Local Sports

HS GBB: Big Second Half Propels Monticello Past Pontiac

In a game heard on 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com, the Monticello Lady Sages clamped down on defense in the second half and ran away from Pontiac in a 52-34 win in Illini Prairie Conference high school girl's basketball action from the Sievers Center at Monticello High School Monday night.

 

Lizzie Stivers, who took a hard foul in the first half and missed substantial time with a bloody nose, scored 15 of her game-high 19 points in the second half leading a balanced Monticello scoring effort.

 

Renni Fultz scored 13 points with eight coming in the first half for Monticello.

 

The Lady Indians were paced by Bailey Masching but all her points were scored in the first half as the Lady Sages used a strong effort to keep her at bay in the second half.

 

The Lady Sages led 25-20 at the break and outscored Pontiac 16-9 in the third quarter and held the Lady Indians to 14 total points in the second half.

 

Pontiac drops to 7-19 overall and just 1-6 in the Illini Prairie. 

 

Monticello moves to 17-10 overall and 3-4 in conference play.

 

Hear Monticello boy's basketball action on Tuesday night on 95.9 FM WEZC and at dewittdailynews.com. as the Sages host the winless Rantoul Eagles for a 7 pm game at the Sievers Center. 

Maroons Win In First Round At CIC Tourney

The Boys CIC tournament tipped off over the weekend at Meridian High School.

The Clinton Maroons picked up a first round win as they defeated St. Teresa, 61-49.

The Maroons advance to the semifinals to take on Tuscola at 6p Tuesday night in Meridian.

Vucevic, DeRozan help Bulls beat Trail Blazers 130-116

Vucevic, DeRozan help Bulls beat Trail Blazers 130-116

 

CBS Sports reports Nikola Vucevic had 24 points and 14 rebounds, DeMar DeRozan added 23 points and 10 assists and the Chicago Bulls overcame a slow to start to beat the Portland Trail Blazers 130-116 on Sunday.

 

Zach LaVine had 20 points, Coby White added 18 and Ayo Dosunmu finished with 11 assists. Chicago has won three of four to improve to 31-18.

 

C.J. McCollum had 29 points for Portland. Norman Powell added 22, and Anfernee Simons had 21.

 

Chicago scored 20 points in the first 6 1/2 minutes of the final quarter.

 

UP NEXT

Trail Blazers: At Oklahoma on Monday night.

Bulls: Host Orlando on Tuesday night.

 

    LAC    115
    CHA    90


    LAL    121
    ATL    129

    
    CLE    105
    DET    115


    DAL    108
    ORL    110


    DEN    136
    MIL    100


    SA    110
    PHO    115


    UTA    106
    MIN    126
 

Mast powers Bradley past Indiana State 67-52

 

Rienk Mast finished with 20 points and 14 rebounds to power Bradley to a 67-52 victory over Indiana State on Sunday.

 

Mast knocked down 8 of 14 shots for the Braves (12-10, 6-4 Missouri Valley Conference). Malevy Leons pitched in with 15 points, 10 rebounds, three steals and three blocked shots. Terry Roberts had 12 points, seven rebounds and four assists.

Micah Thomas led the Sycamores (9-11, 2-6) with 17 points. Kailex Stephens scored 10.

 

    16OHIOST    78
    6PURDUE    81


    22MARQET    63
    17PROV    65


    MINN    60
    11WISC    66

Cockburn returns, leads No. 24 Illini past Northwestern

Kofi Cockburn scored 22 points and grabbed nine rebounds to lead No. 24 Illinois to a 59-56 victory over Northwestern on Saturday.

 

Cockburn was effective, hitting 10 of 17 shots, but his teammates combined for a dismal 12-of-34 shooting clip, allowing the Wildcats to hang around despite going 20 of 56 from the field and 6 of 18 from 3-point range.

 

Northwestern took its first lead on a 3 from Ty Berry with 14:35 to play. The Wildcats worked their way to a six-point cushion on Elyjah Williams’ three-point play with 8:09 to play, but Illinois (15-5, 8-2 Big Ten) turned to Cockburn down the stretch and he scored 14 points in the second half, going 6 of 9 from the field.

 

Cockburn tied the game with a short bucket with 2:25 to play. After a stop, he went up for another layup and missed, but Illini guard Da’Monte Williams’ follow dunk gave Illinois a 55-53 lead with 1:34 to play.

 

The Wildcats made just 4 of their last 11 shots, and Illinois went 4 of 6 at the free throw line to close out the game.

 

No other Illinois players reached double figures, as Alfonso Plummer went 2 of 6 to finish with nine points.

Carter's 2nd-half burst boosts N. Iowa over Illinois St.

AJ Green scored 24 points, Noah Carter scored 21 and Northern Iowa beat Illinois State 79-64 on Saturday.

 

Carter scored the first seven points for the Panthers after halftime to give Northern Iowa a 37-35 lead and they never trailed again. Trae Berhow's jumper with 10:35 left extended the lead to 57-38.

 

The Panthers (11-9, 7-3 Missouri Valley Conference) have won back-to-back contests following a two-game skid and have seven of their last nine.

 

Liam McChesney had 19 points and eight rebounds for the Redbirds (10-12, 3-6). Mark Freeman and Antonio Reeves each scored 13.

Monticello Rolls St. Joe-Ogden, Coach Roy Wins No. 300

In a game heard on 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com, the Monticello Sages shut down dynamic junior Ty Pence for St. Joseph-Ogden in a 57-29, snapping a two-game losing streak and landing Coach Kevin Roy his 300th career win at Monticello High School in Illini Prairie Conference high school boy's basketball action Friday night.

The Sages struggled in consecutive losses to Meridian last Saturday and Tuesday night at Prairie Central but together a strong performance against their conference rivals. 

 

Monticello struggled from beyond the arc in the two losses but rebounded going 5-for-11 and shot 64 from the floor, scoring 38 points in the paint.

 

The Sages dished out 14 points on 25 field goals and outrebounded the Spartans 29-15. 

 

Pence was limited to 17 points for St. Joe while the Spartans shot just 27-percent and went 2-for-14 from three.

 

Ben Cresap led a lights-out defensive effort against Pence and scored 20 points to lead all scorers. Joey Sprinkled recorded his second double-double of the season with 14 points and 13 rebounds. Sprinkle and Cresap were ServPro of Piatt/DeWitt County co-Players of the Game.

 

Dylan Ginalick scored 12 points, dished out six assists and grabbed five rebounds. 

 

St. Joe drops to 16-5 and 3-2 in the Illini Prairie.

 

Monticello improves to 21-3 overall and 5-1 in the conference. They host Rantoul Tuesday night at 7 pm. Hear the action on 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com. 

Clinton Superintendent Calls Basketball Squads 'Enjoyable' to Watch, Praises Other Programs

The Clinton Lady Maroons wrapped up an impressive run through the girl's basketball Central Illinois Conference tournament Thursday night finishing second after falling to Tuscola.

 

The girls have been impressive from start to finish this season and as the postseason approaches, Superintendent Curt Nettles gave the squads props recently and says he has enjoyed watching them when his schedule allows.

 

 

Nettles also has been pleased with the boy's squad. Despite the wins not being there at times, he has been very impressed with how hard the kids are playing and how hard they are working.

 

 

Nettles also offered a word of commendation to the high school band and director Nathan Wheeler noting how much praise the band receives even from opposing fans and families.

 

 

While Nettles did not know much well the wrestling program is doing, however, he did point out numbers were up in the program and offered praise to coach Matt Cooper and the job he and his staff are doing to bring those numbers back up. 

 

As the girl's squad wrapped up a second-place finish at the CIC tournament last night, the boys head to the CIC tournament starting tomorrow at Meridian. They draw Decatur St. Teresa in the first round. 

Monticello Hosts St. Joseph-Ogden In Illini Prairie Conference Showdown

It'll be a special night at Monticello High School this evening as the Sages host Illini Prairie Conference rival St. Joseph-Ogden.

 

The night will feature a tribute to late-teacher Natalie McDowell who passed away in a tragic car accident in November of 2021. There will be a 50/50 raffle that runners from St. Jude will be collecting for throughout the night and those who attend tonight's contest are encouraged to wear orange to honor McDowell.

 

When the basketball tips, the 16-4 Spartans will put its 4-1 Illini Prairie Conference mark on the line led by Division I prospect and junior Ty Pence. 

 

Ranked ninth in the latest 2A high school basketball polls, the Sages are 20-3 overall with a 4-1 mark in the Illini Prairie and are coming off consecutive losses for the first time this season. Monticello is also seeking victory number 300 for Coach Kevin Roy in his career at Monticello High School. This will be the third try for the Sages to get victory No. 300 for the 16th year man. 

 

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

Bears Name Head Coach

Matt Eberflus is the new coach of the Chicago Bears, tasked with turning around a franchise mired in mediocrity for much of the past decade.

 

The Bears announced Eberflus’ hiring on Thursday night. He spent the past four years as Indianapolis’ defensive coordinator.

 

The 51-year-old Eberflus called his new job a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

With Eberflus in charge, Indianapolis’ defense showed marked improvement after ranking among the league’s worst. The Colts ranked eighth on defense in 2020, though they slipped to 16th this season.

 

Indianapolis missed the playoffs at 9-8, closing with two straight losses when a win in either game would have clinched a postseason berth.

 

The hire is the first big move for new Bears general manager Ryan Poles, who took over on Tuesday. Poles and Eberflus are first-timers in their respective positions in the NFL.

 

The first big question for Eberflus is his offensive coordinator, since a big part of the job for the new coach and GM will be solidifying the quarterback position that has haunted the founding NFL franchise for decades.

 

That likely means figuring out a way to get the most out of Justin Fields and surrounding him with the cast to help him develop. The former Ohio State star had a shaky rookie season, though he also showed potential.

 

Eberflus, a former linebacker at the University of Toledo who began his coaching career at his alma mater and hometown school, also interviewed for head coaching jobs last year after his third season with Indy, where he developed a reputation for demanding relentless effort out of his players.

 

Chicago ranked 24th in yards per game and 27th in scoring last season. And the Bears never finished higher than 21st on offense under Nagy.

 

Fields showed the arm, speed and poise that convinced Pace to trade up nine spots with the New York Giants to draft him with the No. 11 overall pick. But he also has plenty of room to grow.

 

Fields took over as the starter after Andy Dalton was injured in Week 2. He threw more interceptions (10) than touchdown passes (seven) to go with an unimpressive 73.2 passer rating. Fields also missed time because of rib and ankle injuries. And the Bears were 2-8 in the games he started.

 

The Bears fired general manager Ryan Pace and coach Matt Nagy after a 6-11 season, hoping new leadership will lift a struggling franchise. They brought in Hall of Fame executive Bill Polian to lead a five-person search team that also included chairman George McCaskey and president Ted Phillips.

Packers OC Hackett Named Broncos Head Coach

Green Bay Packers offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett has agreed to become the Denver Broncos’ new head coach.

 

He replaces Vic Fangio, who was fired a day after the Broncos finished 7-10, their sixth consecutive season out of the playoffs and fifth straight year they’ve failed to post a winning record.

 

Hackett, 42, brings energy and enthusiasm to a franchise that has foundered ever since winning Super Bowl 50 six years ago.

 

Choosing Hackett sent speculation skyrocketing that the Broncos were trying to lure star Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers to Denver, perhaps along with his star receiver Davante Adams, who is set to hit free agency in March.

 

Rodgers, who turned 38 last month in what could be his fourth MVP season, is contemplating his future, including retirement, after the Packers’ early exit from the playoffs last weekend. Top-seeded Green Bay was upset at home 13-10 by the San Francisco 49ers.

 

Hackett, 42, emerged as the front-runner on his own merits, however, which includes his work with quarterback Blake Bortles as Jacksonville’s offensive coordinator from 2016-18 before he went to Green Bay and helped Matt LaFleur win a record 39 regular-season games in his first three seasons as head coach.

 

Hackett, who has never been a head coach, has become well known for his football smarts, his energy and his enthusiasm.

 

Rodgers and Hackett, who is the son of former college and NFL coach Paul Hackett, connected quickly over their shared background in and affinity for the West Coast offense with its quick crossing routes.

Blues Blast Flames

Brandon Saad scored twice and had an assist, Ville Husso made 28 saves to win his sixth consecutive start, and the St. Louis Blues cruised to a 5-1 victory over the Calgary Flames on Thursday night.

 

Saad's two goals give him 15 for the season, matching his total from last season.

 

Brayden Schenn had a goal and an assist, and Jordan Kyrou and Ryan O'Reilly also scored for St. Louis.

 

The Blues got some revenge for a blowout loss at Calgary three days earlier. The Flames outshot the Blues 48-21 in their 7-1 victory over the Blues on Monday.

 

Husso, who made his fourth start in five games, has won all six of his starts since returning from a lower-body injury on Jan. 7. He has played in five consecutive games; he came in relief of Jordan Binnington for the third period in Monday's game.

 

St. Louis hosts Winnipeg on Saturday afternoon.

Tuscola Takes CIC Tourney Title Over Lady Maroons

In a game heard Thursday night on WHOW, the Clinton Lady Maroons fell to Tuscola in the Championship of the CIC Conference tournament, 50-38. 
 

Clinton struggled from the field all night; only hitting 3 field goals in the first three quarters of the game.  Tuscola used tight defense, and spectacular 21 of 22 free throw shooting to get the upset win.  The Warriors jumped out to a 31-16 lead at half, and maintained from there.  
 

Clinton beat Tuscola in conference play on December 2nd, 45-26. 
 

The Lady Maroons were led by the WHOW/Serv-Pro of Piatt & Dewitt County Player of the Game - Kaitlin Rauch.  The senior paced the Maroons with 11 points.  Mallory Cyrulik was held to 10 points, and Heidi Humble & Kylie Raymer added 6.  
 

Tuscola was led by Harley Woodard with 14; Ella Boyer with 12; and Sophia Kremitzki with 11. 
 

The Warriors improve to 15-7 with the win.  Clinton falls to 24-5 with the loss. 
 

The Lady Maroons next host Meridian next Thursday night for Senior Night.  Hear that game on all WHOW platforms.  

Bradley Topples Valpo

Rienk Mast posted 17 points as Bradley topped Valparaiso 71-56 on Wednesday night.

 

Terry Roberts had 13 points, six rebounds and six assists for Bradley (11-10, 5-4 Missouri Valley Conference). Malevy Leons added 12 points.

 

Ben Krikke had 18 points and five assists for Valpo (10-11, 3-6). Kobe King added 11 points.

 

The Braves host Indiana State on Sunday afternoon.

Lady Maroons Go for Central Illinois Conference Tournament Title

The Clinton Lady Maroons will go for the Central Illinois Conference tournament title tonight from Tuscola when they take on the hosts of the tournament, the Lady Warriors. 

 

The 24-4 Lady Maroons are 6-0 in the CIC, though conference tournament games do not count towards the conference mark. 

 

Clinton dominated Central A&M and Warrensburg-Latham to get to tonight's title game. Back in early December, Clinton beat Tuscola 45-26. 

 

Tuscola is 13-7.

 

Game time is 7:30 pm tonight. Hear all the action on WHOW 92.3 FM/106.5 FM and at all the WHOW digital platforms. 

Drake Gets By Illinois State in Overtime

Garrett Sturtz scored 14 points and grabbed 11 rebounds and his two free throws with 1:24 remaining in overtime were the game's final points and Drake beat Illinois State 89-88 on Wednesday night.

 

D.J. Wilkins and Tucker DeVries scored 18 points apiece for Drake (15-6, 6-2 Missouri Valley Conference), which earned its fourth consecutive road victory. ShanQuan Hemphill added 15 points for the Bulldogs.

 

Antonio Reeves had 25 points, Josiah Strong 17, Kendall Lewis scored 14, grabbed 11 rebounds blocked three shots and Mark Freeman distributed 10 assists for the Redbirds (10-11, 3-5).

 

Drake also beat Illinois State 86-75 on Jan. 12.

 

The Redbirds are at Northern Iowa Saturday.

Bulls Hold Off Raptors

DeMar DeRozan scored 29 points, Zach LaVine added 23 and the Chicago Bulls beat the Toronto Raptors 111-105 on Wednesday night.

 

Nikola Vucevic also scored 17 points and grabbed 15 rebounds, notching his fifth straight double-double and helping the Bulls win consecutive games for the first time since Jan. 7.

 

Gary Trent Jr. led the Raptors with 32 points, while OG Anunoby added 23 points. Toronto has lost six of its last nine games.

 

Trent scored 16 points in the third quarter, helping the Raptors trim their deficit to five. Anunoby hit a putback to bring Toronto within one in the fourth, eventually hammering home a dunk that gave the Raptors a 103-102 advantage with 3:11 remaining.

 

A LaVine layup and free throws from DeRozan pushed the Bulls back on top. Trent was then ejected after being called for his second technical foul of the game. LaVine hit the technical free throw and Vucevic followed with a 3-pointer that sealed the victory for Chicago.

 

DeRozan, who assisted on Vucevic's game-sealing shot, had no doubt the Bulls big man would come through in the clutch.

 

DeRozan appeared to pick up two technical fouls in the final minutes of the third quarter. However, his first was deemed a non-unsportsmanlike technical foul for grabbing the net illegally while playing defense, which allowed him to stay in the game.

 

Chicago opened the game on a 14-2 run and didn't miss a field goal attempt through the first six minutes. The Bulls finished the first quarter shooting 66.7% from the floor.

 

Toronto erased a 14-point deficit in the second, completing a 19-5 run punctuated by a Malachi Flynn 3-pointer and a driving layup from Chris Boucher. The Bulls bounced back thanks to a combined 18 second-quarter points from LaVine and DeRozan. Chicago outscored the Raptors 26-9 through the final six minutes of the quarter and carried a 67-50 advantage into halftime.

 

The Bulls are at San Antonio on Friday.

Blackhawks Blast Red Wings

Dylan Strome scored three goals and the Chicago Blackhawks had their highest-scoring game of the season in an 8-5 win over the Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday night.

 

Alex DeBrincat added two third-period goals for the Blackhawks, who led 4-0 in the first period but twice allowed Detroit to get within one goal. DeBrincat's empty-netter with 1:43 remaining finally put the game away as Chicago ended a four-game winless drought.

 

Dominik Kubalik, Sam Lafferty and Brandon Hagel also scored for Chicago.

 

Robby Fabbri, Tyler Bertuzzi, Pius Suter, Moritz Seiter and Dylan Larkin scored for Detroit. Larkin banked in a shot off a goalpost to cut Chicago's lead to 6-5 with 4:35 left in the game.

 

Chicago is one of seven NHL teams to score eight times in a game this season. The Florida Panthers have the most goals in a game this season with nine, doing it twice.

 

Strome scored twice in the first period and completed the hat trick in the third with his second power-play goal of the game, putting the Blackhawks ahead 5-3. He had four goals this season coming into the game.

 

King recently put Strome on Chicago's first line with Hagel and Patrick Kane.

 

Fabbri, Bertuzzi and Suter scored in the second period to get the Red Wings within one. DeBrincat's first goal put Chicago ahead 6-3 in the third, but Seider scored on the power play before Larkin added his 20th of the season. Hagel restored the Blackhawks' two-goal advantage with his 11th.

 

Chicago outshot Detroit 38-33.

 

Chicago hosts Colorado on Friday.

Hornets Dominate Pacers

The Charlotte Hornets made 24 3-pointers, broke the franchise's single-game scoring record and produced the highest point total in the NBA this season with a 158-126 win over the Indiana Pacers.

 

The numbers, though, were incredible. Oubre was 12 of 18 from the field and only missed five 3s. LaMelo Ball had his fourth triple-double of the season with 29 points, 13 assists and 10 rebounds. In all, four Hornets players topped the 20-point mark as they tied a season-best from beyond the arc.

 

Charlotte also snapped a two-game losing streak and pulled off a four-game sweep of the injury-depleted Pacers, who eliminated the Hornets in the play-in round last season.

 

The Pacers, led by 17 points from both Goga Bitdaze and rookie Isaiah Jackson, lost their third straight and seventh out of nine.

 

Playing without three starters, Indiana simply couldn't keep up, and it didn't have much time to see what was coming.

 

Charlotte opened the game by scoring 12 of the first 15 points and led 71-70 at the half. The Hornets opened the third quarter with seven straight points and used a 13-2 spurt to take a 104-82 lead with 4:18 to go.

 

They broke the franchise mark, fittingly, on a 3 from Myles Bridges with 5:14 to go and coasted to the final buzzer.

 

Torrey Craig and Lance Stephenson each had 14 points and Stephenson had 10 assists for Indiana. Chris Duarte scored 11 points while Justin Holiday and Caris LeVert each had 10.

 

The Pacers are at Oklahoma City on Friday.

Maroons Boy's Basketball Team Opens CIC Tournament Taking on Decatur St. Teresa

The Central Illinois Conference boy's basketball tournament bracket was announced Tuesday to be played a Meridian High School starting Saturday.

 

The Clinton Maroons will open the tournament taking on Decatur St. Teresa Saturday at 4:30 pm.

 

The Tuscola Warriors are the tournament's top seed and will take on Sullivan in the first game of the tournament at 3 pm on Saturday.

 

Warrensburg-Latham will take on Central A&M at 6 pm on Saturday and that game will be followed by Meridian up against Shelbyville at 7:30 pm Saturday night.

 

The consolation bracket resumes on Monday and the winner's bracket resumes play on Tuesday with the consolation championship at 7:30 pm on Wednesday and the tournament championship to be played next Friday night at 7:30 pm following the third/fourth place game at 6 pm Friday night.

 

The Maroons fell to Mt. Pulaski 58-47 Tuesday night.

Decatur St. Teresa Gets By Maroa-Forsyth

The Decatur St. Teresa Bulldogs used balanced scoring and Maroa-Forsyth struggled to finish the first half and the game as St. T got by the Trojans 60-54 in non-conference boy's basketball action from Decatur St. Teresa High School Tuesday night. 

