

Detroit has won 12 of 14 to take a half-game lead over the Nets for the sixth seed in th e Eastern Conference.

 

Griffin (17 points), Drummond (nine) and Jackson (eight) combined for 34 of Detroit's 42 points in the third. The Pistons outscored the Bulls by 17 points, hitting 57.7 percent of their shots including 6 of 12 on 3-pointers.

 

Jackson scored 21 points for Detroit and Andre Drummond added 16 points and 15 rebounds. Drummond has recorded double-doubles in 18 straight games, matching his career high and one short of Bob Lanier's franchise record.

 

The Bulls have lost four of five, including twice to Detroit in three days.

 

Chicago played without Zach LaVine, who missed the game with a right patellar tendon strain. Wayne Selden led the Bulls with 18 points while Otto Porter Jr. and Lauri Markkanen scored 17 each.

 

The Pistons hit 10 of 16 first-half 3-pointers (62.5 percent) to take a 61-55 lead. Jackson, who had missed pregame warmups to get treatment on an injured thumb had 13 points in the half, while Porter had 12.

 

Detroit started the second half with an 11-2 run, including seven points from Griffin, to move the lead to 15 points. Chicago never seriously threatened to get back into the game.

 

Langston Galloway finished with 21 points, hitting all six of his 3-point attempts. Galloway has hit 12 straight 3s over Detroit's last three games, one short of the franchise record held by Terry Mills.

 

The Bulls host the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday.

 

>>Sixers Pound Pacers

 

Joel Embiid had 33 points and 12 rebounds in his first game in nearly a month, leading Philadelphia past the Indiana Pacers 106-89 in a pivotal Eastern Conference matchup on Sunday.

Embiid returned to the lineup after being sidelined by a sore left knee. The Sixers were just 4-4 in his absence, including a blowout loss Friday at Houston that only exacerbated the problem.

 

With Embiid back, the Sixers (42-25) moved into a tie with Indiana for third in the East, and they hold the tiebreaker over the Pacers by virtue of their 3-1 record in the season series.

 

The Sixers are 26-9 at home and want that edge in the playoffs.

 

The Pacers missed 17 of 20 shots in the third and scored only 11 points while falling behind 72-70 after holding a 14-point lead. The Pacers went the final 6:55 of the third without scoring a basket and never got going in the fourth.

 

Bojan Bogdanovic led the Pacers with 18 points.

 

The Pacers return home to play New York on Tuesday.

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Molinari Storms To Win At Arnold Palmer Invitational

Francesco Molinari pulled a Rory McIlroy on Rory McIlroy. The reigning Open champion won the 2019 Arnold Palmer Invitational in the exact same manner as his Ryder Cup teammate did in 2018 -- with an 8-under 64 in the final round that included a long birdie at the 72nd hole.

 

Molinari's 64, the best round in the field on Sunday by two strokes, concluded nearly two hours before the leaders -- which coincidentally including McIlroy this year -- finished up their rounds. Nobody came close to touching his 12 under score for the week, as McIlroy's Round 4 playing partner, Matthew Fitzpatrick, came the closest at 10 under. It became obvious as Molinari's back nine unfolded early on Sunday afternoon that something special was taking place.

 

The Italian went out in 32 before making birdies at Nos. 12 and 13. He nearly jarred an albatross on No. 16 before settling for an easy birdie. Then came the curtain call on No. 18 -- a 44-foot birdie to go two clear of the field and, on a day when the field average was right at even par, effectively put the tournament out of reach.

 

Molinari, normally known for his roped irons and tight wedges, actually finished with much better driving and putting numbers than he did with his irons. The 44-foot close jumped him up to second on the day in putting and fourth on the week. It's problematic for whatever field Molinari is facing for the week if he's finished fourth in putting on the week.

 

The win is Molinari's fourth in the last calendar year, and there have been some gems. The BMW PGA Championship on the European Tour. The Quicken Loans National on the PGA Tour.

 

McIlroy started the day one back of Matthew Fitzpatrick's lead and shot an uninspired 72. It wasn't even a roller coaster of a 72. He was never more than 1 under or 1 over on the day and never even scared the lead over the last three hours of the event.

 

Rickie Fowler (T-40) finally had it cruising in the proper direction on Sunday afternoon before he was upended by a double bogey and a bogey late in the day to drop out of the top 25. Interestingly he tied another pair of Oklahoma State Cowboys on the opposite end of the career spectrum. Amateur Viktor Hovland and six-time PGA Tour winner Hunter Mahan both also finished at 1-under 287. It was a bit of a disappointment for Fowler following three straight finishes in the top 30 at this event and his runner-up finish last week at the Honda Classic. His big struggle this week was off the tee where he finished 64th in the field in driving (out of just 70). He'll have a chance to turn it around quickly at TPC Sawgrass next week.

