NCAA hoops: Notre Dame, Bradley roll

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NCAA hoops: Notre Dame, Bradley roll

Notre Dame rolls over St. Francis

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) Jack Cooley had 13 points and 13 rebounds Saturday to lead Notre Dame to a 69-52 win over St. Francis of Pennsylvania.

Eric Atkins and Cameron Biedscheid each scored 13 points as well for the Irish, and Garrick Sherman had 11 points in his first start of the season.

Umar Shannon scored 14 points and Ollie Jackson had 12 points on four 3-pointers for St. Francis (0-5), which lost its ninth straight road game dating back to last season. The Irish (5-1) have won 39 of their last 40 home games and improved to 44-0 all-time in November under coach Mike Brey.

Cooley recorded double figures in points and rebounds in the same game for the 17th time in his career.

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Western Illinois can't complete comeback

SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) Rashad Hassan and Preston Blackman scored 13 points apiece as Savannah State held off Western Illinois 39-38 Saturday in nonconference action.

Blackman also tallied a game-high five assists to go with five rebounds and Cedric Smith grabbed nine rebounds for the Tigers, who outrebounded Western Illinois 33-26.

Savannah State (4-3) jumped out to a 22-13 halftime lead behind 11 first-half points from Hassan.

Western Illinois (3-3), following a 23.1 percent (6 of 26) first-half shooting performance, bounced back after intermission. The Leathernecks shot 50 percent (10 of 20) from the field and cut what was an 11-point second-half lead to one, 39-38, with 50 seconds remaining.

The Leathernecks held Savannah State scoreless over the final minute of the game but the Tigers' Arnold Louis blocked Don McAvoy's 3-point attempt as time expired.

Adam Link led Western Illinois with 11 points and had four of the Leathernecks' eight steals.

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Bradley dominates Tennessee-Martin

PEORIA, Ill. (AP) Walt Lemon Jr. scored 15 points and Bradley breezed to an 80-57 victory over Tennessee-Martin on Saturday.

Jake Eastman added 14 points for the Braves (4-1). Will Egolf had 13 points and a team-high nine rebounds, Jalen Crawford scored 12 and Dyricus Simms-Edwards finished with 11 points.

Myles Taylor had 17 points and nine rebounds before fouling out to lead the Skyhawks (2-4). Mike Liabo scored 15 points and Justin Childs added 12 points for UT-Martin.

Bradley has won all four games in the series between the schools. The Braves led 27-21 at halftime but opened up a 28-point lead late in the game.

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Piper leads Eastern over Houston Baptist

CHARLESTON, Ill. (AP) Josh Piper scored 16 points and grabbed 11 rebounds on Saturday to lead Eastern Illinois to a 64-44 victory over Houston Baptist.

Sherman Blanford also helped Eastern Illinois (3-4) with 15 points and eight rebounds, as the team had a 32-22 advantage on the boards.

Malcolm Herron scored 12 points for Eastern Illinois.

Eastern Illinois pulled away in the second half with accurate shooting, hitting 10 of 15 shots.

Houston Baptist (3-3) struggled with its shooting most of the game, hitting just 14 of 40 shots from the floor and missing all 10 of its 3-point attempts.

Tyler Russell scored 11 points to lead Houston Baptist, and Marcus Davis had seven rebounds.

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Loyola takes down NIU

DEKALB, Ill. (AP) Ben Averkamp scored 15 points, including three 3-pointers, and Loyola of Chicago pulled away in the second half for a 53-46 victory over Northern Illinois on Saturday.

Averkamp added 10 rebounds, as did Joe Crisman, for the Ramblers (4-2), and Cully Payne scored 10 points.

Akeem Springs led the Huskies (1-3) with 15 points but was just 6 of 16 from the field, part of a 30 percent overall effort for NIU.

After a tepid first half in which the teams combined for 11 field goals, Loyola came alive, shooting 56 percent from the floor after halftime. An 18-4 run, capped by a Jeff White layup with 7:19 to play, turned a tie game into a 43-29 Ramblers lead. Payne and White made five free throws in the final minute to seal the victory.

The victory moved Loyola ahead of NIU 17-16 in the all-time series, which dates to 1926.

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Elena Delle Donne scores 18, leads Sky over Wings

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Elena Delle Donne scores 18, leads Sky over Wings

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) - Elena Delle Donne had 18 points and eight rebounds to help the Chicago Sky beat the Dallas Wings 92-85 on Sunday.

Courtney Vandersloot added 15 points and nine assists, Cappie Pondexter scored 14 and Erika de Souza had 12 for Chicago, which is sixth in the AP power poll.

