Local Sports

Pontiac Holds Off Monticello

A frantic Monticello rally fell short against Pontiac Friday night as the Indians escaped with a 65-63 win in Illini Prairie Conference boys basketball action from Monticello High School. 

 

The Indians matched their biggest lead of the night with two free throws from Max Gschwendtner (shwent-ner) at 49-35 with 4:49 to play and from there Monticello used a bevy of three-pointers matched with Pontiac turnovers while sending Pontiac to the line but the Indians made free throws down the stretch to just hold off the frantic rally by Monticello. 

 

A Ben Cresap three with 1:59 left to cut the deficit to 51-46. An Ethan Miller three brought Monticello to 57-55. Two more free throws from Gschwendtner gave Pontiac a 59-55 lead then Miller drilled another three to bring the Sages within 59-58. Ryan Weir made two free throws for Pontiac to make the score 61-58 but the Sages scrambling offense failed to get a good shot on the ensuing possession and two more Weir free throws brought the score to 63-58. Garrett Kepley made a three with ten seconds left. Carter Dawson made two free throws to seal the win but not before another three from Kepley with two seconds left was the final margin 65-63.

 

Pontiac shot 30-for-35 from the foul line on the night. Monticello managed just four field goals in the third quarter and was outscored 14-8. 

 

The Indians shot 59-percent from the floor. 

 

Monticello turned 18 Pontiac turnovers into 27 points and scored 32 points in the paint to Pontiac’s 18 points. 

 

The Sages handed out 13 assists to just eight turnovers. 

 

Pontiac moves to 10-10 overall and 2-2 in the Illini Prairie Conference. Monticello is now 12-9 and 1-2 in league play.

 

Hear more boys basketball action Tuesday night when the Sages travel to St. Joe-Ogden for a 7 pm conference matchup. Hear it on 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com.

 

Hear Monticello girls basketball Monday night at Tolono Unity at 7 pm also on 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com.

 

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Maroons Open CIC Play Tomorrow

The boy's basketball Central Illinois Conference tournament opens Saturday afternoon from Central A&M High School.

 

The Clinton Maroons are the tournaments seventh-seed and will play second-seeded Tuscola at 6 pm.

 

The CIC tournament does not count towards teams' conference records but the Maroons have a chance to get on track in the next week as they are 1-3 in conference play and 5-17 overall. Tuscola is 3-1 in conference play and are 18-1.

 

The final game of the tournament for Clinton can be heard on 92.3 FM/106.5 FM WHOW and online at dewittdailynews.com, the WHOW mobile app and at Amazon Alexa.

 

Other CIC tournament action Saturday...

 

Sullivan

Central A&M 3:00 PM

 

Warrensburg-Latham

Macon Meridian 4:30 PM

 

Shelbyville

Decatur St. Teresa 7:30 PM

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Monticello Hosts Pontiac Tonight

The Monticello Sages look to continue to play good basketball tonight when they host Pontiac in Illini Prairie Conference boys basketball action from Miller Gym at Monticello High School. 

 

The Sages have won five of their last seven as they enter action 12-8 overall and a 1-1 conference mark. Monticello held off Rantoul, 56-43 Tuesday night. 

 

Pontiac is 9-10 and 1-2 in the Illini Prairie Conference. 

 

Game time tonight is 7 pm and can be heard on 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com.

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No. 19 Illinois Holds Off Minnesota

Andres Feliz scored 17 points while Ayo Dosunmu and Kofi Cockburn added 13 each as Illinois overcame poor shooting to beat Minnesota 59-51.

 

Both teams shot poorly. The Illini shot 33% and the Golden Gophers made 32% of their attempts from the field.

 

The Fighting Illini (16-5, 8-2 Big Ten) is tied with No. 14 Michigan State atop the Big Ten standings at the midway mark of the conference’s regular season.

 

Daniel Oturu led the Golden Gophers (11-10, 5-6) with a game-high 20 points and Alihan Demir added eight points.

 

Minnesota rallied from a seven-point deficit with three minutes to play to pull within one point with 1:43 left on Orturu’s layup. Giorgi Bezhanishvili was fouled with 1:30 left and made both free throws. Feliz later made two free throws to help seal the win.

 

Illinois went on a 6-0 run midway through the first half on Trent Frazier’s two 3-pointers to take a 17-11 game. The Illini would not trail again.

 

The Gophers used a 7-0 run in the second half to pull within four points before Illinois sealed the victory.

 

Illinois was 14 of 16 from the foul line and Minnesota was 10 of 12.

 

Illinois play at No. 18 Iowa on Sunday.

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Lady Maroons Place Fourth in CIC Tournament

As heard on WHOW, the Clinton Lady Maroons fell to the Tuscola Lady Warriors by a score of 51-46 on Thursday night in the Central Illinois Conference Tournament from Shelbyville High School. The Lady Maroons were led by sophomore Mallory Cyrulik with 22 points.

 

Tuscola was led by Brynn Tabeling with 20 points. Marissa Russo had 15.

 

With the loss, the Lady Maroons fall to 15-13. Tuscola improves to 14-9.

 

Tune in next week as we broadcast the final Clinton Maroons game from the Central Illinois Conference boys basketball tournament at Central A&M. You can hear the game live on the Big 1520 AM/92.3 FM/106.5 FM WHOW, online at dewittdailynews.com, on the WHOW app, and on Amazon Alexa.

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Lady Maroons Go For Third at CIC Tournament on WHOW

The Clinton Lady Maroons will go for third place tonight at the Central Illinois Conference girls basketball tournament from Shelbyville High School.

 

The Lady Maroons pulled off the tournament's biggest upset in the finale of opening day with a win over Central A&M, 47-37. Decatur St. Teresa topped the Clinton Tuesday to advance to the tournament's championship game tonight, 47-37. 

 

The Lady Maroons will take on Tuscola for third starting at 6 pm tonight. Clinton is 15-12 overall while Tuscola is 13-9. The Lady Warriors downed Clinton on December 5, 51-39. 

 

Hear the action on 92.3 FM/106.5 FM WHOW, at dewittdailynews.com, at the WHOW mobile app, and at Amazon Alexa.

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Illinois State Tops Evansville

Jaycee Hillsman had a season-high 20 points as Illinois State snapped its seven-game losing streak, beating Evansville 77-66 on Wednesday night.

 

Keith Fisher III had 16 points and nine rebounds for Illinois State (7-14, 2-7 Missouri Valley Conference). Antonio Reeves added 12 points. Zach Copeland had 11 points seven rebounds and seven assists.

 

Sam Cunliffe had 15 points and nine rebounds for the Purple Aces (9-13, 0-

9), whose losing streak reached nine games. John Hall added 13 points. K.J. Riley had 10 points.

Illinois State plays Valparaiso on the road on Saturday. 

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Bradley Drops Valpo

Ja’Shon Henry had a career-high 21 points as Bradley defeated Valparaiso 80-69 on Wednesday night.

 

Darrell Brown had 17 points for Bradley (15-7, 6-3 Missouri Valley Conference). Nate Kennell added 15 points and eight rebounds. Koch Bar had 11 points and 10 rebounds.

 

Javon Freeman-Liberty had 21 points and seven rebounds for the Crusaders (11-11, 4-5). Donovan Clay added 15 points. Ryan Fazekas had 14 points.

 

Bradley takes on Loyola of Chicago on the road on Saturday. 

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Illinois Hosts Minnesota Tonight

No. 19 Illinois presents a tough challenge for Minnesota. Minnesota has won two of its four games against ranked teams this season. Illinois has won its last six games against conference opponents as the two meet up tonight from the State Farm Center in Champaign.

 

 

Minnesota’s Daniel Oturu, Alihan Demir and Payton Willis have collectively scored 49 percent of the team’s points this season and have accounted for 51 percent of all Golden Gophers scoring over the last five games.

 

The Fighting Illini have given up just 61.1 points per game across nine conference games, an improvement from the 68 per game they gave up to non-conference opponents.

 

Ayo Dosunmu has made or assisted on 55 percent of all Illinois field goals over the last three games. Dosunmu has accounted for 24 field goals and 19 assists in those games. Dosunmu also made the game-winner on the road Saturday at Michigan. 

 

Illinois is ranked eighth among Division I teams with an offensive rebound percentage of 37.2 percent. The Fighting Illini have averaged 12.7 offensive boards per game.

 

Game time tonight is 6:30 pm local time from the State Farm Center and can be seen on FOXSports1.

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Cubs Bryant Loses Service-Time Grievance

Kris Bryant has lost his service-time grievance against the Chicago Cubs, providing some clarity for the team and the All-Star third baseman with spring training on the horizon.

 

The grievance had hovered over Chicago throughout its quiet offseason. The decision means the 28-year-old Bryant has two years left before he is eligible for free agency, instead of becoming a free agent after the 2020 season.

 

Now that Bryant’s status is settled, the Cubs might decide to trade the 2016 National League MVP for financial flexibility and an injection of talent for their sagging minor league system. They also could keep the talented slugger in hopes of winning the wide-open NL Central for the third time in five years.

 

Bryant is slated to make $18.6 million this season after he avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year contract on Jan. 10. The first full-squad workout for the Cubs is scheduled for Feb. 17.

Bryant starred at the University of San Diego before he was selected by Chicago with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2013 amateur draft.

 

He rocketed through the Cubs’ farm system and made his major league debut on April 17, 2015. That timing left him able to accrue 171 days of major league service that season, one day shy of a full year of service. In his grievance, the Las Vegas native contended he was held in the minors in a deliberate effort to delay free-agent eligibility, which requires six years of major league service, and the Cubs’ action violated baseball’s collective bargaining agreement.

 

Bryant hit .275 with 26 homers and 99 RBIs in his first season, helping Chicago make the playoffs for the first time since 2008 and winning the NL Rookie of the Year award. He hit 39 homers and scored an NL-high 121 runs in 2016, leading the Cubs to their first World Series championship since 1908.

 

Bryant batted .282 with 31 homers, 77 RBIs and 108 runs last year, but Chicago finished third in the division and missed the playoffs. He was hampered by right knee soreness for part of the summer, and then missed the end of the season with a sprained right ankle.

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Oladipo Keys Pacers Past Bulls in Return

Victor Oladipo capped his first contest in more than a year by making a game-tying 3-pointer with 10 seconds left, and the Indiana Pacers went on to beat Chicago Bulls 115-106 in overtime.

 

Oladipo returned for the first time since last January, when he left the court on a stretcher with a ruptured quad tendon in his right knee. He spent the next 12 months fighting his way through what he called excruciating pain.

 

Before the game, coach Nate McMillan said Oladipo would come off the bench, be limited to 24 minutes and not play in back-to-back games. That will remain the plan until after the All-Star break.

At times, Oladipo understandably looked rusty and out of sync. But when his team needed it most, the Pacers' biggest star delivered on a night full of emotion.

 

Oladipo scored nine points and had four assists and two rebounds in 21 minutes, going 2 of 8 from the field and 1 of 7 on 3s.

 

But it was the one 3 that capped a 7-0 rally over the final 2 1/2 minutes of regulation and tied the game, providing the jolt of energy Indiana desperately needed. Malcolm Brogdon scored seven of his 15 points in the extra period.

 

Zach LaVine had one chance to win it with a 7-foot runner at the end of regulation, but he lost the ball on the way up and it rolled out of bounds as the buzzer sounded.

 

Brogdon took care of the rest.

 

He scored five points in a 9-2 run to open the overtime then sealed the win with a dunk with 1:16 left. Brogdon had nine rebounds and eight assists. T.J. Warren had 25 points to lead the Pacers.

 

Chandler Hutchison scored a career-high 21 points for the Bulls. LaVine added 20 for Chicago, which lost its eighth straight in the series.

 

Thaddeus Young scored 16 points and Cristiano Felicio had 11 points and eight rebounds. 

 

Chicago was 6 of 33 on 3s and had 18 turnovers.

 

The Bulls had a two-game winning streak end and have now lost eight straight in Indianapolis.

Domantas Sabonis had 15 points, 11 rebounds, his 37th double-double this season. Justin Holiday finished with 13 points and Jeremy Lamb had 10 points and five rebounds. Rookie Goga Bitadze had 10 points.

 

Indiana was 7 of 27 on 3s but made three of its last four.  Myles Turner sat out with the flu.

 

Chicago makes the second stop on its three-game trip Friday at Brooklyn.

 

Indiana hosts New York on Saturday, looking for its eighth consecutive victory in the series.

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Latest Top 10 High School Basketball Polls

Central A&M slipped a spot in the latest Class 1A boy basketball top 10 polls.

 

The Raiders moved down to No. 3 in the latest polls ahead of next week's Central Illinois Conference tournament. Tuscola checked in at No. 8, unchanged from last week's 2A poll. 

 

Lincoln fell to No. 9 despite a win this week in the 3A poll. 

 

Normal U-High is No. 6 in this week's 2A poll, down from No. 5 last week. 

 

Peoria Notre Dame moved up to No. 4 in this week's poll in 3A.

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Illinois State Hosts Evansville

Illinois State will look for its 10th straight win in the head-to-head series over Evansville. 

 

In its last nine wins against the Purple Aces (9-12, 0-8), Illinois State (6-14, 1-7) has won by an average of 9 points. Evansville’s last win in the series came on Jan. 15, 2016, a 66-55 victory.

 

Evansville has relied heavily on its seniors. K.J. Riley, Sam Cunliffe, Artur Labinowicz and John Hall have combined to account for 55 percent of the team’s scoring this year and 68 percent of all Purple Aces points over the team’s last five games.

 

Zach Copeland has accounted for 48 percent of all Illinois State field goals over the last five games. The senior guard has 34 field goals and 17 assists in those games.

 

Evansville has dropped its last five road games. Illinois State has lost its last three home games, scoring an average of 56 points while giving up 62.3.

 

Game time is 7 pm from Redbird Arena. 

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Blues Outlast Flames in Shootout

Up against a team he's always thrived against and in a building he enjoys playing in, David Perron had a goal and an assist in regulation and added a shootout goal to help the St. Louis Blues beat the Calgary Flames 5-4 on Tuesday night.

 

Perron has 17 goals in 39 career games against the Flames, including 12 goals in 20 games at the Scotiabank Saddledome.

 

Alex Steen, Jaden Schwartz and Zach Sanford also scored in regulation for the Blues, who got their first win the tiebreaker in four games this season. Jordan Binnington stopped 27 shots to improve to 23-8-5.

 

Sean Monahan scored twice, and Matthew Tkachuk and Mark Jankowski also had goals for the Flames, who were 5-0 in shootouts. Cam Talbot finished with 30 saves.

 

The Flames were 3 for 3 on the power play during regulation, and got a fourth man-advantage in overtime, but squandered it.

 

Perron and Ryan O'Reilly scored on St. Louis' first two shootout attempts, while Monahan and Tkachuk missed their tries.

 

In a wild back-and-forth game in which both teams blew two leads, St. Louis tied it 4-4 less than a minute into the third period.

 

After Andrew Mangiapane hit the goal post at one end, the Blues raced up ice on a 2-on-1 with Sanford keeping the puck and ripping a shot over Talbot's glove.

 

St. Louis then scored what appeared to be the go-ahead goal less than three minutes later when Talbot muffed Perron's shot off the wing. However, interim head coach Geoff Ward challenged the play for offside and after video review, the goal was waved off.

 

After taking a 3-2 lead after 20 minutes, thanks to two goals in the final couple minutes of the first period, the Blues' second lead of the night was erased at 4:40 of the second when Monahan scored off a pass from Johnny Gaudreau, for Calgary's third power-play goal.

 

Five minutes later, the Flames surged back in front when Jankowski converted a centering feed from Sam Bennett. It was the second goal in two games for Jankowski after he started the season without a goal in the first 38 games.

 

Calgary had a chance to go up by two, but on his second breakaway of the period, Gaudreau was thwarted once again by Binnington. After a deke to his backhand didn't work on his first try, he tried to shoot high blocker side, but again was denied by the Blues' goalie, who also got a pad on the rebound.

 

St. Louis opened the scoring at 5:45 of the first. Oliver Kylington gave the puck away to Steen, who worked a width-of-the-ice give-and-go with Robert Thomas, with Steen finishing for his fifth goal of the season.

 

After power-play goals five minutes apart by Tkachuk and Monahan put Calgary in front, Perron tied it with 1:19 left. Schwartz's deflection 8 seconds into a man-advantage made it 3-2 just 44 seconds later.

 

The Blues are at Edmonton on Friday night.

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Sages Earn First Illini Prairie Win Against Rantoul

As heard on WEZC, the Monticello Sages defeated Rantoul by a score of 56-43 on Tuesday night at Miller Gymnasium. The Sages were led by Garrett Kepley with 14 points. Ryan Reeder had 12.

 

Rantoul was led by Deonta Space with 12 points. Colin Wilkerson also chipped in with 10 points.

 

Monticello improves to 12-8 overall and 1-1 in the Illini Prairie Conference. Rantoul falls to 3-15 on the season and 1-2 in conference play.

 

Tune in Friday, January 31, as Monticello takes on Pontiac. You can hear the game live on Your Easy Choice 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com. Tipoff is set for 7 pm.

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Monticello Hosts Rantoul Tonight

The Monticello Sages are looking to stay on track tonight when they host Rantoul in Illini Prairie Conference boys basketball action at Monticello High School.

 

The Sages have won three of their last five games, including a Saturday win over Meridian, 78-56. The win improved Monticello to 11-8 overall. 

 

Rantoul enters action 3-14 and 1-1 in Illini Prairie Conference action. 

 

Game time tonight is 7 pm, hear the action on 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com. 

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Bulls Edge Spurs

Zach LaVine scored 14 of his 23 points in the fourth quarter, including two clutch foul shots with 2.1 seconds left, and the Chicago Bulls beat the San Antonio Spurs 110-109 on Monday night.

 

The 24-year-old LaVine, making a bid for his first All-Star appearance, extended his streak of games with at least 20 points to 15, matching his career best. He went 4 for 8 from the field in the fourth after missing 11 of his first 14 shots.

 

LaVine won an entertaining duel with DeMar DeRozan after Chicago trailed by 10 heading into the final period. DeRozan tied it at 108 on a tough fadeaway jumper with 8.6 seconds left, but LaVine responded with two free throws after he was fouled by Jakob Poetl on a drive to the basket.

