Local Sports

Lady Maroons Top Argenta-Oreana

The Clinton Lady Maroons defeated the Argenta-Oreana Lady Bombers by a score of 61-22 on Saturday night. Mallory Cyrulik led all scorers with 28 points.

 

Tune in Monday, March 1, as the Lady Maroons take on the Warrensburg-Latham Lady Cardinals. You can hear the game live on the Big 1520 AM/92.3 FM WHOW, streamed online at dewittdailynews.com, on the WHOW mobile app, and on Amazon Alexa.

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Illini win 74-69 as Wisconsin's Trice-led rally falls short

Kofi Cockburn scored 19 points and No. 5 Illinois topped No. 23 Wisconsin 74-69 on Saturday.

 

Ayo Dosunmu missed a second straight game after breaking his nose Tuesday in an 81-72 loss at Michigan State. 

 

After Wisconsin trailed by 13 points with less than three minutes left, D’Mitrik Trice nearly brought the Badgers all the way back by scoring 19 points in the final 2:12. Trice’s sixth 3-pointer cut Illinois’ lead to 70-69 with 6.7 seconds left.

 

Illinois’ Trent Frazier sank two free throws with 5.7 seconds remaining to make it 72-69. Illinois then fouled Trevor Anderson before Wisconsin could attempt a tying 3-pointer, and an exchange of words near the Wisconsin bench resulted in offsetting technical fouls.

 

Anderson missed his first free throw. Wisconsin still could have attempted a desperation 3-pointer if Anderson missed his second attempt and the Badgers got the offensive rebound. But the rebound went to Illinois’ Jacob Grandison, who hit a pair of free throws to cap the scoring.

 

Trice finished with 29 points. Micah Potter had 15 points for Wisconsin.

 

Andre Curbelo scored 17 points and Da’Monte Williams had 12 for Illinois, which committed a season-high 20 turnovers.

 

Illinois never trailed, capitalizing on Wisconsin’s shooting woes. Wisconsin was shooting 17 of 62 (27.4%) before making its last seven attempts of the game

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Illinois led by as many as 14 in the second half before Trice got Wisconsin back into the game and nearly put the Badgers over the top. Illinois survived by making its final five field-goal attempts and going 10 of 10 from the free-throw line over the last 44 seconds.

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Carter lifts Northern Iowa over Illinois State 94-87 in 2OT

Noah Carter scored 22 points and Bowen Born had 21 points and seven assists as Northern Iowa defeated Illinois State 94-87 in double overtime on Saturday.

 

Austin Phyfe had 18 points, nine rebounds and five assists for Northern Iowa (9-15, 7-11 Missouri Valley Conference). Trae Berhow added 14 points and six rebounds.

 

Phyfe forced overtime with a hook shot in the lane with 1.1 seconds left, and Born had a bank shot roll off at the end of the first overtime. Born made two free throws with 1:05 left in the game for a 93-83 lead.

 

DJ Horne scored a career-high 34 points for the Redbirds (7-17, 4-14). Dusan Mahorcic scored a season-high 20 points and had nine rebounds, and Josiah Strong had 14 points.

 

The Panthers improve to 2-0 against the Redbirds on the season. Northern Iowa defeated Illinois State 70-56 last Friday.

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Turnovers Doom No. 7 Illinois State In 27-20 Loss To South Dakota

The Illinois State offense turned the ball over seven times to South Dakota on Saturday afternoon and still had a chance late in the game to tie or win it, but the Coyotes (1-0, 1-0 MVFC) came up with an interception on the final drive to defeat the No. 7 ranked Redbirds (0-1, 0-1 MVFC) in the 2021 spring opener at Hancock Stadium.

 

Illinois State will head to Cedar Falls, Iowa, next Saturday to take on the nationally ranked UNI Panthers with kickoff set for 4 p.m. at the UNI Dome.

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Kent scores 15 to lift Bradley over Drake 67-61

Jayson Kent had 15 points off the bench to lead Bradley to a 67-61 win over Drake on Saturday night.

 

Rienk Mast had 14 points and eight rebounds for Bradley (12-15, 6-12 Missouri Valley Conference), which ended its four-game losing streak. Sean East II added 14 points and six rebounds. Antonio Thomas had 11 points.

 

Joseph Yesufu had 21 points for the Bulldogs (24-3, 15-3), whose five-game winning streak was snapped. D.J. Wilkins added 14 points. Garrett Sturtz had 12 points and 11 rebounds.

 

The Braves leveled the season series against the Bulldogs. Drake defeated Bradley 80-71 on Friday.

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Berhow scores 15 to carry N. Iowa over Illinois St. 70-56

Trae Berhow posted 15 points as Northern Iowa defeated Illinois State 70-56 on Friday night.

 

Bowen Born had 12 points for Northern Iowa (8-15, 6-11 Missouri Valley Conference). Noah Carter added 12 points. Austin Phyfe had 11 points and eight rebounds.

 

Dusan Mahorcic had 18 points and eight rebounds for the Redbirds (7-16, 4-13). Antonio Reeves added 10 points. DJ Horne had seven rebounds.

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Brodie scores 21 to lead Drake over Bradley 80-71

Darnell Brodie had a season-high 21 points as Drake defeated Bradley 80-71 on Friday night.

 

Brodie shot 10 for 13 from the floor. He added seven rebounds.

 

Joseph Yesufu had 16 points for Drake (24-2, 15-2 Missouri Valley Conference), which earned its fifth consecutive victory. D.J. Wilkins added 16 points. Tremell Murphy had 13 points and 12 rebounds.

 

Ja'Shon Henry had 17 points for the Braves (11-15, 5-12), whose losing streak stretched to four games.

 

Rienk Mast added 14 points and seven rebounds. Kevin McAdoo had 10 points.

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Monticello Rallies Past Tolono Unity

Dylan Ginalick made two free throws with 15 seconds to play and Monticello overcame Tolono Unity on the road for a 40-38 win over Tolono Unity in Illini Prairie Conference boy’s basketball action from Tolono Friday night.

 

Ginalick scooped up a loose ball at mid-court out of a Unity timeout as the Rockets were looking to hold for a final shot. 

 

Ben Cresap made two free throws with 1:41 left that gave Monticello a 38-36 lead. Nate Drennan, who was a thorn in the side of the Sages all night, scored on a putback after a missed shot by Blake Kimball to tie the score. 

 

Unity started the third quarter on a 7-0 run to take a 27-22 lead then finished the quarter on a 5-0 run to take a 33-28 lead to the fourth.

 

Drennan led all scorers with 23 points.

 

Ginalick led Monticello with 13 points and Cresap finished with 10 points. 

 

The Sages improve to 6-2 overall and 4-2 in the Illini Prairie. 

 

Monticello returns home to the Sievers Center Tuesday night hosting Pontiac. Hear the action on 95.9 FM WEZC and at dewittdailynews.com.

 

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Maroons, Luketich Get First Win Over Sullivan

As heard on WHOW, the Clinton Maroons defeated the Sullivan Redskins by a score of 68-65 in overtime on Friday night, giving Dan Luketich his first win as head coach of the Clinton program. The Maroons were led by senior Zeke Hickman with 19 points. B-Rok Designs Player of the Game Dawson Graves had 17. Freshman Nick Feather had 7 points and 4 blocks.

 

Sullivan was led by junior Ian Plank with 27 points. Senior Leyton Ellis added 12.

 

With the win, the Maroons improve to 1-9 overall and 1-5 on the season. Sullivan falls to 3-4 on the season and 1-4 in the CIC.

 

Tune in Monday, March 1, as the Lady Maroons take on Warrensburg-Latham. You can hear the game live on the Big 1520 AM/92.3 FM WHOW, streamed live online at dewittdailynews.com, on the WHOW mobile app, and on Amazon Alexa.

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Clinton Rolls Meridian in CIC Girls Basketball Action

Malory Cyrulick scored a game-high 17 points and Kylie Ramer added 10 points as the Clinton Lady Maroons used a balanced scoring attack to roll Meridian 50-16 in Central Illinois Conference girl's basketball action from Meridian Thursday night.

 

Raya Swartz added nine points, Kaitlyn Rauch added eight while Kaile Beck scored four points and Heidi Humble scored two points.

 

The Lady Maroons are 8-2 overall and the Thursday win moves them to 3-2 in conference action.

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Without Ayo, Freshman G Miller Leads Illinois Past Nebraska

Kofi Cockburn scored 24 points, freshman Adam Miller added 18 and No. 5 Illinois beat Nebraska 86-70 on Thursday night.

 

Illinois (17-6, 13-4 Big Ten) was without national player of the year candidate Ayo Dosunmu, who broke his nose Tuesday against Michigan State. Dosunmu is expected to miss at least two more games and possibly more.

 

Without him, it was a couple of freshmen who stepped up on Senior Night that helped the Fighting Illini right the ship following their loss at Michigan State.

 

Freshman guard Andre Curbelo narrowly missed a triple-double with 10 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists. Miller’s 18 points were his most since he scored 28 against North Carolina A&T in the Nov. 25 season opener.

 

Trey McGowens led Nebraska (5-17, 1-14) with 18 points. Kobe Webster and Shamiel Steveson added 12 each for the Cornhuskers.

 

Illinois was 30 for 62 from the field (48%) while Nebraska shot 27 for 61 (44%). The Illini outrebounded Nebraska 43-29.

 

It was a physical game from the opening tip. Back-to-back technical fouls were called on both teams late in the first half, and there were several minor scuffles. Miller hit two 3-pointers and made several circus layups to pull Illinois ahead.

 

Miller had 16 points at halftime and Illinois led 36-28.

 

Cockburn, who has struggled at the foul line along with most of his teammates lately, went 8 of 10 on free throws against Nebraska.

 

Illinois needed this one, with three tough road games coming up and Dosunmu likely to sit out at least two of them. Terrific games from two freshmen in Curbelo and Miller helped pick up the slack against Nebraska.

 

Illinois begins a regular season-ending three-game road trip at No. 23 Wisconsin on Saturday.

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Eastern Opens Spring Football Season Hosting Southeast Missouri

When Eastern Illinois takes the field again this Sunday, Feb. 28 against Southeast Missouri, it will be the first football game action for the Panthers since Nov. 23, 2019 - a span of 463 days.  The last time EIU had a gap that big or bigger between games was in the midst of World War II when EIU went 686 days between games (1942-44).

 

Last week's game against UT-Martin was postponed due to weather concerns in Martin, Tennessee. 

 

The seven-game schedule this season for the Panthers will be the fewest number of games EIU has played in a season since the 1945 season.

 

Eastern Illinois is coming off a 1-11 season last year as head coach Adam Cushing rebuilds the Panthers program.

 

Eastern Illinois had two players selected to the All-Ohio Valley Conference preseason football team for this year.  Defensive lineman/linebacker Dytarious Johnson and wide receiver Isaiah Hill both were named to the preseason All-OVC squad.  

 

Game time Sunday is 2 pm. Hear all the action on The Big 1520 AM/92.3 FM WHOW. 

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Illinois State Hosting South Dakota in Spring Football Opener

The Illinois State football program was ready to begin its 2021 spring campaign last week at Missouri State, but poor field conditions postponed the contest until April. So, Saturday's scheduled home opener will also be the season opener for the Redbirds, when they play their first game in 441 days as they host the South Dakota Coyotes at Hancock Stadium.

 

The South Dakota-Western Illinois football game scheduled for last Friday, Feb. 19, at the DakotaDome in Vermillion, South Dakota, was postponed due to Western Illinois' COVID-19 protocols. The game will be rescheduled for Saturday, April 17 at 1 p.m., and will be played in Vermillion.

 

Eight South Dakota players were featured on the Missouri Valley Football Conference preseason team including punbter Brady Schutt is a preseason all-American and was a 2019 first-team all-MVFC selection for the Coyotes.

 

The Illinois State offensive rushing attack racked up 331 yards against fourth-ranked South Dakota and big pass plays lifted the No. 24 ranked Redbirds to a 37-21 victory over the Coyotes on Homecoming in front of 12,113 fans at Hancock Stadium in October of 2017. 

 

Coming off a 10-5 season an appearance in the FCS quarterfinals in 2019 and despite several key losses to graduation and transfer, FCS pundits still believe in the Redbirds and their chance at success in the spring 2021 campaign. Illinois State was selected No. 9 in the STATS FCS Preseason Top 25. The Redbirds were also selected No. 9 in the Athlon Sports and HERO Sports FCS preseason Top 25 polls. ISU went wire-to-wire in 2019, as the Redbirds remained the FCS Top 25 polls for the entirety of the season ending the year at No. 7 overall.

 

The Illinois State football team was selected to finish fourth in the Missouri Valley Football Conference by the league's head coaches, when the annual preseason poll was announced following changes made from the fall season. 

 

Cornerback Charles Woods and safety Clayton Isbell were named to the 2019 HERO Sports FCS Sophomore and Freshman All-America Team, respectively, and have a lot to prove this season.

 

Bryce Jefferson stepped up in a big way in the 2019 playoffs for the Redbirds, leading them to a pair of wins at Southeast Missouri State and Central Arkansas and helping his team take No. 1 ranked North Dakota State Bison to the limit in the FCS quarterfinals. So it came as no surprise that Jefferson was named the team's starter at quarterback heading into the season when incumbent QB Brady Davis announced he was leaving to prepare for the NFL Draft.

 

After opening with games at Missouri State and hosting South Dakota, the Redbirds will play three of their next four games on the road all against opponents currently ranked in the Top 5 in the country. 

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Blackhawks Blank Blue Jackets

Patrick Kane broke a scoreless tie in the third period for his 399th career goal, Malcolm Subban got his first shutout of the season and the Chicago Blackhawks beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 2-0 on Thursday night to sweep a two-game series.

 

After combining for 11 goals in the Blackhawks' shootout win Tuesday night, the teams grinded through scoreless hockey before Kane grabbed a loose puck in the neutral zone and beat Joonas Korpisalo with a wrist shot from the right circle at 8:45 of the third.

 

Carl Soderberg added an empty-net goal with 50 seconds left in the game.

 

Subban had 26 saves to record his second shutout in 71 NHL games and his first as a member of the Blackhawks. His only other one came on March 21, 2019, when he played for Vegas. He improved to 3-1-1 this season.

 

Korpisalo made 25 saves for Columbus.

 

The Blackhawks return home for a back-to-back against Detroit on Saturday and Sunday.

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Monticello Rallies Big Past Tolono Unity

Trailing by 10 points heading to the fourth quarter without a field goal since the first quarter, the Monticello Lady Sages rallied past Tolono Unity for 35-23 win Thursday night in Illini Prairie Conference girls basketball action from the Sievers Center at Monticello High School.

 

The Lady Sages went scoreless in the second quarter as the Lady Rockets turned an 11-7 deficit to a 16-11 lead at the intermission and Monticello’s only points in the third quarter were two Rennie Fultz free throws, as Unity led 23-13 after three quarters.

 

The Lady Sages started the fourth quarter with a basket from Lydia Burger and Hailey Moore followed with a three to make it 23-18.

 

After Unity’s Taylor Henry made a pair of free throws to make the score 25-18, it was all Monticello the rest of the way.

Burger tallied two more baskets, Lizzie Stiverson made five of eight free throw attempts, Fultz added four more free throws and Sophia Beery’s three made it 26-25, giving the Lady Sages its first lead since the second quarter.

 

Fultz and Stiverson each finished with nine points. All of Stiverson’s points came at the foul line where she finished 9-for-12 and Fultz’s only field goal was a basket in the first quarter that she was fouled on, and made the free throw for a three-point play. 

 

Burger finished with eight for Monticello and Moore added five. 

 

The Lady Sages improve to 3-4 overall while the Lady Rockets drop to 1-7.

 

Hear more Monticello girl’s basketball action on WEZC next Thursday night when they host Prairie Central. Monticello takes on Warrensburg-Latham Saturday and then Pontiac Monday.

 

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Illinois Hosts Nebraska Tonight

For No. 5 Illinois, Tuesday's 81-72 loss at Michigan State lent itself to introspection.

 

While the brooding didn't last long, it was introspection just the same.

 

Illinois (16-6, 12-4 Big Ten) aims to rebound from a defeat that snapped its seven-game winning streak when struggling Nebraska visits Champaign on Thursday night.

 

While the Cornhuskers (5-16, 1-13 Big Ten) managed to end their 25-game conference losing streak this month - 26 if you count a conference tournament loss to Indiana - they have lost four league games in a row. The latest was an 86-83 setback to visiting Penn State on Tuesday.

 

Teddy Allen enjoyed a monster night against the Nittany Lions, contributing a career-high 41 points to go with eight rebounds and six assists. Allen finished 16-for-24 from the floor amid the second-highest individual scoring output in Cornhuskers' program history.

 

Illinois coach Brad Underwood called the game "one of those nights" for which his team was due.

While Illinois hasn't won at Michigan State since 2015, the Fighting Illini remain far more adept on their own home floor. Illinois is 10-2 at State Farm Center this season entering its home finale, winning four straight since falling 87-81 to then-No. 21 Ohio State on Jan. 16.

 

Underwood and players stressed that the challenge they received from Michigan State can bolster Illinois for the stretch run.

 

Nebraska shot 53.6 percent from the floor against Penn State while drilling 12 3-pointers, its second-highest total of the season. However, the Nittany Lions still prevailed.

 

Despite leading the then-No. 6 Fighting Illini by five points with less than four minutes left in regulation on Feb. 12, the Cornhuskers were unable to close the game out. Illinois posted a 77-72 win in overtime.

 

Dosunmu scored 22 of his 31 points in the second half, while Lat Mayen paced Nebraska with 16 points.

 

Illinois boasts a three-game winning streak against Nebraska and leads the all-time series 17-8. The Fighting Illini have won 12 of the 14 meetings in Champaign.

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Sox MVP 1B Abreu Tests Positive for COVID; Cardinals LHP Miller Says He Had It

American League MVP José Abreu tested positive for COVID-19 and will spend a few days away from the Chicago White Sox, while Cardinals reliever Andrew Miller told a St. Louis newspaper he tested positive 10 days before reporting to camp.

 

White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said Wednesday in a statement that Abreu is “completely asymptomatic.” Hahn said testing also showed the presence of COVID-19 antibodies, and the Cuban slugger believes he had a mild case of the virus in January.

 

Manager Tony La Russa said Abreu will likely join the team by Monday and perhaps as soon as Friday.

 

Abreu helped the White Sox return to the playoffs for the first time since 2008. The three-time All-Star hit .317 with 19 home runs and a major league-leading 60 RBIs in the pandemic-shortened season. He joined Nellie Fox (1959), Dick Allen (1972) and Frank Thomas (1993, 1994) as the team’s only MVP winners.

 

Miller, meanwhile, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch the only symptom he had was losing his sense of smell for a while and that he spent a week-plus quarantined in the guest room of his house.

Miller said he feels all right now and that no one in his family was affected.

 

Miller was 1-1 with a 2.77 ERA in and four saves in 16 appearances in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season. He made one appearance in the Cardinals’ wild-card series loss to the San Diego Padres.

 

In the first batch of results disclosed by the league last Friday, 13 positive tests were found among 4,336 samples.

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Bulls Use Overtime to Get By T'Wolves

Zach LaVine scored 35 points against his original NBA team, helping the Bulls beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 133-126 in overtime Wednesday night.

 

Chicago shot 59% from the field and had seven players score in double figures. Coby White had 20 points, and Wendell Carter Jr. finished with 17 points and 10 rebounds.

 

The Bulls (15-16) won for the fifth time in six games, but felt they should have played better against the lowly Timberwolves (7-26). Looking for the franchise's first playoff appearance since 2017, just winning isn't enough anymore.

