NCAA Hoops: DePaul, ISU extend win streaks

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NCAA Hoops: DePaul, ISU extend win streaks

ROSEMONT, Ill. (AP) -- Cleveland Melvin scored 24 points and DePaul defeated Maryland-Baltimore County 69-61 Saturday to extend its winning streak to seven games.

Melvin, a Baltimore native, reached double digits in scoring for the 26th consecutive game. He added eight rebounds.

The winning streak marks the longest for DePaul (9-3) since the Blue Demons won nine straight during the 1993-94 season.

For much of the second half, DePaul held a double-digit lead until six straight points by the Retrievers (2-10) cut the lead to four with 11 minutes to play. Aaron Morgan then hit a jumper in the lane and added a free throw for a three-point play.

Jamee Crockett stole the ball and Brandon Young made two free throws, and Young found Melvin for an alley-oop to stretch the lead back to 11.

Morgan led UMBC with 15 points.

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Carmichael, ISU roll over Austin Peay

NORMAL, Ill. (AP) Jackie Carmichael had 18 points and 12 rebounds as Illinois State concluded nonconference play with an 83-57 victory over Austin Peay on Saturday.

Camichael's double-double was his fourth of the season and 25th of his career. Tyler Brown added 16 points, John Wilkins had 14 and Jon Ekey 11 for the Redbirds (9-3), who shot 50 percent from the floor. Brown also had a career-best six steals, while Johnny Hill and Kaza Keane each had six assists.

Anthony Campbell had 20 points for Austin Peay (4-8), which hit 12 of 24 3-pointers but also turned the ball over 25 times.

The game was tied at 23-all when Illinois State closed the first half on a 21-5 run. Three straight dunks by Brown, Wilkins and Carmichael highlighted the surge, and Austin Peay was scoreless for 3:59 during that stretch.

The Governors never got closer than 13 points in the second half.

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Averkamp leads Loyola over St. Peter's

JERSEY CITY, N.J. (AP) Ben Averkamp scored 17 points, 13 from the foul line, to lead Loyola (IL) to a 54-49 victory over St. Peter's Saturday.

The Ramblers (8-3) won it at the foul line, where they had a huge advantage. Averkamp was a perfect 13 for 13 as St. Peter's sank 23 of 31 foul shots. St. Peter's (5-6) went 6 for 19 at the stripe.

Both teams started sluggishly, with the Peacocks leading 17-16 at the break despite shooting 29.6 percent (8 for 27, 0 for 4 on treys). Loyola was even worse, making just 5 of 20 from the field and missing 5 of 6 3-pointers.

Each team warmed up in the second half, but Loyola rode Averkamp and its foul shooting to the win.

Joe Crisman led Loyola with 12 points on 5 for 5 shooting. Yvon Raymond was the lone Peacock in double figures with 17 points.

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UIC falls to Miami Ohio

OXFORD, Ohio (AP) Will Sullivan scored a career-high 16 points and Miami (Ohio) snapped a four-game losing streak to beat Illinois-Chicago 82-70 on Saturday.

Will Felder and Jon Harris each finished with 14 points for the RedHawks (4-6), who sent Illinois-Chicago to its second straight lost after winning eight consecutive. Reggie Johnson had 12 points and Quinten Rollins had five steals.

Miami used a 9-0 run early in the first half, capped by Geovonie McKnight's jumper to give it a 20-9 lead. The RedHawks controlled the rest of the contest, and never trailed in the second half.

Felder's slam dunk gave Miami a 79-65 advantage with 1:40 remaining in the game. Illinois-Chicago pulled no closer than nine points the rest of the way.

Gary Talton scored 15 points for the Flames (9-3). Daniel Barnes finished with 14 points, Joey Miller had 11 points, and Hayden Humes and Josh Crittled added 10 points apiece.

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NIU can't handle Washington

SEATTLE (AP) C.J. Wilcox scored 22 points to lead Washington to a 67-57 win over Northern Illinois on Saturday afternoon.

Wilcox topped the 20-point mark for the seventh time in eight games. Aziz N'Diaye added 13 points and 12 rebounds for his fourth double-double of the season.

Washington led 36-25 at halftime.

Sophomore Abdel Nader came off the bench to lead Northern Illinois (2-9) with 18 points, while Keith Gray added 10.

Troubled by inconsistent play during the nonconference portion of its schedule, Washington (8-4) has now won four straight games.

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Drake tops Eastern Illinois

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) Micah Mason had 19 points and six assists and Drake continued its torrid 3-point shooting during a 74-56 victory over Eastern Illinois on Saturday.

The Bulldogs (6-5), who came into the game ranked fifth in the country with 9.1 3-pointers per game, were 13 of 22 beyond the arc and shot 56 percent overall from the floor. They also hit 15 of 18 free throws.

Drake also got 14 points from Ben Simons, 11 from Chris Hines and 10 from Seth VanDeest.

Sherman Blanford had 18 points and seven rebounds for Eastern Illinois (3-10), which outrebounded Drake 25-19 but committed 19 turnovers. Morris Woods added 10 points for the Panthers.

Drake trailed 26-24 before scoring nine straight points to close the first half. A 3-pointer and layup by Mason to start the second half extended the lead to 12 points, and the Bulldogs later added a 14-2 run to make it 61-41 with 9:42 remaining.

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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.

Marcus Kruger 'pretty close' to returning for Blackhawks

Marcus Kruger 'pretty close' to returning for Blackhawks

Marcus Kruger has been sidelined a little longer than the originally expected three weeks with his right hand injury. Not that any missed time is enjoyable.

"I wanted to get back there probably a few weeks ago but unfortunately I couldn't," said Kruger, who suffered his injury on Dec. 30 against the Carolina Hurricanes. "I tried to listen to the doctors and do everything I can instead to be ready when I get cleared. That's my mindset."

Kruger is close, but not quite there, as the Blackhawks prepared for Sunday night's game against the Vancouver Canucks. Kruger skated with his teammates for the first time since being injured but wasn't among the line rushes. The center took faceoffs on his own at the end of practice. Kruger pronounced himself, "pretty close," to returning. Coach Joel Quenneville said the Blackhawks will see how Kruger is over the next few days. The Blackhawks play again Tuesday and Thursday before heading into the All-Star break this weekend.

The Blackhawks have missed Kruger's versatility and especially his play on the penalty kill. The Blackhawks' kill has been fine through Kruger's absence but he nevertheless is a big part of it when he's healthy.

"We have a lot of options and when he's out everyone gets a more important role, whether starting or faceoffs. And we have a rotation of five guys who are in there most of the time. But he definitely absorbs the most responsibility when he's playing in that area," Quenneville said of Kruger. "So it's nice you get to try some other guys and you get deeper as you go along."

[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

One of the players who's emerged in Kruger's absence is Tanner Kero, who filled his third-line center void. Kero and linemates Vinnie Hinostroza and Marian Hossa clicked on the dads trip, coming up with big plays and points in the Blackhawks' victories over Colorado and Boston. As of now, Kero appears to have the hold on third-line center.

"I don't see too many things that would change his positioning because he really helped himself," Quenneville said.

Kruger said he's fine if that means returning to fourth-line center duties. Regardless, he'll help bolster the Blackhawks' forward lines. The last step is likely contact, which Kruger got a little of – outside of faceoffs – in Sunday's skate. Kruger's had to wait a little longer than expected on his injury but he's getting there.

“Obviously [I want to] get back and playing the same way,” Kruger said. “First I want to get healthy and then get back playing my best and do everything I can for the team.”