 

San Antonio had one last chance, and DeRozan was fouled by Kris Dunn on a long jumper with 0.2 seconds to go. DeRozan made the first free throw, missed the second and grabbed the rebound, but was unable to get a shot off before time expired.

 

Chicago placed seven players in double figures in its third win in four games. Denzel Valentine scored 16 points, and Thaddeus Young and Tomas Satoransky each added 13.

 

DeRozan had 36 points and 10 rebounds for San Antonio. Patty Mills made six 3-pointers and finished with 25 points.

 

The Spurs played without forward LaMarcus Aldridge, who was sidelined by a sprained right thumb. The 34-year-old Aldridge stayed in San Antonio after he had 10 points and 10 rebounds during Sunday's 110-106 loss to Toronto.

 

Poetl, who replaced Aldridge in the starting lineup, finished with 16 points and 13 rebounds. But he missed three big foul shots in the fourth after he was intentionally fouled by Chicago. He was 2 for 8 on free throws for the game.

 

Led by Mills, San Antonio went 10 for 25 from 3-point range. 

 

The Bulls visit the Pacers on Wednesday. Chicago has dropped its last seven games against Indiana, including the first two matchups this season.

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Illinois Moves Up in Latest College Basketball Polls

Baylor is No. 1 for a second straight week in an AP Top 25 poll that had no major changes at the top, a rare bit of stability in a wildly unpredictable season.

Houston made the biggest jump in a week that featured only modest climbs or slides, rising four spots to No. 21. No. 20 Colorado moved up three spots, while No. 12 West Virginia, No. 13 Kentucky, No. 15 Maryland and No. 19 Illinois each rose two spots.

 

The Bears stayed well ahead of No. 2 Gonzaga in Monday’s poll, part of an unchanged top seven for the first time this season. The only change in the top 10 came with Villanova moving up a spot to No. 8 to swap positions with No. 9 Duke. That comes in a season that has seen seven different teams reach No. 1 this season, matching a record set during the 1982-83 season.

 

Gonzaga (21-1) earned 19 first-place votes to remain either No. 1 or No. 2 in the poll since the middle of December.  

 

Michigan State and Butler had the biggest slides of the week.

 

The Spartans — who started the year at No. 1 — fell three spots to No. 14 after losing at Indiana. The Bulldogs also fell three spots to No. 16 after losing to Villanova, the final loss in a three-game skid that had dropped Butler from No. 5 two weeks ago.

 

The other falls were Duke, No. 17 Auburn and No. 25 Rutgers inching down one spot.

 

No. 22 LSU, No. 23 Wichita State and No. 24 Penn State were the week’s new additions, re-entering the poll after appearances earlier this season.

 

Texas Tech (No. 18), Memphis (No. 20) and Arizona (No. 22) fell out of the rankings. The Tigers had been ranked all season, while this is the second time that the Red Raiders and Wildcats have fallen out of the poll.

 

A convincing win at Florida helped Baylor overtake Gonzaga for No. 1 in this week's USA Today Coaches Poll, ending a split between the Coaches Poll and the AP Top 25 over who is the top team in college basketball.

 

Illinois moved up to No. 19 in the Coaches Poll, their same position in the AP Poll. 

 

Gonzaga, which is No. 2 in both polls this week, did little to deserve a demotion. The Zags thrashed Pacific 92-59 in their only game last week. But Baylor's 6-0 start in a tougher conference appears to be currying favor around the country. 

 

The Bears beat Florida 72-61 as underdogs on Saturday to help the Big 12 salvage a 5-5 split in the Big 12/SEC Challenge. It was Baylor's sixth win this season in Quadrant 1 games, bringing the Bears' record to 6-1 in those games with seven projected Quadrant 1 games remaining on their schedule. The Bears have won 16 straight since a neutral site loss to Washington on Nov. 8.

 

Gonzaga is 4-1 in Quadrant 1 games and is projected to have just two more during the regular season as the Zags attempt to go undefeated in West Coast Conference play for a second straight season.

 

The top eight teams in the Coaches Poll remained unchanged. Michigan State was the only team to drop out of the top 10 after a 1-1 week that included a loss at Indiana and a win at Minnesota.

 

Villanova crept up from No. 11 to No. 10, replacing the Spartans in the top 10. Texas Tech, Arizona and Memphis each dropped out of the poll with LSU, Penn State and Colorado replacing them.

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Canucks Hold Off Blues

JT Miller scored twice in the second period to help the Vancouver Canucks rally from an early deficit to beat the St. Louis Blues 3-1 Monday night.

 

Bo Horvat also scored as the Canucks won their ninth straight at home, and 12 in the last 15 overall. Jake Virtanen and Chris Tanev each had two assists.

 

Thatcher Demko, making his second straight start, and fourth in the last 20 games, stopped 36 shots. He credited his teammates for the 23 shots they blocked.

 

Miller has 48 points (19 goals, 29 assists) in 50 games this season, topping the 47 points (13 goals, 34 assists) he had in 75 games with Tampa Bay last year.

 

Zach Sanford scored for the Blues, who have lost three straight (0-2-1). Jake Allen made 22 saves.

The Canucks remained first in the Pacific Division with 60 points, three more than Edmonton, Calgary, Arizona and Vegas.

 

The defending Stanley Cup champion Blues lead the Western Conference with 68 points.

With the Blues pushing for the tying goal in the third, Demko made a huge left pad save on Jaden Schwartz.

 

He later blocked Sanford on the short side.

 

The Blues are at Calgary on Tuesday night.

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Monticello Lady Sages Defeats St. Thomas More Lady Sabers

As heard on WEZC, the Monticello Lady Sages defeated the St. Thomas More Lady Sabers by a score of 44-26 on Monday night. The Lady Sages were led by Lizzie Stiverson with 18 points. Cloe Clark added 10 points. Jayna Burger also added 7 points.

 

The Lady Sabers were led by Kenedy Ramshaw with 10 points. Alaina Bowie added 8 points.

 

With the win, the Lady Sages improve to 11-15 overall. The Lady Sabers fall to 6-11 overall.

 

Tune in Tuesday, January 28th, as the Monticello Sages take on Rantoul. Hear the action on 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com.

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Lady Maroons Upset Central A&M At Central Illinois Conference Tournament

The Clinton Lady Maroons stunned the Central A&M Lady Raiders on the first day of the girl's Central Illinois Conference basketball tournament 47-37.

 

The win propels the sixth-seeded Lady Maroons into the winner's bracket and a Tuesday night matchup against Decatur St. Teresa at 7:30 pm. The winner of that matchup takes on Sullivan or Tuscola

 

Thursday night for the tournament championship. The losers matchup for third, also Thursday night.

 

Whether the Lady Maroons are playing for third-place or the tournament title, hear the action Thursday night on 92.3 FM/106.5 FM WHOW, online at dewittdailynews.com, the WHOW app, or Amazon Alexa.

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Trailblazers Top Pacers

Damian Lillard had 50 points and 13 assists, becoming the first Portland player with 40-plus points in three straight games, and the Trail Blazers beat the Indiana Pacers 139-129 on a Sunday marked by grief over the death of NBA great, Kobe Bryant.

 

The Trail Blazers honored Bryant with 24 seconds of silence before the game, and the team took a 24-second shot-clock violation at the start before the Pacers took an eight-second timeline penalty, recognizing Bryant's jersey numbers. Several fans at the Moda Center wore Lakers jerseys, saluting a player who spent his entire career with rival Los Angeles.

 

CJ McCollum returned after a three-game absence because of an ankle injury and added 28 points for the Blazers (20-27). Hassan Whiteside had 21 points and 14 rebounds.

 

Domantas Sabonis had 27 points, 14 assists and 11 rebounds for the Pacers in his second career triple-double. 

 

NBA veteran Carmelo Anthony finished with 14 points for the Blazers.

 

The Pacers were without starter Malcolm Brogdon, who missed his second straight game in concussion protocol after taking an elbow against Phoenix on Wednesday. Indiana center Myles Turner also sat out because of illness.

 

Lillard hit a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to end the first quarter and give the Blazers a 36-27 lead. Whiteside's alley-oop dunk from Lillard put the Blazers up 57-49 late in the half, and Portland had a 66-56 lead at the break.

 

Whiteside had another dunk off a pass from Anthony and added a free throw to put the Blazers up 93-76. Portland led by as many as 21 but Indiana closed to 103-96 at the end of the third quarter.

The Pacers host Chicago on Wednesday.

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Lady Sages host Champaign St. Thomas More Tonight

The Monticello Lady Sages look to continue to build on their recent success tonight when they host Champaign St. Thomas More.

 

The Lady Sages took down 46-36 last Thursday night and then defeated IVC Saturday morning.

 

Game time tonight is 7 pm from Monticello High School. Hear the action on 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com.

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Blues Host Canucks to Begin Post-All-Star Break

Two first-place teams aim to carry their form into the season's unofficial second half when the St. Louis Blues visit the Vancouver Canucks on Monday night.

 

After welcoming the league's biggest stars to St. Louis for Saturday's All-Star Game, the Blues hit the road as the regular season resumes. Monday's date in Vancouver begins a four-game road trip for the Blues through Canada, concluding with a visit to the division rival Winnipeg Jets on Feb. 1.

Perhaps the toughest challenge will come right away as the Blues face a Canucks team that recently has been unbeatable in its own building.

 

Vancouver is 8-0-0 in its past eight home games. A Canucks victory on Monday would tie the fourth-longest regular-season home winning streak in franchise history and put Vancouver closer to the team record of 11 straight home wins.

 

The recent home ice dominance has carried Vancouver to an 11-3-0 record over its past 14 games overall. The Canucks enter the second half of the season on a two-game winning streak.

 

St. Louis already has notched one win in Vancouver this season, emerging with a 2-1 overtime victory on Nov. 5. The Canucks also hold a road victory over the Blues, earning a 4-3 shootout win on Oct. 17. Monday's game is the third and final regular-season meeting between the two teams.

 

The Blues hold a six-point lead over the second-place Colorado Avalanche in the Central Division. St. Louis entered the All-Star break on a down note, however, going 0-1-1 in its last two games.

 

Ryan O'Reilly, David Perron, Alex Pietrangelo and Jordan Binnington were starters for the Central Division's all-Blues starting lineup in Saturday's All-Star Game. The home-ice advantage didn't help as the Pacific Division team -- which included Vancouver's Jacob Markstrom, Quinn Hughes and Elias Pettersson -- routed the Central 10-5.

 

The Canucks hold a one-point lead over four teams in the tightly compacted Pacific Division. Neither the Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers, Vegas Golden Knights or Arizona Coyotes play Monday, giving Vancouver an opportunity to create some much-needed space atop the standings.

 

Vancouver forward Bo Horvat has 14 points (six goals, eight assists) in his past 10 games.

 

Perron has nine points (five goals, four assists) in his past seven games.

 

Sammy Blais (wrist surgery) and Colton Parayko (upper-body injury) could be available for St. Louis. Blais has been out of action since Nov. 19. Parayko has missed the Blues' past seven games.

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NBA Icon Kobe Bryant Dies in Helicopter Crash

Kobe Bryant died Sunday morning in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California. He was 41. The former Los Angeles Lakers legend and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, were among those killed in the crash, according to multiple reports.

 

An investigation is ongoing, per the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, which confirmed there were no survivors among the nine people aboard the aircraft but would not release the names of those who perished in the crash. However, Orange Coast College baseball coaching legend John Altobelli, as well as his wife, Keri, and daughter, Alyssa, were among the victims of the crash, according to a statement from the school. Altobelli coached at Orange Coast College for 27 years, and he led the school to four state titles. 

 

The crash happened just before 10 a.m. PT with nine confirmed deaths and no survivors. 

 

Bryant, an NBA superstar and Orange County resident, famously took a helicopter to games and practices while playing for the Lakers as a means of avoiding traffic and the confined space of a car. He continued doing so in his retirement for business and personal reasons. Bryant and his daughter were reportedly on their way to participate in travel basketball when the helicopter went down. 

 

The fourth-leading scorer in NBA history with 33,643 career points, Bryant was a five-time NBA champion with the Lakers and 18-time NBA All-Star who was named the league's Most Valuable Player in 2008. He was twice an NBA Finals MVP and an 11-time All-NBA First Team selection. The two-time NBA scoring champion was known just as much for his prowess on the other end of the court, picking up nine selections to the NBA All-Defensive First Team.

 

He was the youngest player in NBA history when he took the court in 1996 and spent his entire 20-year career in Los Angeles. 

 

Kobe and Gianna are survived by a large immediate family, including his wife Vanessa and daughters Natalia Diamante, Bianka Bella and Capri Kobe.

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Leishman Rallies for Win at Farmers Insurance Open

Mark Leishman shot 31 on the front nine to seize control, came up with three big par saves on the back nine and closed with a birdie for a 7-under 65 and a one-shot victory Sunday in the Farmers Insurance Open.

 

John Rahm played so badly at the start — two bogeys and a double bogey through five holes — that he started firing away, and few players are more dangerous. He made an eagle and three birdies over a five-hole stretch to at least have a chance.

 

Rahm hit the green on the par-5 18th, and it went to the top ridge — the pin was on the lower level in a bowl. He was in the same spot from where he made eagle in 2017 that secured his first PGA Tour title.

His putt died to the left and short. Rahm shot 70.

 

Rory McIlroy, needing a victory to return to No. 1 in the world, started three shots behind in the final group and opened with two straight bogeys. He missed a short birdie attempt on the third, and then pulled his tee shot into the hazard and had to scramble for bogey.

 

Much like Rahm, he stayed in the mix by playing his last five holes on the front nine in 5 under.

 

McIlroy couldn’t make up enough ground, shot 69 and tied for third with Brandt Snedeker (68).

Tiger Woods, trying to set the PGA Tour record with his 83rd career victory, never got anything going. Woods had to settle for a 70 and tied for ninth, six shots behind.

 

Ryan Palmer, who started one shot out of the lead, closed with a 77.

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Monticello Sages Defeat Meridian

As heard on WEZC, the Monticello Sages defeated the Meridian Hawks by a score of 78-56 on Saturday night. The Sages were led by Ryan Reeder with 24 points. Garrett Kepley had 18.

 

Meridian was led by Graham Meisenhelter with 19 points. Drew Hurelbrink added 13.

 

With the win, the Sages improve to 11-8 on the season.

 

Tune in Monday, January 27, as the Lady Sages take on Champaign St. Thomas More. You can hear the game live on Your Easy Choice and online at dewittdailynews.com.

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Monticello Sages fall to Fairbury (Prairie Central) Hawks

As heard on WEZC, the Monticello Sages fell to the Fairbury (Prairie Central) Hawks by a score of 66-54 Friday night. The Sages were led by Ethan Miller with 14 points. Ryan Reeder added 12 points. Garrett Kepley also added 11 points.

 

The Hawks were led by Rylie Vaughan with 15 points. 

 

With the loss, the Sages fall to 10-8 overall and 0-1 in the conference. The Hawks improve to 18-4 overall and 2-0 in the conference.

 

Tune in Saturday, January 25th, as the Sages take on Meridian. You can hear all of these games live on Your Easy Choice 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com.

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Maroons Earn First Conference Win Against Redskins

In a game heard on WHOW, the Clinton Maroons defeated the Sullivan Redskins by a score of 35-31 on Friday night. Junior Zeke Hickman led the scoring with 12 points. Senior Skyler Williamson added 10 points.

 

The Redskins were led by junior Ian Planic with 11.

 

With the win, Clinton improves to 5-16 overall and 1-2 in the Central Illinois Conference. Sullivan with the loss drops to 3-14 on the season and 0-3 in the CIC.

 

The Maroons play next in the Central Illinois Conference tournament at Central A&M February 1 through February 11. The game of the week from that tournament will be determined at a later date. You can hear Clinton Maroons and Lady Maroons broadcast on the Big 1520 AM/92.3 FM/106.5 FM WHOW, online at dewittdailynews.com, and on the WHOW app.

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Clinton Travels to Sullivan

The Clinton Maroons and Sullivan Redskins will be looking to get in the Central Illinois Conference win column tonight when the two meet at Sullivan High School tonight in high school boys basketball action.

 

Both teams have started 0-2 in the CIC. The Redskins are 3-13 overall while the Maroons are 4-16. 

The Maroons were toppled by Decatur St. Teresa 65-24 Tuesday while Meridian took down Sullivan 74-62.

 

Game time tonight is 7:30 pm and can be heard on 92.3 FM/106.5 FM WHOW and online at dewittdailynews.com, also at the WHOW app and at Amazon Alexa.

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Monticello Travels to Prairie Central

It's another test on the Monticello boys basketball schedule tonight when the Sages head to Fairbury to take on Prairie Central.

 

The Hawks are off to a 17-2 start this season and won their first conference game. 

 

The Sages are off a dominating 58-21 win over Georgetown Notre Dame La Salette Academy Tuesday night.

 

Game time tonight from Fairbury is 7 pm and can be heard on 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com. 

 

After tonight's game, Monticello turns around and hosts Meridian Saturday night.

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Big Ten Suspends Illinois' Griffin 2 Games

The Big Ten suspended Illinois guard Alan Griffin two games Thursday for stepping on Purdue’s Sasha Stefanovic.

 

Griffin was called for a flagrant foul 2 and ejected with 12:21 left in the first half Tuesday at Purdue when he stomped on Stefanovic’s midsection after the guard drove for a layup and drew a crescendo of boos. No. 21 Illinois went on to win 79-62.

 

Griffin, averaging 8.4 points, will miss games against Michigan on Saturday and Minnesota on Jan. 30. He apologized Wednesday to Stefanovic and Purdue as well as Illinois and its fans on social media.

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Tiger Opens with 69 At Torrey Pines

Coming off his record-tying 82nd victory in his last PGA Tour start three months ago in Japan, Tiger Woods handled the par 5s on the easier North Course at Torrey Pines and limited mistakes for a 3-under 69.

 

Sebastian Cappelen and Keegan Bradley had the low scores of the opening round, which was not the same as sharing the lead. Cappelen had eight birdies for a 66 on the South Course, which played about three shots tougher than the North, where Bradley shot his 66.