 

LaVine, named an All-Star reserve Tuesday night, made 14 of 21 shots in his 16th game this season with at least 30 points. The dynamic guard was selected by Minnesota in the first round of the 2014 draft and spent three seasons with the Timberwolves before he was traded to the Bulls in June 2017.

 

Minnesota lost for the 10th time in 11 games despite a gutsy second-half rally while playing for the second straight night. New coach Chris Finch is winless in two games since taking over after Ryan Saunders was fired Sunday night.

 

Malik Beasley scored 25 points for the Timberwolves, and Karl-Anthony Towns had 24 points, eight rebounds and five assists. Anthony Edwards added 21 points, and Jarred Vanderbilt matched his career high with 16.

 

Towns fouled out on a questionable call with 12.3 seconds left in regulation, and the Timberwolves missed his presence in overtime.

 

Minnesota was down 119-116 when veteran guard Ricky Rubio was fouled by White on a 3-point try with 4.9 seconds remaining. Rubio calmly made all three foul shots and LaVine missed a 3 as time expired, sending the game to overtime.

 

Chicago responded with a 7-0 run. LaVine capped the spurt with a 3-pointer, making it 126-119 with 3:27 left.

 

White made two free throws with 15.1 seconds remaining to help the Bulls hold on.

 

Minnesota trailed by 14 early in the second half, but Towns had 15 points in the third quarter and Josh Okogie's layup trimmed Chicago's lead to 98-97 with 8:59 left in the fourth.

 

The Bulls host the Phoenix Suns on Friday night.

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Kings Hold Off Blues

Alex Iafallo and Andreas Athanasiou scored in the second period to send the Los Angeles Kings past the St. Louis Blues 2-1 on Wednesday night for their sixth consecutive victory.

 

Cal Petersen made 35 saves, improving to 3-0-1 in his last four starts.

 

Oskar Sundqvist scored late in the third for the Blues, who fell to 1-5-1 in their last seven home games.

 

Binnington made his fifth consecutive start and sixth in the team's last seven games. He stopped 19 shots in falling to 8-6-2.

 

St. Louis was unable to score with a 6-on-5 skating advantage for 3:25 on a delayed penalty in the third.

 

St. Louis D Carl Gunnarsson will miss the rest of the season with a right knee injury. He is the fifth Blues player on injured reserve. Gunnarsson got hurt Monday in a puck battle with Kings forward Gabriel Vilardi along the boards behind the net. 

 

Ivan Barbashev had surgery on his left ankle and will be re-evaluated in six weeks. The Blues remain without F Jaden Schwartz (lower body) and D Colton Parayko (back). This was the sixth game Schwartz has missed and the fourth for Parayko.

 

The Blues play Saturday night at San Jose.

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Warriors Edge Pacers

Draymond Green scored on two late dunks to start the decisive final run, defended hard and found a way to corral loose balls in the closing minutes as Golden State scored six straight points to finally fend off the Indiana Pacers 111-107 on Wednesday night.

 

His numbers - 12 points, 11 assists, nine rebounds and three steals - only told part of the tale on a night Golden State made a season-low 19.2% from 3-point range. Curry scored 24 points but was just 7 of 21 from the field and 1 of 11 from beyond the arc.

 

Malcolm Brogdon led the Pacers with 24 points, and Domantas Sabonis had 22 points and 16 rebounds for his 24th double-double of the season. But the Pacers looked rusty after taking an unexpected one-week break because of two postponed games.

 

The Warriors failed to take advantage of earlier opportunities to take control of the back-and-forth contest.

 

Instead, the Pacers fought back from an 81-75 deficit late in the third quarter to tie the score at 86 early in the fourth. And after Golden State scored four straight to take a 95-91 lead midway through the fourth, the Pacers got as close as 99-98 with 4:36 to play.

 

That's when Green drove through the lane for an uncontested dunk to start the decisive run, and the Pacers never recovered.

 

Sabonis had 15 points and seven rebounds in the second quarter. Myles Turner finished with 14 points, eight rebounds and two blocks.Doug McDermott added 15 points for Indiana.

 

The Pacers are at Boston on Friday night.

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Bloomington Central Catholic Holds Off Monticello

Bloomington Central Catholic got off to a fast start and held off a late Monticello charge for a 49-42 victory at the Sievers Center from Monticello High School Tuesday night in Illini Prairie Conference. 

 

BCC jumped out to a 13-2 advantage in the first quarter and led 27-20 at the break. The Saints kept the Sages at bay throughout the second half, maintaining an eight to 12 point lead, but Monticello clawed back in the fourth quarter, getting within 45-42.

 

Following a Dylan Ginalick 3-pointer, Ben Cresap made a nifty defensive play for a steal in the Saints frontcourt, however, picked up a charging foul on the offensive end, hurrying for a basket with just under 30-seconds to play.

 

From there BCC made free throws to seal the win and the Saints picked up their fourth win of the season.

 

Ginalick led the all scorers with 18 point and Cresap chipped in with 11 point. 

 

Sam Tallen led BCC with 13 points and JT Welch added 11 points.

 

BCC is now 4-6 on the year while Monticello drops to 5-2. 

 

Hear more Sages action Friday night at Tolono Unity High School. Game time is 7 pm.

 

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Maroons Fall To Raiders

As heard on WHOW, the Clinton Maroons fell to the Central A&M Raiders by a score of 66-61 on Tuesday night. The leading scorer of the game was B-Rok Designs Player of the Game freshman Mason Walker with 23 points. Senior Zeke Hickman had 19 points and freshman Dawson Graves added 10.

 

Junior James Paradee led Central A&M with 19 points and senior Ross Sloan had 18.

 

With the win, Central A&M improve to 2-4 overall and 1-3 in conference action. The Maroons fall to 0-9 on the season and 0-4 in CIC play.

 

Tune in Friday, February 26, as the Sullivan Redskins come to town. You can hear the game live on the Big 1520 AM/92.3 FM WHOW, online at dewittdailynews.com, on the WHOW mobile app, and on Amazon Alexa.

 

 

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Clinton Lady Maroons Roll Shelbyville

Mallory Cyrulik scored a game-high 28 points and the Clinton Lady Maroons used a big defensive second half to roll past Shelbyville 65-37 in Central Illinois Conference girls basketball action Monday night from Shelbyville.

 

The Lady Maroons held the Lady Rams to just 15 second-half points, outscoring Shelbyville 34-15.

The Lady Maroons led 31-22 at the intermission and locked down defensively in the second half.

Kaitlyn Rauch scored 11 for Clinton.

 

The Lady Maroons improve to 7-2 overall and are 2-2 in the CIC. Shelbyville drops to 0-4 in the conference at 3-4 overall. 

 

The Lady Maroons will travel to Central A&M Thursday night for another tilt in the Central Illinois Conference.

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Clinton Hosts Central A&M Tonight

The Clinton Maroons will look to get in the win column tonight when they play host to Central Illinois Conference rival Central A&M in high school boy's basketball action.

 

The Maroons have started the season 0-8 and are 0-4 in the conference. The Raiders are the only other team in the CIC that is without a conference victory, starting their 2021 pandemic altered season 1-4 overall and 0-3 in the CIC.

 

The Maroons are coming off a Friday night loss to Tuscola, 78-60. Meanwhile, Central A&M lost Saturday to Windsor-Stew-Stras, 52-48.

 

Hear the action tonight starting at 7:30 pm on 92.3 FM WHOW and online at dewittdailynews.com, at the WHOW mobile app and at Amazon Alexa.

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Monticello Hosts BCC

The Monticello Sages boy's basketball team will get another early-season test tonight when they host Bloomington Central Catholic in Illini Prairie Conference action at the Sievers Center.

 

Monticello is coming off a Saturday afternoon win over Warrensburg-Latham, 57-39. Monticello enters play 5-1 overall and 3-1 in the Illini Prairie. Monticello barely skated by Rantoul Friday night 43-41. The Sages lost in overtime last Wednesday night to Champaign St. Thomas More and played a close game IVC on February 12, in a stretch of five-of-six games opposite private schools or 3A teams. 

 

BCC comes in with a record of 3-6, but Coach Jason Welch's team comes in well tested, with losses to state-ranked Normal U-High, Normal Community, Moline and Rock Island. 

 

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

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Illinois Remains Steady in Latest AP College Basketball Poll, Up to No. 4 in Coach's Poll

Gonzaga received 60 first-place votes from a media panel in The Associated Press men’s college basketball poll released on Monday, picking up one vote from last week. The second-ranked Bears received the other four first-place votes in a week of little change.

 

Gonzaga and Baylor have been 1-2 all season.

 

Michigan, Ohio State and Illinois rounded out the top five for the second straight week. The Buckeyes held their ground despite losing 92-87 to the Wolverines on Saturday.

 

Alabama moved up two spots to No. 6 this week, its highest ranking since reaching No. 4 in 2006-07. 

 

No. 9 Iowa and No. 10 West Virginia returned to the top 10 this week.

 

 

 

A shake up in the top five of the college basketball rankings after a huge weekend in Big Ten action, as No. 4 Illinois jumped ahead of No. 5 Ohio State in the Coaches Poll following the Buckeyes loss to No. 3 Michigan and a dominant win by the Fighting Illini at Minnesota. 

 

Gonzaga and Baylor held their positions at No. 1 and No. 2 as the teams in the top five remained the same, just in a different order. Houston was tied for fifth in last week's balloting but fell five spots to No. 10 after losing to Wichita State on Thursday night. 

 

Florida State had one of the most significant moves in this week's Coaches Poll balloting, moving seven spots up to No. 9 after a week that included a win against Virginia. The Cavaliers had one of the biggest moves down of the week, falling six spots to No. 14 after adding a loss at Duke on Saturday to the early-week defeat in Tallahassee. 

 

Both Texas, down three spots to No. 16, and Texas Tech, down six spots to No. 17, fell after losses on Saturday with West Virginia, up two spots to No. 13, and Kansas, up five spots to No. 19, seeing a boost from those top-25 wins. 

 

Arkansas, at 17-5, jumped from five spots outside the top 25 a week ago into the rankings at No. 20 and San Diego State, ranked in the AP Top 25 but unranked by the coaches a week ago, moved up into the Coaches Poll at No. 25. Their additions to the poll come as Missouri (No. 19) and Tennessee (No. 20). fell from the rankings. 

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Illini Take on Michigan State

There's still a couple of more weeks remaining in the Big Ten regular season, but No. 5 Illinois already seems to be in tournament mode.

 

The Fighting Illini carry a seven-game winning streak into their game against Michigan State on Tuesday in East Lansing, Mich., looking to solifidy their NCAA Tournament resume.

 

Illinois hasn't lost since Jan. 16 and has five games remaining before the conference tournament. The Fighting Illini (16-5, 12-3 Big Ten) trail only No. 3 Michigan in the league standings.

 

No one is more focused than National Player of the Year candidate Ayo Dosunmu. He notched his second triple-double in four games on Saturday, racking up 19 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists in a 94-63 victory over Minnesota. Dosunmu, who is the first player in school history to have multiple triple-doubles, is averaging 21.0 points, 8.3 assists, and 6.8 rebounds over the past four games.

 

Coach Brad Underwood's team has won five straight road games in conference play.

 

Illinois shot 56.1 percent from the field and had four starters in double figures against the Golden Gophers.

 

Michigan State (11-9, 5-9) is trying to climb back into the NCAA Tournament picture and a victory over a top 10 team would help its cause.

 

The Spartans ended a two-game losing streak with a 78-71 road victory over Indiana on Saturday. Aaron Henry led them with 27 points.

 

Game time is 6 pm and can be seen on FS1.

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Bulls Ground Rockets

Coby White scored 24 points, and the Chicago Bulls used a big third quarter to pull away for a 120-100 win over the short-handed Houston Rockets on Monday night.

 

Zach LaVine scored 14 of Chicago's 46 third-quarter points, finishing with 21, as the Bulls outscored the Rockets by 20 points in the quarter to break open a tight game.

 

Chicago had runs of 15-4 and 12-0 in the third period. During that second burst, Houston missed four shots, two of which were air balls, and had a turnover.

 

David Nwaba scored 22 points off the bench to lead Houston, which has lost eight straight. The Rockets had their previous two games postponed because of a winter storm and subsequent utility outages in the Houston area.

 

Wendell Carter Jr. added 18 points with 13 rebounds for the Bulls, who have won four of their last five.

 

The Bulls play their next two games at home, starting Wednesday night against Minnesota.

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Kings Blank Blues

Dustin Brown scored two goals and veteran Jonathan Quick stopped 31 shots for his 54th career shutout, lifting the Los Angeles Kings to a 3-0 victory over the St. Louis Blues on Monday night.

 

It was the second shutout this season for the 35-year-old Quick, who helped the Kings win two Stanley Cup championships in his career.

 

Gabriel Vilardi added a goal for the Kings, who scored in each period and extended their winning streak to five games. Brown closed out the scoring with an empty-net goal at 18:57 of the third.

 

Vilardi pushed in a loose puck as he was falling down outside the crease at 17:30 of the first period. The power-play goal gave the Kings a 1-0 lead. 

 

The goal snapped a streak for St. Louis. The Blues' penalty kill had been perfect in five consecutive games (10 for 10) before allowing the Vilardi goal.

 

St. Louis opponents have scored first in 12 of the Blues' 19 games.

 

Binnington, who left the ice with 2:49 remaining, had won three straight against the Kings. Binnington recorded 28 saves.

 

It was the third time St. Louis has been shut out this season.

 

The Blues and Kings play again Wednesday night at the Enterprise Center.

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Illinois Baseball Gets Six-Figure Donation for Training Center

The University of Illinois Division of Intercollegiate Athletics has announced a significant gift of $350,000 for the building of the Susan and Clint Atkins Baseball Training Center from Gies College of Business and LAS graduate Philip Sarnecki and his wife, Heidi. Groundbreaking for the facility is slated for this spring.

 

In a statement, Philip Sarnekci credited the work done by coach Dan Hartleb.

 

The Susan and Clint Atkins Baseball Training Center will be approximately 26,000 square feet and will include a large training space and adjoining support spaces. The training space encompasses an entire baseball infield with ceiling-mounted nets for hitting and pitching practice. The $8 million facility will be immediately adjacent to the current clubhouse and locker rooms and should be completed in the Spring of 2022.

 

The $350,000 gift from the Sarneckis counts toward the $300 million fundraising goal for the Division of Intercollegiate Athletics, which is part of "With Illinois," the $2.25 billion University-wide fundraising campaign.

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Illinois State Sunday Double Header Canceled, Tuesday Twin-Bill With SIUE Added

The Illinois State baseball team's Sunday doubleheader at Belmont has been cancelled due to unplayable field conditions at the Bruins' E.S. Rose Park.

 

The Redbirds and Bruins were originally scheduled for a four-game series over February 19-21, but had the Friday game pushed back to a Sunday doubleheader. Then, Saturday's doubleheader was canceled, prior to Sunday's doubleheader being pushed back two hours, and then concluding with a full cancellation.

 

ISU has added a doubleheader at SIUE for Tuesday starting at 2:00 p.m. with the second game to follow, the program announced Sunday.

 

The games will be seven innings apiece.

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Illinois Baseball Releases Schedule

The Big Ten has announced the 2021 baseball schedule, which includes 44 conference-only games for each team and begins on Friday, March 5.
 
Illinois will open up the season with back-to-back weekends at neutral sites. The weekend of March 5-7, the Illini will travel to Fluor Field in Greenville, S.C. and face Ohio State in a four-game series. The following weekend of March 12-14 will include a trip to Minneapolis, Minn. to play at U.S. Bank Stadium against Minnesota in a four-game series.
 
Three weekends this season will have a three-team pod at a single campus site. Each team will play each other twice on those weekends.
 
The Illini will host five weekends at Illinois Field. At this time, no fans will be permitted at home games in accordance with the Division of Intercollegiate Athletics COVID-19 operations restrictions. 
 
There will not be a Big Ten Tournament in 2021.

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Christopher Bell Wins Daytona Road Course

Christopher Bell defied the odds Sunday and earned his first career Cup series victory — in just his second race since Joe Gibbs Racing pulled him back into its inner circle — to close out an unpredictable week of racing at Daytona International Speedway.

 

Michael McDowell was the surprise Daytona 500 winner and then Bell earned an earlier-than-expected first trip to victory lane. It’s just the third time in NASCAR history the first two races of the season were won by first-time winners. It was previously done in 1949 and 1950 — NASCAR’s first two seasons.

 

More important, Bell and McDowell have snagged coveted berths in the 16-driver playoff field, a troubling trend for mid-pack teams that need all 26 regular-season races to point their way into the championship picture. Race winners earn automatic berths and the remaining spots are decided by the points standings.

 

Bell chased down Joey Logano on the winding Daytona road course to grab his first victory. Logano had a commanding lead but Bell, on fresher tires than Logano, reeled him in and passed him with just over one lap remaining.

 

The 26-year-old Oklahoman is a longtime Toyota development driver who won 16 Xfinity Series races driving for Gibbs. But there’s only four Cup seats in the organization and they were full last season when it was time to move Bell to the big leagues.

 

He was instead loaned to Leavine Family Racing, and although it was also a Toyota team, the one-car operation wasn’t nearly as strong as the Gibbs group. Team owner Joe Gibbs last summer decided not to renew Erik Jones, who said he was blindsided by the move, and instead bring Bell back into the fold.

 

It put the pressure on Bell to deliver and he did after a rocky opening a week ago. Bell was running at the front of the Daytona 500 pack when he gave Aric Almirola too big of a shove and triggered a 16-car crash on just the 14th lap of NASCAR’s first race of the season.

 

Bell’s win bookended a statement weekend for JGR’s young drivers. Ty Gibbs, the 18-year-old grandson of team owner Joe Gibbs, won the Xfinity Series race Saturday night in his first career national series start.

 

McDowell, meanwhile, backed up his Daytona 500 win with a career-best road course finish of eighth.

 

Logano for the second week came up empty but without the dramatics of his last-lap crash with teammate Keselowski as they raced for the Daytona 500 win. Logano finished second.

 

Denny Hamlin was third to give Gibbs two cars in the top three. Kurt Busch finished fourth and Keselowski wound up fifth for a decent Team Penske rebound.

 

Kevin Harvick finished sixth and AJ Allmendinger, in his first Cup race since the 2018 season finale, finished seventh. It was the highest finish in three Cup races for Kaulig Racing, an Xfinity Series team formed in 2016 that wants to be full-time Cup next season.

 

Ryan Preece was ninth for a pair of top-10 finishes at Daytona. JTG-Daugherty Racing no longer has a charter to guarantee Preece a spot in the field every week, and without it the team can’t promise it will race every week this season. With this start, Preece is currently seventh in the points standings.

 

Chase Elliott again had the most dominant car but his streak of four consecutive victories in points-paying road races was snapped. He led a race-high 45 laps and was out front when a caution for rain 15 laps from the finish forced Hendrick Motorsports to make a strategic call.

 

Elliott traded track position for new tires, pitted from the lead and fell to 15th. He worked his way up to to fifth but spun when he ran into the back of Kurt Busch. Elliott finished 21st.

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Max Homa Wins at Riviera

Needing a birdie on the 18th hole Sunday to win the Genesis Invitational, Max Homa hit sand wedge to a back pin that settled 3 feet away, setting up the storybook finish for a guy who grew up 30 miles away and has been watching this tournament his whole life.

 

And then he missed.

