Local Sports

HS BBBall: Monticello Frantic Comeback Falls Short Against Rantoul

In a game heard on WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com, Monticello rallied back from 18 points down in the fourth quarter to tie the game but could not finish the comeback as they fell to Rantoul, 77-75 in Illini Prairie Conference high school boys basketball action at the Sievers Center in Monticello Tuesday night.


The Eagles shot an unsightly 74 percent in the first half Tuesday night, including going 8-for-9 from free, opening up a 46-34 halftime lead. Rantoul did not slow down much in the second half, leading 68-50 early in the fourth. 


Monticello senior Trey Welter sparked the comeback, starting with a three-point play on a drive to the basket where he made the layup on a foul and made the free throw to make the score 70-56 with 4:37 left.


Monticello went on an 11-2 run in a span of 2:05 - finished by Carter Foran's layup on a clear path to the basket in the halfcourt to make 72-67 with 2:32 left. 


Welter was fouled again on a drive to the basket and made two more free -throws to make it 72-69 with 2:02 seconds left.


After a Rantoul turnover on its ensuing possession, Welter was fouled again as he made a layup through contact where he cut the inside of his finger and had to have his hand taped up before his and-one free throw, which he stepped up and made with a heavily taped hand with 1:35 left.


Rantoul made just enough free throws down the stretch to hold on against Monticello. 


With 1:17 left, Justin Merrill made one of two free throws to put the Eagles up for good at  73-72. 


Ross Gawenda made two big free throws with under a minute left but missed two more with 4 seconds and Rantoul up by three, 77-74.


Off the rebound, the Eagles fouled Welter with 0.6 seconds left. The senior made the first free throw and time expired as he missed the second without a put-back attempt for the Sages.


Rantoul finished shooting 67.5 percent from the floor and finished 8-13 from distance, going 0-4 in the second half. The Eagles used effective dribble penetration to score 44 points in the paint, with 26 coming in the second half. 


In the first half, Rantoul turned just six Monticello turnovers into 14 points. Each team had 22 points off turnovers for the game. The Sages forced the Eagles into 16 total turnovers. 


Despite the tough loss to a Rantoul squad that was just 3-14 coming into the game and played the game of its season Tuesday, Monticello shot 52.6 percent from the floor, finishing just 5-for-25 from three.


The Eagles made 15-of-24 free throws. Monticello knocked down 10-of-15. 


Sophomore Melvin Hall came off the bench and scored 19 points, he had three, old-fashioned three-point plays for the game. DJ Davis added 18 points for Rantoul while Tyler Merrill finished with 11 points. 


Welter scored a game-best 28 points. Raiden Colbert added 14 points while Ike Young added 12 for the Sages.


Monticello outrebounded Rantoul 26-23. The teams combined for 57 made field goals. 


Rantoul goes to 4-14 overall and 2-3 in the Illini Prairie Conference.


With a tough stretch ahead for the Sages and a chance to posture for better postseason seeding, Monticello falls to 11-11 overall and 3-2 in the Illini Prairie Conference.


The Sages are off until Saturday when they take on Athens in the Illini Prairie/Sangamo Conference shootout from the Sievers Center at 3:30 pm. Hear the action on 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com. 

HS BBBall: Maroa-Forsyth Takes Down Illini Central

Kaiden Maurer scored 17 of his game-high 20 points in the second half and Maroa-Forsyth withstood a big punch from Illini Central in the third quarter for a 67-51 win over Illini Central Tuesday night in Sangamo Conference high school boys basketball action from Maroa.


The Trojans led 29-16 at the break. Illini Central trimmed the deficit to 45-40 after three but its comeback flattened out.


Mitch Williams and Zayne Giles each scored 14 points for Maroa-Forsyth who goes to 15-7 overall and 3-1 in the Sangamo.


They travel to Athens Friday before a game at Monticello Saturday at noon against Champaign St. Thomas More in the Illini Prairie/Sangamo Conference shootout.

HS BBBall: Slow Fourth Quarter Dooms Blue Ridge Opposite Okaw Valley

The Blue Ridge Knights were right there all night but a slow fourth quarter allowed Okaw Valley to take home a 64-53 win in Lincoln Prairie Conference boys basketball action from Farmer City Tuesday night.


The Knights trailed just 46-44 after three quarters, but Okaw Valley hit a couple of three and made took advantage of its opportunities to outsscore Blue Ridge 18-9 in the final frame.


Isaac Price paced Blue Ridge with 19 points.Zack Lewis added 12 for Blue Ridge.


The Knights drop to 13-9 overall and 3-3 in the Lincoln Prairie. They host Arcola Friday night in more Lincoln Prairie Conference action. 

HS BBBall: Argenta-Oreana Rolls Sullivan

A big second quarter propelled Argenta-Oreana over Sullivan 60-48 in Lincoln Prairie Conference high school boys basketball action Tuesday night in Argenta.


The Bombers trailed 19-11 after the first quarter, but opened up a 36-31 lead at the break thanks to a 25-12 second quarter and then expanded its lead to 51-36 after a 15-5 third quarter.


Ethan Mahan and Chase Logue each had 19 points to lead the Bombers. Jalynn Flowers scored 11 points. 


Camden Watkins had a game-best 26 points for the Redskins. Brett Bushue scored 12 points for Sullivan. 


The Redskins are 17-7 overall and 5-2 in the Lincoln Prairie Conference.


The Bombers go to 14-10 overall and 6-1 in league play. Argenta-Oreana travels to Toledo-Cumberland for another league game Friday night at 6.

Illinois Topples Ohio State

Marcus Domask and Terrence Shannon Jr. each had 23 points and Ty Rodgers had 13 as No. 14 Illinois beat Ohio State 87-75 on Tuesday night.


Illinois (16-5, 7-3 Big Ten) held a 41-34 lead at the break after hitting 7 of 10 in the final 6:32 of the first half. Ohio State went scoreless in the final 2:16 of that span.


The Fighting Illini stretched their lead to 16 points in the second half. Dain Dainja contributed seven points and five rebounds on 3-of-5 shooting.


Rodgers posted the second double-double of his career adding 10 rebounds.


It was Shannon’s fourth game back after sitting out six games because of a university-imposed suspension.


Shannon is facing a rape charge in Kansas, but he was granted a preliminary injunction by a federal judge on Jan. 19 that forced Illinois to reinstate him to the team.


Ohio State (13-8, 3-7) got within 10 points after Jamison Battle made a 3 with 1:54 remaining. The Buckeyes shot 6 of 10 in the final five minutes and went 50% on the night.


Battle scored 21 points and Roddy Gayle Jr. had 20 for the Buckeyes.


The Fighting Illini earned their fourth win in five games and second in a row. They’ve averaged 84.4 points per game during the stretch.

Illinois hosts Nebraska on Sunday.

HS GBBall: Pontiac Top Monticello

In a game heard on WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com, Bailey Masching scored a game-high 28 points and led Pontiac over Monticello 42-30 in Illini Prairie Conference girls basketball Monday night at the Sievers Center in Monticello.


Trailing 8-4 after the first quarter, Monticello battled back to bring the deficit to 12-11 on a Mady Melton free throw but the Lady Indians finishe the half on a 6-2 run and led 18-13 at the break. 


The Lady Sages would get within three and four points at a couple of junctures in the second half but could never get closer as Masching went 8-for-12 at the foul line in the second half. Pontiac made 17-of-28 free throws as a team, including 16-of-24 in the second half to put the game out of reach.


Maia High was named the ServPro of Piatt/DeWitt County Player of the Game leading Monticello with 11 points. Melton added nine for the Lady Sages who fall to 10-16 overall and 2-4 in the Illini Prairie Conference.

Bulls Roll Trailblazers

DeMar DeRozan finished with 20 points and the Chicago Bulls snapped a two-game losing streak with a 104-96 victory over the Portland Trail Blazer on Sunday night.


Coby White had 15 points and 10 assists for the Bulls, playing the last of a short three-game road trip, while Andre Drummond came off the bench with 15. Ayo Dosunmu's 3-pointer with 21 seconds left all but sealed the win.


The Bulls, who were never able to extend their lead by more than 11 points and made just eight of 32 3-point attempts, relied on defense for the victory.


Jerami Grant led Portland with 24 points, while Deandre Ayton had 22 and 12 rebounds. The Blazers have lost four of their last five games.


The Bulls narrowly led by 76-75 going into the final quarter. Chicago rookie Julian Phillips' 3-pointer stretched the lead to 88-80.


Anfernee Simons' 3-pointer with 4:34 left got Portland within 92-89 before DeRozan's 3 on the other end ended the threat.


Simons got the Blazers within 99-96 late in the game but Dosunmu's 3-pointer snuffed any attempt at a final rally.


Dosunmu's 3 came off a pass from Nikola Vucevic.


The Bulls were without Patrick Williams, who has a sore left foot and is scheduled to undergo additional imaging in Chicago before there's a timeline for his return.


The Bulls host the Toronto Raptors on Tuesday before visiting the Hornets the next night.

Cubs Ink Neris

The Chicago Cubs and Héctor Neris have agreed to a $9 million, one-year contract, giving manager Craig Counsell another late-inning arm for his bullpen.


The contract includes a team option that converts to a player option if Neris appears in 60 games.


The 34-year-old Neris went 6-3 with a 1.71 ERA in 71 games with Houston last season. The right-hander has made at least 60 appearances six times, including each of the last three years.


Neris likely will slot in as one of Chicago’s primary setup men for Adbert Alzolay, who had 22 saves in 25 chances in 2023 in his first season as the closer. The Cubs also have Julian Merryweather and Mark Leiter Jr. at the back of their bullpen.


Chicago is looking for its first playoff appearance since it was eliminated by Miami in an NL Wild Card Series in 2020. The Cubs were in position for a wild card last year before stumbling in September, fading to an 83-79 record after finishing under .500 in the previous two seasons.


Counsell was hired in November, replacing David Ross in a surprising move. The Cubs also added to their rotation when they finalized a $53 million, four-year contract with Japanese left-hander Sh?ta Imanaga on Jan. 11.


Michael Busch was acquired in a trade with the Dodgers to play first base, but Chicago still could use a big bat for its lineup. It is hoping to re-sign Cody Bellinger, who is a free agent after putting together a resurgent season with the Cubs.


Neris made his big league debut with Philadelphia in 2014 and spent his first eight seasons with the Phillies. He signed a $17 million, two-year contract with Houston in November 2021. He declined his part of an $8.5 million mutual option for 2024 with the Astros and became a free agent.


Neris is 33-36 with a 3.24 ERA and 89 saves in 546 career games. He also is 2-0 with a 4.40 ERA in 15 career postseason games, helping Houston win the World Series in 2022.

Blues Outlast Kings in Overtime

Brayden Schenn scored 1:04 into overtime to help the St. Louis Blues beat the Los Angeles Kings 4-3 on Sunday for their season-best fifth consecutive win.


Jordan Kyrou had a goal and two assists for St. Louis, which surrendered at least four goals in each of its previous four games against Los Angeles. Pavel Buchnevich and Nick Leddy also scored, and Joel Hofer made 30 saves.


Buchnevich intercepted a pass from Phillip Danault and then set up Schenn, who beat David Rittich for his 13th goal.


The Blues have won four straight games by a score of 4-3.


Danault, Adrian Kempe and Jaret Anderson-Dolan scored for Los Angeles, which dropped its fourth consecutive game. Rittich made 28 stops.


The Kings are 2-8-6 in their last 16 games after a 20-7-4 start to the season.


Buchnevich tied it at 2 with his 17th goal on a power play just 55 seconds after Anderson-Dolan scored his first goal of the season 5:39 into the second.


St. Louis went 1 for 6 on the power play.


TheBlues host Columbus on Tuesday night.

White Sox Ink RHP Brebbia

Right-hander John Brebbia and the Chicago White Sox finalized a $5.5 million, one-year contract on Friday that includes a mutual option for 2025.


The 33-year-old gets $4 million this year, and the option is for $6 million with a $1.5 million buyout. Brebbia can earn $1 million annually in performance bonuses for games: $250,000 each for 45, 50, 55 and 60.


Brebbia was 3-5 with a 3.99 ERA in 40 appearances and 10 starts for San Francisco last season. He was sidelined from mid-June until early September because of a strained right lat.


In 2022, Brebbia was 6-2 with a 3.18 ERA and a NL-leading 76 appearances for the Giants. He is 15-15 with a 3.42 ERA in six seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals and San Francisco.


Chicago designated infielder/outfielder Romy Gonzalez for assignment.

HS BBBall: Sullivan Tops Argenta-Oreana

A big third quarter created all the separation Sullivan would need as the Redskins ran to a 59-42 victory Friday night and took home third place at the Lincoln Prairie Conference tournament in Arthur.


The Bombers trailed 29-26 at the half but the Redskins used a 20-9 third quarter to create the space they needed to take home third place.


Dirk Lane scored 19 points to a qiad of Redskins in double figures. Aiden Ballenger scored 12 points, Camden Watkins added 11 and Kyle Corkill added 10.


The Bombers were led by Ethan Mahan's 17 points. He was the only Bombers player to reach double figures. Chase Logue scored nine points.


The Redskins go to 17-6 overall. The Bombers are 13-10.


Argenta-Oreana continues league play Tuesday night at Toledo-Cumberland. 

HS BBBall: Maroa-Forsyth Falls Short to Petersburg-PORTA

Coby Lane scored 20 points but it wasn't enough as Maroa-Forsyth fell to PORTA-AC Central 59-56 in Sangamo Conference high school boy's basketball action Friday night at Maroa-Forsyth High School.


The first half was close, as the Trojans led 32-29 at the break, but PORTA pulled to a 49-42 lead after three quarters and a late comeback by Maroa-Forsyth fell short. 


Lane was the only player to score in double figures. Mitch Williams and Zayne Giles each added nine points while Kaiden Maurer scored eight.


Sophomore Jett Karrick scored a team-high 19 points for the Blue Jays. Drew Marr scored 18 points and Ethan Mahoney added 11.


PORTA goes to 12-11 overall and 1-2 in the Sangamo Conference.


Maroa-Forsyth drops to 14-7 overall and 2-1 in league play. The Trojans take on Illini Central on Tuesday night in Maroa in more Sangamo play. 

HS BBBall: Monticello Comes Up Short to St. Joseph-Ogden

In a game heard on WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com, Monticello battled back from a ten point halftime deficit but could not put away St. Joseph-Ogden in a 42-39 defeat Friday night in Illini Prairie Conference high school boys basketball action from the Sievers Center in Monticello. 


With Trey Welter sitting for all of the second quarter, Monticello fell behind 24-14 at the intermission with only a single free throw for its only point in the second.


But with Welter back in the second half, the tenor for the Sages completely flipped. Welter scored six of his team-best 12 points in the third quarter and as Monticello outscored St. Joe 15-7 for the frame, highlighted by a 7-2 run in the last 3:21 of the third.


Welter tied the game to start the fourth quarter with a pair of free throws then a Matt Swartz layup put Monticello up 33-31, the only lead the Sages would hold on the night.


St. Joe finished the fourth quarter outscoring Monticello 11-6. The Sages had plenty of opportunities in the fourth quarter but could not cash in and were done in by rebounds.


The Spartans outrebounded the Sages 39-21, grabbing 19 offensive boards. St. Joe only converted those 19 boards into seven second-chance points. 


Despite shooting 25.6 percent from the floor for the game - including 2-for-15 from distance, the Spartans made 18-of-26 free throws. 


Monticello shot 40 percent from the floor and 2-for-14 from three. 


Luke Landrus scored 12 of his game-high 19 points in the second half for the Spartans.


Welter led the Sages with 12 points and Tyler Blythe finished with 11.


Welter's presence during the Sages' comeback earned him the ServPro of Piatt/DeWitt Counties player of the game.


St. Joe improves to 18-4 overall and 5-0 in the Illini Prairie Conference.


Monticello drops to 11-10 and 3-1 in conference play. The Sages stay at home for another pair of games next week, starting with an Illini Prairie Conference tilt with Rantoul on Tuesday at 7 pm. Hear the action on 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com.


Join us Monday night for the final girl's basketball broadcast of 2024 when the Lady Sages host Pontiac at the Sievers Center. Hear the action on WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com starting at 7 pm. 

Lakers Hold Off Bulls

LeBron James had 25 points and 12 assists a few hours after being named to his record 20th NBA All-Star team and the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Chicago Bulls 141-132 on Thursday night.


D’Angelo Russell hit eight 3-pointers and scored 29 points, Anthony Davis scored 22 points and Austin Reaves had 20 points and eight assists. Jarred Vanderbilt added a season-high 17 points as the Lakers made 60.9% of their shots in their fourth win in six games.


After hitting 15 of their 18 shots in a spectacular second quarter, the Lakers racked up a season-high 112 points through three quarters and took a 24-point lead that allowed them to weather the Bulls' 39-point fourth quarter. The Lakers' 141 points were a season high, as were the Bulls' 132.