 

Rory McIlroy, who played in the group in front of Woods, was among those at 67. Jon Rahm, playing alongside Woods, was in the large group at 68.

 

Woods hasn’t broken 70 in his first round of the year since a 69 on the North at Torrey in 2011. His health, his game and even his momentum are in much better shape now. His game wasn’t all that far off.

 

It took a little time to get going. He left himself in a bad shot right of the green on the par-5 10th to start his round and failed to make birdie. His flop shot from 50 yards short of the green on the next hole came up short and into a bunker, leading to a bogey. He was even par at the turn on a course where lower scores are expected.

 

Woods kept it simple, with a nifty wedge to short range on his 10th hole, a two-putt birdie from 18 feet on the par-5 fifth and an easy up-and-down for birdie on the final hole.

 

Bubba Watson had a 67 on the South, while three other players broke 70 on the South, which hosted the U.S. Open in 2008 and gets another U.S. Open next year.

 

Rahm was 4 under through eight holes until he stalled.

 

McIlroy, who has never won in his first event of the year, can return to No. 1 in the world for the first time in more than four years by winning. He also handled the par 5s by making birdie on all of them, along with adding three birdies.

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Lady Sages Top Lady Trojans

As heard on WEZC, the Monticello Lady Sages defeated the Maroa-Forsyth Lady Trojans by a score of 46-36 on Thursday night. The Lady Sages were led in scoring by Cloe Clark with 11 points. Renni Fultz and Jayna Burger with 10 points apiece. 

 

The Lady Trojans were led by Hallie Mitchell with 16 points. Tatum Young chipped in with 10.

 

Monticello improves to 9-13 and Maroa-Forsyth falls to 10-12.

 

Tune in Friday, January 24, as Monticello travels to Prairie Central. You can hear the game live on Your Easy Choice 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com.

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Lady Maroons Earn First Conference Win Against Shelbyville

In a game heard on WHOW, the Clinton Lady Maroons defeated the Shelbyville Lady Rams by a score of 64-34. Mallory Cyrulik led the Lady Maroons with 22 points. Kaitlyn Rauch had 18.

 

Shelbyville was led by Trinity Wade with 13 points.

 

With the win, the Lady Maroons improve to 14-11 overall and 1-4 in conference action. With the loss, Shelbyville drops to 11-13 overall and 1-4 in the CIC.

 

Tune in Friday, January 24, as the Maroons take on the Sullivan Redskins. You can hear the game live on the Big 1520 AM/92.3 FM/106.5 FM WHOW, online at dewittdailynews.com, on the WHOW app, and on Amazon Alexa. Tipoff is set for 7:30 pm with the broadcast beginning shortly before then.

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Lincoln Down in Latest 3A High School Basketball Polls

Lincoln High School fell last weekend to Rock Island and thus fell in the latest AP Top 10 high school basketball poll.

 

The Railers fell from a tie for sixth to tenth in the poll this week. Last week's four-way tie for sixth was sorted out this week in the poll as Peoria Notre Dame comes in fifth, Kankakee sixth, and Rock Island seventh. 

 

Galesburg enters the 3A rankings this week and Niles Notre Dame is the top team in 3A.

 

In the 1A poll, Central A&M stays at No. 2 with a vote for no. 1. Winchester-West Central is still No. 1. Roanoke Benson, Goreville and Indian Creek round out the top five. 

 

In 2A, Tuscola moved up in the rankings from tenth to eighth. Normal U-High stayed at No. 5. Chicago Orr remains No. 1.

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Clinton Girls Hosting Shelbyville Tonight

Hear Clinton Maroons girls basketball action tonight on WHOW as the Lady Maroons host Shelbyville for Central Illinois Conference high school girls basketball action. 

 

The Lady Maroons beat Illini Central Monday night 42-27. Shelbyville fell to Martinsville Monday 49-46.

 

The Lady Maroons are still looking for their first win in the CIC, as they sit at 0-4 but are 13-11 overall. 

 

Shelbyville has not faired much better in conference action, as they enter play tonight 1-3 in league play and 11-12 overall.

 

Game time tonight is 7:30 pm. Hear it on 92.3 FM/106.5 FM WHOW, online at dewittdailynews.com, at the WHOW mobile app, and at Amazon Alexa.

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Monticello Hosts Maroa-Forsyth in Girls Basketball Action Tonight

The Monticello Lady Sages will play host to the Maroa-Forsyth Lady Trojans tonight on WEZC and at dewittdailynews.com. 

 

Game time tonight is 7 pm. Hear it on 95.9 FM WEZC and at dewittdailynews.com. 

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Bradley Tops Illinois State

Backcourt mates Nate Kennell and Ville Tahvanainen scored 18 points apiece as Bradley beat Illinois State 75-63 on Wednesday night.

 

Danya Kingsby added 12 points for Bradley (14-6, 5-2 Missouri Valley Conference). Tahvanainen and Ja'Shon Henry had seven rebounds.

 

DJ Horne and Keith Fisher III scored 17 points apiece for the Redbirds (6-13, 1-6), who have lost six straight. Fisher added seven rebounds. Zach Copeland added 13 points for Illinois State, which missed 22 3-pointers (11 for 32) and made 23 field goals (23 of 60).

 

Bradley plays at Indiana State on Saturday. Illinois State will be at home against Southern Illinois on Saturday.

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Bulls Hold Off Timberwolves

Zach LaVine scored 25 points, Lauri Markkanen added 21 and the Chicago Bulls overcame a big performance by Karl-Anthony Towns to beat the struggling Minnesota Timberwolves 117-110 on Wednesday night.

 

LaVine had seven points in the final 2:25 to help Chicago pull out the win after letting a 19-point lead in the second quarter slip away.

 

His 3-pointer put the Bulls ahead for good at 111-108 with 1:26 remaining. LaVine then hit two free throws with 26 seconds left. Kris Dunn sank four more foul shots and the Bulls came out on top after losing nine of 12.

 

Towns scored a season-high 40 points, but the Timberwolves lost their seventh straight.

 

LaVine, pushing for a spot in the All-Star Game next month in Chicago, hit three 3-pointers.

 

Markkanen, whose scoring and rebounding are down from last season, nailed four from beyond the arc in his highest-scoring game since he finished with 26 points in a loss to Dallas on Jan. 6.

 

Luke Kornet scored 15 to match a season high. Kris Dunn finished with 14 points on just four field-goal attempts, and Cristiano Felicio added 12 points and 10 rebounds.

 

Towns dominated in his fourth game back after missing 15 because of a sprained left knee. The two-time All-Star made 16 of 24 shots, going 4 of 8 on 3-pointers.

 

Andrew Wiggins scored 25 points - all but three in the second half. Shabazz Napier added 16 points and seven rebounds.

 

The Timberwolves tied it at 66 midway through the third quarter on Gorgui Dieng's 3-pointer and grabbed their first lead since the opening minutes when Wiggins nailed a 3 to make it 69-68. The teams kept trading leads until the closing minutes.

 

The Bulls host Sacramento on Friday.

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Pacers Topple Suns

TJ scored a game-high 25 points, had three steals and played excellent defense against former teammate Devin Booker, Domantas Sabonis added 24 points and the Indiana Pacers rolled to a 112-87 victory over the Suns on Wednesday night.

 

Sabonis added 13 rebounds. The Pacers bounced back from a lopsided loss to Utah 118-88 two days ago and now have a six-game winning streak in the series against the Suns.

 

Kelly Oubre Jr. led Phoenix with 17 points and nine rebounds. Booker added 16 points. The Suns shot 30 of 84 (36%) from the field and were held under 90 points for just the second time this season.

 

Indiana led 54-48 at halftime. Warren and Sabonis both scored 12 points for the Pacers before the break. Booker scored 14 points for the Suns. They lost both games of a two-game homestand after losing to the Pacers and dropping a 120-118 decision to San Antonio on Monday.

 

The Suns shot just 4 of 20 from 3-point range while the Pacers were 9 of 20 from long range.

 

The Pacers are at Golden State on Friday night.

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Monticello Rolls Notre Dame LaSalette

Zero players scored in double figures during an incredibly balanced night for Monticello as they rolled Georgetown Notre Dame LaSalette Academy 48-21 in non-conference boys basketball action Tuesday night from Olivet.

 

The Sages saw nine players score between two and eight points and six players logged 15-plus minutes in wearing down the Lions. Monticello opened up and 11-2 lead early but the Lions clawed back to 11-9 in the second quarter following a Henry Kracht layup at the 5:57 mark.

 

Monticello closed out the half on a 14-2 run opening up a 25-11 halftime lead and took their biggest lead when Ben Cresap made back-to-back layups to finish the night's scoring at 48-21.

 

Briggs Fultz and Garrett Kepley scored eight points each to lead Monticello. Dylan Ginalick scored seven points, Nick Vogelzang, Ryan Reeder and Cresap each added six points. 

 

Manny Garcia Camilo scored a game-high ten points and grabbed five rebounds. 

 

Monticello shot 60-percent with 17 of their 19 field goals made in the paint and dished out 14 assists on their 19 field goals made. 

 

Monticello is 10-7 overall and LaSalette is 6-11.

 

The Sages open Illini Prairie Conference play Friday night at Prairie Central. Hear the action on 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com. Game time is 7 pm.

 

In the meantime, tomorrow night hear Monticello girls basketball action against Maroa-Forsyth on 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com. Game time tomorrow night is 7 pm.

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Illinois Pulls Away From Purdue

Kofi Cockburn scored 22 points and grabbed 15 rebounds, Trent Frazier added 21 points and Illinois pulled away in the second half to beat Purdue 79-62.

 

It’s another milestone victory for the resurgent Illini (14-5, 6-2 Big Ten), winners of five straight.

 

They’re off to their best conference start since 2005-06, ended a seven-game losing streak at Mackey Arena and swept the season series with Purdue for the first time since 2008-09.

 

Nojel Eastern had 14 points and Trevion Williams scored 12 to lead Purdue (10-9, 4-4), which has lost four of five and watched a 15-game winning streak in conference home games end.

 

The Illini swung the momentum quickly, opening the second half with seven straight points to erase a 30-29 halftime lead. Then, after making five straight baskets to make it 49-39 with 13:30 to play, they extended the margin to 60-45 on Giorgi Bezhanishvili’s 3-pointer with 8:27 left.

 

Ayo Dosunmu finished with 18 points and a career high 11 assists. Bezhanishvili had 10 points.

Matt Haarms had 10 points and six rebounds for Purdue.

 

Illinois guard Alan Griffin was ejected with 12:21 left in the first half for a flagrant 2 foul.

 

A replay review showed Griffin intentionally stomped on Stefanovic’s midsection after the Purdue guard had driven to the basket for a layup, bringing a crescendo of boos from the crowd. Stefanovic made one of two free throws for an unusual three-point play.

 

Illinois hits the road again Saturday when it heads to Michigan.

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Panthers Get By Blackhawks

The Florida Panthers got Joel Quenneville a win in his return to Chicago, using a hat trick by Frank Vatrano to beat the Blackhawks 4-3 on Tuesday night for their sixth consecutive victory.

 

Evgenii Dadonov also scored for Florida for the fourth consecutive game. Mike Hoffman had two assists, and Sergei Bobrovsky made 32 saves.

 

The Panthers (28-16-5) won for the seventh time in eight games overall, including a dramatic 5-4 victory at Minnesota on Monday night. They head into the All-Star break in prime position for their first playoff appearance since 2016.

 

Patrick Kane, Kirby Dach and Drake Caggiula scored for Chicago (24-21-6), which had won a season-high five straight. Robin Lehner made 22 stops.

 

Kane extended his point streak to 11 games when he drove a big slap shot by Bobrovsky with 1:15 left, trimming Florida's lead to 4-3. But Toews was whistled for hooking with 31.7 seconds remaining, helping the Panthers hold on.

 

After a scoreless first period, Florida grabbed control with four in the second.

 

After the all-star break, the Blackhawks get back to action at Arizona on Feb. 1.

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Derek Jeter, Larry Walker Elected to Hall of Fame

The National Baseball Hall of Fame has two new members. Tuesday night, Yankees legend Derek Jeter and five-tool threat Larry Walker were announced as the newest Hall of Famers during a live MLB Network broadcast.

 

Players must appear on 75 percent of submitted ballots to be inducted into Cooperstown. Walker received 76.6 percent in his 10th and final year on the Hall of Fame ballot. Jeter was one vote short of unanimous in his first year of eligibility. Longtime teammate Mariano Rivera remains the only unanimous selection in Hall of Fame history. Here are the highest voting percentages in history:

 

Across parts of 20 seasons, all with the Yankees, Jeter racked up 3,465 hits; 260 home runs; 544 doubles; 358 stolen bases; five Gold Gloves; 14 All-Star nods; eight finishes in the top 10 of the AL MVP balloting; and the second-most defensive games at shortstop in MLB history (2,674). Jeter won four World Series with the Yankees -- he was MVP of the 2000 World Series -- and batted .308/.374/.465 in 158 career playoff games. Throw in his popularity and strong reputation among voters and Jeter was beyond a lock for election in his first year on the ballot. 

 

Walker played for three teams (Expos, Rockies, Cardinals) in his 17-year career, during which he hit .313/.400/.565 with 383 home runs and 230 stolen bases. He was a five-time All-Star who won seven Gold Glove awards and who received MVP votes in eight seasons, including winning the 1997 National League award. By WAR, Walker is one of the top five outfielders of the last 50 years, though it took him all 10 years on the ballot to get into the Hall of Fame. The Coors Field stigma and injury issues suppressed his support.

 

Curt Schilling, in his eighth year on the ballot, received 70.0 percent of the vote. His voting percentage has steadily increased over the years, and, historically, once a player reaches 70 percent. Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, arguably the greatest hitter and pitcher of their generation, continue to remain well short of induction due to performance-enhancing drug ties. Bonds appeared 60.7 percent of submitted ballots, Clemens 61.0 percent. Both have two years of Hall of Fame eligibility remaining, though their support has stagnated in the 50-60 percent range the last few years.

 

Other notables on the Hall of Fame ballot include Omar Vizquel (52.6 percent), Scott Rolen (35.3 percent), Billy Wagner (31.7 percent), and Gary Sheffield (30.5 percent). No other player appeared on at least 30 percent of submitted ballots. Paul Konerko (2.5 percent), Jason Giambi (1.5 percent), and Alfonso Soriano (1.5 percent) are among the notable players to receive less than the five percent necessary to remain on the Hall of Fame ballot another year.

 

Groundbreaking union leader Marvin Miller and eight-time All-Star catcher Ted Simmons were voted into the Hall of Fame by the Modern Era committee last month, posthumously in Miller's case. The Modern Era committee is one of four "era" committees that meets every few years to vote on players who fell off the BBWAA ballot, like Simmons, and personnel not eligible for the BBWAA ballot, like Miller. Whoever gets the necessary 75 percent in the BBWAA vote will be inducted alongside Miller and Simmons in July.

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Sages Top Notre Dame La Salette

As heard on WEZC, the Monticello Sages defeated Georgetown Notre Dame La Salette by a score of 48-21. The Sages were led by senior Garrett Kepley and Briggs Fultz with 8 points. Dylan Ginalick chipped in with 7 points. Ben Cresap, Ryan Reeder, and Nick Vogelzang all added 6.

 

Notre Dame La Salette was led by Manny Garcia Camilo with 10 points.

 

The Sages improve to 10-7 overall and La Salette drops to 6-10.

 

Tune in Thursday, January 23, as the Lady Sages take on the Maroa-Forsyth Lady Trojans. Monticello is back in action Friday, January 24 against Prairie Central and Saturday, January 25 playing host to Meridian. You can hear all of these games live on Your Easy Choice 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com.

 

 

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Clinton Hosts Decatur St. Teresa Tonight

The Clinton Maroons are back on the hardwood tonight playing host to Decatur St. Teresa in Central Illinois Conference boys basketball.

 

It'll be the first time the Maroons are in-game action after their Friday night matchup with Central A&M was postponed. Clinton was throttled at Monticello last week, 56-18.

 

The Maroons have lost seven straight and are 0-1 in CIC action. St. T is 2-0 in conference play and 10-7 overall.

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Lady Maroons Drop Illini Central

After a slow first quarter, the Lady Maroons rebounded to propel them to a 41-27 win over Illini Central in non-conference high school girls basketball action Monday night in Mason City.

 

Mallory Cyrulik led the Lady Maroons with 17 points and Destiny Schlesinger scored 11 points. 

 

The Lady Maroons led just 4-2 after the first quarter but used a 15-4 second quarter to open up a 19-6 lead at the intermission and held on from there.

 

Clinton improves to 13-11 overall. They will resume Central Illinois Conference play Thursday night hosting Shelbyville. Hear Thursday's action on 92.3 FM/106.5 FM WHOW, at dewittdailynews.com, at the WHOW mobile app and at Amazon Alexa.

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Monticello Takes on Georgetown Notre Dame La Salette

The Monticello Sages boys basketball team hits the road tonight to take on Georgetown Notre Dame La Salette Academy in non-conference high school boys basketball action.

 

The Sages dropped a tough road matchup with Paxton-Buckley-Loda Friday night, 52-50. 

 

Tonight's matchup will be the final tuneup for Monticello before they hit Illini Prairie Conference play.

 

Friday's loss snapped a two-game win streak for Monticello, but the Sages have dropped three of five in a stretch that has been testing. 

 

Monticello enters action tonight 9-7 overall. 

 

Hear tonight's action starting at 7:30 pm on 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com. 

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Jazz Roll Pacers

For the bulk of 48 minutes, Utah attacked the rim with relentless energy. The Jazz crashed the boards, didn't trail at all and were never seriously threatened during a 118-88 victory Monday night over the Indiana Pacers. 

 

Utah shot 54% from the field, scored 60 points in the paint and finished with a 53-30 advantage in rebounds.

 

The Jazz also limited Indiana to seven free throw attempts, and the Pacers made just three. Both were season lows for a Utah opponent.

 

Donovan Mitchell scored 25 points and Gobert had 20 points and 14 rebounds to lead the Jazz. Bojan Bogdanovic added 16 points and Mike Conley had 14 off the bench.

 

Myles Turner and Aaron Holiday scored 12 points apiece to lead Indiana. Turner added a career-high six steals, but the Pacers lost despite forcing 21 turnovers and nabbing a season-best 15 steals.