 

The Trojans took a 15-12 lead after the first quarter but the Bulldogs came alive in the second quarter and led 32-25 at the break. 

 

Maroa-Forsyth battled back in the third quarter led as Zayn Giles and Jaxson Grubbs scored six points apiece to bring the Trojans within 46-44 after three but the Bulldogs pulled away in the fourth quarter as the Trojans struggled to scored. 

 

Egan Franzen scored eight of his 20 points in the fourth quarter going 2-for-5 from the foul line and as a team, the Trojans finished just 5-for-12 from the charity stripe. 

Grubbs and Giles each finished with 10 points for Maroa-Forsyth.

 

Caydon Wilkins scored 19 points to pace the Bulldogs as four players finished in double figures. Shadow Summer added 13 points while Billy Guyse and Matt Brummer each scored 10 points.

 

The loss snaps a three-game winning streak for Maroa-Forsyth who will travel to New Berlin Friday night for a Sangamo Conference matchup. 

Kofi-less Illini Holds Off Michigan State

Trent Frazier scored a game-high 16 points, and No. 24 Illinois held on to beat No. 10 Michigan State 56-55 on Tuesday and take sole possession of first place in the Big Ten.

 

Illinois (14-5, 7-2) was without two of its brightest stars: All-American center Kofi Cockburn (concussion) and guard Andre Curbelo (COVID-19 health and safety protocols).

 

The Illini led by as many as 15 points early in the second half before Michigan State (15-4, 6-2) mounted a furious comeback in the final four minutes. Illinois also didn’t score for the last five minutes.

 

Down by two, the Spartans had a chance to tie the game with less than a second left after Coleman Hawkins fouled Malik Hall as Hall drove to the basket. He missed the first free throw and made the second, then time expired.

 

Alfonso Plummer added 11 points for Illinois and Benjamin Bosmans-Verdonk had 8 points filling in at center for Cockburn.

 

Marcus Bingham Jr. had 13 points to lead the Spartans, while Gabe Brown had 10 and Tyson Walker added 9.

 

Illinois dominated the first half by going on two runs, 13-7 and 7-0, primarily on Frazier’s perimeter shooting. The Illini also scored 15 points off of nine Michigan State turnovers and led 34-20 at the half.

 

Michigan State’s last lead was 7-4 two minutes into the game. Illinois tied the game on a Frazier three-pointer and the Illini never trailed again.

 

Illinois’ Luke Goode was 3 of 4 from beyond the 3-point line, ending up with nine points and four rebounds. Most of his shots came in the first half when Illinois was building a substantial lead.

 

Illinois travels to Northwestern on Saturday.

Bears Name Poles GM

Ryan Poles made the Chicago Bears this time.

 

Poles was hired as Chicago’s general manager on Tuesday, almost 15 years after he signed with the team as an undrafted free agent and then failed to make the final roster.

 

Poles spent the previous 13 seasons in the Chiefs’ front office, the past year as executive director of player personnel under general manager Brett Veach. He was the team’s director of college scouting in 2017 when Kansas City drafted Patrick Mahomes with the No. 10 overall pick — after Chicago took Mitchell Trubisky at No. 2.

 

The Bears fired general manager Ryan Pace and coach Matt Nagy after a 6-11 season, hoping new leadership will lift a struggling franchise. They brought in Hall of Fame executive Bill Polian to lead a five-person search team that also included chairman George McCaskey and president Ted Phillips.

 

A big part of Poles’ job will be solidifying the quarterback position that has haunted the founding NFL franchise for decades.

 

That likely means figuring out a way to get the most out of Justin Fields and surrounding him with the talent to help him develop. The former Ohio State star had a shaky rookie season, though he also showed potential.

 

Turning around the franchise will be a big job. First up, he has to help the team settle on a coach after Nagy was let go.

 

The Bears announced later in the day that Poles had interviewed Jim Caldwell for the coaching job. Caldwell also talked to the organization about the position on Jan. 15.

Chicago has just seven playoff appearances in the past 30 years.

 

Poles, 36, played offensive tackle at Boston College, where he blocked for longtime Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan. He signed with the Bears in 2008, but he didn’t make the roster.

 

Now he’s the seventh general manager in team history.

Lady Maroons Roll Warrensburg-Latham to Advance to CIC Conference Tournament Championship

The Clinton Lady Maroons used stingy first half defense and never allowed Warrensburg-Latham to score in double figures in a quarter rolling to a 47-23 semifinal win in the Central Illinois Conference high school girl's basketball tournament from Tuscola High School Tuesday night.

 

The Lady Maroons led 8-3 after the first quarter and the Lady Maroons opened up a 20-5 lead at the break. A big third quarter propelled Clinton to a 37-14 lead after three quarters.

 

Kaitlyn Rauch led all scorers with 18 points and Mallory Cyrulik added 14 points while MaKayla Koeppel and Heidi Humble each scored six points.

 

Brooke Oakley led the Lady Cardinals with 10 points.

 

The Lady Cardinals drop to 16-10 overall. They will play Meridian for third place in the conference tournament Thursday night at 6 pm.

 

The Lady Maroons move to 24-4 overall.

 

Clinton will take on Sullivan for the tournament title on Thursday night at 7:30 pm. Hear all the action on 92.3 FM/106.5 FM WHOW and on all the WHOW digital platforms.

Prairie Central Downs Monticello

In a game heard on 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com, Prairie Central shot 20-for-24 from the free-throw line and held off Monticello 65-61 Tuesday night in Illini Prairie Conference high school boy's basketball action from Fairbury.

 

The Hawks went 17-for-21 in the second half at the foul line, otherwise, the game proved to be statistically close.

 

Monticello senior Dylan Ginalick led all scorers with 19 points and was the Piatt/DeWitt County ServPro Player of the Game. Ben Cresap added 15 points and Tanner Buehnerkemper added 13 points. 

 

Drew Haberkorn recorded a double-double for the Hawks with 11 points and ten rebounds. Tyler Curl led Prairie Central with 17 points, Dylan Bazzell scored 13 points, and Camden Palmore added 12 points. 

 

The Sages shot 50-percent from the floor for the game while Prairie Central shot 45.5-percent and each team made five three-pointers. 

 

The Hawks outrebounded the Sages 32-20 and had 11 second-chance points on 12 offensive rebounds. Monticello made 22 field goals to Prairie Central's 20 and each team had nine assists. 

 

Prairie Central turned the ball over 17 times and the Sages converted those into 14 points. 

 

The matchup featured six ties and 16 lead changes. 

 

The Hawks improve to 17-4 overall and 4-1 in the Illini Prairie Conference. 

 

The Sages have lost two in a row after a tough loss at home to Meridian and are 20-3 overall and are 4-1 in conference.

 

The road ahead does not get easier for the Sages. They'll host St. Jospeh-Ogden Friday night, followed by a home match-up with Rantoul next Tuesday night. 

Bulls Rally Past Thunder

Nicola Vucevic had 26 points and 15 rebounds, and the Chicago Bulls withstood a fierce rally by Oklahoma City to beat the Thunder 111-110 on Monday night.

 

The Bulls led by 28 points in the third quarter, but the Thunder had a chance to tie it in the closing seconds. Oklahoma City's Shai Gilgeous-Alexander missed a 3-pointer that would have evened the score with 2.3 seconds to play.

 

The Bulls were short-handed. DeMar DeRozan, who averages 26.3 points per game, rested. Lonzo Ball was out with a bruised left knee and Alex Caruso missed the game with a fractured wrist suffered when Milwaukee's Grayson Allen yanked him to the ground.

 

With Ball and Caruso out, the Thunder harassed the Bulls in the fourth quarter.

Rookie Ayo Dosunmu scored a season-high 24 points and Zach LaVine added 23 for the Bulls.

 

Chicago, one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference, had lost six of seven and was coming off a 19-point loss to NBA-worst Orlando. LaVine, who had been out since Jan. 14 with a bruised left knee, was happy to provide a spark.

 

Gilgeous-Alexander had 31 points and 10 assists and Lu Dort added 16 points for the Thunder, who have lost 11 of 12.

 

Dosunmu scored 16 points on 7-for-7 shooting in the first half to help the Bulls take a 58-48 lead at the break.

 

Javonte Green's right-handed throwdown in traffic put the Bulls up 66-50 early in the third quarter, and Chicago's biggest lead was 84-56 midway through the period. Oklahoma City trimmed that deficit, but Dosunmu banked in a 3-pointer from just inside half court at the buzzer to give the Bulls a 92-78 advantage.

 

Dort's 3-pointer with 53.6 seconds remaining cut Chicago's lead to three, and

a layup by Josh Giddey with 14.8 seconds left made it a one-point game.

 

LaVine made two free throws with 9.9 seconds left. After Gilgeous-Alexander's miss, Green sealed it when he made a free throw with 1 second remaining.

 

Dosunmu, a second-round draft pick, set a Bulls rookie record for made shots to start a game with nine. Orlando Woolridge made eight straight during the 1981-82 season. Dosunmu made 10 of 14 shots overall.

 

The Bulls are at Toronto on Wednesday.

Pelicans Topple Pacers

Devonte' Graham scored 25 points, Josh Hart had 22 points and 10 rebounds, and the New Orleans Pelicans defeated the Indiana Pacers 117-113 on Monday night.

 

Graham, who was questionable before the game because of a sore left ankle, started and went 5 of 9 from 3-point range on a night when the rest of his team missed 20 of 21 from deep. Two of his 3s and eight of his points came in the final six minutes of a game that was tight until the end.

 

Hart, who briefly left the game in the third quarter after turning his left ankle, returned in the fourth quarter and immediately hit the Pelicans' only other made 3 of the game. He grabbed his ninth rebound with 28 seconds left to help stave off the Pacers' comeback bid.

 

The short-handed Pacers stayed in the game - and led for a good portion of it - because of their 3-point shooting. They made 19 of 46 (41.3%) for the game.

 

Duane Washington Jr., an undrafted rookie out of Ohio State who'd made 17 3s for the season coming in, hit a career-best seven shots (on 12 attempts) from deep for a career-high 21 points.

 

Pelicans leading scorer Brandon Ingram was sidelined by a right ankle sprain, while Pacers top scorer and interior defender Domantas Sabonis was out with a left ankle sprain.

 

The absence of Sabonis inside benefitted Pelicans center Jonas Valanciunas, who had 16 points, 12 rebounds and six assists.

 

Indiana was missing other prominent contributors, including Malcolm Brogdon (sore right Achilles) and Myles Turner (left foot).

 

Caris LeVert scored 19 and Chris Duarte 14 for the Pacers.

 

The Pacers host Charlotte on Wednesday.

Avalanche Blank Blackhawks

Nazem Kadri and Mikko Rantanen scored, Pavel Francouz made 23 saves for his third career shutout and the Colorado Avalanche beat the Chicago Blackhawks 2-0 on Monday night to extend their franchise-record home winning streak to 16 games.

 

It was the seventh straight victory overall for the Avalanche, who tied the 1976 Boston Bruins for the fifth-longest home winning streak in NHL history. 

 

After the Blackhawks outshot the Avalanche 10-8 in a scoreless first period, Colorado broke through on a power play in the second.

 

With defenseman Seth Jones in the penalty box for interference, the Avalanche got off several shots in quick succession that goalie Marc-Andre Fleury stopped before Kadri gathered in a short pass from Nathan MacKinnon and unleashed a slap shot from the top of the left circle. Fleury dropped to his knees to block it, but the puck trickled through at 11:24.

 

Rantanen added to the Avalanche lead at 6:41 of the third. Gabriel Landeskog sent a pass across the slot and, with a backhand flip, Rantanen lifted the puck over a fallen Fleury.

 

The Blackhawks visit the Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday.

Flames Blast Blues

Matthew Tkachuk had a career-high five assists, Johnny Gaudreau had a goal and three assists, and the Calgary Flames routed the St. Louis Blues 7-1 Monday night.

 

Tkachuk ended a four-game goal-scoring streak but was happy to spread the wealth. Four of his assists came in the second period, when Calgary outshot St. Louis 18-2.

 

Tkachuk has 17 points (four goals, 13 assists) in 13 career games against his hometown team.

 

Nikita Zadorov, Chris Tanev, Elias Lindholm, Sean Monahan, Blake Coleman and Adam Ruzicka also scored for Calgary (19-12-6), which won for just the second time in seven games.

 

Tyler Bozak scored for St. Louis (25-12-5), which had won six of its previous seven.

 

Jacob Markstrom made 20 saves to earn the victory and improve to 14-9-5.

 

Jordan Binnington stopped 28 of 35 shots before being replaced by Ville Husso to start the third. Husso stopped all 13 shots he faced.

 

Gaudreau and Tkachuk have both been on a tear, combining for 24 points over the last five games. During their five-game point streaks, Gaudreau has 11 points (two goals, nine assists).

 

Calgary went 2 for 5 on the power play against the Blues' fourth-ranked penalty kill, which was a perfect 12 for 12 in the previous three games. St. Louis's second-ranked power play went 0 for 2.

 

The Blues host Calgary on Thursday.

Evansville Rallies Past Illinois State

Shamar Givance recorded 18 points as Evansville edged past Illinois State 56-53 on Sunday.

 

Givance made a layup for a 54-52 lead with 15 seconds left and the Purple Aces held on after Illinois State's Kendall Lewis made the first but missed the second free throw with 3 seconds left.

 

Noah Frederking added 14 points and seven rebounds for the Purple Aces, who forced a season-high 21 turnovers.

 

Evan Kuhlman had 12 points for Evansville (5-13, 1-6 Missouri Valley Conference), which ended its six-game losing streak.

 

Antonio Reeves had 23 points for the Redbirds (10-10, 3-4). Mark Freeman added 11 points.

 

The Purple Aces evened the season series against the Redbirds. Illinois State defeated Evansville 94-56 last Friday.

 

The Redbirds host Drake Wednesday night at 8 pm. 

Magic Upset Bulls

Moritz Wagner scored 23 points, younger brother Franz Wagner added 18, and the Orlando Magic defeated the short-handed Chicago Bulls 114-95 on Sunday night.

 

DeMar DeRozan scored a season-high 41 points for Chicago, while Coby White had 22 points. Nikola Vucevic hit two of Chicago's five 3-pointers and scored 13 points to go with his 13 rebounds before fouling out.

 

Ending a nine-game home losing streak, the Magic won at home for just the third time this season - and the first since Dec. 1. Orlando blew a 10-point halftime lead Wednesday in Philadelphia and an eight-point halftime edge Friday against the Los Angeles Lakers, so their focus was to avoid a similar fate after building an 11-point halftime lead.

 

Former-Bull Wendell Carter Jr. had 19 points and seven rebounds for an Orlando team that led by as much as 20 points in the second half and had to withstand a third-quarter run by the Bulls. Rookie Jalen Suggs added 15 points, seven assists and two thunderous second-half dunks to steady the Magic. Orlando had a 51-10 advantage in bench points.

 

DeRozan scored at least 30 points for the 12th time this season, but the Bulls dropped to 9-3 in those games. Chicago had just nine players available, and it had only 10 assists compared to 22 turnovers.

 

The Bulls are without Zach LaVine, Lonzo Ball, Javonte Green and Alex Caruso. He has a fractured wrist after he was hit midair by Milwaukee's Grayson Allen, who was suspended one game without pay on Sunday by the NBA for the hit.

 

Caruso will have surgery on his right wrist this morning and is expected to miss 6-8 weeks.

 

The Bulls are at Oklahoma City on Monday night.

Blues Down Canucks

Justin Faulk had a goal and an assist and the St. Louis Blues beat the undermanned Vancouver Canucks 3-1 on Sunday night.

 

Brayden Schenn and Jordan Kyrou also scored for the Blues, and Vladimir Tarasenko had two assists. Ville Husso stopped 38 shots and has a .963 save percentage in his last five games.

 

Tanner Pearson had a goal for the Canucks, who have six players and two assistant coaches in the NHL's COVID-19 protocols.

 

Michael DiPietro, making his second career start and first in nearly three years, had 14 saves in his season debut for Vancouver, becoming the fourth goalie to play for the team this season.

 

Down 3-1 with less than 90 seconds remaining, the Canucks pulled DiPietro in favor of an extra attacker. Tarasenko nearly scored an empty-netter but was swarmed by a trio of Canucks intent on not giving up another goal.

 

St. Louis was 1 for 3 on the power play Sunday while Vancouver went scoreless on four opportunities.

 

Vancouver had a 5-on-3 power play in the first period after Matthew Highmore got tangled up with both Ivan Barbashev and Torey Krug. Barbashev was called for roughing and Krug for removing Highmore's helmet.

 

The Canucks managed five shots on the two-man advantage, but didn't score. However, seconds after the penalties expired, Pearson picked up Alex Chiasson's rebound at the side of the net and fired it past Husso to give Vancouver a 1-0 lead with 3 1/2 minutes remaining in the period. Elias Pettersson registered an assist on the play, giving him 100 for his NHL career.

 

Faulk drew St. Louis even ahead of the first intermission. Oskar Sundqvist blasted a pass to Faulk at the front of the net and the defenseman deflected it from between his legs, sending the puck careening into the crossbar and in with 1:27 remaining.

 

The Blues are at Calgary on Monday night to finish a three-game trip.

Gould's FG on final play gives 49ers 13-10 upset of Packers

Robbie Gould made a 45-yard field goal Saturday night as time expired and the San Francisco 49ers knocked off the top-seeded Packers 13-10 and possibly ended Aaron Rodgers' tenure in Green Bay.

 

Rodgers went 20 of 29 for 225 yards and dropped to 0-4 in career playoff starts against the 49ers. He's the first quarterback in NFL history to lose four playoff starts to a single opponent.

 

San Francisco tied the game with 4:41 left thanks to a breakdown by Green Bay's special teams, the Packers' biggest weakness all season.

 

Jordan Willis' outstretched left hand blocked a punt by Corey Bojorquez, who was kicking from the front of his end zone. Talanoa Hufanga picked up the ball at the 6-yard line and ran it in to make it 10-10.

 

After the Packers went three-and-out, the 49ers got the ball back at their 29 with 3:20 left and drove into field-goal range. Deebo Samuel delivered a 9-yard run on third-and-7 from the Green Bay 38, and the 49ers ran down the clock to set up Gould.

 

A.J. Dillon's 6-yard touchdown run capped a 69-yard drive on the game's opening possession that put the Packers ahead 7-0. Green Bay's offense didn't do much of anything after that.

 

Green Bay's special teams fared even worse.

 

Well before that blocked punt, San Francisco's Jimmie Ward blocked a 39-yard field-goal attempt from Mason Crosby on the final play of the first half, preventing the Packers from extending their lead to 10-0.

 

The Packers also allowed Samuel to return the second-half kickoff 45 yards, setting up the 49ers' first field goal. Green Bay also appeared to have only 10 men on the field when Gould made his winning kick.

 

San Francisco won by overcoming a brutal start from its offense. The 49ers had minus-10 yards in their first four series, three of which included third-down sacks.

 

The 49ers didn't get a single first down or pass completion until Garoppolo connected with George Kittle on a 15-yard gain with less than 6 1/2 minutes left in the second quarter. Garoppolo was just 11 of 19 for 131 yards with an interception, but the 49ers still managed to win.

Mast scores 20 to lead Bradley past S. Illinois 70-62

Rienk Mast had 20 points as Bradley defeated Southern Illinois 70-62 on Saturday night.

 

Terry Roberts had 18 points, seven assists, six rebounds and three blocks for Bradley (10-10, 4-4 Missouri Valley Conference). Ville Tahvanainen added 13 points. Malevy Leons had eight rebounds.

 

Lance Jones had 19 points and six rebounds for the Salukis (10-9, 3-4). Marcus Domask added 14 points.

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

The Clinton Lady Maroons held Central A&M scoreless in the first quarter and dominated the Lady Redskins in a 56-15 rout from the Central Illinois Conference high school girl's basketball tournament at Tuscola High School Saturday afternoon.

 

The Lady Maroons rolled to a 15-0 lead after the first quarter and led 32-5 at the half. 

 

Malory Cyrulick led Clinton with 22 points. Kaitlyn Rauch scored 19. 

 

The Lady Maroons improve to 23-4 overall and will be back in action at the CIC tournament Tuesday night at 7 pm in semifinal action. 

Meridian Outlasts Monticello

In a game heard on WEZC, Meridian outlasted Monticello in a terrific non-conference hihg school boy's basketball game, 67-56 Saturday night from the Sievers Center at Monticello High School.

 

Ranked seventh in the latest Class 1A high school boy's basketball poll, Meridian pulled away in the fourth quarter using stifling defense to keep an efficient Monticello team at bay as Monticello Coach Kevin Roy will have to wait at least one more game for career victory 300. 

 

The Sages struggled offensively, shooting 39.6-percent from the floor and went just 2-for-16 from the three-point line.

 

Ben Cresap and Dylan Ginalick paced the Sages with 14 points apiece and Tanner Buehnerkemper added 11 points. 

 

Monticello was outrebounded 20-8 in the second half and 32-24 for the game. Meridian had 11 offensive rebounds that led to 15 second-chance points. The Hawks also had 20 points off 11 Monticello turnovers. 

 

The game featured 41 total fouls. The Hawks made 19-of-24 free throws while the Sages finished 16-for-19 from the free-throw line.

 

Graham Meisenhelter finished with 20 points. Grant Meisenhelter added 17 points and Drew Hurelbrink scored ten of his 12 points in the second half for Meridian. 

 

Meridian moves to 15-5 overall while Monticello falls to 20-2. 

 

The Sages travel to Prairie Central Tuesday night for an Illini Conference matchup before returning home next Friday night against St. Joseph-Ogden. 

Reeves, Lewis lead Illinois St. past Evansville 94-56

Antonio Reeves scored 16 points and Kendall Lewis added 14 as Illinois State rolled past Evansville 94-56 on Friday night.

 

Sy Chatman added 12 points and Howard Fleming Jr. had 10 points for Illinois State (10-9, 3-3 Missouri Valley Conference), which earned its fifth consecutive home victory.