Los Angeles-area native DeMar DeRozan scored 14 of his 32 points in the fourth to lead six scorers in double figures for the Bulls, who have lost the first two on their three-game West Coast trip. Coby White added 25 points, Nikola Vucevic had 20 and former Lakers guard Alex Caruso had 17.


With this victory, the Lakers went 6-6 to wrap up a 23-day stretch in which they had just one game outside Los Angeles. They’ll spend the next two weeks on a six-game road trip while the Grammy Awards take over their downtown arena.


Although Russell didn't score in the fourth, he finished one shy of his career high in 3-pointers, and he continued to complicate the Lakers’ decisions on his future with another big game ahead of the trade deadline. The point guard’s contract is highly moveable, but Los Angeles must decide whether it can get enough in return to shake up its .500 season - particularly if Russell can keep up this recent stretch of outstanding play.


James became the first 20-time All-Star in NBA history earlier Thursday, surpassing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s record. James, who topped Abdul-Jabbar as the leading scorer in league history last season, will also start his 20th All-Star Game in his 21 seasons.


Before the game, Donovan said star guard Zach LaVine will be out for at least another week before his ankle injury is re-evaluated. The UCLA product was frequently linked with the Lakers in trade rumors earlier this season.


The Bulls are at Portland on Sunday night.

White Sox Name TV Play-by-Play Hiring

The Chicago White Sox agreed to a multiyear contract with ESPN’s John Schriffen to be their television play-by-play announcer.


The 39-year-old Schriffen replaces Jason Benetti, who took a similar job with the Detroit Tigers in November. Schriffen will call games with longtime analyst Steve Stone for NBC Sports Chicago.


Schriffen said it was exciting to learn of chairman Jerry Reinsdorf’s passion for the team and baseball’s history when they met in Arizona last weekend.


Schriffen, who joined ESPN in 2020, has called select Saturday and Sunday games for ESPN radio’s MLB broadcasts since 2022. He also works NCAA basketball, football, baseball and softball games as well as the NBA G-League and Summer League for the network.


Schriffen plans to call the majority of Chicago’s games, though he did not have an exact number. He said the White Sox are his top priority, but he hopes to keep working for ESPN in the offseason.


Schriffen, who is biracial, joins Seattle’s Dave Sims as the only Black TV play-by-play announcer. His grandfather, Alphonso Deal, was president of the NAACP’s Philadelphia chapter.


Before joining ESPN, Schriffen was a studio host for the NFL Network, as well as a play-by-play broadcaster and sideline reporter for CBS Sports from 2015 to 2020. He worked as a New York-based correspondent for ABC News from 2012 2014, contributing reports for Good Morning America and Nightline.


Schriffen graduated from Dartmouth, where he pitched.

Oilers Blank Blackhawks

Connor McDavid had two goals and an assist, backup Calvin Pickard made 27 saves for his fifth career shutout and the Edmonton Oilers won their 15th straight game with a 3-0 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday night.


Zach Hyman also scored and Leon Draisaitl had three assists for the Oilers, who are just the fifth team in NHL history to win 15 or more consecutive games. The 1992-93 Pittsburgh Penguins hold the NHL record with 17 wins in a row.


The Oilers are 23-3-0 in their last 26 games and have gone a franchise-record 13 consecutive games allowing two or fewer goals.


Petr Mrazek stopped 31 shots for the Blackhawks, who have lost 19 consecutive road games (0-18-1). Chicago has dropped its last three overall.


Chicago had a prime opportunity to score with 1:36 remaining in the second when Entwistle was awarded a penalty shot after being hauled down by Oilers defenseman Vincent Desharnais. Entwistle attempted to send his shot through Pickard’s legs, but the Oilers goalie stopped him.


The Blackhawks are at Calgary Flames on Saturday.

HS BBBall: Cerro Gordo Knocks Off Blue Ridge at Lincoln Prairie Conference Tournament

Cerro Gordo used a big fourth quarter to get by Blue Ridge 55-47 in Lincoln Prairie Conference tournament boys basketball action from Arthur Wednesday night.


The Knights were up 35-34 heading to the final frame, but the Broncos outscored them 21-12 to pull out the victory.


Isaac Price led Blue Ridge with 13 points and Zack Lewis added 12 points. 


The Knights drop to 12-8 overall and have been eliminated from the tournament. 


They return to action Tuesday night hosting Okaw Valley in a Lincoln Prairie matchup.

HS GBBall: Monticello Holds Off Rantoul

Monticello was able to hold off Rantoul despite a slow fourth quarter came took home an Illini Prairie Conference win 48-39 in high school girls basketball action from Rantoul Wednesday night.


Maia High had 14 points and eight rebounds to lead Monticello. Ali Weidner added ten points for the Lady Sages. 


Leading 22-15 at the break, Monticello used a 20-11 third quarter to go up 42-26 after three. The Lady Sages were outscored 13-6 in the final frame but were able to hold off the Lady Eagles.


The Lady Sages improved to 8-14 overall and picked up its first Illini Prairie Conference win to go to 1-3 in league play.

Northwestern Knocks Off Illinois

Boo Buie scored 29 points, Brooks Barnhizer added 23 and Northwestern beat No. 10 Illinois 96-91 on Wednesday night.


The Wildcats (14-5, 5-3 Big Ten) scored the first nine points in overtime after Illinois’ Marcus Domask missed a jumper at the end of regulation. They got some payback, too, after the Fighting Illini (14-5, 5-3) beat them by 30 on Jan. 2 without star guard Terrance Shannon Jr.


In a game that featured 18 lead changes and 15 ties, Northwestern finally took control in OT.


Buie put the Wildcats on top with a 3-pointer. Barnhizer hit one from the corner, got fouled by Quincy Guerrier and made the free throw to complete the four-point play.


Matthew Nicholson put back a missed layup by Buie following a steal, making it 85-76 with 2:35 left, and the Wildcats remained in control the rest of the way.


Northwestern knocked off a top-10 team for the second time this season to go with an overtime stunner against then-No. 1 Purdue at Welsh-Ryan Arena on Dec. 1. This one came on the heels of a loss at Nebraska on Saturday.


Coleman Hawkins had 22 points and 13 rebounds for Illinois. Domask scored 22. Guerrier added 15 points and 11 rebounds, but Shannon had a rough time in his second game since a federal judge ordered Illinois last week to lift the suspension it handed down in the wake of a rape charge in Kansas.


Shannon heard it from Northwestern fans, who chanted “No means no!” throughout the game. He finished with 12 points while shooting just 1 of 5 on 3-pointers.


Buie finished two points shy of his season high and had seven assists.


Barnhizer, who scored a career-best 24 in the loss at Nebraska, made four 3-pointers.


Ty Berry scored 14 and hit three 3s, helping the Wildcats win for the third time in four games. Northwestern also improved to 10-1 at home.


Illinois outrebounded the Wildcats 46-32 but had just 19 second-chance points to show for 21 offensive rebounds.


The Illini look to improve to 11-2 at home when they meet Indiana on Saturday.

Blues Edge Canucks

Brayden Schenn scored at 1:54 of overtime to give the St. Louis Blues a 4-3 victory over the Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday night.


Jake Neighbours had a goal and an assist for St. Louis. Alexey Toropchenko and Pavel Buchnevich also scored, and Joel Hofer made 29 saves.


Pius Suter had his second career hat trick for Vancouver, exactly three years after his first one. Quinn Hughes and Brock Boeser contributed two assists apiece.


Casey DeSmith stopped 14 shots for Vancouver.


Suter scored three times in the third period to push the game into overtime. He tied it with 52 seconds remaining in regulation after a shot rebounded off J.T. Miller’s skate, allowing the Swiss forward to bat home the puck.


Suter pulled the Canucks within one on a power play at 5:42 of the third after Hofer missed the puck behind the net.


The Blues are at Seattle on Friday night.

Kraken Roll Blackhawks

Jared McCann scored his 19th goal of the season early in the first period, Joey Daccord made 34 saves and the Seattle Kraken handed Chicago its 18th straight road loss with a 6-2 win over the Blackhawks on Wednesday night.


Seattle snapped its four-game losing streak and added to Chicago’s misery away from home. The 18 straight road losses are tied for the fourth-longest single-season streak in NHL history, along with Pittsburgh (1982-83), Quebec (1989-90) and San Jose (1992-93).


Daccord was a big reason as he continued his stretch of stellar play in goal. He’s allowed two goals or fewer in 14 of his last 17 starts. He robbed Jason Dickinson with a glove save on a Chicago power play in the first period, but he saved his best stops for the third period.


Daccord stymied former teammate Ryan Donato on a breakaway, which led to a breakaway for Seattle that Tomas Tatar finished for his fifth goal and a 5-2 Seattle lead. Daccord denied MacKenzie Entwistle with a stick save a couple of minutes later.


Tatar scored twice in the third period, adding a second goal with 3:38 remaining. Five Seattle players scored goals and 12 skaters had at least one point as the Kraken picked up an important two points going into the final stretch of games prior to the All-Star break.


Eberle and Justin Schultz both had two assists. Tatar now has nine points in 16 games since being acquired by Seattle.


Arvid Soderblom made 23 saves for Chicago.


Joey Anderson scored late in the first period for Chicago, redirecting Seth Jones’ shot from the blue line past Daccord. Nick Foligno had a power-play goal 39 seconds into the third period for his ninth goal of the season and pulled Chicago to 4-2.


The Blackhawks are at Edmonton on Thursday night.

HS BBBall: Maroa-Forsyth Rolls Olympia

Maroa-Forsyth used a fast start and didn't look back as they rolled Olympia, 59-34 in Sangamo Conference boys basketball Tuesday night in Stanford.


The Trojans jumped out to an 18-4 lead after one quarter and blew the game open to lead 33-6 at the half. 


Mitch Williams and Kaiden Maurer led the way for the Trojans with 15 points apiece. Caebrin Lee added 11 points. 


Maroa-Forsyth goes to 14-6 overall and 2-0 in the Sangamo Conference. The Trojans return home to host PORTA on Friday night.

HS BBBall: Arcola Rolls Argenta-Oreana

A big third quarter helped Arcola take down Argenta-Oreana 55-35 in Lincoln Prairie Conference tournament action Tuesday night in Arthur.


The Bombers fell behind 12-4 after one quarter but battled back to and trailed just 17-16 at the intermission.


Arcola used a 24-10 third quarter to pull out to a 41-26 lead after three and the Bombers could not recover.


Jalynn Flowers scored 11 points to lead Argenta-Oreana. No other players scored in double figures. Tyson Oros and Ethan Mahan added seven points apiece. 


Braden Phillips led Arcola with 16 points.


Argenta-Oreana falls to 13-9 overall. They will play for third place Friday night at 6:30 pm.

Illinois State Tops Belmont

Myles Foster had 19 points in Illinois State's 77-67 victory against Belmont on Tuesday night.


Foster added 10 rebounds and five assists for the Redbirds (10-10, 4-5 Missouri Valley Conference). Johnny Kinziger added 13 points while shooting 4 of 5 from the field and 5 for 6 from the line, and they also had seven rebounds. Darius Burford shot 6 for 14, including 1 for 3 from beyond the arc to finish with 13 points.


Malik Dia finished with 19 points, seven rebounds and two blocks for the Bruins (11-9, 4-5). Belmont also got 14 points and nine rebounds from Cade Tyson. Jayce Willingham also had 14 points, seven rebounds and five assists.


Illinois State took the lead with 12:13 to go in the first half and never looked back. The score was 41-30 at halftime, with Foster racking up 15 points. Dalton Banks led the way with a team-high 11 second-half points.

Blues Get By Flames

Brandon Saad’s second goal of the night with 48 seconds left in the third period was the winner as the St. Louis Blues rallied to beat the Calgary Flames 4-3 on Tuesday night.


Brayden Schenn and Jordan Kyrou also scored for St. Louis and Jordan Binnington made 32 saves.


MacKenzie Weegar, Noah Hanifin and Yegor Sharangovich provided the offense for Calgary, which has lost three in a row. Jacob Markstrom, returning from a three-game absence due to a lower-body injury, made 22 saves.


Down 3-1 late in the second, St. Louis started its comeback with a short-handed goal.


When Weegar mishandled the puck at the St. Louis blue line, Schenn pounced on it and raced away on a breakaway, burying his 11th goal of the season past Markstrom.


The Blues’ 11th short-handed goal moves them into a tie for the league lead with the Dallas Stars.


Kyrou tied it 3-3 at 6:56 of the third when he skated uncontested into the slot off the side boards and fired his 13th goal just inside the goalpost.


On the winning goal, Saad got the puck inside his own blue line, carried it through the neutral zone and sent a 50-foot wrist shot that rattled in off the goalpost on Markstrom’s glove side.


Having already eclipsed his career high of eight, Weegar’s 11 goals is tied for third for defensemen in the league behind Rasmus Dahlin (13) and Quinn Hughes (12).


While the Blues are 18-2-0 when scoring first, their .900 winning percentage leading the NHL, it’s the opposite when they don’t score first. But Tuesday’s win improves their record when trailing first to 5-18-2.


The Blues are three points back of Nashville for the second wild-card berth with two games in hand.


The Blues visit Vancouver on Wednesday night.

Cubs Legend Sandberg Announces Cancer Diagnosis

Hall of Fame second baseman Ryne Sandberg has been diagnosed with metastatic prostate cancer.


The 64-year-old Sandberg said Monday in a release put out by the Baseball Hall of Fame that he has started treatment.


Sandberg hit .285 with 282 homers, 1,061 RBIs and 344 steals in 16 seasons in the majors. He made his big league debut with Philadelphia in 1981 and appeared in 13 games with the Phillies before he was traded to the Chicago Cubs in January 1982.


Sandberg turned into one of the majors’ best all-around performers with the Cubs. He made 10 All-Star teams and won nine Gold Gloves. He also was the NL MVP in 1984.


He was inducted into Cooperstown in 2005.

Suns Rally to Top Bulls

Kevin Durant drilled a contested 17-footer with 1.6 seconds left to help the Phoenix Suns erase a 23-point deficit and stun the Chicago Bulls 115-113 on Monday night. The Suns have won six straight.


Durant finished with 43 points, eight assists and six rebounds, one night after scoring 40 in a win over the Indiana Pacers. Bradley Beal scored 18 and Devin Booker added 16.


It was a frantic final minute that saw Durant hit a wide-open 3-pointer - after an offensive rebound by Drew Eubanks - to give the Suns a 113-111 lead with 29.3 seconds remaining. But Chicago's DeMar DeRozan responded with a short jumper to tie it at 113 with 22.9 seconds left.


That set up the final possession. Grayson Allen threw the inbounds pass to Jusuf Nurkic, who found Durant, who then pulled up for the jumper with Bulls defenders draped all over him. It went in anyway.


White led the Bulls with 26 points. DeRozan added 21 and Nikola Vucevic added 19 points and 17 rebounds.


The Bulls built a 66-49 halftime lead despite playing without two-time All-Star Zach LaVine, who missed the game with a sprained right ankle. But the Suns fought back from a 23-point margin in the third, cutting the lead to 90-83 heading into the fourth.


Phoenix kept pushing in the final quarter and took its first lead of the game at 95-94 on Durant's pull-up jumper with less than seven minutes left. The game stayed tight from that point forward, with the lead changing hands multiple times.


The Bulls dominated much of the first half, jumping out to a 19-point lead by early in the second quarter. White led the team with 13 points before the break while Caruso had 12 points on four 3-pointers.


The Suns were playing their second game on back-to-back nights and looked like a tired team. Durant - who was named the Western Conference Player of the Week earlier Monday - shot 4 of 13 in the first half, including 0 of 6 on 3-pointers.


He saved his best for the second half, making 12 of his 19 shots.


The Bulls travel to L.A. Lakers on Thursday.

Cardinals, IF Edman Reach Two-Year Agreement

Utilityman Tommy Edman and the St. Louis Cardinals agreed to a $16.5 million. two-year deal Monday to avoid salary arbitration.


Edman gets $7 million this year and $9.5 million in 2025. He would get a $250,000 bonus for finishing among the top five in MVP voting, $150,000 for World Series MVP and $100,000 each for a Gold Glove, Platinum Glove, Silver Slugger, and League Championship Series MVP.


The 28-year-old switch-hitter earned $4.2 million last season when he hit .248 with 13 homers and 47 RBIs while appearing in 137 games. He had asked for $6.95 million and had been offered $6.5 million when the sides exchanged proposed arbitration salaries on Jan. 11.


Edman’s value lies more with his glove than his bat, though. The former Gold Glove winner is capable of playing every outfield position along with second base, third base and shortstop at a high level, giving the Cardinals some unique versatility.


The Cardinals selected Edman in the sixth round of the 2016 amateur draft. He made his debut in 2019, and since then he trails only Bryan Reynolds, Francisco Lindor and José Ramírez in hits among switch-hitting players.