 

Utah went to the basket throughout the first quarter and it paid off. The Jazz scored 20 points in the paint out of 29 total points in the quarter.

 

That allowed Utah to take control early. Joe Ingles drained a 3-pointer and then set up baskets for Gobert on back-to-back possessions to spark a 12-4 run that gave the Jazz an 18-10 lead midway through the first period.

 

Indiana closed to 31-27 on a hook shot from Domantas Sabonis early in the second, but Utah did not let the Pacers get any closer before halftime. Conley fed Gobert for a dunk and followed with consecutive baskets to cap an 18-5 run that gave the Jazz a 49-32 lead midway through the quarter.

 

Utah maintained a double-digit cushion throughout the third and went up 78-55 on a jumper from Conley. The Jazz never slacked off once they took control, something that didn't always happen earlier in the season.

 

The Pacers visit the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday.

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Bucks Outlast Bulls

Giannis Antetokounmpo had a triple-double and scored his 10,000th career point, and the Bucks beat the Chicago Bulls 111-98 to sweep the four-game season series.

 

Antetokounmpo had 28 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists for his fourth triple-double of the season. He reached 10,000 points on a jump hook with 4:30 remaining in the fourth.

 

Khris Middleton added 24 points for Milwaukee, which has won 10 consecutive games over the Bulls dating to the 2017-18 season. It's the Bucks' longest winning streak over Chicago since the teams began playing in 1968.

 

The Bucks ran their league-best record to 39-6 with their seventh straight victory. Milwaukee shot 58%, with Middleton connecting on 10 of 13 shots.

 

Zach LaVine had 24 points for Chicago, which shot just 37%. Kris Dunn scored 15 points, and reserve Thaddeus Young added 14 points.

 

LaVine has scored at least 20 points in 11 consecutive games.

 

After a sloppy first half by both teams, the Bucks began to take control, opening the third quarter on a 13-4 run, sparked by Middleton's eight points. Milwaukee's lead grew to as many as 16 in the quarter before Chicago clawed back.

 

The Bulls host Minnesota on Wednesday in their first meeting of the season.

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'Niners Roll Packers in Rout to Super Bowl

Journeyman Raheem Mostert rushed for 220 yards and four touchdowns to make quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo mostly a spectator, Nick Bosa harassed Aaron Rodgers from the start and the 49ers beat the Green Bay Packers 37-20 for the NFC championship on Sunday.

 

Bosa, the prize for last year's rough season as the No. 2 overall pick, helped set the tone when he ended Green Bay's second drive of the game with a 13-yard sack of Rodgers.

 

Mostert, a former special teams standout, did much of the rest in a remarkable redemption story for a former surfer who carried the ball only eight times in his first three seasons in the NFL while bouncing between teams.

 

But he has become a key part of the NFC's top team this year, leading the Niners with 772 yards rushing in the regular season and delivering a performance for the ages in the NFC title game.

 

He had the second-most yards rushing in a playoff game to Eric Dickerson's 248 for the Rams on Jan. 4, 1986, and was the first player to rush for at least four TDs and 200 yards in a playoff game.

He got started when he burst 36 yards on a third-and-8 trap play to open the scoring on San Francisco's second drive and kept ripping off long runs behind impressive blocking.

 

He added TD runs of 9 and 18 yards in the second quarter and had 160 yards rushing at the half, becoming the only player in NFL history to rush for at least 150 yards and three TDs in the first half of a playoff game.

 

Mostert added a 22-yard TD run in the third quarter.

 

Rodgers had a career-low 3.15 yards per attempt in a 37-8 loss here back in November and wasn't much better in the first half of the rematch.

 

He lost a snap from center to end Green Bay's only promising drive of the half, threw an interception to Emmanuel Moseley late in the half and didn't convert his first third down of the season - in 18 attempts - against the Niners until connecting on a 6-yard pass to Aaron Jones on the opening drive of the second quarter.

 

Rodgers finished with 326 yards passing, but it wasn't nearly enough as the Packers lost the NFC title game for the third time since their last Super Bowl trip following the 2010 season.

 

The Niners asked very little of Garoppolo, who threw only eight passes thanks to the big-play running game and lopsided score. He went 24 minutes of game time between his sixth and seventh passes and finished with six completions for 77 yards. It was tied for the second-fewest passes thrown in a playoff game.

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Pacers Rally Past Nuggets

Domantas Sabonis had 22 points, 15 rebounds and 10 assists for his first career triple-double, Doug McDermott scored 18 of his 24 points in the fourth quarter and the Pacers rallied late to beat the Nuggets 115-107 on Sunday night.

 

Malcom Brogdon and T.J. Warren added 22 points each for the Pacers, who snapped a 10-game skid at Pepsi Center. They overcame a 30-point performance from the Nuggets' Nikola Jokic to win their fifth straight.

 

Jerami Grant and Will Barton added 16 points apiece for the Nuggets, who were again without injured starters Paul Millsap, Gary Harris and Jamal Murray.

 

Denver had the lead for most of the game but was outscored 41-26 in the fourth quarter. The Nuggets missed 10 of 32 free throws and were 3 of 23 from 3-point range while the Pacers connected on 13 of 29 from beyond the arc, including six 3-pointers by McDermott.

 

Brogdon connected on a 3-pointer in the waning seconds of the third quarter and the Pacers pulled within 81-74 going into the final period.

 

Successive 3-pointers by Aaron Holiday and McDermott followed by McDermott's layup evened the score at 91 with 6:59 left. The sides alternated scores in the closing minutes, with the Pacers taking their first lead, 98-97, with 4:13 remaining on a 3-pointer from the corner by McDermott.

 

Consecutive baskets by Sabonis put Indiana in front 104-99 with 1:30 left and McDermott answered two free throws by Jokic with another 3-pointer as the Pacers pulled out to a six-point advantage with 1:08 remaining. The Nuggets could not close the gap.

 

The Pacers play the second of a back-to-back set on the road at Utah on Monday night.

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Loyola Chicago Tops Illinois State

Tate Hall scored 17 points and added five rebounds, three assists and two steals to lead Loyola Chicago to a 62-50 victory over Illinois State on Sunday.

 

Hall made 6 of 11 shots, including 3 of 8 from 3-point range, for the Ramblers (13-6, 5-1 Missouri Valley Conference). Keith Clemons hit two 3-pointers and scored 10.

 

Zach Copeland sank 5 of 10 from beyond the arc and scored 17 to pace the Redbirds (6-12, 1-5), but he had seven of Illinois State's 22 turnovers. Dedric Boyd added 15 points before fouling out.

 

Loyola Chicago shot 46.5% from the floor and 47% from distance (9 of 19). Illinois State shot 37% overall, 34% from distance (11 of 32) and made just 1 of 4 free throws.

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Blackhawks Blast Jets

Patrick Kane reached 1,000 when he picked up an assist on Brandon Saad's third-period goal, and the Blackhawks beat the Winnipeg Jets 5-2 on Sunday night for their season-high fifth straight win.

 

Kane became the 90th player in NHL history to reach the milestone with 5:46 left. The All-Star winger passed from behind the net to Ryan Carpenter in the right circle. Carpenter then fed a wide-open Saad at the left side of the net for an easy tap-in before goalie Connor Hellebuyck could slide across the crease.

 

Alex Nylander and Erik Gustafsson each had a goal and an assist for Chicago, which has climbed back into the Western Conference playoff race with an 11-4-0 run. David Kampf also scored and rookie Dominik Kubalik added an empty-netter for his 10th goal in his last seven games.

 

Mark Scheifele and Patrik Laine scored for Winnipeg. Hellebuyck stopped 28 shots in the Jets' fourth loss in five games.

 

Robin Lehner made 36 saves for the Blackhawks, who killed six Jets power plays. Four of the man advantages were created by minor penalties on Chicago forward Drake Caggiula.

 

Chicago led 2-0 after the first period.

 

Lehner was sharp in blocking nine shots as the Blackhawks killed a four-minute Jets power play early in the second. Caggiula had been whistled for interference and unsportsmanlike conduct.

Scheifele cut it to 2-1 with 1:43 left in the second on the Jets' 27th shot.

 

Kampf increased Chicago's lead to 3-1 at 9:29 of the third. Rookie Kirby Dach drove to the net and was stopped by Hellebuyck, but Kampf got past defenseman Anthony Bitetto and poked in the rebound.

 

After Saad's goal made it 4-1, Laine connected on a point-blank chance with 2:09 left.

Kubalik fired into an empty net with 1:34 to go.

 

The Blackhawks host Florida on Tuesday. Panthers coach Joel Quenneville will face his former team for the first time. Quenneville guided the Blackhawks to three Stanley Cup titles over 10-plus seasons, but was fired in November 2018.

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Monticello Falls to PBL

As heard on WEZC, the Monticello Sages fell to the Paxton-Buckley-Loda Panthers by a score of 52-50 on Friday night. The Sages were led by Garrett Kepley with 11 points. Briggs Fultz had 10 points and led the Sages in rebounds with 13.

 

PBL was led by Colton Coy with 15 points and Trey VanWinkle with 14.

 

With the loss, Monticello drops to 9-7. PBL improves to 14-2.

 

Tune in Tuesday, January 21, as Monticello travels to La Salette. You can hear the game live on Your Easy Choice 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com. Tip-off is set for 7:30 with the broadcast beginning shortly before.

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Clinton Boys Basketball Game Postponed; Monticello Boys Basketball Game Moved Up to 5:30 pm

>>Clinton Boys Basketball Game at Central A&M Postponed

 

The Clinton Maroons boys basketball game at Central A&M High School has been postponed due to anticipated bad weather south of Decatur tonight.

 

The game has been rescheduled to Monday, January 27 with a 5 pm JV game followed by the varsity game at 6:30 pm.

 

>>Monticello, PBL Move Friday Game to 5:30 PM

 

Tonights non-conference boys basketball game between Monticello and Paxton-Buckley-Loda has been moved to a 5:30 pm start time and will feature just the varsity squads.

 

Inclement weather dictated the change in start time. 

 

You can still hear all the action on 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com. 

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Monticello Set To Travel to Paxton-Buckley-Loda

Weather permitting, the Monticello boys basketball squad is set to travel to Paxton-Buckley-Loda in non-conference boys basketball action tonight.

 

The Sages blew past Clinton Tuesday night 56-18 after a Saturday afternoon overtime win against Cissna Park, 63-60.

 

Monticello enters action 9-6 while PBL is 13-2 overall.

 

Game time is 7 pm. Hear the action on 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com.

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Drake Drops Illinois State

Liam Robbins had 19 points and 12 rebounds to lead five Drake players scoring in double figures and the Bulldogs extended their home winning streak to 10 games, getting past Illinois State 84-74 on Thursday night.

 

Jonah Jackson and D.J. Wilkins added 13 points apiece for the Bulldogs (13-5, 3-2 Missouri Valley Conference). Roman Penn chipped in 12 points, and Noah Thomas had 10. Penn also had six assists.

Illinois State totaled 43 points in the first half, a season high for the team.

 

Zach Copeland scored a career-high 32 points and had seven assists for the Redbirds (6-11, 1-4), whose losing streak stretched to four games. Keith Fisher III added 13 points and 10 rebounds.

 

Drake faces Southern Illinois on the road on Sunday. Illinois State takes on Loyola of Chicago at home on Sunday.

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Packers Win Away from Super Bowl

With a victory in the NFC championship game at home on Sunday against the Green Bay Packers, the Niners will become the second team in NFL history to make the Super Bowl a year after losing at least 12 games.

 

Only the St. Louis Rams have done it, going from 4-12 in 1998 to Super Bowl champs one year later thanks in part of an injury to Trent Green that cleared the way for Kurt Warner to take over at quarterback.

 

The 49ers (14-3) also can credit an injury to their quarterback for part of their turnaround; the team went only 4-12 last season after Jimmy Garoppolo went down with a season-ending knee injury in Week 3.

 

The silver lining to that injury was the No. 2 overall pick in the draft, which led to the addition of defensive end Nick Bosa, who helped transform the defense into one of the league's best.

 

The Packers (14-3) have also had an impressive turnaround after slumping to a 6-9-1 record last season that led to the firing of longtime coach Mike McCarthy.

 

Matt LaFleur came in and tinkered with the offense, and general manager Brian Gutekunst brought in key additions such as pass-rushing duo Preston Smith and Za'Darius Smith, who combined for 25 1/2 sacks on the season.

 

There have also been some lower-profile pickups such as Tyler Ervin, Jared Veldheer and Marcedes Lewis that have helped.

 

These teams played earlier this season in Week 12 in what turned out to be a lopsided game.

 

Rodgers lost a fumble on Green Bay's first possession, setting up a 2-yard TD drive that gave San Francisco the lead. The Niners then broke it open with long TD passes to Deebo Samuel late in the second quarter and George Kittle in the third quarter for a 37-8 win. Rodgers had the worst day of his career, averaging 3.2 yards per attempt and getting sacked five times.

 

Game time is 5:40 pm Sunday night.

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Monticello Lady Sages Defeats Pontiac Lady Indians

As heard on WEZC, the Monticello Lady Sages defeats the Pontiac Lady Indians by a score of 61-39 on Thursday night. The Lady Sages were led by Renni Fultz with 15 points. Jayna Burger added 11 points. Cloe Clark also added 10 points.

 

The Lady Indians were led by Lindsey Hunt with 14 points. Samantha Thoman with 10 points.

 

With the win, the Lady Sages improve to 8-12 overall. The Lady Indians fall to 5-18 overall.

 

Tune in Friday, January 17, as the Monticello Sages takes on PBL. Hear all the action on 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com.

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Clinton Lady Maroons fall to Sullivan Lady Redskins

The Clinton Lady Maroons fell to the Sullivan Lady Redskins by a score of 49-38 on Thursday night. The Lady Maroons were led by Kaitlyn Rauch with 16 points. Mallery Cyrulik added 11 points. Jayd Rich also added 7 points.

 

The Lady Redskins were led by Emily White with 12 points. Lilly Noll also added 12 points.

 

With the loss, the Lady Maroons fall to 11-11 overall and 0-4 in the conference. The Lady Redskins improve to 16-4 overall and 4-0 in the conference.

 

Tune in Thursday, January 23, as the Lady Maroons take on Shelbyville. You can hear the game live on the Big 1520 AM/92.3 FM/106.5 FM WHOW, online at dewittdailynews.com, on the WHOW app, and on Amazon Alexa.

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Monticello Girls Host Pontiac

The Monticello Lady Sages will play host to Pontiac tonight from Monticello High School.

 

Hear the action on 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynew.com. Game time is 7 pm.

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Lady Maroons Host Sullivan Tonight

The Clinton Lady Maroons girls basketball team returns to the hardwood and the WHOW airwaves tonight when they play host to Sullivan at 7:30 pm.

 

The Lady Maroons have been off since last Thursday night when they defeated Tri-Valley 52-44. 

 

Clinton is looking for their first Central Illinois Conference win of the season, as they sit at 0-3 in league play but are 11-10 overall. 

 

The Lady Redskins are undefeated in CIC play at 3-0 and are 15-4. They are coming off a 67-28 win over Meridian Monday.

 

Game time tonight is 7:30 pm and can be heard on 92.3 FM WHOW, 106.5 FM WHOW, at dewittdailynews.com, the WHOW Mobile App and on Amazon Alexa.

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Bulls Top Wizards

Zach LaVine had 30 points, seven rebounds and seven assists, and the banged-up Bulls beat Bradley Beal and the Washington Wizards 115-106 on Wednesday night.

 

Chicago placed seven players in double figures in its second win in its last nine games. Thaddeus Young had 18 points and eight boards, and Tomas Satoransky scored 18 points against his former team.

 

The Bulls outscored the Wizards 60-46 in the second half.

 

LaVine went 6 for 11 from 3-point range in his career-best fifth straight game with at least 25 points. It's the longest such streak for the Bulls since Derrick Rose accomplished the feat in six consecutive games in 2010.

 

Beal scored 23 points on 8-for-13 shooting after he was listed as questionable because of right shoulder soreness. The high-scoring star also has been hampered lately by soreness in his lower right leg.

 

Jordan McRae had 16 points for Washington, which has dropped three of four. Isaiah Thomas and Davis Bertans scored 12 points apiece.

 

The Bulls grabbed control with a 10-0 run in the fourth quarter. LaVine made a 3-pointer to make it 106-95 with 4:56 left.

 

The Bulls visit the Philadelphia 76ers on Friday night for their first meeting of the season.

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Bradley Blasts Missouri State

Nate Kennell tied a career-high 25 points on 7-of-10 shooting from 3-point range and Bradley beat Missouri State 91-78 on Wednesday.

 

The Braves led 51-41 at halftime before Missouri State emerged from the break on a 22-6 run and led 63-57 when Lamont West buried a 3-pointer with 12:08 remaining.

 

Bradley turned it around and outscored the Bears 18-11 in a 71/2-minute span and took the lead for good when Ville Tahvanainen buried a 3 to make it 75-72 with 4:35 to go.

 

Ja'Shon Henry had 17 points and 13 rebounds for Bradley (13-5, 4-1 Missouri Valley Conference).

 

Danya Kingsby scored 12 points and Darrell Brown 12 with and eight assists. Bradley posted a season-high 17 3-pointers.

 

Keandre Cook had 22 points for the Bears (8-10, 2-3), West 14 and Gaige Prim 13.

 

Bradley plays Northern Iowa at home on Saturday.

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Pacers Hold Off Timberwolves

Domantas Sabonis matched a season high with 29 points and added 13 rebounds and six assists to lead Indiana over the Timberwolves 104-99 on Wednesday night.

 

Malcolm Brogdon added 21 points in his second game back from injury and Doug McDermott scored 14 off the bench for the Pacers, who have won three straight games.

 

Jarrett Culver led Minnesota with 17 points and Gorgui Dieng had 15 points and 11 boards. The Timberwolves have lost three in a row.

 

Brogdon had 16 of his 21 points after halftime, including 10 in the fourth quarter.

 

Minnesota led by nine in the first half after a basket by Andrew Wiggins. The Timberwolves took a 59-54 lead into halftime but saw that lead momentarily disappear in the third before holding a one-point lead after three.