 

Illinois State posted a season-high 23 assists.

 

Jawaun Newton had 10 points and six rebounds for the Purple Aces (4-13, 0-6), who have now lost six games in a row. Blake Sisley added 10 points.

No. 17 Illinois falls 81-65 to Maryland

Donta Scott scored a career-high 25 points, and the Terrapins beat the Illini 81-65 on Friday night with Cockburn sidelined because of a concussion. 

 

The Illini (13-5, 6-2 Big Ten) lost for the second consecutive game after winning six straight. It was a much-needed victory for Maryland, which has struggled all season and already went through a coaching change when Mark Turgeon exited in early December.

 

Alfonso Plummer scored 18 points for Illinois, which was coming off a double-overtime loss to No. 4 Purdue on Monday night. The Illini got Andre Curbelo back in that game after he’d been out since November with his own concussion-related issues. Then they had to face Maryland (10-9, 2-6) without Cockburn.

 

This loss also snapped a six-game winning streak for Illinois in Big Ten road games.

 

The Illini led 56-52 before Maryland took the lead with a 12-2 run. Scott capped that stretch with a layup and a three-point play.

 

Fatts Russell had 15 points for the Terps and Qudus Wahab added 11.

Clinton Maroons Down Redskins On The Road

In a game heard on WHOW Friday night, the Clinton Maroons traveled to Sullivan, and downed the Redskins, 56-44. 
 

The Maroons jumped out to a 14-4 lead after the first quarter, and maintained the advantage throughout.  Clinton led by 12 at the half, and the two teams both scored 29 points in the second half.  
 

The Maroons were led by the WHOW/Serv-Pro of Piatt/Dewitt County Player of the Game - Dawson Graves.  In his second game back from a several week absence due to injury, the sophomore led all scorers with 26 points.  Mason Walker added 15; Brooks Cluver scored 7; and Brett Young added 6 in the win. 
 

Sullivan was led by Kyle Corkill with 10 points, and Trey McRill with 7. 
 

Clinton improves to 9-15 overall, and 2-2 in the CIC.  They next play Tuesday at Mt. Pulaski. Sullivan falls to 1-17 overall, and 0-4 in conference. They next host Pana on Tuesday.  

Maroa-Forsyth Rolls Auburn

Four players scored in double-figures and Maroa-Forsyth exploded offensively to roll past Auburn 75-60 in Sangamo Conference high school boy's basketball at Auburn High School Friday night.

 

Egan Franzen scored 11 of his 22 points in the first quarter. Kaiden Maurer scored 11 of his 14 points in the second quarter, Ethan Willoughby scored all 14 of his points in the second half and Jaxson Grubbs scored 11 of his 14 points in the second half. Willoughby drained a team-high four three-pointers. Zayn Giles added eight points.

 

After leading 18-16 after the first quarter, the Trojans opened up a 36-27 lead at the break and then pulled away in the fourth quarter. 

 

The Trojans improved to 12-5 overall and are 3-0 in the Sangamo Conference. Maroa-Forsyth will travel to Decatur St. Teresa on Tuesday night for a non-conference matchup. It'll kick off a busy week as the Trojans also travel to New Berlin Friday night before a road matchup with Tolono Unity Saturday. 

Big Second Half Propels Monticello Past PBL

In a game heard on WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com, the Monticello Sages used a big second half to rally past Paxton-Buckley-Loda 59-43 in Illini Prairie Conference boy's basketball action from the Sievers Center at Monticello High School, bringing Coach Kevin Roy to career win 299. 

 

All of Coach Roy's wins have come at Monticello High School where he started in 2006-07. 

 

The Panthers jumped out to a 16-5 lead with 6:29 to play in the second half but the Sages finished the half on a 16-7 run to pull within 23-21 deficit at the intermission. 

 

After a back-and-forth start to the second half, a Trevor Fox basket with 5:29 to play in the third tied the game at 29, Monticello finished the quarter outscoring PBL 11-4 to take a 40-33 lead to the fourth. 

 

Mason Bruns opened the fourth quarter with a layup to make 40-35 but Monticello answered with an 11-0 run over three minutes to open it up to a 51-35 lead and maintained the rest of the way. 

 

Fox scored 12 of his 14 points in the second half and took a trio of offensive fouls. He also added seven assists. Joey Sprinkle scored 10 of his 16 points in the first half. Ben Cresap finished with 12 points. 

 

Sprinkle was the Piatt/DeWitt County Player of the Game. 

 

After going 9-for-25 from the floor in the first half, the Sages went 17-for-22 from the floor in the second half. 

 

Monticello finished with 42 points in the paint, 30 of those in the second half. Additionally, the Sages added 26 points off 25 PBL turnovers. They had ten second-half assists to six turnovers and finished 17 assists on 26 baskets with 13 turnovers. Coming into Friday night's game, Monticello's assist-to-turnover ratio was nearly 2-to-1.

 

The Panthers took just 14 shots in the second half and finished shooting 47-percent for the game. 

 

PBL drops to 10-7 overall and 3-1 in the Illini Prairie Conference.

 

The Sages won its sixth in a row and moved 20-1 overall and went to 4-0 in conference play.

 

The Sages have a chance to earn career win 300 for Coach Roy tomorrow night when they host the seventh-ranked Meridian Hawks in non-conference action at the Sievers Center. 

Clinton Travels to Sullivan Tonight

The Clinton Maroons to Sullivan tonight for a Central Illinois Conference matchup.

 

The 8-15 Maroons have won three of its last five with its most recent game a close loss to Decatur St. Teresa, 66-59 Tuesday night.

 

The young Maroons have started to play much better lately despite having limited depth. The Maroons play the fifth-ranked Monticello Sages with 11 points last week before Monticello pulled away in the second half. The Maroons then rattled off back-to-back wins on back-to-back nights beating Central A&M last Friday and then rolling Illini Central Saturday night. 

 

Tonight, they travel to Sullivan to take on the 1-16 Redskins. 

 

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

Monticello Boy's Basketball Coach Kevin Roy Could Reach 300 Career Wins This Weekend

The fifth-ranked Monticello Sages will host a pair of big games at the Sievers Center this weekend and the latter could be a milestone game for Coach Kevin Roy.

 

Friday night, Monticello welcomes Paxton-Buckley-Loda to the Sievers Center for an Illini Prairie Conference showdown and then hosts seventh-ranked Meridian in non-conference action on Saturday.

 

At 298 career wins, Coach Roy can reach the 300-career win milestone this weekend joining Monticello coaches Tom Young and Bob Trimble with 300-wins since 1953. 

 

Coach Roy led the Sages to a Class 1A supersectional appearance in his first season in 2006-07 and in 2017, he led the Sages to a Class 2A state appearance in Peoria. 

 

It will not be an easy road for Roy to reach 300 wins as the Panthers of PBL enter action Friday at 10-6 overall and like Monticello, boast a 3-0 Illini Prairie Conference mark. 

 

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

 

Tomorrow night, Meridan enters the weekend at 16-2 and is No. 7 in the latest Class 1A high school boy's basketball state rankings. Game time Saturday is 7 pm and can be heard on 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com. 

 

If the Sages should falter at some point this weekend, they will travel to Prairie Central next Tuesday night with a home matchup awaiting a week from tonight (Friday) against St. Joseph-Ogden.

Packers Host San Francisco Saturday in NFC Divisional Round Matchup

Aaron Rodgers memorably vowed after his 2005 draft day snub that the San Francisco 49ers would be more disappointed for passing him up at No. 1 than he would be at sliding to No. 24.

 

While that proclamation has been true for most of the past decade-plus, Rodgers has been the one dealing with disappointment in the playoffs with three losses.

 

Rodgers gets his fourth playoff shot against the Niners on Saturday night in a reprise of one of the game’s great rivalries that dates back to Steve Young and Brett Favre battling in the 1990s, Terrell Owens making his most memorable catch and Colin Kaepernick announcing himself to the football world.

 

Few franchises have been as intertwined over the last three decades as the Packers and 49ers, with coaches getting groomed in one spot and ending up in the other, eight previous playoff meetings, and the draft decision that sent Rodgers packing for Green Bay instead of staying close to home and reviving the 49ers.

 

The teams that have combined for nine Super Bowl titles will meet with a spot in NFC championship game on the line at Lambeau Field.

 

This will be the ninth all-time playoff meeting between the franchises, tying the Cowboys and Rams for the most postseason matchups between two teams in NFL history.

 

The teams have split the previous eight meetings, with the Packers going 4-1 with Brett Favre at quarterback and losing all three meetings with Rodgers as starter. No quarterback in the Super Bowl era has ever lost four times to one opponent.

 

The most recent playoff meeting came in the 2019 season when the teams met at Levi’s Stadium in the NFC title game and the Niners once again ended Rodgers’ season.

 

This team it was behind the running of Raheem Mostert, who became the first player ever to run for at least 200 yards and four TDs in a playoff game when he finished with 22 yards on the ground in a 37-20 win.

Pacers Continue Playing Well Out West, Beat Warriors

Keifer Sykes hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with 1:41 left in overtime and a layup the next possession, Chris Duarte scored 27 points and the undermanned Pacers beat Stephen Curry and the Warriors 121-117 on Thursday night.

 

Golden State got one last chance with 6.4 seconds left after a jump ball and Klay Thompson checked in but couldn't get a shot off.

 

Curry scored 39 but none in overtime, missing a 3 from the top of the arc with 16.5 seconds left. He had a tying layup with 2:44 left and four free throws in the final 34.5 seconds of regulation, but Golden State surrendered Justin Holiday's tying 3 with 6 seconds left to send the game into OT.

 

Duarte hit clutch jumpers late in regulation as the determined Pacers hung tough on a night they were missing the starting backcourt duo of Malcolm Brogdon and Caris LeVert, along with starting center Domantas Sabonis because of injuries.

 

Juan Toscano-Anderson, who had a key 3 with 3:19 to go, rebounded Torrey Craig's miss with 15.7 seconds left and Curry converted free throws.

 

Indiana center Goga Bitadze was ejected with 6:44 left following his second technical after fouling Gary Payton II, who went over the 6-foot-11 center for a left-handed slam and also was whistled for a technical.

 

Thompson drove to the basket for a pretty reverse layup in the second quarter and again showed signs of his old dominant self after returning earlier this month from a 2 1/2-year absence following surgeries on his left knee and right Achilles tendon. He missed all seven of his 3-point tries and Golden State's players aside from Curry were 0 for 14 from deep until Damion Lee connected with 40 seconds left in the third.

 

Curry had 18 points by halftime to help Golden State build a 63-55 lead and wound up 12 of 27 with six 3-pointers. Kevon Looney grabbed 15 rebounds for his career-best fourth straight game with double-digit boards. DeMarcus Cousins was the last Warriors player with 10 or more rebounds in four straight games, doing so in five in a row from Feb. 12-28, 2019, according to Elias.

 

Indiana snapped a four-game losing streak with a 111-104 road win against the Lakers on Wednesday. The Pacers take on the top two teams in the Western Conference in consecutive games when they play at Phoenix on Saturday.

Lady Maroons Outlast Shelbyville

In a game heard Thursday night on WHOW, the Clinton Lady Maroons downed Shelbyville, 46-41, in CIC conference play. 
 

Clinton jumped out to a 13-2 lead after the first quarter, and led 27-13 at half.  However, Shelbyville battled back to cut the lead to 33-32 at the end of the third.  Three timely three-pointers in the fourth secured the Maroons win. 
 

Clinton was led by Mallory Cyrulik's 20-points, 16 of which came in the first half.  Kaitlyn Rauch was named the WHOW/Serv-Pro of Piatt & Dewitt County Player of the Game. She added 14-points, 8 of which came in the fourth quarter. Heidi Humble also added 8 in the game for Clinton.  
 

Shelbyville was led by Trinity Wade, who left the game in the fourth quarter with an injury.  Wade and Dru Clark had 10 points each for Shelbyville. 
 

Clinton improves to 22-4 overall, and 5-0 in conference.  Shelbyville falls to 12-10 overall, and 3-2 in conference.  Both teams now head to Tuscola Saturday for the first round of the CIC tournament.  Clinton is the top seed and faces Central A&M Saturday at 3; while Shelbyville is the 3-seed and takes on Sullivan Saturday night at 7:30. 
 

Tune into WHOW Friday night for our Clinton Maroons "Game of the Week!"  The Maroons travel to Sullivan to take on the Redskins in CIC conference play.  Varsity tip expected around 7:30pm on all WHOW platforms. 

Monticello Up To No. 5 in Latest 2A High School Boy's Basketball Poll

As the Monticello Sages continue a hot start to the season, pollsters are taking notice as Monticello moved up to No. 5 in the latest AP high school boy's basketball 2A poll.

 

Monticello swapped spots with Chicago Clark this week. Nashville stays atop the 2A poll in a minor reshuffling of the state's top-ranked teams. Chicago Leo moved up to No. 2 while Chicago DePaul College Prep jumped a spot to No. 3. Last week's No. 2, Chicago Orr received two first-place votes and comes in at No. 4.

 

After Chicago Clark at No. 6, Murphysboro is No. 7, and El Paso-Gridley and Breese Central tied for ninth while Teutopolis re-enters the rankings at No. 10.

 

In Class 1A, Meridian slips from No. 3 to No. 7 this week. Yorkville Christian is No. 1 with eight first-place votes and Scales Mound checks in at No. 2 with six first-place votes. Fulton, Peoria Christian, and Liberty round out the top 5 in 1A. 

 

South Beloit checks in at No. 6 and after Meridian at No. 7, Madison, Steeleville, and Tuscola round out the top 10. 

 

Cerro Gordo just missed out on a spot in the top 10 despite upsetting the Warriors of Tuscola earlier in the week. 

 

In Class 3A, Chicago Simeon remains the unanimous No. 1 team followed by Hillcrest, Chicago Mt. Carmel, Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin, and East St. Louis in the top 5.

 

Hyde Park, Centralia, Burlington Central, Peoria Notre Dame, and Lake Forest round out the top 10 in 3A.

 

In 4A, Normal Community stayed at No. 6 in this week's poll. Glenbard West is the unanimous No. 1 followed by Kenwood, Glenbrook South, Chicago Curie, and Chicago Whitney Young rounding out the top 5.

 

Following Normal Community at No. 6, New Trier, Wheaton Warrenville South, Oswego East and O'Fallon round out the top 10.

 

This weekend, Monticello matches up with Meridian Saturday night in a matchup of top 10 teams in 1A and 2A.

Lincoln Lady Railsplitters Drop to No. 7 in Latest High School Girl's Basketball Polls

It was a tough early week for the Lincoln Lady Railsplitters but Illinois high school basketball pollsters still say the Lady Railers are a top 10 team.

 

Lincoln fell from No. 4 to No. 7 in the latest Class 3A girl's high school basketball polls. Geneseo is No. 1 followed by Sycamore, Peoria Notre Dame, Nazareth, and Peoria Central.

 

Morton checks in at No. 6 and after Lincoln at No. 7, Matton, Bethalto Civic Memorial, and Chicago Heights Marian Catholic rounds out the top 10. 

 

The Lady Railsplitters got a big win last week over Mattoon but fell to Mahomet-Seymour and Pana this week. They'll be back in action on Saturday night taking on Peoria High School. 

 

In Class 1A, Okawville is No. 1 followed by Brimfield, Cowden-Herrick, Tri-County and River Ridge in the top 5. Mendon Unity, Serena, Galena, Brown County and Havana round out the top 10. Neoga drops out of the top 10 this week. 

 

In Class 2A, Winnebago is the No. 1 team followed by Quincy Notre Dame, Illini West, and Pana and Paris tied for No. 5. Rounding out the top 10 were Carterville, Fieldcrest, Teutopolis, Arthur-Lovington-Atwood-Hammond, and Chicago Noble Street-Butler.

 

In Class 4A, Chicago Benet Academy is No. 1 followed by Chicago Stevenson at No. 2 and Loyola and Fremd tying for No. 4 followed by Edwardsville at No. 5. 

 

Chicago Kenwood, Normal Community, Hersey and Naperville North are six through nine while O'Fallon and Bollingbrook tied for tenth in the latest poll. 

Missouri State Rolls Illinois State

Isiaih Mosley tossed in 24 points and Gaige Prim added a double-double as Missouri State rolled past Illinois State 88-63 on Wednesday night.

 

Prim finished with 17 points and 10 rebounds for the Bears (14-6, 5-2 Missouri Valley Conference). Ja'Monta Black added 14 points, while Donovan Clay scored 10.

 

Mark Freeman had 19 points for the Redbirds (9-9, 2-3). Howard Fleming Jr. added 10 points. Sy Chatman had eight rebounds.

 

Antonio Reeves, who led the Redbirds in scoring entering the contest with 21 points per game, had nine points on 4-of-13 shooting.

 

The Bears leveled the season series against the Redbirds. Illinois State defeated Missouri State 79-74 on Dec. 1.

 

The Redbirds host Evansville Sunday.

Bradley Upsets Drake

Terry Roberts had 18 points and Rienk Mast scored 17 and grabbed eight rebounds and Bradley beat Drake 83-71 on Wednesday night.

 

Connor Hickman chipped in 15 points and Ville Tahvanainen 11 for Bradley (9-10, 3-4 Missouri Valley Conference).

 

Tucker DeVries had 17 points for the Bulldogs (13-6, 4-2). Garrett Sturtz added 15 points and eight rebounds and Roman Penn scored 14.

 

The Braves host Southern Illinois Sunday.

Bulls Get Back On Track With Win Over Cavaliers

DeMar DeRozan scored 30 points, Nikola Vucevic added 24 points and 12 rebounds, and the struggling Bulls finished with a 14-2 charge to hold off the surging Cleveland Cavaliers 117-104 on Wednesday night.

 

The Bulls steadied themselves after losing a season-high four straight and falling into a first-place tie with Miami in the Eastern Conference. It was a welcome reprieve from a rough stretch.

 

They got pounded twice at home, losing by 26 to Brooklyn and by 42 to Golden State in their worst defeat of the year, then lost by two at Boston on a late rally by the Celtics. The red-hot Grizzlies beat them 119-106 in Memphis on Monday afternoon.

 

Chicago answered in a big way when Cleveland pulled within 103-102 on a 3-pointer by former Bulls player Lauri Markkanen and free throw by Isaac Okoro.

 

Ayo Dosunmu nailed a 3-pointer with just over 4 minutes remaining to start the decisive rally. Vucevic hit two 3s and a layup during that stretch, helping Chicago stop Cleveland's season-high, five-game win streak.

 

Dosunmu scored 18, hitting three of Chicago's 10 3s. Coby White added 16 points and four steals.

 

Alex Caruso scored nine points over 22:55 in his first appearance in a month. And the Bulls turned 15 turnovers by the Cavaliers into 24 points on the way to a win they sorely needed.

 

Markkanen led Cleveland with 28 points. The 7-footer from Finland made five 3s in his first game in Chicago and second against the Bulls since a sign-and-trade deal in August.

 

Darius Garland had 20 points and 12 assists. Evan Mobley added 18 points.

 

DeRozan had 16 in the second quarter. Chicago ended the half on a 10-0 run to go up 58-49, and the Bulls withstood several pushes the rest of the way.

 

Zach LaVine (sore left knee) and Lonzo Ball (bruised left knee) missed their third game in a row and will not travel to Milwaukee, Orlando and Oklahoma City, coach Billy Donovan said. LaVine has been shooting free throws and doing strength training, though not running or jumping. Ball changed treatment regimens, and his timeline to return depends on how he responds. 

 

The Bulls signed F Malcolm Hill to a two-way contract. The Illinois native agreed to a 10-day contract with Chicago last week. 

 

The Bulls visit Milwaukee on Friday.

Struggling Pacers Get By Pacers

Caris LeVert scored a franchise-record 22 of his 30 points in the fourth quarter, Malcolm Brogdon added 19 and the Indiana Pacers increased the pressure on Lakers coach Frank Vogel with a 111-104 victory over Los Angeles on Wednesday night.

 

Domantas Sabonis had 20 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists in his 17th career triple-double for the Pacers, who snapped a four-game losing streak with just their second victory in 12 games. The Eastern Conference's 13th-place team roared past the Lakers in the fourth, starting with a 14-2 run led by LeVert and concluding with his three consecutive buckets in the final two minutes.

 

LeVert topped Reggie Miller's previous Pacers fourth-quarter record of 21 points. He went 9 for 10 with three 3-pointers in his brilliant final period.

 

LeBron James had 30 points and 12 rebounds - including the 10,000th of his career - for the Lakers, who have lost four of five to fall back below .500. Talen Horton-Tucker added 20 points in the latest embarrassing loss during a season dotted with them for the 17-time champion franchise.

 

Russell Westbrook scored 14 points on 5-for-17 shooting, and Vogel kept the struggling former NBA MVP on the Lakers' bench for the final 3:52.

 

Indiana trailed for most of the first three quarters before jumping ahead early in the fourth with 10 consecutive points, including eight from LeVert. The Pacers held strong down the stretch with more big baskets by LeVert, while the Lakers struggled to score with whatever lineup Vogel used.

 

The Lakers held a 15-point lead in the first half, but Indiana erased it with several minutes left in the third quarter, taking its first lead in two games at Crypto.com Arena. The Pacers never led while giving up 139 points to the Clippers on Monday.

 

Anthony Davis missed his 15th straight game since Dec. 17 with a sprained left knee, but he was on the court during his team's morning shootaround. Los Angeles is deliberately bringing back its star big man from his latest major injury. 

 

Carmelo Anthony scored 14 points in his return from a three-game absence with lower back tightness.

 

The Pacers are at Golden State on Thursday.

Maroa-Forsyth Blows By Williamsville

The Maroa-Forsyth Trojans used a slow start by Williamsville to create early separation and never looked back rolling to a 65-45 win in Sangamo Conference boy's basketball action Tuesday night from Maroa-Forsyth High School.

 

Kaiden Maurer paced four Trojans in double figures with 23 points and proportionate scoring throughout the game kept Maroa-Forsyth right to the end.