The Sky (13-13) had an 18-1 run spanning the first and second quarters to make it 40-16 on de Souza's basket with 6:09 left in the first half.

The 10th-ranked Wings (9-18) cut the deficit to 60-54 in the third quarter but Chicago answered with a 12-3 run. From there, the Wings trailed by double-digits until a late 13-2 run brought them within 90-85 with 15 seconds left.

Odyssey Sims scored 22 points and Skylar Diggins added 16 to lead Dallas, which dropped its eighth in a row.

Cubs close out road trip with narrow loss to Dodgers

Cubs close out road trip with narrow loss to Dodgers

LOS ANGELES – Joe Maddon watched John Lackey board the team bus on Sunday morning wearing a Team USA onesie. The Cubs manager later noticed Aroldis Chapman in pajamas in the clubhouse on his way out to the dugout for his pregame media session at Dodger Stadium.

“We’ve created our own little culture, our own little identity,” Maddon said. “I just love the fact that they buy into those moments. Your stars are buying into it.”

The Cubs are in their own world, followed like rock stars on the road, freed from baseball’s unwritten rules and checked out from the daily anxiety and scoreboard-watching stress during a normal pennant race. 

But this afternoon still had a playoff-type atmosphere, with a crowd of 44,745 watching a scoreless game finally pivot in the eighth inning. Cubs reliever Trevor Cahill hit Andrew Toles with a pitch, jammed Howie Kendrick and threw the soft groundball into right field. An intentional walk to Corey Seager loaded the bases, setting up a matchup between Carl Edwards Jr. and the heart of the Los Angeles lineup.

[SHOP: Gear up, Cubs fans!]

The rookie unleashed a 97-mph fastball and struck out Justin Turner on a foul tip. Edwards then went right back at Adrian Gonzalez, inducing a chopper toward third baseman Javier Baez, who threw the ball to second base. The Cubs missed escaping the jam by a split second, with Seager’s right foot sliding into second just before Ben Zobrist’s left foot touched the bag.

That would be the difference in a 1-0 loss that again showed the narrow margin between these two big-market, first-place teams. The Cubs needed 10 innings to secure a comeback win on Friday night before Los Angeles won one-run games on Saturday and Sunday at Dodger Stadium.  

The Cubs would still leave Los Angeles with a 14-game lead over the St. Louis Cardinals, their magic number to clinch the division now 20, ending a West Coast trip with a onesies theme almost exactly one year after Jake Arrieta threw a no-hitter at Dodger Stadium, showing this team would be a force in October.

With John Lackey ramping up for return, could Cubs go to six-man rotation?

With John Lackey ramping up for return, could Cubs go to six-man rotation?

LOS ANGELES – John Lackey is ramping up for a return to the rotation and all those “Big Boy Games” the Cubs are supposed to play in October.

The Cubs expect Lackey to test his strained right shoulder and throw two bullpen sessions this week, manager Joe Maddon said Sunday at Dodger Stadium. If everything goes smoothly for the two-time World Series champion, the Cubs will tentatively schedule Lackey’s next start for either the Labor Day weekend showdown against the San Francisco Giants at Wrigley Field, or near the beginning of a three-city road trip in early September.     

Lackey (9-7, 3.41 ERA) has accounted for 158-plus innings, making 24 starts and stabilizing the rotation before going on the disabled list on Aug. 15. Jason Hammel should eventually cool off and will be “well-rested” after Maddon’s quick hook on Saturday afternoon at Dodger Stadium. The Cubs also like what they’ve seen from Mike Montgomery, believing the lefty can develop into a solid big-league starter.

[SHOP: Gear up, Cubs fans!]

Could the Cubs go to a six-man rotation down the stretch?

“We haven’t planned that specifically yet,” Maddon said. “I’m not opposed, let me put it that way. We’ll see how it all plays out with Mikey the next time through. Again, to do anything we possibly can to conserve our arms for the end of the year is important. 

“It’s being proven throughout the industry right now. Moving forward, the biggest trick there is to get the sixth guy that you like. Most teams are clamoring to get (No.) 4 and 5. We got five that we like. Now we’re working on 6.”

It’s not like the Cubs are fighting for a wild-card spot or clinging to a one-game lead in the division. The best record in baseball allows them to look at the big picture and get creative in September. The counterargument to keeping starters fresh for October would be keeping creatures of habit like Jon Lester and Jake Arrieta in a rhythm. 

“Starting pitchers have always rallied to say that they need to stay on that particular plan,” Maddon said. “But I think it’s kind of been proven – just give them that extra day or two on occasion and it really benefits them. So I just think you’re fighting this old view of specifically how it needs to be done."