 

Culver trimmed Indiana's lead on consecutive possessions late in the fourth, but the Pacers had an answer each time. After a basket by Culver made it a three-point game, Brogdon hit his first 3-pointer of the game to push the lead to six.

 

Wiggins was held scoreless in the second half on 0-of-5 shooting for Minnesota after 10 first-half points.

 

McDermott scored 10 of his 14 points in the final quarter.

 

Minnesota's bench outscored Indiana's reserves 39-26, led by 15 points from Bloomington-product Keita Bates-Diop.

 

The Pacers host Minnesota on Friday night.

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Blackhawks Topple Canadiens

Corey Crawford stopped 32 shots to help the Chicago Blackhawks beat the Montreal Canadiens 4-1 on Wednesday night.

 

Crawford has struggled this season, with the latest win improving his record to 8-13-2 with a 3.00 goals-against average.

 

Phillip Danault scored for the Canadiens, who have lost 10 of their last 11. Charlie Lindgren, still looking for his first victory of the season, finished with 24 saves.

 

The Blackhawks scored twice in a fast-paced first period before Montreal even managed its second shot on net.

 

Miscommunication between Lindgren and Tomas Tatar behind the net led to Smith’s short-handed goal at 5:42. Lindgren hesitated with the puck and Tatar knocked into him, giving Caggiula the chance to feed Smith in front.

 

Chicago’s fourth line struck again less than three minutes later. Defenseman Slater Koekkoek threw the puck into traffic and Smith, unmarked to Lindgren’s right, deflected it into the top corner at 8:32.

Smith came in with two goals in 40 games all season. The former Senators forward doubled his tally after four shifts.

 

Lindgren kept Montreal in the game with a desperation save on rookie Dominik Kubalik late in the first to keep it 2-0.

 

Caggiula sealed the win with 8:20 remaining in the third after stripping Jordal Weal of the puck in the neutral zone and beating Lindgren glove side on the breakaway.

 

The Blackhawks are off until they travel to Toronto on Saturday night. 

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Flyers Outlast Blues

Jakub Voracek scored in overtime and the Flyers beat the St. Louis Blues 4-3 on Wednesday night.

The win capped a four-game stretch in which the Flyers played three teams who at the time were tied for the NHL points lead (Washington, Boston and St. Louis) and one against Tampa Bay, the reigning President's Trophy winner. Philadelphia went 3-1 during the stretch.

 

Tyler Pitlick, Michael Raffl and Travis Konecny scored for the Flyers. Brian Elliott, playing for the first time since Jan. 7, stopped 30 shots and improved to 6-2 in his career against his former team.

 

Justin Faulk, Ryan O'Reilly and Alexander Steen scored, and Jordan Binnington made 21 saves for the Blues, who had their NHL best nine-game home winning streak snapped. The streak matched the longest in franchise history set from Jan. 26 - Feb. 26, 1991.

 

With the Blues trailing 3-1, O'Reilly cut the deficit in half with his ninth midway through the third. The goal snapped a seven game scoreless stretch for O'Reilly, dating back to Dec. 29.

 

Steen tied it with 6:21 left on a backhand after Robert Thomas' pass found him all alone in front of the Flyers' net. It was Steen's fourth of the season, all of which came on the Blues' current five-game homestand.

 

Faulk's power-play goal, a one-timer off a perfect feed from Steen, gave the Blues a 1-0 lead with 5:36 left in the first period. Faulk has 21 points in 31 career games against Philadelphia, the most he has scored against any team.

 

St. Louis has at least one power-play goal in 11 of their last 14 games.

 

Pitlick tied the game with his fifth goal of the season with 7:17 left in the second period. Pitlick scored when his centering attempt from behind the net deflected off the leg of a Blues defender past Binnington.

 

Raffl banged home a rebound of Robert Haag's slap shot to put the Flyers up 2-1 with 4:17 left in the second. It was Raffl's fifth goal of the season and first in three games.

 

The Blues activated D Carl Gunnarsson (upper body) from the injured reserve and placed D Colton Parayko (upper body) on the injured reserve, retroactive to Jan. 2. 

 

The Blues are 21-0-6 this season when scoring first, the only team in the NHL without a regulation loss in that scenario.

 

St. Louis is at Colorado on Saturday.

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Monticello Dominates Clinton

The Monticello Sages held the Clinton Maroons to four first-half points and rolled to a 56-18 win in non-conference high school boys basketball action Tuesday night from Monticello High School. 

 

The Sages led 31-4 after the first half, Clinton came out of the intermission to outscore Monticello 13-12 in the third quarter but scored just a single point in the fourth quarter, getting dominated in nearly every facet of the game.

 

The Maroons were outrebounded 34-11 and shot just 23-percent from the floor. The Sages shot 58-percent for the night and dished out 13 assists on 25 field goals made.

 

Additionally, Monticello outscored Clinton in the paint, 34-8. The Sages turned 13 Maroons turnovers into 21 points while the Maroons scored zero points off turnovers and zero points in transition. 

 

The Sages grabbed 13 offensive rebounds for 16 second chance points.

 

Zeke Hickman scored 14 of the Maroons 18 points.

 

Ethan Miller scored a game-high 16 points and had five steals. Briggs Fultz scored 12 points and grabbed a game-high eight rebounds. 

 

Clinton travels to Moqeaqua to take on the No. 2 team in Class 1A, Central A&M for a 7:30 pm tip time. Hear more Maroons basketball action on WHOW next Friday night at Sullivan.

 

The Sages travel to Paxton to take on Paxton-Buckley-Loda for a 7 pm tip. hear the action on 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com. 

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Lincoln, Central A&M Move up in Latest Boys Basketball Polls, Tuscola Enters 2A poll

The Central A&M Raiders moved up a spot in the latest Class 1A poll and Tuscola enters this week's 2A poll.

 

The Raiders jumped to No. 2 in 1A, following Roanoke-Benson, who received five first place votes. Winchester-West Central dropped from No. 1 to No. 6 in this week's poll. 

 

Gorevill, Indian Creek and Payson Seymour rounds out the top five. 

 

Chicago Orr moved up to No. 1 in the latest 2A rankings, followed by Chicago Corliss, Pinckneyville, Nashville and Sterling Newman, Normal U-High, and Chicago Crane tied for fifth. The Pioneers moved up from No. 9 last week. 

 

Breese Mater Dei, Marshall and Tuscola rounds out the top 10. The Warriors enter this week's rankings as Teutopolis drops out. Prairie Central received votes in this week's polls.

 

In Class 3A, Lincoln moves up a spot from No. 7 to a tie at sixth with Peoria Notre Dame and Rock Island. Niles Notre Dame is no. 1 in 3A, followed by Chicago Bogan, DePaul College Prep, Morgan Park and Kankakee. 

 

Chicago Curie is No. 1 in 4A.

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Blackhawks Outlast Senators

Jonathan Toews scored 42 seconds into overtime and assisted on Chicago's two other goals, as the Blackhawks rallied to beat Ottawa 3-2 on Tuesday night.

 

A pair of goals by Dominik Kubalik tied the score at 2-all early in the third after the Blackhawks trailed 2-0 early. Kubalik has seven goals this season.

 

Robin Lehner stopped 20 shots for Chicago, which was playing its first of a three games in eastern Canada.

 

Connor Brown and Chris Tierney scored first-period goals for the Senators. Rookie goaltender Marcus Hogberg started in net for the third straight game and made 27 saves.

 

Ottawa has just one regulation win in its last 14 games (3-5-6). The Senators are winless in their last eight (0-4-4).

 

Ottawa sped to an early lead. Brown scored 3:33 into the game, banging home a rebound of a shot by Dylan DeMelo.

 

Tierney gave the Senators a 2-0 lead less than four minutes later, scoring his seventh of the season by tipping in a pass from Thomas Chabot.

 

With time running out in the second, Kubalik cut the Senators' lead in half, deflecting a shot by Patrick Kane shot and beating Hogberg.

 

Kubalik then beat Ron Hainsey in a foot race 3:41 into the third and scored through Hogberg's pads for his 18th of the season.

 

The Blackhawks are at Montreal to take on the Canadiens on Wednesday.

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Bears to Host Training Camp At Home

The Chicago Bears will hold their entire training camp at their headquarters rather than spend the first few weeks in Bourbonnais, Illinois.

 

The Bears announced Tuesday they will remain at Halas Hall rather than practice the first few weeks 90 miles south at Olivet Nazarene University, as they have for 18 years. They held camp at Wisconsin-Platteville from 1984-2001.

 

Practices in Bourbonnais were a big draw for Bears fans. The team said free tickets for workouts at Halas Hall will be made available this spring.

 

The facility has undergone a major transformation in recent years with two new practice fields and more parking spaces added, two big reasons the Bears can now hold camp there. They also expanded their headquarters, adding a new locker room, weight room, cafeteria, conference rooms, and offices.

The last time the Bears held camp at home was at Lake Forest College from 1975-83.

 

Chicago missed the playoffs at 8-8 this season after winning the NFC North at 12-4 in coach Matt Nagy’s first year.

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Illinois Makes AP Top 25

Illinois is ranked No. 24 in the latest Associated Press Top-25 Poll, released Monday morning. The Fighting Illini have won three straight and are 12-5 on the season and 4-2 in the Big Ten after a pair of victories last week at Wisconsin, 71-70, and at home over Rutgers, 54-51. 

 

It is the first time the Fighting Illini have been ranked in the AP Poll since Dec. 1, 2014, when they checked in at No. 24.

 

Bayor leapfrogged the Kansas and Duke into the second spot in The Associated Press men’s college basketball poll on Monday. They finished with 1,567 points in voting by 65 media members who regularly cover the game, just seven back of top-ranked Gonzaga — even though Baylor had 31 first-place votes and the Bulldogs had 30.

 

The Blue Devils fell to third in the AP poll, followed by unbeaten Auburn and Butler. The Jayhawks were next with another unbeaten, San Diego State, staying at No. 7. Oregon, Florida State and Kentucky rounded out the top 10.

 

The Wildcats climbed four spots by squeezing out tougher-than-expected wins over Georgia and Alabama.

 

The biggest climb came from Wichita State, which jumped seven spots to No. 16 after soundly beating new No. 22 Memphis and turning back Connecticut in double overtime. The Shockers’ only loss came against No. 12 West Virginia in the championship game of the Cancun Classic in late November.

 

Ohio State wasn’t the only Big Ten team to take a tumble. Michigan State dropped seven spots to No. 15 after the Spartans were pounded 71-42 at Purdue, and Penn State fell from No. 20 all the way out of the poll after the Nittany Lions lost consecutive games to unranked teams in Wisconsin and Rutgers.

 

The 24th-ranked Illini will be back on the court Saturday when Northwestern comes to State Farm Center for a 4 p.m. CT tip. 

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Monticello Hosts Clinton Tonight

The Clinton Maroons will take on the Monticello Sages in non-conference high school boys basketball action from Miller Gym tonight at Monticlelo High School.

 

Monticello is coming off a stretch with falling short to two state-ranked opponents but beat state-runner up Cissna Park in overtime Saturday afternoon at the St. Joe Christie Clinic Shootout. The Sages 8-6 overall on the season.

 

The Maroons on the other hand, are in the midst of a six-game losing streak, their latest defeat at the hands of Tuscola Friday night at Clinton High School. The last time Clinton beat Monticello was in 2011 when now-Maroa-Forsyth basketball coach Aaron Ennis made a buzzer-beating jumper in double-overtime. 

 

Clinton is 4-10 on the season. 

 

Game time tonight is 7 pm and can be heard on every WHOW and WEZC platform. Hear that action on 95.9 FM WEZC, 92.3 FM WHOW, 106.5 FM WHOW, at dewittdailynews.com, at Amazon Alexa and at the WHOW mobile app.

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Cockburn Big Ten Freshman of the Week for Sixth Time

Fighting Illini center Kofi Cockburn (Kingston, Jamaica/Oak Hill Academy-Va.) has been named Big Ten Freshman of the Week, the conference office announced on Monday. He earns the honor after averaging a double-double of 13.0 points and 11.5 rebounds with 1.5 blocks in a pair of Illini victories.

 

This is already the sixth Big Ten Freshman of the Week accolade for Cockburn, just 10 weeks into the 2019-20 season. He expands his school record for the most honors by an Illini, dating back to 2010-11 when the league began honoring a weekly outstanding freshman performer. It is the most Freshman of the Week awards by any Big Ten player, meanwhile, since 2014-15 when Ohio State's D'Angelo Russell was honored seven times during the season.

 

Cockburn recorded his seventh double-double of the season with 11 points and game- and career-high tying 17 rebounds in comeback win over Rutgers.

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Pacers Drop Sixers

TJ Warren blocked a potential go-ahead 3-pointer with 29 seconds left, and the Pacers scored the final seven points for a 101-95 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers.

 

Indiana has now beaten the 76ers twice in 14 days and holds the No. 5 spot in the Eastern Conference standings, a half-game ahead of Philadelphia.

 

And yet in a game Malcolm Brogdon finished with 21 points, seven rebounds and nine assists, and Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis both produced double-doubles, it was Warren's energy, ability to get to the rim and a critical defensive play that proved the difference.

 

While Ben Simmons finished the first half 9 of 11 from the field and staked the 76ers to a 49-40 halftime lead, Warren made just enough shots to keep the Pacers close.

 

It looked like that might change when the 76ers ran out to a 63-52 lead midway through the third quarter.

 

But Turner led the Pacers back with a 15-4 spurt to tie the score.

 

Josh Richardson started to swing the game with a 17-point, fourth-quarter flurry that included two free throws to give the 76ers a 92-89 lead with 3:36 left. Instead, his 3 to make it 95-94 with 2:02 to go accounted for the only Philadelphia points the rest of the game.

 

Turner made two free throws with 1:14 to go to give Indiana the lead, Warren kept it intact by blocking Tobias Harris' 3 and the Pacers closed it out at the free throw line.

 

Simmons had 24 points and 14 rebounds, while Richardson finished with 23 points as Philadelphia fell to 1-2 since losing Joel Embiid with an injured finger on his left hand.

 

Turner and Justin Holiday each had 14 points. Turner also had 10 rebounds.

 

The Pacers make their annual trip to Minnesota on Wednesday.

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Celtics Take Down Bulls

Jayson Tatum scored 21 points and Jaylen Brown had 19 to lead six Celtics in double figures in a Boston Celtics 113-101 victory over the Chicago Bulls on Monday night.

 

Enes Kanter had 15 points and nine rebounds, Kemba Walker added 14 points and Marcus Smart had 12 points for Boston (27-11), which won its second straight after a season-high three-game losing streak. Grant Williams added 11 points and Smart had eight assists.

 

Gordon Hayward chipped in with eight points, eight assists and six boards for Boston despite shooting just 4 of 11 from the floor.

 

Zach LaVine led the Bulls with 30 points, including a couple of highlight dunks. Thaddeus Young added 17 points for Chicago (14-27), which has lost seven of eight.

 

The Bulls trailed by 55-37 at halftime, but came out with a 17-5 run over the initial 4 minutes of the second half. LaVine had six points in the spree.

 

Chicago cut its large deficit at intermission to six points twice in the third, the last 67-61 on Kris Dunn’s 3-pointer from directly in front of Boston’s bench, but the Celtics closed the quarter with an 8-2 spurt to take an 83-71 edge into the fourth.

 

The Bulls never really threatened in the final quarter. They closed it to 95-84 with just under 6 minutes to play on Daniel Gafford’s put-back basket, but never tested Boston.

 

The Bulls will host the Washington Wizards on Wednesday night. Chicago beat Washington on the road in the clubs’ first game, 110-109, in overtime on Dec. 18.

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LSU Wins National Title

Joe Burrow threw five touchdown passes, ran for another score and finished off one of the most accomplished seasons in college football history by leading the top-ranked Tigers to a 42-25 victory against No. 3 Clemson on Monday night in the playoff final.

 

His five TD passes and 463 yards passing are the most for a BCS or College Football Playoff title game. So were his six total touchdowns.

 

Trevor Lawrence was 18 for 37 for 234 yards for Clemson. 

 

Clemson pushed LSU into the deepest hole it had to climb out of this season in the first half. Two weeks after Lawrence ran for a career-best 107 yards against Ohio State, he opened the scoring with a 1-yard jaunt around right end in the first quarter.

 

After B.T. Potter kicked a career-long 52-yard field goal for Clemson to make it 10-7, the Tigers sprung receiver Tee Higgins on a 36-yard reverse for a score to make it 17-7 in the second quarter.

It took LSU 5:19 to wipe that out and take the lead, with Burrow and his favorite receiver, Ja’Marr Chase, doing most of the damage. The Heisman winner hit the Biletnikoff Award winner with a long ball to set up a quarterback draw from 3 yards out to make it 17-14.

 

Burrow and Chase hooked up for a 14-yard touchdown with 5:19 left in the second quarter and LSU fans erupted as their Tigers took the lead for the first time, 21-17. They never looked back.

 

Chase finished with nine catches for 221 yards.

 

The SEC Tigers weren’t done. Burrow led LSU on a 95-yard drive, taking a hard shot on a long run before finding Thaddeus Moss, son of former NFL star receiver Randy Moss, standing alone in the end zone. That made it 28-17 with 10 seconds left in the half.

 

>>LSU No. 1 in Final AP College Football Poll

 

LSU is your new national champion after a 42-25 win over Clemson. This was a historic season for LSU in more ways than one and it's no surprise, then, that the Tigers finish the year ranked atop the final Associated Press Top 25 poll. Clemson, though still enduring the bitterness of defeat, will indeed finish the year ranked No. 2. 

 

It's past the top two spots, though, that things get a little more interesting. Oregon finishes the season ranked No. 5 following its Rose Bowl victory over Wisconsin while Oklahoma, previously No. 4, falls to No. 7 after getting blown out by LSU in the Peach Bowl semifinal. Alabama moves up one spot to No. 8 while Penn State and Minnesota round out the top 10. Baylor drops out of the top 10, from No. 8 to No. 13, following the Sugar Bowl loss to Georgia. 

 

Teams to re-enter the top 25 for the final time include No. 24 UCF and No. 25 Texas. USC and Oklahoma State dropped out after losses in the Holiday and Texas bowls, respectively. 