 

The Trojans opened up a 29-20 lead at the intermission. Egan Franzen scored eight of his 14 points in the third quarter, Zayn Giles scored eight of his ten in the first half and Jaxson Grubbs scored seven of his ten in the final frame. 

 

Maroa-Forsyth improves to 11-5 overall and 2-0 in the Sangamo. They're back at home Friday night for another conference tilt with Auburn in town.

 

Boy's basketball scores from Tuesday night...

 

Clinton 59

Decatur St Teresa 66

 

Lincoln 55

Bloomington 43

 

Mt. Zion 88

Rantoul 72

 

Meridian 91

Sullivan 44

 

Decatur LSA78

Heritage 41

 

Eureka 54

Tremont 50

 

BCC 63

IVC 50

 

PBL 63

Pontiac 60

 

Tolono Unity 57

St. Thomas More 40

 

Peoria 76

Canton 40

 

Girl's Basketball scores from Tuesday...

 

Pana 55

Lincoln 50

 

Metamora 52

BCC 24

 

Peoria 50

Canton 17

Bears Continue Coach, GM Search

The Chicago Bears interviewed Indianapolis executive Ed Dodds for their general manager job and Colts defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus for their head coaching position on Monday.

 

Dodds has 19 years of experience in the NFL. He has spent the past five in Indianapolis’ front office, including four as assistant GM under Chris Ballard. Before that, Dodds worked for Seattle from 2007 to 2016, helping the Seahawks win two conference championships and a Super Bowl.

 

Eberflus has spent the past four years as Indianapolis’ defensive coordinator, helping turn around a unit that ranked among the league’s worst. The Colts ranked eighth on defense in 2020, though they slipped to 16th this season.

 

Indianapolis missed the playoffs at 9-8, closing with two straight losses when a win in either game would have clinched a postseason berth.

 

The Bears fired general manager Ryan Pace and coach Matt Nagy after going 6-11.

 

For the GM spot, the Bears have also interviewed their director of player personnel, Champ Kelly; Cleveland Browns executives Glenn Cook and Kwesi Adofo-Mensah; New Orleans Saints assistant general manager Jeff Ireland; Buffalo Bills assistant GM Joe Schoen; and Tennessee Titans director of player personnel Monti Ossenfort.

Blackhawks Send Four to AHL

The Chicago Blackhawks sent Josiah Slavin, Cale Morris, Jakub Galvas, and Mike Hardman to the AHL Tuesday. 

 

Slavin was reassigned to AHL Rockford from the active roster Tuesday, Carter Baum of the Blackhawks' official site reports.

 

Slavin did not make an 11th NHL appearance during his most recent stint on the active roster. The 23-year-old will return to AHL Rockford, where he has posted eight points over 17 appearances this season.

 

Morris was demoted from the taxi squad to AHL Rockford on Tuesday, Carter Baum of the Blackhawks' official site reports.

 

Morris will return to AHL Rockford, where he has appeared in two contests this season. Despite traveling with the team to Seattle on Monday, the 25-year-old did not make his NHL debut.

 

Hardman was demoted to AHL Rockford from the active roster Tuesday, per Carter Baum of the Blackhawks' official site.

 

Hardman recorded 5:14 of ice time, five PIM and was held without a point against Seattle on Monday. He was elevated from the taxi squad prior to the game. The 22-year-old will return to AHL Rockford, where he has recorded six points over seven appearances this season.

 

Jakub Galvas was reassigned to AHL Rockford from the active roster Tuesday, Carter Baum of the Blackhawks' official site reports.

 

Galvas has averaged 20:08 of ice time -- 2:55 during the power play -- and been held without a point over three NHL appearances this season.

Big Third Quarter Sends Monticello Past Olympia

In a game heard on 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com, Monticello used a big third quarter to create separation and blow by Olympia for a 69-41 win Tuesday night in Illini Prairie Conference boy's basketball action from Olympia High School.

 

Leading 31-26 at the intermission, Monticello scored six straight points in the first minute and 40 seconds. A Pierce Saegan basket with 5:15 to play in the third drew the Spartans within 37-28, and that was the closest they'd be the rest of the way.

The Sages proceed to go 15-2 run and led 57-32 after three. 

 

Ben Cresap scored 22 points to lead all scorers. Cresap grabbed six boards and was the Piatt/DeWitt County ServPro Player of the Game. 

 

Dylan Ginalick added 17 points and Joey Sprinkle added 11 points. 

 

The Sages as a team dished out 17 assists on their 28 baskets and committed only seven turnovers. 

 

The Sages shot 57-percent from the floor for the game, going 17-for-28 in the second half. Olympia shot just 38-percent from the floor for the game and was led by Owen Dare's 14 points. 

 

The Sages only outrebounded the Spartans 28-25 but scored 26 points off 18 turnovers and added 44 points in the paint with 24 points in transition.

 

The Spartans drop to 4-14 overall and 0-2 in the Illini Prairie.

 

Monticello moves to 19-1 and is 3-0 in the conference. The Sages host PBL Friday night at 7 pm at the Sievers Center at Monticello High School. 

Monticello Falls Short Against Prairie Central

In a game heard on 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com, Chloe and Mariya Sisco led three scorers in double figures for Prairie Central as they downed Monticello 58-32 in Illini Prairie Conference girl's basketball action from the Sievers Center at Monticello High School.

 

Chloe Sisco hit back-to-back three's in the third quarter that extended a 37-28 lead to 43-28 and it was all Lady Hawks the rest of the way as Monticello was 20-10 in the third quarter and the Lady Hawks held the Lady Sages scoreless in the fourth quarter.

 

Chloe Sisco led all scorers with 16 points, Mariya Sisco added 15 points and sophomore Gillian Davies added 10 points. 

 

Renni Fultz led Monticello with 10 points. Hannah Swanson added eight points while Lizzie Stiverson scored six points, all in the second quarter.

 

Monticello freshman Megan Allen was the Piatt/DeWitt County ServPro Player of the Game with five points and showed a nice complimentary rebounding presence along with Fultz.

 

The Lady Sages drop to 14-9 overall and will travel to St. Joseph-Ogden Thursday. The next Monticello girl's basketball broadcast will be Monday, January 31 when they host Pontiac in Illini Prairie action.

Maroa-Forsyth Gets By Illini Central

Zayn Giles hit a put-back as time expired to lift Maroa-Forsyth over Illini Central 67-65 in a non-conference high school boy's basketball thriller from Illini Central High School Monday night.

 

Giles scored five of his 15 points in the final frame, but none bigger than the putback that allowed th Trojans to move to 10-5 on the season. 

 

Kaden Mauerer eight of his 12 points in the fourth quarter and four Trojans scored in double figures. Egan Franzen scored 10 of his team-high 16 points in the second half. Jaxson Grubbs added 15 points for the Trojans.

 

Illini Central led 21-14 after the first quarter but the Trojans rallied in the second quarter to even the score at 30 at the intermission. Illini Central led 48-44 after three.

 

The Trojans have a quick turnaround when they host Williamsville in Sangamo Conference action tonight at Maroa-Forsyth High School.

Purdue Outlasts Illinois in Big Ten Thriller

Sasha Stefanovic scored 22 points, including a go-ahead 3 at the start of double overtime that sent No. 4 Purdue over No. 17 Illinois 96-88 on Monday.

 

Illinois guards Andre Curbelo and Alfonso Plummer made baskets in the final seconds of regulation and the first overtime before the Boilermakers (15-2, 4-2 Big Ten) broke away.

 

Purdue hit four straight shots to take an 89-83 lead with 1:03 left in double overtime. Eric Hunter Jr. had two of those baskets.

 

Stefanovic went 5 of 8 on 3-point tries and also had eight rebounds. His last-second shot from long range fell short as the regulation buzzer sounded.

 

Plummer led the Illini (13-4, 6-1) with 24 points, shooting 6 of 12 on 3s. His layup with 9 seconds left in the first overtime made it 78-all.

 

Curbelo, who had missed 11 games after being injured, had 20 points, six rebounds and three assists. His basket with 14 seconds remaining in regulation tied it at 69.

 

Boilermakers center Zach Edey was effective, especially early on, finishing with 20 points on 9-for-14 shooting to go along with eight rebounds. He also helped limit Kofi Cockburn to 10 points on 3-of-9 shooting in 22 minutes before the Illinois center fouled out early in the first overtime.

 

Purdue guard Jaden Ivey struggled to hit shots, going 3 of 10, but made 13 of 15 free throws to finish with 19 points and eight rebounds.

 

Illinois trailed for most of the first overtime period, but Curbelo made a turnaround jumper and Plummer had a layup to force a second overtime.

 

Edey was a factor early on, scoring 14 points on 6-of-7 shooting in the first half. The Boilermakers took an 11-point lead into the break, but back-to-back 3-pointers from Plummer and Da’Monte Williams helped Illinois close the deficit to 39-34 with 17:43 to play.

 

The Boilermakers are 3-1 this season against AP Top 25 opponents, while Illinois is 0-2 against ranked teams. 

 

The return of Curbelo was a welcome development for the Illini. His ability to penetrate and get to the hoop gives Underwood’s offense more dynamism in addition to Cockburn and perimeter shooters such as Plummer and Trent Frazier, who scored 16 in the loss. 

 

The Illini remain in first place in the Big Ten.

 

Illinois is at Maryland on Friday.

Clippers Get By Pacers

Nicolas Batum scored all of his season-high 32 points in the second half, Reggie Jackson added 26 points and the Los Angeles Clippers beat the Indiana Pacers 139-133 on Monday in a matchup of sub-.500 teams.

 

Marcus Morris had 21 points for the Clippers, who snapped a two-game skid with their highest-scoring game of the season. Batum and Jackson combined to score 33 of their team's 35 points in the fourth.

 

Caris LeVert had 26 points and nine rebounds before fouling out with 28 seconds to play and the Pacers down by five. Chris Duarte added 24 points, seven rebounds and six assists as seven Pacers scored in double figures. They've lost four in a row and 10 of 11.

 

The Pacers got within three with 30 seconds left on LeVert's basket after trailing by 13 earlier in the fourth. But Jackson scored the Clippers' final seven points to close out the win.

 

The Clippers have struggled offensively of late, but they shot 55% from the floor and as a team made 18 3-pointers.

 

Down 19 points in the third, the Pacers made a run to start the fourth. They scored 10 in a row and later cut their deficit to 109-102 on a wide-open dunk by Goga Bitadze, who finished with a career-high 17 points.

 

Batum hit his fifth 3-pointer of the game and Jackson scored eight in a row to keep the Clippers ahead by 12. Batum had a season-high seven 3-pointers.

 

Batum kept up his run, reeling off 12 in a row, but Duarte hit a 3 and LeVert scored six in a row to threaten until the final seconds.

 

The Clippers stretched their lead to double digits in the third. Batum scored 14 in the quarter, hitting back-to-back 3-pointers. A basket by Isaiah Hartenstein gave them their largest lead of the game, 98-79. Terance Mann scored their final six points to send the Clippers into the fourth leading 104-90.

 

The Clippers led by 16 points in a 40-point first quarter and were up by 15 in the second when the Pacers briefly grabbed the momentum.

 

Indiana used an 18-4 run - including 13 in a row with six by LeVert and five by Duarte - to close within one. The Clippers recovered with a 10-2 run to lead 68-59 at halftime.

 

Myles Turner (sore left ankle-foot), Malcolm Brogdon (sore right Achilles tendon) and Jeremy Lamb (sore left knee) sat out for Indiana.

 

The Pacers stay in LA to play the Lakers on Wednesday.

Grizzlies Hold Off Bulls in Chippy Showdown

Desmond Bane and Ja Morant scored 25 points each, and the Memphis Grizzlies dominated the short-handed Chicago Bulls 119-106 on Monday afternoon for their 12th win in 13 games.

 

Brandon Clarke added 15 points and seven rebounds, missing only one of his eight shots.

 

DeMar DeRozan led the Bulls with 24 points and five assists, Ayo Dosunmu had 15 points and 10 rebounds, while Coby White finished with 16 points, six rebounds and five assists for Chicago, which lost its fourth straight.

 

It was the Grizzlies' main event of their 20th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration. King was assassinated on April 4, 1968, at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, only a short distance from the Grizzlies' home floor at FedExForum.

 

Memphis built a double-digit lead in the second quarter, outscoring the Bulls 38-25 for a 58-45 lead at half, then stretched the advantage to 23 in the third - and didn't stop there.

 

Chicago also was stymied early by a dozen turnovers, allowing Memphis to benefit from its transition game. The Bulls would end up with 18 turnovers, leading to 21 Grizzlies points.

 

The Bulls entered the day as the top team in the Eastern Conference, but were without key rotation players like Zach LaVine, Lonzo Ball and Alex Caruso. However, Chicago kept its top spot because Brooklyn lost to Cleveland on Monday.

 

The Bulls host Cleveland on Wednesday, Chicago's only home game over a six-game stretch.

Blues Blast Preds

Brayden Schenn and Ivan Barbashev each had two goals and two assists as the St. Louis Blues came from behind to beat the Nashville Predators 5-3 on Monday night.

 

Ryan O'Reilly added a goal and two assists in the first meeting between the teams since they played back-to-back games in February 2020. St. Louis' victory left the clubs tied for second place in the Central Division with 51 points apiece.

 

Ville Husso made 32 saves for the Blues. He has won his past eight home decisions since losing to Vegas on April 5, 2021.

 

Yakov Trenin, Filip Forsberg and Ryan Johansen scored for Nashville, and Juuse Saros made 24 saves. Saros was pulled for an extra skater with 2:16 remaining.

 

Schenn gave St. Louis its first lead when he scored 59 seconds into the second period to break a 2-all tie. The Blues went on to their 14th comeback win this season.

 

Barbashev's second goal of the game and team-leading 15th of the season 5:19 into the second put St. Louis up 4-2. It also gave topped his previous season-high of 14 goals set in 2018-19.

 

Trenin scored his 10th goal with 8:27 remaining to cut it to 4-3, but Schenn scored again at 17:25.

 

Johansen scored his 11th of the season on a one-timer from Matt Duchene 4:05 into the game to give the Predators a 1-0 lead.

 

Forsberg skated in and pushed the puck past Husso from point-blank range with 4:10 remaining in the first period for his team-leading 19th goal.

 

Barbashev answered 19 seconds later by deflecting a centering feed from Schenn to trim the deficit to 2-1.

 

O'Reilly tied it 2-all with his ninth goal and fourth in his last four games on a power play with 2:13 left in the first.

 

Blues forwards David Perron, Schenn and Vladimir Tarasenko along with defenseman Colton Parayko all returned to the lineup after being on the COVID-19 list, and Forsberg also returned for Nashville. Forward Pavel Buchnevich remains in protocols for the Blues and defenseman Mattias Elkholm remains on the COVID-19 list for the Predators.

 

Before the game, the Blues retired Hall of Fame defenseman Chris Pronger's No. 44 sweater. Pronger was acquired from the Hartford Whalers for LW Brendan Shanahan in 1995 and played in 598 games with the club through 2004. He became the second player in NHL history to win the Hart and Norris trophies in the same season in 1999-2000 when the Blues also won the Presidents' Trophy. But he never played in the Stanley Cup Final until after leaving St. Louis.

 

The Blues are off until they go to the Seattle Kraken on Friday night to open a three-game road trip.

Kraken Top Blackhawks in Shootout

After a month of increasing frustration, it seemed fitting that Joonas Donskoi, who had yet to score all season, was the one to finally snap the Seattle Kraken's losing streak.

 

Ryan Donato scored the tying goal early in the third period, Donskoi scored the deciding goal in the shootout and the Kraken snapped their nine-game losing streak with a 3-2 win over the Chicago Blackhawks on Monday.

 

Donato scored at 2:02 of the third period to pull Seattle even at 2. Donato scored in the second round of the shootout and Donskoi - stuck without a regulation goal this season in 38 games - scored the winner past Marc-Andre Fleury.

 

It was Seattle's first win since Dec. 14 at San Jose, first home win since Dec. 3 against Edmonton and first time this season coming back to win when trailing entering the third period. The Kraken are 1-16-1 when trailing after two periods.

 

Seattle goaltender Philipp Grubauer made 25 saves. He was asked to make just six in the third period and overtime combined.

 

Fleury was the best player on the ice for most of the day and did everything possible to get Chicago into the shootout. Fleury made 35 saves and had 14 in the third period alone.

 

Fleury robbed Jared McCann with a terrific glove save on a power-play opportunity early in the third. Fleury later stopped McCann on the first regulation penalty shot in Kraken history after McCann was tripped on a breakaway by Riley Stillman.

 

Alex Wennberg hit the post in the final seconds of overtime for Seattle.

 

Both the goals Fleury allowed were partly the result of his defensemen. Vince Dunn's goal in the second period deflected off Stillman. Donato's equalizer early in the third period came when Fleury made the initial save but was taken out by Caleb Jones, allowing Donato to score on the rebound.

 

Kubalik scored his ninth of the season on a breakaway at 12:06 of the second period to give Chicago the lead. Donato lost the puck in Chicago's zone, and Erik Gustafsson was able to find Kubalik open with a long stretch pass behind the Seattle defense.

 

Chicago capitalized on a power play later in the second. Patrick Kane's slap-pass was tipped by Kubalik and Grubauer made the initial save. But the puck fell to Brandon Hagel in the scramble with an open net.

 

Seattle avoided becoming the fourth expansion team since 1991 with a losing streak of at least 10 games. San Jose lost 13 straight during the 1991-92 season. Ottawa had losing streaks of 11 twice and 14 games during the 1992-93 season. And Atlanta had losing streaks of 10 and 12 games during the 1999-2000 season.

 

Chicago hosts Minnesota on Friday.

ISU Gets By Bradley

Antonio Reeves had 24 points as Illinois State beat Bradley 74-65 on Sunday night.

 

Josiah Strong had 14 points and six rebounds for Illinois State (9-8, 2-2 Missouri Valley Conference), which earned its fourth straight home victory. Kendall Lewis added 11 points. Howard Fleming Jr. had 11 points.

 

Bradley scored 25 second-half points, a season low for the team.

 

Terry Roberts had 22 points for the Braves (8-10, 2-4). He also had seven turnovers but only four assists. Rienk Mast added 17 points and 10 rebounds. Malevy Leons had eight rebounds.

 

Ja'Shon Henry, the Braves' second leading scorer entering the matchup at 11 points per game, shot only 20% for the game (1 of 5).

 

Bradley travels to Drake Wednesday while ISU is at Missouri State Wednesday. 

Packers Offensive Coordinator Gaining Head Coach Intereset

The Minnesota Vikings interviewed Green Bay offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett for head coach and Tennessee director of player personnel Monti Ossenfort for general manager on Sunday.

 

The team confirmed the completion of the interviews, with both the Packers and the Titans on a first-round bye for the playoffs as the top seed in their respective conferences.

 

Hackett is one of seven candidates the Vikings have requested interviews with to replace Mike Zimmer. Ossenfort is one of eight candidates the Vikings have requested interviews with to replace Rick Spielman.

 

The Denver Broncos began their search for Vic Fangio’s replacement in the Midwest, meeting with Detroit Lions defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn ahead of their trip to Green Bay.

Broncos general manager George Paton and a team of executives were meeting Friday with Packers assistants Luke Getsy and Nathaniel Hackett after spending time with Glenn on Thursday.

 

Hackett is in his third season with the Packers. This is his 13th year in the NFL and his eighth season as an offensive coordinator, having held that job previously with Buffalo and Jacksonville. The 42-year-old Hackett played NCAA Division II football for UC Davis and began his coaching career there in 2003. He’s the son of Paul Hackett, who was the head coach at Pittsburgh and USC during a 42-year career in coaching in college and the NFL.

 

The Packers were off this week after earning the NFC’s top seed with a 13-4 record behind another stellar year from Aaron Rodgers, who was linked to the Broncos last summer when the star quarterback’s disenchantment with his team went public.

 

The sides patched things up, at least for him to play in 2021, and he threw for 37 touchdowns with just four interceptions in another MVP-worthy season. Last month, Rodgers said he hadn’t ruled out anything for 2022, whether it be returning to Green Bay next year, trying to play elsewhere, or even retiring.

Bears Interview Flores

The Chicago Bears interviewed former Miami Dolphins coach Brian Flores and New Orleans Saints assistant general manager Jeff Ireland for their vacant coach and GM jobs on Friday.

 

Flores was fired Monday by Miami after leading the Dolphins to a 24-25 record over three years. They went 9-8 in their second straight winning season, but failed to make the playoffs during his tenure. Dolphins owner Stephen Ross indicated the reasons for his dismissal had little to do with the on-field product and more with communication within the team’s brain trust.

 

Ireland was Miami’s general manager from 2008 to 2013. The Dolphins won the AFC East at 11-5 his first season after going 1-15 in 2007.

 

Ireland was hired by New Orleans in 2015, basically replacing Ryan Pace when he became Chicago’s GM. Ireland was a Bears ball boy when was 12. His grandfather Jim Parmer worked as a scout for Chicago from 1972 to 1977 and was the team’s director of college scouting from 1978 to 1985.

 

The Bears fired coach Matt Nagy and Pace following a 6-11 season.

 

Chicago has also interviewed Doug Pederson for the coaching job, and in-house candidate Champ Kelly and Cleveland Browns executives Glenn Cook and Kwesi Adofo-Mensah for the GM position.

Bulls Take on Memphis on MLK Day

The “MVP! MVP!” chants are ringing out in Chicago once again, this time for Bulls star DeMar DeRozan as fans have something to cheer about in the Windy City.

 

The resurgent Bulls (27-14) are one of the surprising stories in the NBA, opening eyes by sitting atop the Eastern Conference with DeRozan and Zach LaVine leading the way. They will be looking to end a three-game losing streak Monday when they visit Memphis (30-15) as part of the league’s MLK Day lineup.

 

The soaring Grizzlies are also raising more than a few eyebrows around the league. Memphis is currently third in the Western Conference and have won 11 of its last 12 games behind their own MVP candidate, Ja Morant.

