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Playoff Football Quarterfinal Matchups

Class 1A:

 

#4 Arcola (9-2) at #1 Central A & M (11-0), Sat. 1:30 pm
#7 Carrollton (9-2) at #6 Athens (9-2), Sat. 3:00 pm

 

Class 2A:

 

#3 Decatur St. Teresa (10-1) at #10 Auburn (8-3), Sat. 3:00 pm

 

Class 3A:

 

#5 Paxton-Buckley-Loda (9-2) at #1 Princeton (10-1), Sat. 1:00 pm
#3 Vandalia (11-0) at #2 Williamsville (11-0), Sat. 2:00 pm

 

Class 4A:

 

#3 Effingham (10-1) at #10 Prairie Central (9-2), Sat. 2:00 pm

 

Class 5A:

 

#11 Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin (8-3) at #2 Rochester (10-1), Sat. 3:30 pm

 

Class 6A:

 

#2 Chatham-Glenwood (11-0) at #11 Providence Catholic (8-3), Sat. 2:00 pm

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Illini Off This Week

Riding a four-game win streak, among them college football's biggest upset of the year - a home win over then fourth ranked Wisconsin - and the biggest comeback in program history last week on the road at Michigan State, Illinois will take the week to rest and regroup. 

 

Illinois is bowl eligible for the first time since 2014 with games left at Iowa next Saturday and then Northwestern at home the Saturday after Thanksgiving.

 

Illinois announced earlier this week they will play the rest of the regular season without junior wide receiver Ricky Smalling. Smalling is second on the team with 24 receptions and third with 225 receiving yards. 

 

Illinois and Iow are set for an 11 am kick next Saturday. 

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Eastern Illinois Hosts Southeast Missouri

Eastern Illinois picked up its first win of the 2019 season last Saturday at Tennessee State as the Panthers rallied from a halftime deficit to win 49-38.  EIU improved to 1-9 on the season, 1-5 in the OVC.  The Panthers host Southeast Missouri which is currently tied for first in the OVC race with a 5-1 record.  SEMO is 7-3 overall.

 

Jaelin Benefield was named the Ohio Valley Conference Newcomer of the Week following his efforts in the win at Tennessee State.  Benefield rushed for 105 yards while catching four passes for 32 yards.  Benefield had three touchdowns (2 rushing / 1 receiving) in the game as he now leads EIU in scoring with 42 points.

 

Game time Saturday is noon. Hear all the action on The Big 1520 AM/92.3 FM/106.5 FM WHOW and online at dewittdailynews.com.

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Illinois State Hosts Missouri State

Coming off a big road win at South Dakota State, No. 7 ranked Illinois State returns home for its final regular-season contest at Hancock Stadium when the Redbirds host the Missouri State Bears on Senior Day.

 

Missouri State (1-8, 1-5 MVFC) fell behind 30-0 midway through last Saturday's matchup at Southern Illinois which proved to be the difference in a 37-14 defeat at the hands of the Salukis.

 

The last two wins for the Redbirds have happened because the 'Birds took advantage of turnovers and turned them into scoring opportunities. In ISU's last two wins, it has collected nine turnovers and turned those into 29 points in a pair of road victories.

 

Kick time from Hancock Stadium is noon.

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Bucks Top Bulls

Giannis Antetokounmpo had 38 points and 15 rebounds, Eric Bledsoe added a season-high 31 points and eight assists, and the Bucks withstood another historic effort by Chicago rookie Coby White to beat the Bulls 124-115.

 

The Bucks have won seven straight against Chicago dating to 2017.

 

White shot 5 of 8 from 3-point range in the first half, becoming the youngest player in NBA history to hit five 3-pointers in consecutive games. The 19-year-old first-round pick hit seven 3-pointers in the fourth quarter of a 120-102 victory over the New York Knicks on Tuesday night - the most in a quarter ever by a rookie. White finished Thursday with 26 points, including six 3s.

 

The Bucks made just six 3s while Chicago hit 18 from long range. But Milwaukee outscored the Bulls 70-32 inside. That marked a season high in the paint for Milwaukee. Bledsoe was a perfect 12 for 12 inside the arc.

 

Wesley Matthews scored 10 of his 15 points from the foul line for Milwaukee. Matthews had just three free-throw attempts coming into the night but had 13 Thursday.