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UPDATE: IHSA Boys Basketball Postseason Results and Matchups

Results from Friday at IHSA 1A and 2A state finals in Peoria:

 

Class 1A


Cissna Park    56                
Moweaqua (Central A & M)    44

 

Chicago (Providence St. Mel)    66            
Concord (Triopia) [Coop]    41

 

Cissna Park 29

Chicago-Providence St. Mel 52

 

Central A&M 70

Concord-Triopia 39

 

Class 2A    


Nashville    47            
Gibson City (G.C.-Melvin-Sibley)    45

 

Chicago (Corliss)    50                
Chicago (Orr)    83

 

Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley 75

Chicago Corliss 66

 

Chicago Orr 50

Nashville 36

 

Sectional finals results for area 3A schools:

 

At Richton Park (Rich South)

 

Olympia Fields (Rich Central)    48    

Normal (University)    61

 

At Springfield (Southeast)

 

Springfield (Southeast)    66    
Lincoln    43

 

At Peoria (Bradley University)

 

Peoria (Manual)    57    
Peoria (Notre Dame)    54

 

Winners advance to the IHSA 3A super-sectionals taking place Tuesday, March 12th around the state.

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Cissna Park Jumps Out Early, Downs Central A&M

Cissna Park finished the first quarter on a 12-4 run in the final 4:26 to take a 17-6 advantage and never looked back as they advanced to the state finals in Class 1A boys basketball state semifinal action with a 56-44 win over Central A&M at Carver Arena at the Peoria Civic Center.

 

Bailey Sluis scored 9 of his 12 points in the first quarter to help the Timberwolves get out to a fast start.

 

After a Griffin Andricks layup with just under five minutes left in the first half for Central A&M cut the Cissna Park lead to 17-10, Christian Stadeli scored six straight points and Sluis buried another three to open up the lead to 25-10 with 2:15 for the first half and the Timberwolves led 25-12 at the break.

 

The teams played evenly the rest of the way as the Raiders could not get any closer than 11.

 

Yesterday, Stadeli and A&M's Connor Heaton were named All-State in Class 1A and the two did not disappoint. Stadeli fell a rebound shy of a double-double with 17 points and nine boards. 

 

Heaton led all scorers with 18 points and pulled down seven boards. Andricks fell a rebound shy of a double-double for the Raiders, finishing with 12 points and nine boards. 

 

The Raiders shot 18-for-30 from the free throw line and finished 6-for-12 from three and shot 48.5-percent from the floor.

 

Meanwhile, the Raiders finished just 1-for-14 from distance, going 7-for-11 from the free throw line. After going just 6-for-23 from the floor in the second half, Central A&M rebounded to shoot 12-for-25 in the second half, but it wasn't enough as they finished the game shooting 37.5-percent. 

 

The Timberwolves will play for the state title Saturday afternoon at 1 pm while A&M can still finish the season with a third-place finish Saturday morning at 11 am. 

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IHSA Boys Basketball Postseason Friday Matchups...

IHSA State Semifinal matchups...

 

Class 1A

 

At Peoria Carver Arena

 

Cissna Park 11:00am

Central A & M

 

Class 2A

 

At Peoria Carver Arena

 

Nashville 7:15pm

G.C.M.S.

 

Class 3A Sectional Final matchups....

 

At Springfield Southeast

 

Springfield Southeast 7:00pm

Lincoln

 

At Peoria Bradley University

 

Peoria Manual 7:00pm

Peoria Notre Dame

 

At Rich South

 

Rich Central 7:00pm

Normal U-High

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Central A&M's Heaton, Shelbyville's Miller Make All-State

The Associated Press all-state high school boys basketball teams for Class 1A and Class 2A in Illinois, as voted on by a statewide panel of sports writers and broadcasters and compiled by Steve Tappa of The Moline Dispatch and The Rock Island Argus. Players received five points for a first-team vote and three points for a second-team vote. Each voter picked a five-player first team and five-player second team in each class. A player must have been named on two ballots to receive honorable mention.

 

Central A&M's Connor Heaton, a 6-foot-5 Junior, made First Team All-State in Class 1A. His Raiders will match up with Cissna Park today in a Class 1A State Semifinal matchup at Peoria's Carver Arena. 

 

Cissna Parks Christian Stadeli, a 6-foot-7 senior forward, was also named First Team All-State in Class 1A.

 

The rest of the Class 1A All-State:

 

Tyriel Nelson, Providence St. Mel (6-2, Sr., G) 83
Coltin Quagliano, Kewanee Wethersfield (5-10, Soph., G) 72
Emmitt Gordon III, Madison (6-3, Sr., G) 68

 

Shelbyville 6-foot-4 senior guard Malcolm Miller was a Class 2A First Team All-State. 

 

Additionally, GCMS, taking on Nashville in tonight's Class 2A State Semifinal matchup, was led this season by 6-foot-5 senior forward Ryland Hold, who made second team All-State. His teammate and Illinois football commit, Bryce Barnes, was an honorable mention.

 

The rest of the Class 2A First Team All-State:

 

Devon House, Sterling Newman (6-8, Jr., PF) 
Fred Cleveland Jr., Chicago Leo (5-10, Sr., G) 
DaChaun Anderson, Chicago Leo (6-7, Sr., F)
Markese Jacobs, Chicago Uplift (6-0, Sr., G)

 

In Class 1A, honorable mention All-State includes Nokomis 6-foot-7 forward, Carter Sabol and 6-foot senior guard from LeRoy, Nick Perry.