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Blues Down Ducks

Jake Allen stopped 20 shots and Brayden Schenn had two assists Monday night, leading St. Louis to a 4-1 victory over the Anaheim Ducks.

 

Making his first start in nine days, Allen improved to 8-3-3 this season. He lost his starting job last January to Binnington, who was called up from the American Hockey League and led the Blues to their first Stanley Cup title. He's been the starter ever since.

 

The Blues won their ninth straight home game, tying the franchise record for one season set in 1991. The run marks the longest home winning streak in the NHL this season. St. Louis has outscored its opponents 36-15 during the streak.

 

Alexander Steen, Tyler Bozak, Jaden Schwartz and Ivan Barbashev scored for the Blues, who have won four in a row after a three-game skid. They are 12-2-1 in their past 15 games.

 

St. Louis (30-10-7) is tied for first in the NHL standings (67 points) with Washington.

 

Max Comtois had the lone goal for Anaheim, which has lost four straight and been outscored 15-6 during that span. The Ducks are 3-9-1 in their past 13 games.

 

Ducks goalie John Gibson made 30 saves and fell to 13-19-3. He is 1-5-1 in his last seven starts.

The Blues have 17 wins at home this season (17-4-3), most in the NHL.

The Blues host the Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday.

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Packers Hold Off Seahawks

Aaron Rodgers connected with Davante Adams eight times for 160 yards and two touchdowns, Green Bay's spruced-up defense fended off a spirited Seahawks rally, and the Packers held on for a 28-23 victory Sunday night to reach the NFC championship game for the third time in six years.

 

Aaron Jones rushed for 62 yards and two first-half scores for the Packers (14-3), who will travel next weekend to take on top-seeded San Francisco. Rodgers, who went 16 for 27 for 243 yards in his 17th career postseason start, Rodgers has 38 touchdown passes in the playoffs. That's good for fifth in league history.

 

Russell Wilson carried the Seahawks (12-6) on yet another comeback, this time from a 21-3 halftime deficit, but the Packers forced a punt shortly before the two-minute warning on the second sack of the game by Preston Smith. That was Green Bay's fifth of the game.

 

Rodgers sealed the win with two third-down throws: a 32-yard strike to Adams on third-and-8 with 2:19 left and then for 9 yards to Jimmy Graham on third-and-9 right after the two-minute warning to take down a Seahawks team that was 8-1 on the road this season entering the game.

 

Racking up 64 yards rushing on seven scrambles and completing 21 of 31 passes for 277 yards, Wilson directed touchdown drives of 69, 84, 79 right out of the gate after halftime. Lynch finished two of them with scores, and Wilson threw on the run to Tyler Lockett, who had 136 yards on nine receptions, for the other one.

 

Lynch's second touchdown with 9:33 left cut the lead to 28-23, but Jaire Alexander blew up the 2-point conversion attempt with a sack on an unblocked blitz. The Packers gave the ball back to the Seahawks with a second consecutive punt, this time with 4:54 left at the Seattle 22, but Wilson ran out of tricks in his seemingly bottomless bag of them.

 

Lynch, who has 12 rushing touchdowns in 13 career postseason games to tie for fourth in NFL history, had only 26 yards on 12 carries.

 

Green Bay lost 37-8 on Nov. 24 to the 49ers, who beat Minnesota 27-10 on Saturday in their divisional-round game. All four of Green Bay's appearances in the NFC title game with Rodgers at the helm have been on the road. They won at Chicago after the 2010 season to reach his only Super Bowl.

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LSU, Clemson Meet for College Football National Title

LSU is ranked No. 1 in the country and has been the most talked-about team in college football this season.

 

Quarterback Joe Burrow won the Heisman Trophy in historic fashion, and he's the main reason LSU is favored to beat Clemson in the College Football Championship on Monday night in New Orleans.

 

No. 3 Clemson is 14-0 -- like LSU. But unlike LSU, Clemson is also the defending national champion, winner of 29 consecutive games, and looking for its third national championship in four seasons.

 

Trevor Lawrence is 25-0 as a starter, having taken over early last season. He threw two touchdown passes, ran for more than 100 yards, including a 67-yard touchdown, and drove the Tigers 94 yards to the winning touchdown with less than two minutes remaining in a 29-23 victory against No. 2 Ohio State in the CFP Semifinal at the Fiesta Bowl.

 

Burrow broke the SEC single-season records for touchdown passes and passing yards.

 

While the offense is a marquee unit for LSU, Clemson's defense has drawn the most attention during its championship runs, though both teams are obviously complete teams.

 

Clemson allows the fewest points of any team in the country (11.5 per game) and the second-fewest yards (264.1).

 

The LSU defense was inconsistent for much of the season and bottomed out when it allowed 402 rushing yards and 614 total yards to Ole Miss in a 58-37 win in mid-November.

 

But in the four games since, LSU has allowed averages of just 86 rushing yards, 184 passing yards and 16.3 points.

 

The home-state crowd figures to favor LSU just as the oddsmakers have favored them.

 

LSU has beaten six teams that were ranked in the Top 10 when they played. Clemson's first game against a Top 10 team came against Ohio State, but it showed its championship pedigree by overcoming a 16-0 deficit to win.

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Monticello Sages defeats Cissna Park Timberwolves

As heard on WEZC, the Monticello sages defeated the Cissna Park Timberwolves by a score of 63-60 Saturday evening. The Sages were led by Ethan Miller with 20 points. Garrett Kepley added 14 points. Ryan Reeder also added 6 points.

 

The Timberwolves were led by Ian Rogers with 15 points. Penn Stoller added 15 points.

 

With the win, the Sages improve to 8-6 overall. The Timberwolves fall to 10-5 overall.

 

Tune in Tuesday, January 14th, as the Monticello Sages take on the Clinton Maroons at home. Hear all the action on 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com.

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Clinton Maroons fall to Tuscola Warriors

The Clinton Maroons fall to the Tuscola Warriors by a score of 43-74 on Friday night. The Maroons were led by Skyler Williamson with 15 points. Clayton Welch added 11 points. Zeke Hickman also added 8 points.

 

The Warriors were led by Grant Hardwick with 23 points. Jalen Quinn added 21 points. 

 

The Maroons fall to 4-14 overall and 0-1 on the conference.

 

Tune in Tuesday, January 14th, as the Maroons take on Monticello. You can hear the game live on the Big 1520 AM/92.3 FM/106.5 FM WHOW, online at dewittdailynews.com, on the WHOW app, and on Amazon Alexa.

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Maroons Host Tuscola To Open CIC Play

The Clinton Maroons will host the Tuscola Warriors to open Central Illinois Conference play tonight at 7:30 pm.

 

The Warriors ran the table in their non-conference slate to this point, entering play 12-0. The Maroons enter action tonight 4-13.

 

The Maroons were blown out by LeRoy Tuesday night, 88-41. Tuscola topped Arcola last Friday night 68-42.

 

Game time tonight is 7:30 pm. Hear all the action on 92.3 FM WHOW, 106.5 FM WHOW, online at dewittdailynews.com, at the WHOW mobile app, and at Amazon Alexa. 

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Packers, Seahawaks To Cap Off Divisional Round Sunday

Aaron Rodgers won his first Super Bowl nearly a decade ago. The time to capture a second is running out.

 

Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers will host the Seattle Seahawks in Sunday's NFC divisional playoff game. It will be the first postseason appearance for Rodgers in three years.

 

Rodgers led an injury-laden Packers team to the NFC championship game in Green Bay's previous postseason appearance following the 2016 season before getting blown out 44-21 by the Falcons.

 

But this Packers squad - including Rodgers - is as healthy as Green Bay has been in recent years.

There are only four players left from the 2010 Super Bowl team and seven from the 2014 team that lost to the Seahawks in the NFC championship game in Seattle. Matt LaFleur is also preparing for his first playoff test as a head coach.

 

DK Metcalf had quite the debut to the NFL playoffs. Metcalf set an NFL rookie playoff record with 160 yards receiving last week against the Eagles. Metcalf had a season-high seven catches and pulled in a 53-yard touchdown in the second half that gave Seattle an 11-point lead. He also had a 36-yard catch on Seattle's final possession to seal the victory.

 

The Seahawks are 8-1 on the road this season, including a 17-9 win in Philadelphia in the wild-card round, but have lost eight straight at Lambeau Field and are 1-9 all time in the Packers' stadium.

 

Russell Wilson is 0-3 as a starter at Lambeau with a passer rating of 60.42. Wilson has completed just 55 of 96 his passes (57.3%) for 604 yards with six interceptions and just three touchdowns.

 

The forecast calls for a kickoff temperature in the low 20s, but a potential winter storm is shaping up to arrive in the region Saturday night, bringing gusty winds and up to 10 inches of snow. Packers officials released a notice on Thursday seeking as many as 700 people to help shovel to clear out the expected snowfall at Lambeau.

 

Game time is 4:40 pm local time and is on FOX. 

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Monticello Takes on Cissna Park Saturday

The Monticello Sages continue a robust portion of their schedule Saturday afternoon when they take on Cissna Park at the St. Joe Christie Clinic Shootout.

 

The Sages have lost two straight, albeit to state-ranked opponents, but will look to get back in the win column Saturday against a team that is not ranked but made the 1A state final last year in Cissna Park. 

 

Monticello lost last Saturday afternoon to No. 5 Marshall at home and then lost on the road at No. 8 Teutopolis Tuesday.

 

The Timberwolves are at Iroquois West tonight before their game tomorrow afternoon. They sit 9-4 overall. 

 

The Sages are off tonight and are 7-6.

 

Game time Saturday is 3:30 pm, hear all the action on 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com. 

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Cardinals Notes

>>Cardinals Send OF Martinez to Tampa for Pitching Prospect

 

On Thursday, the Tampa Bay Rays and St. Louis Cardinals agreed to a sizable trade. The Rays acquired outfielders Jose Martinez and Randy Arozarena as well as a draft pick in exchange for left-handed prospect Matthew Liberatore, and low-level catching prospect Edgardo Rodriguez, and a draft pick, the teams announced.

 

Martinez, 31, is the only veteran involved in the deal. He's an offense-only player who has appeared destined for the American League due to his well-below-average defense at various positions. Even so, he's posted a 119 OPS+ for his big-league career, and is under team control through the 2022 season. Martinez figures to split time between DH and first base for the Rays, serving as a right-handed caddy for Ji-Man Choi and Yoshitomo Tsutsugo. 

 

Arozarena, who turns 25 in February, made his big-league debut last season. He should factor into the Rays' outfield, perhaps in a platoon capacity with Austin Meadows. 

 

Liberatore, 20, was the 16th pick in the 2018 draft. He didn't make the Rays' top-five prospect list for us due to the depth of their system, but he has a good fastball-breaking ball combination and feel for throwing strikes and a changeup. He's a few years away from the majors, yet he could become a quality starter.

 

Liberatore entered draft season in contention to be the top prep arm off the board. He slipped on draft day, however, and the Rays took advantage by taking him in the middle of the first round, just ahead of the Cardinals' spot, amusingly enough. St. Louis chose Nolan Gorman. Liberatore spent last season in A-ball, where he appeared 15 times and tallied 78 innings. He posted a 3.10 ERA and he recorded 2.45 strikeouts per walk. 

 

While this deal thins out some of the Cardinals' immediate outfield depth, it's a hard one to pass on from a value perspective. The Cardinals essentially netted a top-100 prospect type for multiple pieces who were not going to start for them this season and perhaps not even next. 

 

The Cardinals likely aren't done on the outfield side of things, either. They could conceivably bring back free agent Marcell Ozuna, and have been willing to eat money to move Dexter Fowler's contract, per league sources.

 

>>Cardinals Among Thin List of Teams Interested in Arenado

 

There's a reasonable chance that the Rockies trade star third baseman Nolan Arenado before Opening Day, and suffice it to say he'd be among the very biggest names on the trade market. 

 

Arenado, who's going into his age-29 season, remains an elite defender at the hot corner, and he's also finished in the top 10 or top five of the NL MVP balloting in each of the last five seasons. 

 

As for the financial commitment, it's a substantial one. Arenado last February signed an eight-year, $260 million extension with Colorado that includes an opt-out after the 2021 season. If Arenado doesn't use that opt-out, then he's still owed $234 million. 

 

So who might be willing to assume such an obligation? Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, in one of his usual and wide-ranging must-reads, names two possibilities: The Cardinals and the Rangers. 

 

The Cardinals are poised to get by at third base with some combination of Matt Carpenter and Tommy Edman. Carpenter, however, may be in his deep decline phase and thus stretched as a lineup primary, and the Cardinals may prefer to deploy Edman as a multi-positional super-utility sort. In that light, Arenado would indeed be a fit for the reigning NL Central champs.

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Preds Down Blackhawks

Pekka Rinne became the 12th goaltender in NHL history to score when he converted an empty-netter with 22 seconds left, punctuating the Predators' 5-2 victory over the sloppy Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday night.

 

Nashville had a 4-2 lead when Rinne fired the puck into the air from behind his own net. It landed inside Chicago's blue line and slid into the goal before Blackhawks forward Kirby Dach could chase it down.

 

Matt Duchene and Viktor Arvidsson also scored for Nashville (20-16-7), which had dropped five of six. Nick Bonino also had an empty-net goal before Rinne got his 14th career point.

 

Dominik Kubalik scored for the third straight game, but Chicago (19-20-6) dropped to 1-2 on its four-game homestand. Alex DeBrincat added a power-play goal in the third period, and Corey Crawford finished with 25 saves.

 

After DeBrincat's slick backhand trimmed Nashville's lead to 3-2, the Blackhawks pushed hard for the tying goal. But Rinne helped the Predators kill off a power play before Bonino put it away with his 14th goal.

 

Nashville skated circles around Chicago at the start of the game, and the Blackhawks made several mistakes that led to quality opportunities for the Predators.

 

Blackhawks C Dylan Strome was scratched after he hurt his right ankle during Tuesday night's 2-1 loss to Calgary. He is day to day.

 

Blackhawks host the Anaheim Ducks on Saturday night.

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Blues Blast Sabres

Robert Thomas and Tyler Bozak each had a goal and two assists, and the St. Louis Blues beat the Buffalo Sabres 5-1 on Thursday night.

 

Alexander Steen had two goals and an assist and David Perron also scored for the Blues, who won their eighth straight against the Sabres on home ice. Jordan Binnington made 18 saves, running his record to 21-7-4.

 

Thomas' three points equaled a career-high. He has eight points in his last seven games.

Jack Eichel scored and Linus Ullmark made 26 saves for the Sabres, who won their previous two games.

 

The Blues won their seventh straight home game, tying Dallas for the longest such streak in the NHL this season.

 

The Blues host the New York Rangers on Saturday.

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Illinois Rallies Past Wisconsin

Ayo Dosunmu scored a team-high 18 points — including a 3-pointer with 46 seconds left — to rally Illinois to a 71-70 Big Ten Conference victory over Wisconsin.

 

The victory not only gave the Illini (11-5, 3-2) their first league road win of the season, it also snapped a 15-game winning streak against the Badgers that dated to 2011.

 

Freshman 7-footer Kofi Cockburn scored 15 points and reserve guard Alan Griffin added 12, including 4-of-5 shooting from 3-point range.

 

Dosunmu also had six assists.

 

Kobe King scored a game-high 21 points for Wisconsin (9-6, 2-3), which had its four-game winning streak snapped.

 

King drained a 3 with 22 seconds left to pull Wisconsin to 71-70, but when the Badgers got the ball back after a missed free throw by Illinois forward Giorgi Bezhanishvili, D’Mitrik Trice missed a go-ahead bucket with three seconds left.

 

Micah Potter scored 13 points with nine rebounds and two blocks for Wisconsin. Potter, an Ohio State transfer playing in his fourth game since his eligibility began in late December, made all eight of his foul shots.

 

The teams traded the lead 10 times in the first half, until Potter and King collaborated during a 9-1 Wisconsin run — capped by a King 3-pointer — that extended the Badgers’ lead to 28-21 with 3:57 before halftime.

 

King, who was 8-of-11 shooting, delivered eight of the Badgers’ first nine points to open the second half.

 

Illinois pulled within 54-52 with 9:50 left on a dunk by Cockburn, who picked up his fourth foul 17 seconds later.

 

The Badgers maintained a slim lead late in the second half, but didn’t score a basket for nearly two minutes. The Illini tied the game at 63 on back-to-back 3s by Griffin with 3:22 left.

 

The victory marked the first against Wisconsin during Underwood’s five-year tenure, but the head coach said that he was more concerned with attaining a Big Ten road win.

 

Illinois plays Rutgers at home Saturday. The Illini have won three consecutive in the series, including a six-point overtime victory in Champaign last season.

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Bradley Throttles Evansville

Nate Kennell had 17 points and 10 rebounds for his first career double-double and Bradley beat Evansville 72-52 on Wednesday night.

 

It was the largest road conference victory by the Braves in 10 years.

 

Darrell Brown had 16 points for Bradley (11-5, 2-1 Missouri Valley Conference). Ja'Shon Henry added 14 points and nine rebounds, and Koch Bar had nine rebounds.

 

Evansville put up 19 first-half points, a season low for the team.

 

K.J. Riley had 12 points for the Purple Aces (9-7, 0-3).

 

Bradley plays Southern Illinois at home on Saturday.

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Pelicans Down Bulls

Brandon Ingram had 29 points, 11 assists and eight rebounds, and the New Orleans Pelicans defeated Chicago 123-108 on Wednesday night to drop the Bulls to a fifth straight loss.

 

Ingram was just two rebounds short of his first career triple-double.

 

JJ Redick hit six 3-pointers on his way to 24 points, while Hayes had 14 points, 12 rebounds and four blocks to help the Pelicans win for the seventh time in 10 games.

 

The 6-foot-11 Hayes also continued to rev up the crowd with his above the rim athleticism, be it on a transition dunk or his rejection of Coby White's layup attempt in the final seconds of the third quarter.

Zach LaVine scored 32 for the Bulls, who are in the midst of their longest losing streak this season.

 

Thaddeus Young scored 18 in his return to the city where he was born.

 

Chicago led by six early in the third quarter before New Orleans went on a 15-3 run that put the Pelicans in front for good. Ingram scored nine during that surge, starting it with a 3, adding another from deep and then hitting three free throws after he was fouled on a 3-point attempt.