 

Zach LaVine had 25 points and seven assists before fouling out for Chicago. Wendell Carter Jr. added 14 points and six rebounds. He also fouled out.

 

Chicago had six players score in double figures - White, LaVine, Carter Jr., Lauri Markkanen, 11; Thaddeus Young, 11; and Tomas Satoransky, 10.

 

The Bulls host the Nets on Saturday.

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Bears in LA For Sunday Night Football

Sean McVay, Jared Goff and the LA Rams (5-4) host the Bears (4-5) in the Coliseum on Sunday night in a game that could wreck the loser’s realistic playoff hopes

 

Los Angeles was 11-1 and cruising through a season that would bend with a Super Bowl trip, but Vic Fangio’s defense reduced McVay’s offense to a wan shadow of its usual self. Todd Gurley produced only 28 yards rushing, Goff went 20 of 44 for 180 yards, and the Rams managed only 214 yards - less than half of their season average.

 

Chuck Pagano runs the Bears’ defense now, and it has scarcely lost a step statistically despite Chicago’s overall struggles.

 

The Rams’ offense is a shadow of its former self, sitting in the middle of the pack in most statistical categories and coming off an inept performance at Pittsburgh in which it scored only three of Los Angeles’ 12 points.

 

The Bears’ biggest concern this time around likely should be Aaron Donald and the Rams’ defense, which has been on a roll since the week before it acquired shutdown cornerback Jalen Ramsey from Jacksonville.

 

Khalil Mack will be lining up against a Rams offensive line with four of the five starters in unfamiliar positions. Los Angeles lost center Brian Allen and right tackle Rob Havenstein to injuries last week, so guard Austin Blythe moves to center and untested youngsters David Edwards, Austin Corbett and Bobby Evans likely join the starting lineup. The Rams’ line struggled against Pittsburgh even before the injuries.

 

The Bears got the win they needed last week against Detroit, ending a four-game skid with Trubisky throwing three TD passes to match his season high. But the defending NFC North champions still have plenty of room to improve. Though they scored on three consecutive possessions in the second and third quarters, the offense went long stretches without moving the ball.

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Trout, Bellinger Named MVPs

Mike Trout overcame injury and tragedy to win his third AL MVP award Thursday night, getting 17 of 30 first-place votes in balloting by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. Alex Bregman of the Houston Astros was second, and that duo combined for all the first- and second-place votes. Trout also won the award in 2014 and ’16.

 

Dodgers outfielder Cody Bellinger made it a Southern California sweep, beating out the Milwaukee Brewers’ Christian Yelich for the NL prize. Bellinger got 19 of 30 first-place votes, Yelich got 10, and Washington’s Anthony Rendon got one while finishing third. Yelich won the award last year.

 

Trout had season-ending foot surgery in September while the Angels languished to a fourth-place finish. The outfielder played just 134 games but still set a career high with 45 homers. He batted .291, led the majors with a .438 on-base percentage and drove in 104 runs.

 

The 28-year-old shined even following the death of close friend and teammate Tyler Skaggs on July 1. Trout smashed a 454-foot homer wearing Skaggs’ No. 45 in the team’s first game back, when LA pitchers threw a combined no-hitter.

 

The 24-year-old Bellinger and his loose, left-handed swing launched 47 home runs with a .305 average, 115 RBIs and a 1.035 OPS.

 

He was the best player on the NL’s top team in the regular season, propelling Los Angeles to 106 wins. He’s the 10th different Dodgers player to win MVP and first since Clayton Kershaw in 2014.

 

Bellinger won the Gold Glove Award in right field but also played center and first base. He’s the first Dodgers position player to win MVP since Kirk Gibson in 1988.

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Illinois Baseball Signs Nine on National Signing Day

The Illinois baseball team signed nine highly-rated recruits Wednesday, seven from high schools and two junior college transfers. The Fighting Illini singed five of the top-25 recruits in Illinois according to Prep Baseball Report. 

 

Official recruiting ranks will not be released until student-athletes report to campus next fall. 

6-foot-4 right handed pitcher Jack Crowder from Plainfield East High School is the no. 2 right-handed pitcher in Illinois by Perfect Game and No. 3 by Prep Baseball Report, the no. 35 right-handed pitcher in the nation by Perfect Game and No. 77 by Prep Baseball Report, the no. 4 recruit in Illinois by Perfect Game and No. 8 by Prep Baseball Report and the no. 135 recruit in the nation by Perfect Game and No. 236 by Prep Baseball Report.