Canucks Blank Blackhawks

Thatcher Demko stopped 31 shots for his fifth shutout of the season as the Vancouver Canucks beat the Chicago Blackhawks 2-0 on Monday night.


Pius Suter and Quinn Hughes scored and Andrei Kuzmenko had two assists to help Vancouver get its third straight win. Demko, who got his seventh straight win and ninth in his last 10 starts, got his eighth career shutout.


Hughes praised his goalie’s performance, adding that Demko is finally getting the plaudits he deserves.


Petr Mrazek had 27 saves for Chicago, which was coming off a 4-3 overtime win against the New York Islanders on Friday night and has won consecutive games just once this season.


The Blackhawks have lost 17 straight on the road.


Suter opened the scoring for the Canucks 1:47 into the game after Kuzmenko found him backdoor, with the Swiss forward sliding it past Mrazek for his ninth of the season.


Hughes doubled the lead at 6:40, receiving a drop pass from Ilya Mikheyev and dancing his way past two Blackhawks defensemen for his 12th goal of the season.


The Blackhawks are at Seattle on Wednesday night.

Cardinals Bring Back Carpenter

Matt Carpenter is returning to the St. Louis Cardinals, agreeing Friday to a one-year contract with his team from 2011-21.


Carpenter agreed to a deal for the $740,000 major league minimum, which will be offset against his guaranteed $5.5 million salary as part of a $12 million, two-year contract he signed with San Diego in December 2022.


A first baseman and occasional outfielder, Carpenter was traded to Atlanta last month along with $1.5 million, then released by the Braves three days later. In effect, Carpenter costs the Braves $3.26 million, the Padres $1.5 million and the Cardinals $740,000.


Carpenter was an All-Star in 2013, ’14 and ’16. He has .260 career average with 175 homers and 644 RBIs for the Cardinals, Yankees and Padres. He hit .176 with five homers and 31 RBIs but had just 50 at-bats from July 1 on. Carpenter didn’t play after Sept. 10 because of right elbow inflammation.

HS BBBall: Maroa-Forsyth Holds Off Meridian

The Maroa-Forsyth Trojans were able to hold off a late charge by Meridian and take home a 73-67 win Saturday afternoon in non-conference high school boy's basketball action from Maroa.


The Trojans led 32-25 at the break and pulled to a 54-36 lead after three quarter but the Hawks put up 31 points in the final frame in its attempt to get back in the game. 


Sebastian Hill had 17 of his game-high 34 points in the fourth quarter for the Hawks.


Colton Denny scored seven of his 11 points in the final frame but those two got little help elsewhere in the fourth.


It was another night of balanced scoring for the Trojans. Kaiden Maurer led the way with 16 points, Coby Lane scored 14 points, Zayn Giles added 12 points and Mitch Williams and Caebrin Lee each scored 10 points. 


The Trojans go to 13-6 overall. They will travel to Olympia on Tuesday night for a Sangamo Conference matchup. 

HS BBBall: Argenta-Oreana Takes Down Blue Ridge

The Argenta-Oreana Bombers slowed Blue Ridge just enough to take home a 62-51 win from the Lincoln Prairie Conference tournament in Arthur Saturday afternoon. 


Ethan Mahan scored 28 points and Jalynn Flowers added 22 points to pace the Bombers. No other players scored in double figures.


Wyatt Pearl scored 12 points to lead Blue Ridge. It was a slow offensive afternoon for the Knights. Zach Lewis added nine points while Isaac Price and Colin Michaels each scored seven points. 


The Knights drop to 14-7 overall. Lincoln Prairie Conference tournament games do not count against the conference ledger. Blue Ridge will play in an elimination game Tuesday at 8 pm in Arthur.


The Bombers advance to a semifinal game on Tuesday at 5 pm.

Illinois Rolls Rutgers in Shannon, Jr's Return

Justin Harmon scored 18 points and Terrence Shannon Jr. added 16 in his return to lead five Illinois players in double figures as the No. 14 Illini beat Rutgers 86-63 on Sunday.


Shannon, in his first game back since the university was ordered to lift his suspension, came off the bench and played 28 minutes. He had four assists and made 8 of 10 shots from the free-throw line.


Shannon was suspended by the university on Dec. 28 because he’s facing a rape charge in a September incident in Kansas. But U.S. District Court Judge Colleen Lawless ruled Friday that the university had violated Shannon’s civil rights and granted a preliminary injunction that required Illinois to reinstate Shannon to the team.


The Illini (14-4, 5-2 Big Ten Conference) were 4-2 in six games without Shannon, who hadn’t played since Illinois’ 97-73 victory over Missouri in St. Louis on Dec. 22.


Quincy Guerrier, who had 15 points and 11 rebounds for his seventh double-double of the season, said Shannon was a big reason for the victory.


After trailing 40-28 at halftime, the Scarlet Knights closed within 55-51 with 10:20 to go on a dunk by Omoruyi, but back-to-back layups by Shannon in 28 seconds put Illinois in front 60-51 with 9:04 left. 


Coleman Hawkins and Marcus Domask each had 12 points for Illinois.


The Illini will play Wednesday at Northwestern.

HS BBBall: Monticello Rolls PBL

In a game heard on WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com, Monticello was able to pull away from Paxton-Buckley-Loda in the second half and came away with a 62-36 win in Illini Prairie Conference boys basketball action from the Sievers Center in Monticello.


After getting in foul trouble in the first half, Trey Welter came on strong in the second half scoring eight of his ten points and helped lead a Monticello defensive attack that forced the Panthers into 14 turnovers.


The Sages 18 points off turnovers and 20 points in transition Friday night and 40 of their 62 points came in the paint. 


Monticello 19 assists on its 26 field goals that led to 57.8 percent shooting. 


Jack Weidner led Monticello with 11 points. Rai Colbert and Tyler Blythe had nine points apiece, Ike Young added eight points for Monticello.


Welter finished with ten points and seven assists. He earned the ServPro of Piatt/DeWitt Counties player of the game.


Monticello led 25-20 at the intermission and used a 12-6 run in the first 4:18 of the third quarter to go up 37-26 and never looked back. 


PBL drops to 4-15 overall and 0-4 in the Illini Prairie Conference. 


Monticello won its third straight going to 11-9 overall and 3-0 in the conference.


Monticello has a tough week ahead with a visit to Prairie Central on Tuesday and hosting St. Joseph-Ogden on Friday night. Hear both games at 7 pm on WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com.

HS BBBall: Maroa-Forsyth Rolls Pleasant Plains

Five players scored in double figures and Maroa-Forsyth rolled by Pleasant Plains 72-48 in its Sangamo Conference opener Friday night from Maroa in high school boys basketball action.


Zayn Giles led the way with 18 points. Kaiden Maurer added 16 points, Mitch Williams and Coby Lane each scored 12 points and Caebrin Lee added 11 points for the Trojans.


Maroa-Forsyth put the game away with a monster final frame, outscoring the Cardinals 27-14.


The Trojans go to 12-6 overall and start 1-0 in the Sangamo.


Maroa-Forsyth hosts Meridian Saturday night.

HS BBBall: Blue Ridge Tops Unity Christian in Opening Round of Lincoln Prairie Conference Tournament

Blue Ridge used balanced scoring to blow by Unity Christian 56-18 in the opening round of the Lincoln Prairie Conference boys basketball tournament in Farmer City Friday night. 


Colin Michaels scored 12 points to lead the Knights. Corbin Colert, Zach Lewis, and Isaac Price added nine points apiece. 


The Knights advance to a Saturday afternoon matchup with Argenta-Oreana at 12:30 pm. Conference tournament games do not count towards its conference record as Blue Ridge goes to 13-6 overall. 

HS BBALL: Maroons Topple Tuscola

In a game heard Friday night on WHOW, the Clinton Maroons toppled the Tuscola Warriors, 69-54, in a Central Illinois Conference matchup at Clinton High School.  

The win is the twentieth for the Maroons, and avenges their lone loss of the season which was to the Warriors in the Monticello Holiday Hoopla Championship Game.  Friday's game was pretty much the opposite of that late December affair. 

The Maroons jumped out to an early lead, and never trailed Friday night.  Clinton drilled seven first half three-pointers, and pulled out to a 35-21 lead at the half.  Tuscola made a run in the second half to cut the lead to six at one point, but the Maroons rallied in the fourth to pull away for the fifteen point win.  Clinton's 7 of 8 shooting at the free throw line in the fourth quarter was one of the keys to the win. 

Clinton was led by Mason Walker's 23 points, and Brooks Cluver added 18 points.  Colton Walker contributed 16, and was named the WHOW / Serv Pro of Piatt/DeWitt County Player of the Game.  

Tuscola was led by Kam Sweetnam with 13 points, and Sawyer Woodard with 9. The Warriors fall to 17-3 on the season, and 1-2 in the conference with the loss. 

Clinton improves to 20-1 on the year, and 3-0 in the CIC. The Maroons next host Tri-Valley on Monday night.  Hear varsity action around 7:30pm on all WHOW platforms.  

HS GBBall: Clinton Gets By Warrensburg-Latham

The Clinton Lady Maroons held off Warrensburg-Latham 49-37 in Central Illinois Conference girl's basketball action Thursday night in Warrensburg.


With the score tied at 13-13 after one quarter, the Lady Maroons used an 11-3 second quarter to take a 24-16 lead into the half. That lead would stand up the rest of the way as the Lady Cardinals got within 36-31 after three quarters.


Heidi Humble led a balanced scoring attack with 13 poitns. Clara Dempsey and Avery Smith each scored 12 points for Clinton.


Warrensburg-Latham is 4-16 overall and 0-4 in the CIC.


Clinton goes to 12-9 ovearll and 3-1 in the CIC.


It's off to CIC tournament play for the Lady Maroons. The Central Illinois Conference tournament will be a pool-play round robin tournament this year. Clinton opens action Monday evening hosting Shelbyville at 7:30 pm. The Lady Maroons will travel to Central A&M on Tuesday night to finish out pool play.

HS GBBall: St. Joseph-Ogden Tops Monticello

St. Joe-Ogden jumped out early and Monticello never recovered as the Lady Spartans topped the Lady Sages 46-33 in Illini Prairie Conference high school girl's basketball action Thursday night in St. Joseph.


Ali Weidner led the way for Monticello with 16 points and eight rebounds. She also added four assists and a steal. 


Maia High had ten points and seven rebounds for Monticello. 


The Lady Sages are 8-14 overall and 1-3 in the Illini Prairie Conference. They will travel to Rantoul on Monday night. 

Illinois Topples Michigan

Coleman Hawkins scored 21 points to go with 10 rebounds as No. 14 Illinois beat Michigan 88-73 on Thursday night.


Quincy Guerrier had 16 points and 14 rebounds, Ty Rodgers added 15 points, and Marcus Domask had 15 for the Fighting Illini (13-4 overall, 4-2 Big Ten). They trailed only once, when Tarris Reed Jr. opened the scoring with a layup.


Reed had 20 points to lead the Wolverines (7-11, 2-4). Olivier Nkamhoua added 16 and Dug McDaniel had 14 for Michigan, which lost for the sixth time in its last seven games.


Hawkins, a 6-10 senior, doubled his average of 10.5 points per game. His performance is an indicator of his growing maturity, Illini coach Brad Underwood said.


After Reed's opening basket, Illinois scored the next 11 points, but the Wolverines came back and got to within 37-36 at halftime.


Michigan tied it at 38-all early in the second, but the Illini went on a 17-2 run to put the game out of reach. Illinois led by 16 points for its sixth victory in its last eight games.


Illinois senior Terrence Shannon Jr., suspended in December after being accused of rape in connection with an incident in Lawrence, Kansas, last September, appeared via video before a judge in Kansas on Thursday.


He waived both a reading of the charges against him and an explanation of the potential penalties. Shannon, Illinois’ leading scorer before his suspension, is scheduled to appear at a preliminary hearing in Lawrence on Feb. 23.


The Fighting Illini extended their winning streak against the Wolverines to seven in a row, including four in a row in Ann Arbor.


Illinois hosts Rutgers on Sunday.

Packers, 'Niners Meet Saturday Night

The San Francisco 49ers had plenty of success going up against the Green Bay Packers in the playoffs when Aaron Rodgers was running the show.


The Niners knocked Rodgers and the Packers out of the playoffs four times, including twice in the previous four seasons.


While first-year starter Jordan Love lacks the pedigree of the four-time MVP, his performance in the last half of the season has caught the attention of the 49ers (12-5) headed into their divisional round game against the Packers (10-8) on Saturday night.


After a shaky start to his first season as a starter, Love has been playing at a high level the past two months. He has thrown 21 touchdown passes with only one interception the past nine games and is coming off one of the best playoff debuts ever.


Love went 16 for 21 for 272 yards, three TDs and no interceptions in a 48-32 win over Dallas on Sunday.


With Love playing as well as he has and a group of young pass-catchers emerging as big threats, the Packers once again look like a top offensive team after taking a step back in Rodgers' last season in Green Bay in 2022.


The Niners see a similar look to those high-powered offenses they faced early in LaFleur's tenure but see more of the coach's influence on the scheme now that he has a young quarterback he can mold.


After losing in the NFC title game the past two seasons, the 49ers came into 2023 looking to get over that hump and back to the Super Bowl. But first they had to get through the regular season, which they did with 12 wins and a first-round bye.


Now the focus can really turn to getting rid of the bad taste from those season-ending losses.


Green Bay’s Aaron Jones has rushed for more than 110 yards in each of his past four games. He ran for 118 yards and three touchdowns in the Packers’ victory over the Cowboys.


It’s worth noting that Jones has rushed for more than 100 yards every time he’s faced the Cowboys in his career. Jones has never rushed for 100 yards in six previous meetings with San Francisco, though he had nine catches for 129 yards as well as 12 carries for 41 yards in the Packers’ 2021 divisional playoff loss to the 49ers.


Love has thrown 21 touchdown passes with only one interception over his past nine games, and it seems as if a different receiver emerges as his favorite target each week.


The Packers have produced a different 100-yard receiver in each of their past three games. Romeo Doubs had six catches for 151 yards against the Cowboys. Jayden Reed didn’t catch a single pass against Dallas, but he had four receptions for 112 yards when the Packers closed the regular season with a 17-9 victory over the Chicago Bears. One week earlier, Bo Melton caught six passes for 105 yards in a 33-10 triumph at Minnesota.


Both teams come into the game with rookie kickers in a bit of a rut.


Third-round pick Jake Moody missed his first extra point of the season and a 38-yard field goal in San Francisco's Week 18 loss to the Rams.


Sixth-round pick Anders Carlson has missed an extra-point attempt in three of the Packers’ past four games. He also missed a 41-yard field goal against Chicago and is just 7 of 13 this season on field-goal attempts of at least 40 yards.


Game time is 7:15 Saturday night.

White Sox In 'Serious' Discussions to Build New Stadium on South Loop

The Chicago White Sox are in “serious” discussions with the owner of a plot of land in the city’s South Loop about building a new ballpark a few miles north of their longtime home at Guaranteed Rate Field, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.


The Sun-Times, citing sources familiar with the talks, reported Wednesday night that the team and developer Related Midwest were discussing building a baseball-only stadium on an undeveloped, 62-acre parcel closer to downtown known as “The 78.”


The site at Roosevelt Road and Clark Street was one of several considered for a casino now planned for a different area of the city. There is nearby highway access as well as an “L” station serving several lines.


The White Sox and mayor Brandon Johnson issued a statement saying they are working together to keep the team in Chicago, though there were no mentions of a stadium.


The White Sox have called Guaranteed Rate Field on the South Side their home since the ballpark opened in 1991. Before that, they played across the street at the now-demolished Comiskey Park from 1910 to 1990. The White Sox’s lease at Guaranteed Rate Field, which is owned by the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority, expires after the 2029 season. Reinsdorf acknowledged in late August the team would at least take a look at a new ballpark.


The White Sox aren’t the only major Chicago team exploring a new home. The NFL’s Bears are mulling a move out of Soldier Field.

Bulls Hold Off Raptors

Nikola Vucevic had 24 points and 14 rebounds, DeMar DeRozan scored 24 points against his former team and the Chicago Bulls beat the Toronto Raptors 116-110 on Thursday night.


Coby White added 23 points to help the Bulls snap a four-game losing streak in Toronto. Patrick Williams scored 12 points, and Alex Caruso and Ayo Dosunmu each had 10. Chicago outscored Toronto 74-50 on points in the paint.


Bulls guard Zach LaVine scored eight points, connecting on three of seven shot attempts, in 24 minutes.


LaVine left the court after rolling his right ankle early in the third quarter but returned for a four-minute stint later in the period. The two-time All-Star played just over two minutes in the fourth.


Raptors forward Scottie Barnes had 31 points, one shy of his career best. RJ Barrett added 17 points but Toronto fell to 2-6 on the second night of a back-to-back.