 

The Bulls have been vulnerable to third-quarter lapses this season.

 

By the fourth quarter New Orleans widened its lead to as many as 21 points.

 

Lauri Markkanen scored 14.

 

Josh Hart, who started for Jrue Holiday, scored 13 points. Lonzo Ball and Nickiell Alexander-Walker each scored 11. 

 

The Bulls host Indiana on Friday night.

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Heat Beat Pacers

In the midst of the Heat outscoring the Pacers 38-23 in the third quarter on the way to a 122-108 rout, Jimmy Butler exchanged bumps, words and gestures with Indiana's T.J. Warren, who was ejected.

 

Butler scored 14 points and was one of seven Miami players in double figures. Another was Bam Adebayo, who had 18 in three quarters.

 

The Heat built a 28-point lead by the end of the third quarter and rested the starters.

 

Tyler Herro led Miami with 19 points, Derrick Jones had 18 and Duncan Robinson scored 11 of his 17 in the third quarter. Goran Dragic and Kendrick Nunn each scored 14.

 

The Pacers were led by forward Domantas Sabonis, with 27 points and 14 rebounds for his 30th double-double of the season.

 

Two-time All-Star Pacers guard Victor Oladipo eagerly confirmed the plan for his season debut in a Jan. 29 home game against Chicago, a little more than a year since he ruptured a right quad tendon in a Jan. 23, 2019, home win over Toronto.

 

The Pacers are at Chicago on Friday.

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Slow Second Half Dooms Monticello At Teutopolis

Monticello went a stretch of 10 minutes and 15 seconds without a field goal in the second half and No. 8 Teutopolis was able to pull away for a 57-36 win in non-conference high school boys basketball from T-town Tuesday night.

 

The Sages led 24-17 with 1:57 left in the first half but the Wooden Shoes rallied with an 8-0 run capped by an Evan Wermert layup as time expired off a Monticello turnover on a broken down play.

 

The Shoes would keep the pressure up in the second half holding Monticello to just 12 second-half points and after Garrett Kepley's layup with 5:04 to play in the third that tied the game at 31, T-town went on a 24-5 run to put the game away.

 

Kepley's 12 points led the Sages. Cooper Mitze chipped in with nine points off the bench. 

Luke Ungrud scored 13 of his game-high 15 points in the fourth quarter, Evan Addis and Evan Wermert scored 13 points apiece. 

 

The loss was the second straight loss against a state-ranked opponent for the Sages as No. 5 Marshall escaped Monticello with a 59-58 buzzer-beating loss Saturday.

 

The Sages drop to 7-6 overall while Teutopolis improves to 11-3. 

 

Monticello hits the road in the St. Joe Christie Clinic Shootout for a 3:30 pm Saturday afternoon game against Cissna Park, who appeared in last year's 1A state finals. Hear all the action on 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com. 

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Missouri State Holds Off Illinois State

Keandre Cook had 22 points as Missouri State narrowly beat Illinois State 67-63 on Tuesday night.

 

Missouri State led throughout most of the second half, including a 10-point lead with 11:50 remaining. At that point, Illinois State went on a 19-8 run to take a 56-55 lead with 3:54 to go. After a series of ties and lead changes Missouri State took the lead for good on back-to-back 3-pointers by Cook, the second for a 63-58 lead with 1:20 remaining.

 

Illinois State kept it close and a 3-pointer by Ricky Torres drew the Redbirds within 65-63 with 14 seconds to go. The Redbirds fouled Missouri State’s Lamont West with 3 seconds remaining and he made both ends of the bonus to seal the win.

 

Gaige Prim had 12 points for Missouri State (8-8, 2-1 Missouri Valley Conference), which ended its five-game road losing streak. Isiaih Mosley added 11 points and eight rebounds. Tulio Da Silva had 11 points for the Bears.

 

Antonio Reeves had 16 points for the Redbirds (6-9, 1-2). Zach Copeland added 15 points. Ricky Torres had 12 points and seven assists.

 

Missouri State plays Northern Iowa at home on Saturday. Illinois State plays Indiana State on the road on Saturday.

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Lincoln, Central A&M Among Ranked Boys Basketball Teams

Lincoln checks in at No. 7 in 3A in the first boys basketball polls of 2020. 

 

The Railsplitters dominated Charleston last night 60-33  to move to 10-1 on the season. 

Peoria Notre Dame checks in at No. 6 in the 3A polls. 

 

Central A&M is No. 3 in the latest 1A poll. The Raiders are 9-2 overall. They take on Meridan Friday night in their Central Illinois Conference opener. 

 

LeRoy, who dominated Clinton last night 88-41, received votes in the 1A poll, along with Cissna Park, who will take on Monticello Saturday at the St. Joe Christie Clinic Shootout at 3:30 pm.

 

In Class 2A, Normal U-High is No. 9 in this week's poll.

 

Monticello's last two opponents show up in this week's poll, Marshall is No. 5 in 2A after just surviving at Monticello Saturday, while Teutopolis is No. 8 this week. The Illini Prairie's Prairie Central received votes in this week's poll. Tuscola just missed out on the poll with 15 votes. 

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Blues Down Sharks

David Perron scored his 18th goal of the season and Jordan Binnington stopped 28 shots, leading the St. Louis Blues to a 3-2 victory over the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday night.

 

Tyler Bozak and Ivan Barbashev also scored for St. Louis, which has won six straight at home. Timo Meier and Erik Karlsson notched San Jose's goals.

 

This was the first matchup between the teams in St. Louis since the Blues eliminated the Sharks in Game 6 of last year's Western Conference Final. St. Louis won 5-2 in San Jose on Dec. 21.

 

The Blues are 8-3-1 in their last 12 regular-season games against the Sharks.

 

San Jose center Logan Couture, who is in his 11th season, was helped off the ice at 12:27 of the second period and did not return. Couture and St. Louis' Vince Dunn collided and went into the boards. Couture was favoring his left knee, which he banged into the boards. He leads the Sharks with 36 points - 14 goals and 22 assists.

 

St. Louis scored two goals 80 seconds apart in the second period to take a 2-0 lead.

 

Bozak scored at 5:39 of the second. Alexander Steen dropped a pass back between his legs to Bozak, who snapped a wrist shot from the right circle. It was Bozak's fourth goal in his last six games.

 

St. Louis made it 2-0 when Barbashev scored at 6:59. Barbashev missed a breakaway shot that was blocked by San Jose goalie Aaron Dell, who had 24 saves. Couture got the rebound but Oskar Sundqvist stole the puck. He passed to Barbashev, who scored from just outside the crease. It was Barbashev's first goal since Dec. 7.

 

Perron has scored six goals and recorded eight assists in his last 10 games.

 

The Blues host Buffalo on Thursday.

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Flames Rally Past Blackhawks

Elias Lindholm scored twice to reach 300 points in his 500th NHL game, and the Calgary Flames beat the Chicago Blackhawks 2-1 on Tuesday for their third straight win.

 

Matthew Tkachuk had two assists for Calgary (23-17-5), which lost 5-3 to Chicago in their first meeting of the season on New Year's Eve. Cam Talbot made 31 saves in the finale of the Flames' two-game trip with their fathers and other mentors.

 

The Blackhawks (19-19-6) lost key forward Dylan Strome to a right ankle injury early in the second period. Strome has 10 goals and 20 assists in 40 games this season.

 

Dominik Kubalik scored his 13th goal for Chicago, which had won four of five during one of its best stretches of the season. Corey Crawford stopped 26 shots.

 

The Flames had two 5-on-3 power plays totaling 2:22 and came up empty. Crawford denied Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan with a pair of terrific saves early in the third.

 

The Blackhawks replaced Crawford with an extra attacker with about two minutes left, but the Flames held on.

 

Tkachuk and Lindholm connected for both Calgary goals in the second.

 

Lindholm tied it at 1 just 14 seconds into the period. Tkachuk found the 25-year-old forward in the slot, and he slid the puck between Crawford's legs for his team-high 17th of the season.

 

A turnover by Chicago star Patrick Kane led to the tiebreaking goal with 3:59 left. Tkachuk sent the puck over to Lindholm in the left circle and he converted a one-timer.

 

The Blackhawk host the Nashville Predators on Thursday night.

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Doncic Leads Mavs Past Bulls

Luca Doncic scored 21 points in the third quarter and had his NBA-leading 11th triple-double of the season to lead the Dallas Mavericks past the Chicago Bulls 118-110 Monday night.

 

Doncic scored 17 of the Mavs' 19 points in the final 5:35 of the third to break open what had been a tie game. His 3 gave Dallas a 72-69 lead it would not relinquish. He finished with 38 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists.

 

Dwight Powell added 16 points for Dallas on 6-for-6 shooting from the floor and 4-for-4 from the line.

 

The Mavericks played without Kristaps Porzingis for the fourth straight game due to right knee soreness.

 

Lauri Markkanen led the Bulls with 26 points, starting the game despite spraining his left ankle Saturday night against Boston.

 

Chicago stayed close throughout the game, even after losing forward Wendell Carter Jr. to a right ankle sprain with 8:25 left in the third quarter. Chicago went on a quick 10-2 run after Carter's injury to tie the score at 69 before Doncic took over.

 

Tomas Satoransky had a career-high 14 assists.

 

The Bulls are in New Orleans to take on the Pelicans on Wednesday.

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Pacers Top Hornets

TJ Warren scored 30 of his 36 points in the second half, and Indiana beat the Charlotte Hornets 115-104 on Monday night to snap a two-game skid.

 

Warren, who was born in Durham, North Carolina, and played at North Carolina State, had his previous season high of 33 points on Nov. 5 in Charlotte, although the Pacers lost that game.

 

Indiana trailed by two at halftime but outscored Charlotte 37-21 in third quarter behind 13 points from Warren to open a 14-point lead. Warren finished 15 of 24 from the field and said the basket was looking ''pretty big'' in the second half.

 

Domantas Sabonis added 18 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists, and Miles Turner had 15 points and nine rebounds for the Pacers, who had lost four of their previous five. The Pacers, who are 15-4 at home, improved to 8-10 on the road.

 

Terry Rozier had 28 points for the Hornets, whose two-game win streak ended.

 

Devonte Graham, who finished with 22 points and six assists, tried to bring the Hornets back late.

 

He hit back-to-back 3s from the right wing, but Warren answered with a dunk and then turned a fast-break layup into a three-point play to push the lead to 11 with 1:30 left in the game.

 

Pacers guard Jeremy Lamb had 11 points and 10 rebounds against his former team.

 

The Pacers return home to host the Heat on Wednesday night.

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Ex-Packers Coach Headed to Cowboys

 Mike McCarthy won a Super Bowl and went to the playoffs eight straight years while coaching two-time MVP quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

 

The Dallas Cowboys are hoping for similar results from McCarthy with Dak Prescott.

 

McCarthy, who won the title as Green Bay’s coach at the home of the Cowboys nine years ago, has agreed to become the ninth coach in Dallas team history, a person with direct knowledge of the deal said Monday.

 

McCarthy interviewed over the weekend, before the Cowboys made the announcement Sunday that Jason Garrett wouldn’t return after 9½ seasons.

 

Dallas missed the playoffs at 8-8 with high expectations in a make-or-break season for Garrett, whose contract expires next week.

 

Green Bay made nine trips to the postseason in 13 years under McCarthy. That’s the only other head coaching job the 56-year-old has held. He was fired during what ended up being a second straight losing season for the Packers in 2018.

 

McCarthy led the Packers to at least 10 wins in eight of his first 11 seasons, including four trips to the NFC championship game.

 

Dallas hasn’t been that far in the playoffs since the last of the franchise’s five Super Bowl titles to finish the 1995 season. The Cowboys missed the playoffs six times in Garrett’s nine full seasons.

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Clinton Lady Maroons Defeats Mt. Pulaski Lady Hilltoppers

As heard on WHOW, the Clinton Lady Maroons defeats the Mt. Pulaski Lady Hilltoppers by a score of 67-36 on Monday night. The Lady Maroons were led by Mallery Cyrulik with 28 points. Kaitlyn Rauch added 17 points. Destiny Schlesinger also added 12 points.

 

The Lady Hilltoppers were led by Alexis Wade with 10 points. Xzandria Turner added 8 points.

 

With the win, the Lady Maroons improve to 10-10 overall. The Lady Hilltoppers fall to 6-12 overall.

 

Tune in Thursday, January 16th as the Lady Maroons take on Sullivan. You can hear the game live on the Big 1520 AM/92.3 FM/106.5 FM WHOW, online at dewittdailynews.com, on the WHOW app, and on Amazon Alexa.

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Illinois Blows Out Purdue

Alan Griffin scored 16 points and grabbed a career-high 12 rebounds and the Illini beat Purdue 63-37.

 

Griffin, a 6-foot-5 guard, recorded the first double-double of his career for Illinois (10-5, 2-2 Big Ten).

Trent Frazier and Kofi Cockburn added 12 points each for the Illini.

 

Sasha Stefanovic led Purdue (9-6, 2-2) with eight points. Eric Hunter Jr. added seven for the Boilermakers, who never led.

 

Illinois was 26 of 57 (46%) from the field, while Purdue shot 25% (15 of 60).

 

Purdue’s 37 points were the fewest allowed by Illinois this season. The Boilermakers’ shooting percentage was the lowest allowed by Illinois in program history.

 

llinois’ bench scored 25 points to Purdue’s five. Illinois also had 30 points in the paint, compared to Purdue’s 14.

 

The Illini scored the first 11 points and took a 32-19 lead at halftime.

 

Cockburn scored 10 points in the opening frame, none bigger than a thunderous two-handed dunk at 11:09 that brought the crowd to its feet. Frazier also fired up the crowd with a spectacular underhand layup late in the first half after forcing a turnover at midcourt.

 

The Boilermakers didn’t score until 7-3 center Matt Haarms hit a free-throw at 13:09.

 

Griffin grabbed six offensive boards, many coming in the first half.

 

Illinois plays at Wisconsin on Wednesday.

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Blackhawks Double-Up Red Wings

Dylan Sikura, Dylan Strome and Adam Boqvist scored, helping Chicago rally for a 4-2 victory over the lowly Detroit Red Wings on Sunday night.

 

Dominik Kubalik tacked on an empty-netter as Chicago (19-18-6) won for the fourth time in five games. Corey Crawford made 19 saves in his first start since he was pulled in the second period of an ugly 7-1 loss to New Jersey on Dec. 23.

 

Filip Zadina and Luke Glendening scored for the NHL-worst Red Wings (10-30-3), and Jimmy Howard made 23 stops.

 

The game was tied at 2 when Boqvist skated past Detroit forward Darren Helm near the blue line and beat Howard on the glove side 8:47 into the third. It was the second goal for the rookie defenseman in his 18th NHL game.

 

Kubalik added his 12th with 20 seconds left as the Blackhawks kicked off an important four-game homestand with their seventh win in their last 10 games. Chicago is just 10-9-3 at the United Center this season.

 

Looking for its first road win since Dec. 14, Detroit jumped out to a 2-0 lead.

 

Chicago responded with two goals in a 45-second span in the second.

 

Blackhawks G Robin Lehner is day to day with a right knee injury after he got hurt during Thursday night's 7-5 loss at Vancouver. Kevin Lankinen served as Crawford's backup after he was recalled from the minors Saturday on an emergency basis.

The Blackhawks host the Calgary Flames on Tuesday night.

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Vikings Knock Off Saints in Overtime Again

Kirk Cousins hit Kyle Rudolph with a 4-yard fade on third-and-goal in overtime, and the Minnesota Vikings pulled out a 26-20 victory over the favored Saints in the wild-card round of the NFC playoffs on Sunday.

 

The latest disappointing end for the Saints (13-4) came nearly a year after New Orleans lost in the NFC championship game to the Los Angeles Rams in a game marred by missed Rams penalties late in regulation. This time, replays on video boards showed a possible push-off by Rudolph against defensive back P.J. Williams moments before he jumped to snag the winning catch.

 

NFL president of officiating Al Riveron said the league reviewed numerous replay angles, and while they saw contact by both players, “none of that contact rises to the level of a foul.”

 

Saints coach Sean Payton said the Vikings “deserved to win.”

 

Dalvin Cook gained 130 yards from scrimmage and scored two touchdowns after missing the last two regular-season games with a shoulder injury. Cousins finished with 242 yards and one TD passing.

 

New Orleans trailed by 10 at the start of the fourth quarter but forced overtime with Drew Brees’ 20-yard touchdown pass to Taysom Hill and Wil Lutz’s 49-yard field goal with 2 seconds left.

 

Hill was the Saints’ leading rusher with 50 yards and Alvin Kamara was held to 21 yards rushing on seven carries.

 

Minnesota’s defense forced Brees into two turnovers — one game after the Saints had finished the regular season with an NFL record-low eight. Brees also was sacked three times and finished 26 of 33 for 208 yards, one TD and an interception.

 

The Saints were threatening with less than five minutes remaining in the fourth quarter when Danielle Hunter sacked Brees, who lost the ball. It was recovered by defensive tackle Jalyn Holmes on the Minnesota 36.

 

Saints safety Vonn Bell, back from a knee injury that sidelined him three games, helped set up the opening scoring chance of the game when he recovered Thielen’s fumble. But Everson Griffen’s sack of Brees on third-and-goal limited Minnesota’s damage to a field goal.

 

The Vikings prepare for next weekend’s trip to San Francisco to face a 49ers team that, like the Saints, went 13-3 in the regular season.

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Justin Thomas Wins Tournament of Champions

Justin Thomas won the Sentry Tournament of Champions in a three-man playoff over Patrick Reed and Xander Schauffele for his third victory in his last six starts on the PGA Tour, and the 12th of his career. Thomas, 26, now has more victories than any active players younger than 30.

 

He birdied six out of eight holes to turn a two-shot deficit into a two-shot lead with three holes to play.

 

He fell into a playoff by hitting at toe-hook off the tee at the par-5 18th, followed by a 3-wood that landed in knee-high vegetation so thick that a nine-member search party couldn’t find it. He made bogey.

 

Schauffele became only the fourth player in the final round to reach the 18th green, a 3-wood that left him a 35-foot eagle attempt. He three-putted for par, missing a 7-foot putt for the win.