 

Class 2A Honorable mention includes Bloomington Central Catholic's Luke Yoder and Tommy Nelson, Dee-Mack 6-foot-2 guard Levi Scheurmann, Champaign St. Thomas More senior guard Riley Morris, and Jack Weber, a 6-foot-6 forward from El-Paso Gridley.

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Illinois State Gets By Evansville

Phil Fayne had 17 points and 10 rebounds to lead Illinois State to a 65-60 win over Evansville in the first round of the Missouri Valley Conference Tourney on Thursday night.

 

Milik Yarbrough had 18 points for Illinois State (17-15). Matt Chastain added eight rebounds.

 

The Purple Aces’ 29.5 field goal percentage represented the worst mark by an Illinois State opponent this season.

 

Marty Hill had 16 points for the Purple Aces (11-21). K.J. Riley added 15 points and six rebounds. Evan Kuhlman had 10 points.

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Indiana Plays Flawless Game, Rolls Illinois

Juwan Morgan scored 20 points and grabbed 9 rebounds as Indiana cruised to a 92-74 win over Illinois Thursday night.

 

The win could land Indiana (16-14, 7-12 Big Ten) a low-seed berth in the NCAA Tournament.

 

Rob Phinisee added 17 points and Justin Smith 15 points for the Hoosiers.

 

Ayo Dosunmu led the Illini with 16 points, while Giorgi Bezhanishvili and Trent Frazier added 15 and 13 points, respectively.

 

The loss closed out the home season for Illinois (11-19, 7-12).

 

The Hoosiers were in control for most of the game, leading by as many as 22 points before Illinois went on a 6-0 run to close to within 13 points at 80-67 with 5:22 left. But Indiana took advantage of an obviously tired Illinois defense and iced the game.

 

Despite hitting 7 of 13 three-pointers in the first half, Illinois seemed out of synch and trailed 52-42 at the half.

 

Thursday’s game had conference tournament implications for both teams.

 

Indiana likely will have a first-round bye in the tournament, while Illinois could find itself playing next Wednesday.

 

Indiana’s wins last week at home over Wisconsin and Michigan State have thrust the Hoosiers back into the NCAA Tournament conversation, but they would need to beat Rutgers at home to have a chance.

 

Illinois travels to Penn State Sunday to close its regular season.

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Bucks Blast Pacers

Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 29 points and Khris Middleton added 27 to help the Milwaukee Bucks bounce back from their first consecutive losses of the season with a 117-98 victory over the Indiana Pacers on Thursday night.

 

Milwaukee, which improved to an NBA-best 49-16, was coming off back-to-back losses to Utah and Phoenix after opening a five-game road trip with three victories.

 

The Bucks ran off 13 consecutive points after Antetokounmpo was assessed a technical midway through the third quarter, one possession after he was knocked down attempting a shot, with no foul called. The Pacers missed the technical free throw and the Bucks responded with a 13-0 run.

 

Antetokounmpo started the spurt with a dunk and finished it with another to put Milwaukee up 80-64 with 2:56 left in the period.

 

The Bucks padded their lead with a 12-0 spurt early in the fourth quarter. Kyle O'Quinn opened the final period with a floater from the lane to bring the Pacers within 10 at 84-74. Ersan Ilyasova hit a 3-pointer to trigger the run, capped by Antetokounmpo's drive to make it 96-74 with 8:21 left.

 

Myles Turner had 22 points and Bojan Bogdanovic 17 for the Pacers.

 

Bogdanovic hit a pair of 3-pointers to pull Indiana within three points at 67-64 before the technical on Antetokounmpo. Indiana's Thaddeus Young thought that was the turning point.

 

The Bucks opened their largest lead of the first half at 47-33 on two free throws by Antetokounmpo, but the Pacers went on a 17-7 run to close within 54-50 at the break.

 

Indiana is at Philadelphia on Sunday.

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Blues, Blackhawks Win Thursday

>>Blackhawks Get By Sabres in Shootout

 

Patrick Kane collected two assists and scored during Chicago's perfect shootout, leading the Blackhawks to a 5-4 victory over the slumping Buffalo Sabres on Thursday.

 

Chicago (28-30-9) had dropped four of five, including two of three on its West Coast trip. It is clinging to the very fringe of the race for the Western Conference's final wild card.

 

While the Blackhawks have struggled for much of the year, Kane has been a force. With his 27th multipoint game of the season, the dynamic winger passed Steve Larmer for fourth on the franchise's career points list with 924.

 

Artem Anisimov scored twice for Chicago, and Corey Crawford made 35 saves. Duncan Keith and Brendan Perlini also scored.

 

Jonathan Toews converted Chicago's first shootout opportunity with a backhand. After Jack Eichel scored for Buffalo and Kane beat Carter Hutton low on the glove side, Crawford stuffed Sam Reinhart before Alex DeBrincat closed out the win by flipping a backhand into the net.