 

His ball next to the base of a tree left of the 10th green on the first playoff hole, Homa hooded a gap wedge with enough top spin to scoot up the Kikuyu grass and onto the edge of the green, setting up par. Tony Finau missed a 7-footer, and Homa was happy just to get to the next hole.

 

Homa won on the second extra hole when Finau failed to save par from a bunker, missing a 10-foot putt.

 

It was more heartache for Finau, who now has 10 runner-up finishes worldwide since winning the Puerto Rico Open five years ago. He closed with a 7-under 64, the best score of the final round. He had a 7-foot birdie putt on the first extra hole for the win and left it on the low side. He watched someone celebrate again.

 

Homa, who joined Finau at 12-under 272, won for the second time on the PGA Tour. He cracked the top 50 in the world for the first time at No. 38. The victory sends him back to the Masters, along with the next three World Golf Championships.

 

For so long, the tournament belonged to Sam Burns. He was on the verge of becoming the first player to go wire-to-wire at Riviera since Hal Sutton won the 1983 PGA Championship. But it fell apart with three bogeys in a four-hole stretch on the back nine, and he closed with a 69 to finish one shot out of the playoff.

 

Dustin Johnson, the No. 1 player in golf, started the final round two shots behind and in the final group. He missed an easy birdie chance on the opening hole and it never got much better. Johnson failed to make a run and fell back with careless bogeys along the back nine. He shot 72 and tied for eighth.

 

The third round was completed Sunday morning because of a four-hour delay from wind so strong on a course so firm that the average score was 73.34, the highest ever for a weekend round at Riviera since the PGA Tour began keeping such statistics in 1983.

 

Jordan Spieth never got anything going, either. Coming off a pair of top-five finishes to turn his fortunes around, Spieth was five shots behind going into the final round and could only manage a 71 to tie for 15th. But at No. 61 in the world, he is ineligible for a World Golf Championship for the first time since he became a PGA Tour member.

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Monticello Gets By Warrensburg-Latham

After falling behind 3-0 on the first possession of the game, Monticello scored 16 straight unanswered points and beat Warrensburg-Latham 57-39 in non-conference boys basketball action from Monticello High School on Saturday evening.

 

Dylan Ginalick helped fuel the rally scoring seven points in the first quarter and the Cardinals went 7 minutes and 31 seconds between baskets.

 

After falling behind 24-11 with 3:04 left in the half following another 3-pointer from Ginalick, Warrensburg-Latham answered with a 9-2 run and trailed 28-20 at the intermission.

 

Jackson Cooke started the second half with a three to bring the Cardinals to 28-23 but the Sages outscored Warrensburg-Latham 18-5 the rest of the way, fueled by eight points from Ben Cresap and 14 points off turnovers. 

 

Monticello held on the rest of the way despite Warrensburg-Latham getting to 48-35 with 5:38 to go. 

 

Ginalick scored 17 points to lead all scorers with 13 points coming in the first half. Cresap finished with 14 points and 12 in the second half. 

 

Monticello scored 42 points in the paint and scored 31 points off 24 Cardinals turnovers. 

 

Joey Sprinkle grabbed a game-high nine points. 

 

Cooke scored nine points to lead Warrensburg-Latham.

 

The Sages improve to 5-1 overall while the Cardinals drop to 4-5.

 

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Monticello Survives Rantoul

Dylan Ginalick made a tie-breaking lay-up over a crowd of Rantoul defenders with 6 seconds left in regulation and Monticello came away with a 43-41 win on the road in Illini Prairie Conference boys basketball action Friday night in Rantoul.

 

With score tied at 41 and inbounding from under his own basket, Ginalick tossed a high-arcing pass to the paint intended for Joey Sprinkle who tapped it back to Ginalick and squeezed in a lay-up to give the Sages the lead.

 

Rantoul’s pass up the floor on the ensuing possession was knocked out of bounds on the right sideline by Sprinkle with 0.1 seconds left and a subsequent inbound pass was tapped away at the Rantoul baseline to secure the win for the Sages. 

 

The Eagles' length, quickness and athleticism was a problem for Monticello all night, but the Sages were able to hold a 26-21 at the half.

 

The third quarter was a grind for the Monticello who was outscored 8-0 and trailed 29-26 going to the fourth but the offense came alive right away and the game was back-and-forth from there. 

 

Trevor Fox made clutch free throws to give the Sages a lead on two separate occasions, Ginalick made two free throws with 2:31 to play that gave Monticello a 41-40 lead. 

 

Ginalick led all scorers with 14 points. Ben Cresap scored all nine of his points in the first half.

 

The Sages were without senior guard Jake Edmondson who was interviewing for a scholarship opportunity. Edmondson averages 11.5 points, 4.0 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game for Monticello.

 

Sprinkle grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds.

 

Monticello hosts Warrensburg-Latham Saturday afternoon at 4:30 pm. Hear all the action on 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com.

 

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Illinois State Rolls Bradley

Emon Washington had 20 points as Illinois State beat Bradley 88-71 on Thursday night.

 

Josiah Strong had 18 points for Illinois State (7-15, 4-12 Missouri Valley Conference). Dedric Boyd added 18 points. Antonio Reeves had 13 points.

 

Ja’Shon Henry had 15 points for the Braves (11-14, 5-11). Kevin McAdoo added 12 points. Rienk Mast had 12 points.

 

The Redbirds improve to 2-0 against the Braves this season. Illinois State defeated Bradley 71-56 on Jan. 20.

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Weather Postpones Illinois State Football Opener

Due to adverse weather conditions, playing field readiness and to ensure a safe environment for student-athletes from both institutions, the Missouri Valley Football Conference has postponed the Illinois State-Missouri State football game scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 20, at Robert W. Plaster Stadium in Springfield, Mo.
 
The game will be rescheduled for Saturday, April 17, and will be played in Springfield. 
 
Valley Football athletically-related activities will take place only to the extent permitted by local environments and applicable national, state, local and institutional guidelines in order to safeguard the health and safety of participants, staff and fans.

 

Illinois State will now open the 2021 season next Saturday, Feb. 27, when the Redbirds host South Dakota for a noon kickoff at Hancock Stadium. 

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Eastern Illinois Opens 2021 Pandemic Altered Football Season Sunday

Eastern Illinois opens up what will be a most unique season as many teams from the FCS level compete during the spring for the 2020-21 season.  The Ohio Valley Conference will have eight team competing in a seven-game schedule.  EIU will host four of its seven games this season at O'Brien Field.

 

When Eastern Illinois takes the field again on Feb. 21 at Graham Stadium in Martin, Tenn., it will be the first football game action for the Panthers since Nov. 23, 2019 - a span of 456 days.  The last time EIU had a gap that big or bigger between games was in the midst of World War II when EIU went 686 days between games (1942-44).

 

The seven-game schedule this season for the Panthers will be the fewest number of games EIU has played in a season since the 1945 season.

 

Eastern Illinois is coming off a 1-11 season last year as head coach Adam Cushing rebuilds the Panthers program.  The last time EIU won only one game during a season was in 1977 with the Panthers responding the next season and winning the 1978 NCAA Division II National Championship.

 

Eastern Illinois had two players selected to the All-Ohio Valley Conference preseason football team for this year.  Defensive lineman/linebacker Dytarious Johnson and wide receiver Isaiah Hill both were named to the preseason All-OVC squad.  

 

Game time Sunday is 1 pm central time. Hear all the action on The Big 1520 AM/92.3 FM WHOW, online at dewittdailynews.com, at the WHOW mobile app and at Amazon Alexa.

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Illinois State Baseball Season Opener Rescheduled for Sunday

Illinois State baseball's season-opening four-game series at Belmont has been trimmed to two games after Saturday's doubleheader was cancelled due to inclement weather in Nashville, Tennessee. 

 

The team is now scheduled to play two 9-inning games on Sunday, February 21, starting at 12:00 p.m. CT. 

 

Fifth-year seniors Joe Butler, Colton Johnson, and Jordan Libman were named Preseason All-Missouri Valley Conference while the Illinois State baseball team was picked to finish second, in the preseason poll taken of the league's eight head coaches, the conference announced Wednesday.

 

The Redbirds' three selections are tied for the most with Bradley.

 

Illinois State received 53 points in the poll, 11 behind Dallas Baptist, which received all eight first-place votes. Missouri State was third with 42 points.

 

Butler batted .242 with a trio of home runs in a shortened 2020 season but led the MVC in batting average during conference play in 2019, hitting a torrid .422 while also leading the league in on-base percentage (.489) and hits (35) during Valley play.

 

Johnson led the MVC with 37 strikeouts in 2020. He recorded a 3.60 ERA in 25 innings pitched in the shortened campaign.

 

Libman batted .281 with seven RBI, seven runs scored, and a home run in the shortened 2020 season. Libman hit .299 in 2019, adding 28 RBI, 43 runs scored, and 14 extra-base hits.

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Blues Get By Sharks in OT

Brayden Schenn tied it late in the third period and David Perron scored on a power play in overtime in the St. Louis Blues' 3-2 victory over the San Jose Sharks on Thursday night.

 

Mike Hoffman also scored, and Jordan Binnington made 30 saves for the Blues, coming off a record seven straight games against the Arizona Coyotes.

 

Noah Gregor and John Leonard scored, and Martin Jones made 42 saves for the Sharks.

 

Perron ended it with a minute left in overtime, beating Jones through the legs on a one-timer off a feed from Hoffman. Perron also had two assists.

 

The teams will finish the two-game set in St. Louis on Saturday night.

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Fultz, Stiverson Lead Monticello Past Rantoul

As heard on 95.9 FM WEZC and at dewittdailynews.com, Rennie Fultz and Lizzie Stiverson combined score 29 of Monticello’s 31 second-half points as the Lady Sages surged past Rantoul for a 58-39 win in Illini Prairie Conference girls basketball action from the Siever’s Center at Monticello High School.

 

The Lady Sages held a 27-9 advantage late in the third quarter but the Lady Eagles rallied with an 11-0 run to finish out the half and started the second half on a 5-0 run to cut the deficit to 27-25 but Lizzie Stivers made two free throws and the flood gates opened as Monticello outscored Rantoul 31-14 the rest of the way.

 

Stiverson scored 11 points in the third quarter and Fultz scored 10 in the frame, the only scoring for Monticello in a 21-12 third quarter.

 

Fultz scored 16 of her game-high 29 points in the second half, Stiverson scored 13 of her 19 points in the second half. 

 

The Lady Sages improve to 2-3 overall.

 

Hear more Monticello girls basketball on WEZC and at dewittdailynews.com next Thursday at 7 pm when they host Unity.

 

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Illini Football Opener Against Nebraska Moved from Ireland to Champaign

Following extensive consultation with the Irish government, medical authorities and the administrative staffs at Illinois and Nebraska, the 2021 season opening football game scheduled for August 28 between the Fighting Illini and Cornhuskers will not be played at Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The two teams still plan to open the 2021 season on Aug. 28, but now the game will be played at Memorial Stadium in Champaign. 

 

In a statement Wednesday, Athletic Director Josh Whitman called the decision very disappointing. 

Illinois, led by first-year head coach Bret Bielema, opens the 2021 season with five of their first seven games at Memorial Stadium. 

 

After the opener with Nebraska, the Illini will host Texas-San Antonio on Sept. 4 followed by a road game at Virginia on Sept. 11. 

 

The Illini alternate home and away with Maryland in town on Sept. 18 followed by hitting the road to Purdue on Sept. 25. 

 

The Illini will host Charlotte on Oct. 2 and go into a bye week on Oct. 16 after a home game with Wisconsin on Oct. 9. 

 

After the Illini's first bye, they finish the season with just two of their final five games at Memorial Stadium.

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Bulls Edge Pistons

Zach LaVine scored 37 points and the Chicago Bulls beat the Detroit Pistons 105-102 Wednesday night on short notice.

 

The Bulls were scheduled to visit Charlotte, with the Pistons at Dallas. Those games got called off Tuesday by the NBA because of COVID-19 contact tracing concerns with the Hornets and power outages in Texas. The Bulls and Pistons were then scheduled to play each other, instead.

 

Chicago made two 3-pointers late in the game to hold off Detroit. Coby White made his shot from the corner to give the Bulls a 100-96 lead with just over a minute left before Patrick Williams knocked down a 3-pointer with 29 seconds remaining to make it 103-98.

 

LaVine made a free throw to ice the game in the final seconds. He scored 15 points in the third quarter to help Chicago rally from a 25-point, second-quarter deficit, the biggest comeback in the NBA this season.

 

Wendall Carter Jr. added 18 points while Williams had 15. Chicago won its second straight game overall and fifth in a row against Detroit.

 

Jerami Grant scored a career-high 43 points for the Pistons, who cooled off after a strong start.

Chicago outscored Detroit 27-12 in the third quarter and retook the lead when Garret Temple made a layup with 10 minutes left to make it 74-73.

 

The Bulls visit Philadelphia on Friday. They have lost five straight there.

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Pacers Need Overtime to Get By Timberwolves

Domantas Sabonis had 36 points, 17 rebounds and 10 rebounds, and Malcolm Brogdon added 32 points and nine rebounds as the Indiana Pacers beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 134-128 in overtime on Wednesday night.

 

Sabonis, Brogdon and the Pacers erased a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter. Indiana trailed 98-88 and eventually took a five-point lead in the fourth. Sabonis knocked down a pair of free throws with 11.1 seconds left in regulation to help send the game to overtime tied at 121.

 

The Pacers played their second straight overtime game, coming off an OT loss to Chicago on Monday. After giving up the first five points in overtime Monday, Indiana jumped out to a quick five-point lead Wednesday in OT.

 

Brogdon hit a 3 to start overtime, and Sabonis followed with a basket in the paint for a 5-0 run.

 

Karl-Anthony Towns had 30 points and 10 rebounds for Minnesota. Malik Beasley added 31 points in his first game of the season off the bench, and Ricky Rubio finished with a season-high 20 points and 13 assists.

 

Minnesota lost its second game in as many nights after falling to the Los Angels Lakers 112-104 Tuesday.

 

Indiana heads to Houston for a game against the Rockets on Saturday. The Pacers won their previous matchup against Houston 114-107.

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Blackhawks Blank Red Wings

Kevin Lankinen made 29 saves for his first career shutout and fellow rookie Philipp Kurashev scored a pretty goal in the Chicago Blackhawks' 2-0 victory over the Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday night.

 

The Blackhawks are 4-0 against the Original Six rival Red Wings this season. They have won three straight overall and six of their last seven.

 

Alex DeBrincat added an empty-net goal with 58 seconds remaining.

 

On the winner, Kurashev weaved through the Detroit defense for a power-play goal midway through the second period, putting it between Jonathan Bernier's legs. Duncan Keith passed ahead to Kurashev for the goal, his fifth of the season. Lankinen also earned an assist on the play.

 

Bernier made 24 saves.

 

The Blackhawks are at Carolina on Friday and Saturday night.

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Tatis, Jr., Padres Agree on 14-Year Deal

One baseball's brightest young stars has one of baseball's biggest contracts.

 

The San Diego Padres have agreed to give its electrifying shortstop, Fernando Tatis, Jr., a $340 million, 14-year deal that could keep him with San Diego until he’s 35 years old.

 

It will be the longest contract signed in MLB history. Giancarlo Stanton, now with the New York Yankees, signed a 13-year, $325 million deal with Miami in 2015. Bryce Harper signed a 13-year, $330 million deal with Philadelphia in 2019. The biggest deal by dollars remains Mike Trout’s $426.5 million, 12-year contract signed with the Angels in 2019.

 

The 22-year-old Tatis has bloomed into a superstar in less than two full seasons with the Padres, hitting .301 with 39 home runs, 98 RBIs and 27 stolen bases in 143 games. He helped San Diego end a 13-year playoff drought in 2020 and win a wild-card series against the St. Louis Cardinals before the Padres were swept by the rival Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL Division Series.

 

He has quickly become one of the faces of baseball. He stands out because of his flair, easy smile, blond dreadlocks flowing from under his cap, a uniform dirtied by his hard-charging play and his dance moves in the dugout after hitting home runs.

 

Tatis was literally raised in the game at the feet of his father, who played 11 seasons in the big leagues. He has dared to challenge old-school norms — after hitting his second home run in an 11-9 win in Game 2 of the wild-card series against the Cardinals, he unleashed an emphatic bat flip. A photo of Tatis in that moment is on the cover of the video game MLB The Show ’21.

 

This is the third big contract given by the Padres the last four seasons. They gave slugger Manny Machado a $300 million, 10-year deal before the 2019 season — Machado and Tatis are both represented by Dan Lozano of MVP Sports — and signed first baseman Eric Hosmer to a $144 million, eight-year deal in 2018.

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Tim Tebow Retires from Baseball

Tim Tebow is retiring from baseball after five years as a minor leaguer with the New York Mets.

 

The 2007 Heisman Trophy winner returned to baseball in 2016 for the first time since his junior year of high school and reached Triple-A, encouraged by then general manager and current team president Sandy Alderson.

 

Tebow played 77 games at baseball’s highest minor league level in 2019, batting .163 with four home runs. He finishes his career with a .223 average over 287 games.

 

A lefty-hitting outfielder, the 33-year-old was invited the major league spring training this season, taking one of New York’s 75 spots after Major League Baseball limited spring roster sizes as a coronavirus precaution. Position players aren’t slated to report to the Mets’ spring complex in Port St. Lucie, Florida, until next week.

 

Over four big league spring trainings, Tebow batted .151 in 34 games, connecting for his first and only homer last spring before camps were closed.

 

Tebow’s baseball career began with a bang — he homered in his first professional at-bat during an instructional league game against the St. Louis Cardinals in the fall of 2016. Later that fall, he made headlines by comforting a fan who had a seizure in the front row of Tebow’s Arizona Fall League debut.

 

The former NFL quarterback was an All-Star at Double-A in 2018, when he batted .273 with six homers in 84 games. He struggled the next year at Triple-A and had his season cut short by a laceration on his left hand.

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Monticello Struggles in Home Loss to Champaign St. Thomas More

Monticello missed several opportunities late in regulation and overtime to put away Champaign St. Thomas More as the Sabers held on for a gritty 39-36 win Wednesday night in Illini Prairie Conference boys basketball action.

 

As heard on 95.9 FM WEZC and at dewittdailynews.com, Champaign St. Thomas More finished the final minute just 2-for-8 from the free-throw line, but Monticello did not capitalize enough, as their only basket in the final minute of overtime was a Jake Edmondson three that brought the Sages to 38-36. 

 

Edmondson led the Sages in scoring with 15 points. Dylan Ginalick fouled out late in regulation, finished with 10 points. 

 

Neither team shot the ball particularly well. STM finished 12-for-31 (38.7-percent) while Monticello finished 14-for-50 (28-percent).
 
Rarely does Monticello get outscored in the paint, but on this night, the Sabers kept the Sages from getting good looks inside consistently, holding them to just 14 points in the paint. 

 

Patrick Quarnstrom led all scorers with 18 points and Averi Hughes added 11 points. 

 

Monticello drops to 3-1 overall, and 2-1 in conference action. STM improves to 2-0 on the season. 

 

The Sages hit the road for an Illini Prairie Conference tilt with Rantoul Friday. Hear the action starting at 7 pm on 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com.

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Clinton Maroons fall to Fisher Bunnies

As heard on WHOW, the Clinton Maroons fall to the Fisher Bunnies by a score of 66-82 on Wednesday night. The Maroons were led by the B-Rok Designs Player of the Game Zeke Hickman with 30 points. Andrew Pagel added 10 points. Cole Young also added 7 points.

 

The Bunnies were led by Carson Brozenec with 40 points. Landen Stalter added 18 points.

