Youkilis tired from travel, but got a laugh from Obama's comment


Youkilis tired from travel, but got a laugh from Obama's comment

MINNEAPOLIS --- White Sox third baseman Kevin Youkilis said Tuesday afternoon he enjoyed word his acquisition has received the presidential seal of approval.
Youkilis said he has been bombarded text messages, phone calls and emails from friends and family a day after President Barack Obama thanked a group of supporters in Boston for Youkilis, whom the White Sox acquired from the Red Sox on Sunday afternoon. Video of the speech shows the comment elicited boos from those in the crowd.
It was pretty funny just to see that and the family got a good kick out of it, Youkilis said. There are mass emails going around to the family. Never thought it --- its probably a better way to get mentioned by the President than other ways, so its a good thing.
Obamas mention probably highlighted what Youkilis has described as a very surreal 24-hour period. In that time, Youkilis received a standing ovation from Red Sox fans after he was pulled from Sundays game, was traded, flew to join the White Sox at Target Field and made his debut.
Youkilis, who went 1-for-4 in his first game with the White Sox, said he was left exhausted by the experience.
I definitely woke up a little tired today, Youkilis said. I think I got worn out from that 24 hours. I went back and took a little nap today and feel a lot better. It was definitely a quick turnaround and its good to be here and good to know what Im doing for the next seven days.

Tracy Abrams pours in career-high 31 points as Illini cruise past Central Michigan


Tracy Abrams pours in career-high 31 points as Illini cruise past Central Michigan

Tracy Abrams lost each of the last two seasons before they even got started, his would-be senior year wiped out with preseason injuries. Healthy for the 2016-17 campaign, though, Abrams is making the most of his senior season, now that it's finally arrived.

Saturday, the Illinois point guard exploded for a career-high 31 points, going 7-for-8 from behind the 3-point line as the Illini cruised to a 92-73 win over visiting Central Michigan in Champaign.

It was also a career day for forward Leron Black, who scored 21 points in the victory.

The Illini burst away from a 16-15 deficit with 17 straight points — eight from Abrams and six from Maverick Morgan — to build a huge 16-point edge midway through the first half. That lead hit 19 before Central Michigan rattled off 13 straight points to chop it down to six, but Illinois had a double-digit edge at halftime and opened the second half on a 22-6 run to reach its biggest lead of the game at 26 points. Abrams and Malcolm Hill each accounted for five points during that 22-6 spurt. It was a waltz to the finish line from there.

Illinois was hot shooting the ball, hitting on 53.1 percent of their shots from the floor. Abrams and Black were the stars, going 10-for-12 and 9-for-13, respectively. The Illini held a big rebounding advantage, 49-25, and scored 34 points in the paint, statistical positives that helped atone for the 15 turnovers, which led to 20 Central Michigan points.

Abrams' 31 led the way, and Black was next with his 21. Morgan finished with 11 points. Hill had 10. And Mike Thorne Jr. was a basket away from a double-double with eight points and 11 rebounds.

The win sent Illinois to 8-3 on the season and extended its winning streak to four. It was the second-highest scoring output of the year for the Illini, who have two non-conference games remaining against BYU and Missouri before the beginning of Big Ten play.

Dominant second half pushes Badgers past Marquette in rivalry win


Dominant second half pushes Badgers past Marquette in rivalry win

Wisconsin's stereotypically low-scoring ways were nowhere to be found Saturday in Milwaukee.

The Badgers were red hot in the second half of a rivalry showdown with Marquette, scoring 58 points on 64.3-percent shooting after halftime en route to a 93-84 win over their in-state foes.

Wisconsin trailed at halftime, 40-35, after Marquette's Katin Reinhardt scored 13 first-half points with four made 3-pointers. The Eagles went on a 24-12 run over the final nine-and-change minutes of the first half to build that advantage before the break. Both teams shot great in the first half, Marquette at 48.3 percent and Wisconsin at an even better 51.9 percent.

But the Badgers blew that mark — and simultaneously their opponents — out of the water over the final 20 minutes. Buoyed by the second-half return of big man Ethan Happ, who missed almost the entirety of the first half after picking up two fouls in the first two minutes of the game, Wisconsin erased the gap in a hurry and sprinted off on a 16-0 run over an approximately five-and-a-half-minute stretch. That was part of an even bigger 24-5 run that gave the Badgers their biggest lead of the game at 18 with under seven minutes to play. Happ and Nigel Hayes combined for 11 of those 24 points during that stretch.

Marquette chipped Wisconsin's lead back to eight multiple times over the final minutes but never got any closer.

The Badgers were a remarkable 18-for-28 from the floor in the second half, going 5-for-8 as a team from 3-point range. Nineteen of their 33 rebounds also came after halftime and only two of their nine turnovers.

On the game, Wisconsin shot a scorching 58.2 percent from the field and scored 22 points off 12 Marquette turnovers. The Badgers had 42 points in the paint and assisted on 20 of their 32 made field goals.

Bronson Koenig finished as the high man with 18 points, 12 of them coming on four made triples. But there were plenty of high scorers for the Badgers, who were just seven points away from hitting the century mark. Hayes had 17 points and nine rebounds. Khalil Iverson had 16 points off the bench. Vitto Brown finished with 15 points, and Happ and Zak Showalter each scored 11 points.

The win boosted Wisconsin to 9-2 on the season, the only losses coming against top-10 North Carolina and Creighton teams. The Badgers have won five in a row, that streak including wins over name opponents Syracuse, Oklahoma and Marquette. Wisconsin has two more games before the start of non-conference play.