 

Buffalo dropped to 0-6-3 in Chicago since its last road win against the Blackhawks on Jan. 10, 2007, five months before Kane was the No. 1 overall pick in the draft.

 

Zach Bogosian had a beautiful short-handed goal in the second period for Buffalo (30-28-9), which lost for the fifth time in six games. Vladimir Sobotka, Brandon Montour and Kyle Okposo also scored.

 

The Sabres were ahead 3-2 in the third when Anisimov banged a shot off the crossbar, kept skating and slammed it home for the tying score 4:48 into the period.

After Okposo finished a 2-on-1 break, scoring off a great pass by Evan Rodrigues, Chicago tied it once again. Perlini jumped on a deflected puck and beat Hutton low on the stick side for his eighth of the season at 7:57 - just 37 seconds after Okposo's 11th goal.

 

Blackhawks: Visit the Dallas Stars on Saturday night.

 

>>Blues Blank Kings

 

Brayden Schenn had two assists to set up goals by Vladimir Tarasenko and Ryan O'Reilly as the St. Louis Blues beat the Los Angeles Kings 4-0 on Thursday night.

Schenn has a goal and three assists in two games since returning from injury. The Blues went 2-3-1 without Schenn, but won back-to-back games against Anaheim and Los Angeles since his return.

 

Jonathan Quick made 28 saves for the Kings, who have lost 12 of their past 13 games.

 

The Blues took a 1-0 lead 25 seconds into the second period when Tarasenko scored his 28th goal. Schenn helped the Blues break out on the rush and Tarasenko fired a wrist shot from the far edge of the left circle into the top right corner.

 

The Schenn, O'Reilly and Tarasenko line has combined for 21 goals and 35 assists in the past 13 games. Schenn has three goals and 14 assists in that span.

 

Tyler Bozak put the Blues up 2-0 with 1:18 left in the second.

 

O'Reilly made it 3-0 by tipping in Schenn's pass with 1.1 seconds remaining in the period, providing another example of the chemistry the trio is developing.

 

Ivan Barbashev capped the scoring at 8:13 of the third period on another odd-man rush.

The Blues are at San Jose on Saturday.

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Monticello's Ben Singleton Named First Team All Conference in Illini Prairie

Monticello senior basketball star Ben Singleton has been named a first team all-conference in the Illini Prairie Conference as announced Thursday morning.

 

Singleton helped led the Sages to a Regional final in 2018-19 and was a part of the 2016-17 team to go to the state finals in Peoria.

 

Bloomington Central Catholic's Tommy Nelson and Luke Yoder were unanimous selections to the first team as was Jack Cook from St. Joseph-Ogden.

 

Other first-team selections included Riley Morris from Champaign St. Thomas More and Joey Murphy from Pontiac.

 

Three sophomores highlighted the second team all-conference as Prairie Central Trey Brazzell, IVC Holt Geltmaker and Unity's Brady Porter were joined by juniors Chance Izard from St. Joe-Ogden and Ryan Weir from Pontiac along with senior Latavius Winston from Rantoul.

 

Bloomington Central Catholic's JT Welch and Olympia's Hunter Berges were an all-conference honorable mention as sophomores, as were BCC junior Cole Davis, Pontiac junior Carter Dawson, St. Thomas More senior Bryson Lee and St. Joe-Ogden senior Joel Orcutt was also an all-conference honorable mention. 

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High School Basketball Scores

Class 3A Sectional Semifinal Scores....

 

At Peoria Bradley University

 

Peoria Notre Dame 46

Dixon 39

 

At Rich South

 

Country Club Hills Hillcrest 60

Normal U-High 72

 

At Springfield Southeast

 

Urbana 53

Lincoln 70

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Another Illinois WR Transfer Elects To Stay At Original School

A.D. Miller, the Oklahoma receiver who had committed to leaving for Illinois, has chosen to stay with the Sooners.

 

Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley made the announcement Wednesday.

 

Illinois coach Lovie Smith announced in January that Miller would join the Fighting Illini as a graduate transfer. Instead, Riley expects Miller to rejoin the Sooners in the next few days.

 

Miller had 21 receptions for 236 yards and four touchdowns in three seasons for the Sooners. Riley said Miller will have an important role going forward.

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Illinois State Opens Missouri Valley Conference Tournament Play Tonight

Illinois State will open Missouri Valley Conference tournament play tonight when they take on Evansville (11-20, 5-13) from the Enterprise Center in St. Louis as a part of Arch Madness.

 

In the regular season, the seventh seeded Redbirds (16-15, 9-9) won both of the head-to-head matchups. The teams last went at it on Jan. 19, when the Redbirds shot 51.9 percent from the field while holding tenth seeded Evansville to just 38.2 percent en route to an eight-point victory.

 

Illinois State has relied heavily on its seniors this year. Milik Yarbrough, Phil Fayne, Zach Copeland, Keyshawn Evans and William Tinsley have collectively accounted for 79 percent of the team’s scoring this year and 83 percent of all Redbirds points over the last five games.