 

With the loss, the Maroons fall to 0-7 overall and 0-4 on the conference. The Bunnies improve to 2-3 overall and 2-3 on the conference.

 

Tune in Tuesday, February 23rd, as the Maroons take on Central A&M. You can hear the game live on the Big 1520 AM/92.3 FM WHOW, online at dewittdailynews.com, on the WHOW app, and on Amazon Alexa.

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Clinton Lady Maroons defeat Fisher Lady Bunnies

As heard on WHOW, the Clinton Lady Maroons defeat the Fisher Lady Bunnies by a score of 58-20 on Wednesday night. The Lady Maroons were led by Mallory Cyrulik with 28 points. Kaitlyn Rauch added 13 points. The B-Rok Designs Player of the Game Raya Swartz added 9 points.

 

The Lady Bunnies were led by Mariah Sommer with 6 points. Riley May also added 6 points. 

 

With the win, the Lady Maroons improve to 6-1 overall and 2-1 on the conference. The Lady Bunnies fall to 1-4 overall and 1-4 on the conference.

 

Tune in Monday, March 1st, as the Lady Maroons take on Warrensburg-Lathem. You can hear the game live on the Big 1520 AM/92.3 FM WHOW, online at dewittdailynews.com, on the WHOW app, and on Amazon Alexa.

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Tonight's Monticello Boys Basketball Game vs Champaign St. Thomas More Moved to Wednesday

Tonight's Monticello home boy's basketball game against Champaign St. Thomas More has been moved to Wednesday night.

 

The varsity will follow a girls varsity basketball game against Tuscola. Tip time will be 7:30 pm. 

 

Hear the boy's game Wednesday on 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com.

 

WEZC will also have the Thursday night  girl's basketball game against Rantoul at 7 pm and Friday night the boy's basketball game at Rantoul, also a 7 pm tip. Then tune in on Saturday afternoon as the boy's host Warrensburg-Latham for a 4:30 pm tip. 

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Illini Up in Latest Polls

Top-ranked Gonzaga and No. 2 Baylor remained atop Monday’s latest AP Top 25, where they have been for all 13 polls this season. And after Illinois rose one spot to No. 5, that put the top of the AP poll in sync with the initial rankings of the top 16 seeds released Saturday by the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Committee.

 

Illinois climbed to the top 5 for the second time this season, the other coming in late November, for the program’s highest ranking since reaching No. 1 during the 2004-05 season. The Illini dipped to No. 22 by January but have won five straight, including against Iowa and No. 21 Wisconsin.

 

Among teams that didn’t lose last week, AP voters were a bit higher on No. 7 Virginia (seeded ninth), No. 9 Oklahoma (12th), No. 11 Iowa (13th) and No. 12 Texas (15th) following wins that came later Saturday. In addition, Alabama rose three spots to No. 8 in the AP poll to pull closer to the committee’s seeding of seventh overall shortly before the Crimson Tide scored 115 points in a win over against Georgia.

 

Sixth-ranked Houston (seeded eighth) didn’t play after the committee released its rankings.

 

No. 11 Iowa climbed four spots after a pair of Big Ten wins, first against a ranked Rutgers team at home. Then came Saturday’s 30-point win at Michigan State, the worst home loss in coach Tom Izzo’s tenure with the Spartans.

 

No. 20 Missouri took the biggest tumble, falling 10 spots after losses at Mississippi and at home to Arkansas in Southeastern Conference play last week. The Tigers had cracked the top 10 last week for the first time since December 2012.

 

Oklahoma State (No. 23), Purdue (No. 24) and Rutgers (No. 25) fell out of the poll. Kansas was one of three new additions to this week’s poll, joined by No. 24 Arkansas and No. 25 San Diego State. It marked the Razorbacks’ first appearance since January 2018, while the Aztecs spent two weeks in the poll in December.

 

 

The strength of the Big Ten this season is its top-end teams and their strong finish to the regular season. The result of that in the updated Coaches Poll on Monday is that three of the teams from the conference own spots in the top five, with Michigan, Ohio State and Illinois ranking Nos. 3, 4 and 5. 

It also has representation throughout the poll as well with Iowa ranking 14th and Wisconsin 21st. 

The Big 12 also has an impressive turnout in the poll with Baylor once again coming in at No. 2 and Oklahoma moving into the top 10 at No. 10. Texas Tech, Texas and West Virginia are ranked 11th, 13th and 15th, while Oklahoma State stayed at No. 22 and Kansas -- after a one-week stint out of the rankings -- jumped back in.

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Bulls Stop Pacers

After scoring 12 of his 30 points in the fourth quarter to help Chicago force overtime, Zach LaVine dug in defensively and helped lead the Bulls to a 120-112 victory over the Indiana Pacers.

The combination helped the Bulls end a 10-game losing streak in the series and an eight-game skid at Indiana.

 

And LaVine got plenty of help - after shooting an errant 19-footer at the end of regulation.

Garrett Temple started overtime with a 6-foot pull-up. After Thaddeus Young chased down an offensive rebound, Denzel Valentine made a 3-pointer to give the Bulls a 110-105 lead. They never trailed again.

 

Malcolm Brogdon, who had 23 points and 15 rebounds, helped Indiana chargeback from an 11-point deficit in the fourth quarter. Domantas Sabonis' two free throws with 4:58 left in regulation gave the Pacers a 94-92 lead.

 

After LaVine scored four straight to give the Bulls a 105-103 lead, Brogdon's 5-footer with 10.5 seconds left tied the score at 105.

 

Coby White had 19 points, eight assists and seven rebounds. LaVine also had nine rebounds.

 

Young finished with 13 points and 11 rebounds against his former team. Wendell Carter Jr. had 11 points and nine rebounds in his return after being sidelined by a bruised right quadriceps tendon. He sat out the previous 11 games.

 

Sabonis had 25 points, 10 rebounds, five assists and four blocks.  Myles Turner had 11 points and six more blocks - his eighth game this season with five or more. 

 

The Bulls visit Charlotte on Wednesday, a venue where they've lost two straight.

 

The Pacers will try to win its fourth straight over Minnesota on Wednesday in Minneapolis.

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Coyotes, Blues Finally Get on the Ice, Arizona Blanks St. Louis

Darcy Kuemper stopped 24 shots, Clayton Keller scored and the Coyotes closed out their seven-game series against the St. Louis Blues with a 1-0 win Monday.

 

The shifting dynamics of playing hockey in a pandemic led to the Blues and Coyotes playing seven straight games against each other, a first in NHL or NBA regular-season history.

 

The teams split the first six games, and the Coyotes were at their shutdown best in Game 7.

 

Keller scored in the second period. Kuemper, making his fifth start in the series, earned his first shutout this season and No. 19 for his career.

 

The Blues had been on a roll since the series shifted to the desert, scoring eight goals in two games. They bogged down in the finale, unable to get many good scoring chances or solve Kuemper.

 

Jordan Binnington had 18 saves for St. Louis.

 

Home ice was not been much of an advantage in this seven-game series.

 

St. Louis won the first game at home, but the Coyotes won the next three and the Blues won the first two in the desert.

 

Kuemper and Binnington were sharp after getting Saturday's game off, each making some tough saves in the first period.

 

Arizona's Derick Brassard was the closest to breaking through in the first when a wraparound attempt popped up and hit Binnington on the back before bouncing away.

 

St. Louis ramped up the pressure to start the second period, but the Coyotes scored when Keller beat Binnington on the glove side from the left circle for his fifth of the season.

 

The Blues kept buzzing in the period and Kuemper made some difficult saves, shutting them down during a 5-on-3 power play. Conor Garland nearly put the Coyotes up 2-0 late in the period after a slick move, but he hit the far post.

 

Kuemper made a good positional save midway through the third period, sliding over to stop Vince Dunn on an odd-man rush, and another after the Blues pulled Binnington with a minute left.

 

The Blues open a two-game home series against San Jose on Thursday.

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Blackhawks Get By Red Wings in Overtime

Dominik Kubalik scored his second goal of the game 4:43 into overtime, and the Chicago Blackhawks beat the Detroit Red Wings 3-2 on Monday night..

 

Kubalik and Mattias Janmark gave the Blackhawks a two-goal lead in the first period that they slowly lost before stepping up in the extra session. Kubalik slipped a shot between Thomas Greiss' pads, finishing a 2-on-1 rush with Pius Suter late in overtime.

 

The surprising Blackhawks won for the fifth time in six games in the opener of a six-game trip. Malcolm Subban finished with 27 stops in his fourth start of the season.

 

Chicago put center forward Lucas Wallmark on the active roster 90 minutes before the game. He was taken off the COVID-19 protocol list last week.

 

The teams play again Wednesday night in their fourth of eight games in the NHL's pandemic-shortened, division-only regular season. Chicago is 3-0 in the season series against Detroit.

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Southern Illinois Tops Illinois State

Lance Jones scored 14 points and Southern Illinois defeated Illinois State 59-49 on Sunday.

 

Steven Verplancken Jr. had 12 points for Southern Illinois (10-9, 4-9 Missouri Valley Conference) and Kyler Filewich scored 11. Verplancken's 3-pointer with 14:45 before halftime gave the Salukis a 14-12 lead and they never trailed again.

 

Josiah Strong scored 14 points for the Redbirds (6-15, 3-12) and Antonio Reeves 10.

 

The Redbirds visit Bradley Thursday night before concluding the regular season next weekend hosting Northern Iowa.

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Missouri State Rolls Bradley

Isiaih Mosley scored 27 points as Missouri State topped short-handed Bradley 72-57 on Sunday. Gaige Prim added 20 points for the Bears. Prim also had eight rebounds.

 

Ja'Monta Black had 14 points for Missouri State (14-5, 10-5 Missouri Valley Conference), which earned its fifth straight victory and is assured a winning record in conference. Demarcus Sharp added eight assists and seven rebounds.

 

Rienk Mast had 15 points and 11 rebounds for the Braves (11-13, 5-10). Sean East II and Kevin McAdoo each had 13 points. The Braves announced just 30 minutes before Sasturday's game that star forward Elijah Childs, Danya Kingsby, Terry Nolan Jr. and Ja'Shon Henry were suspended for both games of the weekend series against Missouri State for unspecified violations of program standards.

 

Missouri State defeated Bradley 80-58 on Saturday.

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McDowell Outlasts Wreckage, Field to Win Daytona 500

On the final lap, Brad Keselowski attempted to dart around Joey Logano, but Logano threw a block on his teammate that crashed them both. McDowell stayed right where he was, flat in the gas, and drove through a crash scene for a stunning upset at the Daytona 500.

 

A 100-1 underdog when the race began Sunday afternoon, McDowell won for the first time in 358 Cup starts when the checkered flag finally flew about 15 minutes after midnight. The race was stopped by rain for almost six hours and ended nine hours after the green flag waved at Daytona International Speedway.

 

NASCAR’s season opener was stacked with storylines. Denny Hamlin was trying for a record third-consecutive Daytona 500 victory, and the team he started with Michael Jordan was debuting with driver Bubba Wallace.

 

Kyle Larson was back after nearly a year in exile for using a racial slur, and reigning Cup champion Chase Elliott was going for his first Daytona 500 win.

 

And all the way at the back of the field, 1990 Daytona 500 winner Derrike Cope made what he said would be his final NASCAR start. At 62 he was the oldest driver in the field, and his upset victory 31 years ago was considered the biggest in race history.

 

McDowell didn’t take that title from Cope, partly because McDowell is a strong superspeedway racer capable of mixing it up with the usual suspects. 

 

McDowell was in the mix even before the two Penske cars derailed the finish. His Ford was strong enough to push Keselowski, and McDowell figured with the checkered flag in sight, he’d try to pass Keselowski as they exited the final turn.

 

Logano’s block of Keselowski — it seemed late, Keselowski had already started to pull alongside his teammate — triggered a fiery multi-car pileup that was in McDowell’s rearview mirror.

 

McDowell, who led less than half of a lap, drag-raced Elliott and Austin Dillon until NASCAR finally called a caution.

 

A batch of solid contenders were knocked from the race just 15 laps in by a 16-car accident that began at the front of the field. It thinned the pack and set up a showdown between Kevin Harvick and Hamlin.

 

Hamlin and Harvick had the two best cars but pit strategy ended Hamlin’s shot at winning a record third consecutive Daytona 500. The Ford drivers pitted first as a group, followed by the Chevrolets a lap later and finally the Toyotas.

 

But the Toyota group has just five cars and they couldn’t group back together to reclaim control of the race. It put Logano, Keselowski, and the Ford drivers out front, and Logano led the final 25 laps until Keselowski made his move.

 

McDowell held off Elliott and Dillon. Harvick finished fourth, and Hamlin was fifth after leading a race-high 98 laps.

 

Only 11 cars finished on the lead lap.

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Cubs Bring Back Arrieta

Jake Arrieta is returning to the Chicago Cubs, agreeing to a $6 million, one-year contract on Friday.

Arrieta can earn $1 million in performance bonuses, according to a person familiar with the situation who confirmed the deal on condition of anonymity because it is pending a physical.

 

The 34-year-old Arrieta won the NL Cy Young Award with Chicago in 2015 and helped the Cubs win the 2016 World Series for their first championship since 1908. He went 68-31 with a 2.73 ERA in 128 starts over five years in his first stint with the team.

 

While the reunion is a feel-good story for the reigning NL Central champions after a tough winter, Arrieta hasn’t experienced the same level of success since he left Chicago after the 2017 season.

 

The 6-foot-4 right-hander signed a $75 million, three-year contract with Philadelphia in free agency and went 22-23 with a 4.36 ERA in 64 starts with the Phillies. He had a 4-4 record and a 5.08 ERA in nine starts last year during the pandemic-shortened season.

 

Arrieta rejoins a team with a new-look rotation after the Cubs traded Yu Darvish to San Diego in December and let Jon Lester depart for Washington in free agency. Arrieta also is reuniting with David Ross, who caught the second of Arrieta’s two no-hitters and guided Chicago into the playoffs last year in his first season as a big league manager.

 

The Cubs had been looking for pitching depth, concerned about how many starters they might need going from last year’s abbreviated season to a more regular schedule in 2021. Kyle Hendricks and Zach Davies lead the rotation, with Alec Mills, Trevor Williams, Adbert Alzolay and Arrieta also in the mix.

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Daniel Burger Wins at Pebble Beach

Daniel Burger was tied for the lead, needing a birdie on the par-5 18th to win. Off to his right was out-of-bounds markers below a row of hedges, where Berger hit his drive on Saturday that led to double bogey. To his left was the Pacific Ocean.

 

Two of the best swings of his career, a driver into the fairway and a 3-wood from 250 yards away in the cool air at sea level, left him 30 feet and two putts away. Berger capped it off with an eagle putt for a 7-under 65 and a two-shot victory over Maverick McNealy Sunday in the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.

 

Berger started his final round with a 4-iron to 20 feet for eagle on the par-5 second hole to catch up to Jordan Spieth in no time at all. And while the cast of contenders kept changing, Berger was never out of the mix until he had the final say with one last eagle, his fourth of the week.

 

He won for the second time since the PGA Tour Tour returned to golf in June from the COVID-19 pandemic, starting with a playoff victory at Colonial, where a half-dozen players had a chance to win over the final hour.

 

Spieth went from leading to lagging behind. He started with a two-shot lead and was three shots behind after six holes, wasting the scoring stretch at Pebble Beach. He finished with two birdies for a 70 and tied for third with Patrick Cantlay (68), who made all his putts at Pebble on Thursday. He had 10 birdies in the opening round when he tied the course record with a 62. He made seven birdies and an eagle in two-weekend rounds.

 

Berger saw a leaderboard leaving the 18th green and knew he was tied. He just figured it would be with Nate Lashley, unaware of the sad turn of events on the 16th.

 

Lashley, playing in the final group with Spieth, nearly holed his wedge on the 11th for a tap-in birdie that took him to 16 under and leading by one shot. He was tied with Berger with three holes to play when Lashley went long on the 16th hole. He pitched out to 12 feet, missed the par putt, and then missed the next two putts from the 3-foot range.

 

That gave him a triple bogey from which he could not recover. Lashley jammed the bottom of his putter into the green and left without speaking to the media.

 

McNealy, who played at Stanford and once lived in a house near the 15th green at Pebble Beach, quietly made five birdies over his last eight holes.

 

Spieth finished in the top four for the second week in a row, a strong sign that his game is coming back after a drought that dates to his 2017 British Open victory at Royal Birkdale.

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Illinois St. bench helps send Illinois St. blast S. Illinois

DJ Horne scored 17 points and Emon Washington scored 11 points with 10 rebounds and Illinois State beat Southern Illinois 80-55 on Saturday to end the Redbirds' six-game losing streak.

 

Josiah Strong's 3-pointer broke a 4-all tie and the Redbirds (6-14, 3-11 Missouri Valley Conference) never trailed again. Strong scored 12 and Dedric Boyd 11 both off the bench. Nine of 13 Redbirds that played entered the scoring column.

 

Ben Harvey scored 14 and Kyler Filewich 13 with 10 rebounds for Southern Illinois (9-9, 3-9). The Salukis have dropped back-to-back contests and three of their last four.

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Black leads Missouri St. past Bradley 80-58

Ja'Monta Black scored 24 points as Missouri State romped past Bradley 80-58 on Saturday. Gaige Prim added 20 points for the Bears.

 

Black hit 8 of 10 shots, including 7 of 9 on 3-pointers.

 

Jared Ridder had 12 points and three blocks for Missouri State (13-5, 9-5 Missouri Valley Conference), which earned its fourth straight win. Demarcus Sharp added six assists.

 

Ville Tahvanainen had 13 points for the Braves (11-12, 5-9). Darius Hannah added 10 points. Rienk Mast had seven rebounds.

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Dosunmu gets hot late, No. 6 Illinois tops Nebraska in OT

Illinois’ Ayo Dosunmu had a conversation with himself after he missed a free throw and Nebraska hit a 3-pointer to take a five-point lead with under four minutes left in regulation.

 

“I told myself it was time to lock in,” he said. “Trust in yourself. Believe your instincts. You got this. Let’s try to will my team to victory.”

 

Dosunmu did just that Friday night.

 

The star guard scored the last 10 points in regulation for Illinois and the first five in overtime, allowing the sixth-ranked Fighting Illini to turn back Nebraska’s upset bid 77-72.

 

Dosunmu, who had 22 of his 31 points after halftime, tied it at 66 with his driving lay-in with 20 seconds left in regulation. Nebraska’s Trey McGowens failed to get a shot off at the buzzer, and Dosunmu opened overtime with a layup and 3-pointer to send Illinois to its fifth consecutive victory.

 

“We escaped in a very ugly fashion,” coach Brad Underwood said. “Nobody at the end of the year is going to draw pictures of this one, but it’s a W. We’ve got to learn from it. I want to give Nebraska a ton of credit because they played great.”

 

Kofi Cockburn added 21 points and 13 rebounds for his 14th double-double of the season for the Illini (14-5, 10-3), who have their best Big Ten record after 13 games since the 2004-05 season.

 

Lat Mayen had 16 points, including a couple late 3-pointers, and Teddy Allen and McGowens scored 15 apiece for the Cornhuskers. Nebraska (4-12, 0-9) lost its 26th straight against Big Ten opponents.

“The biggest thing we need to take out of this is to know we can play with anybody and battle a team that’s going to be a national championship contender,” coach Fred Hoiberg said. “That’s a huge step in the right direction.”

 

Illinois was a 14-point favorite, but this game was anything but easy. Underwood didn’t expect it to be. Until a week ago, he and his team had been pointing toward a game with third-ranked Michigan on Thursday, but that one was postponed because of the Wolverines’ COVID-19 pause. Nebraska, which had four games to make up because of its own issues with the virus, was put on the schedule only a week ago.

