NCAA Hoops Roundup: Local teams complete perfect Sunday

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NCAA Hoops Roundup: Local teams complete perfect Sunday

Northwestern tops Fairleigh Dickinson

EVANSTON -- Reggie Hearn scored 14 points and Northwestern's defense did the rest Sunday in an 80-53 victory over Fairleigh Dickinson.Fairleigh Dickinson's inability to convert in the paint prevented them from staying in the game early. The Knights missed six layups in the first half alone, which allowed Northwestern (3-0) to quickly take command in the first meeting between the schools.

For the second time in three games, Northwestern held its opponent to 14 points in the first half, a feat it previously had not accomplished since December 2008. The Wildcats led by as many as 36 points.

Eleven different players scored for the Wildcats, who shot 49 percent from the field. Northwestern's big men dominated Fairleigh Dickinson (0-2) in the post, outscoring them 36-16 in the paint.

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Loyola defeats Maryland-Eastern Shore

TAMPA, Fla. -- Ben Averkamp scored 27 points and Loyola of Chicago beat Maryland-Eastern Shore 62-46 on Sunday.

Averkamp also had eight rebounds and became the 19th player in Loyola (3-2) history with at least 1,000 points and 500 rebounds.

Maryland-Eastern Shore (0-6) got 13 points from Troy Snyder.

Both teams lost games Friday and Saturday in the three-day South Florida Invitational.

Loyola grabbed a 47-36 lead with five minutes remaining on Christian Thomas' three-point play and three in-close baskets by Averkamp.

Averkamp's rebound basket after a missed free throw and his 3-pointer on the Ramblers' next possession extended their lead to 54-36.

Jordan Hicks connected on a long-range jumper, part of a 7-0 run, as Loyola took a 32-31 lead eight minutes into the second half.

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Illinois State throttles Delaware State

NORMAL -- Tyler Brown scored 14 points, Jon Ekey and Nick Zeisloft each chipped in with 11 and Illinois State had no problems with visiting Delaware State in an 87-48 rout for the Redbirds on Sunday afternoon.

Illinois State (3-0) shot 54.7 percent from the field, making 35 of 64 shot attempts including a 9 for 23 mark from behind the arc. Jordan Threloff scored nine points, had eight rebounds and added four assists to his stat total while Bryant Allen and Jackie Carmichael each had eight points.

Delaware State (3-1) had only one player in double figures with Miles Bowman scoring 10 points off the bench, going a perfect 5 for 5 from the field in 20 minutes of play. The Hornets had 22 turnovers and were outrebounded 42 to 28 by the Redbirds.

Illinois State put the game away in the first half, taking a 49-22 lead at the break.

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Eastern Illinois edges IPFW

YPSILANTI, Mich. -- Sherman Blanford scored 17 points, including the deciding basket with 21 seconds to play, and Eastern Illinois defeated IPFW 68-67 on Sunday.

The game was part of the Ice Man Classic at Eastern Michigan University.

Josh Piper scored 12 points for the Panthers (2-3), and Malcolm Herron and Morris Woods added 11 points apiece. Blanford had seven rebounds to lead EIU.

Kevin Harden led all scorers with 22 points for the Mastadons (2-3). Frank Gaines had 15 points and Mario Hines scored 10 for IPFW.

The game featured 11 ties and 12 lead changes. Eastern Illinois built an early 11-point lead but IPFW drew within 34-33 at halftime.

Complete Recap Box Score

Link leads Western Illinois past Yale

OAKLAND CITY, Ind. -- Adam Link scored 18 points on 7-of-14 shooting while grabbing four rebounds and dishing out three assists to lead Western Illinois past Yale on Sunday afternoon 59-47.

Western Illinois (3-2) trailed the Bulldogs 32-31 at halftime but outscored Yale 28-15 in the second half to close out a win. The Fighting Leathernecks shot 45.8 percent from the field, making 22 of 48, and were almost perfect from the free-throw line, hitting 10 of 11.