The Raptors shot a season-worst 4 for 32 from long range Monday in a loss to Boston, then made a season-high 20 on Wednesday in a win over Miami. Toronto went cold again Thursday, missing nine straight from distance to begin the game.

Toronto finished 10 for 38 on 3-pointers.


Bruce Brown scored 15 points in his Raptors debut, a day after being part of the trade that sent two-time All-Star Pascal Siakam to Indiana.


Toronto trailed 38-27 after the first quarter but rallied to cut the gap to five points, 63-58, at the half. Barnes scored nine points in the third, but the Bulls took a 90-86 lead to the fourth.


Toronto center Jakob Poeltl missed his sixth straight game because of a sprained left ankle.


The Bulls host Memphis on Saturday night.

Buffalo Blanks Chicago in Rescheduled Game

Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen made 19 saves for his second consecutive shutout and the Buffalo Sabres beat the Chicago Blackhawks 3-0 on Thursday night in a game moved back a day because of snow.


Zemgus Girgensons, JJ Peterka and Rasmus Dahlin scored.


Luukkonen had his third career NHL shutout, also beating San Jose 3-0 on Monday. His best save came with 5:45 remaining when he stopped Reese Johnson from close range on a 2-on-1 opportunity.


Arvid Soderblom made 28 saves for struggling Chicago. The Blackhawks have two victories in their last 11 games.


The Blackhawks host the New York Islanders tonight.

Caps Blast Blues

The Capitals beat the St. Louis Blues 5-2 on Thursday night for a second consecutive victory, scoring more than four in a game for just the second time this season.


TJ Oshie, who played his first seven NHL seasons with the Blues before being traded to Washington in 2015, has been on a roll since returning from injury Jan. 11. After scoring twice on the power play and adding an empty-netter with 19.5 seconds left, he has five goals in his past four games after scoring just two in his first 21 this season.


Dylan Strome also scored his team-leading 16th goal of the season and had an assist. Max Pacioretty assisted on Oshie's first two goals to give him his first multipoint game since making his Capitals debut Jan. 3.


Nicolas Aube-Kubel also scored, banking the puck in off St. Louis defenseman Justin Faulk and past helpless goaltender Jordan Binnington.


Former Capitals forward Nathan Walker scored twice, and Binnington stopped 21 of the 25 shots he faced in defeat.


The Blues have lost three in a row and four of five since making a run under interim coach Drew Bannister. They're now 8-6-1 since firing 2019 Stanley Cup winner Craig Berube and promoting Bannister from the minors, and they've scored two or fewer goals in 23 games this season.


These teams meet again Saturday night in St. Louis, the start of a four-game Western Conference trip for the Capitals.

Bradley Edges Southern Illinois

Duke Deen, Darius Hannah and Connor Hickman each scored 15 points and Bradley rallied from a 23-point, second-half deficit to beat Southern Illinois 70-69 on Wednesday night for its seventh straight victory.


Hickman converted a three-point play with 59 seconds remaining to help Bradley rally from a 45-24 halftime deficit for the largest comeback victory in program history.


Deen also contributed five rebounds and six assists for the Braves (13-5, 5-2 Missouri Valley Conference). Hannah added three blocks. 


The Salukis (12-6, 4-3) were led in scoring by Xavier Johnson, who finished with 18 points, seven assists and two steals. AJ Ferguson added 15 points for Southern Illinois. In addition, Clarence Rupert finished with 10 points and seven rebounds.

Drake Rolls Illinois State

Tucker DeVries had 25 points in Drake's 77-56 win against Illinois State on Wednesday night.


Atin Wright scored 12 points for the Bulldogs (15-3, 6-1 Missouri Valley Conference). Darnell Brodie finished with 11 points.


Darius Burford led the way for the Redbirds (8-10, 2-5) with 14 points. Dalton Banks added 13 points for Illinois State.

'Niners, Packers Rivalry Has Produced Many Classics Over the Years

Kyle Juszczyk remembers the different feel when he took the field for the first time in the playoff rivalry between his San Francisco 49ers and the Green Bay Packers.


Two storied franchises with rich traditions that produced big stars facing off against each other on the playoff stage.


The teams are set to meet for the third time in the past five postseasons on Saturday night when the Packers (10-8) visit the 49ers (12-5) in the divisional round.


The Niners won that 2020 matchup 37-20 to go to the Super Bowl and then repeated that two years later when they upset the Packers in Green Bay 13-10.


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 Aaron 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.


This will be the record-setting 10th playoff meeting between the franchises. All of those games have come in the past 29 seasons, with no other teams meeting more than five times in the postseason in that span.


The Niners had been the NFL’s dominant franchise, with five Super Bowl titles in 14 seasons, when they ran into the Packers in the divisional round of the 1995 playoffs.


Coach Mike Holmgren had left his job as offensive coordinator in San Francisco to take over the Packers in 1992. The man who tutored Steve Young in both college and the pros set out to groom the untested Brett Favre, who was acquired in a trade from Atlanta that same year.


With Favre and Holmgren at the helm, along with free agent acquisition Reggie White, the Packers surpassed the Niners in that meeting at Candlestick Park on Jan. 6, 1996.


Adam Walker fumbled on San Francisco’s first play from scrimmage and Craig Newsome returned it for a TD. Favre followed with two quick touchdown passes as Green Bay rolled to a 27-17 win. The Packers lost the following week against Dallas but soon established themselves as the NFC’s dominant team.


The teams met again the following year when Desmond Howard returned a punt 71 yards for a TD after San Francisco’s opening possession. Young was knocked out later in the first quarter with an injury and the Packers won 35-14 on the way to a Super Bowl title.


The Packers’ dominance of the series led to George Seifert resigning as coach and former Packers assistant Steve Mariucci taking over.


Green Bay won the first playoff matchup 23-10 against Mariucci the following year as the frustration mounted in San Francisco.


The Niners finally had a breakthrough the following year thanks to one of the most memorable plays of the series in San Francisco’s only playoff win over Favre.


On Jan. 3, 1999, Terrell Owens lost a fumble and dropped a potential TD pass early before delivering late.


With 8 seconds left and the Niners trailing by four, Young stumbled, dropping back from center and then threaded a 25-yard pass between a phalanx of Packers to Owens, who somehow managed to hold onto it despite being hit by two defenders, for a 30-27 win.


Favre won his final playoff meeting against the Niners three years later, and the rivalry then took a hiatus.


The teams didn’t meet again in the postseason until the 2012 season when Rodgers got a shot against the Niners team that famously passed him up for Alex Smith in the 2005 draft.


Colin Kaepernick had replaced Smith as starter late that season and established himself as a phenomenon when he ran for a quarterback-record 181 yards and two scores and threw for 263 yards and two TDs in a 45-31 San Francisco win.


Kaepernick braved the cold of Green Bay the following year and played without long sleeves or gloves. He led a late winning drive that knocked the Packers out again.


There has been a familiarity again during the recent editions of the rivalry, with Niners coach Kyle Shanahan and Packers coach Matt LaFleur having a history together.


Shanahan has had the upper hand, winning the 2019 NFC title game behind Raheem Mostert’s 220 yards rushing and four TDs to go to the Super Bowl.


San Francisco then braved the 15-degree cold in Green Bay two years later to upset the top-seeded Packers 13-10 on a blocked punt touchdown that tied the game and a final play 45-yard field goal by Robbie Gould.

Travel Concerns Postpones Buffalo, Chicago Hockey Game

The NHL has postponed the game between the Chicago Blackhawks and Buffalo Sabres because of travel restrictions in western New York for extreme winter weather.


The league announced the game scheduled for Wednesday night would instead be played Thursday night. There’s a travel ban in place for the city of Buffalo and local executives were hoping the league would move back the game in the name of public safety.


The Blackhawks had made it to town, which is usually enough for the NHL to decide to go on with a game. But a lake effect storm was projected to dump 2 feet of snow on the region.


This postponement comes after the NFL pushed back the playoff game between the Bills and Pittsburgh Steelers from Sunday to Monday for the last round of snow that hit the area last weekend. The game went ahead Monday with snow in the stands and Buffalo winning 31-17.

HS BBBall: Monticello Gets By Olympia

Monticello had to rally in the fourth quarter to get by Olympia 49-44 in non-conference high school boys' basketball action Tuesday night in Stanford.


Olympia's Carson Birky hit a pair of free throws with 50 seconds to play in the third quarter that put the Spartans ahead for the first time in the second half, 37-36. 


The Sages started the fourth on a 7-2 run highlighted by a pair of Raiden Colbert three-pointers that put Monticello up 43-39.


The Sages would lead by five at the 2:30 mark after Jack Weidner hit a three to put Monticello up 48-43 and Monticello held on from there.


While Monticello shot just 35 percent for the game, Olympia only shot 32 percent and committed 16 turnovers.


The Sages would score just seven points off those turnovers but scored 21 of its 49 points in the paint Tuesday. 


Trey Welter scored 14 points to lead Monticello while Colbert added 13 points. 


Dylan Nowaski scored 14 of his game-high 22 points in the first half for the Spartans. Owen Alford added 13 points for Olympia.


The Sages dished out ten assists on its 16 baskets and committed just nine turnovers.


The Spartans fall to 5-13 overall. Monticello goes to 10-9. 


The Sages will put its undefeated start in the Illini Prairie Conference on the line Friday night when they host Paxton-Buckley-Loda at 7 pm at the Sievers Center. Hear the action on 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com.

HS BBBall: Blue Ridge Holds Off ALAH

Isaac Price scored a game-high 21 points and Blue Ridge held off Arthur-Lovington-Atwood-Hammond 59-53 in Lincoln Prairie Conference high school boy's basketball action Tuesday night in Arthur.


ALAH had four players score in double figures but Blue Ridge was able to use balanced scoring to hold on for the win. 


Price scored 18 of his 21 points in the second half after a big second quarter got ALAH back in the game. Blue Ridge jumped out to a 13-6 lead after the first quarter but ALAH battled back to bring it to a 28-28 tie at the break. 


ALAH made 21 of 25 free throws to the Blue Ridge's 15 of 22.


Zach Lewis added 18 points for Blue Ridge. Colin Michaels scored nine points and Wyatt Pearl added eight.


Blue Ridge goes to 12-6 overall and 3-2 in the Lincoln Prairie Conference. Blue Ridge will host Unity Christian Friday night to tip off the Lincoln Prairie Conference tournament. A win earns them a matchup with Argenta-Oreana on Saturday afternoon. 

HS BBBall: Argenta-Oreana Blows By Unity Christian

Four players in scored in double figures and Argenta-Oreana used balanced scoring to blow away Unity Christian 65-33 in Lincoln Prairie Conference high school boy's basketball action Tuesday night in Decatur.


The Bombers jumped out to a 22-8 lead after the first quarter and gradually pulled away the rest of the game, initiating a running clock in the fourth quarter.


Jalynn Flowers, Tyson Oros, and Chase Logue scored 12 points apiece while MJ Hall aded ten points.


The Bombers roll to 12-8 overall and 5-1 in the Lincoln Prairie Conference.


Unity Christian - formerly Decatur LSA - falls to 1-18 overall and 0-5 in the conference.


The Lincoln Prairie Conference tournament tips off Friday night. The Bombers will await a Saturday afternoon matchup with the winner of Friday night's game between Unity Christian and Blue Ridge.

HS BBBall: Maroa-Forsyth Takes Down Rochester

Three players scored in double figures and only four players recorded points. Still, Maroa-Forsyth used excellent defense all night to get by Rochester 48-34 in non-conference high school boys' basketball action from Rochester Tuesday.


It was a solid showing for the Trojans, who were punching up a weight class against the 3A Rockets.


Zayn Giles scored 21 points. Caebrin Lee came off the bench and scored 15 points while Kaeden Maurer scored 10 points for the Trojans. 


A big fourth quarter allowed Maroa-Forsyth to put the game away. They outscored the Rockets 22-9 in the frame.


The Trojans hadn't shot a free throw until the final quarter and closed out the game making 8 of 10 free throws.


Maroa-Forsyth goes to 11-6 overall. They open Sangamo Conference play with a matchup hosting Pleasant Plains on Friday.

Blackhawks Get By Sharks in Shootout

Boris Katchouk scored in the ninth round, Petr Mrazek made the clinching save on San Jose’s Filip Zadina, and the Chicago Blackhawks beat the Sharks 2-1 in a shootout on Tuesday night.


Chicago broke a three-game losing streak in the matchup of the NHL’s two worst teams while sending San Jose to its third straight defeat and 15th loss in 16 games.


Chicago’s Rem Pitlick and San Jose’s Kevin Labanc scored in the first two rounds of the shootout, after which both teams misfired more than they were saved.


Katchouk beat Mackenzie Blackwood on a backhand by his right toe for the winner. Cole Guttman scored for the Blackhawks and Mrazek had 37 stops, his fourth straight game to allow two or fewer goals.


The Blackhawks are at Buffalo tonight.

Bulls Fall to Cavs

Donovan Mitchell scored 34 points, Jarrett Allen had 10 points and 14 rebounds for his ninth straight double-double, and the Cleveland Cavaliers pulled away late for a 109-91 victory over the Chicago Bulls on Monday night.


Caris LeVert added 16 points, seven rebounds and seven assists off the bench as the Cavaliers extended their longest winning streak of the season to five, despite blowing a 21-point lead in the second half.


Coby White made two free throws early in the fourth quarter to put Chicago in front for the only time at 81-80, capping a 28-6 run that began after Cleveland went up 74-53 in the third.


The Cavaliers immediately answered with 10 straight points, five by Mitchell on drives to the basket, and closed out the game with a 29-10 surge.


Cleveland made 20 3-pointers in a franchise-record 57 attempts - an NBA season high in regulation.


White scored 18 points and Zach LaVine and Nikola Vucevic had 17 apiece for the Bulls, who had won two in a row on the road. 


Ayo Dosunmo had 10 points in the third to ignite Chicago’s rally, but could not finish the game after his sore left shoulder flared up.


The Bulls visit Toronto on Thursday night.

Flyers Double Up Blues

Owen Tippett scored the tiebreaking goal with 5:33 left, sending the Philadelphia Flyers to a 4-2 win over the St. Louis Blues on Monday night.


The surging Flyers won their fourth straight and swept their three-game trip through Minnesota, Winnipeg and St. Louis. Philadelphia has won five of six overall.


Tippett got the puck after a turnover at center ice, split the St. Louis defense and used a quick backhand-forehand move to score his 16th goal of the season on his 10th shot on goal in the game.


Oskar Sundqvist and Brandon Saad scored for the Blues, who finished a 1-2-1 homestand. Joel Hofer made 38 saves.


The Blues play at Washington on Thursday night.

HS BBBall: Argenta-Oreana Tops Decatur St. Teresa

Argenta-Oreana was able to avenge a Macon County Tournament loss Saturday by stopping Decatur St. Teresa 59-39 in non-conference high school boys basketball action Saturday in Decatur.


The Bombers led 18-8 after one quarter and 33-14 at the break. 


Ethan Mahan paced a balanced Bombers attack with 17 points. Jalynn Flowers scored 13 while Chase Logue scored eight points.


Mark Pokryzwinski paced St. T with 10 points. No other players scored in double figures.


St. T falls to 7-13 overall while the Bombers improve to 11-8.


Argenta-Oreana travels to Unity Christian in Decatur Tuesday night for a Lincoln Prairie tilt.

HS BBBall: Maroa-Forsyth Falls Short to St. Joseph-Ogden

Three players scored in double-figures for St. Joe and a big third quarter helped the Spartans pull away from the Maroa-Forsyth Trojans 63-46 in non-conference high school boys basketball action Saturday in St. Joseph.

Tanner Jacob paced St. Joe with 20 points. 


With the Spartans leading 29-22 at the intermission, St. Joe came out and steamrolled to a 49-28 lead after three-quarters thanks to a 20-6 frame where Jacob led the way with 11 of his 20 points.


Luke Landrus scored 11 of his 13 points in the first half and Tanner Siems had 14 for St. Joe.


Kaiden Maurer paced the Trojans with 14 points and Mitch Williams added 11 points. 


The Trojans fall to 10-6 overall. Weather permitting, they will travel to Rochest Tuesday night for a 7 pm tip. 

Packers Stun Cowboys

Aaron Jones ran for three touchdowns, Jordan Love threw for three more in his postseason debut, Darnell Savage returned an interception 64 yards for a score and the Packers handed the Cowboys their first home loss since the 2022 opener in a 48-32 wild-card stunner Sunday.


Even against a team that had won 16 consecutive home games.


Green Bay (10-8) will visit top-seeded San Francisco in the divisional round next weekend.


Dak Prescott threw two interceptions before three mostly empty touchdown passes in another playoff flop for him and the No. 2 seed Cowboys (12-6).