 

“We thought we were playing Michigan on the schedule,” Underwood said. “You’re going to get two top-6 teams playing and then all of a sudden it’s not. It’s not Michigan, it’s a team who is really struggling. And all of a sudden this becomes that trap game.”

 

Nebraska, which hasn’t beaten a top-10 opponent since March 2014, led 64-58 with under three minutes left.

 

Enter Dosunmu.

 

He made two free throws, drove the length of the court for a layup and made two more free throws to tie it. After Dalano Banton scored with 37.8 seconds left to put Nebraska up, Dosunmu tied it with another layup.

 

Nebraska called a timeout and had a chance to win it on a final shot in regulation. McGowens got hung up between Trent Frazier and Dosunmu and couldn’t get off a decent shot, with Hoiberg throwing his facemask to the floor in frustration.

 

“The lack of execution on that last play is extremely disappointing,” he said. “To draw something up we think could have at least gotten us a good look to win a game like this, and then to go out and have a couple guys in the wrong spot, that’s the hard thing. That’s going to be the one that will keep me up tonight.”

 

Illinois: Dosunmu had been so-so for most of the game. But as elite players do, he stepped up when his team needed him most and sent Illinois to its fourth straight road win.

 

Nebraska: The Huskers played one of their best games at a point when they could have cashed in for the season. They are in the middle of a stretch of playing eight games in 14 days.

 

Illinois hosts Northwestern on Tuesday.

 

Nebraska visits Penn State on Sunday.

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Monticello Topples IVC

Monticello powered through a physical game to topple Illinois Valley Central 53-51 for their third straight win Friday night in Illini Prairie Conference boys basketball action from Chillicothe.

 

Trailing 7-0 to start the game, the Monticello finished the first quarter on a 13-2 run and IVC only tied the score once the rest of the way in trying to overpower the smaller Sages.

 

Ben Cresap made a clutch three late and Dylan Ginalick made five of six free throws down the stretch to help Monticello keep the Grey Ghosts at bay.

 

Ginalick finished with 20 points to lead all scorers and Cresap scored 12 points. Jake Edmondson added ten points.

 

Monticello improves to 3-0 on the season and will return home Tuesday hosting Champaign St. Thomas More after a two-game road swing this week.

 

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

 

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Clinton Maroons fall to Shelbyville Rams

As heard on WHOW, the Clinton Maroons fell to the Shelbyville Rams by a score of 47-69 on Friday night. The Maroons were led by the B-Rok Designs Player of the Game Andrew Pagel with 10 points. Zeke Hickman also had 10 points. Max Johnson added 8 points.

 

The Shelbyville Rams were led by Kade Kull with 21 points. Braden Nichols added 15 points.

 

With the loss, the Maroons fall to 0-5 overall and 0-2 on the conference. The Rams improve to 1-2 overall and 1-1 on the conference.

 

Tune in Wednesday, February 17th, as the Maroons take on Fisher. You can hear the game live on the Big 1520 AM/92.3 FM WHOW, online at dewittdailynews.com, on the WHOW app, and on Amazon Alexa.

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Fast Start Propels Lady Maroons Over Mt. Pulaski

The Clinton Lady Maroons started fast and did not look back in beating Mt. Pulaski 47-32 Thursday night in non-conference high school girls basketball action from Mt. Pulaski High School.

 

The Lady Maroons led 11-4 after the first quarter and led 27-14 at the intermission. They extended the lead to 36-18 at the end of the third, rolling from there.

 

Mallory Cyrulik scored a game-high 24 points. Kaitlyn Rauch scored nine points for Clinton. 

 

The Lady Maroons improve to 4-1 overall while Mt. Pulaski drops to 1-1. 

 

The Lady Maroons travel to Central A&M for a Saturday afternoon matchup at 11:30 am.

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Pacers Roll Pistons

Domantas Sabonis had 26 points, eight rebounds and eight assists, and the Indiana Pacers snapped a four-game losing streak with a 111-95 victory over the Detroit Pistons on Thursday night.

 

Malcolm Brogdon added 18 points and Jeremy Lamb scored 17 for the Pacers, who posted a season-low 94 points in a loss to Brooklyn on Wednesday. One night later, it was Detroit that struggled offensively, shooting 5 of 28 from 3-point range.

 

Josh Jackson led Detroit with 18 points, and rookie Isaiah Stewart added 17 in his first start at center. Mason Plumlee missed the game for the last-place Pistons because of a right elbow issue.

 

Detroit missed its first eight shots from beyond the arc, but the Pistons were effective enough inside that the game was tied 52-all at halftime. Then the Pacers outscored Detroit 30-18 in the third quarter. Brogdon had 10 points and Myles Turner added nine in that period for Indiana.

 

The Pacers went on a 13-1 run during the third quarter to take a 70-59 lead. Sabonis, Brogdon and Turner did all the scoring during that stretch for Indiana.

 

Jerami Grant, coming off big games against the Lakers and Nets, shot 4 of 17 from the field and scored only nine points for the Pistons.

 

Indiana went 14 of 31 from 3-point range and shot 51% overall from the field. 

 

Pacers visit the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday night. Indiana went 2-1 against Atlanta in the 2019-20 regular season.

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Central Illinois Outdoors' Jared White Talks to DNR Officials, Pana Teacher

DNR officials to cold-water bass fishing and a Christian County school teacher who has introduced a hunter safety curriculum are among the guests and topics this week on 'Central Illinois Outdoors' this week on WHOW.

 

Host Jared White says they've got DNR Deputy Director Rachel Torbert and Captain John Williamson in this week along with a Pana school teacher who has introduced a hunter safety course at the high school.

 

 

Central Illinois Outdoors airs this weekend on Saturday at 10 am on WTIM-Taylorville, Sunday at 8 am on WHOW-Clinton, Sunday at 8a on 965TheWinner-Taylorville, Monday podcast is posted to the CIO website, centralillinoisoutdoors.com. 

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Blues Notes

Blues blueliner Scott Perunovich will undergo season-ending surgery on his left shoulder.

 

The 22-year-old didn't get a chance to make his NHL debut this season but was able to get some time on the Blues' taxi squad. Perunovich was in his first professional career after three years with the University of Minnesota. He'll likely spend next season at the AHL level once he's healthy.

 

Blues prospect Klim Kostin remains on loan from the Blues with Omsk Avangard of the KHL, Lou Korac of NHL.com reports.

 

At this point, it seems unlikely that Kostin will return to the AHL this season. The 2017 first-round pick (31st overall) the last three seasons in the AHL following his draft selection, but he never showed enough to secure a consistent role with the big club. 

 

The 21-year-old is starting to find his game in his home country, as he's now produced eight points over the last three games, bringing his total to 17 points through 38 contests. This could provide the confidence that Kostin needs to make it at the NHL level. 

 

The 2021-22 season still seems like his best target at this time.

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Blue Jackets Topple Blackhawks in High-Scoring Game

Kevin Stenlund capped Columbus' big third period with the game-winning goal with 1:14 left, and the Blue Jackets stopped Chicago's three-game win streak with a 6-5 victory over the Blackhawks on Thursday night.

 

Boone Jenner, Jack Roslovic and Michael Del Zotto also scored in the third as Columbus won for the third time in four games. Cam Atkinson collected his franchise-record 15th career short-handed goal and three assists, and Roslovic also scored in the second.

 

The 24-year-old Stenlund has two goals and three assists in four games this year. But he is in line for more playing time after Koivu decided to retire during his 16th NHL season.

 

Patrick Kane and Alex DeBrincat each had a goal and two assists for Chicago, which dropped to 4-2-1 at home. Rookie defensemen Ian Mitchell and Nicolas Beaudin each scored their first NHL goal 56 seconds apart in the second period. Pius Suter also scored for the Blackhawks.

 

Chicago led 4-2 after Kane sent a wrist shot past a screened Joonas Korpisalo for a power-play goal 29 seconds into the third. But Columbus responded with two goals in 80 seconds.

 

After DeBrincat got the lead back for the Blackhawks at 13:05, the Blue Jackets bounced back again. Atkinson banged a shot off the crossbar and Del Zotto knocked it in for the tying goal with 2:41 to go. Then Stenlund put Columbus ahead to stay with his eighth goal in 40 career regular-season games.

 

The Blackhawks played without defenseman Connor Murphy and forward Andrew Shaw. Murphy could be sidelined for two weeks with a right hip injury, and Shaw was placed on injured reserve after entering the concussion protocol.

 

The teams play again on Saturday night.

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Patrick Cantlay Ties Course Record at Pebble Beach

Coming off a 61 in the California desert followed by at two-week break, Patrick Cantlay opened with seven birdies in eight holes and closed with two straight birdies for a 10-under 62. That tied the course record at Pebble Beach last matched 24 years ago by David Duval, and it gave Cantlay a two-shot lead in the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.

 

Henrik Norlander and 19-year-old Akshay Bhatia were at 64. Bhatia hit all 18 of the small greens at Pebble Beach, the first player to do that at Pebble since Ryan Palmer in 2008.

 

Jordan Spieth moved another round closer to some kind of a groove. He tied for fourth last week in the Phoenix Open, his best finish since May 2019 at the PGA Championship. Spieth holed out a wedge on the 10th hole for eagle and finished with three birdies over his last five holes for a 65.

 

It helped to be at Pebble Beach, typically the easiest course when the weather is dry and relatively calm. Only one of the leading 10 scores was at Spyglass Hill. That came from Will Gordon, who shot a 66. Spyglass played slightly two shots harder.

 

Without spectators and without amateurs this year, the tournament is using only two courses instead of three. It was more exposed than usual without grandstands behind the sixth green and overlooking the picturesque par-3 seventh.

 

And the pace of play, with three pros instead of a foursome of pros and amateurs, was quicker.

Cantlay one-putted every green on the front nine, and capped off a stretch of four straight birdies with a 7-iron that landed next to the hole on No. 8 and left him a fast 6-footer for birdie.

 

The finish also was impressive, with a 7-iron that settled about 7 feet below the hole on the par-3 17th, and a nifty wedge from right of the 18th green for an up-and-down and his 10th birdie.

 

Phil Mickelson, a five-time champion at this event, opened with a 74 at Spyglass and will have to hope for equally decent weather at Pebble Beach to make the cut.

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GBB: Big Second Half Propels Monticello Past IVC

Three players scored in double figures for Monticello and the Lady Sages rallied past IVC in the second half for a 43-30 win in Illini Prairie Conference girls basketball action at Monticello High School.

 

As heard on WEZC, Lydia Burger scored ten her for 15 points in the second half and Lizzie Stiverson scored a game-high 16 points. Rennie Fultz scored 8 of her ten points in the second half after battling foul trouble early.

 

The Lady Sages trailed 23-19 at the break but rallied to a 14-7 third quarter advantage then held the Lady Grey Ghosts scoreless in the fourth quarter. 

 

The Lady Sages improve to 1-1 on the season while IVC falls to 1-3. 

 

Hear more Monticello girls basketball action on WEZC next Thursday night when the Lady Sages host Rantoul.

 

Hear boys basketball action on Friday night at IVC at 7 pm on WEZC and at dewittdailynews.com.

 

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Bradley Breaks Slide, Downs Valpraiso

Ville Tahvanainen came off the bench to score 14 points, leading Bradley to a 76-52 win over Valparaiso on Wednesday night.

 

Terry Nolan Jr. had 13 points for Bradley (11-11, 5-8 Missouri Valley Conference), which snapped its four-game road losing streak. Ja'Shon Henry added 11 points. Elijah Childs had 11 points and eight rebounds.

 

Donovan Clay had 17 points for the Crusaders (7-13, 4-7). Sheldon Edwards added 10 points. Eron Gordon had eight rebounds.

 

The Braves evened the season series against the Crusaders with the win. Valparaiso defeated Bradley 91-85 on Jan. 28.

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Nets Topple Pacers

Kyrie Irving had 35 points and eight assists and the Nets were defensively dominant in the first half in shutting down the Pacers 104-94 on Wednesday night to snap a three-game losing streak.

 

A night after an embarrassing effort in Detroit, when the Nets yielded 38 points in the first quarter, the Pacers didn't reach that total until 8:46 remained in the third.

 

By then, the Nets had built a 32-point halftime lead, their largest since moving to Brooklyn in 2012, and with a 62-30 bulge allowed just two more points than their best total since moving from New Jersey.

 

Irving was 17 for 17 from the throw line, career highs in both categories, and Brooklyn led by as many as 36 points.

 

James Harden added 19 points and 11 rebounds for the Nets, who expect to get Kevin Durant back from his three-game absence for coronavirus health and safety protocol reasons when they open a five-game trip to the West on Saturday at Golden State, his former team.

 

Domantas Sabonis had 18 points and nine rebounds for the Pacers, who dropped their season-high fourth in a row. They were coming off their worst offensive performance of the season, with season lows of 95 points and 39.8% Sunday against Utah.

 

That was nothing compared to this mess.

 

The Pacers missed 10 of their first 12 shots and had six points in the first seven minutes. Things didn't get much better, as they went 4 for 21 (19%) in the second quarter.

 

After limiting the Pacers to 18 points in the first quarter, the Nets had their best period of the season in the second when they gave up just 12.

 

Indiana got within 14 late in the third quarter, but Brooklyn got the final six points to take an 82-62 lead to the fourth.

 

Indiana had won six in a row in Brooklyn. 

 

The Pacers visit Detroit on Thursday night.

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Big Third Quarter Propels Bulls Past Pelicans

Zach LaVine scored a season-high 46 points, hitting nine of Chicago's franchise-record 25 3-pointers, and the Bulls cooled off the New Orleans Pelicans with a 129-116 victory Wednesday.

 

White made eight 3s and scored 30 points in an impressive show by Chicago's starting backcourt. LaVine and White became the first duo in NBA history to make at least eight 3s apiece in the same game, according to STATS.

 

Denzel Valentine added four 3-pointers and 16 points as the Bulls went 25 for 47 from beyond the arc and shot 59% (48 for 81) overall.

 

New Orleans had won four in a row, including a 130-101 victory over Houston on Tuesday night. But the Pelicans looked a little tired in the second half of the opener of a four-game trip.

 

Zion Williamson had 29 points for New Orleans, and Brandon Ingram finished with 21 points on 6-for-19 shooting. Lonzo Ball scored 19 of his 21 points in the first half.

 

New Orleans led 74-66 at the break despite Chicago setting a franchise record with 14 3s in the first half. But the Bulls rolled right by the Pelicans with a big third quarter.

 

White connected from long range and Daniel Gafford had a driving dunk with 7:03 left, capping a 19-2 run for Chicago. White hit another 3 with 15.3 seconds remaining in the third, lifting the Bulls to a 106-88 lead.

 

Bulls C Wendell Carter Jr. (bruised right quadriceps) has been doing some running, but coach Billy Donovan said he doesn't have a timetable for his return. Carter hasn't appeared in a game since Jan. 18. F Otto Porter Jr. missed his fifth straight game with recurring back spasms. Donovan said he is still experiencing discomfort. 

 

The Bulls had dropped three of four.

 

The Bulls host the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday night. The Bulls lost 130-127 to the Clippers in their first meeting of the season Jan. 10.

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Alex Bowman, William Byron Take Top Spots in Daytona 500 Qualifiers

Alex Bowman and William Byron swept the front row Wednesday night in qualifying for the Daytona 500, giving Hendrick its 14th pole and sixth in the last seven years. Rick Hendrick’s engine-building wing has seven straight poles because it powers Ricky Stenhouse Jr., last year’s pole-winner.

 

Bowman posted a lap at 191.261 mph to earn the top starting spot for the second time in his career. It’s the fourth consecutive year Bowman will start from the front row, but he’s got a completely new look this time.

 

Bowman in the offseason was moved from the No. 88 into the No. 48 vacated by seven-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson. He inherited sponsor Ally, which has committed to backing Bowman and helping him develop his brand.

 

Bowman drove his Chevrolet more than 1 mph faster than teammate Byron, who qualified second with a lap at 190.219 mph. Only the front row was set Wednesday, the first time Daytona 500 qualifying has been held at night under a condensed Speedweeks schedule.

 

It’s the ninth consecutive year Chevrolet won the pole.

 

The 40-car field is determined through both time trials and a pair of Thursday night qualifying races. NASCAR sold 36 charters that guarantee those owners slots in the field, which leaves eight drivers vying for four “open” spots in the Super Bowl of stock-car racing.

 

Two spots were earmarked to the fastest “open” cars in time trials. David Ragan and Ryan Preece earned those berths.

 

The No. 62 driven by Noah Gragson for Beard Motorsport failed pre-qualifying inspection three times, did not get to attempt a qualifying lap, and lost a crew member.

 

Beard has to forfeit a team member as a penalty, but Gragson can race Thursday night and attempt to qualify for his first Daytona 500.

 

Bubba Wallace, fastest in Wednesday afternoon’s practice, briefly sat on the pole in his new 23XI Racing entry owned by Michael Jordan and Denny Hamlin. Byron bumped him first, then Bowman topped Byron. Wallace wound up fourth on his first day in his new car.

 

Hamlin, who is trying to become the first driver to win three consecutive Daytona 500s, was 12th. He said it was emotional to see the team he helped build get its car on track.

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BOYS BBALL: Big Second Half Propels New Berlin Past Maroa-Forsyth

Trailing 24-17 at the half, New Berlin found their stride in the second half outscoring Maroa-Forsyth 13-5 in the third quarter and finishing out a 39-36 win at home in Sanamgo Conference boys basketball action Tuesday night.

 

Ethan Jackson paced the Trojans with 14 points, nine of those coming in the first half. Egan Franzen added seven points and Ben Gilbert and Mentor Ballazhi scored five points apiece.

 

The Trojans drop to 2-1 on the season. They travel to Auburn for a Sangamo Conference battle Friday. 

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Blackhawks Get By Stars in Overtime

Pius Suter scored 2:15 into overtime Tuesday night to give the Chicago Blackhawks their second straight 2-1 win over the Dallas Stars in the extra period.

 

The rookie skated toward the net with a pass from Brandon Hagel and slid the puck beneath goalie Jake Oettinger to complete a comeback win.

 

Mattias Janmark also scored for Chicago, which is 6-1-4 in its last 11 games.

 

Roope Hintz scored for the Stars, who are 0-1-2 in their past three.

 

In a matchup of rookie goaltenders, Kevin Lankinen made 34 saves for the Blackhawks, and Oettinger stopped 27 shots.

 

Alex DeBrincat was the overtime hero for Chicago at 2:56 on Sunday afternoon with his second goal of the game.

 

Hintz scored his third of the season and second in three games when he collected a loose puck in the left circle, skated through the crease and sent a backhand past Lankinen at 4:57 of the first period on Dallas' first shot on goal. Jason Robertson got the lone assist after setting up the play by stripping the puck from Suter, a fellow rookie.

 

Suter redeemed himself by cashing in a centering pass from Hagel, who sped down the right side and fed Suter for his fifth goal of the season.

 

The Blackhawks tied it at 14:04 of the second on a power-play goal by Janmark, who signed as a free agent last October after playing his first four NHL seasons with Dallas. Janmark drew a tripping penalty from John Klingberg and then redirected a shot through Oettinger's pads.

 

Dallas went into the game with the NHL's No. 2 power play at 36.8%. Chicago was third at 36.6%. The Blackhawks went 1 for 4, the Stars 0 for 2. The Blackhawks have killed 22 of the last 23 opposing power plays.

