Caravan cruise to shut out victory over Providence

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Caravan cruise to shut out victory over Providence

By Dick Goss
Season Pass

If there is a better word than frustrating to describe what transpired Friday night at Matt Senffner Field in New Lenox, Providence coach Mark Coglianese had not found it.

The No. 18 Celtics were revved up for their regular-season and Catholic Blue finale against Mount Carmel, but six turnovers later, the No. 5 Caravan left town with a 17-0 victory.

Providence (7-2, 2-2) had second-and-goal on the Mount Carmel 1-yard line on their second possession, but quarterback Dominic Lagone had the ball leave his hands on a sneak and it fly into the end zone, where the Caravans Vincent Speller and Justin Sanchez smothered it.

Late in the first half, the Celtics were first-and-goal at the 6-yard line after a Cody Kirby-to-Chad Weaver connection on a double pass covered 47 yards. But on first down, Lagone tried to make a play when being tackled, pitching to Brandon Price (19 carries, 105 yards). It failed to connect and Speller corralled it and returned it 88 yards down the sideline for the first score with 10 seconds left in the half.

The key was to get to the ball and scoop it up and then I could score, Speller said There was nobody behind me.

It wasnt a good decision on Dominics part, Coglianese said of the errant pitch. But were not going to come down too hard on him. Hes done things like that all year and made big plays, and thats what he was trying to do.

Providence committed six turnovers in all, not to mention a costly holding penalty in the third quarter, and Mount Carmel (8-1, 3-1) eventually wore down a game Celtics defense. Ivan Strmic kicked a 37-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter and Draco Smith (22 carries, 98 yards) scored a late TD on a 3-yard run.

Providence beat us last year, Speller said. There was a lot of anger inside us.

We executed our defense. We expected to play like this. Thats what coach (Frank) Lenti wanted. It was very important that we win this one going into the playoffs.

We did a lot of good things and a lot of bad things in the first half, Coglianese said. Our defense was outstanding. But the second half was a different story. They wore us down.

And lets face it, you arent going to beat a good team like Mount Carmel when you turn the ball over. We could have been up 17-0. But we have a young team, especially on offense, and we will take something positive out of this.

Prairie Ridge OL Jeff Jenkins commits to Iowa

Prairie Ridge OL Jeff Jenkins commits to Iowa

Prairie Ridge junior offensive linemen recruit Jeff Jenkins (6-foot-4, 260 pounds) made an unofficial Sunday Junior Day visit to the University of Iowa and came away verbally committed to the Hawkeyes.

"I didn't want to wait," Jenkins said. "I knew I wanted to be a Hawkeye when I met the coaches at Iowa and got on campus."

Jenkins, an All-State linemen for the 2016 Class 6A state champion Wolves, received a scholarship offer from Iowa back on Jan. 13. He pointed towards the Hawkeyes history of developing NFL caliber offensive linemen as one of several keys in his early decision.

"Iowa has a great tradition of offensive linemen," Jenkins said. "I was also just really impressed with the coaches at Iowa along with the facilities and everything that they have to offer. I just knew that I couldn't pass up the opportunity at Iowa. I knew it was home."

Northwestern holds off Ohio State for fifth Big Ten win, first win in Columbus in 40 years

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USA TODAY

Northwestern holds off Ohio State for fifth Big Ten win, first win in Columbus in 40 years

It's not something that's been said often over the decades, but Northwestern is one of the best teams in the Big Ten.

That's the story the standings tell, and with another week of the 2016-17 season in the books, the Wildcats sit at 5-2 in conference play, good for the second-best mark in the league.

That fifth conference win came Sunday afternoon with a 74-72 defeat of Ohio State. It was the first time Northwestern won in Columbus since 1977.

This is the first 5-2 start to Big Ten play for the Cats since 1968. So is this the first time ever the Cats get an invite to the NCAA tournament?

Of course that remains to be seen, but Chris Collins' squad sure seems to be setting itself up for inclusion in the field of 68. Sunday's win was just the latest to come away from Evanston, and in seven conference games, four of the team's five wins have come in road games, including three straight at Nebraska, Rutgers and Ohio State.

Northwestern had to find a way to win Sunday. A couple surges in the first half took the Cats from modest deficits to a lead that grew as big as eight. The halftime advantage was five, but that slipped away quickly as Northwestern shot poorly after halftime. Ice cold is a better descriptor, the Cats struggling to get their field-goal percentage above 30 percent over the final 20 minutes. It got there eventually, the team finishing shooting 32.3 percent in the second half, but it was the work from the free-throw line that made the win possible. Over the final 20 minutes, Northwestern was 14-for-16 from the charity stripe, including going 11-for-12 over the final minute and a half.

The key stretch came when a Scottie Lindsey 3-ball broke a 56-all tie with four and a half minutes to play. Ohio State countered with a bucket, but freshman point guard Isiah Brown turned in back-to-back scores of his own, the second a breakaway layup off a steal. That made it a five-point lead, and though the gap shrunk over the game's final three minutes, Northwestern's free-throw shooting allowed the Cats to hold that lead the rest of the way.

Meanwhile, the Buckeyes shot themselves in the foot at the free-throw line. They were 12-for-23 on the game, and all but one of the attempts came in the second half, making for 10 missed free throws over the game's final 20 minutes. Northwestern committed a lot of fouls, but Ohio State couldn't capitalize, something that has to be quite painful for the Buckeyes, considering they had edges in other statistical categories. They shot 45.6 percent from the field compared to the Cats shooting 37.5 percent. Ohio State also had 16 second-chance points and 28 points in the paint. But Northwestern had 17 points off 13 Ohio State turnovers.

Lindsey finished with a game-high 21 points and has scored in double figures in every game this season. Bryant McIntosh had 17 points, and Vic Law had 10. Jae'Sean Tate scored 14 points for Ohio State, with JaQuan Lyle adding 13, Trevor Thompson scoring 11 and Cam Williams putting in 10.

The win was Northwestern's fourth straight and boosted its overall record to 16-4 to go along with the 5-2 mark in the conference. The Cats next play Nebraska on Thursday.

The loss snapped a modest two-game win streak for Ohio State and dropped the Buckeyes' record to 12-8 overall and 2-5 in the Big Ten. They next play Minnesota on Wednesday.