The first home loss for the Cowboys since now-retired Tom Brady and Tampa Bay beat them 16 months ago was also the most points the franchise has allowed in a postseason game. The previous high was 38.


The Cowboys, who haven’t reached an NFC championship game since the most recent of their five Super Bowl titles 28 years ago, didn’t trail by more than eight points at AT&T Stadium this season before falling behind 27-0 in the first half.


The loss will raise questions about the future of Dallas coach Mike McCarthy after the Cowboys lost their playoff opener at home for the second time in three postseasons under the former Green Bay coach.


Dallas is the first team to win at least 12 games in three consecutive playoff seasons without making a conference title game.


The Cowboys surged to the NFC East title in the final two weeks and had a chance to be home at least twice this postseason. Instead, they head into a suddenly uncertain offseason.


Romeo Doubs had a career-high 151 yards receiving a week after being hospitalized with a chest injury as the Packers rolled after finishing the regular season 6-2 to grab the NFC's final playoff spot.


Doubs, who returned to the Green Bay sideline after his hospital trip before the end of last week's 17-9 home victory over Chicago that secured a playoff spot, had 102 yards at halftime. It was seven more than the second-year player's previous best.


First-half catches of 22, 26 and 39 yards helped get Love going, and the fourth-year QB finished 16 of 21 for 272 yards as the Packers scored touchdowns on six of their first seven offensive possessions in their highest-scoring game since 2014.


One of them was set up by Prescott's first interception at the Dallas 19-yard line, from Jaire Alexander after he was questionable coming in when he sprained an ankle during the week.


A 46-yard grab by Doubs early in the second half helped finish off the Cowboys after they had scored 10 points on either side of the break. Doubs, Luke Musgrave and Dontayvion Wicks had TD catches.


Jones rushed for 118 yards, putting him over the century mark in all four career games against the Cowboys with nine touchdowns.


Prescott finished 41 of 60 for 403 yards, with all three of his touchdowns to tight end Jake Ferguson.

Maryland Upsets No. 10 Illinois

Jahmir Young scored 28 points and Julian Reese had 20 points and 11 rebounds to lead Maryland to a 76-67 victory Sunday over No. 10 Illinois, the 10th time this week a team ranked in the top 10 of the AP poll has lost.


Maryland (11-6, 3-3 Big Ten) outscored Illinois 39-28 in the second half, taking the lead for good on a dunk by Reese with 15:32 to go that made it 47-46. The Terrapins, who were 8 1/2-point underdogs according to FanDuel Sportsbook, won a road Big Ten game for the first time this season.


Marcus Domask scored 26 points for Illinois (12-4, 3-2) and Luke Goode had 13. Coleman Hawkins, who had scored in double figures in seven straight games for the Illini, fouled out with 2:50 left. He had eight points and seven rebounds.


The Illini shot 22.5% (9 of 40) from the field in the second half.


A jumper by Domask got Illinois within 68-65 with 1:09 to go, but Maryland responded with a 6-0 run to put the game away.


Illinois led 39-37 at halftime thanks to Dain Dainja scoring seven straight points for the Illini in the final 1:28. Those were his only points of the game.


Illinois is 3-2 in five games without star Terrance Shannon Jr., who has been suspended by the university because he’s facing a rape charge in Lawrence, Kansas.


Shannon sought a temporary restraining order Friday in U.S. District Court in Springfield that, if granted, would force the university to reinstate him to the team. Judge Colleen Lawless promised to rule “in an expedient manner.”


Shannon will arraigned on the rape charge on Jan. 18 in Lawrence. The trial isn’t expected to begin until June.


With seven teams ahead of them in the AP Top 25, including No. 1 Purdue, No. 2 Houston and No. 3 Kansas, losing this week, the Illini were poised to make a leap in the poll. Not anymore.


Illinois fell to 9-2 at home as its seven-game win streak at the State Farm Center ended.


Illinois is at Michigan on Thursday.

Valpo Tops Illinois State

Cooper Schwieger had 16 points in Valparaiso's 59-50 win over Illinois State on Sunday.


Schwieger added 13 rebounds for the Beacons (5-12, 1-5 Missouri Valley Conference). Isaiah Stafford scored 11 points and added five rebounds. Darius DeAveiro had nine points and shot 3 of 12 from the field and 3 for 4 from the foul line. The Beacons snapped a 10-game losing streak.


Myles Foster led the Redbirds (8-9, 2-4) in scoring, finishing with nine points. Illinois State also got nine points from Darius Burford. Kendall Lewis also put up eight points and eight rebounds.


Valparaiso took the lead with 3:24 remaining in the first half and never looked back. Schwieger led their team in scoring with eight points in the first half to help put them ahead 28-20 at the break. Valparaiso outscored Illinois State in the second half by one point, with Stafford scoring a team-high eight points in the final half.


The Redbirds host Drake Wednesday.

HS GBBall: Maroa-Forsyth Cools Off Monticello

In a game heard on WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com, Maroa-Forsyth sophomore Avery Braden scored a game-high 20 points and the Lady Trojans used a fast start to get by Monticello 54-38 in non-conference girls basketball Saturday afternoon from the Sievers Center in Monticello. 


Braden scored the first five points of the third quarter and scored 11 of her 20 in the third quarter. 


Monticello started out with a 4-0 lead but the Lady Trojans finished the quarter on a 16-3 run to lead 16-7. Monticello was largely able to hang with Maroa-Forsyth but could never get closer than 11 points in the second half.


Maia High scored 11 of her 16 points in the second half and grabbed 11 rebounds to lead Monticello.


The Lady Sages had won five of its last six games falling to 8-13 overall.


The Lady Trojans go to 16-4 overall. 

HS BBBall: Argenta-Oreana Throttles Broadlands-Heritage

After a tight first quarter, Blue Ridge pulled away from Broadlands-Heritage 69-36 in Lincoln Prairie Conference boys basketball action in Heritage Friday night.


The Bombers led 21-17 after the first quarter and pulled to 35-26 lead at the half and then led 54-34 after three quarters before outscoring Broadlands-Heritage 15-2.


Jalynn Flowers led Argenta-Oreana with 27 points. Ethan Mahan added 25 points. 


The Bombers go to 10-8 overall and 4-1 in the Lincoln Prairie Conference. 


Heritage drops to 3-16 overall and 0-4 in conference play.


Argenta-Oreana takes on Decatur St. Teresa on Saturday at noon - weather permitting. 

HS BBBall: Blue Ridge Tops Toledo-Cumberland

Colin Michaels scored 13 of his game-high 21 points in the second half led Blue Ridge past Toledo-Cumberland 57-45 in Lincoln Prairie Conference high school boys basketball Friday night in Farmer City


Michaels led three players in double figures for the Knights. Wyatt Pearl added 11 points and Isaac Price scored 10 points. 


The Knights go to 12-6 overall and 3-2 overall in the Lincoln Prairie Conference. 

HS BBBall: Young's Career Night Leads Monticello Over Bloomington Central Catholic

In a game heard on WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com, Ike Young scored a career-high 21 points and Monticello rallied past Bloomington Central Catholic 58-53 in Illini Prairie Conference boys basketball action in Bloomington Friday night.


Young played his best game of the season. He was strong defensively against BCC big man Colin Hayes who scored his 1,000th career point earlier this week.


Ike had six rebounds and four steals. Young was the ServPro of Piatt/DeWitt County Player of the Game.


Trey Welter scored 18 points. He hit a three and then another jumper late in the fourth quarter to put the Sages 49-43 and they held on the rest of the way. Welter added four more free throws down the stretch to keep the Saints at bay.


Welter finished with 18 points. 


BCC freshman Keshaun Manney hit a three with 5:20 to put the Saints up 37-28 but Monticello finished the quarter on a 14-2 run to go ahead for good. 


The Saints would tie the game at 43-all when Will Vogel hit a layup but after Jack Weidner put Monticello up 44-43 with a free throw, Welter scored his five straight.


Monticello's defense forced 17 turnovers and turned those into 23 points. 


BCC controlled the glass 35-27 and scored 17 chance points on 13 offensive rebounds. 


The Saints shot just 36 percent and 7-for-26 from distance.


The Sages shot 45.5 percent from the floor. They dished out 12 assists on its 20 field goals.


BCC falls 9-8 overall and 0-2 in the Illini Prairie Conference.


Monticello is 9-9 overall and 2-0 in the Illini Prairie. Weather permitting, Monticello will travel to Olympia Tuesday night and return home to host Paxton-Buckley-Loda.


Hear next Friday's action on WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com. 

HS BBALL: Maroons Down Shelbyville In CIC Opener

In a game heard Friday night on WHOW, the Clinton Maroons walloped the Shelbyville Rams, 87-72, in a Central Illinois Conference boys basketball matchup at Clinton High School.  

Clinton came out firing on all cylinders, and dropped in thirty first quarter points to hold a 30-14 lead after one.  Shelbyville would chip away at the Maroons lead over the next two quarters, and eventually cut the margin to six in the third quarter. However, Clinton responded to the challenge, and pulled away late for the fifteen point victory.  

Clinton was led by Mason Walker's hot shooting. He hit eight three-pointers in the game, and led all scorers with 24 points to earn the WHOW / Serv Pro of Piatt/DeWitt County Player of the Game.  Brooks Cluver added 21 for Clinton, seventeen of which came in the second half.  Dawson Graves had 18 for the Maroons. 

Shelbyville was led by Myles Hammond with 22, and Brody Boehm with 15 points.  The Rams fall to (14-5) with the loss, and (1-1) in the CIC.  They're scheduled to take on Cowden-Herrick-Beecher City on Saturday.  

Clinton improves to (18-1) on the year, and (1-0) in the conference.  They'll next travel to Meridian Tuesday night.  Our next Maroons "Game of the Week" broadcast comes your way next Friday when Clinton hosts Tuscola in CIC play. 

HS GBBall: Monticello Rolls PBL

Monticello used balanced scoring and the Lady Sages rolled to an easy 48-19 Illini Prairie Conference win in girls basketball action Thursday night in Paxton. 


Megan Allen led a complete effort with ten points, six rebounds, four blocks and four steals for the Lady Sages. Ali Weidner added nine points, Ashley Stiverson scored eight points, and Maia High scored seven points and grabbed six rebounds. 


After a slow start, Monticello led just 6-3 after the first frame and then PBL kept pace with the Lady Sages in the second quarter, trailing 23-17 but Monticello blanked PBL in the third quarter to go up 38-17 after three quarters and put the game away from there.


Monticello improves to 8-12 overall and 1-2 in the Illini Prairie Conference.


Weather permitting, the Lady Sages will host Maroa-Forsyth Saturday morning at 11:15 am. If the game is to be played, hear it on 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com. 

HS BBBall: Monticello at Bloomington Central Catholic Start Time Adjusted

Tonight's start time for an Illini Prairie Conference matchup between Bloomington Central Catholic and Monticello has been moved up due to the incoming weather in central Illinois tonight.


Monticello athletic director Dan Sheehan announced yesterday afternoon tonight's game will be a varsity-only game and will tip at 5:30 pm.


BCC enters play 8-8 overall while Monticello is 8-9.


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

Illinois Holds Off Michigan State

Marcus Domask scored 15 points, including four free throws in the closing minutes that helped No. 10 Illinois hold off Michigan State 71-68 on Thursday night.


Coleman Hawkins and Ty Rodgers also scored 15 points apiece for the Illini (12-3, 3-1 Big Ten), who bounced back after a close loss at then-No. 1 Purdue last Friday. Tyson Walker scored 17 points and A.J. Hoggard added 16 for the Spartans (9-7, 1-4), who fell into a last-place tie with Michigan in the conference standings.


Michigan State got within one point three times in the final two minutes, the last on Walker's layup that cut Illinois' advantage to 69-68 with 35 seconds left.


Domask was fouled and sank both free throws. Walker and Hoggard each missed tying 3-pointers in the final 15 seconds.


Michigan State led 48-42 with 13:22 remaining, but Illinois responded with a 10-2 run. A layup by Walker tied the game at 52-all before Illinois went on a 7-0 burst, capped by a 3-pointer from Hawkins. The Illini led the rest of the game.


Illinois led 37-34 at halftime. The Spartans missed nine of their first 10 shots and fell behind by 10 points, but rallied to climb within 35-34 on a 3-pointer by Walker.


Illinois improved to 3-1 without star Terrance Shannon Jr., who has been suspended by the university because he’s facing a rape charge in Lawrence, Kansas.


Shannon is seeking a temporary restraining order in U.S. District Court in Springfield that would force the university to reinstate him. His case was scheduled to be heard on Friday.


His arraignment on the rape charge is scheduled for Jan. 18. A trial isn't expected to begin until June.


Illinois hosts Maryland on Sunday.

Jets Edge Blackhawks

Nikolaj Ehlers scored with 1:05 left and the NHL-leading Winnipeg Jets beat the Chicago Blackhawks 2-1 on Thursday night to extend their franchise-record winning and points streaks.


Gabe Vilardi tied it with 3:29 left, with Adam Lowry assisting on both goals, and Laurent Brossoit stopped 19 shots to help the Jets push their winning streak to eight and points run to 14.


Connor Murphy scored early in the second period for Chicago. The Blackhawks are playing without Connor Bedard, the rookie star who had surgery on his jaw Wednesday.


Mrazek made 26 saves.


The Blackhawks host Dallas on Saturday night.

Blues Blast Rangers

Jordan Kyrou had his third career hat trick, Jordan Binnington made 40 saves, and the St. Louis Blues beat the New York Rangers 5-2 on Thursday night.


Brandon Saad and Pavel Buchnevich also scored for St. Louis.


Adam Fox and Vincent Trocheck scored for the Rangers. Igor Shesterkin stopped 15 shots.


The Blues have gone 8-4-0 since Drew Bannister became interim coach, replacing Craig Berube.


The Rangers have lost three straight (0-2-1) for the first time all season. New York has won just two of its last seven games and is 8-8-1 in its last 17 games after starting the season 18-4-1.


Binnington continued his trend of solid starts since Christmas. He is 4-1-0 and has won three consecutive starts.


Kyrou completed his hat trick when he scored unassisted at 7:01 of the third period. He picked up a cross-ice pass from Zac Jones and scored on a breakaway.


Kyrou previous hat tricks came last March 11 at Columbus and on Dec. 19, 2022, at Vancouver.


The Blues host Boston on Saturday night.

HS GBALL: Lady Maroons Fall To Tuscola

In a game heard Thursday night on WHOW, the Clinton Lady Maroons fell at home to the Tuscola Warriors, 51-35, in a Central Illinois Conference matchup at Clinton High School. 

The game was a rematch of the Championship Game at the Monticello Holiday Hoopla just after Christmas, but the sequel didn't live up to that three point classic. 

Tuscola jumped out to a quick, 6-0, lead to start the game, but Clinton would pull to within one, 14-13, by the end of the first.  In fact, the Lady Maroons overtook Tuscola to lead, 20-18, at the half.  However, the Warriors came out of the half in a zone press that stymied the  Clinton offense.  Tuscola outscored Clinton, 24 to 5, in the quarter, and led 42-25 going into the fourth.  The Lady Maroons outscored Tuscola, 10-9, in the fourth, but the Warriors held on for the 16-point win. 

Tuscola was led by Zoey Thomason and Sydney Moss, who each had 14 points. The Warriors improve to (19-1) overall, and (3-0) in the CIC.  They'll next face Altamont on Saturday. 

The Lady Maroons were led by Carly Anderson with 11 points. Avery Smith and Makayla Koeppel added six apiece.  Koeppel was named the WHOW / Serv Pro of Piatt/DeWitt County Player of the Game.  

Clinton falls to (11-9) on the season, and (2-1) in the conference.  They'll host Mt. Pulaski Monday afternoon with the JV tip at 2pm, and the varsity to follow around 3:30pm. You can hear Monday's game on all WHOW platforms. 

Bears Retain Eberflus, Let Go of Five Coorindinators, Including OC Getsy

The Chicago Bears said Wednesday they are sticking with coach Matt Eberflus after the team showed improvement over the second half of the season following a brutal start. 


They were noncommittal when it came to the franchise’s quarterback situation, whether they are staying with Justin Fields or taking Caleb Williams or Drake Maye with the No. 1 overall pick. While Eberflus is coming back, there will be some big changes to his staff.


The Bears have fired most of their offensive assistants, including coordinator Luke Getsy after two seasons. Quarterbacks coach Andrew Janocko, wide receivers coach Tyke Tolbert, running backs coach Omar Young and assistant tight ends coach Tim Zetts also were let go.


General manager Ryan Poles said he was impressed with Eberflus’ “leadership through hard times.”


The Bears were in a similar situation a year ago. They dealt the top pick to Carolina for a haul that included top receiver DJ Moore and the Panthers’ first-rounder in 2024. That turned out to be the No. 1 selection after Carolina finished with a 2-15 record.