 

The Stars appeared to take a 2-0 lead about four minutes into the second when Jamie Benn gathered a loose puck in the crease and lifted it over Lankinen's left shoulder into the top of the net. But the Blackhawks successfully challenged that Benn's backing into Lankinen seconds earlier constituted goalie interference.

 

Oettinger made his second straight start in net and fourth of the season for the Stars despite current No. 1 goalie Anton Khudobin being available. Khudobin didn't dress for Sunday's 2-1 overtime loss to the Blackhawks after being late to practice on Saturday.

 

The Blackhawks will host Columbus on Thursday and Saturday. They split a pair at Columbus at the end of January.

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Blues' De La Rose, MacEachern Return to Taxi Squad

The St. Louis Blues have returned Jacob De La Rose and Mackenzie MacEachern to the taxi squad Tuesday, Jim Thomas of The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.

 

MacEachern posted his first assist of the season in Monday's shootout loss to the Coyotes. Due to COVID-19 postponements, the Blues don't play again until Friday. MacEachern could be activated before that game, and he'll at least travel with the team.

 

After making his season debut in Monday's shootout loss to the Coyotes, De La Rose will revert to the taxi squad. De La Rose could be promoted at that time, and he'll travel with the team regardless.

 

The Blues game with Minnesota was postponed Tuesday.

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Kyle Busch Takes Busch Clash Exhibition

Kyle Busch snagged the first win of the new season, streaking past NASCAR champion Chase Elliott after Elliott spun leader Ryan Blaney in the final stretch of the exhibition Busch Clash.

 

Blaney had chased down Elliott on the road course at Daytona International Speedway to take the lead with two laps remaining in Tuesday night’s 35-lap Speedweeks opener. Elliott, winner of NASCAR’s last four road course races dating to 2019, didn’t let Blaney pull away and set himself up for one final chance at the win.

 

He stalked Blaney into the chicane headed into the turn four final push and as Elliott closed in on his bumper, the two made contact and Blaney spun into the wall. It cost Elliott his momentum and Busch sailed by for the surprise victory.

 

Busch led only the final 300 or so feet of the race for the victory for Joe Gibbs Racing. It was Busch’s second win in the exhibition — he also used a last-lap pass to win in 2012 — and the 10th for Gibbs. JGR also won last season’s Clash.

 

For Busch, the win comes after a disappointing one-win season for the 2019 NASCAR champion. He struggled in the second half of the season, failed to advance to the final four championship round for the first time since 2014 and his No. 18 Toyota crew was overhauled during the winter.

 

Elliott finished second and Blaney was third. The two are close friends off the track and chatted at Blaney’s damaged race car after the finish.

 

The Clash has always been the opening event of Speedweeks, which traditionally spans two weekends before the season-opening Daytona 500. NASCAR this year is experimenting with a condensed schedule and all the racing spans six days and concludes with Sunday’s big show.

 

This year’s running was the first time on Daytona’s road course, a plan announced before the 2020 season began. NASCAR moved from the traditional oval to answer fans’ calls for more variety on the schedule, and figured it would be a final race in the current car before the Next Gen model was introduced.

 

But the Next Gen has been delayed until 2022 because of the pandemic, and NASCAR used the Daytona road course in August last year for a points-paying race when it had to alter the schedule to complete the season. Elliott won the inaugural Daytona road course race.

 

The Clash was much smoother than last year’s race on Daytona’s oval, a crash-fest in which every single car was in at least one incident and only six cars were running at the end. The race also had 12 lead changes — one less than August’s race here that had 30 additional laps.

 

NASCAR will run the road course again on Feb. 21 in a points-paying event. The race was moved to Daytona because of pandemic restrictions in California, where NASCAR was scheduled to race at Fontana.

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Super Bowl Ratings Down

The pandemic-era Super Bowl between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Kansas City Chiefs reached the big game’s smallest television audience since 2006.

 

An estimated 92 million people tuned in across the country to watch the Bucs’ 31-9 victory, the Nielsen company said Tuesday. Add in a record number of people who streamed the game online and CBS said the total audience was 96.4 million.

 

That’s down from the 101.3 million people who watched the 2020 game between Kansas City and San Francisco. The New England-Seattle Super Bowl in 2015 was the most-watched game with 114.4 million viewers.

 

The Super Bowl is annually television’s most-watched event.

 

Given that the game turned into a rout, and the coronavirus cut down on the number of annual Super Bowl watch parties, it could have been worse for CBS, said Andy Billings, director of the sports communication program at the University of Alabama.

 

CBS said 20.4 million people watched the series premiere of “The Equalizer,” a procedural drama starring Queen Latifah. Given television’s most-prized time slot, the show had the biggest audience for an entertainment program since the Academy Awards last year.

 

A special episode of Stephen Colbert’s “Late Show” reached 4.8 million people, its season-best.

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Cresap, Ginalick Spark Second Half Rally As Monticello Steamrolls Olympia

Ben Cresap and Dylan Ginalick scored 14 of their co-game high 17 points in the second half and Monticello rallied from a 7-point halftime deficit to beat Olympia 51-28 Tuesday night in Illini Prairie Conference boys basketball action at Olympia High School.

 

As heard on WEZC and at dewittdailynews.com Tuesday, the Sages trailed 21-14 at the intermission but started the third quarter on a 7-0 run that tied the game at 21 and outscored Olympia 27-7 for the frame then held the Spartans scoreless in the fourth quarter ensuring the win.

 

Cresap scored 12 points in the third quarter and Ginalick added nine, both finished with a game-high 17. 

 

Trevor Fox scored nine points and grabbed five rebounds for Monticello and Jake Edmondson added seven points.

 

Cresap also had six steals and five rebounds. 

 

Ethan Davis led Olympia with nine points and Hunter Berges added eight.

 

Monticello’s defense held Olympia to 2-for-13 from beyond the arc and the Sages shot 51.2 percent from the floor.

 

Monticello scored 30 points in the paint and turned 21 Olympia turnovers in 28 points. 

 

The Sages improve to 2-0 on the season and will take on IVC Friday night in Chillicothe. Hear the action on 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com.

 

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Dosunmu Named Big Ten Player of the Week

The awards rolled in for Illinois junior point guard Ayo Dosunmu on Monday. He has been named the Jersey Mike's Naismith Trophy Player of the Week by the Atlanta Tipoff Club as well as Big Ten Player of the Week for the second week in a row and fourth time this season by the conference office.

 

Dosunmu earns the honors after leading the Illini to a pair of victories last week, extending 6th-ranked Illinois' winning streak to four straight games.  

 

Dosunmu made national headlines in the win over No. 19 Wisconsin, recording just the third triple-double in school history and first since 2001.

 

He helped Illinois earn its first win at Indiana since 2010 then recorded the first triple-double this season against a ranked team, and became the first Big Ten player to record a 20+ point triple-double against a ranked team since Michigan State's Denzel Valentine vs. No. 4 Kansas on Nov. 17, 2015.

 

Now averaging 21.2 points, 6.4 rebounds and 5.0 assists on the season, Dosunmu is vying to become just the fourth player nationally since 1993 to average 20 points, six rebounds and five assists, and first in the Big Ten since Ohio State's Evan Turner in 2009-10.

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Illinois Moves Up Big in Latest Rankings

The Illinois Fighting Illini gave the Big Ten three teams in the top six of the Associated Press men’s college basketball poll after beating Indiana in overtime and pounding No. 21 Wisconsin over the weekend. The Illini were followed by Texas Tech, Houston, Virginia and Missouri, which beat Kentucky and No. 11 Alabama to reach the top 10 for the first time since Dec. 24, 2012.

 

Kansas dropped out of the poll for the first time in 12 years on Monday, ending the Jayhawks’ record streak of 231 consecutive weeks ranked in the Top 25.

 

Gonzaga and Baylor held down the top two spots, just as they have all season, with the Bulldogs getting 55 of 63 first-place votes and the Bears getting the other eight. Michigan took advantage of Villanova’s loss at St. John’s to jump into the top three, Ohio State climbed three spots to No. 4 and the Wildcats rounded out the top 5.

 

Rounding out the Top 25 were Wisconsin, Loyola Chicago, Oklahoma State, Purdue and Rutgers.

When Kansas and UCLA fell out this week, it left the AP Top 25 without the Jayhawks, Bruins and fellow bluebloods Duke, Kentucky and North Carolina — with their combined 33 national championships — for the first time since Dec. 18, 1961. 

 

 

 

Illinois was one of the biggest risers this week in the updated Monday's updated Coaches Poll to give the league ample representation. After winning its fourth consecutive game Saturday over Wisconsin, it moved up to No. 6 from its previous placement of No. 13. Michigan moved up one spot to No. 3 despite its extended pause and Ohio State rose four spots to No. 5. Iowa, Wisconsin and Purdue are also part of this week's Big Ten-dominant showing in the poll.

 

Dominant can also be used to describe Gonzaga, which improved to 18-0 this week and maintained its No. 1 spot in the poll, where it has been since this preseason. It garnered 28 of 32 first-place votes with No. 2 Baylor receiving the outstanding four.

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Illinois Basketball Schedule Adjusted After Postponements With Michigan, Michigan State

The Illinois men's basketball game this week with Michigan has been postponed due to COVID concerns in the Michigan program, and Monday the Big Ten Office announced adjustments to the Illinois schedule.

 

The Illini had a January 19 game with Nebraska postponed, that game will now be played Friday at 8 pm central time at Nebraska. 

 

The Illini's contest with Michigan State from Jan. 23 that was postponed due to COVID concerns in the Spartans program will now be played on Tuesday, Feb. 23

 

Illinois will host Nebraska, a game that was to be played on February 24 will be played in the final week of the season - a confirmation on date and time will be announced soon.

 

After Friday's game at Nebraska, Illinois returns home next Tuesday night to host in-state rival Northwestern. 

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Cardinals Bringing Back Yadi

The St. Louis Cardinals are bringing back catcher Yadier Molina for an 18th season, agreeing Monday to a $9 million, one-year deal with the nine-time Gold Glove winner.

 

The 38-year-old Molina hit .262 with four home runs in 42 games during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, his last under a $60 million, three-year deal. He ended up making a prorated $7,407,407 of his $20 million salary last year.

 

The nine-time All-Star and two-time World Series champion has appeared in 2,025 games for St. Louis since breaking into the majors in 2004, third on the franchise list behind Hall of Famers Stan Musial (3,026) and Lou Brock (2,289).

 

Molina is a career .281 hitter with 160 home runs, but he’s best known for his defense. He trails only Ivan Rodriguez (13) and Johnny Bench (10) for most Gold Gloves by a catcher.

 

St. Louis agreed last month to bring back 39-year-old pitcher Adam Wainwright — Molina’s longtime batterymate — on an $8 million, one-year deal. The Cardinals also recently acquired star third baseman Nolan Arenado from the Colorado Rockies.

 

In the 10 years since the Platinum Glove Awards were introduced honoring the best fielder regardless of position in each league, Molina and Arenado are tied for the most with four each.

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Wizards Stop Bulls

Bradley Beal scored 35 points and the Washington Wizards held on to beat the Chicago Bulls 105-101 on Monday night.

 

Beal, the NBA's leading scorer, hit three free throws in the final 9.8 seconds. Rui Hachimura added 19 points and a season-high 10 rebounds on his 23rd birthday.

 

The Wizards improved to 6-15 even though they rested Russell Westbrook. And they won for the third time in six games, the victories by four points or less. 

 

Zach LaVine led Chicago with 35 points, though he missed a potential tying layup in the closing seconds.

 

Thaddeus Young scored 14 points, but the Bulls lost for the sixth time in eight games.

 

The Wizards led 93-84 about 4 1/2 minutes into the fourth quarter before Chicago scored seven straight points, capped by Denzel Valentine's 3-pointer.

 

Beal then drove for a layup. Alex Len hit two free throws and scored on a putback dunk to bump Washington's lead to 99-91. But the Bulls answered with a six-point spurt, pulling within two on LaVine's two foul shots.

 

Beal made two of his own and Len added one to make it a five-point game before LaVine sank two more foul shots to pull Chicago to 102-99 with a minute left. Beal lost his dribble, resulting in a turnover, and Coby White hit a floater for the Bulls coming out of a timeout to cut it to one with 29 seconds left.

 

Beal got fouled on a drive and made the second free throw after missing the first to make it 103-101 with 9.8 seconds to play. Following a timeout, a driving LaVine missed a layup over Len, who joined the Wizards last month after being released by Toronto. Beal grabbed the rebound and hit free throws with 0.1 seconds left.

 

Washington shot 6 for 26 on 3-pointers, while the Bulls went 9 of 30.

 

Bulls F Lauri Markkanen is out two to four weeks because of a sprained right shoulder. Markkanen was hurt Friday at Orlando when he was fouled by Magic forward Gary Clark early in the third quarter. 

 

Otto Porter Jr. (back spasms) missed his fourth consecutive game, and Chandler Hutchison (personal reasons) was held out of his second in a row, though he remains with the team. Billy Donovan had no timetable for Hutchison's return.

 

The Bulls will host Zion Williamson and the New Orleans Pelicans on Wednesday.

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Coyotes Outlast Blues in Shootout

Clayton Keller scored the tying goal with seven-tenths of a second remaining in regulation and Christian Dvorak's shootout goal was the winner, leading the Arizona Coyotes to a 4-3 win over the St. Louis Blues on Monday night.

 

Conor Garland and Dvorak scored in regulation, and Darcy Kuemper made 39 saves as Arizona has won its third consecutive game over the Blues in St. Louis.

 

Ryan O'Reilly scored twice and David Perron added a goal for St. Louis. Jordan Binnington made 23 saves. The Blues have lost three straight games for the first time this season.

 

Arizona forced overtime when Keller, a St. Louis native, scored his fourth goal of the season in the final second with Kuemper pulled for an extra attacker. Keller scored the goal on the power play just 25 seconds after exiting the penalty box himself.

 

O'Reilly scored his second goal of the game and sixth of the season 3:43 into the second period on a deflection off Tyler Pitlick's stick.

 

Dvorak tied the game 2-2 when he swatted a rebound from Nick Schmaltz's shot over Binnington's pad 11 seconds into the Coyotes power play with 8:24 remaining in the second period. The goal was his seventh of the season and sixth in five games.

 

Perron put the Blues ahead 2-1 when he got his own rebound, skated around Kuemper, and shot the puck into an empty net 8:11 into the second period.

 

O'Reilly's scored his first goal on a power play 6:31 into the first period. It was the Blues' first in 14 power-play opportunities.

 

Garland tied the game 1-1 when he one-timed a shot past Binnington 1:48 into the second period for his fifth of the season.

 

St. Louis was held without a shot on goal for the first 10:54 of the game.

 

St. Louis announced Sunday that center Robert Thomas will miss four to six weeks with a broken thumb suffered in the first period of Saturday's game. The club activated defenseman Robert Bortuzzo from injured reserve. Bortuzzo missed 10 games with an upper-body injury.

 

St. Louis and Arizona will meet for the fifth consecutive game, facing each other Saturday night in Glendale, Arizona.

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Clinton Lady Maroons fall to Tuscola Lady Warriors

As heard on WHOW, the Clinton Lady Maroons fell to the Tuscola Lady Warriors by a score of 48-45 on Monday night. The Lady Maroons were led by the B-Rok Designs Player of the Game Kaitlyn Rauch with 22 points. Mallory Cyrulik added 10 points. Kylie Raymer also added 7 points.

 

The Lady Warriors were led by Brynn Tabeling with 17 points. Hope Dietrich also added 17 points.

 

With the loss, the Lady Maroons fall to 3-1 overall and 0-1 in the conference. The Lady Warriors improve to 4-0 overall and 1-0 in the conference.

 

Tune in Friday, February 12th, as the Clinton Maroons take on Shelbyville. You can hear the game live on the Big 1520 AM/92.3 FM WHOW, online at dewittdailynews.com, on the WHOW app, and on Amazon Alexa. 

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Southern Illinois Stops Bradley

Lance Johnson made 1 of 2 free throws with 2.3 seconds to play and Trent Brown scored 14 points as Southern Illinois narrowly beat Bradley 69-68 on Sunday.

 

Ben Harvey had 12 points for Southern Illinois (9-7, 3-7 Missouri Valley Conference), which snapped its five-game road losing streak. Steven Verplancken Jr. added 11 points. Anthony D'Avanzo had 10 points.

 

Ja'Shon Henry had 17 points for the Braves (10-11, 4-8). Rienk Mast added 14 points and eight rebounds.

 

The Salukis leveled the season series against the Braves with the win. Bradley defeated Southern Illinois 74-66 last Saturday.

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Missouri State Tops Illinois State

Isiaih Mosley scored 24 points and dished seven assists as Missouri State beat Illinois State 72-62 on Sunday, handing coach Dana Ford his 100th win.

 

Gaige Prim had 16 points for Missouri State (11-5, 7-5 Missouri Valley Conference), which earned its fourth straight road victory. Ja'Monta Black added 10 points and seven rebounds. Demarcus Sharp also had seven assists.

 

Ford is 100-103 in his seventh season of coaching.

 

DJ Horne had 18 points for the Redbirds (5-14, 2-11), who have now lost six consecutive games. Josiah Strong added 14 points. Dusan Mahorcic had five points and 15 rebounds.

 

Missouri State defeated Illinois State 74-67 last Saturday.

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Brady, Bucs Beat Defending Champs Chiefs for Super Bowl Title

Tom Brady threw two touchdown passes to Gronkowski and one to good pal Antonio Brown, and the Buccaneers routed Patrick Mahomes and Kansas City 31-9 on their home field in Super Bowl 55 on Sunday.

 

The GOAT earned his fifth Super Bowl MVP award and extended his Super Bowl titles' record in his 10th appearance, nine with New England. Brady broke his own mark for oldest player to win a Super Bowl and joined Hall of Famer Peyton Manning as the only quarterbacks to win one with multiple franchises.

 

Mahomes lost by double digits for the first time in his four-year career.

 

The Buccaneers (15-5) took their second NFL title and first in 18 years as the first team to play the big game at home, capping an unusual and challenging season played through the novel coronavirus. They won three road games as a wild card to reach the Super Bowl, and joined the NHL's Lightning as a 2020 season champion. The Rays also went to the World Series but lost to the Dodgers.

 

Mahomes and the Chiefs (16-3) failed to become the first repeat champions since Brady's Patriots in 2003-04.

After the Chiefs took a 3-0 early lead, it was all Brady and the Bucs.

 

Brady accomplished a career-first with an 8-yard TD pass to Gronkowski for a 7-3 lead with 37 seconds left in the first quarter. Brady's nine Super Bowl teams in New England produced just three points total in the first quarter. Gronkowski, who came out of retirement to play with his buddy, caught his 13th and 14th postseason TDs from Brady. They had been tied at 12 with Jerry Rice and Joe Montana.

 

Tampa missed an opportunity to extend the lead when Brady's 2-yard pass to offensive lineman Joe Haeg was knocked out of his hands in the end zone. Ronald Jones was stopped short on consecutive carries as Arians stuck to his ''No risk it, no biscuit'' philosophy and went on fourth down.

 

But the Chiefs didn't gain any momentum off the stop. Instead, they made one costly mistake after another.

 

First, All-Pro tight end Travis Kelce dropped a pass that would've been a big gain on third down.

 

Then punter Tommy Townsend shanked a 29-yarder after a penalty forced him to kick again. The Bucs started at Kansas City's 38 instead of their 27.

 

A holding call on cornerback Charvarius Ward negated an interception by All-Pro safety Tyrann Mathieu. Kansas City's defense held but an offside penalty during Ryan Succop's successful field goal gave the Buccaneers a first down. Sarah Thomas, the first woman official in a Super Bowl, threw that flag.