 

The Bulls haven’t been a serious threat since Derrick Rose elicited MVP chants from his hometown fans.

Matsuyama Rallies for Sony Open Win

Five shots behind at the turn, Hideki Matsuyama figured all he could do was keep his head down and try to stay in the game Sunday in the Sony Open. And when he finally looked up, he couldn’t see one of the best shots of his career.

 

In a sudden-death playoff with Russell Henley, Matsuyama hit a 3-wood from 276 yards, right into the sun, and had no idea that it settled 3 feet away for eagle on the par-5 18th until he heard an enormous cheer from one of the largest galleries at Waialae.

 

Matsuyama, who made birdie on the 18th in regulation for a 7-under 63, won for the eighth time on the PGA Tour, tying him with K.J. Choi for most tour victories by an Asian-born player.

No. 25 Illinois tops Michigan with Frazier's 2nd-half effort

Kofi Cockburn scored 21 points and hauled in 10 rebounds to help No. 25 Illinois over Michigan 68-53 on Friday night.

 

Both teams struggled from distance in a foul-plagued first half, combining to go 1 of 20 from 3-point range.

 

DeVante’ Jones led Michigan with 17 points on a 7-of-16 shooting clip, and was the only Wolverine to make a 3 on 10 attempts. Jones brought the Wolverines back within six points with his jumper with 5:16 left, but from there, Illinois’ Trent Frazier took over.

 

Frazier scored 16 points in the second half on 5-of-11 shooting, including a stretch where he scored 11 straight points for Illinois (13-3, 6-0 Big Ten). He finished with 18 points and seven assists, the latter a career-high.

 

Michigan (7-7, 1-3) was without star center Hunter Dickinson due to an undisclosed medical issue, as well as guard Brandon Johns Jr.

Short-Handed Blue Ridge Knights Topples Heritage

Blue Ridge continued to deal with a shortage of players Friday night but overcame the absences to beat Heritage 57-49.

 

The Knights, without five players, were led by Zach Lewis' 20 points and Ty Meeker added ten points. 

 

The Knights used a fast start to open up a 35-22 lead at the half but Heritage closed the gap to 43-35 and a 14-all fourth quarter allowed Blue Ridge to keep Heritage at bay the rest of the way. 

 

All eight active players for the Knights got in the scoring column. 

 

Blue Ridge moves to 3-14 overall and 1-3 in the Lincoln Prairie. 

 

Blue Ridge takes on Argenta-Oreana Tuesday night in Lincoln Prairie action. 

Monticello Gets By Bloomington Central Catholic

In a game heard on 95.9 FM WEZC and at dewittdailynews.com, the Monticello Sages overcame a slow night from its two leading scorers and used balanced scoring to beat Bloomington Central Catholic High School 65-54 in Illini Prairie Conference high school boy's basketball action from BCC High School Friday.

 

The Saints defense held Sages leading scorer Ben Cresap to just five points through three quarters, in fact, Cresap's only five points were scored in the first quarter until he scored seven points in the final frame. 

 

Tanner Buehnerkemper (bunny-kemp-er) scored nine of his team-high 14 points in the second half and was the Piatt/DeWitt County ServPro Player of the Game.

 

Cresap finished with 12 points, Dylan Ginalick added 11 points and Triston Foran scored ten points off the bench. Foran hit two three's to open the second quarter helping Monticello to a 29-24 advantage at halftime.

Buehnerkemper scored the first five points of the third quarter as Monticello opened up a 34-24 lead and BCC would not get any closer than four the rest of the way. 

 

The Sages went 5-for-10 from distance in the first half but only went 1-for-5 in the second half. They shot 53-percent for the game and went 10-for-13 at the free throw line.

 

Chase Fisher scored 22 points to lead all scorers for BCC. Cole Certa scored 13 points, all in the second half for the Saints. Colin Hayes added 12 points all in the second half.

 

The Sages were outrebounded 24-22 and shot 51-percent for the game. 

 

Monticello had just nine assists on its 24 field goals, however, they only turned the ball over four times on the night. 

 

Monticello scored 14 points off 11 BCC turnovers and added 36 points in the paint. 

 

The Saints drop to 7-10 overall and 0-2 in the Illini Prairie Conference. 

 

The Sages continue to roll this season and improve to 18-1 overall and 2-0 in the Illini Prairie, winning its fourth in a row. 

 

They'll travel to Olympia next Tuesday night. Hear the action on 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com. Tip time is 7 pm. 

Bulls Sign Former Illini Standout Hill to 10-Day Contract

The Chicago Bulls expect forward Derrick Jones Jr. to miss two to four weeks because of a bone bruise in his right knee.

 

Jones was injured in the opening minute Wednesday night in a 138-112 home loss to the Brooklyn Nets. He twisted his knee when he pulled up near the Chicago basket and had to be helped to the back.

 

Jones has started eight of the 31 games he has played and is averaging 6.3 points in his first season in Chicago.

 

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter reported yesterday with the Jones injury news, the Bulls are expected to sign Malcolm Hill to a ten-day contract. Hill recently spent time with Atlanta on a 10-day contract and averaged 5.7 points and 2.0 rebounds in 15.3 minutes per game across three appearances. He'll offer depth for the Bulls since Derrick Jones (knee) is slated to miss several weeks.

 

Hill was a standout at Illinois and will be united with former Illini All American Ayo Dosonmu. 

 

The Bulls lead the Eastern Conference at 27-12. They host Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors on Friday night

Packers Getting Healthy With Second Round Playoff Matchup Up Next

Green Bay Packers outside linebacker Za’Darius Smith is practicing again, raising hopes the 2020 Pro Bowl selection could return for the playoffs after missing nearly the entire regular season.

 

Smith, who recorded a combined 26 sacks for the Packers from 2019-20, participated in the Packers’ practice Wednesday as they begin postseason preparations. The Packers (13-4) own the NFC’s No. 1 seed and lone first-round playoff bye, so they won’t play until Jan. 22 or 23.

 

Smith hasn’t played since the season opener due to a back issue. He was on the field for just 18 snaps during that opening game, a 38-3 loss to the New Orleans Saints.

 

Packers outside linebackers Preston Smith, who isn’t related to Za’Darius, and Rashan Gary have stepped up in ZaDarius Smith’s absence. Gary improved his sack total from five in 2020 to 9½ this season. Preston Smith has nine sacks, up from four last season.

 

In other injury news, quarterback Aaron Rodgers said the toe that was bothering him for much of the second half of the season is starting to feel better. Rodgers said he hasn’t needed to take a pain-killing injection on the toe “in a number of weeks.

 

Rodgers says he fractured his left pinkie toe in early November while working out at home during his quarantine after testing positive for COVID-19.

 

Rookie center Josh Myers said he felt good after playing 32 snaps in a 37-30 loss at Detroit on Sunday. That marked the first time Myers had played in a game since suffering a knee injury Oct. 17 at Chicago.

Bears Conducting GM, Coach Interviews

The Chicago Bears interviewed front-office executive Champ Kelly and Cleveland Browns vice president of football operations Kwesi Adofo-Mensah for their general manager job Thursday.

 

Kelly has worked for the Bears the past seven years, as director of pro scouting from 2015 to 2016 and director of player personnel since 2017. He was with Denver from 2007 to 2014, rising from college scout to assistant coordinator of college and pro scouting.

 

Kelly was a receiver and defensive back at Kentucky from 1998 to 2001.

 

Adofo-Mensah comes with an analytics background over nine years in the NFL. He spent the past two seasons under Browns GM Andrew Berry after working in San Francisco’s research and development department from 2013 to 2019. Adofo-Mensah played basketball at Princeton.

The Bears are looking for new leadership after firing GM Ryan Pace and coach Matt Nagy following a 6-11 season.

Chicago interviewed former Philadelphia Eagles coach Doug Pederson and Cleveland executive Glenn Cook for their vacant coach and general manager jobs Wednesday.

 

Pederson led Philadelphia to the franchise’s lone Super Bowl championship. He was 42-37-1 with two division championships and three playoff appearances before going 4-11-1 in 2020 and getting fired.

 

Cook has spent six years in Cleveland’s front office. He was the Browns’ assistant director of pro scouting from 2016 to 2019 and their vice president of player personnel the past two seasons, working with executive vice president of football operations and general manager Andrew Berry. Cook also served as a scouting assistant with Indianapolis (2011-12) and a pro scout with Green Bay (2012-15).

 

He was a linebacker at the University of Miami from 2004-08. He was also drafted by baseball’s Chicago Cubs in the 46th round in 2009 and played 34 games for their rookie league team that year.

Blues Get By Kraken

Robert Thomas and Pavel Buchnevich scored in the third period as the St. Louis Blues came back to beat the Seattle Kraken 2-1 on Thursday night.

 

Ville Husso made 31 saves and the Blues extended their home point streak to 13 games, dating to Nov. 18. It is the third-longest stretch in franchise history.

 

Alex Wennberg scored and Chris Driedger made 25 saves for the expansion Kraken, who lost for the sixth time in seven games.

 

Buchnevich's power-play goal off a slick no-look pass from Ivan Barbashev at 5:30 of the third period gave St. Louis the lead.

 

It was the second consecutive third-period comeback for the Blues, who scored twice in the final minute to beat Dallas on Sunday. St. Louis has an NHL-best 13 comeback wins this season.

 

Thomas' goal at 1:29 of the third tied it 1-all. Torey Krug extended his point streak to six games with an assist.

 

Wennberg's fourth of the season gave the Kraken a 1-0 lead with five minutes left in the first period. It broke a 12-game scoring drought for Wennberg going back to Dec. 3.

 

The Blues are without five players due to COVID-19 protocols as F David Perron was added to the list Tuesday. He joined F Vladimir Tarasenko, F Brayden Schenn, D Colton Parayko and D Scott Perunovich.

 

The Blues host the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday.

Blackhawks Down Canadiens

Philipp Kurashev scored 2:24 into overtime and the Chicago Blackhawks beat the Montreal Canadiens 3-2 Thursday night.

 

Montreal, a defending Stanley Cup finalist, has dropped five straight and is 1-9-3 in its past 13 games. The Canadiens are 7-24-5 overall and fell behind Arizona for the worst record in hockey when the Coyotes beat Toronto on Wednesday.

 

Dominik Kubalik and Patrick Kane also scored for Chicago, which won its third in a row. Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 27 shots.

 

Jeff Petry and Mike Hoffman scored for Montreal, and Sam Montembeault stopped 28 shots.

 

Kurashev piled into Montembeault's crease during overtime and put the puck in the goal as the net came off its moorings. A replay review confirmed the puck crossed the goal line first and that Chicago was onside on the play.

 

Kane tied it at 2 on a power play, ending his 13-game goal drought 2:21 into the third with a deep-angle wrist shot.

 

Montreal had only two shots on goal in the first period but rebounded to take the lead in the second on Petry's first goal of the season and Hoffman's first in 14 games.

 

Chicago dominated the first period with 13 shots, but only Kubalik beat Montembeault, with a wrist shot on a breakaway at 7:42.

 

hicago's Lukas Reichel played in his first NHL game. He was the Blackhawks' top pick in the 2020 draft, selected 17th overall. 

 

Forward Alex DeBrincat was the lone Blackhawk named to the Central Division All-Star team. Forward Nick Suzuki was the only Canadien picked for the Atlantic Division squad. It's the first NHL All-Star Game for each.

 

Chicago hosts Anaheim on Saturday before going to Seattle on Monday.

Lady Maroons Top Sullivan

In a game heard Thursday night on WHOW, the Clinton Lady Maroons downed the Sullivan Lady Redskins, 53-26. 
 

Clinton jumped out to 16-9 first quarter lead, and extended it to 31-15 by half.  
 

The now 19-4 Lady Maroons were led by The WHOW/Serv-Pro of Piatt & Dewitt Counties Player of the Game - Mallory Cyrulik.  The senior had 28 points, and also eclipsed the 1-thousand career rebound mark.  Cyrulik is the first Lady Maroons player to accomplish the feat.  
 

Kaitlin Rauch added 9, and Heidi Humble & Kylie Raymer each added 7 in the win.  
 

Clinton improves to 4-0 in the CIC.  They next play Saturday at 4:30 against Illini Central.  
 

Sullivan falls to 5-13 on the season, and 2-2 in conference play.  The Redskins were led by Izabelle Hay with 13 points. 
 

Our next "Lady Maroons Game of the Week" broadcast on WHOW is next Thursday night when Clinton hosts Shelbyville in conference action.  Varsity tip around 7:30pm next Thursday.  

Clinton High School Basketball Coach Seeing Progress from Young

At 6-13, the Clinton varsity boy's basketball team has had a tough season so far but the young Maroons are showing signs of progress.

 

That's according to second-year head coach Dan Luketich following his team's 79-47 loss to Monticello Tuesday night. The final score would not be indicative of just how well the Maroons played against the sixth-ranked Sages.

 

 

Coach Luketich recognizes the message of the team getting better despite the wins not coming with that progress can be tough. He believes the kids are starting to see things working that they want to do.

 

 

Coach Luketich says he wants to continue to practice like it is a game situation. 
 

The Maroons are a very young group, starting sophomores Mason Walker and Brooks Cluver. Trevor Scott and Brett Young start as juniors and offer defensive toughness along with freshman Colton Walker.

 

Sophomore Dawson Graves has been sidelined for several weeks with a knee injury and was one of the Maroons' most consistent scorers prior to his injury.

 

Additionally, Anthony Westbrooks and Khanton Wilson are promising young freshmen getting varsity minutes this season. 

Monticello Remains No. 6 in Latest 2A Rankings

The Monticello Sages lost last week right before the first 2022 high school basketball rankings were released but the loss didn't seem to impact its standing at sixth in Class 2A.

 

The Sages stayed put at sixth. Nashville jumps to the top team in 2A. Last week's No. 1, Chicago Orr drops to No. 2 followed by Chicago Leo, up a spot from last week. DePaul College Prep dropped from second to fourth this week and Chicago Clark remains at No. 5.

 

Last week, Monticello's opponent for its first and only loss on the season, Teutopolis, was ranked, however, the Wooden Shoes have fallen out of the rankings after a loss at Warrensburg-Latham last week. Murphysboro tied with Breese Central for No. 7 and El Paso-Gridley and Pinckneyville round out the 2A top 10.

 

Meridan stayed put at No. 3 in the latest 1A rankings. Yorkville Christian and Scales Mound were 1-2 in the latest rankings, respectively. 

 

Fulton at No. 4 this week received two first-place votes followed by Peoria Christian. Liberty, Steeleville, South Beloit, Madison, and Tuscola round ou the top 10 in 1A.

 

Chicago Simeon is the unanimous No. 1 in 3A followed by Chicago Mt. Carmel, Hillcrest, Hyde Park, and East St. Louis. Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin jumped a spot to No. 6 followed by Peoria Notre Dame, Burlington Central, Lake Forest and Centralia rounding out the top 10 in 3A.

 

Decatur MacArthur just missed out on the top 10 this week. 

 

Glenbard West is the unanimous No. 1 in 4A followed by Kenwood, Glenbrook South, Chicago Curie and Whitney Young in the top 5. Normal Community No. 6 this week followed by New Trier, Larkin, Wheaton Warrenville South and Oswego East and Rolling Meadows tied for tenth. 

Lincoln Girl's Basketball Up to No. 4 in 3A

The Lincoln High School girl's basketball team jumped two spots in the latest girl's basketball state rankings. 

 

The Lady Railsplitters are up to No. 4 this week in Class 3A. Geneseo is No. 1 followed by Morton, Sycamore and Peoria Central rounds out the top 5. 

 

Peoria Notre Dame, Nazareth, Mattoon, Chicago Heights Marian Catholic and Bethalto Civic Memorial round out the top 10 in 3A.

 

Winnebegao is the top team in 2A followed by Quincy Notre Dame, Illini West, Paris and Teutopolis. Carterville, Chicago Noble Street-Butler, Pana, Fieldcrest, and Arthur-Lovington-Atwood-Hammond round out the 2A top 10.

 

In Class 1A, Elmwood-Brimfield, Okawville, Tri-County, River Ridge and Mendon Unity are this week's top 5. Cowden-Herrick, Brown County, Serena, Havana and Neoga round out the top 10. 

 

In 4A, Chicago Benet Academy is the No. 1 team followed by Stevenson, Hersey, Loyola, and Fremd are the top 5 teams. Chicago Kenwood, Edwardsville, Normal Community, Lyons, and Naperville North round out the top 10.

Drake Gets By Illinois State

Roman Penn and Tucker DeVries scored 16 points apiece and Drake won its 10th consecutive home game, defeating Illinois State 86-75 on Wednesday night.

 

Penn was 8-for-10 shooting and distributed six assists.

 

Garrett Sturtz added 12 points, D.J. Wilkins scored 11 and Tremell Murphy had 10 for the Bulldogs (12-5, 3-1 Missouri Valley Conference).

 

Kendall Lewis scored 20 points, Antonio Reeves 15 and Sy Chatman 14 points for the Redbirds (8-8, 1-2).

 

The Redbirds host Bradley for the 'War on 74' Sunday night.

Bradley Rolls Edwardsville

Rienk Mast had a season-high 23 points to go along with 13 rebounds and Bradley rolled past Evansville 79-47 in Missouri Valley Conference play on Wednesday night.

 

Terry Roberts had 19 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists for the Braves (8-9, 2-3), who had a season-high 20 assists.

 

Jawaun Newton had 16 points and eight rebounds for the Purple Aces (4-11, 0-4), whose losing streak stretched to four games. Shamar Givance added 16 points. Preston Phillips had nine rebounds.

 

The Braves make the trip down I-74 Sunday night to take on Illinois State.

Nets Pull Away from Bulls in Second Half

Kevin Durant scored 27 points, James Harden added 25 points and a season-high 16 assists, and Brooklyn rolled to an easy win over Chicago, beating the Bulls 138-112 Wednesday night in a matchup between the Eastern Conference's top two teams.

 

Durant had 17 points in the third to help Brooklyn break open a game that was tied at 71-all early in the quarter. The second-place Nets silenced a raucous crowd and came away with the win with all three superstars in the lineup for just the second time.

 

Kyrie Irving scored nine in his third game. The seven-time All-Star has refused to get the COVID-19 vaccine and is barred from suiting up in New York due to the city's mandate.

 

But Durant dominated over 30 minutes and finished with nine assists. Harden hit five 3-pointers. Patty Mills scored 21 and nailed of 6 of 8 from beyond the arc, helping Brooklyn come out on top after losing five of seven.

 

The Nets also avoided a three-game sweep by the Bulls. More than anything, they showed how dangerous they can be when they have all their best players available. That hasn't happened often the past two years.

 

Zach LaVine scored 22. DeMar DeRozan added 19 points. But Chicago lost for the second time in three games after winning nine straight to match their best run since the end of the 2010-11 regular season. The Bulls also had their nine-game home win streak snapped.

 

The Nets outscored the Bulls 39-19 in the third to turn a two-point halftime lead into a 101-79 advantage.

 

Durant had 10 in about a two-minute span, including a 3 to make it 99-79 before Irving drove for a layup in the closing minute.

 

By then, the Nets were well on their way. They took control midway through the third with an 18-4 run to break open a game that was tied at 71, a 3-pointer by Mills making it 89-75.

 

The Bulls host Golden State on Friday.

Celtics Roll Pacers

Jalen Brown scored 34 points, Jayson Tatum added 33 and Schroder finished with 23 as the Boston Celtics rolled past the Indiana Pacers 119-100.

 

Boston snapped a six-game road losing streak while beating Indiana for the second time in three days and the fourth straight time.

 

With Brown, Tatum and Schroder operating at full throttle, the Pacers struggled to get in synch as two starters - Malcolm Brogdon and Caris LeVert - returned after being cleared through the health and safety protocols.

 

That left it up to Myles Turner, who had 18 points and Domantas Sabonis added 17 points, six rebounds and six assists as the Pacers lost their second straight and eighth in nine games.

 

After the opening minutes, the Celtics never really gave the Pacers a chance.

 

Boston quickly took a 10-point lead and kept Indiana at arm's length until the final minutes of the first half, then wasted no time reasserting its dominance in the third quarter. The Celtics scored the first eight points to extend a 54-49 halftime lead to 13 and then made it 68-53 when Schroder made back-to-back 3-pointers.

 

Another 3 from Schroder late in the third made it a 19-point game. Indiana never seriously challenged again.

 

Tatum also had seven rebounds and four assists while Brown added five rebounds and three assists.

 

Marcus Smart missed the game with a bruised right thigh. Payton Pritchard played limited minutes after being cleared through the health and safety protocols.

 

LeVert had 16 points and four assists in 29 minutes. Justin Holiday scored 13. One day after signing a second 10-day contract, Lance Stephenson had six points, five rebounds and six assists.

 

The Pacers host Phoenix on Friday night.

Frazier, Cockburn Lead Illinois Over Nebraska

Trent Frazier scored a season-high 29 points, Kofi Cockburn had his eighth straight double-double with 16 points and 13 rebounds, and the 25th-ranked Illini held off the struggling Cornhuskers for a hard-earned 81-71 victory Tuesday night.

 

The Illini (12-3, 5-0 Big Ten) have won five straight games and 10 of 11 and are out to their best start in conference play since 2005.

 

Nebraska (6-11, 0-6) has lost nine of 10 and a program-record 21 straight against ranked opponents, the last 20 under third-year coach Fred Hoiberg.

 

The Huskers, who appeared to all but quit in the second half of a 93-65 loss at Rutgers on Saturday, wouldn’t fold against an Illinois team that has won 11 of 12 Big Ten road games.

 

Nebraska was up 12 points early and down eight late in the first half before going on a 13-0 run spanning the halves to take a two-possession lead.

 

The Illini clawed back and went up 51-47 on Coleman Hawkins’ tip-in of Cockburn’s miss and Frazier’s layup. But they couldn’t build on their advantage and Bryce McGowens’ two free throws tied it 65-65 with under four minutes to play.

