NCAA Hoops: DePaul's win streak ends against Loyola

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NCAA Hoops: DePaul's win streak ends against Loyola

ROSEMONT, Ill. (AP) -- Cully Payne scored 24 points to lead Loyola of Chicago to a 69-61 victory over crosstown rival DePaul on Saturday.

Christian Thomas added 12 points and 10 rebounds for Loyola (9-3) in the Ramblers' first victory over DePaul since 1989, and only the second for Loyola on DePaul's home court in 21 meetings.

The Ramblers, who had lost 11 straight to DePaul in the series, won their third straight game and seventh in the last eight, while stopping DePaul's seven-game winning streak. The Blue Demons dropped to 9-4.

After forcing seven ties in the first half, the Ramblers took the lead for the first time on Payne's 3-point shot with 17:15 left. After a pair of lead changes, the Ramblers went on a 12-1 run highlighted by 3-pointers by Payne and Jordan Hicks.

Brandon Young led DePaul with 18 points. Worrell Clahar added 10 for the Blue Demons.

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UIC no match for Toledo

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) Rian Pearson recorded his first double-double of the season with 24 points and 10 rebounds, and Toledo pulled away to beat Illinois-Chicago 74-55 Saturday in a nonconference matchup.

Reese Holliday added 16 points, and Nathan Boothe finished with 10 points, seven rebounds and a career-high four blocks for Toledo (4-6).

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NIU can't complete comeback

DEKALB, Ill. (AP) Maxie Esho scored 14 points as Massachusetts held off Northern Illinois 64-59 Saturday for its fifth straight victory.

Chaz Williams added 12 points for the Minutemen (8-3), Freddie Riley had 11 and Terrell Vinson 10.

Abdel Nader led Northern Illinois (2-10) with 15 points and nine rebounds. Aksel Bolin added 11 points and Akeem Springs had 10.

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Bradley bests Drake in conference opener

PEORIA, Ill. (AP) Walt Lemon Jr. scored 23 points and Bradley defeated Drake 67-57 Saturday night in the Missouri Valley Conference opener for both teams.

Dyricus Simms-Edwards had 20 points and eight steals for the Braves (9-4), who only won seven games all of last season. Tyshon Pickett added 10 points and eight rebounds for Bradley.

Ben Simons had 13 points and 10 rebounds for the Bulldogs (6-6), but was guarded by Simms-Edwards and made just 4 of 18 shots. Chris Hines scored 11 points and Seth VanDeest scored 10.

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Western Illinois off to best start in school history

MACOMB, Ill. (AP) Jack Houpt and Adam Link scored 16 points apiece, helping Western Illinois defeat IPFW 62-50 for the best start in school history as a Division I team.

The Leathernecks (10-3, 4-0 Summit) won their seventh straight game and bettered the 9-3 start from the 1986-87 team.

Ceola Clark added 14 points and six assists for Western Illinois, which shot 49 percent from the floor and hit 6 of 11 3-pointers. Houpt accounted for most of that, hitting 4 of 5 from long range.

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High School coaches 'leave no stone unturned' in helping players explore next level

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Photo at top: Loyola Academy assistant coach Paul Pryma extends his hand toward a Steinmetz High School player during pregame introductions on Feb. 21. (Andres Waters/MEDILL)

High School coaches 'leave no stone unturned' in helping players explore next level

By Andres Waters
Special Contributor to CSNChicago.com

After Loyola Academy held off rival New Trier 43-40 to win the 2017 Zion-Benton regional championship, Ramblers head coach Tom Livatino had a special message for his players.

"That's the best celebration that I have ever been a part of," Livatino said. "Because everybody was completely about love. You guys love each other and we all can tell. I'm really, really proud just to be one of our coaches."

While the speech was a powerful way for Livatino to tell the players of his appreciation, he and other high school coaches engage in something much bigger to show players how proud they are: college recruiting.

In addition to time spent planning and practicing, coaches also sacrifice countless hours each week helping their players find opportunities to play at the next level.

"It's a really long part of the process, but to be honest, it's a part of the job that I absolutely love," Livatino said. "We demand so much of our players in every aspect. And, from a basketball standpoint, the least I could do is everything in my power to help them out."

Less than 48 hours after the Ramblers completed their season with a loss to Evanston Township in the Waukegan Sectional semifinal, Livatino was back in his office holding individual meetings with each player.

Starting with the 10 departing seniors, Livatino discussed the factors that go into choosing a college for high school athletes.

His conversations with the two players who already committed, senior guards Ramar Evans and Matt Lynch, focused on how they felt about their next steps. With the others, Livatino asked whether they wanted to play at the next level and, if so, which schools they wanted to attend that shared an interest in them. The conversations held with the Ramblers' juniors are very similar.

"I wasn't just looking for basketball, I was looking for a fit academically and socially," said Lynch, who committed to Division III St. Norbert College. "[Livatino] said St. Norbert would be the best fit for me. It fit everything I was looking for."

Read the full story at Medill Reports Chicago.

CSN Chicago, in partnership with Northwestern University,  features journalism by students in the graduate program at Medill School of Journalism. The students are reporters for Medill News Service. Medill faculty members edit the student work. Click here for more information about Medill.

From dunks to deliveries: Former No. 1 pick LaRue Martin's unlikely success story

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Photo at top: La Rue Martin poses for a photo at a National Basketball Retired Players Association event. (Photo courtesy of La Rue Martin)

From dunks to deliveries: Former No. 1 pick LaRue Martin's unlikely success story

By Elan Kane
Special Contributor to CSNChicago.com

LaRue Martin Jr. thought his future was set. The Portland Trail Blazers had drafted him No. 1 overall in the 1972 NBA draft. Money and fame awaited.

Fifteen years later, he started work as a UPS driver, struggling to find uniform pants that fit his 6-foot-11 frame.

"There is life after sports," Martin said. "Period."

It's been 45 years since the draft and Martin, a former Loyola University star, is now the UPS Illinois district public affairs and community services manager. He is labeled by many as one of the biggest busts in NBA draft history, but he is fine with that designation.

"I don't believe in saying anything negative, you have no control over that," Martin said. "I took care of my family, did what I had to do and I'm the type of person I can't dwell off the negatives. I can't. I kept my head up high and moved onto a positive mode of life and it has treated me very well."

Martin averaged 5.3 points and 4.6 rebounds in 14 minutes per game in just four seasons with the Trail Blazers. He blames his low numbers on his lack of playing time, but many believe he was just not good enough.

"He didn't get playing time because he [stunk]," said Boston Globe sports columnist Bob Ryan, who has covered the NBA for decades. "[Former No. 1 overall draft pick Michael] Olowokandi didn't do much but I think he did more than that."

Martin is used to the criticism.

"As a young man, reading the papers all the time, that bothered me, I must admit that," Martin said. "But I hold my head up high now because I've been very successful in the corporate world."

Read the full story at Medill Reports Chicago.

CSN Chicago, in partnership with Northwestern University,  features journalism by students in the graduate program at Medill School of Journalism. The students are reporters for Medill News Service. Medill faculty members edit the student work. Click here for more information about Medill.