 

Brady fired a strike to Gronkowski for a 17-yard TD and a 14-3 lead. Gronk hesitated before spiking the ball, waiting to make sure another flag on the play was against the sloppy Chiefs.

 

Mahomes drove the offense for a 34-yard field goal by Harrison Butker that cut it to 14-6, but Kansas City's defense fell apart in the final minute of the first half - allowing 42 yards on two pass interference penalties. One against Mathieu in the end zone set up Brady's TD pass to Brown for a 21-6 halftime lead.

 

It was Brady who convinced his new team to give Brown a chance after the troubled former All-Pro came off suspension. His TD toss to Brown was his 50th of the season, including 10 in the postseason.

 

Mathieu took an unsportsmanlike penalty after the TD pass for getting into it with Brady as he ran to the sideline.

 

Leonard Fournette, like Brown an in-season addition, ran 27 yards untouched to extend Tampa's lead to 28-9. Arians pumped his fist after that score and pointed toward offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich, who made the call.

 

Succop's 52-yard field goal increased the lead to 31-9.

 

Last year, Mahomes rallied the Chiefs from a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter against San Francisco and earned MVP honors in leading Kansas City to its first NFL championship in a half-century. But Tampa's pass rush gave him no chance in this one.

 

Shaq Barrett had one of three sacks on Mahomes, who spent most of the game trying to escape Jason Pierre-Paul, William Gholston and a relentless group.

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Blackhawks Get By Stars in Overtime

Alex DeBrincat ended the game with his second goal 2:56 into OT and the Blackhawks won 2-1 on Sunday, handing the Dallas Stars their first home loss this season. He has four goals and two assists in three games since his return after missing four games because of COVID-19 protocols.

 

On the overtime tally, DeBrincat initially passed to Patrick Kane, then got it back to poke past rookie goaltender Jake Oettinger. Kane also assisted on a power-play goal in the second period.

 

Dallas won its first four games, all at home, after the start of its season was delayed because of COVID-19 issues. The Stars have lost four of five games overall since.

 

The Blackhawks led 1-0 after DeBrincat scored from just inside the left circle in the second period. That side of the net was wide open after the pass from Dylan Strome on the opposite side of Oettinger.

 

Early in the first period, DeBrincat didn't miss when taking a swing at the puck after his initial shot ricocheted off Oettinger's shoulder. DeBrincat knocked the rebound into the net, but the goal was disallowed because of a high stick - he struck the puck at eye level.

 

It was the third start of the season for Oettinger, who stopped 33 shots. The Stars had won his first two starts 7-3 and 6-3.

 

The Blackhawks had been winless in their previous four games that went past regulation, losing twice in overtime and twice more in shootouts.

 

Dallas tied it at 1 midway through the third period when Jason Robertson got credited with his first NHL goal even without getting his stick on the puck. Miro Heiskanen took a shot from near the blue line, and the puck went off goalie Malcolm Subban's glove and Robertson's back before trickling over the line.

 

Subban, in his first game since Jan. 26, stopped 30 shots.

 

The two teams play again Tuesday night, which will be the second of eight consecutive home games for Dallas over a two-week span. The Stars' next scheduled road game is Feb. 22 at Florida.

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Clinton Falls to Central A&M

The Clinton Maroons fell to the Central A&M Raiders by a score of 74-49 on Saturday.

 

Tune in Friday, February 12, as the Maroons take on the Shelbyville Rams. You can hear the game live on the Big 1520 AM/92.3 FM WHOW, online at dewittdailynews.com, on the WHOW app, and on Amazon Alexa.

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Lady Maroons Top Maroa-Forsyth

The Clinton Lady Maroons defeated the Maroa-Forsyth Lady Trojans by a score of 43-32 on Saturday.

The Lady Maroons were led by Mallory Cyrulik with 23 points.

 

Tune in Monday, February 8, as the Lady Maroons host Tuscola. You can hear the game live on the Big 1520 AM/92.3 FM WHOW, online at dewittdailynews.com, on the WHOW app, and on Amazon Alexa.

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Cockburn, Dosunmu lead No. 12 Illinois past No. 19 Wisconsin

Kofi Cockburn scored 23 points, Ayo Dosunmu added 21, and No. 12 Illinois beat No. 19 Wisconsin 75-60 on Saturday in a key Big Ten Conference matchup.

 

Dosunmu also had 12 rebounds and 12 assists for only the third triple-double in school history. Cockburn grabbed 14 rebounds and recorded his eighth double-double in nine games for Illinois (13-5, 9-3).

 

D’Mitrik Trice scored 19 points and Nate Reuvers added 11 for Wisconsin (14-6, 8-5).

Illinois outrebounded the Badgers 46-18. The Illini shot 54% (28 of 52) from the field to Wisconsin’s 41% (24 of 58).

 

Illinois continued to struggle with turnovers, as it has all season, committing 18 to Wisconsin’s 11. But the Badgers had trouble converting the turnovers to points.

 

Illinois led by as many as 13 points in the first half and controlled both ends of the court. Cockburn had 12 points and 10 rebounds by halftime.

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Nolan Jr. scores 23 to lead Bradley past S. Illinois 74-66

Terry Nolan Jr. had a season-high 23 points as Bradley topped Southern Illinois 74-66 on Saturday.

 

Elijah Childs had 15 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks for Bradley (10-10, 4-7 Missouri Valley Conference), which ended its six-game losing streak.

 

Lance Jones had 15 points for the Salukis (8-7, 2-7). Steven Verplancken Jr. added 14 points. Kyler Filewich had nine rebounds.

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Cresap Paces Monticello Past PBL

As heard on 95.9 FM WEZ and at dewittdailynews.com Saturday evening, Ben Cresap scored 21 points and had four steals leading Monticello in a 56-35 win over Paxton-Buckley-Loda in non-conference boys basketball action.

 

Jake Edmondson added ten points with five steals as Monticello scored 27 points on 26 turnovers. 

 

The Sages scored 40 points in the paint and shot 62.5-percent from the floor. 

 

Trevor Fox, Dylan Ginalick, and Andrew Rudolph scored six points apiece. 

 

The Sages are 1-0 on the pandemic altered season while PBL is 0-1. 

 

Monticello travels to Olympia for an Illini Prairie Conference matchup.

 

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Monticello Boy's Basketball Team Opens 2021 Pandemic Season Hosting PBL

The Monticello boy's basketball team will open its 2021 pandemic shortened season Saturday afternoon hosting PBL.

 

The new Sievers Center will host its first competitive game after its completion last fall. While Coach Kevin Roy is excited to get his kids back into the groove, the last several months have been a rollercoaster of emotions.

 

 

Before the announcement competitions would return, Coach Roy described it as 'practicing blind'. He says now they know what they're working towards and have ramped up getting their systems installed.

 

 

Monticello hosts Paxton-Buckley-Loda Saturday at 4:30 pm. 

 

PBL is led by Coach Adam Schonauer, a Lincoln High School graduate who brings Coach Neil Alexander's well-known 1-2-2 full-court press and half-court defense. Coach Roy says they've been preparing for this week. 

 

Hear Saturday's action on 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com. 

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Blackhawks Blast Hurricanes

Alex DeBrincat scored two goals in the third period, helping Chicago edge the Carolina Hurricanes 6-4 on Thursday night.

 

Patrick Kane had a goal and three assists for the Blackhawks, who bounced back nicely after losing 4-3 to the Hurricanes in a shootout Tuesday night. Dominik Kubalik had a goal and two assists, and Mattias Janmark finished with a goal and an assist.

 

DeBrincat snapped a 4-4 tie when he converted a backhand off a rebound 12:22 into the third. Kane had the puck behind the net and fed Pius Suter, who was denied by James Reimer. DeBrincat then skated in for his third goal of the season.

 

DeBrincat added an empty-netter with 12 seconds to play, assisted by Kane.

 

The 32-year-old Kane has 15 points in 12 games.

 

Carolina had won five in a row. 

 

The Blackhawks grabbed a 4-3 lead when Kane scored his sixth of the season 2:41 into the third.

 

But the Hurricanes tied it again on McGinn's wrist shot over the glove of Chicago goaltender Kevin Lankinen at 5:25.

 

Lankinen stopped 30 shots, including a big save on Teuvo Teravainen with nine minutes to play.

The Blackhawks have three players (Adam Boqvist, Lucas Wallmark and Ryan Carpenter) remaining on the NHL's COVID-19 list. 

The Blackhawks are at Dallas on Sunday.

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Cardinals Trade OF Fowler to Angels

The St. Louis Cardinals have traded outfielder Dexter Fowler to the Los Angeles Angels on Thursday night. The St. Louis return is a player to be named later or cash considerations. 

 

The first surface-level observation is that Fowler is reunited with Joe Maddon, the current Angels manager, who managed him during the 2015-16 seasons with the Cubs. The 2016 season was the best of Fowler's career and he was the catalyst of the offense, with Maddon famously telling him, "you go, we go." 

 

Fowler signed a five-year, $82.5 million deal the following offseason with the Cardinals. There is just one year and $16.5 million left on the deal now. The Angels are getting $12.75 million from the Cardinals to cover most of Fowler's 2021 salary, according to Maria Torres of the LA Times. 

 

Fowler, 34, hit .233/.317/.389 (92 OPS+) with four homers, 15 RBI and 14 runs in just 31 games last season. 

 

The move alleviates some of the clogged-up outfield for the Cardinals, though it doesn't prevent them from adding someone else if they feel they can find an upgrade in free agency. Dylan Carlson, Harrison Bader and Tyler O'Neill appear to be the everyday outfielders for the Redbirds now, though Tommy Edman could be used out there with Matt Carpenter sliding in at second base. Justin Williams and Lane Thomas could also see some time. 

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Coyotes Stop Blues

Antti Raanta made 40 saves, Tyler Pitlick and Nick Schmaltz scored first-period goals and the Arizona Coyotes beat the St. Louis Blues 4-3 on Thursday night.

 

Arizona got its first road win of the season in four tries. St. Louis, which had a four-game winning streak snapped, beat Arizona 4-3 on Tuesday.

 

Raanta improved to 5-2 against St. Louis. Jordan Binnington made 26 saves for St. Louis and fell to 6-2-1.

 

Mike Hoffman scored twice for the Blues. Hoffman's first goal with 3:15 left in the game brought the Blues to within 3-1.

 

Conor Garland had a goal in the second period and Christian Dvorak added an empty-netter in the third for the Coyotes.

 

Raanta was making his first appearance since Jan. 16 and appeared sharp from the outset.

 

Arizona recorded 11 of the first 12 shots in the game.

 

St. Louis was 0 for 3 on the power play after an 0-for-5 effort on Tuesday.

 

The Blues will host Arizona again on Saturday and Monday. Games scheduled for Saturday and Sunday against Colorado in St. Louis have been postponed due to COVID issues with the Avalanche.

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Monticello Wrestling Coach Angered High School Athletes Were Used as Pawns in Political Games

When the news of the return of high school sports came down a few weeks ago, Monticello wrestling Coach Andy Moore's student-athletes were ecstatic to get to compete and practice again. 

 

He indicates many of his wrestlers immediately came to his classroom to celebrate the news, which he says felt good.

 

 

While it was fun to have the kids share in the joy of getting their sport back, Coach Moore says his immediate reaction wasn't the excitement his kids had. He believes his athletes and student-athletes across the State were used as pawns in a political game.

 

 

Coach Moore's resentment towards the situation quickly dissipated. Now he's simply thankful his student-athletes and Illinois high school athletes get some semblance of a sports season.

 

 

Coach Moore was a guest on the Monticello Players Spotlight last Friday night on 95.9 FM WEZC and at dewittdailynews.com. His interview is posted in the podcast of the show at dewittdailynews.com.

 

Just the week prior, Coach Moore was lamenting the idea of having to tell his team it was looking unlikely they would get a season at all. 

 

Wrestling will compete in the 'summer' sports when baseball, softball, and track and field compete. A state series will not happen this year for wrestling.

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Knicks Top Bulls

Julius Randle scored 27 points and tied a career-high by hitting five 3-pointers, and the New York Knicks beat the Chicago Bulls 107-103 on Wednesday night.

 

New York outscored the Bulls 34-17 in the first quarter. The Knicks withstood a huge run in the fourth and came away with the win after losing two nights earlier in Chicago.

 

Randle made 5 of 7 from beyond the arc to equal his career-best at Brooklyn on Dec. 26, 2019. He hit three in a row late in the opening quarter.

 

Elfrid Payton added 20 points and eight rebounds. RJ Barrett scored 17, and the Knicks picked up the win after dropping five of six.

 

Zach LaVine led Chicago with 24 points, though he was 0 for 7 on 3's. Thaddeus Young scored 19.

 

Lauri Markkanen, coming off back-to-back outings with 30 or more, cooled off with nine points.

 

The Bulls shot about 49% overall despite making just 6 of 36 3-pointers. They have lost four of their past five games overall and are 3-7 at home.

 

The Bulls open a two-game set at struggling Orlando on Friday.

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Giannis, Bucks Roll Pacers

Reigning two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo had 21 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists in the Bucks' 130-110 rout of the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday night. Antetokounmpo shot 7 of 8 from the floor and 7 of 8 from the line.

 

Antetokounmpo completed his third triple-double of the season in the final minute of the third quarter when he got his 10th assist, setting up Bobby Portis for a corner 3-pointer that capped a 10-0 run and gave the Bucks a 34-point advantage.

 

Milwaukee led by as many as 40 in the fourth quarter over a Pacers team that had beaten the Memphis Grizzlies 134-116 one night earlier.

 

Milwaukee never trailed and shot 21 of 48 from 3-point range in its last home contest before beginning a six-game trip. The Bucks have gone 42 of 90 on 3-point attempts over their last two games.

 

The Bucks have made at least 20 3-pointers in five of their 21 games this season. Before this season, the Bucks had made as many as 20 3-pointers in a game just four times in franchise history.

 

Bryn Forbes, who scored 20 points and shot 4 of 7 from beyond the arc, said the Bucks' exceptional long-range production is a credit to their passing abilities.

 

Indiana's Domantas Sabonis scored a career-high 33 points and had 12 rebounds and six assists, delivering a big performance for a second straight night. Sabonis had matched a career high with 32 points Tuesday against the Grizzlies.

 

The Bucks had balanced scoring. Portis scored 18, Donte DiVincenzo 16 and Khris Middleton 12. Jrue Holiday and Brook Lopez scored 11 points each.

 

Justin Holiday had 15 points for the Pacers. McDermott had 13, Malcolm Brogdon 12 and Aaron Holiday 11.

 

The Pacers host the New Orleans Pelicans on Friday. The Pacers beat the Pelicans 118-116 in overtime at New Orleans on Jan. 4.

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Clinton Lady Maroons defeat Cerro Gordo-Bement Lady Broncos

As heard on WHOW, the Clinton Lady Maroons defeated the Cerro Gordo-Bement Lady Broncos by a score of 56-19 on Wednesday night. The B-Rok Designs Player of the Game, Mallory Cyrulik, led the scoring with 21 points. Kaitlyn Rauch added 15 points and Raya Swartz also added 8 points.

 

The Lady Broncos were led by Jazzi Hicks with 6 points. Haley Garrett also added 5 points. 

 

With the win, the Lady Maroons improve to 1-0 on the season. The Lady Broncos fall to 0-1.

 

Tune in Monday, February 8th as the Lady Maroons take on Tuscola. You can hear the game live on the Big 1520 AM/92.3 FM WHOW, online at dewittdailynews.com, on the WHOW mobile app, and on Amazon Alexa.

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Cerro Gordo-Bement Topples Clinton

As heard on WHOW, the Clinton Maroons fell to the Cerro Gordo-Bement Broncos by a score of 81-63 Tuesday night.

 

Junior Aidan Schlesinger, the B-Rok Designs Player of the Game, led the scoring with 15 points. Junior Christian Dimas added 10 points and sophomore Trevor Scott had 7.

 

Cerro Gordo was led by Connor Brown with 25 points. Jessee Quick also chipped in with 23 points.

 

The Maroons fall to 0-1 on the season, and Cerro Gordo improves to 1-0.

 

Coach Dan Luketich credited CGB for their poise but also says they want good quality shots and felt they did that as the game went on.

 

 

Getting 'catch-and-shoot' 3's is something the Maroons are going to look for a lot this year and Coach Luketich says while game one would look like the Maroons are going to live and die from 3, he wants to see his team attack.

 

 

Tune in tomorrow night, Wednesday, February 3, as the Lady Maroons host the Lady Broncos. You can hear the game live on the Big 1520 AM/92.3 FM WHOW, online at dewittdailynews.com, on the WHOW mobile app, and on Amazon Alexa. Tip-off is set for 7:30 pm with the broadcast beginning shortly before then.

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Pacers Roll Grizzlies

Domantas Sabonis had a season-high 32 points and 13 rebounds as the Pacers beat Memphis 134-116, snapping the Grizzlies' seven-game winning streak.

 

Sabonis made 11 of his first 12 shots and had a double-double (24 points, 11 rebounds) by halftime. He recorded his 14th double-double in 16 starts.

 

Malcolm Brogdon added 23 points and Myles Turner 22 for the Pacers (12-9).

 

Dillon Brooks led Memphis with 25 points.

 

The Pacers' Jeremy Lamb finished with 19 points.

 

The Pacers are in Milwaukee tonight.

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Illinois Overcomes Indiana in Overtime

Trent Frazier scored Illinois' final 10 points in regulation and put the Illini ahead with a free throw in overtime, and the defense took care of the rest in a 75-71 victory over Indiana on Tuesday night.

 

Frazier finished with 19 points and Kofi Cockburn added 16 points and 10 rebounds. But Illinois wouldn't have won its third straight - or for the first time since 2010 on the Hoosiers' home court - without a suffocating defense.

 

Illinois gave up only two baskets over the final 11 1/2 minutes and only one basket and three points in overtime, which started with the Illini taking charges on Indiana's first two possessions.

 

Trayce Jackson-Davis had 19 points and 14 rebounds for the Hoosiers (9-8, 4-6), who have dropped two straight. Race Thompson added 18 points and eight rebounds as he helped stake Indiana to a 64-58 lead with five minutes to go.

 

It didn't last. Frazier tied the score with back-to-back 3-pointers and gave Illinois a 68-66 lead by making four free throws. Indiana tied it on Armaan Franklin's layup with 30.5 seconds left in regulation.

 

One free throw from Frazier in overtime was all Illinois' defense needed.

 

Frazier drew a technical foul less than three minutes into the game when he celebrated making a 3 by appearing to say something to the Hoosiers bench. 

 

Curbelo finished with 12 points. Ayo Dosunmu had 10 points before fouling out near the end of regulation. 

 

The Illini forced 11 turnovers in the final 25 minutes and 15 in the game.

 

Illinois hosts No. 19 Wisconsin on Saturday.

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Clinton Administrators Ecstatic to Have Sports Back

If it takes High School Principal Jerry Wayne standing in corner of the Clinton High School gym on his head for high school sports to happen, then that is what is going to go on for kids to play ball.

 

While joking, Clinton Schools Superintendent Curt Nettles discussed his appreciation for high school sports being back Tuesday night at Clinton High School as the boy's basketball team opened their pandemic altered season with a home game against Cerro Gordo-Bement. He credits Athletic Director Matt Koeppel for making all the necessary adjustments in the gym for the game to happen.

 

 

Falling into IDPH guidance for hosting games and putting together schedules, Athletic Director Matt Koeppel says it has been quite a five or six days since the IHSA last week put the final details out about the seasons, and the IDPH and Governor's office put out details regarding having sports take place.