 

5-11 infielder Cal Hejza from Oswego is the no. 6 shortstop in Illinois by Perfect Game and No. 9 by Prep Baseball Report, the no. 22 recruit in Illinois by Perfect Game and No. 33 by Prep Baseball Report and a top 500 recruit in the nation by Perfect Game.

 

Payton Hutchings is a 5-foot-11 left handed pitcher from Coal City and is the no. 1 left-handed pitcher in Illinois by Prep Baseball Report and No. 5 by Perfect Game, the no. 45 left-handed pitcher in the nation by Prep Baseball Report and No. 117 by Perfect Game,  the no. 12 recruit in Illinois by Prep Baseball Report and No. 39 by Perfect Game and 422nd ranked overall recruit in the nation by Prep Baseball Report.

Clayton Johnson is a towering 6-foot-8 right hander from Prophetstown. He's the no. 4 right-handed pitcher in Illinois by Prep Baseball Report and No. 10 by Perfect Game, no. 11 recruit in Illinois by Prep Baseball Report and No. 23 by Perfect Game, the no. 414 recruit in the nation by Prep Baseball Report, the no. 136 right-handed pitcher in the nation by Prep Baseball Report and a top 500 recruit in the nation by Perfect Game.

 

6-foot-3 outfielder Tom Jurack from Hinsdale Central High School is the no. 4 outfielder in Illinois by Perfect Game and No. 8 by Prep Baseball Report, the no. 157 outfielder in the nation by Perfect Game, no. 25 recruit in Illinois by Perfect Game and No. 56 by Prep Baseball Report and a top 500 recruit in the nation by Perfect Game.

 

Champaign Central outfielder Connor Milton ranks as the fourth overall outfielder in Illinois by Prep Baseball Report, the no. 74 outfielder in the nation by Prep Baseball Report, no. 14 recruit in Illinois by Prep Baseball Report, and no. 441 recruit in the nation by Prep Baseball Report.

 

Jersey Community product Tucker Shalley is the no. 7 right-handed pitcher in Illinois by Prep Baseball Report and No. 13 by Perfect Game, the no. 341 right-handed pitcher in the nation by Perfect Game, the 24th overall recruit in Illinois by Prep Baseball Report and No. 31 by Perfect Game and a top 500 recruit in the nation by Perfect Game.

 

The Illini also received letters of intent from Ryan Hampe (C) and Andrew Hoffmann (RHP) from John A. Logan CC.

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PG from New York Signs With Illinois Basketball

University of Illinois head coach Brad Underwood announced Wednesday the signing of four-star point guard Andre Curbelo to a national letter of intent on the initial day of the early signing period.

 

Curbelo helped lead Long Island Lutheran to the 2019 New York State Federation Tournament of Champions Class AA title, LuHi's first-ever Federation championship. He averaged 15.5 points, 9 assists, 8 rebounds and 4 steals during his junior season and was selected as Newsday's All-Long Island Player of the Year.

 

Ranked as high as the No. 46 player in the Class of 2020 by Rivals, Curbelo was most recently named to USA Today's 25-player 2019-20 All-USA Preseason Team entering his senior year at LuHi.

 

A native of Vega Baja, Puerto Rico, Curbelo has also gained international experience with his home country, starring for Puerto Rico in the FIBA U17 and U19 World Cups.

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Illinois State Extends Coach Steve Holm

Illinois State announced Tuesday baseball head coach Steve Holm has signed a one-year contract extension that runs through 2024. 

 

Holm led the Redbirds to a 36-26 (14-7 MVC) record and helped them earn a share of the 2019 Missouri Valley Conference regular-season title in his debut season as head coach. The 36 wins was a 14-win improvement than the year prior and the most for an Illinois State team since winning 39 in 2013. It was also the most wins for a first-year Redbird baseball head coach in program history.

 

The 'Birds earned an at-large NCAA Tournament berth in 2019 and were placed in the Louisville regional, defeating both Big Ten regular-season champion Indiana and No. 7 ranked Louisville, before ultimately falling to Louisville in the first Illinois State appearance ever in a regional final. Louisville advanced to the Final Four of the College World Series where they were defeated by eventual champions No. 1 Vanderbilt, who ISU had also beaten earlier in the year in Nashville.