 

The Purple Aces have recently created baskets via assists more often than the Redbirds. Illinois State has 25 assists on 70 field goals (35.7 percent) across its previous three matchups while Evansville has assists on 33 of 73 field goals (45.2 percent) during its past three games.

 

Evansville is rated second among MVC teams with an average of 70.1 points per game.

 

Game time tonight is 8:30 pm local time.

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Bulls Edge Sixers

Zach LaVine scored 39 points and hit the go-ahead layup in the closing seconds, and Chicago beat the Philadelphia 76ers 108-107 on Wednesday night in a game that featured two endings.

 

LaVine scored 13 in the fourth quarter as the Bulls wiped out a 10-point deficit on their way to a victory they sure won't forget. Both teams were ordered back to the court as fans filed out of the arena because of a timekeeping error that led to a premature buzzer.

 

The Bulls trailed 107-106 after Jimmy Butler hit two free throws for Philadelphia with 4.8 seconds remaining. After a timeout, LaVine inbounded to Robin Lopez and got fouled as he went past Mike Scott for the go-ahead layup with 1.6 seconds remaining.

 

LaVine missed the free throw, but the Bulls came away with the win after one more twist. He broke up Ben Simmons' inbounds pass to Butler underneath the 76ers' basket, and that's when things really took an unusual turn.

 

Both teams walked off the court and fans started to file out. The problem was, the horn sounded before anyone touched the ball.

 

After a review, the referees put 0.5 seconds back on the clock. But with one more chance, Philadelphia came up short when the inbounds pass skipped off Butler's hands.

 

Butler scored 22 points in his second game against his former team. Simmons had 18 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists. But the 76ers fell a game behind Toronto for third place in the Eastern Conference. They are 4-3 since the All-Star break, with All-Star center Joel Embiid sidelined by a sore left knee.

 

LaVine made 14 of 26 shots. Lopez added 19 points as the Bulls snapped a two-game skid.

 

The Bulls host Detroit on Friday.

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Blues Hold Off Ducks

Robert Thomas and Alex Pietrangelo scored 12 seconds apart late in the third period as Blues rallied for a 5-4 victory over the Anaheim Ducks on Wednesday night.

 

The Blue have won 14 of their last 18 and remain one of the NHL's best teams since the calendar flipped to 2019. They are tied with Carolina and Tampa Bay for most wins (20) since Jan. 1 and are 12-4-2 on the road in that stretch.

 

Thomas got his second goal of the game with 1:04 left on a deflection off the boards and Pietrangelo rifled a shot through traffic for the game-winner with 52 seconds remaining for his 12th goal of the season. It was Pietrangelo's 22nd game-winning goal, which ties him with Al MacInnis for most by a defenseman in franchise history.

 

Pietrangelo, Brayden Schenn and Ryan O'Reilly each had a goal and an assist for St. Louis. Vladimir Tarasenko and Colton Parayko each had two assists and Jordan Binnington stopped 23 shots.

 

Jaycob Megna had a goal and an assist for Anaheim while Nick Ritchie, Rickard Rakell and Adam Henrique also scored. Rookie Troy Terry had three assists and John Gibson made 28 saves.

 

The Blues continue their three-game California swing tonight night at Los Angeles.

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Pacers Down Bulls

Bojan Bogdanovic scored 27 points, Collison added 22 and the duo combined for eight points during the decisive run, leading Indiana to a 105-96 victory over the Chicago Bulls.

 

Indiana took control in the first six minutes and never trailed until Zach LaVine's dunk capped a 7-2 fourth-quarter run that gave the Bulls their only lead, 86-85, with 7:08 to go.

 

Just 81 seconds later, the lead was gone - for good.

 

Bogdanovic made two free throws to put Indiana back in front, then knocked down a 3-pointer. Collison followed that with another 3 and when Myles Turner ended the 10-0 run with a dunk at the 3:58 mark, the Pacers led 95-86.

 

Lauri Markkanen finished with 14 points and 13 rebounds. He's had nine or more rebounds in 16 consecutive games. 

 

The Bulls spent most of the night playing catch-up after starting 6 of 23 from the field. They finished 4 of 25 on 3s.

 

The Bulls close out a back-to-back tonight when Philadelphia comes to town.

 

The Pacers will try to earn a split in the series when they visit the Milwaukee Bucks on Thursday.

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IHSA Postseason Tuesday Scores, Wednesday Matchups

Class 1A Supersectional scores....

 

At Carbondale SIU

 

Central A & M 79

Sesser-Valier 69

 

At Normal ISU

 

Cissna Park 76

Yorkville Christian 46

 

Class 2A Supersectional cores....

 

At Springfield UIS

 

Pleasant Plains 37

G.C.M.S 52

 

Class 3A Tuesday Sectional Semifinal Scores....

 

At Peoria Bradley University

 

Rock Falls 48

Peoria Manual 57

 

At Springfield Southeast

 

Springfield Southeast 44

Champaign Central 31

 

Class 4A Tuesday Sectional Semifinal Scores....

