Andrew stays unbeaten with victory over Thornwood

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Andrew stays unbeaten with victory over Thornwood

By Michael O'Brien
YourSeason.com

All of No. 4 Andrew from the coach to the players to the fans in the stands knew that Sundays game at Thornwood was a measuring stick. A win in South Holland would go a long way towards validating the Thunderbolts undefeated record.

It was with that pressure on his shoulders that junior Glorind Lisha stepped to the free-throw line twice in the final eight seconds of the game. He made two of four, just enough to seal a 48-45 win over Thornwood.

It was way too stressful, said Lisha. I came up short on one and off to the right on the other.

Jubril Adekoya had a coast-to-coast rebound and floater with 2:01 to play, and then found his older brother Jawad for a dunk with 1:45 to play, giving Andrew a 44-34 lead.

But Thornwood star Darrell Combs scored seven consecutive points to cut the lead to three. Jubril Adekoya made one of two free throws to increase the lead to five, but Combs was fouled on a drive to the basket on the next possession. He made both free throws to cut the lead to three with 12 seconds to play and set up the pressure situation for Lisha.

He had my heart racing missing those two, Jubril Adekoya said. He usually shoots like 90 percent from the line.

Jawad led Andrew with 15 points and four rebounds. Jubril scored 11 and grabbed six rebounds and Lisha scored 12. Mike Bobek contributed eight for the Thunderbolts (16-0, 7-0 SouthWest Suburban Red).

Combs finished with 17 points for Thornwood (12-6, 6- 1) and Khapri Alston added 12points and 14 rebounds.

Im very impressed with Alston, Andrew coach Tim OHalloran said. Any time he doesnt have the ball in his hands Im happy.

Andrews defensive effort was the key in the second half, especially considering Thornwood dominated the boards, out-rebounding Andrew 35-25.

We keyed on Alston in the second half, Jubril Adekoya said. Hes really strong and can get his post position every time.

Sub-.500 Hawkeyes on four-game losing streak after home loss to Omaha

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USA TODAY

Sub-.500 Hawkeyes on four-game losing streak after home loss to Omaha

Things are not going too well in Iowa City.

The Hawkeyes saw their losing streak stretch to four games Saturday with an upsetting 98-89 home loss to Omaha.

Iowa has been a high-scoring team this season, entering the weekend with the Big Ten's No. 2 scoring offense at 85.6 points a game, but it's also been the league's worst defensive team, allowing an average of 85 points a game. And that's before the Mavericks nearly hit the century mark on Saturday.

The Hawkeyes were out-rebounded, including a big advantage for the Mavericks on the offensive boards, where they turned 19 offensive rebounds into 20 second-chance points. Omaha's bench outscored Iowa's bench, 37-9, and the Mavericks had a 40-26 scoring edge in the paint.

Trailing by six after allowing 53 first-half points, the Hawkeyes led for just 18 seconds over the game's final 21-plus minutes.

Peter Jok, the Big Ten's leading scorer, poured in 33 points in this one, though efficiency was not his strong suit, going 8-for-21 from the field. He added 10 rebounds for a double-double.

Iowa's losing streak stands at four, the loss to Omaha linking with losses to Virginia, Memphis and Notre Dame. In the last three games, the Hawkeyes have surrendered an average of 96.7 points. In four of their five losses on the season — the heretofore unmentioned one coming against Seton Hall — opponents have scored at least 91 points.

The Hawkeyes' only wins this season have come against Kennesaw State, Savannah State and Texas-Rio Grande Valley.

Iowa has five more non-conference games — including a date with ranked in-state rival Iowa State — prior to the start of Big Ten play at the end of the month.

Illini defense dominant in capping bounce-back week with win over VCU

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USA TODAY

Illini defense dominant in capping bounce-back week with win over VCU

What a difference a week makes.

Last week was a nightmare for Illinois, with a home loss to Winthrop followed by back-to-back double-digit losses to West Virginia and Florida State in Brooklyn.

But things went much differently this week, with Tuesday's win over North Carolina State paired with a Saturday victory over VCU to make for a bounce-back stretch for a team that looked lost just a handful of days ago.

Saturday's win in Miami came in convincing fashion, Illinois victorious by a 64-46 score over a team that's been to six straight NCAA tournaments.

The Illinois defense held VCU to its lowest scoring output since 2005. The Illini held the Rams to just 30.2-percent shooting and 2-for-18 shooting from 3-point range.

The Illini fell behind early in this one but countered VCU's opening success with a 19-3 run that put them ahead by eight in the closing minutes of the first half. That run featured seven points from Leron Black and five from Maloclm Hill, the start of huge games for both guys. A Hill buzzer-beater at the half gave Illinois its biggest lead of the opening 20 minutes at 10.

VCU scored 11 straight points in the early stages of the second half to chop a 12-point Illinois lead all the way down to one. Things stayed close until a 10-3 run by the Illini — featuring eight points from Jalen Coleman-Lands — stretched the Illinois edge back out to double digits, an 11-point lead with about three minutes to go. After a pair of VCU free throws, Hill knocked down a 3-pointer with two and a half minutes left to seal the game, establishing a 12-point advantage the stretched to nearly 20 by the final horn.

Black finished the game with a career-high 18 points, coming close to a double-double with eight rebounds. Hill had 16 points and filled the stat sheet with five assists, three rebounds, two steals and a block. Coleman-Lands was an unusual oh-fer from 3-point range but still scored in double figures with 12 points. Tracy Abrams was a perfect 3-for-3 from deep, accounting for all nine of his points, and had six rebounds and four assists.

Illinois sits at 6-3 on the season, two games better than it was a week ago after back-to-back wins against name opponents. Four more non-conference games are on the docket — against IUPUI, Central Michigan, BYU and Missouri — before the start of Big Ten play at the end of the month.