 

The Redbirds open the 2020 campaign on Feb. 14 in Little Rock, Arkansas, against the Little Rock Trojans.

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Blackhawks Blast Vegas

Corey Crawford made 39 saves and the Blackhawks beat Vegas 5-3 for their first victory over the Golden Knights.

 

Calvin de Haan and Erik Gustafsson each scored his first of the season, and Patrick Kane, Kirby Dach and Dylan Strome also had goals for the Blackhawks.

 

During their nine-game run, the Blackhawks are tied with Florida for the second-most goals (30) in the NHL behind Boston, which has 35 in that span.

 

It seemed to spark the Golden Knights from the opening faceoff, as William Carrier and William Karlsson gave Vegas a 2-0 lead just 6:29 into the game.

 

But Kane answered 16 seconds after Karlsson's goal, extending his season-high point streak to seven games since Nov. 2.

 

The second period took a wild twist in favor of the Blackhawks, as Vegas went from thinking it was ahead 3-1 to trailing 3-2 in a matter of 65 seconds.

 

In his first game back from his second injury of the season, Vegas wing Alex Tuch lasered a shot past Crawford. The puck appeared to go in, setting off the lights and goal horn, but actually hit the crossbar and was ruled no goal.

 

Only 20 seconds later, de Haan beat Marc-Andre Fleury with a wrist shot over his glove to tie the game and swing energy further Chicago's way. And 45 seconds after that, Gustafsson took advantage of the momentum shift - and a Vegas turnover - to put the Blackhawks in front 3-2.

 

Dach extended Chicago's lead early in the third with his third goal of the season, when the 18-year-old knocked his own rebound past Fleury, who stopped 21 shots but dropped to 10-6-4 against Chicago.

 

Strome beat Fleury over his glove with a little more than three minutes left to make it 5-2. Nate Schmidt closed the scoring with 1:01 to go.

 

The Blackhawks are in Nashville on Saturday.

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Mets' deGrom, Astros' Verlander Collect Second Cy Young Awards

Justin Verlander has a second AL Cy Young Award — and a clear path paved toward Cooperstown.

Verlander beat out Houston Astros teammate Gerrit Cole in balloting by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America revealed Wednesday night. Verlander got 17 first-place votes to 13 for Cole, who became a free agent after the season.

 

Mets ace Jacob deGrom won the NL prize for the second straight year. He received 29 of 30 first-place votes, becoming the 11th pitcher to win Cy Youngs in consecutive years. He and Verlander are the 20th and 21st players to win the award multiple times.

 

The 36-year-old Verlander won his first Cy Young in 2011 with Detroit, when he was also named MVP. Since then, he’d been a runner-up three times.

Verlander no-hit Toronto on Sept. 1, becoming the sixth pitcher with three no-hitters in a career.

 

DeGrom is in special company as a repeat NL winner, joining Koufax, Greg Maddux, Randy Johnson, Tim Lincecum, Clayton Kershaw and Max Scherzer.

 

The 31-year-old led the NL with 255 strikeouts and posted a 2.43 ERA.

 

Awards week wraps Thursday with the announcement of AL and NL MVPs. Angels star Mike Trout is seeking his third MVP but might lose out after his season was cut short due to injury. Astros infielder Alex Bregman and A’s shortstop Marcus Semien are the other finalists in the AL.

 

Brewers outfielder Christian Yelich is trying to repeat as the NL winner, but his season was also cut short by an injury. It’ll likely be him or Dodgers youngster Cody Bellinger. Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon is also a finalist.

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Cardinals Schildt Wins Manager of the Year

Less than a week after his mother died, Mike Shildt was honored for piloting the St. Louis Cardinals back into the playoffs, narrowly beating Craig Counsell of the Milwaukee Brewers to win NL Manager of the Year.

 

Shildt earned the award in his first full season on the job, even though Counsell received more first-place votes (13-10) from the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.

 

Minnesota Twins manager Rocco Baldelli won the AL prize in a tight finish over Aaron Boone of the New York Yankees. Both received 13 first-place votes, but Baldelli got more second-place nods (13-9). The 38-year-old is the youngest to win the award.

 

The 51-year-old is the first manager of the year who never played pro ball, but he’s been around the game since he was a child. His mom worked as an administrative assistant for the Charlotte O’s in the Baltimore Orioles’ system, and Shildt was a regular in the clubhouse.

