Curie takes down Morgan Park

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Curie takes down Morgan Park

By Clyde Travis
Yourseason.com

Mike Oliver gave his No. 3 Curie team the formula that they executed successfully in order to get a 65-35 victory over Morgan Park in the Public League quarterfinal Sunday at Chicago State University.

The plan was to stop everyone else and make Billy Garrett work hard for everything he got. Garrett, who averages 26 points per game, was limited to 16 hard earned points, constantly having to deal with double and triple teams.

By halftime the Condors held a 33-21 lead, and then blew it open in the third quarter as they outscored the Mustangs 22-7 to forge ahead 55-28 going into the fourth quarter.

Oliver tried to rest his starters and give the reserves some extended playing time, but took no chances and put the starters back in midway in the fourth quarter when the lead was cut to 18.

Our pressure defense caused them some problems," Oliver said. "We knew Billy was going to get his. Whenever you have a player of his caliber you have to try to contain him as best you can.

Devin Foster led all scorers with 24 points, Cliff Alexander had 12 points and 12 rebounds, and Joseph Stamps added nine points for Curie (23-1).

We know they are good, but so are we," Foster said. "We have been together a long time and our coaches always have us ready.

Garrett was the lone Morgan Park player in double figures and Dominique Lee had the next highest with six points for the Mustangs (13-8).

We didnt make any shots," Morgan Park coach Nick Irvin said. "We got the shots that we wanted and they didnt fall. You have to capitalize on your opportunity against a good team like Curie.

Blackhawks break late tie to best rival Blues

Blackhawks break late tie to best rival Blues

Patrick Kane scored his 24th goal of the season and Artem Anisimov scored the game-winner as the Blackhawks beat the St. Louis Blues 4-2 on Sunday night.

The Blackhawks have won nine of their last 10 and are one point within the Minnesota Wild, whose bye ends on Monday night. Duncan Keith recorded a secondary assist for his 500th career point. Scott Darling, starting for Corey Crawford (illness), stopped 30 of 32 shots.

The Blackhawks got off to a 2-0 start in the first 12 minutes of the game, thanks to Jonathan Toews' 16th goal of the season and Kane's power-play goal. But the Blues kept chipping away and forced a tie game by the end of the second period.

But the second line, which hasn't been quite as productive lately, got in on the act late in the third. Panarin threw a perfect feed to Anisimov, who scored his 22nd of the season with 5:20 remaining in regulation.

Tanner Kero added an empty-net goal with 2.6 seconds remaining.

Illini keep NCAA tournament hopes afloat with dominant win over Nebraska

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USA TODAY

Illini keep NCAA tournament hopes afloat with dominant win over Nebraska

Illinois' last-ditch effort to reach the NCAA tournament is still alive.

The Illini won for the third straight time and the fourth time in their last five games Sunday night, using a monstrous second half to fly past the Nebraska Cornhuskers by a 73-57 score in Lincoln.

Illinois started the Big Ten season 3-8, but with this recent surge it's up to 7-9 and with two regular-season games remaining has at the very least given itself a much better position in the upcoming Big Ten Tournament and perhaps has played itself into a spot on the NCAA tournament bubble.

Defense has been the driving force throughout this recent stretch, and Sunday was no different, with Nebraska scoring just 57 points, the second straight game in which Illinois has held its opponent under 60 points.

But offense told the story Sunday, with the Illini catching fire in the second half and shooting the lights out at Pinnacle Bank Arena. Illinois shot 59.1 percent from the field over the final 20 minutes, including a stellar 8-for-13 from 3-point range. The Illini outscored the Huskers by a 43-29 margin after halftime.

All in all, Illinois shot 48.1 percent on the night and 13-for-26 from behind the 3-point line. The Illini's 73-point output was their highest since Jan. 25.

Malcolm Hill had a game-high 19 points and moved past Cory Bradford for fifth place on the program's all-time scoring list. Tracy Abrams joined Hill in double figures with 13 points. Hill and Abrams each hit four 3-pointers. Maverick Morgan scored 12 points.

Tai Webster scored 17 points for Nebraska, the only Husker in double figures on a poor offensive night. The team shot 37.5 percent from the field and went just 4-for-15 from 3-point range.

Illinois still seems like a bit of a longshot to make the NCAA tournament given its 17-12 overall record and the weakness of the Big Ten this season. But things are getting real late in the season. This surge could very well help the Illini end their three-year tournament drought and could do big things for head coach John Groce, who has had his job status talked about all season long.

Illinois' final two regular-season bouts come this week against Michigan State and at Rutgers.