 

At East Moline United

 

Danville 68

Pekin 57

 

Class 3A Wednesday Sectional Semifinal matchups....

 

At Peoria Bradley University

 

Peoria Notre Dame 7:00pm

Dixon

 

At Springfield Southeast

 

Urbana 7:00pm

Lincoln

 

At Rich South

 

Country Club Hills Hillcrest 7:00pm

Normal U-High

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Illinois Drops Finale From South Carolina

Northeastern broke out a 7-0 lead by the fifth inning to beat the Illinois baseball team 8-1 at Springs Brooks Stadium. Illinois (7-3) finished the weekend 1-3 after bringing a 6-0 record and top-25 ranking to the Coastal Carolina Tournament. 

 

Northeastern (5-5) tied a season-high with 13 hits. Sean Mellen threw seven shutout innings, allowing only three hits and striking out nine.

 

Illinois broke up the shutout in the ninth with an RBI single by Grant Van Scoy. Michael Michalak had two hits and Kellen Sarver extended his hitting streak to six games.

 

Illinois heads to Phoenix next for a three-game series Friday-Sunday at Grand Canyon.

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High School Boys Basketball Postseason Preview

The IHSA boys basketball postseason rolls on this week and Class 1A and 2A schools look to punch their ticket to Peoria's Carver Arena, Class 3A and 4A teams look to keep their march to Peoria alive.

 

Class 1A Super-Sectional matchups Tuesday night....

 

At Carbondale SIU

 

Central A & M 6:00pm

Sesser-Valier

 

At Normal ISU

 

Cissna Park 7:00pm

Yorkville Christian

 

At Springfield UIS

 

Pleasant Plains 7:00pm

Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley

 

Class 3A Sectional semifinal matchups Tuesday...

 

At Bradley University

 

Rock Falls 7:00pm

Peoria Manual

 

At Springfield Southeast

 

Springfield Southeast 7:00pm

Champaign Central

 

At East Moline United

 

Danville 7:00pm

Pekin

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Big Ten Commissioner To Retire

The Big Ten announced Monday that commissioner Jim Delany, 70, will retire from his position on June 30, 2020. That's nearly 30 years after initially taking over the conference and becoming one of the most powerful men in sports.

 

Delany said in a release Monday quote - "It's been an amazing opportunity to serve and lead these preeminent institutions, presidents, administrators, coaches and students". - END QUOTE

 

Delany began his tenure as the Big Ten's commissioner back in 1989, and plenty has changed in the conference and outside of it during his tenure. When Delany took over the job, the conference was still at 10 schools just like its name implies. Delany was instrumental in bringing Penn State into the fold in 1990 (football joined the conference in 1993). That addition was a complete surprise to some as Delany worked behind the scenes in 1990 to land the Eastern independent power. The expansion came during a time when college football was remaking itself.

 

Delany insists his health is still good indicating not sure what his future holds but he plans to pursue other endeavors. 

 

>>UNC Moves Up In Latest College Basketball Polls

 

The latest AP Top 25 Poll of the regular season has the Gonzaga Bulldogs No. 1 yet again. Mark Few's team completed its sweep of the WCC on Saturday, beating Saint Mary's and wrapping a 16-0 conference run. 

In the latest rankings, Virginia stays firm at No. 2, while North Carolina takes a jump over rival Duke. Tennessee rounds out the top five in light of its home win Saturday against Kentucky. 

 

Virginia Tech is the biggest riser in this week's poll: The Hokies snake up six spots to No. 15 after beating Duke last Tuesday. The 22-6 Hokies play at No. 14 Florida State on Tuesday night. 

 

Slippage was inevitable for teams with tough losses: Marquette drops six spots, to No. 16, after losing at home to unranked Creighton Sunday. Maryland's 0-2 week (losses at Penn State and at home vs. Michigan) dropped the Terps from 17th to 24th. Houston fell to UCF, dinging the Cougars from No. 8 to No. 12.  

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Illinois Drops Two of Three in South Carolina Weekend Series

The No. 25 Illinois baseball team led Connecticut 2-0 and 3-1 but could not hang on in a 7-4 loss Sunday at TicketReturn.com Field. UConn scored four runs, three of them unearned, on just two hits in the seventh inning to pull ahead.

 

Illinois (7-2) issued nine walks and a hit by pitch to Connecticut (5-5). UConn plated its four seventh-inning runs via an error, two walks and a hit by pitch.

 

The Illini bullpen spoiled a quality start from Cyrillo Watson, who allowed three runs on six hits in 6 1/3 innings. Watson was responsible for the first run scored in the seventh before Sean Leland (1-1) allowed three runs, although none were earned, to take the loss.

 

Michael Woodworth led Connecticut with three hits and three runs scored. Jack Yalowitz paced Illinois with his second three-hit game of the season and Taylor added two extra-base hits.

 

The Illini lost 11-3 to No. 20 Coastal Carolina Friday, then won Saturday against their Monday opponent, Northeastern, 5-4. Illinois finishes its four-game weekend Monday against Northeastern at Springs Brooks Stadium.