 

Shildt replaced Mike Matheny as Cardinals manager during the 2018 season, and under his steady guidance, St. Louis has been among baseball’s best teams since. The club won 91 games and the NL Central crown this year, ending the franchise’s three-year postseason drought. The Cardinals gave Shildt a contract extension through the 2022 season.

 

Baldelli and Shildt are the eighth and ninth managers to win this award in their first full seasons on the job.

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Bulls Down Knicks

Coby White made a franchise-record seven 3-pointers in the fourth quarter, and the Chicago Bulls pulled away from the slumping New York Knicks for a 120-102 victory Tuesday.

 

White missed his first five shots from the field and began the final period with just four points. But the 19-year-old rookie put on a dazzling show down the stretch, delighting a United Center crowd that included Roy Williams, White's coach at the University of North Carolina.

 

White connected from deep on three straight Chicago possessions during a 24-2 run that made it 109-89 with 5:51 remaining. He made one last 3 to run the Bulls' lead out to 120-100 before checking out with 1:31 to go.

 

White finished with 27 points. Zach LaVine had 25 for Chicago, and Wendell Carter Jr. finished with 17 points and 12 rebounds.

 

New York lost for the sixth time in seven games. Marcus Morris scored 22 points for the Knicks, and rookie RJ Barrett finished with 21 points and nine assists. Taj Gibson and Julius Randle each scored 17 points.

 

The Bulls visit the Milwaukee Bucks on Thursday night.

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Pacers Blow By Thunder

TJ Warren scored 11 of his 23 points in the third quarter to lead the Indiana Pacers over the Oklahoma City Thunder 111-85 Tuesday night.

 

Malcolm Brogdon had 20 points, six rebounds and five assists, and Domantas Sabonis had 18 points and 16 rebounds for the surging Pacers (7-4), who have won seven of eight, including four straight.

 

It was Warren who provided the spark needed to put the game out of reach, shooting 5 for 5 from the field in the third quarter and 10 for 14 overall.

 

The Pacers used a big third quarter - including 71.4 percent shooting - to take a 26-point lead and put the game away.

 

Aaron Holiday hit two 3-pointers and Warren made another in a 15-2 run that ended with Doug McDermott's layup to put Indiana ahead 84-58 with 1:49 to go.

 

McDermott hit a 3-pointer to make it 99-68 with 7:19 to play.

 

Danilo Gallinari scored 14 points, Deonte Burton had 13 points and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander had 11 points and six rebounds for the Thunder (4-7), who have lost three of four and remained winless on the road.

The Pacers first pulled away with a 12-2 run in the first quarter. TJ Leaf's layup gave Indiana a 28-18 lead, and the Pacers led by 15 after a jumper by Brogdon made it 52-37 with 1:58 remaining in the half.

The Thunder scored five straight points, including a 3-pointer by Gilgeous-Alexander, to close out the first half. The Pacers led 52-42 at halftime.

 

The Pacers were 10 for 10 from the foul line through the first three quarters and finished 12 for 13 overall. The Thunder were 19 for 20 after three quarters, finishing 21 for 24 from the line. Gallinari shot a perfect 8 for 8 on free throws.

 

Victor Oladipo was assigned to Indiana's G League affiliate in Fort Wayne for a brief period Tuesday. The two-time All-Star was then recalled following a practice with the Mad Ants in Indianapolis, where Oladipo participated in full court drills for the first time, according to Coach Nate McMillan. Oladipo has been out all season as he rehabs a ruptured quad tendon in his right knee suffered in January.

 

The Pacers travel to Houston on Friday. The Rockets have won four straight after a sweep of the regular season series the last two years.

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Arizona Outlasts St. Louis

Nick Schmaltz and Conor Garland scored in a shootout, and the Coyotes snapped the St. Louis Blues' seven-game winning streak with a 3-2 victory Tuesday night.

 

The Coyotes landed at 1 a.m. Tuesday after flying in from Washington, but waited more than two hours on the tarmac because there was no crew available to unload the plane. They finally got to their hotel rooms around 3:30 a.m.

 

Garland's power-play goal tied it 2-all at 5:58 of the third period. St. Louis native Clayton Keller had a goal and an assist against his hometown team.