Link was one of three players in double figures for Western Illinois. Ceola Clark scored 12 points and added six assists and five rebounds. Jack Houpt had 10 points and four rebounds.

Yale (1-4) didn't have a player in double figures but had two with nine points in Brandon Sherrod and Javier Duren. Justin Sears had eight points and nine rebounds to go along with his four assists.

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Northern Illinois crushes Judson

DE KALB, Ill. (AP) Sam Mader and Akeem Springs scored 16 points apiece and Northern Illinois won its home opener, defeating Judson of Illinois 72-54 on Sunday.

Kevin Gray had 10 points and eight rebounds to lead the Huskies (1-2), who dropped road games at Nebraska-Omaha and Valparaiso.

The Eagles (2-6), who play in NAIA Division II, jumped out to a 20-12 lead. NIU answered by running off 15 straight points and eventually led 39-32 at halftime.

Luke Pearson and Luke Labedzki led Judson with nine points - each of them hitting three 3-pointers.

It was the first meeting between the schools.

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Cubs conserving Jake Arrieta for October and see another Cy Young push coming

Cubs conserving Jake Arrieta for October and see another Cy Young push coming

SAN DIEGO – West Coast atmosphere, late August, almost no-hitter stuff for a Cubs team riding a wave of momentum. Jake Arrieta might be reentering the zone that made him the hottest pitcher on the planet last year. Get your onesies ready.

It felt that way on Tuesday night at Petco Park, where Arrieta shut down the San Diego Padres, allowing only two hits across eight scoreless innings in a 5-3 victory, making another statement in his Cy Young Award defense.

For all the questions about Arrieta’s fastball control and mechanical tweaks – and times where he’s admitted he’s felt a click off – this is still a top-of-the-rotation guy who leads the league with 16 wins and has a 2.62 ERA.

“He should be” in the Cy Young discussion, manager Joe Maddon said. “The only thing that’s been amiss is a little bit of command issues on occasion. Otherwise, stuff is the same. Numbers are fabulous. It’s hard to replicate what he had done last year, because he just nailed it.

“If he gets hot over these last couple weeks…”

It will be up to Arrieta to complete that thought in a World Series-or-bust season for baseball’s first team to 80 wins this year, one that’s now 35 games over .500.  

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This didn’t feel like a perfect game or create any no-hitter drama. The Padres are already 20 games under .500 and years away from being a serious contender. And Arrieta had to bounce back from last week’s ugly win over the Milwaukee Brewers – when he walked a career-high seven batters – and work around a first-inning walk to San Diego leadoff guy Travis Jankowski.

But the Cubs played spectacular defense behind Arrieta, with catcher Willson Contreras make a lightning-quick throw to pick off Jankowski at third base. The Cubs turned three double plays while a thunderous lineup led by Kris Bryant (33rd home run) and Addison Russell (fifth home run in his last five games) lowered the stress level. After Alex Dickerson’s single leading off the second inning, the Padres didn’t get another hit until Christian Bethancourt’s double with two outs in the eighth.

“I really wanted to let my defense work,” said Arrieta, who finished with six strikeouts against three walks. “When you have Addison and (Javier) Baez in the middle of the infield – two of the best athletes in all of baseball – you want the ball to go to those guys.”

At a time when Clayton Kershaw (back) and Stephen Strasburg (elbow) are on the disabled list, leaving potential playoff opponents like the Los Angeles Dodgers and Washington Nationals in scramble mode, the Cubs can see Arrieta building toward October.

The way Arrieta did with that Aug. 30 no-hitter last year at Dodger Stadium on national TV, walking into the press conference in a moustache-covered onesie, Maddon going with the pajama theme again for the flight home after this weekend’s series in Los Angeles.

But the Cubs ultimately paid the price for all that effort poured into the wild-card chase, which explains why Maddon pulled Arrieta after 99 pitches with a five-run lead (leaving Aroldis Chapman to clean up Felix Pena’s mess in the ninth inning and get the final two outs, giving him eight saves in a Cubs uniform).