 

With Cockburn on the bench with four fouls, the Illini started to put the game away, leading 72-65 after Hawkins’ third-chance putback, Omar Payne’s dunk and Da’Monte Williams’ 3.

 

McGowens led the Huskers with 19 points and Alonzo Verge Jr. and Derrick Walker had 14 apiece.

 

Nebraska, which came in shooting a Big Ten-worst 28% on 3s, made four straight from beyond the arc in the first four minutes while getting out to a 16-4 lead.

 

The Huskers cooled off in a hurry, missing 14 of its next 16 shots. Illinois began heating up, going on a 27-7 run with Cockburn scoring on a slick inside move to give the Illini their first lead and Alfonso Plummer and Frazier hitting 3s from the wing to make it 31-23 late in the first half.

 

But the Illini missed four shots and committed five turnovers while going scoreless the last 4 1/2 minutes of the half. Nebraska rattled off 11 straight points for a 34-31 lead at half, the first time in eight games against Power Five opponents the Huskers were up at the break.

 

The Illini have won nine straight Big Ten regular-season games and 12 in a row including last year’s conference tournament.

 

The 6-foot-10, 240-pound Payne scored a season-high eight points and had five rebounds in 10 minutes spelling Cockburn.

 

Illinois hosts Michigan on Friday.

Bulls Blast Pistons

Nikola Vu?evi? scored 22 points, DeMar DeRozan had 20 points and 12 rebounds, and the Chicago Bulls routed the Detroit Pistons 133-87 on Tuesday night.

 

DeRozan sat for most of the final 16 minutes but still added seven assists. Eastern Conference-leading Chicago won after its season-best nine-game winning streak ended Sunday in Dallas.

 

Josh Jackson scored 16 points and Saddiq Bey added 14 for the Pistons, who had won two straight.

 

The Bulls led 61-52 at intermission and quickly turned it into a blowout by starting the second half on a 17-0 run that included four straight 3-pointers - two each from Derrick Jones Jr. and Vu?evi?.

 

Vu?evi? missed five of his first six shots but ended night 10 for 18 from the floor. He was 7 for 9 in the third.

 

Lonzo Ball added 18 points and Zach LaVine had 10 points and nine rebounds as Chicago picked up its ninth straight home win. The Bulls also got to rest their regulars in the final period to prepare for a two-game stretch that includes visits from Brooklyn - their nearest pursuer in the East - and Golden State.

 

The latter game has been tabbed for a national telecast after Chicago began the season with just a handful of such dates.

 

The Bulls took the lead for good early in the second quarter with a 9-2 run that included a pair of baskets by DeRozan. He had 14 points in the first half.

 

DeRozan’s lone triple-double came during the 2018-19 season with San Antonio.

Detroit’s Cade Cunningham, the top pick in last year’s draft, scored a career-best 29 points a night earlier but struggled Tuesday. He spent the final six minutes of the opening half on the bench after picking up his third personal foul and ended the night with eight points on 3-of-11 shooting and six turnovers.

 

Alex Caruso missed his ninth straight game and third since entering the NBA’s COVID-19 protocol. Donovan said Caruso is “progressing and moving in the right direction,” but would not say when the team expects him back on the court. Caruso missed the first six games recovering from a left foot sprain.

 

The Bulls host Brooklyn tonight.

Blackhawks Double Up Blue Jackets

Alex DeBrincat scored twice and Calvin de Haan netted his first goal in nearly a year to lift the Chicago Blackhawks to their second straight road win, 4-2 over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday night.

 

Columbus has dropped four of five and lost at home to the Blackhawks for the seventh consecutive time.

 

Connor Murphy also scored for Chicago, and Marc-Andre Fleury made 24 saves for his 11th win.

 

Boone Jenner scored for Columbus, and Gus Nyquist had a short-handed goal and an assist.

 

Joonas Korpisalo stopped 16 shots in his third loss in four games.

 

Jenner put Columbus on the board, scoring off a behind-the-net feed from Nyquist at 12:51 of the first period for his team-leading 14th goal.

 

DeBrincat pulled the Blackhawks even 24 seconds later, burying a blueline pass from Riley Stillman past Korpisalo's glove side.

 

DeBrincat's goal continued an 11-game point streak against the Blue Jackets, dating back to the beginning of the 2018-19 season.

 

The Blackhawks went up 2-1 after Philipp Kurashev outraced Jake Bean and found the trailing de Haan, who scored his first of the season at 15:10 of the second. His previous goal came on Jan. 22, 2021, a span of 70 games.

 

Murphy, an Ohio native, made it 3-1 at 6:36 of the third period with a shot from the left circle. Patrick Kane's helper extended his assist and point streak to five games.

 

Nyquist got Columbus within one on a short-handed goal at 18:39, before DeBrincat slammed the door with an empty-netter with 14 seconds remaining for his team-leading 25th goal of the season.

 

Seth Jones was scheduled to play his first game back in Columbus since his 2021 draft-day trade to the Blackhawks, but was derailed by a positive COVID-19 test. Jones is the Blue Jackets' career leader among defensemen in assists, points and overtime winners (club record for all skaters).

 

Chicago hosts Montreal on Thursday.

Big Second Half Sends Monticello Past Clinton

The Clinton Maroons hung tough with the sixth-ranked team in 2A for half Tuesday night but the Sages flexed their defensive muscle and shut down the Maroons to the tune of only ten points to pull away for a 79-37 win in non-conference high school boy's basketball action from the Sievers Center at Monticello High School.

 

In a special simulcast broadcast on WHOW/WEZC, the Maroons shot 7-for-19 from distance the first half to keep the game close, trailing 38-27 at the intermission.

Monticello shot 6-for-11 from distance in the first half. 

 

After a Brooks Cluver basket made it 46-32 with 4:56 left in the third, the Sages finished the quarter on a 14-0 run and continued it to the fourth where they led by as many as 42 with 1:01 left in the game.

 

Dylan Ginalick led all scorers with 22 points, grabbed six rebounds and dished out three assists for the Piatt/DeWitt County Player of the Game award for Monticello.

 

Mason Walker paced the Maroons with 18 points and six rebounds. Cluver finished with 14 points and four rebounds.

 

Ben Cresap added 14 points for Monticello, Trevor Fox chipped in with 13 points and Thomas Swartz added ten points off the bench. 

 

Tanner Buehnerkemper grabbed a game-high eight rebounds and Joey Sprinkle scored seven points and grabbed seven rebounds off the bench for the Sages. 

 

Monticello outrebounded Clinton 43-25 and scored 40 points in the paint with 19-second-chance points on 13 offensive rebounds. The Sages converted just 13 Maroons turnovers into 23 points and added 18 points in transition. 

The Sages improve to 17-1 overall and the Maroons drop to 6-13. 

 

Clinton travels to Central A&M Friday night while Monticello hits the road to take on Bloomington Central Catholic.

 

Hear Monticello action on 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com. 

Monticello Hosts Clinton on Special Simulcast Broadcast on WHOW/WEZC

The Monticello Sages will host the Clinton Maroons tonight in non-conference high school boy's basketball action from the Sievers Center at Monticello High School.

 

It'll be a rematch of a game in December at the annual Monticello Holiday Hoopla. 

 

The Sages rolled the Maroons 63-24. 

 

Both teams are coming off Saturday wins. The Maroons got by Peoria Heights at the Clinton High School New Year's Shootout 59-44 while Monticello dominated Manteno 80-26 at the St. Joe-Ogden Christie Clinic Shootout.

Monticello enters No. 6 in the latest Class 2A high school basketball state rankings and is 16-1 overall. The Maroons are 6-12.

 

Game time tonights is 7 pm and can be heard on 92.3 FM/106.5 FM WHOW, at 95.9 FM WEZC, online at dewittdailynews.com, the WHOW mobile app and at Amazon Alexa.

Illinois' Cockburn Co-Big Ten Player of the Week

Illinois junior center Kofi Cockburn has been named Big Ten Co-Player of the Week after averaging 26 points and 14 rebounds on 61.3% shooting in just 26 minutes per game during two wins last week. He shares the award with Wisconsin's Johnny Davis.

 

Cockburn had a pair of 20/10 games, brining his total to six this season, as well as nine double-doubles in the last 10 games. 

 

He began the week with 29 points, 10 rebounds and season-high four blocks in 24 minutes at Minnesota, with his 29 points against the Gophers the second-highest scoring performance of his career in a conference game.

 

He then had 23 points on 9-12 shooting and tied his career high with 18 rebounds in 28 minutes vs. Maryland. His 18 boards equaled the most recorded in Big Ten play this season. After battling foul trouble in the first half, Cockburn tallied a double-double in the second half alone, with 16 points and 15 rebounds after intermission while outrebounding the Terrapins by himself, 15-10.

 

Cockburn is in the top five nationally in both points and rebounds on the season, ranking fourth in scoring at 22.5 ppg and third in rebounding at 12.5 rpg. Cockburn is the only player listed among the top 15 in both categories. He also is the lone player in the country averaging at least 20 points and 10 rebounds. 

 

This is the third Big Ten Player of the Week award of Cockburn's career (Dec. 27, 2021 & Nov. 25, 2019).

Illinois Back in Top 25 Rankings

Illinois is back in the college basketball top 25 rankings this week as Illinois has started 4-0 in the Big Ten.

 

The Illini are No. 24 in this week's Coach's Poll and No. 25 in the AP Poll. 

 

LSU (14-1, 2-1 SEC) rose nine spots to No. 12 following wins over ranked foes Kentucky and Tennessee, while Wisconsin (13-2, 4-1 Big Ten) is up 10 spots to No. 13 following victories over Purdue, Iowa and Maryland. The trick for the Tigers has been defense as they rank No. 1 nationally in defensive efficiency, according to KenPom.com. For Wisconsin, the formula for success has been a heavy dose of Johnny Davis. The sophomore guard is averaging 22.3 points per game and poured in a career-high 37 points in the Badgers' upset win over the Boilermakers last week.

 

The top four in this week's Coaches poll mirrored the AP Top 25 rankings. But the Boilermakers held on to the No. 5 spot in the Coaches poll, despite the loss to the Badgers. Kansas took a slightly further tumble in the Coaches poll than in the AP poll, as the Jayhawks fell to No. 9 after losing at Texas Tech on Saturday. The Red Raiders jumped six spots to No. 19 following the impressive win over the Jayhawks.

 

As for No. 1, the coaches were unanimous yet again that Baylor is the nation's No. 1 team.

 

 

 

Duke took its first loss of the calendar year over the weekend in a stunning 76-74 defeat to Miami, making it one of the most high-profile fallers in Monday's updated AP Top 25 poll. The Blue Devils came in at No. 8 on the heels of the loss, its first at home since February of last season. It's the first time since Dec. 13, 2021, Duke is not ranked No. 2 in the AP Poll.

 

The shakeup at the top wasn't exclusive to Durham, either, as Purdue, which had been ranked No. 3 for a month, also took a loss last week in 74-69 fashion to Wisconsin. The Boilermakers fell only four spots to No. 7. Kansas, another top-10 team from last week, also took a loss but fell only three spots from No. 6 to No. 9.

 

It wasn't all tumbling for teams in this week's poll, though, as Wisconsin made the biggest leap among 12 teams that moved up with a 10-spot leap from No. 23 to No. 13. LSU came in with the second-highest rise by moving up nine spots to No. 12 following wins over ranked Kentucky and Tennessee teams.

 

Meanwhile at the top of the poll, Baylor clung to its No. 1 unanimous ranking by receiving all 61 first-place votes. However, the top-five got a complete makeover with Gonzaga moving up two spots to No. 2, UCLA moving up two spots to No. 3, Auburn climbing five spots to No. 4 and USC moving from No. 7 to No. 5, the Trojans' highest ranking since they were No. 5 in December 1974.

Celtics Need Overtime to Get By Pacers

Jaylen Brown scored 26 points and Jayson Tatum had 24, carrying the Boston Celtics to a 101-98 overtime victory over the Indiana Pacers on Monday night in the first of a home-and-home series between the teams.

 

Robert Williams III had 14 points and 12 rebounds for Boston, along with a key block in OT. The Celtics won for the fourth time in six games.

 

Pacers scoring leader Domantas Sabonis was held to 11 points but had 23 rebounds after scoring a career-best 42 points in his last game. He finished with a triple-double, adding 10 assists.

 

Boston is currently in a play-in playoff spot, 10th overall. Indiana is 13th.

 

Torrey Craig led the Pacers with 19 points and Lance Stephenson scored 14 but missed a potential tying 3-pointer late in OT. Indiana has lost seven of eight.

 

Brown's one-handed shot from the lane gave Boston a 93-91 edge with 2 1/2 minutes left in OT.

 

After Robert Williams blocked Oshae Brissett's shot, Grant Williams nailed a 3 from the right corner for his only basket of the night.

 

The Pacers cut it to 98-95 and Stephenson's 3 rimmed out with just under 10 seconds to play.

 

With Indiana trailing 101-98 after Tatum's two free throws with 2.5 seconds left, Robert Williams stole Indiana's long desperation pass from its own baseline and the horn sounded.

 

The teams meet again in Indiana on Wednesday night.

Nagy, Pace Out in Chicago

Chairman George McCaskey simply couldn’t ignore the Chicago Bears’ record, no matter how much he and the rest of his family that owns the team enjoyed having general manager Ryan Pace and coach Matt Nagy around.

 

It was time to make big changes. And the Bears did just that.

 

Chicago fired Pace and Nagy on Monday, hoping new leadership in the front office and on the sideline will lift a struggling franchise.

 

Nagy’s fate seemed sealed as the Bears struggled through a 6-11 season that ended with a loss at Minnesota on Sunday. But it was not clear if Pace also would be let go or retained in either his role or a different capacity.

 

McCaskey said he informed the two Monday morning.

 

He said the Bears have brought in Hall of Fame executive Bill Polian to be part of a five-person search team that includes president and CEO Ted Phillips. They would ideally hire a general manager first and then a coach.

 

The Bears have started reaching out to candidates for each job.

 

The Cleveland Browns have given them permission to speak with front-office members Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and Glenn Cook about the GM opening.

 

Chicago has also contacted Buffalo to interview defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier for the head-coaching vacancy, though it’s unclear whether the Bills have yet to grant permission. Frazier, a cornerback on Chicago’s 1985 championship team, is a longtime NFL assistant and former Minnesota Vikings head coach.

 

Though the Bears aren’t adding a president of football operations, they are tweaking their chain of command. The new GM will report directly to McCaskey rather than to Phillips, an accountant by trade who will focus on the pending purchase of a plot of land in suburban Arlington Heights that could be the site of a future stadium. Phillips said that deal probably wouldn’t close until early 2023, at which point the organization will decide whether it’s “financially feasible to try to develop it further.”

 

It’s not clear how big an impact the change in command will have. Phillips will continue to have a say in whether the Bears retain or fire the GM and coach.

 

Whomever the Bears hire will have to solidify the quarterback position, which has haunted the founding NFL franchise for decades. That would seem to mean figuring out a way to get the most out of Justin Fields after a shaky rookie season and surround the former Ohio State star with the supporting cast to help him grow. But McCaskey sidestepped the questions when asked if candidates who express reservations about Fields would be disqualified.

 

The new GM and coach face a big task as they try to turn around the franchise. The Monsters of the Midway have just seven playoff appearances in the past 30 years.

 

The Bears went 48-65 with one winning season and made the postseason twice in the seven years since Pace was hired out of New Orleans’ front office in 2015 to replace Phil Emery. Nagy was 34-31 in four seasons, dropping seven of eight to rival Green Bay. That included a loss at Soldier Field in October in which Aaron Rodgers turned to the crowd after running for a touchdown to help secure yet another win for the Packers over Chicago and screamed, “I still own you! I still own you!”

 

Pace and Nagy both thanked the organization, players and staff as well as each other in statements released through the team.

 

The Bears have not won in the postseason since the 2010 team advanced to the NFC championship game.

 

Pace’s tenure was marred by his inability to settle the quarterback position. He whiffed when he traded up a spot to draft Mitchell Trubisky over Patrick Mahomes with the No. 2 pick in 2017. He also signed Mike Glennon, traded for Nick Foles and paid up for Andy Dalton. And Fields’ future is an ongoing question.

HS GBB: Monticello Topples Olympia

Monticello pulled away late from Olympia for a 51-43 win in Illini Prairie Conference girl's basketball from the Sievers Center at Monticello High School Monday night.

 

The Lady Sages and Lady Spartans went back-and-forth in the second but Monticello made free throws and plays down the stretch. Lizzie Stiverson finished 7-for-8 in the second half and led the Lady Sages with 19 points. 

 

Renni Fultz scored seven of her nine points in the fourth quarter to help the Lady Sages create separation. 

 

Macey Hicks and Megan Allen scored six apiece for the Lady Sages.

 

Taylor Newaskie led all scorers with 21 points for the Lady Spartans.

 

Monticello improves to 13-7 overall and picks up its first Illini Prairie Conference win to go to 1-2. 

 

Olympia drops to 11-7 overall and 0-2 in the Illini Prairie.

Lions Down Packers

Aaron Rodgers threw two touchdown passes in the first half and sat out the second half with nothing at stake as the Detroit Lions beat the top-seeded Packers 37-30 Sunday.

 

Backup Jordan Love threw two late interceptions, sealing a defeat that didn't affect Green Bay's playoff positioning.

 

The NFC North champion Packers (13-4) rolled into the Motor City after already clinching the conference's No. 1 seed and its only first-round bye.

 

Rodgers, the reigning NFL MVP who may win the award for a fourth time, was 14 of 18 for 138 yards.

 

He threw a 1-yard pass to Allen Lazard to cap a 13-play, 74-yard drive that took 7:18 off the clock to open the game and a 29-yard pass to the fourth-year receiver late in the second quarter for another score.

 

Rodgers replaced his helmet with a baseball cap at halftime and watched the rest of the game from the sideline out of harm's way after getting roughed up at times by the hard-charging Lions.

 

The Lions (3-13-1) closed coach Dan Campbell's first season with plenty of pride and some nothing-to-lose plays.

 

With the win, though, Detroit lost a shot at having the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft that was possible because Jacksonville toppled Indianapolis.

 

The tricky Lions tied it 7-all late in the first quarter when seldom-used Tom Kennedy ended up with the ball on a reverse and threw a 75-yard touchdown pass to Kalif Raymond.

 

Detroit took a 24-13 lead early in the third on a reverse flea-flicker with Jared Goff throwing a 36-yard touchdown pass to Brock Wright.

 

Love threw a go-ahead, 62-yard touchdown pass to Josiah Deguara with 4:49 left in the fourth, but the Packers could not hold on for the win.

 

D'Andre Swift scored on a 14-yard run with 1:54 left to put Detroit back ahead.

 

C.J. Moore intercepted Love's pass at the Green Bay 36 on the ensuing possessions after it was deflected by linebacker Jalen Reeves-Maybin, setting up Riley Patterson's field goal to put the Lions up by a touchdown.

 

Love threw a second interception with 21 seconds left after his pass went off rookie receiver Amari Rodgers' hands.

 

Green Bay's Devante Adams had six catches for 55 yards, giving him a single-season franchise record of 1,553 yards receiving that Jordy Nelson set in 2014.

 

Detroit's Amon-Ra St. Brown had eight receptions for 109 yards and a touchdown, setting team rookie records with 90 receptions and 912 yards. The fourth-round pick from USC closed the season with at least eight catches in six straight games, setting an NFL rookie record.

 

Marquez Valdes-Scantling left the game with a back injury. OT David Bakhtiari, a 2020 All-Pro, started and played for first time since tearing his left ACL on Dec. 31, 2020 and having two surgeries. C Josh Myers started after getting removed from IR on Saturday. The rookie second-round pick from Ohio State had been out since had a knee injury on Oct. 17 at Chicago.

 

The Packers will practice, rest and prepare to play in two weeks.

Vikings Rally Past Bears

Kirk Cousins passed for 172 yards and three touchdowns in the second half to lead a Vikings comeback to beat the Bears 31-17 on Sunday in a pad-the-stats game between eliminated teams.

 

Afterward, Vikings Coach Mike Zimmer waved to fans as he walked off the field. With two years remaining on his contract, he said he had not been informed about his status for 2022.

 

The victory gave Zimmer a 72-56-1 record in eight years, including 2-3 in the playoffs. The Vikings have missed the postseason in three of the past four years.

 

Justin Jefferson and K.J. Osborn had touchdown catches in the fourth quarter for the Vikings (8-9), who outscored the Bears 28-3 after halftime.

 

Anthony Barr and D.J. Wonnum each had two of Minnesota's seven sacks of Andy Dalton, who went 33 for 48 for 325 yards and a touchdown pass to Damien Williams that gave the Bears a 14-0 lead.

 

Darnell Mooney had 12 catches for 126 yards to pass the 1,000-yard receiving mark for the Bears (6-11), who are 30-35 in four seasons under Nagy without a win in the playoffs.

 

Bears Coach Matt Nagy elected to go for it on fourth down six times, with only one conversion. Andy Dalton took sacks on three of the first four of those plays for 35 lost yards, with two of those on fourth-and-1. He also threw a fourth down interception late in the fourth quarter, when Patrick Peterson picked him off for a 66-yard touchdown return.

 

The Bears had seven possessions over the first three quarters and reached at least the Minnesota 35 on each one, but they had one touchdown and three field goals by Cairo Santos to show for it.

 

On their first drive of the second half, Dalton scrambled on third-and-8 for what was initially ruled a touchdown. The replay review reversed the call with his knee down just short of the goal line. Then Barr chased Dalton down for a 15-yard loss after he looped around behind the line of scrimmage looking for an open receiver.

 

Dalton, the 11-year veteran, made his sixth start of the season. Rookie Justin Fields landed on the COVID-19 reserve list this week.

 

The Bears sent their first-round draft pick, which will be No. 7, to the New York Giants for last year's trade up to get Fields.