 

 

Koeppel says each school will have its own strategy on allowing fans based on how big their gymnasiums are but notes everyone is trying to be as close to the same as possible. 

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Carolina Needs Shootout to Beat Blackhawks

Andrei Svechnikov scored in regulation and again in the shootout, leading Carolina to a 4-3 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks.

 

The Hurricanes improved to 4-0 since returning Jan. 28 after their season was paused because of COVID-19 issues, leading to the postponement of four games. Warren Foegele, Jordan Martinook, Jaccob Slavin and Teuvo Teravainen were back in the lineup after they each missed three games while spending time on the COVID-19 protocol list.

 

Patrick Kane, Dylan Strome and Phillipp Kurashev scored for the Blackhawks, who dropped to 0-4 in overtime and shootouts this season. Lankinen made 38 saves, and DeBrincat and Dominik Kubalik each had two assists.

 

Chicago welcomed back DeBrincat and Nicolas Beaudin after they were removed from the COVID-19 list, but the team is still missing Adam Boqvist, Ryan Carpenter and Lucas Wallmark because of virus-related issues.

 

DeBrincat came up with a big play in the third, finding Strome in front for the tying goal with 6:39 left in regulation. The Hurricanes had taken a 3-2 lead on Trocheck's fifth goal 6:50 into the period.

The teams play again Thursday night. 

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Blues Edge Coyotes

Ryan O'Reilly and Vince Dunn scored to lead the St. Louis Blues to a 4-3 win over the Arizona Coyotes on Tuesday night.

 

Jordan Binnington made 30 saves and St. Louis earned its fourth straight win.

 

Justin Faulk and Mike Hoffman also scored for the Blues, who outshot Arizona 31-22 after being outshot 11-1 in the first 11 minutes of the game.

 

O'Reilly's second goal of the season came with each team playing a man short and stretched St. Louis' lead to 4-2. O'Reilly has a point in seven consecutive games.

 

Dunn's third goal of the season gave St. Louis a 3-2 lead with 8:15 remaining in the second period. It was his second goal in three games after being a healthy scratch on Jan. 26.

 

The Blues expanded capacity to 1,400 fans after limiting attendance to 300 friends and family of players and staff, plus vaccinated first responders.

 

St. Louis hosts Arizona again Thursday night.

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EA Sports Announces Return of NCAA Football Game

Video game maker EA Sports announced Tuesday that it is bringing back its college football series, which was shelved eight years ago after the NCAA was sued for not sharing revenue from the game with college athletes.

 

Though there is still much to be sorted out when it comes to whether and how college players will be permitted to profit from the use of their names, images and likenesses in the game, Electronic Arts has already taken steps to relaunch the popular franchise.

 

There is no timetable in place for the next release of a college football game, the company said. But EA announced it has reached an agreement with College Licensing Company, which allows the game maker to use school marques and logos.

 

The game was a big hit among players from 2005-13, but it was discontinued as part of the fallout from a federal antitrust lawsuit brought against the NCAA by former UCLA basketball player Ed O’Bannon.

 

The NCAA Football video game did not identify players by name, but the game simulated teams and players as they played in real life.

 

The video game was part of a broad legal challenge and a judge ruled the NCAA had been inappropriately using the names, images and likenesses of college athletes. The NCAA, through its licensing partner, pulled out of the game during the trial. The game stopped being made and fans have been pining for it ever since.

 

The NCAA is in the process of trying to change its rules to permit athletes to earn money from their names, images and likenesses, but there are hurdles and complications to getting that done — including a case to be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court later this year.

 

Last month the NCAA put on hold plans to pass legislation to allow NIL payments to athletes from third parties, with some limitations, because of scrutiny from the Department of Justice. Multiple bills have been introduced in Congress that address college athletes and NIL rights, along with the NCAA’s ability to oversee the issue. Plus, numerous states have been acting on their own NIL bills, some scheduled to go into effect later this year.

 

Earlier this week the NCAA filed a brief to the high court. The association is challenging a lower court ruling in a different case that said NCAA rules were not in line with antitrust laws.

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Maroons Fall to Cerro Gordo Opening Night

As heard on WHOW, the Clinton Maroons fell to the Cerro Gordo-Bement Broncos by a score of 81-63 Tuesday night. Junior Aidan Schlesinger, B-Rok Designs Player of the Game, led the scoring with 15 points. Junior Christian Dimas added 10 points and sophomore Trevor Scott had 7.

 

Cerro Gordo was led by Connor Brown with 25 points. Jessee Quick also chipped in with 23 points.

 

The Maroons fall to 0-1 on the season, and Cerro Gordo improves to 1-0.

 

Tune in tomorrow night, Wednesday, February 3, as the Lady Maroons host the Lady Broncos. You can hear the game live on the Big 1520 AM/92.3 FM WHOW, online at dewittdailynews.com, on the WHOW mobile app, and on Amazon Alexa. Tip-off is set for 7:30 pm with the broadcast beginning shortly before then.

 

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Clinton Opens Boys Basketball Season Tonight

Less than two weeks after Governor JB Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Public Health announced high school sports would return, the Clinton Maroons will hit the hardwood tonight taking on Cerro Gordo-Bement at Clinton High School.

 

As of late as last Thursday afternoon, first-year head coach Dan Luketich did not know what the schedule would look like. He says in the meantime, they are trying to keep things simple.

 

 

After tonight's opener against Cerro Gordo-Bement, the Maroons hit the road for three straight games at Meridian, Central A&M and at Decatur St. Teresa. 

 

The Maroons have 16 games in total on the schedule with non-conference matchups set with Fisher, Champaign St. Thomas More, Arthur-Lovington-Atwood-Hammond and Maroa-Forsyth. 

 

Usually a marathon of a season, basketball wraps up in just six weeks. 

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Illinois Moves Up in Latest Polls

No. 12 Illinois moved up seven spots following a five-point win over Iowa in the latest AP Top 25 College Basketball poll. Iowa dropped three spots to No. 8. Ayo Dosunmu scored 25 points, Trent Frazier had 24 and No. 19 Illinois upset No. 7 Iowa 80-75 on Friday night. Illinois travels to Indiana tonight.

 

Gonzaga and Baylor remained atop the poll for the 11th straight week.

 

The Zags (17-0, 8-0 West Coast) received 61 first-place votes from a media panel to hold at No. 1 after routing San Diego and Pepperdine last week. The Bears (16-0, 8-0 Big 12) received the other three first-place votes following wins over Kansas State and Auburn.

 

Villanova and Michigan remained at Nos. 3 and 4, with Houston rounding out the top five. The Cougars have their highest ranking since the Phi Slama Jama team reached No. 2 in 1983-84.

 

With a win over then-No. 9 Alabama on Saturday, Oklahoma became just the second team in 25 years to beat three straight top-10 opponents. Oklahoma also is the first team since 1974 to beat four top-10 teams in the same month.

 

The Sooners’ run led to a big jump in this week’s Associated Press men’s basketball poll. Oklahoma moved up 15 spots to No. 9 in the Top 25 released Monday, its highest ranking since reaching No. 4 in 2017-18.

 

Coming off three wins last week, Drake was ranked for the first time since 2007-08 in this week’s poll at No. 25.

 

 

 

The top 10 of the latest college basketball Coaches Poll on Monday has a new look, with both Ohio State and Tennessee joining the mix after big weeks. The Buckeyes' jump to No. 9 is their highest ranking on the season while the Vols' jump to No. 10 is four spots shy of tying a season-high in the poll.

 

It wasn't long ago that both Ohio State and Tennessee had hit snags in their respective seasons. OSU had a stretch where it lost three of seven in a span that included losses to two unranked foes, and Tennessee lost big to Florida and followed it up with a home loss to Mizzou earlier this month. But both teams rallied to reach top-10 status, OSU on the strength of three consecutive Big Ten wins and Tennessee after a rout of Kansas on Saturday in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge.

 

Illinois jumped nine spots to No. 13 after their big win over Iowa Friday night. The Hawkeyes drop one spot from No. 7 to No. 8. 

 

As for the top of the poll, the status quo is still being kept with Gonzaga, Baylor and Villanova all occupying the top three spots. Gonzaga got one fewer first-place vote this week than last week, which benefitted No. 2 Baylor, but the Zags are still the overwhelming No. 1 after raking in 28 first-place votes of a possible 32.

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No. 25 Drake Routs Illinois State

Tremell Murphy scored a career-high 30 points and No. 25 Drake rolled past Illinois State 95-60 on Monday night in the Bulldogs' first game as a ranked team in nearly 13 years.

 

ShanQuan Hemphill had 18 points for the Bulldogs (17-0, 8-0 Missouri Valley Conference), who improved to 37-4 in the Knapp Center under coach Darian DeVries.

 

Antonio Reeves led Illinois State (5-12, 2-9) with 20 points.

 

The Bulldogs had little trouble with the Redbirds after struggling to a 78-76 overtime win in Sunday's series opener. Reeves had 27 points in the first meeting.

 

Murphy finished 6 of 10 from 3-point range as Drake easily exceeded its average of 82.2 points per game.

 

Drake gradually built a double-digit lead and went up 27-12 on consecutive 3-pointers by Murphy.

 

The Bulldogs hit 6 of 17 attempts from 3-point range in the first half and led 39-24 at the break.

 

Murphy continued his torrid shooting in the second half, hitting a jumper that extended the margin to 52-32. He followed with a 3-pointer and jumper that gave Drake a 65-38 advantage with 11:42 remaining.

 

Illinois State finished 6 of 27 from beyond the arc.

 

Drake is ranked for the first time since March 2008. That was also the last time the Bulldogs earned an NCAA Tournament berth.

 

Illinois State hosts Missouri State on Saturday and again on Sunday.

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Bulls Down Knicks

Lauri Markkanen scored 30 points, Zach LaVine added 17 of his 21 in the second half and the Chicago Bulls beat the New York Knicks 110-102 on Monday night.

 

Markkanen delivered another blistering performance coming off a season-high, 31-point outing. The 7-footer from Finland made six 3-pointers.

 

LaVine hit a 3 and two free throws during a game-ending 10-2 run. Coby White scored 13, including a tiebreaking 3. Thaddeus Young added 13 points, eight rebounds and eight assists.

 

The Bulls bounced back from a gut-wrenching loss to Portland on Saturday, when the Trail Blazers' Damian Lillard delivered a buzzer-beating, fadeaway 3. Chicago won for just the third time in nine home games this season.

 

The Knicks have dropped five of six. They lost for the second time in two days after giving up a season-high 129 points to the Los Angeles Clippers.

 

Julius Randle had 23 points. Alec Burks scored 18 for New York, and rookie Immanuel Quickley added 16.

 

Chicago shot 11 of 34 from beyond the arc.

 

The two teams are scheduled to meet again at the United Center on Wednesday.

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Indiana State Gets By Bradley

Tyreke Key registered 19 points as Indiana State defeated Bradley 67-55 on Monday.

 

Cooper Neese had 11 points for Indiana State (10-7, 7-5 Missouri Valley Conference), which won its sixth consecutive game. Julian Larry added six rebounds.

 

Rienk Mast had 17 points for the Braves (9-10, 3-7), who have now lost six straight games. Elijah Childs added 11 points and 12 rebounds, and Ville Tahvanainen had 10 points.

 

The Sycamores improve to 2-0 against the Braves this season. Indiana State defeated Bradley 60-57 on Sunday.

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Drake Edges Bradley

Darnell Brodie scored 20 points on 10-of-10 shooting and grabbed 10 rebounds and Drake remained undefeated by beating Illinois State 78-76 in overtime on Sunday.

 

The Bulldogs became the third Missouri Valley Conference team in the last 50 seasons to win their first 16 games. The other two legendary teams were Wichita State, which started 35-0 in 2013-14, and Larry Bird's 1978-79 Indiana State team that won 33 games before falling to Magic Johnson and Michigan State in the NCAA championship game.

 

Up four heading into the final minute, Howard Fleming's putback with 16 seconds makes the score 78-76. Garrett Sturtz was fouled with six seconds left but he missed a free throw. Dedric Boyd missed the tying layup at the buzzer.

 

Dusan Mahorcic made 1 of 2 free throws for Illinois State with five seconds left in regulation to force the overtime tied at 71 after the Bulldogs missed a shot and tipin as time ran out.

 

Tremell Murphy had 13 points for Drake (16-0, 7-0 Missouri Valley Conference). D.J. Wilkins added 11 points. Roman Penn had 10 points and nine assists.

 

Antonio Reeves scored a career-high 27 points and had six rebounds for the Redbirds (5-11, 2-8).

 

DJ Horne added 14 points and seven rebounds. Emon Washington had six rebounds.

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Indiana State Drops Bradley

Jake LaRavia scored 12 points with nine rebounds and his layup with 70 seconds left sent Indiana State past Bradley 60-57 on Sunday.

 

LaRavia's layup broke a tie at 57 and Bradley missed its last three shot attempts.

 

Tyreke Key added 12 points and eight rebounds for the Sycamores (9-7, 6-5 Missouri Valley Conference), which earned their fifth straight win.

 

Ville Tahvanainen had 17 points for the Braves (9-9, 3-6), who have now lost five straight. Ja'Shon Henry added 14 points and Rienk Mast had 12 points and nine rebounds.

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Sixers Topple Placers

With his team trailing by 16 early in the fourth quarter, Philadelphia 76ers coach Doc Rivers switched to a zone defense - throwing off the Pacers and fueling an incredible closing run that ended with the Sixers rallying for a 119-110 victory.

 

Indiana never figured it out or recovered - even with All-Star center Joel Embiid sitting out for Philadelphia because of a sore back.

 

Instead, the 76ers outscored the Pacers 31-6 over the final eight minutes to earn their sixth win in seven games.

 

Tobias Harris led Philadelphia with 27 points and eight rebounds. Furkan Korkmaz added 17 points, including the two biggest baskets of the game - a 17-footer with 2:30 to play that finally gave the 76ers the lead and a 19-footer on the ensuing possession to make it 109-106.

 

Malcolm Brogdon scored 25 points and Domantas Sabonis had 21 in a game they dominated for almost 3 1/2 quarters. Indiana seemed to be cruising when Aaron Holiday's basket with 8:16 to play made it 104-88.

 

But the Pacers only netted one more basket - and the 76ers took control.

 

Ben Simmons had 21 points, seven assists, six rebounds and four steals. Dwight Howard had 11 points and 15 rebounds off the bench. Philadelphia was 8 of 26 on 3-pointers.

 

Indiana held a moment of silence before the game in honor of NBA reporter Sekou Smith, who died Wednesday from COVID-19. He was 48. Smith covered the Pacers from 2001-05 before moving on to NBA TV and NBA.com. Team officials also placed a framed photo at one of the few spots in the revamped press area.

 

The Pacers look to extend a two-game winning streak against Memphis when the Grizzlies visit Tuesday.

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Blackhawks Take Down Blue Jackets

Kevin Lankinen made 32 saves and the short-handed Blackhawks jumped on two costly mistakes by Elvis Merzlikins, topping the Blue Jackets 3-1 on Sunday.

 

Patrick Kane and Philipp Kurashev each had a goal and an assist for Chicago, which had dropped three in a row. The Blackhawks improved to 1-1 on a four-game homestand after losing 2-1 to the Blue Jackets on Friday night.

 

The game was tied before Merzlikins mishandled the puck behind his net at two different points in the third, and Chicago scored each time.

 

Pius Suter got to one in the corner and sent his shot off the goaltender and into the net at 7:41, lifting the Blackhawks to a 2-1 lead.

 

On Merzlikins' second misplay, Kurashev fed Kane for his fourth goal at 13:40.

 

Columbus had a chance to get one back when Andrew Shaw was sent off for hooking, but Chicago killed off the penalty.

 

Boone Jenner scored for the Blue Jackets, and Merzlikins stopped 33 shots.

 

Chicago used a pretty passing sequence to jump in front in the first period. Mattias Janmark found a streaking Kane in the middle, and he touched it over to Kurashev for a tap-in at 12:32.

 

The Blackhawks host the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday night.

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Cardinals Acquire All-Star, Gold Glove 3B Arenado

The St. Louis Cardinals have agreed to acquire All-Star third baseman Nolan Arenado from the Colorado Rockies in a trade needing approvals before it can be finalized, a person familiar with the swap tells The Associated Press.

 

Arenado, an eight-time Gold Glove winner, signed a $260 million, eight-year deal with Colorado in February 2019 and is owed $199 million for the six remaining seasons.

 

Colorado would pay St. Louis a large amount of cash as part of the trade, the person said, and Major League Baseball must approve a cash transaction of more than $1 million.

 

Arenado’s contract has a no-trade provision that requires his approval for any assignment.

 

He may restructure his contract as part of a trade, the person said, which could require approval of the players’ association. The trade agreement was first reported by The Athletic.

 

The 29-year-old Arenado has hit .293 with an .890 OPS over eight seasons, averaging 35 home runs and 114 RBIs per 162 games. Aided in part by hitter-friendly Coors Field, he’s led the National League in home runs three times and led the majors in RBIs twice.

 

The Cardinals finished second in the NL Central last season and lost a first-round playoff matchup against the San Diego Padres. Arenado will bump Matt Carpenter out of his role as the starting third baseman and play in an infield with All-Stars Paul DeJong at shortstop and Paul Goldschmidt at first base.

 

Arenado’s contract called for salaries of $35 million annually from 2021-24, $32 million in 2025 and $27 million in 2026. His deal included a provision allowing him to opt out after the 2021 season to become a free agent.

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Blues Silence Ducks

Brayden Schenn scored twice, Ville Husso got his first win as an NHL goaltender and the St. Louis Blues defeated the Anaheim Ducks 4-1 on Sunday night.

 

Schenn is one of the NHL's hottest players with six goals in his last seven games. He also has four assists during that span, which is tied with Montreal's Nick Suzuki and Calgary's Johnny Gaudreau for the longest points streak this season.

 

Schenn tied it midway through the second period with a highlight-reel goal. The center was in the slot and redirected Justin Faulk's pass while diving. Schenn extended the Blues' lead to 3-1 on a power-play goal 67 seconds into the third.

 

Husso stopped 25 shots in his second start. The Finnish rookie had allowed nine goals in his two previous appearances this season, including five in his first start Jan. 24 against the Los Angeles Kings.

 

Husso stopped a couple of shots in the first period after the Blues turned it over in their defensive zone. His biggest save, though, occurred midway through the second when he stopped a point-blank shot from Rickard Rakell when it was tied 1-all. St. Louis carried that momentum to the other end of the ice shortly after the save when Sammy Blais scored the go-ahead goal.

 

Colton Parayko also scored for St. Louis, which has four wins in the past five games. Robert Thomas had two assists.

 

Jakob Silfverberg scored for Anaheim, which has dropped three straight, and John Gibson made 19 saves.

 

Silfverberg opened the scoring less than five minutes into the game on the power play when his shot from the top of the left faceoff circle went under Husso's glove. The goal - Silfverberg's third of the season - was only Anaheim's second with the man advantage, tied with Minnesota for fewest in the league.

 

After Schenn's first goal, Blais gave the Blues a 2-1 lead with five minutes remaining in the second period on a wrist shot that beat a screened Gibson to his stick side.

 

Parayko capped the Blues' scoring with a slap shot from the blue line that ricocheted off Silfverberg and then through Gibson's legs.

 

O'Reilly and David Perron each extended their points streak to five games with assists on Schenn's third-period goal. O'Reilly has five assists and six points during the streak, while Perron has four assists and eight points.

 

St. Louis returns home Wednesday against Arizona to begin a four-game homestand.

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