 

Jaden Schwartz and Colton Parayko scored for the Blues, but the defending Stanley Cup champions dropped to 0-2 in shootouts this season.

 

Arizona improved to 3-0 in tiebreakers after winning in a shootout for the second consecutive night. The Coyotes topped Washington 4-3 on Monday.

 

Schmaltz is 4 for 6 in shootouts during his career. Garland is 3 for 4.

 

Darcy Kuemper made 33 saves for Arizona.

 

St. Louis goalie Jordan Binnington stopped 20 shots.

 

The Blues are at the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday.

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College Football Playoff Committee Jumps LSU To No. 1

Alabama is fifth in the latest College Football Playoff rankings, behind LSU, Ohio State, Clemson and Georgia, which took over the fourth spot in the selection committee’s second top 25.

 

LSU replaced Ohio State as No. 1 on Tuesday night after the Tigers won at Alabama on Saturday. The Buckeyes were bumped to No. 2. Clemson moved up two spots to No. 3 after two teams ahead of the Tigers lost for the first time last week, including Alabama.

 

The Crimson Tide fell to 46-41 to LSU and dropped two spots. Penn State, which had been No. 4, lost 31-26 at Minnesota and fell to ninth. The unbeaten Gophers climbed nine spots to eighth, the largest one-week jump in the six-year history of the College Football Playoff.

 

Georgia moved up two spots to give the Southeastern Conference two of the top four for the second straight week.

 

Oregon was sixth and fellow Pac-12 team Utah was seventh.

 

Oklahoma, the highest-ranked Big 12 team at No. 10, dropped a spot after a one-point victory against Iowa State. The Sooners face 13th-ranked Baylor on Saturday. The Bears are the lowest-ranked unbeaten team.

 

The highest-ranked Group of Five teams were 17th-ranked Cincinnati and 18th-ranked Memphis out of the American Athletic Conference. The highest-ranked team from outside the Power Five conferences receives an automatic bid to a New Year’s Six bowl.

 

The final rankings and pairings for the College Football Playoff semifinal will be revealed Dec. 8.

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Cardinals, Wainwright Agree on One Year Deal

The St. Louis Cardinals and Adam Wainwright have agreed to a contract for the 2020 season, increasing the likelihood the veteran pitcher finishes his career with the only major league team for which he has ever played.

 

The 38-year-old Wainwright was drafted by the Braves in 2000 and traded to the Cardinals three years later. He made his major league debut in 2005 and has been a stalwart for St. Louis the past 14 seasons, going 162-95 with a 3.39 ERA and three All-Star game appearances.

 

He played last season on a $2 million deal and proved he was still effective, going 14-10 with a 4.19 ERA while helping the Cardinals reach the National League Championship Series.

 

Wainwright was especially valuable down the stretch. He had a 2.97 ERA in September and a 1.62 ERA in the postseason, where the Cardinals were ousted by eventual World Series champion Washington.

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Illinois Freshman Big Man Big Ten Freshman of the Week

Illinois' Kofi Cockburn was named Big Ten Freshman of the Week on Monday, the conference office announced. Cockburn had an impressive debut with the Fighting Illini, averaging a double-double on the week while helping lead the team to a 2-1 record.

 

Cockburn becomes the first Illini freshman in 37 years to record double-doubles in each of his first two games.

 

His 10 points and game-high 11 rebounds with 2 blocks came in the Illini's season-opening win over Nicholls State then recorded his second-straight double-double with game-highs of 23 points and 14 rebounds on 8-12 FG in just 23 minutes in the 12-point win at Grand Canyon.

 

Cockburn was held to just 9 points, 7 rebounds and 2 blocks at #21 Arizona yesterday.

Illinois returns to action next Monday. 

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Illini Duo Players of the Week

Illinois' Josh Imatorbhebhe and Sydney Brown were named Big Ten Players of the Week on Monday, the conference office announced. Imatorbhebhe and Brown helped the Fighting Illini upset Michigan State, 37-34, with the biggest comeback in Illinois history after trailing 28-3 in the first half. 

 

Both players shared honors on their side of the ball with players from Minnesota, which beat No. 4 Penn State to remain undefeated. Imatorbhebhe shared Offensive Player of the Week honors with quarterback Tanner Morgan, who threw for 339 yards and three touchdowns, while Brown shared defensive honors with Antoine Winfield Jr., who had 11 tackles and two interceptions. 