Mavs Beat Bulls

Luka Doncic had 22 points, 14 rebounds and 14 assists for his third triple-double of the season as the Dallas Mavericks beat Chicago 113-99 on Sunday night for their season-best sixth straight win while snapping the Bulls' nine-game winning streak.

 

Josh Green and Maxi Kleber had season highs with 18 points each for Dallas. It was a career-high for Green, who scored nine in the fourth quarter, and Kleber tied a career-high hitting six shots behind the arc in nine attempts. Jalen Brunson added 17 points, Dorian Finney-Smith had 12 and Dwight Powell 10.

 

Doncic, back in the lineup after missing the previous game with a right ankle sprain, got his first triple-double since Nov. 29 and has 39 in his four-year NBA career.

 

Dallas has averaged winning by 15.7 points during its streak and has held opponents to 93.0 points.

 

DeMar DeRozan and Zach LaVine scored 20 points each to lead the Bulls. Chicago went in averaging 111.3 points per game, eighth-best in the league, and was held to double figures for the first time since Dec. 11.

 

The Bulls went in leading the NBA in 3-point shooting at 38.7% but with a league-low 29.9 attempts. They hit 7 of 15 in the first half but only 4 of 18 afterward to finish 11 for 33 for 33.3%. 

 

The Bulls fell short of getting their longest streak since 1997-98, in the last of Michael Jordan's six championship seasons.

 

The Mavericks led 83-81 after DeRozan opened the fourth quarter with a 15-foot jumper. Dallas then outscored Chicago 19-7 to take a 102-88 lead with 6:24 to play.

 

Coby White scored 11 points in the first half for his seventh straight double-figure game and finished with 13. F Patrick Williams (wrist broken in late October) has had a cast replaced by a brace.

 

The Bulls host Detroit on Tuesday night to begin a three-game homestand.

Blues Rally Past Stars

Jordan Kyrou and Ryan O'Reilly scored power-play goals in the final minute, rallying the St. Louis Blues over the Dallas Stars 2-1 on Sunday.

 

Kyrou won it with 29 seconds left. O'Reilly tied it at 1-all with 47 seconds to go while the Blues had a 6-on-4 advantage.

 

It was the first time in franchise history the Blues scored twice in the last minute to win.

 

This was the 11th time in NHL history that a team has won in regulation after trailing by one in the last minute. Boston was the last team to do it, scoring twice to beat Florida 4-3 on March 7, 2019.

 

St. Louis extended its home ice point streak to 12 games, going 11-0-1 during the run. Jordan Binnington made 26 saves for the Blues.

 

Kyrou's shot from a wide angle deflected off Dallas defenseman Jani Hakanpaa.

Jason Robertson scored a second-period goal for Dallas, which had a four-game winning streak snapped. He extended his point streak to seven games.

 

The Blues' two goals came after Braden Holtby had stymied them for most of the contest. Holtby made 29 saves and came within a minute of his 36th career shutout.

 

St. Louis has outscored its opponents 49-21 during the 12-game run, which is the third longest in franchise history, tying the mark set from Jan. 6-Feb. 26, 2001.

 

O'Reilly converted from the slot after Torey Krug's shot hit the backboard and bounced right to him. Dallas defenseman Miro Heiskanen was given a slashing penalty on the goal by O'Reilly, which came on a 6-on-4 advantage with Binnington out of the net.

 

Robertson scored his 12th of the season off a goal-mouth scramble. He poked the puck past Binnington at 9:16.

 

The Stars were coming off a 3-2 win over Pittsburgh on Saturday, snapping the Penguins' 10-game winning streak. Robertson, who has points in his last seven games, assisted on all three goals in that win.

 

St. Louis has a league-leading 11-5-1 mark when giving up the first goal.

 

The Blues host Seattle on Thursday.

Williamson lifts Loyola Chicago past Bradley 78-71 in OT

Lucas Williamson matched his season high with 20 points as Loyola Chicago extended its winning streak to seven games, beating Bradley 78-71 in overtime on Saturday.

 

Williamson, who shot 9 for 11 from the foul line, scored all Loyola's points - including nine in the final 58 seconds - as the Ramblers closed the game with a 10-3 spurt.

 

Aher Uguak had 16 points for Loyola Chicago (11-2, 2-0 Missouri Valley Conference). Chris Knight added 14 points and 11 rebounds. Ryan Schwieger had 13 points.

 

Rienk Mast scored a season-high 20 points plus seven rebounds and three blocks for the Braves (7-9, 1-3). Jayson Kent added 15 points. Malevy Leons had seven rebounds.

 

Terry Roberts, whose 16 points per game coming into the contest led the Braves, scored only six points on 2-of-13 shooting.

 

Williamson was fouled as he hit a 3-pointer and the made the and-1 free throw to complete a four-point play before Chris Knight added a layup to give Loyola a two-point lead with a minute left in regulation. Rienk Mast answered with a layup on the other end to make it 66-all.

Peoria Christian Edges Maroa-Forsyth

Maroa-Forsyth couldn't buy a basket in overtime and Peoria Christian edged Maroa-Forsyth 56-55 in overtime from the Clinton High School New Year's Shootout Saturday afternoon.

 

The Trojans finished 3-for-6 from the foul line in the extra session for its only points.

 

Wes Hunt scored 27 points to lead Peoria Christian. Kitan Isawumi scored 14 points and Gavin Johnson chipped in with 10 points.

 

Kaden Maurer scored 14 points to lead the Trojans, Eagan Franzen added 11 points while Jaxson Grubbs and Mitch Williams each scored nine points. 

 

The Trojans battled back after getting down 38-22 at the half, outscoring Peoria Christian 21-8 in the third quarter. 

 

Peoria Christian improves to 12-2 overall while Maroa-Forsyth falls to 9-5.

 

The Trojans are off until next Friday night when they travel to Mason City to take on Illini Central. 

Monticello Boat Races Manteno

Monticello set its season-high for points on the second straight night as they boat raced Manteno 80-26 from the St. Joseph-Ogden Christie Clinic Shootout Saturday evening.

Monticello shot 66-percent from the floor for the game and finished 15-for-22 from distance. 

 

The Sages assisted 22 times on 33 field goals and turned the ball over only twice on the night. 

 

Three players scored in double figures led by Ben Cresap's 19 points. Dylan Ginalick added 17 points and Trevor Fox finished with 12 points. Fox was the Piatt/DeWitt County ServPro Player of the Game.

 

Monticello finished with 32 points in the paint and 34 points off 16 Manteno turnovers. 

Manteno drops to 7-8 overall while the Sages are now 16-1. 

 

Monticello hosts Clinton Tuesday night at 7 pm. Hear the game on 95.9 FM WEZC, online at dewittdailynews.com, on 92.3 FM/106.5 FM WHOW, at the WHOW mobile app, and at Amazon Alexa. 

Monticello Topples IVC

In a game heard on 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com, the sixth-ranked Monticello Sages were able to overcome a chaotic style of play and beat IVC 75-56 in the Illini Prairie Conference opener in high school boy's basketball action from the Sievers Center Friday night at Monticello High School.

 

The Grey Ghosts played a full-court press most of the night with an aggressive two-three half-court zone defense that allowed the Sages to score 52 points in the paint and shoot 56-percent for the game.

 

Monticello dished out 23 assists on 33 baskets and turned it over only 11 times. They also forced IVC into 20 points to the tune of 28 points.

 

Four players scored in double figures for Monticello led by Piatt/DeWitt County ServPro Player of the Game Dylan Ginalick's 17 points, seven rebounds and six assists. Tanner Buehnerkemper (bunny-kemp-er) added 16 points and six assists, Ben Cresap scored 15 points and seven steals while Joey Sprinkle added 12 points.

 

Nick Rainey scored a game-high 18 points for the Grey Ghosts.

 

IVC falls to 2-14 overall and 0-1 in the Illini Prairie.

 

The Sages bounced back from its first loss of the season Tuesday night at Teutopolis to improve to 15-1 and 1-0 in the Illini Prairie. 

 

The first high school basketball state rankings of the 2022 calendar year were released Wednesday and Monticello was No. 6 in the poll followed by Teutopolis at No 7. 

 

The Sages return to action Saturday evening with a game at the St. Joseph-Ogden Christie Clinic Shootout taking on Manteno at 5 pm. Hear the action on 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com. 

Clinton Blows Out Tri-Valley

The Clinton Lady Maroons started fast and didn't look back blowing by Tri-Valley 59-37 in non-conference high school girl's basketball action Thursday night from Tri-Valley High School.

 

The Lady Maroons jumped out to a 17-6 lead after the first quarter and led 29-11 at the intermission. 

 

Kaitlyn Rauch led all scorers with 25 points while Mallory Cryulik scored 23 points for Clinton. 

 

With the win, Clinton improves to 17-4 overall. The Lady Maroons return home next Tuesday night hosting LeRoy at 7:30 pm. 

Illinois Rolls Maryland

Kofi Cockburn posted his seventh straight double-double, Trent Frazier scored 16 points and Illinois rallied after squandering an early lead to beat Maryland 76-64 on Thursday night.

 

Cockburn scored 23 points and tied a career-high with 18 rebounds after early foul trouble. He made 9-of-12 shots with many coming thunderous dunks from the powerful 7-footer listed at 285 pounds.

 

After Eric Ayala’s 3-pointer gave Maryland a 47-42 lead with 14:31 left, Illinois went on a 12-0 run and led the rest of the way.

 

The Illini sprinted to a 21-7 lead with Cockburn scoring a third of those points. His last basket of the first half put Illinois up 14 with 10:50 left before the break, but 16 seconds later he picked up his second foul and went to the bench.

 

Maryland took advantage and erupted with a 23-7 burst and took its first lead 30-28 on Donta Scott’s 3 with 2:30 before halftime. The Terrapins led 34-30 at halftime, Scott missed just one of seven shots and had 15 at intermission.

 

Illinois (11-3, 4-0 Big Ten Conference) beat Maryland at home for the first time since 2015. The Illini last won its first four conference contests in the 2009-10 season.

Illinois travels to Nebraska on Jan. 11.

Packers Have Little to Play For Sunday

The reigning NFL MVP still wants to play Sunday at Ford Field, even though that would increase his chances of getting injured.

 

The Packers (13-3) are closing the regular season strong with five straight wins, earning home-field advantage in the conference playoffs for the second straight year and winning the NFC North for the third season in a row.

 

The Lions (2-13-1) are limping toward the end of coach Dan Campbell's first season with injuries and pandemic protocols ravaging their roster.

 

Jared Goff missed last Sunday's loss at Seattle with a knee injury after being on the reserve/COVID-19 list the previous week when Detroit lost at Atlanta.

 

Even though the sixth-year quarterback doesn't need to play the Packers, he hopes to be healthy enough to face them.

 

If Goff isn't cleared to compete, former Green Bay backup Tim Boyle is expected to make his fourth career start.

 

Green Bay's Davante Adams already has broken his own single-season franchise record with 117 catches and he's closing in on another mark. He has 1,498 yards receiving, putting him perhaps a couple catches away from breaking Jordy Nelson's single-season team record of 1,519 yards receiving that he set in 2014 when Adams was a rookie.

 

Like Rodgers, the star receiver isn't afraid of getting hurt in a game without stakes for the team.

 

Detroit has had a lot go wrong this season, but general manager Brad Holmes clearly made the right call when he drafted USC receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown in the fourth round. St. Brown is the first rookie in league history to have eight-plus catches in five straight games. Randy Moss, Odell Beckham Jr. and St. Brown are the three rookies in NFL history to have 90-plus yards receiving and a touchdown reception in four straight games.

 

St. Brown has 82 receptions, a franchise record for a rookie and is 15 yards receiving away from breaking Roy Williams' team record of 817 yards receiving for a first-year player with the Lions.

 

The Packers have a league-low 10 turnovers this season and have a plus-16 turnover margin that matches Indianapolis for the NFL lead. Meanwhile, the Lions have lost a lot in part because of a minus-7 turnover margin.

Bears Look to End Season on High Note

The Vikings (7-9) were eliminated from contention with last week's loss at Green Bay. They will finish the schedule against the Chicago Bears (6-10), who were essentially out of it by mid-November and mathematically dismissed from the race by losing at home to Minnesota on Dec. 20.

For all the sweat poured into intense offseason workouts and repetitive summer practices and all the time spent on film review and playbook implementation, a three-hour game will always carry a reward for the players who suit up.

This is the fifth time in six years at U.S. Bank Stadium that the Vikings have finished the season at home against the Bears. Both teams were also eliminated ahead of time in 2016. In 2019, the Bears were out and the Vikings were locked into their seed for the playoffs.

 

The Vikings won in 2017 to clinch a first-round bye, with the Bears already done. The highest stakes were in 2018, when the Vikings would have been a wild-card team with a win. The Bears beat them 24-10 despite having already clinched the NFC North.

 

The Bears were planning to start rookie Justin Fields at quarterback, but he landed on COVID-19 reserve on Thursday. Fields, who is 2-8 as the starter this season, missed the last two games with an ankle injury suffered Dec. 20 in the previous matchup against Minnesota.

 

Bears outside linebacker Robert Quinn broke Pro Football Hall of Fame member Richard Dent's club record last week with his 18th sack of the season. That was also the 100th of his career. Quinn has had quite the bounce-back year at age 31, just one short of his career high for sacks that was set in 16 games in 2013 with the St. Louis Rams.

Coyotes Blow By Blackhawks

Johan Larsson had his first career hat trick, and the Arizona Coyotes sent the Chicago Blackhawks to their sixth straight loss, 6-4 Thursday night.

 

Larsson, who missed 10 games earlier in the season because of injury and COVID-19 protocols, scored the game's first goal when he deflected Janis Moser's shot from the blue line past Chicago goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury.

 

His second goal came on the power play and gave Arizona a 5-2 lead early in the third period. After the Blackhawks cut the deficit to one goal with 6 1/2 minutes to play, Karel Vejmelka and the Coyotes held Chicago off the scoreboard and Larsson scored into an empty net with 29 seconds remaining. It was the first hat trick of the season for Arizona, which posted just its seventh win.

 

Dysin Mayo, Travis Boyd and Clayton Keller also scored for Arizona. Boyd, Shayne Gostisbehere and Phil Kessel each had two assists for the Coyotes. Vejmelka made 32 saves to earn his first home victory of the season. He has won twice on the road.

 

Larsson's second goal came 51 seconds after Boyd scored 3:10 into the third period. Chicago challenged the goal, claiming interference on former Blackhawks player Andrew Ladd against Fleury, but the ruling stood as replays showed Ladd was pushed into Fleury by Chicago's Riley Stillman.

 

Kirby Dach, MacKenzie Entwhistle, Jonathan Toews and Alex DeBrincat scored the Chicago goals. DeBrincat's was his 21st of the season and third in two games.

 

Fleury made 21 saves for Chicago. The Blackhawks last won Dec. 15, in overtime against Washington.

 

The Blackhawks are at Las Vegas on Saturday.

BCC Gets By Monticello

The Bloomington Central Catholic Lady Saints got by the Monticello Lady Sages 39-31 in Illini Prairie Conference girl's basketball action Thursday night from the Sievers Center at Monticello High School. 

 

The Piatt/DeWitt County ServPro Player of the Game Lizzie Stiverson led Monticello with 12 points. Megan Allen added nine points and Renni Fultz finished with six. 

 

The Lady Saints were led by Cate Uhren's 12 points. 

 

With the win, BCC improves to 10-5 overall and is 3-0 in the Illini Prairie Conference. 

 

Monticello falls to 12-7 and 0-2 in conference play. The Lady Sages play next Monday night hosting Olympia. Hear the action on 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com. 

Pair of Lady Maroons Reach Career Milestones at Monticello Holiday Hoopla Last Week

The Clinton Lady Maroons had a pair of basketball players reach career milestones last week during the Monticello Holiday Hoopla tournament.

 

Coach Josh Williams says Kaitlyn Rauch reached the 1,000 point milestone on the Monday of the tournament. He calls her the Javy Baez of their team and it gives this Clinton girl's basketball team a pair of 1,000 point scorers.

 

 

Also during the Hoopla, fellow 1,000 point scorer, Malorie Cyrulik broke the girl's basketball rebounding record. Coach Williams says it's a 21-year record that is now all hers.

 

 

Both Rauch and Cyrulik were named to the Holiday Hoopla all-tournament team in helping lead the Lady Maroons to a third-place finish in the girl's bracket. 

 

Clinton is 16-4.

Monticello Checks In At No. 6 in Latest High School Basketball Polls

Thanks to winning its first 14 games on the season, the Monticello Sages check in at No. 6 in the first high school boy's basektball poll of the 2022.

 

The Sages lost Tuesday night to Teutopolis who is No. 7. Chicago Orr is the No.1 team in 2A followed by DePaul College Prep, Nashville, Chicago Leo and Clark. 

 

After Monticello and Teutopolis, Breese Central, Murphysboro and El Paso-Gridley rounds out the top 10 for 2A. St. Joseph-Ogden, Warrensburg-Latham, and Tolono Unity received votes in the latest poll.

 

Meridian out of the Central Illinois Conference is No. 3 in the 1A poll. Yorkville Christian and Fulton are 1-2, respectively. South Beloit and Scales Mound round out the top 5. 

 

Peoria Christian checks in at No. 6 followed by Liberty at No. 7 and Madison and Steeleville tie for No. 8 and Tuscola is No. 10 in this week's poll. 

 

Cerro Gordo-Bement just missed the top 10 this week while Champaign St. Thomas More and Okaw Valley also received votes in 1A.

 

In Class 3A, Chicago Simeon is the unanimous No. 1 followed by Chicago Mt. Carmel, Hillcrest, Hyde Park and East St. Louis. 

 

Peoria Notre Dame is No. 6 while Burlington Central and Springfield Sacred Heart Griffin tie at No. 7 with Decatur MacArthur and Centralia rounding out the top 10.

 

Metamora and Lincoln missed the top 10 but received votes.

 

Glenbard West, Kenwood, Glenbrook South, Chicago Curie and Chicago Whitney Young are the top 5 in 4A. Normal Community, New Trier, Wheaton Warrenville South, Chicago Larkin and Homewood-Flossmoor round out the top 10 in 4A.

Missouri State Holds Off Bradley

Isiaih Mosley hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to lift Missouri State over Bradley 71-69 on Wednesday night.

 

Lu'Cye Patterson had a career-high 20 points and Ja'Monta Black had 17 points for Missouri State (11-5, 2-1 Missouri Valley Conference). Mosley added 11 points and six rebounds. Gaige Prim had seven rebounds.

 

Jayson Kent had 18 points and seven rebounds for the Braves (7-8, 1-2). Malevy Leons added 16 points and eight rebounds. Rienk Mast had 13 points.

 

Bradley is at Loyola-Chicago Saturday at 4 pm. 

Lincoln Girl's No. 6 in 3A High School Basketball Polls

The Lincoln Lady Railsplitters are No. 6 in the first high school girl's basketball poll of 2022. 

 

Off to a 15-2 start, the Lady Railsplitters have broken in to the top 10 after starting the season unranked. Geneseo is No. 1 in 3A followed by Morton, Peoria Central, Bethalto Civic Memorial and Syamore rounding out the top 5.

 

After Lincoln, Chicago Heights Marian Catholic, Metamora, Nazareth and Mattoon round out the top 10. Peoria Notre Dame and Washington received votes in the 3A poll. 

 

In Class 2A, Arthur-Lovington-Atwood-Hammond ties at No. 9 in the first poll of the new year. Winnebago is the No. 1 team in 2A, followed by Quincy Notre Dame, Paris, Illini West, and Teutopolis.

 

Fieldcrest is No. 6 followed by Carterville and Chicago Noble Street Butler. In the 2A poll, Pana, Eureka, and St. Joseph-Ogden received votes.

 

In Class 1A, Brimfield is the No. 1 team followed by Okawville, Mendon Unity, Shiloh and River Ridge. 

 

Cowden-Herrick, Brown County, Serena, and Havana are six through nine while Neoga and Carlyle tied for tenth. 

 

In the girl's 4A poll, Normal Community tied for eighth with Lyons in this week's poll. Chicago Benet Academy is No. 1 followed by Chicago Stevenson, Hersey, Kenwood and Loyola Academy. 

 

Edwardsville tied with Fremd for No. 6 and Bollingbrook is No. 10 in this week's poll.

Nets Get By Pacers

Kyrie Irving scored 22 points and sparked Brooklyn to a big rally in the second half of his season debut, Kevin Durant had 39 and the Nets beat the Indiana Pacers 129-121 on Wednesday night.

 

Irving is ineligible to play home games because he is not vaccinated as mandated in New York City, and the Nets had decided against allowing him to just play road games for most of the season.

 

But they changed their mind last month and were glad they did Wednesday, when Irving helped them charge back from a 19-point deficit. The point guard played 32 minutes as Brooklyn snapped a three-game losing streak.

 

Domantas Sabonis had 32 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists for the Pacers, who have lost in six in a row. Lance Stephenson, who had two previous stints with the Pacers, scored 30 in his first home game with the Pacers after signing a 10-day contract.

 

Stephenson delighted the home crowd by scoring the final 20 points for the Pacers in the first quarter as Indiana took a 37-32 lead. He hit 8 of 9 shots, 4 of 5 3-pointers in that 6-plus minute stretch.

 

The 20 points were a record for any Pacers player in the first quarter. It was also the most points in the opening quarter for a player coming off the bench.

 

The Pacers shot 62% to a grab a 73-60 lead at halftime. Irving hit a shot at the third-quarter buzzer to cut Indiana's lead to 101-94. That capped an 8-0 run by the Nets.

 

Patty Mills sank a 3-pointer to put Brooklyn ahead for good at 107-106 with 7:23 left. Irving followed with two consecutive baskets to push the lead to 111-106 and Indiana never recovered.

 

Brooklyn shot 56% overall while Indiana finished at 49%.

 

Irving hit 9 of 17 shots and 2 of 4 free throws.

 

The Pacers host Utah on Saturday.

Penguins Rally Past Blues

Sydney Crosby and Evan Rodrigues scored 12 seconds apart in the third period, and the Penguins rallied for a 5-3 win over the St. Louis Blues on Wednesday night.