The Bears won five of seven late in the season behind an improved defense and finished with a 7-10 record after having a league-worst 3-14 mark in 2022. But for fans clamoring for a fresh start, particularly with the No. 1 pick and a shot at a potential franchise-changing quarterback, the moves announced Wednesday probably didn’t go far enough.


At 10-24, Eberflus has the third-worst record in franchise history. Only John Fox (14-34 from 2015-17) and Abe Gibron (11-30-1 from 1972-74) have a worse winning percentage.


The Bears blew double-digit, fourth-quarter leads in three of their losses. And they bookended the season with losses to rival Green Bay — at home in the opener and then at Lambeau Field on Sunday.


The Bears are in a bit of an awkward situation with a coach with uncertain long-term security and openings for offensive and defensive coordinators. It’s not clear if the new defensive coordinator will call plays, something Eberflus did following Alan Williams’ resignation early in the season.


The Bears plan to bring back their defensive assistants.

Bradley Blasts Evansville

Christian Davis' 13 points off of the bench helped lead Bradley to an 86-50 victory over Evansville on Wednesday night.


Davis added five rebounds and four steals for the Braves (11-5, 3-2 Missouri Valley Conference). Demarion Burch shot 5 of 5 from the field and 2 for 5 from the line to add 13 points. Malevy Leons shot 3 for 6, including 3 for 5 from beyond the arc to finish with 11 points, while adding seven rebounds.


Chuck Bailey III led the way for the Purple Aces (10-6, 1-4) with 18 points. Tanner Cuff added nine points for Evansville. Cameron Haffner also put up five points.


Bradley took the lead with 19:05 remaining in the first half and did not relinquish it. The score was 41-26 at halftime, with Burch racking up nine points. Bradley pulled away with a 17-1 run in the second half to extend a 17-point lead to 33 points.


Bradley will travel to Illinois-Chicago Saturday.

Belmont Tops Illinois State

Malik Dia had 17 points in Belmont's 67-60 victory against Illinois State on Wednesday night.


Dia also contributed six rebounds for the Bruins (11-5, 4-1 Missouri Valley Conference). Cade Tyson scored 16 points, shooting 4 for 7 (2 for 3 from 3-point range) and 6 of 6 from the free throw line. Jayce Willingham was 4 of 7 shooting, including 1 for 3 from 3-point range, and went 0 for 3 from the line to finish with nine points.


Jordan Davis led the way for the Redbirds (8-8, 2-3) with 18 points, nine rebounds and three steals. Kendall Lewis added 13 points for Illinois State. In addition, Myles Foster had 12 points, nine rebounds, two steals and two blocks.


Dia's 3-pointer with 10:12 remaining in the second half gave Belmont the lead for good at 50-48.


Illinois State hosts Valpo on Sunday.

Bulls Outlast Rockets in Overtime

Coby White scored 30 points and Zach LaVine made a big 3-pointer with 1:46 left in overtime, helping the Chicago Bulls top the Houston Rockets 124-119 on Wednesday night.


LaVine finished with 25 points, 13 rebounds, seven assists, and three steals in Chicago’s third consecutive win. DeMar DeRozan scored 19 points on 5-for-19 shooting, and Nikola Vucevic had 18 points and 15 rebounds.


LaVine and Vucevic were back in the starting lineup and without minute restrictions for their third game back after being sidelined by injuries.


After an Ayo Dosunmu corner 3 put the Bulls up 101-85 with just over nine minutes remaining, Houston outscored Chicago 27-11 through the end of regulation. After a driving Sengun layup tied it at 112 with 23.2 seconds left, DeRozan and Smith traded missed jumpers in the final seconds of the fourth quarter.


The Rockets led 119-114 with 2:50 left in overtime, but LaVine responded with six straight points for the Bulls. LaVine’s 3 put Chicago ahead to stay, and White made another 3 to make it 123-119 with 1:04 remaining.


The Bulls host the Warriors on Friday night.

Panthers Blast Blues

Matthew Tkachuk scored his fifth career hat trick to help the Florida Panthers beat the St. Louis Blues 5-1 on Tuesday night for their eighth straight victory.


Sam Reinhart and Kevin Stenlund also scored for the Panthers, who have 36 goals during their winning streak. Anthony Stolarz made 29 saves.


Brayden Schenn scored and Joel Hofer made 26 saves for St. Louis, which had won two in a row.


Tkachuk scored into an empty net for his 11th goal of the season with 57 seconds left to complete his hat trick. Tkachuk's father, Keith, played for the Blues from 2001-10.


Schenn got his ninth goal when he lifted Jake Neighbours’ rebound over Stolarz 3:24 into the first. Schenn hadn’t scored in 16 games since netting a pair of goals against Buffalo on Nov. 30.


The Blues host the New York Rangers on Thursday night.

Oilers Edge Blackhawks

Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl scored goals as the Edmonton Oilers extended their winning streak to eight games with a 2-1 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday night.


The Oilers also won eight straight from Nov. 24 to Dec. 12. The current streak started Dec. 21 with a 6-3 victory at New Jersey.


McDavid scored the winner by beating Petr Mrazek on a breakaway 1:32 into the second period. McDavid took Mattias Eckholm’s stretch pass at the Chicago blue line, raced past defenseman Jarred Tinordi and shoveled the puck past the outstretched Mrazek’s right foot for a 2-1 lead. He also extended his point streak to eight games and has 14 points during that stretch.


Chicago’s Jason Dickinson picked up a loose puck and sent a wrist shot past the blocker of Stuart Skinner at 5:52 of the first period to open the scoring. It was his team-leading 14th goal of the season. Skinner stopped the Blackhawks’ other 25 shots.


Chicago’s lead lasted just over two minutes. Draisaitl scored his 19th goal of the season to square the score, flipping the puck by Mrazek’s blocker at 8:05 of the first.


Two Edmonton goals were disallowed. McDavid’s was negated by goaltender interference shortly after his second-period score. Zach Hyman’s goal in the third period was disallowed after a five-minute review determined Draisaitl was offside carrying the puck into the zone.


Mrazek made 13 saves.


The injury-riddled Blackhawks had two forwards return to the lineup. Taylor Raddysh (left groin) and Joey Anderson (left shoulder) played right wing on the top two lines after missing five and 10 games respectively.


There is still no timetable for the return of Blackhawks’ star rookie forward Connor Bedard, out since breaking his jaw Friday in New Jersey.


The Blackhawks are at Winnipeg on Thursday night.

HS BBBall: Clinton Dominates Monticello

In a game heard on WHOW, WEZC, and at dewittdailynews.com, Clinton throttled Monticello 63-50 in non-conference high school boys basketball action from the Sievers Center in Monticello Tuesday night.


The game started looking like a back-and-forth contest between two teams that played to a three-point game right after Christmas at the Holiday Hoopla. After the game was tied at 5-5 with 5:04 to play in the first quarter, the Maroons finished the quarter on a 14-7 run led by Dawson Graves and Mason Walker.


The duo would lead Clinton the rest of the way as they pulled away and led by as many as 21 points in the second quarter.  


Walker finished with a game-high 19 points. Graves added 16 points and Brooks Cluver scored 12 points for the Maroons. Walker was named the Maroons ServPro of Piatt/DeWitt Counties Player of the Game. 


The Maroons were impressive all night on offense, finishing with a 50-percent shooting percentage and shooting 9-for-19 from beyond the arc. Walker was 5-for-11 from distance. 


Clinton controlled the glass 32-25 and held Monticello to 37.5 percent shooting.

Tyler Blythe led the Sagse with 13 points. Trey Welter added ten points. Blythe was the Sages ServPro of Piatt/DeWitt County Player of the Game. 


The Maroons go to 17-1 overall. They will host Shelbyville on Friday night. Hear the action starting around 7:30 pm on 92.3 FM/106.5 FM OKWHOW and all the WHOW digital platforms.


Monticello falls to 8-9 overall and will travel to Bloomington Central Catholic Friday night. Game time is 7 pm and can be heard on 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com. 

HS GBBall: Clinton Throttles LeRoy

The Clinton Lady Maroons locked down defensively in the second half and rolled past LeRoy 60-31 in non-conference high school girl's basketball action Tuesday night at Clinton High School on Gene Vance Court.


Clinton controlled the first half and led 32-24 but led 46-30 at the end of three and held the Lady Panthers to just one point in the final frame.


Clara Dempsey led the Lady Maroons with 17 points. Regan Filkin added ten points. Heidi Humbe scored nine points, Lyla Cluver added seven points and MaKayla Koeppel scored six points.


LeRoy drops to 13-7 overall.


Clinton goes to 11-8 overall. The Lady Maroons return to action Thursday night hosting Tuscola at 7:30 pm. Hear the action on 92.3 FM/106.5 FM WHOW and on all its digital platforms. 

HS BBBall: Blue Ridge Holds Off Villa Grove

Isaac Price paced three players in double-figures as Blue Ridge held off Villa Grove for a 64-54 win in Lincoln Prairie Conference high school boy's basketball action Tuesday night from Farmer City.


Price scored 23 points to tie a game-best. Colin Michaels added 12 points and Zach Lewis scored 10 points for the Knights. 


Layne Rund paced the Blue Devils with 23 points and Kyler Williams added 16 points while Lukas Shadwick added 11 points.


Villa Grove goes to 9-7 overall and 1-2 in the Lincoln Prairie Conference. 


Blue Ridge goes to 11-6 overall and 2-2 in the Lincoln Prairie. They host Toledo-Cumberland on Friday night. 

HS BBBall: Maroa-Forsyth Gets By Decatur St. Teresa

Maroa-Forsyth used a team effort to match Ryheem Tyus and topped Decatur St. Teresa 71-58 in non-conference high school boys basketball action in Decatur.


Tyus led St. T with 30 points.


Mitch Williams scored a team-best 23 points and Kaiden Maurer scored 20 points. Zayn Giles pitched in with 12 points.


The Trojans go to 10-5 overall. Maroa-Forsyth travels to St. Joseph-Ogden for a Saturday night game with the Trojans.

HS BBBall: Argenta-Oreana rolls ALAH

Jalynn Flowers paced four players in double-figures and Argeta-Oreana toppled Arthur-Lovington-Atwood-Hammond 80-57 in Lincoln Prairie Conference high school boys basketball action Tuesday night in Argenta.


Flowers scored 26 points. Chase Logue scored 18 points. Damian Gude added 12 points while Ethan Mahan scored 11 points.


Logue sank a team-best four threes as the Bombers made eight. 


Jayce Parson scored 14 points to pace the Knights.


ALAH falls to 4-13 overall and 1-2 in the Lincoln Prairie Conference.


Argenta-Oreana moves to 9-8 overall and 3-1 in the Lincoln Prairie Conference. The Bombers travel to take on Broadlands-Heritage on Friday night at 6 pm. 

HS BBBall: Clinton Visits Monticello Tonight - Game to Be Heard on WHOW/WEZC/dewittdailynews.com

It will be a rematch of a close holiday hoopla contest back in December tonight when Clinton visits Monticello in non-conference high school boys' basketball.


The Maroons took down the Sages 59-56 on Wednesday, Dec. 27 at the Sievers Center advancing the Maroons to the Holiday Hoopla championship.


Three players scored in double figures for Clinton. At 16-1, the Maroons are off to another strong start under second-year, hall-of-fame basketball coach Vic Binkley.


The Sages have won five of its last seven games and have moved to .500 on the year at 8-8. Monticello is coming off a convincing 57-26 win Saturday afternoon at the St. Joseph-Ogden Christie Clinic Shootout over New Berlin. With Saturday's win, Coach Kevin Roy became the second-winningest basketball coach in school history at 339 total victories.


The Maroons are coming off a 59-54 win on Saturday over Rochester at the Clinton New Year's Shootout.


Game time tonight from the Sievers Center is 7 pm. Hear the action on 92.3 FM/106.5 FM WHOW and at all the WHOW digital platforms. Also catch the action on the home of the Monticello Sages at 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com. 

HS GBBall: Monticello Tops Danville

Monticello started fast and did not look back in getting by Danville 50-40 in non-conference high school girls basketball Monday night in Danville.


Megan Allen paced the Lady Sages with 20 points and four rebounds. Maia High posted a double-double with 13 points and 13 rebounds. 


Ali Weidner contributed six assists and four steals for Monticello.


The Lady Sages jumped out to an early 12-4 but that advantage was trimmed to 18-15 at the intermission. Each team caught fire in the third quarter with the Sages holding a 29-21 advantage to go up 47-36 after three quarters.


Monticello outrebounded Danville 31-12.


The Lady Sages improve to 7-12 overall. They will travel to Paxton-Buckley-Loda for a Thursday night Illini Prairie Conference tilt. 

Bulls Outlast Hornets

Coby White scored 27 points in his return to his home state, Andre Drummond added 21 points and 15 rebounds and the Chicago Bulls overcame a 39-point performance from Terry Rozier to beat the Charlotte Hornets 119-112 in overtime on Monday night.


Nikola Vucevic added 21 points and nine rebounds in his second game back from an injury for the Bulls (17-21), who defeated the Hornets for the second time in four nights.


Rozier had seven 3-pointers and was 12-for-12 from the foul line for Charlotte (8-26), which has lost 13 of its last 14 games.


Miles Bridges added 24 points for the Hornets, who remain without starters LaMelo Ball, Mark Williams and Gordon Hayward and key reserves P.J. Washington and Cody Martin due to injuries.


Chicago scored the first eight points of overtime, but the Hornets wouldn't go away and had a chance to tie the game but Nick Smith Jr's 3-pointer from the top of the key rimmed out.


Bridges also missed two 3s in the final 20 seconds for the Hornets, who were 2 of 9 from the field in the overtime period.


Rozier, who had 21 points in the second half, was held scoreless in overtime going 0 for 2 from deep while guarded by Alex Caruso.


The Bulls host the Rockets on Wednesday night.

Packers Punch Tickets to Postseason With Win Over Bears

Jordan Love threw for 316 yards and connected with Dontayvion Wicks on a pair of touchdowns as the Packers earned a wild-card berth with a 17-9 victory over the Chicago Bears on Sunday.


The Packers bounced back from a 2-5 start by winning seven of their last 10 games, including three straight.


The Packers (9-8) needed a win to reach the playoffs. Green Bay delivered by beating the Bears (7-10) for a 10th consecutive time.


Green Bay was in a similar situation for its regular-season finale last year, but lost 20-16 at home to the Detroit Lions in Aaron Rodgers' last game with the Packers. The Packers traded Rodgers to the New York Jets less than four months later to make way for Love, a 2020 first-round draft pick from Utah State.


Love guided the NFL's youngest team to the postseason by throwing 18 touchdown passes and one interception over his last eight games.


Green Bay is the NFC's No. 7 seed and will visit NFC East champion Dallas (12-5) next Sunday in a matchup with Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy, who guided the Packers from 2006-18 and led them to their last Super Bowl title.


Love went 27 of 32 as Green Bay never punted all day. Love threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to Wicks that put Green Bay ahead for good midway through the second quarter and found the rookie fifth-round pick in the end zone again for a 12-yard score in the third.


Jayden Reed caught four passes for 112 yards. Wicks had six catches for 61 yards to go with his two touchdowns. Bo Melton had five receptions for 62 yards less than a week after the Packers signed him to their active roster from the practice squad.


Green Bay's Aaron Jones rushed for 111 yards on 22 carries, his third straight 100-yard performance.

Chicago now heads into the offseason facing a major question about its quarterback situation. The Bears have the No. 1 pick in the upcoming draft and must decide whether to keep Justin Fields or select his potential replacement.


The Bears had the first overall pick last year but traded it to Carolina, which used it to select Alabama quarterback Bryce Young. Part of the package the Bears got in exchange was Carolina's No. 1 selection this year, which will be the top overall selection since the Panthers (2-15) had the NFL's worst record.


Fields went 11 of 16 for 148 yards on Sunday, but he couldn't get the Bears into the end zone. He was sacked five times and had eight carries for 27 yards.


The Bears reached Packers territory on each of their six series, but had only nine points to show for it.


Cairo Santos capped the game’s first series with a 50-yard field goal that bounced off the left upright before going through. Santos also had a 39-yarder late in the second quarter and a 35-yarder early in the fourth.


The Bears got inside Green Bay's 35 midway through the fourth quarter, but a holding penalty and a sack caused the drive to stall and forced a punt. Green Bay took over at its own 6 with 6:08 left and held the ball the rest of the game.


Bears RG Nate Davis hurt his foot and Packers WR Romeo Doubs injured his chest in the first half. Bears DB Terell Smith hurt his quadriceps and Bears TE Cole Kmet injured his forearm in the second half.


The Packers will travel to Dallas next Sunday afternoon at 3:30 pm.

Blackhawks Get By Flames

Colin Blackwell had two goals and an assist, and Chicago beat the Calgary Flames 4-3 on Sunday in the Blackhawks' first game since Connor Bedard was sidelined by a broken jaw.