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Illinois Holds Off Northwestern

Andres Feliz scored 26 points — 16 of them at the foul line — to help Illinois hand Northwestern its 10th straight loss 81-76 on Sunday night.

 

Ayo Dosunmu and Giorgi Bezhanishvili added 12 points apiece and Aaron Jordan grabbed 10 rebounds for Illinois (11-18, 7-11 Big Ten).

 

Illinois was 33 of 38 from the foul line, while Northwestern (12-17, 3-15) was 17 of 22.

 

Dererk Pardon scored 16 points to lead the Wildcats. Miller Kopp and Ryan Taylor added 13 points each for Northwestern.

 

All the points scored in the game’s final seven minutes came from the foul line.

 

Trent Frazier hit a 3-pointer 64 seconds in that sparked a 16-2 run and gave Illinois the lead for good. The Wildcats missed 10 of their first 12 field-goal attempts and shot just 30.3 percent (10 of 33), including 1 of 13 from 3-point range, in the first half.

 

The Illini are 5-3 over the past eight games and are 6-6 over the last 12 games after starting Big Ten play 0-5.

 

Northwestern stormed back to within three points when two intentional fouls sent Feliz to the line in the final 27 seconds.

 

Feliz hit the first two to put Illinois up by five points. After Northwestern again pulled to within 3 points, Feliz calmly sank two more free throws with 11.5 seconds left to seal the victory.

 

Illinois hosts Indiana on Thursday to close out the home regular season.

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Illinois State Downs Murray State To Take Weekend Series

The Illinois State baseball team defeated Murray State by a final score of 9-5 Saturday afternoon in Murray, Kentucky. The Redbirds trailed the Racers 9-3 in the final inning before Illinois State scored six runs in the top of the ninth to beat Murray State 9-5. The Redbirds also won the series over the Racers splitting a Friday double-head 4-3 and 5-4.

 

Aidan Huggins led the Redbirds with a 3-for-6 afternoon with a double, two RBIs and two runs scored. Derek Parola drove in two with a double and John Rave, Joe Aeilts and Tyson Hays each had RBIs.

 

Matt Walker went six strong innings allowing two runs, one earned, on tow with with seven strikeouts to three walks. Jacob Gilmore collected his third save with a clean inning and two strikeouts.

 

Illinois State will face off against Vanderbilt next weekend in Nashville, Tennessee.

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Sharks Blast Blackhawks

Joe Thornton set up Marcus Sorensen for a tiebreaking goal early in the third period and Melker Karlsson tacked on two insurance goals that sent the Sharks to a 5-2 victory over the Blackhawks on Sunday night.

 

Tomas Hertl and Timo Meier also scored to help the Sharks end an eight-game stretch of alternating wins and losses. San Jose moved within three points of Calgary for first in the division, although the Flames have a game in hand.

 

Martin Jones made 28 saves for the Sharks and helped keep Patrick Kane off the score sheet. Kane failed to record a point in back-to-back games for just the second time this season, also doing it Nov. 21-23.

 

Dylan Strome and Erik Gustafsson scored for the Blackhawks, who lost on back-to-back days and now trail Western Conference wild-card leaders Dallas and Minnesota by eight points. Cam Ward made 29 saves.

 

The game was tied heading into the third when the Sharks took control. Thornton capped a strong shift by threading a perfect pass to Sorensen in the slot. Sorensen then beat Ward with a quick shot for his third goal in the past two games.

 

Just a few minutes later, Micheal Haley drew a delayed penalty and then set up Brent Burns, whose big shot deflected off Karlsson and into the net for a 4-2 lead.

 

Karlsson added an empty-netter to seal the win.

 

Chicago hosts Buffalo on Thursday.

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Hawks Hold Off Bulls

Alex Len scored a season-high 28 points and Atlanta held on to beat Chicago 123-118 on Sunday.

 

Len finished three points shy of his career high . He also made a personal-best five 3-pointers.

 

Trae Young scored 18 before getting ejected early in the third quarter for taunting Chicago's Kris Dunn.

 

The Hawks had to get by again without leading scorer and rebounder John Collins. The 6-foot-10 forward missed his second consecutive game because of flu-like symptoms. But Atlanta pulled this one out after losing 168-161 to the Bulls at home on Friday.on Friday.

 

Lauri Markkanen led Chicago with 19 points, though he shot just 6 of 21. Antonio Blakeney scored 17, but the Bulls came up short after winning five of six.

 

Young and Dunn also had an exchange in the first quarter that resulted in both players getting technicals. There was some contact between the two after Young took a shot with play stopped following a timeout call. Dunn also appeared to shove Young in the back of the head or neck before Lopez got between them.

 

The Bulls held out F Otto Porter Jr. for precautionary reasons after he played 54 minutes on Friday. He recently missed a game because of a strained lower left leg.

 

The Bulls are at Indiana on Tuesday night.