“Yeah, I was mad at Joe taking me out,” Arrieta said. “But at the same time, he came over to me and he said: ‘Hey, just remember last year and let’s conserve some things for October.’

“That’s our game plan. We want to be as strong and as dominant as we can be, but still in the back of our mind understanding that late September, early October, mid-October is really the most important time for us.

“Could I have finished the game? Yes. Does it play in our favor to maybe conserve that for later? Yeah. Joe’s a really smart guy. He knows what he’s doing. I feel like he makes the right moves in the right situations. And that’s why we’ve been playing as well as we have.”

No doubt, Addison Russell is becoming a star for Cubs

No doubt, Addison Russell is becoming a star for Cubs

SAN DIEGO – On a team bursting with MVP frontrunners and Cy Young Award candidates – and in a clubhouse with louder, flashier personalities – Addison Russell can emerge as an All-Star shortstop and not become the center of attention.

But here at Petco Park last month, Russell drew scrutiny for his spot in the all-Cub infield, patiently answering questions from reporters about whether or not he deserved to be the National League starter the fans voted for in that popularity contest.

Russell might actually be developing into a superstar now, a Gold Glove-caliber defender with legitimate middle-of-the-order power, someone absolutely essential to what the Cubs are doing now. Russell crushed the San Diego Padres again on Tuesday night, opening up a two-run game with a two-run homer in the fifth inning of a 5-3 victory.

“Just watch me over the course of a year,” Russell said. “My numbers may not be great or whatever, but I contribute to my team every single day. I play my heart out for my team.”

Super-agent Scott Boras, posted up at Petco Park to see clients and watch Jake Arrieta pitch, pointed out that Russell is now only one of five shortstops within the last 40 years to have at least 19 homers during his age-22 season, joining Cal Ripken Jr., Alex Rodriguez, Troy Tulowitzki and Corey Seager.

Russell is the first Cubs shortstop to reach the 80-RBI mark since Ernie Banks did it in 1961. For all the comparisons to Barry Larkin, he didn’t make his big-league debut with the Cincinnati Reds until the age of 22, and didn’t exceed 12 homers in a season until five years later.

Russell has homered five times in his last five games, leads the best team in baseball with 23 multi-RBI games and exemplifies a no-panic approach that should translate in October.

“I’ve said all year, we have guys on our team that get on base and it’s my job to get them over or get them in,” Russell said. “I’ve taken that role to heart. It’s a lot of fun out there. I challenge myself whenever I’m in that situation.”

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Russell’s highlight-reel play during Monday night’s victory inspired manager Joe Maddon to give him a bottle of Justin Isosceles wine with a “6-3” written on it. Imagine the reward if Russell wins a Gold Glove.  

“Defensively, it’s as good as there is being played right now,” Maddon said. “It’s getting to the point where there’s nobody else like that right now.”

Whether or not Russell can stay healthy and remain productive enough to become another Mr. Cub – or come close to matching Larkin’s Hall of Fame numbers – you don’t get the sense he will be a one-time All-Star.

“I’m very happy for him, because I know prior to being selected, that was an issue,” Maddon said. “I’m so proud of him, how he came out and confronted it in his own way, very quietly, but in a distinguished manner. That’s who he is.

“Now he’s showing everybody how good he is. And I also believe that event has pretty much catapulted him to the point he’s at right now (with) the status that he felt by being here. In some ways, there was this negative dialogue going on. He’s turned it into a very positive one. Good for him.”

Preview: White Sox try to sweep Phillies tonight on CSN

Preview: White Sox try to sweep Phillies tonight on CSN

The White Sox take on the Philadelphia Phillies on Wednesday, and you can catch all the action on CSN. Coverage begins at 7:00 p.m. Be sure to stick around after the final out to get analysis and player reaction on White Sox Postgame Live.

Wednesday’s starting pitching matchup: James Shields vs. Jerad Eickhoff

Click here for a game preview to make sure you’re ready for the action.  

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