Nikita Zaitsev added a goal and an assist for last-place Chicago, which had dropped five in a row and seven of eight overall. Philipp Kurashev also scored, and Petr Mrazek made 28 saves.


Bedard’s jaw was fractured when the No. 1 overall pick in last year's draft was hit by New Jersey defenseman Brendan Smith during Friday night's 4-2 loss to the Devils. Chicago then lost Nick Foligno when he broke a finger on his left hand in a fight with Smith.


Nazem Kadri had two goals for Calgary, which closed out a 2-2-0 road trip after losing 3-2 at Philadelphia on Saturday. Andrew Mangiapane also scored, and Jonathan Huberdeau had two assists.


Blackwell scored the first goal of the game with a well-placed wrist shot 4:32 into the first period. He made it 4-2 with a power-play goal with 5:23 left, beating Dan Vladar on the goaltender's glove side.


Calgary got one back on Kadri's 13th of the season with 4:41 remaining, but Chicago held on in the final minutes.


Each team had to deal with an unfortunate deflection in the second period.


Calgary took a 2-1 lead at 3:26 when Mangiapane's power-play shot from the side banked in off Murphy's right skate. Mangiapane was credited with his eighth goal of the season.


After Kurashev tied it with his eighth, Zaitsev's big slap shot from beyond the right circle went in off the right skate of Flames defenseman Nick DeSimone for a 3-2 lead with 5:11 left in the period. It was Zaitsev's second goal.


With nine players on injured reserve, including eight forwards, the Blackhawks went with seven defensemen against the Flames. There has been no word on how long Bedard and Foligno will be out.


The 18-year-old Bedard was off to an impressive start in his first season, leading the Blackhawks with 15 goals and 18 assists.


Richardson inserted Zach Sanford into the lineup after the veteran forward was claimed off waivers from Arizona on Saturday, but Rem Pitlick had some travel issues after he was acquired in a trade with Pittsburgh.


The Blackhawks host Edmonton on Tuesday night.

HS BBBall: Monticello Throttles New Berlin

In a game heard on WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com, New Berlin scored the first four points of the game but Monticello scored the final 13 points of the first quarter and blew away New Berlin 57-26 from the St. Joseph-Ogden Christie Clinic Shootout Saturday afternoon.


Trey Welter scored 12 of his game-high 19 points in the first half and was the ServPro of Piatt/DeWitt County Player of the Game for the Sages.


Raiden Colbert added ten points. 


The Sages went up 33-14 at the half and pushed the lead to 31 points to engage the running clock for the fourth quarter.


It was another solid offensive performance for Monticello. The Sages shot 49 percent from the floor for the game while sinking just 9-of-25 three-pointers. The Sages dished out 11 assists on its 21 field goals and committed just three turnovers. 


Monticello controlled the glass, outrebounding the Pretzels 25-16. 


Since its loss to Warrensburg-Latham before the Christmas holiday, the Sages have won five of its last seven to go to 8-8 on the year. 


Monticello returns home to the Sievers Center Tuesday night hosting Clinton in a non-conference matchup at 7 pm. Hear the action on 95.9 FM WEZC and at dewittdailynews.com. You can also hear the action on 92.3 FM WHOW in DeWitt County, at 106.5 FM in McLean County, at dewitdailynews.com, at the WHOW mobile app, and on Amazon Alexa. 

HS BBBall: Monticello Holds Off IVC

In a game heard on WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com, four players scored in double figures and Monticello used a balanced offensive attack to hold off IVC 77-64 in the Illini Prairie Conference opener from the Sievers Center in Monticello Friday night.


After IVC and Monticello traded runs to a 13-all tie with 2:05 left in the first quarter, the Sages finished the frame on a 6-2 run and never looked back.


Gatsby Grant would score 11 of his team-best 16 points in the second quarter helping stake the Sages to 39-28 halftime lead. 


Jack Weidner scored seven of his ten points in the third quarter, Trey Welter and Rai Colbert each sank a pair of third quarter three's as the Sages lead reached 24 points with under a minute left in the third quarter.


IVC got back within 12 in the fourth quarter with most of the Sages regulars on the bench but Monticello made enough plays and free throws down the stretch to hold off the Grey Ghosts.


Welter finished with 12 points for Monticello, Weidner and Colbert each added ten. Tyler Blythe finished with nine points, six assists and four rebounds. 


Welter added seven steals and the Sages had 15 steals as a team. 


Stephen Braun scored a game-best 18 points for the Grey Ghosts.


The Sages turned 24 Grey Ghosts turnovers into 22 points and scored 24 points in the paint. 


The Sages shot exactly 50 percent from the floor and went 12-for-27 from distance and 11-for-15 points. 


The Grey Ghosts shot 55 percent for the game but ultimately turnover did in IVC as Monticello got a hand in on numerous passes.


The Grey Ghosts drop to 8-7 overall and 0-1 in the Illini Prairie.


Monticello is 7-8 and starts 1-0 in the Illini Prairie Conference.


Monticello travels to St. Joseph tomorrow (Saturday) afternoon for the St. Joe-Ogden Christie Clinic Shootout with a matchup opposite New Berlin at 2 pm. 

HS BBBall: Blue Ridge Rolls Unity Christian

The Blue Ridge Knights started fast and never looked back, rolling to a 68-46 win over Unity Christian (formerly Decatur LSA) Friday night in Lincoln Prairie Conference high school boy's basketball action.


Balanced scoring up and down the score sheet led the Knights. While Isaac Price led the way with 16 points, Zach Lewis and Jan Saez added nine points, Colin Michaels and Wesley Clark added eight apiece, and Wyatt Pearl and Corbin Colbert each added six points. 


The Knights jumped out to a 23-5 lead after the first quarter and led 36-19 at the break. They would increase their lead to 46-28 after three quarters and cruised the rest of the way.


Kristoffer Collins-Brown scored 16 points to pace the Lions.


Unity Christian is 1-11 overall and 0-2 in the Lincoln Prairie Conference.


Blue Ridge goes to 10-6 overall and 1-2 in the Lincoln Prairie. They will take on Villa Grove on Tuesday in another Lincoln Prairie Conference tilt. 

HS BBALL: Clinton Takes Two In Heyworth

In games heard Friday night on WHOW, the Clinton Maroons and Lady Maroons both took home non-conference road wins over the Heyworth Hornets.  

The night began with the Clinton Lady Maroons running away from Heyworth, 55-22.  Heyworth actually led after the first quarter, 9 to 8, and kept the game close through much of the second before Clinton got hot, and pulled away to lead by 10 at the half.  The Lady Maroons went on to outscore Heyworth, 32 to 9, in the second half, pulling away for the 33-point win. 

Clinton was led by Carly Anderson's 12-points, all from beyond the arc.  She was named the Lady Maroons Serv Pro of Piatt/DeWitt County Player of the Game.  Clara Dempsey added 11, and Makayla Koeppel had 8 points for Clinton.  

Heyworth was led by Kyra Denning with 12 points.  The Hornets fall to (4-13) with the loss, and next host EPG Monday. 

The Lady Maroons improve to (10-8) on the season, and next play Tuesday at home versus Leroy. 

The second game of the night saw the Clinton Maroons edge Heyworth in overtime, 61-55, in a nonconference thriller. 

Heyworth led for much of the game, but never by more than a half dozen points.  The undersized Maroons fell behind by four in the first, but tied the game, 23-23, at the half.  The Hornets pulled ahead by six, 39-33, at the end of the third, but the Maroons rallied to tie it at 53 at the end of regulation.  The Maroons then outscored Heyworth 8-2 in the extra frame to escape with their fifteenth win of the season.  

Clinton was led by Mason Walker's 16 points.  Brooks Cluver added 14, and Anthony Westbrooks contributed 13 off the bench.  Westbrooks performance earned him the WHOW / Serv Pro of Piatt/DeWitt County Maroons Player of the Game.  

Heyworth was led by Alex Maas with 20 points, and Nick Feather added 13.  Feather also surpassed 1,000 career points for the Hornets.  They fall to (6-7) overall, and next play Saturday afternoon at Peoria Christian. 

The Maroons improve to (15-1) on the season, and next play Saturday at home against Rochester.  You'll next hear the Clinton Boys on WHOW Wednesday night on the road at Monticello. 

HS BBall: Clinton Boys, Girls Double Dip Tonight in Heyworth

It's a Clinton Maroons double-dip in Heyworth tonight at the action can be heard on WHOW and all its digital platforms.


Off a runner-up finish at the Monticello Holiday Hoopla for both teams, the Maroons hit the road for its first matchups in the new calendar year. 


The 9-8 Lady Maroons action tips tonight at 5:30 pm to be immediately followed by the 14-1 Maroons battling Heyworth.


Heyworth boys enter 6-6 overall. Heyworth girls are 4-12.


Again hear all tonight's action on WHOW, online at dewittdailynews.com, at Amazon Alexa and at the WHOW mobile app.

HS GBBall: BCC Pulls Away From Monticello

The Bloomington Central Catholic Lady Saints were too much for Monticello and gradually pulled away from the Lady Sages 71-37 in Illini Prairie Conference high school girl's basketball action Thursday night at the Sievers Center in Monticello.


Megan Allen was the lone Monticello player to reach double figures with 11 points. Maia High and Sara Cresap added seven points apiece while Ali Weidner scored six points.


The Lady Sages did make 12-of-13 free throws.


Monticello drops to 6-101 overall and falls to 0-2 in the Illini Prairie Conference. Monticello visits Danville Monday night. 

Packers, Bears Matchup in Pivotal Season Finale

All that stands between the Green Bay Packers and a playoff berth is an NFC North rival they’ve dominated for the last five seasons.


That’s more than enough incentive for the Chicago Bears.


Although the Bears (7-9) have no shot at making the playoffs and already own the No. 1 pick in this year's draft, they’d love nothing more than to end the Packers’ season Sunday at Lambeau Field.


The Packers (8-8) want to avoid a repeat of last season's finale, when they blew a chance to reach the playoffs by losing to the Detroit Lions at home.


The Packers have an outside chance of reaching the playoffs even if they lose Sunday, but they’d need plenty of help.


Green Bay has beaten the Bears nine straight times, including a 38-20 victory at Chicago in this season’s opener. Green Bay’s Jordan Love threw three touchdown passes without an interception in that game.


Chicago’s defense has come a long way since that game with head coach Matt Eberflus taking over as defensive coordinator and pass rusher Montez Sweat arriving at the trade deadline. The Bears lead the NFL in run defense and have an NFL-leading 22 interceptions.


Now that defense gets another shot at Love, who has thrown 16 touchdown passes with only one interception over his last seven games. Both teams are playing well, as the Packers have won two straight and six of nine while the Bears have won two in a row and five of seven.


Fields heads into the final game with an unclear future.


The Bears own the No. 1 pick in the draft thanks to a trade with league-worst Carolina in which they also received star receiver DJ Moore last March. They could decide to move on from their QB and go with Caleb Williams or Drake Maye.


Fields is coming off one of his most complete performances. The former Ohio State star threw for 268 yards with a touchdown pass and a rushing TD in a 37-17 win over Atlanta and even had fans at Soldier Field chanting his name.


Green Bay cornerback Jaire Alexander returned to practice this week after the Packers suspended him for one game for conduct detrimental to the team. Alexander had appointed himself a captain for the Packers’ Christmas Eve win at Carolina and botched the handling of the coin toss.


Alexander said this week he needs to do a better job of communicating with team officials. He discussed his hopes for staying in Green Bay beyond this season and what it would mean to reach the playoffs this year.


The Packers may need Alexander as they try to defend Moore, who had nine catches for 159 yards and a touchdown against the Falcons.

Sweat has a chance to close out the year leading two teams in sacks. He's the first player in NFL history to do that at any point in a season.


Sweat is tied for 10th in the NFL with a career-high 12 1/2 sacks, including six in eight games for Chicago. He had 6 1/2 in eight games for Washington before being traded.


Justin Jones is second on the Bears with 4 1/2, and Jonathan Allen is second on the Commanders with 5 1/2.


Bears cornerback Tyrique Stevenson is finishing his rookie season on a solid note. The second-round draft pick from Miami has four interceptions - all in the past five games.


Stevenson had two picks and four passes defensed in last week’s win over Atlanta, making him the reigning NFC defensive player of the week.


Love is the conference’s offensive player of the week after throwing three touchdown passes in Green Bay’s 33-10 triumph at Minnesota.


Both teams have running backs playing their best late in the season.


Green Bay’s Aaron Jones has rushed for at least 120 yards in each of his last two games. Chicago’s Khalil Herbert has run for at least 112 yards in two straight games.

Rangers Roll Blackhawks

Artemi Panarin scored his team-best 24th goal, Vincent Trocheck added three assists and the New York Rangers defeated the Chicago Blackhawks 4-1 on Thursday night.


Chris Kreider, Jacob Trouba and Jimmy Vesey also scored for the Rangers, who rebounded from Tuesday’s 6-1 home loss to Carolina and improved to 10-1-0 in games after a loss this season. Igor Shesterkin made 22 saves.


Former Ranger Colin Blackwell scored for Chicago, which lost its fourth straight and for the sixth time in seven games.


The Rangers have won six of their last seven meetings with the Blackhawks and New York improved to 12-3-1 against Western Conference opponents.


Shesterkin had a relatively easy night’s work against the last-place Blackhawks as he improved to 16-8-0 and won for the sixth time in seven games.


Panarin opened the scoring, with a one-timer past Chicago goaltender Petr Mrazek at the 13-minute mark of the first period with assists to Alexis Lafreniere and Trocheck. Mrazek had 27 saves.


Panarin, who played his first two NHL seasons for the Blackhawks, extended his points streak to six games and has points in 31 of the New York’s 37 games this season. He leads the Rangers with 53 points.


Kreider made it 2-0 with a power-play goal at 7:23 of the second. The puck deflected off Kreider’s skate into the Blackhawks net but was ruled not to be a distinct kicking motion since Kreider's skates didn't leave the ice and therefore a goal, Kreider’s 20th of the season. Kreider has a career-best points streak of eight games and the Rangers have scored a power-play goal in 10 of their last 12 games.


Kreider also reached the 20-goal mark for the ninth time. Only two players in Rangers history have recorded as many - Rod Gilbert with 12 seasons and Jean Ratelle, also with nine.


Blackwell narrowed the deficit to 2-1 at 17:03 of the second with his first goal of the season.


Trouba made it 3-1 with his third at 1:31 of the third period - with assists to Panarin and Trocheck - before Jimmy Vesey scored his eighth at 2:41.


Trocheck is second on the Rangers with 27 assists. Panarin has 29.


Chicago rookie Connor Bedard, the top overall pick in last June’s draft, made his New York-area debut and was held off the scoresheet. The 18-year-old forward leads the Blackhawks with 15 goals and 33 points.


The contest also marked the NHL debut of Rangers forward Brennan Othmann, the 16th overall pick in 2021, who was recalled from AHL Hartford on Wednesday. He had nine goals and 23 points in 28 games this season for Hartford. Othmann skated on line with Nick Bonino and Jonny Brodzinski and had five shots in 12;26 of ice time.


The Blackhawks are at New Jersey on Friday night.

Knicks Top Bulls

Julius Randle scored 35 points, Jalen Brunson had 31 points and 13 assists and the New York Knicks beat the Chicago Bulls 116-100 on Wednesday night.


OG Anunoby and Donte DiVincenzo each scored 11 points for New York, and Isaiah Hartenstein had a career-high 20 rebounds along with 10 points and five blocks.


DeMar DeRozan had 28 points for Chicago. Colby White added 26.


The Bulls continue to play without two of their four leading scorers. Nikola Vucevic missed his fifth straight game because of a strained left adductor and Zach LaVine, who hasn’t played since Nov. 28, is sidelined by inflammation in his right foot.


Alex Caruso’s 3-pointer gave Chicago its biggest lead of the game at 54-44 with just over two minutes remaining in the half. A late surge brought the Knicks to 55-51 at halftime, and New York opened the second half on an 8-2 run to reclaim the lead.


The Knicks increased the lead to eight points several times in the third quarter and led 86-78 heading into the fourth. The Bulls closed within one at 90-89 on DeRozan’s 3-pointer, but New York had a 9-2 run to push the advantage to eight.


The Bulls host Charlotte on Friday night.

Bradley Rolls Valpo

Connor Hickman's 28 points helped Bradley defeat Valparaiso 86-61 on Wednesday night.


Hickman also had five rebounds and three steals for the Braves (9-5, 1-2 Missouri Valley Conference). Ahmet Jonovic scored 15 points while shooting 6 of 8 from the field and 3 for 3 from the line, and added six rebounds. Christian Davis shot 3 for 8 (2 for 5 from 3-point range) and 4 of 4 from the free throw line to finish with 12 points.


The Beacons (4-10, 0-3) were led by Darius DeAveiro, who posted 19 points, seven rebounds and four assists. Jahari Williamson added 12 points for Valparaiso.