 

Imatorbehebhe's four receptions for a career-high 178 yards and two touchdowns at Michigan State were the most receiving yards by an opponent at Spartan Stadium since at least 2000 and the most by an Illinois player ever in the 47-game series history against Michigan State

 

He had a 46-yard touchdown reception as time expired in the first half and an 83-yard touchdown to start the fourth quarter.

 

Imatorbhebhe hauled in a 37-yard reception on 4th and 17 on the Illini's game-winning touchdown drive in the final minutes.
 
His nine touchdown receptions this season are tied for the third-most in program history, one away from tying the Illinois single-season record of 10 set by Brandon Lloyd (2001) and David Williams (1985).

 

Brown's 13 tackles included a game-high eight solo stops and a career-high two interceptions.

His first pick came late in the first half to set up an Illini offensive touchdown on the last play of the first half then returned his second interception 76 yards for his first career touchdown during the Illini's 27-point fourth quarter.

 

Brown was the second consecutive Illini to be named Defense Player of the Week. Dele Harding was last week's recipient after his big game helped Illinois to a runaway win over Rutgers. 

Illinois is off this week. 

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ISUs Copeland Named Missouri Valley Basketball Player of the Week

Illinois State senior Zach Copeland has been named the Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Week, announced by the conference office on Monday afternoon.

 

The award is the first for Copeland, who earned one MVC Newcomer of the Week honor a season ago.

The Oakland, California, native averaged 19.5 points per game during the week in which Illinois State started a season 2-0 for the first time since 2012-13. He made 56 percent of his shots from the field (14-of-25) and 42 percent (5-of-12) from long range. He also pulled down six rebounds, dished out nine assists and had five steals over the two games.

 

Copeland scored 20 points in the season opener against Belmont, making 8-of-16 shots from the field and 2-of-6 from long range, and he also added five assists (just one turnover), six rebounds, and three steals. Four days later against Little Rock, he scored 19 points on 6-of-9 shooting from the field and was 3-of-6 from three-point distance. Against the Trojans, he dished out four assists and picked up a pair of steals. Copeland is currently the only player in the MVC to rank inside of the top-10 in the MVC in scoring, assists, and steals.

 

The Redbirds return to action on Sunday, Nov. 17, when the team plays host to the UCF Knights with a 1 p.m. tip-off at Redbird Arena.

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ISU Duo Missouri Valley Players of the Week

With exceptional performances that aided No. 11 Illinois State in a road defeat of No. 4 South Dakota State, junior linebacker Dylan Draka and senior placekicker Sam Fenlason were each named Missouri Valley Football Conference Players of the Week Sunday by the league office.

 

Draka recorded five tackles, including four solo stops, and tallied three TFLs in the victory over the Jackrabbits. The Wheeling, Illinois, native was also credited with a forced fumble, a pass breakup and recovered a pair of fumbles for the Redbirds. His sack/fumble and recovery late in the fourth quarter set up Fenlason's fourth field goal of the contest to make the score 27-18. 

 

Fenlason tied his career-high with four made field goals in the win over the Jackrabbits, including a career-long 46-yarder to seal the victory. 

 

The nationally-ranked Redbirds (7-3, 4-2 MVFC) return home Saturday to host Missouri State (1-8, 1-5 MVFC) on Senior Day at Hancock Stadium, with kickoff set for noon. 

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Kentucky College Basketball's New No. 1

Kentucky is back in a familiar position under John Calipari: No. 1 in The Associated Press men’s college basketball poll.

 

The Wildcats rose one spot after winning a 1-vs-2 matchup with Michigan State to open the season in the Champions Classic, followed by an easy win against Eastern Kentucky. They earned 64 of 65 first-place votes in Monday’s poll to finish ahead of No. 2 Duke.

 

It marks the first time the Wildcats (2-0) have reached No. 1 in the AP Top 25 since spending two weeks there early in the 2016-17 season.

 

The same five teams were at the top of the poll, just in reshuffled order.

 

Duke climbed two spots to No. 2 after winning a top-4 matchup against Kansas at the Classic. The Blue Devils were ranked second on 48 ballots, third on 13 more and no lower than fifth on any ballot.

 

The Spartans were No. 1 in the AP preseason poll for the first time in program history entering the Kentucky game but fell to third, followed by Louisville — which claimed the remaining first-place vote — and Kansas.