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Kevin Mitchell Walks Off Honda Classic With Birdie On 72nd Hole

At one point Sunday on the back nine at the 2019 Honda Classic, the following golfers were tied for the lead at 7 under par with Rickie Fowler boiling just behind them: Ryan Palmer, Vijay Singh, Lucas Glover, K.H. Lee, Brooks Koepka, and Keith Mitchell.

 

It was a mosaic of a leaderboard, one full of stars, superstars, former stars, ball-striking youngsters and putter-wielding veterans. It was chaotic. What happens when you get a bunched-up board like this is that someone usually goes on a tear to win the event outright. That's exactly what happened, but it wasn't the guy we thought it might be.

 

At first, it seemed as if Koepka would be the one. He finished with two birdies in his last three holes to shoot 4-under 66 on the day and get in the house at 8 under, one ahead of Palmer and Glover. But then, Fowler tied him with three birdies in his final four, including this absurd 45-footer on the par-3 17th. Those two set the mark and dared anybody behind them to make it through the normally tough ending at PGA National unscathed and with a chance.

 

In his his 40th PGA Tour start, Mitchell stepped in and stole the show. He birdied Nos. 12, 13, 15 and 18, the last one a game-winner from 15 feet that never had a chance of doing anything but finding the bottom of the cup. He finished at 9-under 271, one clear of Fowler and Koepka for the first win of his career.

 

Mitchell played the back nine of his life on Sunday to post the fourth-best round of the day and beat out two of the best in the business late at PGA National.

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Boys Basketball Class 1A, 2A Sectional Final, Class 3A, 4A Regional Final Matchups

Class 1A Sectional final matchups.....

 

At Altamont

 

Nokomis 7:00pm

Central A & M

 

At Ridgeview

 

Champaign Judah Christian 7:00pm

Cissna Park

 

Class 2A Sectional final matchups....

 

At Riverton

 

Tremont 7:00pm

Pleasant Plains

 

At Tolono Unity

 

Bloomington Central Catholic 7:00pm

G.C.M.S

 

Class 3A Regional final matchups tonight...

 

At Clinton

 

Lincoln 7:00pm

Taylorville

 

At East Peoria

 

Peoria Manual 7:00pm

Metamora

 

At Prairie Central

 

Kankakee 7:00pm

Normal U-High

 

At Macomb

 

Peoria Notre Dame 7:00pm

Peoria Richwoods

 

At Olney

 

Urbana 7:00pm

Effingham

 

Class 4A Regional final matchups....

 

At Belleville West

 

Belleville West 7:00pm

Chatham Glenwood

 

At Pekin

 

Pekin 7:00pm

Rock Island 

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Pacers Down Timberwolves

Bojan Bogdanovic scored a season-high 35 points and Pacers beat the Timberwolves 122-115 on Thursday night. Karl-Athony Towns had 42 points and 17 rebounds, scoring 23 points and grabbing seven rebounds in the first quarter.

 

Indiana played without Domantas Sabonis (sprained left ankle), and Tyreke Evans (food poisoning).

 

With the game tied at 107 with less than four minutes remaining, Bogdanovic drove for the go-ahead layup. Minnesota's Andrew Wiggins then missed two free throws on the next possession, and Bogdanovic extended the Pacers lead on the other end of the floor with a wide-open 3-pointer. The Pacers closed with a 15-8 run, with Bogdanovic scoring 11 points.

 

TJ Leaf added a career-high 18 points for Indiana. The Pacers overcame an early 12-point deficit and led 64-60 at halftime.

 

The Pacers host Orlando on Saturday night.

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Prized Free Agent Harper Lands With Phillies

Arguably the best free agent of the last 18 years has a new team. Bryce Harper has agreed to a free agent contract with the Philadelphia Phillies, CBS Sports HQ baseball insider Jim Bowden confirmed Thursday. Harper's deal is for 13 years and $330 million and features no opt-out clauses, according to ESPN's Jeff Passan. 

 

The deal is the largest in MLB history, breaking Giancarlo Stanton's previous record $325 million contract he signed with the Marlins in November of 2014. An introductory press conference is set for Saturday.

 

Harper, 26, authored a .249/.393/.496 (133 OPS+) batting line with 34 home runs and an MLB best 130 walks last season.

 

Harper caps an active winter for the Phillies. They traded for catcher J.T. Realmuto and shortstop Jean Segura, and signed outfielder Andrew McCutchen and reliever David Robertson. Harper also delivers on the Phillies' promise to go big-name fishing this winter with the intent on spending potentially "stupid" money.

 

The Nationals will receive a 2019 supplemental first round draft pick as compensation for losing Harper, who rejected the $17.9 million qualifying offer earlier this winter. Because they did not pay luxury tax in 2018, the Phillies only have to forfeit their 2019 second round draft pick to sign Harper.

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Big Names in Contention At Honda Classic

Jhonattan Vegas leads the 2019 Honda Classic at 6 under, but just behind him seemingly sits every big name in the event.

 

Rickie Fowler (-3) somehow shot a 67 with a triple bogey on the card for the third consecutive event. 

 

Justin Thomas (-2) had it rolling until he went double bogey-bogey on Nos. 15 and 16 (but he did birdie the last two). 

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