Sherman Weatherspoon IV also recorded nine points. The loss is the eighth straight for the Beacons.


Bradley hosts Missouri State on Saturday at 4 pm.

Packers CB Alexander Returns From One Game Suspension

Jaire Alexander wants to remain with the Packers beyond this season. Alexander was hopeful the conversations he had with team officials in the wake of the suspension should improve that relationship.


Alexander said Wednesday he’s “very grateful” to be part of the Green Bay Packers and he won’t repeat the conduct that led the team to suspend him for one game.


Alexander has been dealing with a shoulder injury for the last two months but was a full participant in Wednesday’s practice. Green Bay coach Matt LaFleur wouldn’t go into details about what role Alexander might have Sunday as the Packers (8-8) seek to clinch a playoff berth by beating the Chicago Bears (7-9).


Alexander served a one-game suspension after appointing himself captain for the Packers’ Christmas Eve victory over the Carolina Panthers in his hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina.


When the Packers won the coin toss, Alexander said the defense wanted to be on the field first rather than saying the Packers would defer the option to the second half. The Packers got a break when referee Alex Kemp asked Alexander to clarify. LaFleur had told the officiating crew beforehand what he wanted to do if the Packers won the toss.


Alexander acknowledged he wasn’t expecting a punishment of this magnitude.


The suspension prevented Alexander from getting to match up with Pro Bowl receiver Justin Jefferson on Sunday at Minnesota, though Green Bay’s defense thrived without him in a 33-10 blowout of the Vikings.


Alexander said he didn’t believe there would be too many obvious changes in the way he goes about his business from now on, but added that “my interviews might be a little more serious.” The guy who wore a comically oversized hat to one postgame news conference last year and had sunglasses on while discussing the coin-toss incident after the Carolina game didn’t have any accessories with him for Wednesday’s session with reporters.


Alexander is one of the Packers’ best overall players when healthy. He received a four-year, $84 million contract extension with a $30 million signing bonus in May 2022.


But he has played in just six of the Packers’ 16 games this season.


He missed three games during the first two months of the season with a back injury. He later missed six games with a shoulder problem before returning for the Carolina game. Then he served the one-game suspension.


Alexander expressed optimism that his shoulder would be healthy enough for him to play against the Bears. He also was hopeful the suspension led to conversations that should aid his dealings with LaFleur and general manager Brian Gutekunst.


WRs Christian Watson (hamstring), Dontayvion Wicks (chest) and Jayden Reed (chest) were all limited participants in Wednesday’s practice. Watson has missed four straight games. Wicks didn’t play against the Vikings, and Reed left the Vikings game early after scoring two touchdowns. 


LB Isaiah McDuffie (concussion/neck), OLB Preston Smith (ankle), RB AJ Dillon (thumb), S Rudy Ford (hamstring) and LG Elgton Jenkins (knee/ankle) didn’t practice.

Big Second Half Propels T-Town Over Monticello

In a game heard on WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com, Teutopolis played very well in the second half and pulled away from Monticello 57-44 in non-conference high school boy's basketball action from T-Town Tuesday night.


The Sages held the Wooden Shoes scoreless through the first 4 1/2 minutes of the game which allowed them to go up 12-5 at one in the opening quarter. 


By halftime, T-Town would go up 28-26 and pull away in the second half thanks to sharp three-point shooting from Logan Lawson off the bench. The 6-foot-1 senior went 4-for-4 from the beyond the arc, including a heat-check bank three early in the fourth quarter from the right wing. 


The Wooden Shoe's Garrett Gaddis paced all-scorers with 18 points.


Monticello was able to start fast thanks to dribble-penetration by Trey Welter who found junior Ike Young for a couple of easy baskets and senior Rai Colbert hit a pair of three's early but T-Town locked down defensively in the second quarter and took away what was working early for the Sages.


Young had seven of his eight points in the first half and Colbert scored nine of his 12 points in the first half. 


Welter paced Monticello with 16 points and was the ServPro of Piatt/DeWitt County Player of the Game.


T-Town shot 55 percent from the floor and 8-for-16 from three, including 4-for-7 in the second half from distance.


Monticello shot just 38.5 percent and 8-for-24 from three. 


The Wooden Shoes controlled the boards, outrebounding the Sages 27-20. 


Despite increased pressure from T-Town, Monticello controlled the basketball well Tuesday. They only had ten turnovers.


The Wooden Shoes had 30 points in the paint for the game and converted nine offensive rebounds into 14 second-chance points. 


The Sages fall to 6-8 overall while the Wooden Shoes improve to 9-5.


Monticello will host IVC in its Illini Prairie Conference opener Friday night at the Sievers Center. Hear the action on 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com. 

HS BBBall: Argenta-Oreana Beats Central A&M

Argenta-Oreana took down Central A&M 50-42 in non-conference high school boy's basketball action Tuesday night from Moweaqua.


Ethan Mahan paced the Bombers with 17 points while Jalynn Flowers added 12 points.


Hunter White paced the Raiders with 18 points.


Central A&M falls to 6-8 overall while Argenta-Oreana goes to 8-7.

HS GBBall: Monticello Tops Hoopston

The Monticello Lady Sages overcame a slow start to top Hoopston 40-34 in non-conference high school girl's basketball from the Sievers Center Tuesday night.


Hoopston jumped out to a 13-2 lead after the first quarter but Monticello kept chipping away and used a 14-3 third quarter to take the lead.


Maia High had another double-double for the Lady Sages with 10 points and 12 rebounds while Megan Allen added 15 points to lead Monticello.


Allen added six steals as the Lady Sages forced 23 Hoopston turnovers. 


Monticello goes to 6-10 overall and will host BCC Thursday night in an Illini Prairie Conference matchup.

Illinois Throttles Northwestern

Marcus Domask scored 32 points and had a team-high six assists to lead No. 9 Illinois to a 96-66 Big Ten win Tuesday night over Northwestern in the Illini’s second game without suspended star Terrance Shannon Jr.


Justin Harmon had 20 points, Quincy Guerrier scored 14 and Coleman Hawkins had 13 for the Illini (11-2, 2-0), who never trailed, led by as many as 33 points, and shot 63% from the field. Guerrier also had 10 rebounds for his fourth double-double of the season.


Domask was 11 of 15 from the field and 9 of 10 from the line.


Harmon topped his season-high of 18 points that he scored Friday against Fairleigh Dickinson.


Boo Buie led Northwestern (10-3, 1-1) with 20 points. But the standout guard didn't have an assist, he had four turnovers and picked up a technical foul. Ty Berry, in his 100th career game for the Wildcats, had 14 points. 


The Illini led 46-29 halftime. They made seven of their first nine shots, went on an 11-0 run late in the first half, and held the Wildcats to 31% shooting in the half.

Northwestern finished 41% from the field.


The Illini have won nine straight games against Northwestern at the State Farm Center and 10 of 11 overall against the Wildcats.


Illinois is the Big Ten’s winningest team in conference play since the start of the 2019-20 season. The Illini are now 57-25 in conference games over the last four-plus seasons. Illinois’ No. 9 ranking in the AP Top 25 poll is its highest in the first week in January since it was No. 6 in 2006.


The Wildcats stunned No. 1 Purdue last month in their Big Ten opener. There was no upset magic against No. 9 Illinois. Northwestern’s goal each game is to hold its opponents to 65 points or fewer. The Wildcats missed that goal by 31 points Tuesday. They’re now 7-1 when reaching the goal this season and 125-36 during Collins’ 11 years as coach.


The Illini haven’t missed Shannon so far. After scoring 101 points in a win Friday over Fairleigh Dickinson, they nearly reached triple digits against a Northwestern team with an impressive resume.


The Illini will play Friday at Purdue in a showdown between the Big Ten’s top teams.

Sixers Top Bulls

Joel Embiid had 31 points, 15 rebounds and 10 assists in his return from a sprained right ankle, Tyrese Maxey scored 21 points and Philadelphia beat the Chicago Bulls 110-97 on Tuesday night.


Embiid missed all four games on the 76ers’ holiday road trip, and they went 2-2. One of those games was in Chicago just three nights earlier, a 105-92 loss in which the Sixers never led in the second half.


Embiid is the reigning NBA MVP for a reason. With the big man back, the Sixers turned this into an early blowout against a Bulls team that had played well recently without injured guard Zach LaVine. LaVine can return to the lineup as early as Friday. Even the two-time All-Star wouldn’t have helped much in this one as the Bulls fell to 10-6 this season without him.


The 76ers raced to a 43-18 lead after one quarter, with the Bulls missing all 10 3-pointers.

DeMar DeRozan led the Bulls with 16 points. Andre Drummond had 11 points, 17 rebounds and muffed a dunk to the delight of the home crowd when he was stuffed by the front of the rim. Forward Patrick Williams left with an injured right ankle.


It was that kind of night in Philly, where the 76ers continued a recent trend of comfortable wins. They handed LeBron James the largest margin of defeat in his pro career in a 44-point win in November. There was a 45-point win over Washington and a 32-point victory over Detroit.


So many NBA games are ones of back-and-forth runs. The Sixers have been stout at home at building double-digit leads and never letting up -- especially against bad teams or an undermanned one like the Bulls (Nikola Vucevic sat out) -- and rolling to easy wins.


The routs also give Embiid, who reached his seventh career triple-double in the third quarter, a chance to rest. Embiid, who said he couldn't really test the ankle the previous couple of days, sat out the fourth quarter. Embiid extended his franchise records with 15 straight 30-point games and 14 straight games of 30 points and 10 rebounds.


The Bulls visit New York on Wednesday.

Drake Topples Illinois State

Illinois State Redbirds fell behind 8-0 to the Drake Bulldogs over the opening three minutes of the game and could not recover, falling in the 2024 opener by an 86-71 final score at the Knapp Center on Tuesday evening.


Darius Burford scored a team-high 14 points for the Redbirds, making 6-of-13 shots from the field, while Malachi Poindexter also reached double-figure scoring with 11. All 11 ISU players that saw action reached the scoring column in the game with at least three points each. Brandon Lieb pulled down a team-best six rebounds – three of those coming on the offensive end – while Poindexter gave out a team-best three assists.


The Bulldogs made three of their first four shots in jumping out to the eight-point advantage, before the Redbirds answered back with four straight points on a Myles Foster free throw and a Johnny Kinziger three-pointer, closing the gap to four. 


The ISU deficit was trimmed to two with 12:59 to play following a Burford lay-in; however, the hosts followed by scoring the proceeding 17 points to streak ahead to a 19-point lead. 


The Redbirds immediately responded with an 11-0 run of their own to close the gap to eight and got as close as seven before the hosts closed the half strong, taking a 19-point, 47-28 lead into the locker room at halftime.


After a three-point play by Foster to open the scoring in the second half, Drake scored the next dozen points, before cruising to the 17-point win.


Drake was led by reigning MVC Player of the Year Tucker DeVries who scored 22 points, as Atin Wright scored 21 and Conor Enright 10.


The Redbirds, now 8-6 on the year and 2-1 in the MVC, host Southern Illinois on Saturday, January 6 in a 6 p.m. tip-off inside CEFCU Arena.

Preds Blank Blackhawks

Gustav Nyquist and Ryan O’Reilly each had a goal and an assist, Juuse Saros made 21 saves and the Nashville Predators beat the Chicago Blackhawks 3-0 on Tuesday night.


Luke Evangelista also scored for Nashville, which has won two straight and improved to 3-0 against Chicago this season. The Predators led 1-0 for most of the game before O'Reilly's goal in the waning minutes of the third period.


Arvid Soderblom made 33 saves for the Blackhawks, who have dropped five of six.


Saros’ shutout was his second of the season and 22nd of his career.


Blackhawks leading scorer Connor Bedard, who was named the NHL’s rookie for the month of December earlier Tuesday, was held without a point for just the second time in his last eight games. He played his second game in the building where Chicago selected him first overall in last June’s draft.


The Blackhawks visit the New York Rangers on Thursday.

White Sox and reliever Tim Hill agree to $1.8 million, 1-year contract

The Chicago White Sox agreed to a $1.8 million, one-year contract with left-handed reliever Tim Hill, and designated right-hander Declan Cronin for assignment on Thursday.


The 33-year-old Hill was 1-4 with a 5.48 ERA in 48 appearances for San Diego last year. He missed most of the second half of the season because of a sprained left finger and had surgery on Sept. 20. Hill is 16-14 with a 4.16 ERA over six seasons with Kansas City (2018-19) and the Padres (2020-23).


Cronin spent most of last season with Triple-A Charlotte. He made nine appearances for the White Sox and gave up 11 earned runs in 11 innings.


Chicago finished fourth in the AL Central at 61-101.

Packers take control of playoff spot on Love's 4-touchdown night in 33-10 cruise past Vikings

Jordan Love and Aaron Jones put on party hats and popped a sparkling drink in the apex of an all-night celebration for the Green Bay Packers - at Minnesota's expense.


Love threw three touchdown passes and ran for a score to put the Packers in control of a spot in the playoffs with a 33-10 victory Sunday after the Vikings benched another turnover-prone quarterback.


Jones rushed for 120 yards and Jayden Reed had two touchdown catches for the Packers (8-8), who can get the NFC's last wild-card spot by beating Chicago at home next week. Seattle's loss earlier in the day allowed them to climb above the cut.


Love went 24 for 33 for 256 yards in what was surely the finest game of his first year as the starter in the post-Aaron Rodgers era.


The Vikings (7-9) watched an interception and a fumble by Jaren Hall in the first half were converted into touchdowns by the Packers. Nick Mullens took over for Hall for the second half, the fifth time the Vikings have switched quarterbacks since Kirk Cousins tore his Achilles tendon in the fourth quarter of a 24-10 win at Green Bay on Oct. 29.


Detroit clinched the NFC North by beating Minnesota here last week, marking just the second time in 13 seasons the division wasn't won by either the Packers or the Vikings, but a prime-time game between these border-state rivals always generates plenty of energy in the stadium.


Hall, who was the first reliever for Cousins two months ago only to be forced out of his first start with a concussion, hardly had any time to throw. Green Bay's defense that was shredded over the last three games by the Giants, Buccaneers and Panthers - and now missing starting cornerbacks Jaire Alexander ( suspension ) and Eric Stokes ( hamstring ) - took full advantage of the rookie from BYU.


Hall’s off-target throw in the first quarter glanced off the hands of Johnny Mundt - in an elevated role after the season-ending knee injury to Pro Bowl tight end T.J. Hockenson - and in the air to Corey Ballentine for an interception. Love’s 33-yard touchdown pass to Reed came two plays later.


The Packers host Chicago next Sunday.

Justin Fields, DJ Moore lead way as Bears deal Falcons' hopes a big blow with 37-17 romp

Justin Fields noticed the smoke in the air and the cigars on a table as he walked into the locker room. By then, the celebration was under way.


Fields threw for 268 yards with a touchdown pass and a rushing TD in what could be his final home game for Chicago, and Bears dealt Atlanta’s postseason hopes a big blow, beating the Falcons 37-17 on a snowy Sunday.


DJ Moore finished with nine catches for 159 yards and a touchdown, and Khalil Herbert ran for 124 yards and a score.


With little wiggle room to make the playoffs for the first time since 2017 - and coach Arthur Smith's future in question - the Falcons (7-9) got overwhelmed by Chicago (7-9).


The Bears grabbed a 21-7 halftime lead with Fields and Moore leading the way and rolled to their fourth win in five games.


Fields completed 20 of 32 passes and ran for 45 yards. Though he was sacked three times, he also spun out of a few.


Fields threw a neat 7-yard touchdown pass to Moore on Chicago’s first drive and ran for a 9-yard score on the next possession to make it 14-0 early in the second quarter.


Herbert set a season high for the second straight week after rushing for 112 yards last Sunday in a win over Arizona.


Roschon Johnson ran for a TD. Tyrique Stevenson had two of Chicago’s four interceptions, and the Bears won their fifth in a row at home after a 10-game skid at Soldier Field.


The Falcons struggled to get going on offense after setting a season high in scoring last week in a 29-10 win over Indianapolis. They finished with 307 yards, a week after gaining 406.


Taylor Heinicke, making his second straight start with Desmond Ridder benched, threw for 163 yards, a touchdown and three interceptions. He scrambled 24 yards for a TD early in the fourth quarter to cut it to 27-17 and departed near the end of the game after his left ankle flared up.


Ridder threw a late pick.


Atlanta running back Bijan Robinson tied William Andrews’ team rookie record of 1,332 scrimmage yards, set in 1979. He had 75 yards rushing and 11 receiving.

Tyler Allgeier turned a screen pass into a 75-yard touchdown in the second quarter. But the usually reliable Younghoe Koo had a rough time in the windy conditions, missing two early field goals as Atlanta fell to 2-6 on the road.


The Bears visit Green Bay next weekend.



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