 

Thomas, who had stood off the green with his cap removed and his head bowed anticipating defeat, suddenly had another chance. It also gave life to Reed, who nearly an hour earlier had made a 20-foot birdie putt for a 66 — matching the best score of the tournament — that he figured would fall short at 14-under 278.

 

It was the first three-man playoff since the tournament moved to Kapalua in 1999.

 

Schauffele was eliminated with a three-putt par from 100 feet on the 18th in the playoff. Thomas had to watch Reed have two putts at the win, a 30-foot eagle putt on the first extra hole, a 12-foot birdie putt on the second extra hole. Reed missed them both, and Thomas finished him off on the final hole before darkness.

 

The wind on the Plantation Course is most treacherous on the greens, with players having to guess if a 30 mph gust will knock putts offline or give them too much speed. That’s what cost Thomas on the 18th in regulation, and it cost Reed on the last two playoff holes.

 

Thomas carries momentum to the Sony Open in Honolulu, and perhaps the rest of the year and beyond. He remains No. 4 in the world, but his record since June bears noting. He has not finished worse than a tie for 17th in his last 11 tournaments worldwide.

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Lady Maroons Fall to El Paso

The Clinton Lady Maroons fell to the El Paso Gridley Lady Titans by a score of 35-30 on Friday night. The Lady Maroons were led in scoring by Mallory Cyrulik with 12 points and Destiny Schlesinger with 8.

 

El Paso was led by Addison Benedict with 13.

 

 

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Buzzer Beater Sends Marshall Past Monticello

Daniel Tingley's layup as time expired sent Marshall past Monticello 59-58 in non-conference high school boys basketball action from Monticello High School Saturday afternoon.

 

After a Garrett Kepley layup put Monticello up 55-54 with 2:04 to play, Tingley was fouled on a 3-point shot and sank all three free throws.

 

The foul was committed by sophomore Dylan Gynalick but he came up clutch with four seconds by answering with a three to give the Sages the lead back.

 

But Tingley's huge day was finished up by his last second layup to send Marshall to their second straight win over Monticello.

 

Tingley finished with a game-high 23 points and five boards. Jesse Burdick recorded a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds.

 

Kepley led Monticello with 17 points, five rebounds and three assists.

 

Gynalick's 12 points off the bench were a career high.

 

The Sages held just about every edge thought the afternoon, outreboinding Marshall 25-23, shooting 53-percent from the floor to the Lions' 46-percent and turned 18 turnovers into 23 points, compared to Marshall turning 15 turnovers into 17 points.

 

Monticello held the points in the paint advantage 40-30 and each squad made four 3s.

 

Marshall moves to 14-1 overall while Monticello drops to 7-5.

 

The Sages hit the road Tuesday night to take on Teutopolis at 7 pm. Hear the action on 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com. 

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Bogdanovic scores 19, Jazz beat Bulls 102-98

Bojan Bogdanovic scored 19 points and the surging Jazz held off the Chicago Bulls 102-98 on Thursday night.

 

The Jazz went on a 24-4 run in the third quarter to grab a nine-point lead and emerged with their 10th win in 12 games after Chicago tied it in the closing minutes.

 

Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert each scored 17 for Utah. Mitchell hit two free throws with 19 seconds remaining, and Gobert had 12 rebounds. The Jazz also got big contributions from their bench, with their reserves outscoring the Bulls' 36-23.

 

Zach LaVine led Chicago with 26 points and Lauri Markkanen scored 18. Wendell Carter Jr. added 18 points and 13 rebounds.

 

The Jazz led 96-88 in the closing minutes before Chicago scored eight straight, tying it on LaVine's 3 with 1:43 remaining.

 

Bogdanovic hit two free throws and Gobert dunked to make it a four-point game before Carter made two foul shots for Chicago with 47 seconds remaining.

 

After Mitchell missed a 3, LaVine missed trying to draw a foul from Gobert on a wild potential tying drive. The Jazz got the rebound, and Mitchell hit two free throws with 19 seconds left for the final score.
 

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No. 14 Michigan St. tops Illinois 76-56

Cassius Winston had 21 points and Tillman scored 19, leading the 14th-ranked Spartans to a 76-56 win over Illinois on Thursday night.

 

Xavier Tillman had seven rebounds, a career-high six assists and a season-high four blocks.

 

Michigan State was in control from the outset but had just a six-point edge at halftime. The Spartans pulled away early in the second half with a 15-3 run.

 

Illinois’ Ayo Dosunmu scored 13 of his 18 points in the first half and Alan Griffin finished with 17 points. Freshman center Kofi Cockburn, who entered the game averaging a team-high 16 points, had five points on 2-of-10 shooting.

 

Gabe Brown scored 12 points and Aaron Henry added 10 points for the Spartans. Marcus Bingham didn’t score but led the defensive effort against Cockburn and had a career-high with 12 rebounds and five blocks.

 

Michigan State led Illinois 36-30 after a feisty, foul-filled first half.

 

Both teams had a key player, Winston and Cockburn, limited by foul trouble and combined to have seven players called for two fouls in the opening 20 minutes.

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Kadri, MacKinnon lead Avalanche to 7-3 win over Blues

Nazem Kadri scored twice, Nathan MacKinnon had a goal and three assists, and the Avalanche beat the Blues 7-3 Thursday night to snap a four-game skid at home.

 

Rookie defenseman Cale Makar added a power-play goal and an assist for the Avalanche, who also ended a six-game losing streak to the Blues, including two losses earlier this season in St. Louis. Mikko Rantanen J.T. Compher also had power-play goals, and Joonas Donskoi had the other goal for the Avalanche. Samuel Girard finished with four assists.

 

Robert Thomas had two goals and Alex Pietrangelo also scored for St. Louis, which lost its second in a row after winning the previous eight.

 

The Blues trailed 3-0 before Thomas got St. Louis on the board with a wraparound shot that beat goalie Philipp Grubauer with 6:18 left in the second. With the Blues on the man advantage, Ryan O'Reilly won a faceoff, sending the puck to Pietrangelo, who knocked in a shot that pulled St. Louis to within a goal with 3:41 left in the period.

 

Colorado answered with its second power-play goal of the night with 15 seconds remaining in the middle period on a shot by Makar, allowing the Avalanche to regain a two-goal lead.

 

Kadri, Compher and Donskoi scored 7:23 apart in the third to push Colorado's lead to 7-2 with 5:41 to go.

 

Jake Allen replaced Jordan Binnington in the net for St. Louis for the remainder of the game.

Binnington finished with 34 saves and Allen stopped the one shot he faced.

 

Penalties also were an issue for the Blues, who gave up three scores when Colorado was on the power play.

 

MacKinnon converted a St. Louis turnover in Colorado's zone into a breakaway that led to the game's opening goal with 11 seconds left in the first as he wristed a shot past Binnington.

 

The Avalanche added two goals in the first half of the second period. Kadri knocked in a rebound for his first of the night at 3:20. The Avalanche were in a 5-on-3 power play when Rantanen got a cross-ice pass from Makar and wristed a shot into the net from the center of the right circle at 7:40.
 

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Canucks erase deficit, rally past Blackhawks 7-5

Adam Gaudette scored a third-period goal and the Canucks rallied from a two-goal deficit, extending their winning streak to six games with a 7-5 win over the Blackhawks on Thursday night.

 

Gaudette took a pass from J.T Miller and scored on a hard shot from between the faceoff circles.

The Canucks killed a penalty late in the game to preserve the win.

 

Bo Horvat had two goals, including an empty-netter, and an assist. Miller had a goal and three assists, while Elias Pettersson had a goal and two assists for the Canucks (21-15-4).

 

Tanner Pearson had a goal and an assist and rookie defenseman Quinn Hughes also scored. Pearson has 17 points in the last 16 games.

 

Patrick Kane scored twice for the Blackhawks (18-18-6), who had their three-game winning streak snapped.

 

Jonathan Toews had a goal and an assist, and Connor Murphy and David Kampf also scored for the Blackhawks, who are 5-2-0 in their last seven games.

 

Canucks goaltender Jacob Markstrom made 28 saves. Chicago goalie Robin Lehner, making his fourth consecutive start, stopped 30 shots.

 

Horvat put the Canucks ahead 5-4 at 8:10 of the third period. He sent a shot at the net from along the boards. Lehner kicked the puck, it hit defenseman Dennis Gilbert and careened into the net. A frustrated Lehner banged his stick on the crossbar.

 

Kane made it 5-5 at 13:44 of the third, putting a shot between Markstrom's pads.

 

A wild second period saw the teams combine for six goals. Chicago scored three times in just over four minutes to take a 4-2 lead, but the Canucks battled back to tie the game before the period ended.

 

Pearson gave Vancouver a 2-1 lead at 2:48, deflecting a fluttering shot by defenseman Alex Edler for his 16th point in as many games.

 

Kampf tied the game for Chicago at 4:15, using teammate Matthew Highmore as a screen. Kane scored on a power play at 6:25, then Toews made it a two-goal lead at 8:17 on a strange play. The Chicago captain flipped a puck along the boards that hit Hughes on the back and bounced into the net.

 

Hughes made up for that miscue when he drew the Canucks to within one with a blast from just inside the blue line on a power play at 10:20. Pettersson tied the game again 85 seconds later, ripping a shot from between the face-off circles.

 

Miller scored the game's opening goal at the 5:04 mark of the first period, just seconds after Chicago killed a too-many-men penalty. Horvat took a shot from just inside the blue line that Miller tipped past Lehner for his 15th goal of the season.

 

Chicago tied the game just under nine minutes later. Canucks defenseman Oscar Fantenberg tried to pass from behind his own net, but the puck was tipped and took a strange bounce. Murphy pounced on the puck and beat a screened Markstrom on the short side.

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Avs aim to change luck against Blues

The Colorado Avalanche will try to reverse their recent fortunes against the St. Louis Blues when they host their Central Division rival Thursday night.

 

The Avalanche have lost six consecutive games to the Blues, most recently 5-2 in St. Louis on Dec. 16.

Overall, the Avalanche have lost five of their last six games heading into this matchup at Pepsi Center.

The Western Conference-leading Blues built an eight-game winning streak before suffering a 3-1 road loss to the Arizona Coyotes on Tuesday night.

 

The Avalanche have allowed 20 goals in their last four losses. Their struggles continued despite the return of key defensemen Cale Makar and Erik Johnson from injuries.

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No. 14 Michigan State focusing on big men vs. Illinois

Michigan State and Illinois are looking to get better in specific areas as they resume Big Ten Conference play Thursday in East Lansing, Mich.

 

For the 14th-ranked Spartans (10-3, 2-0 Big Ten), the focus is on the play of their big men. After a 33-point win over Western Michigan to close out nonconference play, coach Tom Izzo lamented the effort of his frontcourt in the final minutes of a game Michigan State led by 45.

 

The long-term results will be important, but as the Spartans get set to take on Illinois (9-4, 1-1), it's even more critical because of the effectiveness of the Fighting Illini's two big men.

 

At 7-foot and 290 pounds, Kofi Cockburn is averaging 16.0 points, 9.7 rebounds and 1.5 blocks a game and has been named the Big Ten's Freshman of the Week five times. He scored a career-high 26 points in a victory over North Carolina A&T on Sunday, making 11 of 16 shots. Cockburn's running mate is the 6-9, 235-pound sophomore Giorgi Bezhanishvili, and he's scoring 8.5 points a game while grabbing an average of 5.3 rebounds.

 

In a loss to Missouri just before Christmas, the Illini managed just four assists. Against North Carolina A&T, they had 22 assists with Bezhanishvili dishing out five. The Illini are hoping it's a sign of things to come as they attempt to contend in the Big Ten.

 

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Rebuilds on display when Blackhawks visit Canucks

The rebuilding Chicago Blackhawks have won three straight games and sit four points from a playoff spot heading into Thursday's road clash against the Vancouver Canucks.

 

Winners in five of their last six, the Blackhawks are coming off a 5-3 victory over the Calgary Flames on New Year's Eve when veterans led the way and some young guns also contributed. Patrick Kane collected two goals and four points, giving him the most points in the league for the decade (802). Alex DeBrincat and Dylan Strome each had one goal and one assist.

 

The Canucks are one of the league's surprise teams midway through the season, sitting third in a tight Pacific Division and riding a season-best five-game winning streak.

 

Their last game was also a win over the Flames -- a 5-2 victory Sunday that put their improved roster depth on display. While the Canucks are being led by rising stars Elias Pettersson, Brock Boeser, and Quinn Hughes, the win featured a pair of goals from Tyler Myers, while Jake Virtanen, Bo Horvat, and Tanner Pearson had multi-point games.

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Horne scores 22 to carry Illinois State past Northern Iowa

DJ Horne had a season-high 22 points as Illinois State topped Northern Iowa 76-70 on Tuesday in their first Missouri Valley Conference game of the season.

 

Zach Copeland had 15 points for Illinois State (6-7, 1-0). Antonio Reeves added 13 points, and Jaycee Hillsman had 11 points.

 

The Redbirds were in trouble after the first half, heading to the locker room at the half trailing 30-20. But the home team mounted a second-half rally to get back in it and ultimately earn the victory. The Redbirds’ 20 first-half points were a season-low for the team.

 

AJ Green had 23 points for the Panthers (11-2, 0-1), whose five-game win streak was broken. Austin Phyfe added 13 points and 12 rebounds.

 

Green scored UNI’s final seven points, capped by a 3-pointer with 57 seconds remaining before Illinois State made six free throws.

 

Illinois State takes on Southern Illinois on the road on Saturday. Northern Iowa plays Bradley at home on Saturday.
 

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Brown scores 19 to lift Bradley past Drake 80-72

Darrell Brown had 19 points and eight assists as Bradley won its ninth consecutive home game, beating Drake 80-72 on Tuesday night.

 

Nate Kennell had 16 points and nine rebounds for Bradley (10-4, 1-0 Missouri Valley Conference). Ville Tahvanainen added 13 points. Ja'Shon Henry had 10 points for the hosts.

 

Liam Robbins had 21 points for the Bulldogs (10-4, 0-1). Jonah Jackson added 15 points. Roman Penn had 10 points and 12 assists.

 

Bradley faces Northern Iowa on the road on Saturday. Drake matches up against Indiana State at home on Saturday.

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Kessel, Raanta help Coyotes stop Blues' 8-game win streak

Phil Kessel scored the go-ahead goal in the third and the Coyotes beat St. Louis 3-1 on Tuesday night to halt the Blues' eight-game winning streak.

 

Conor Garland also scored, Jakob Chychrun assisted on both goals and Antti Raanta stopped 38 shots as the Coyotes ended a three-game losing streak. Nick Schmaltz added an empty-net, power-play goal.

 

Kessel took a pass from Lawson Crouse behind two defenders and buried one to make it 2-1 7:20 into the third period

 

Tyler Bozak scored the Blues' only goal. The Blues ended up 0 for 4 on power plays and lost despite outshooting the Coyotes 38-27. St. Louis failed to score on a power play for the first time in five games.

 

Garland went high over goaltender Jake Allen's glove with four seconds left on the Coyotes' first power play to give Arizona the lead at 8:05 of the first period.

 

The Blues tied it at 14:53. With the Coyotes unable to clear the puck from their zone, Alex Steen drove in and backhanded a pass to Bozak for his eighth goal of the season.

 

The Coyotes finished the first period on a four-minute power play, thanks to a double minor for holding and unsportsmanlike conduct against the Blues' Ivan Barbashev.

 

St. Louis went on a 5-on-3 power play early in the second period after a tripping call against Raanta and a hooking penalty on defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson. The Blues couldn't convert.

 

Raanta said the Coyotes took away the middle of the zone on defense.

 

Arizona's Vinnie Hinostroza hit the crossbar with a shot at 5:59 of the second period. Despite several chances for both teams, neither managed a goal in the second 20 minutes.

 

Allen had 23 saves for St. Louis, which lost for just the fifth time in regulation time on the road this season.

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Sabonis scores 23 points to lead Pacers over 76ers 115-97

Domantas Sabonis scored 11 of his 23 points in the third quarter and finished with 10 rebounds and five assists to push the Pacers over the Philadelphia 76ers 115-97 Tuesday.

 

T.J. Warren had 21 points and Myles Turner added 14 for the Pacers, who ended a three-game losing streak in the series and improved to 22-12 overall.

 

Josh Richardson had 20 points and Ben Simmons had 18 points and 10 rebounds for the 76ers, who have lost three straight with a game remaining in a four-game trip. Philadelphia dropped to 23-13, including losses in six of the last nine games.

 

The Pacers used a big second quarter to put the game away, outscoring Philadelphia 38-16 in the period to take a 67-43 halftime lead.

 

Indiana led by 36 - it's the largest lead of the game - after another big run that came in the third quarter.

 

Sabonis made a 3-pointer and two other baskets in a 14-2 spurt. He capped off the string with a layup on an alley-oop pass from Jeremy Lamb to make it 87-51 with 6:29 remaining in the third.

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Kane scores twice, leads Blackhawks to 5-3 win over Flames

Patrick Kane had two goals and two assists, and the Chicago Blackhawks raced out to a four-goal lead and held on to beat the Calgary Flames 5-3 on Tuesday night.

 

Kane set up goals by Olli Maatta at 4:14 and Alex Debrincat at 5:35 and then made it 3-0 at 12:44 of the first period when he cut across the slot and beat David Rittich with a wrist shot from 30 feet out.

Kane's second of the game was an empty-netter at 19:59 of the third.

 

Dylan Strome also scored for Chicago (18-17-6), which has won three straight and five of six.

 

Sam Bennett, Michael Frolik, and Sean Monahan scored for Calgary (20-17-5). The Flames are winless in their last five at home. (0-4-1).

 

Chicago made it 4-0 at 9:41 of the second when Strome strolled in uncontested and scored from 25 feet out into the top corner.

 

The Flames got on the scoreboard with six seconds left in the second, Bennett knocking in his first goal since Nov. 2 on a feed from Derek Ryan.

 

Calgary then made it close in the late-going on Frolik's short-handed goal at 15:30, off a Duncan Keith turnover, and Monahan's goal on a Matthew Tkachuk rebound at 16:48.

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