 

Bryan Rust scored twice and Brock McGinn also had a goal to help the Penguins win their ninth straight - their longest since a winning 15 in a row in March 2013. It is the longest active streak in the league, tying Carolina for the longest of the season. Pittsburgh is 14-2-1 in its last 17 games.

 

Crosby scored his fifth, Rodrigues his 14th and McGinn his ninth, as Pittsburgh scored three in the third to erase a 3-2 deficit.

 

Casey DeSmith stopped 13 shots, but was pulled after the Blues' third goal. He's allowed three goals or more in 11 of his last 14 games dating back to last season. Tristan Jarry, who recently came off the NHL's COVID-19 protocol, stopped all 13 shots in relief.

 

Brayden Schenn returned from injury to score his fifth of the season and 200th career goal for the Blues. Jordan Kyrou stayed hot with his 13th of the season, and Colton Parayko scored his fourth. Vladimir Tarasenko had two assists to extend his point streak to six games. Jordan Binnington stopped 36 shots for the Blues, who saw a two-game win streak end with their third loss in 10 games. 

 

Crosby scored with 7:37 left in the third to tie it 3-3. Crosby, with Niko Mikkola draped on his back, cut across the crease and knocked a rebound past Binnington. Blues coach Craig Berube challenged for goaltender interference, but Crosby's goal stood.

Rodrigues gave Pittsburgh the lead for good 12 seconds later.

 

With Schenn's return to the lineup, the Blues were their healthiest since late November. Robert Bortuzzo is the lone forward currently unavailable because of the NHL's COVID-19 protocols.

 

Schenn last played Dec. 12 against Anaheim, as he missed five games with an upper-body injury. He skated on the left wing alongside Ivan Barbashev and Pavel Buchnevich and played 15:25 with a goal and an assist.

 

Tarasenko has six goals and 12 points during his six-game point streak. He has six multi-point efforts in his last 10 games with 16 points during that span.

 

Kyrou, who set a Winter Classic record with two goals and four points, has four goals and eight points in his last three games.

 

The Blues host Washington on Friday to open a five-game homestand.

Teutopolis Holds Off Monticello

In a thrilling game heard on 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com, Brendan Niebrugge hit a three-pointer from the top of the key with 1:12 left and Teutopolis was able to hold off Monticello for a 54-51 win, ending a 14-game win streak to start the season for the Sages in non-conference high school boy's basketball action from Teutopolis High School.

 

The Sages had chances late but turned the ball over on a pair of possessions and had a missed chance under the basket with under a minute left.

 

Monticello had won 14 in a row to start the season, including a tournament title at its own Holiday Hoopla last week. 

 

The Sages finished the final 1:20 of the first quarter on a 6-0 run to turn a 16-11 deficit into a 17-16 lead after the first quarter but the Wooden Shoes broke things open in the second quarter and led 31-24 after the first half.

 

Monticello rallied in the third quarter, outscoring T-town 21-11 to take a 45-42 lead after three.

 

After shooting 5-for-11 in the first half from three, the Wooden Shoes shot 3-for-9 in the second half from distance. It was just enough to hold off the Sages.

 

They outrebounded Monticello 27-24 for the game and used 14 offensive rebounds to score 15-second chance points. 

 

The Sages outscored the Wooden Shoes in transition 20-0.

 

Ben Cresap led all scorers with 19 points for Monticello. He was the Piatt/DeWitt County ServPro Player of the Game.

 

Caleb Seimer scored 14 points with 12 in the first half for T-town with a game-high nine rebounds helping the Wooden Shoes move to 10-3 on the season.

 

At 14-1 on the season, Monticello opens the Illini Prairie slate Friday hosting IVC at 7 pm at the Sievers Center. Hear the action on 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com.

Maroa-Forsyth Edges Olympia

Egan Franzen and Jaxson Grubbs scored 19 points and 17 points, respectively, to help lead the Maroa-Forsyth Trojans over Olympia 49-48 in non-conference high school boys' basketball action Tuesday night at Olympia High School.

 

Franzen scored 12 of his 19 points in the first half and Grubbs used four three-pointers to score 17 points. 

 

The Trojans are 9-4 overall and will take on Peoria Christian Saturday afternoon at 4:30 pm Saturday at the Clinton High School New Year's Shootout.

 

High School boy's basketball scores from Tuesday:

 

Clinton 39

Leroy 48

Knicks Down Pacers

RJ Barrett scored 24 of his 32 points in the first half, Julius Randle had 30 points and 16 rebounds in his first game after coming off the COVID-19 health and safety protocols list, and the New York Knicks beat the Indiana Pacers 104-94 on Tuesday night.

 

Alec Burks added 14 points for New York (18-20), which snapped a two-game losing streak. Immanuel Quickley chipped in with 11.

 

Kiefer Skyes scored 22 points in the Pacers' fifth straight loss. Duane Washington Jr. added 17. Domantas Sabonis and Torrey Craig each contributed 15.

 

The New York-Indiana rivalry in the mid-to-late 1990s was among the NBA's must-see matchups. This game was far from it, with a decimated Pacers squad taking on a Knicks team nearly back at full strength.

 

Malcolm Brogdon, Chris Duarte, Isaiah Jackson, Jeremy Lamb, Caris LeVert, Goga Bitadze, Kelan Martin and T.J. Warren all missed the game for Indiana as they were in health and safety protocols. T.J. McConnell did not play as he is recovering from right wrist ligament surgery. By comparison, New York was aided by the returns of Randle, Mitchell Robinson and Jericho Sims from protocols.

 

It was tied at 55 at halftime, even with Barrett's huge first half. The Pacers, who trailed by 12 early in the second quarter, finished the final seven minutes of the period with an 18-8 run.

 

Randle took over in the third, scoring 14 points on 5-for-7 shooting, including 2 for 2 from 3. New York led 84-77 after three and Barrett, Randle and Burks took turns knocking down big shots in the fourth.

 

The Pacers host Brooklyn on Wednesday night.

Illinois Dominates Minnesota

Kofi Cockburn had 29 points, 10 rebounds and a season-high four blocks for his eighth double-double of the season and Illinois dominated Minnesota 76-53 on Tuesday night for its fourth straight win in the series.

 

Cockburn scored five points in a 9-0 run to open the second half to help build a 50-30 lead, and Illinois led by at least 18 points the rest of the way.

 

Cockburn, who entered ranked fourth in the nation in scoring at 21.8 points per game and third with 12.1 rebounds, was 10 of 19 from the field despite being double-teamed down low.

 

Jacob Grandison added 11 points and Alfonso Plummer, who entered averaging 22.9 points over the last eight games, scored 10 for Illinois (10-3), which has its first 3-0 Big Ten start since the 2010-11 season. The Illini dominated the paint, outscoring Minnesota 42-18 with a 52-26 edge in rebounding.

 

Cockburn and Grandison combined for 11 points in a 13-5 game-opening run, and Illinois led by as many as 16 points in the first half. Minnesota got within 35-28 after the Illini turned it over on four straight possessions, but it was 41-30 at halftime with 12 points from Cockburn.

 

Jamison Battle and sixth-year senior Eric Curry each scored 10 points for Minnesota (10-2, 1-2), which last beat Illinois on Jan. 30, 2019.

 

The Illini host Maryland on Thursday. 

Avalanche Bury Blackhawks

Cale Makar scored on a slick move 2:38 into overtime, lifting the surging Avalanche to a 4-3 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks.

 

Makar skated into the left circle, spun away from Chicago center Kirby Dach and then drove to the net. The 23-year-old defenseman moved the puck from side to side before beating Marc-Andre Fleury with a backhand for his 14th goal, extending his career high.

 

Colorado forward Logan O'Connor and Chicago captain Jonathan Toews each had a shot go off a post in overtime before Makar's game-winner.

 

Johnson had two goals as Colorado won for the seventh time in eight games. Alex Newhook also scored, and Darcy Kuemper made 28 saves.

 

Johnson and Makar made it an NHL-best 32 goals for Avalanche defensemen. The team got 26 goals from blueliners in 56 games last season.

 

Chicago dropped its fifth straight game. Alex DeBrincat had two power-play goals on consecutive shots, and Toews scored in the second period. Fleury finished with 29 stops in his first start since Dec. 17 after spending time on the COVID-19 protocol list.

 

Led by DeBrincat and Patrick Kane, the Blackhawks moved in front with two goals in 40 seconds in the third period. First, DeBrincat converted a one-timer off a pass from Kane, and then he got his 20th goal when he beat Kuemper off another assist from Kane at 2:58.

 

The Avalanche tied it again when Johnson's shot from the side appeared to go off Jake McCabe's stick and past Fleury at 11:44.

 

It was the first meeting between the Central Division teams since Colorado's 4-2 victory in the season opener Oct. 13. The Avalanche jumped all over the Blackhawks in the first game, opening a 3-0 lead 9:34 into the first period.

 

Colorado got off to another fast start in its first trip to Chicago this season. Johnson's shot from near the blue line traveled through traffic in front before beating Fleury on the stick side at 7:43, and Newhook made it 2-0 when he converted a backhand with 6:06 left in the opening period.

 

The Avalanche nearly had another 3-0 lead, but Fleury robbed Tyson Jost with his left leg with 1:40 left.

 

Chicago responded with a much better performance in the second. Toews poked home a rebound for his fourth goal at 4:47. Henrik Borgstrom nearly tied the game in the final minute, but he was denied by Kuemper.

 

The Blackhawks are at the Arizona Coyotes on Thursday night.

HS GBB: Clinton Falls Short to Mt. Pulaski

The Clinton Lady Maroons could not overcome a slow start Monday night at Mt. Pulaski and a late comeback fell short in a 42-40 non-conference loss in high school girl's basketball action from Mt. Pulaski High School.

 

The Lady Maroons trailed 23-14 after the first half and 33-24 after three. A fourth-quarter rally was not enough for the Lady Maroons.

 

Both Mt. Pulaski and Clinton came into Monday's game with three losses on the season.

 

Lady Hilltoppers junior Alexis Wade scored a game-high 20 points.

 

Malorie Cyrluik led the Lady Maroons with 14 points. Kaitlyn Ruach added 12 points. Heidi Humble and Kylie Raymer each scored seven.

 

The Lady Maroons drop to 16-4 overall while the Lady Hilltoppers improve to 16-3.

 

The Lady Maroons open 2022 with four of its first five games on the road. Their lone home game is this Thursday night host Tri-Valley. 

Bulls Stay Hot, Edge Magic

DeMar DeRozan scored 29 points, Zach LaVine added 27 and the Chicago Bulls won their eight straight game, beating the Orlando Magic 102-98 on Monday night.

 

Nikola Vucevic had 13 points and 17 rebounds for the Bulls. Coby White came off the bench to score 17 points.

 

Franz Wagner led Orlando with 22 points. Wendell Carter Jr. finished with 21 points and 10 rebounds for the Magic, who lost their sixth straight. Orlando has three wins since Nov. 17.

 

LaVine and DeRozan combined for 17 points in the third quarter, helping the Bulls hold off the Magic. Chicago last lost on Dec. 11, 118-92 to Miami.

 

Chicago led by eight points after LaVine hit a step-back 3-pointer with 2:13 left in the fourth quarter. Orlando closed within two points after Wagner hit three free throws in the final 20 seconds. LaVine and DeRozan hit free throws that iced the game for the Bulls.

 

The second-half scoring outburst by DeRozan and LaVine was just what Chicago needed to overcome a slow start. The Bulls shot just 5 of 22 in the first quarter, missing their first seven attempts and going 1 of 9 on 3-pointers.

 

Orlando started strong despite playing on the second night of a back-to-back, opening the game on an 11-2 run and getting points from all but one of its starters within the first four minutes. The Magic hung with the Bulls throughout, and never fell behind by more than nine. But, the Magic was unable to come up with a key stop down the stretch.

 

Chicago outscored the Magic 20-9 in the opening minutes of the second quarter to take the lead. LaVine hit a 3-pointer and a driving layup over Magic center Mo Bamba, pushing Chicago's edge to eight points. A Hassani Gravett 3-point buzzer-beater cut Orlando's deficit to 45-40 at halftime.

 

The Bulls host Washington on Friday.

Bears Topple Giants

Robert Quinn broke Hall of Famer Richard Dent's franchise single-season mark with his 18th sack, and the Chicago Bears pounded the New York Giants 29-3 on Sunday.

 

Trevis Gipson added a career-high two sacks, and the Bears joined Green Bay as the only franchises with 800 victories counting the postseason. They also gave the embattled Matt Nagy a win in what might have been his final home game as their coach.

 

Quinn broke Dent's record of 17 1/2 set in 1984 when took down Mike Glennon from behind and jarred the ball loose in the fourth quarter. The Bears then called a timeout to give him his moment.

 

By time Quinn passed Dent, Chicago (6-10) was well on its way.

 

Gipson had a strip-sack on the game's first play from scrimmage and Tashaun Gipson Sr. picked off Glennon on the next possession. The two takeaways led to a scoring run by David Montgomery and touchdown catch by Darnell Mooney, making it 14-0 and sending the Monsters of the Midway to their second straight win after losing eight of nine.

 

The Giants (4-12), who could also be in for changes, lost their fifth straight game. They set a season low in yards for the second week in a row, finishing with 151 after being held to 192 against Philadelphia.

 

Quinn was diagnosed with a brain tumor when he was 17 and told he wouldn't survive. Now, he's a record setter for a founding NFL franchise.

 

Andy Dalton threw for 173 yards on a chilly afternoon with rookie Justin Fields missing his second straight game because of an ankle injury. The three-time Pro Bowler was 18 of 35 with a touchdown and interception in his fifth start this season. A lingering groin injury kept him out of last week's game at Seattle, and with Fields unavailable, Nick Foles led Chicago to a comeback win.

 

Montgomery ran for two touchdowns. Mooney had 69 yards receiving.

 

Saquon Barkley ran for 102 yards. It was the most for him since 2019, and he did it in his first game in Chicago since tearing his ACL and MCL against the Bears on Sept. 20, 2020.

 

The Bears visit Minnesota next Sunday.

Indiana State Gets By Bradley

Cooper Neese had 19 points as Indiana State edged Bradley 76-71 on Sunday.

 

Micah Thomas had 18 points and eight rebounds for Indiana State (8-6, 1-1 Missouri Valley Conference), which won its fourth straight game. Kailex Stephens added 14 points. Zach Hobbs had 14 points and nine rebounds.

 

Bradley scored 30 points in the second half, a season low for the team.

 

Terry Roberts had 19 points, seven rebounds and six assists for the Braves (7-7, 1-1). Malevy Leons added 11 points and 12 rebounds. Connor Hickman had 10 points.

 

The Braves host Missouri State Wednesday.

Packers Steamroll Vikings

Aaron Rodgers threw two touchdown passes, A.J. Dillon ran for two more scores and the Packers routed the Minnesota Vikings 37-10 on Sunday night to wrap up the NFC's No. 1 playoff seed.

 

Green Bay (13-3) is the lone NFL team with an unbeaten home record and has a chance to reach the Super Bowl without leaving Lambeau Field. Sunday night's game exemplified the potential advantage the Packers have playing home games in January, as the temperature was 11 degrees with a wind chill of 1 just before kickoff.

 

The Packers have won 13 straight regular-season home games but lost 31-26 at home to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in last season's NFC championship game. The Packers haven't reached the Super Bowl since their 2010 title and have lost in the conference championship game four of the last seven seasons.

 

Green Bay's victory, coupled with Philadelphia's 20-16 triumph at Washington earlier in the day, dropped the Vikings (7-9) from postseason contention and gave the Eagles a playoff berth. The Vikings were playing without quarterback Kirk Cousins after he was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list Friday.

 

Rodgers went 29 of 38 for 288 yards with a 20-yard touchdown pass to Allen Lazard and an 11-yarder to Adams, who caught 11 passes for 136 yards.

 

Adams has 117 receptions to break the Packers' season record he set last year.

Over his last six games, Rodgers has thrown 18 touchdown passes without an interception despite playing with an injured left pinky toe.

 

The reigning MVP has thrown 56 career regular-season touchdown passes against the Vikings, the most they have allowed to any quarterback. Brett Favre, who preceded Rodgers as the Packers' quarterback, threw 54 career touchdown passes against the Vikings before ending his career with Minnesota.

 

Packers coach Matt LaFleur broke George Seifert's 30-year-old NFL record for the most regular-season wins by a coach in his first three seasons. LaFleur has a 39-9 regular-season mark and 41-11 overall record. Seifert had a 38-10 regular-season record from 1989-91 in his first three seasons with the San Francisco 49ers.

 

Dillon ran for two second-half touchdowns and gained 63 yards on 15 carries. Aaron Jones gained 76 yards on just eight carries as the Packers outrushed the Vikings 174-27.

 

Minnesota had won its last two matchups with the Packers but never had much of a chance in this one without Cousins, who had thrown for 341 yards and three touchdowns in a 34-31 home victory over the Packers on Nov. 21.

 

The Packers have won five straight since that loss in Minnesota.

 

Sean Mannion started in place of Cousins and went 22 of 35 for 189 yards, including a 14-yard touchdown pass to K.J. Osborn. Mannion was making his third career start, and first since the final week of the 2019 regular season.

 

The Packers reached the red zone on three of their first four possessions but only had a 6-0 lead to show for it, thanks to Mason Crosby's two field goals. But they broke through by reaching the end zone on their next three possessions, including two touchdowns in the final 4 1/2 minutes of the first half.

 

The Packers are at Detroit on Sunday.

Valpo Downs Illinois State in Overtime

Ben Krikke had 18 points to lead five Valparaiso players in double figures as the Beacons turned back Illinois State 81-76 in overtime in Missouri Valley Conference play on Sunday.

 

Trevor Anderson added 14 points and six assists for Valparaiso (8-6, 1-1). Eron Gordon pitched in with 13 points and eight rebounds, Kobe King scored 12. Sheldon Edwards finished with 12 points - hitting a 3-pointer and four free throws in the extra period.

 

Antonio Reeves had 24 points to pace the Redbirds (8-7, 1-1). Sy Chatman added 23 points. Chatman sank 1 of 2 free throws with 7 seconds remaining to send the game to OT. Josiah Strong had 15 points and six rebounds.

 

The Redbirds host Loyola-Chicago Wednesday. 

Cavs Beat Pacers

Rookie Evan Mobley had 24 points and nine rebounds, Kevin Love scored 20 points and the Cleveland Cavaliers snapped a three-game losing streak with a 108-104 win over the Indiana Pacers on Sunday night.

 

Jarrett Allen scored 18 points and Lamar Stevens added a season-high 15 for Cleveland, which trailed 84-73 in the third quarter before going on a 17-0 run to take the lead for good. Love scored eight points in a row during the surge.

 

Domantas Sabonis had 32 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists for the Pacers, and rookie Duane Washington Jr. scored a season-high 20 points. Indiana has dropped four straight overall and hasn't won on the road since Nov. 22 in Chicago.

 

Washington drained a 3-pointer with eight seconds left to pull Indiana within 3 at 107-104, but Brandon Goodwin split a pair of free throws to restore the Cavaliers' two-possession lead. Cleveland made 7 of 12 foul shots in the fourth quarter.

 

Allen also grabbed 11 rebounds and blocked three shots, while the recently signed Goodwin had seven points and five assists. Cleveland lost shooting guard Isaac Okoro to a left elbow injury due to a pick by Sabonis on a screen.

 

Mobley, the third overall pick from USC, is averaging 20.8 points and shooting 63.3% from the field in four games since exiting the NBA's health and safety protocols. He made 11 of 16 shots against Indiana.

 

Justin Holiday scored 18 points on six 3-pointers, and 28-year-old rookie Keifer Sykes had 10 points and five assists in his first start for Indiana. Sykes played in South Korea, Turkey, Italy, China, Greece and Australia before signing with the Pacers on Dec. 27.

 

Pacers guard Caris LeVert and center Goga Bitadze were added to the safety protocols earlier in the day. They have seven players in the COVID-19 program, including Malcolm Brogdon, Chris Duarte and Jeremy Lamb.

 

The Pacers visit New York on Tuesday night.

Flames Roll Blackhawks

Johnny Gaudreau had a goal and two assists, Matthew Tkachuk scored for a third straight game and the Calgary Flames beat the Chicago Blackhawks 5-1 on Sunday night.

 

Elias Lindholm and Trevor Lewis also scored for Calgary, Oliver Kylington added a long empty-netter and Jacob Markstrom blocked 30 shots in the Flames' second straight win. Calgary is coming off a COVID-19 outbreak that shut the team down from Dec. 11 until Dec. 30, when they topped the Kraken in Seattle.

 

The Flames have roared back with 11 goals in two games, while allowing five, and their top line of Gaudreau, Tkachuk and Lindholm has led the way. Gaudreau has been as slick as ever with three goals and three assists in the two wins.

 

The Flames took charge in the second period, outshooting Chicago 26-9 in the frame to tie a franchise record for shots in a period.

 

Alex DeBrincat scored his team-leading 18th goal, but Chicago dropped its fourth straight.

 

Arvid Soderblom made his first NHL start with 37 saves, including one on Dillon Dube's third-period penalty shot. Soderblom made his NHL debut Saturday, playing the second and third period of Chicago's 6-1 loss at Nashville.

 

Chicago interim coach Derek King said his team had only a few ''passengers'' Sunday after he thought nearly half his players weren't ready in a 6-1 loss at Nashville on Saturday. And King was impressed with the 22-year-old Soderblom, saying ''the poor kid played a hell of a game for us.''

 

Marc-Andre Fleury, the Blackhawks' top goalie, returned from COVID-19 protocol Sunday and was on the bench the as the backup.

 

Sunday's game was Chicago's second in two days after a 13-day layoff when four of its contests were postponed because of COVID-19. The Blackhawks played their first home game since Dec. 17 in an uncharacteristically quiet United Center, where there were plenty of empty seats.

 

The Blackhawks host Colorado on Tuesday.

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