 

North Carolina, Maryland, Gonzaga, reigning national champion Virginia and Villanova rounded out the top 10.

 

Twelve teams moved up in the poll, with Duke, Virginia, No. 11 Texas Tech, No. 16 Ohio State, No. 18 St. Mary’s, No. 19 Arizona and No. 22 Auburn all moving up two spots.

 

Florida and Baylor took big tumbles after opening-week losses.

 

The Gators had the biggest fall, sliding nine spots to No. 15 after Sunday’s loss to Florida State. The Bears fell eight spots to No. 24 after losing to now-No. 20 Washington in Friday’s Armed Forces Classic in Anchorage, Alaska.

 

Six ranked teams fell in the poll, though two — No. 21 Xavier (two spots) and No. 23 LSU (one spot) fell despite emerging from the week unscathed.

 

Purdue (No. 23) and VCU (No. 25) fell out of the poll, though the Rams won both their games last week and trailed Colorado by just 14 points in the voting.

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Mets' Alonso, Astros' Alvarez Win Rookie of the Year

Young sluggers known for their prodigious power, Pete Alonso and Yordan Álvarez knocked the Rookie of the Year voting out of the park.

 

In a rarity for the major league home run leader, Alonso didn’t land the biggest blow.

 

Alonso, a star first baseman with the New York Mets, got 29 of 30 first-place votes for NL Rookie of the Year. Braves right-hander Mike Soroka got the other first-place vote and finished second in balloting by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America revealed Monday night.

 

Álvarez, a hulking designated hitter from the Houston Astros, earned all 30 first-place votes to become the 24th unanimous selection since the award was introduced in 1949.

 

The 24-year-old Alonso led the majors with 53 homers, one better than Yankees slugger Aaron Judge’s rookie record from 2017. “Polar Bear” Pete became the face of baseball in Flushing, beloved for his power, personality and philanthropy. He’s the sixth Met to win the award and first since teammate Jacob deGrom in 2014.

 

Álvarez, a 22-year-old from Cuba, played 87 games after debuting in June, fewest by any position player to win AL Rookie of the Year. He hit 27 homers, batted .313, drove in 78 and had a 1.067 OPS for the pennant-winning Astros. He struggled at times in the postseason, but that was after voting had concluded.

 

He’s the third Houston player to win, following teammate Carlos Correa in 2015 and Hall of Famer Jeff Bagwell in 1991.

 

Álvarez easily beat out the other AL finalists, with Orioles left-hander John Means second and Rays infielder Brandon Lowe third.

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Arizona Pulls Away Late From Illinois

Nico Mannion scored 23 points, Josh Green added 20 and Zeke Nnaji had 19 in No. 21 Arizona's 90-69 rout over Illinois on Sunday night.

 

Arizona (2-0) was good at both ends, shooting 56% while nabbing 14 steals. The Wildcats turned a tight game at halftime into a rout with a 17-2 second-half run behind Mannion, Green and Nnaji.

 

Nnaji made 9 of 12 shots, Mannion had nine assists and Green was 4 for 7 from 3-point range.

 

Illinois (2-1) was able to hang with the Wildcats in the first half of a high-level game with more than two dozen NBA scouts on hand.

 

The Illini went cold in the second half and struggled holding onto the ball, turning it over 22 times.

Ayo Dosunmu led Illinois with 15 points and Trent Frazier added 14.

 

Illinois made seven of its first eight shots and Frazier had eight points in the first 4 1/2 minutes.

Mannion matched him, scoring on a 3, a floater, a putback and set up Nnaji for a dunk with a baseball pass in traffic .

 

The offensive show continued the rest of the half. Frazier had 12 points and Illinois hit 15 of 27 shots.

Mannion had 11 points, Arizona went 16 for 30 and led 39-38 on Max Hazard's last-second 3-pointer .

Arizona tightened up on defense to start the second half and went on an early 8-0 run to go up nine.

Illinois answered with a 7-0 run, but Arizona's freshman took over and the Wildcats scored 15 straight points to go up 68-52.

 

Illinois went 5:11 without a field goal during the run and shot 10 of 26 in the second half.

 

Kofi Cockburn, Illinois's 7-foot freshman, finished with nine points and seven rebounds.

 

Illinois hosts Hawaii on Nov. 18.

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