NCAA Hoops: Hansbrough leads No. 9 Notre Dame

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NCAA Hoops: Hansbrough leads No. 9 Notre Dame

Sunday, Feb. 6, 2011
2:44 p.m.

Associated Press
SOUTH BEND, Ind. Ben Hansbrough for Big East player of the year? How about national player of the year, an award his brother won two seasons ago?

Notre Dame coach Mike Brey started the drums beating for his team's emotional leader after Hansbrough scored 25 points despite a tough start to lead No. 9 Notre Dame to a 76-69 win over Rutgers on Sunday.

"When you step back a bit, look at this, and get away from the preseason hype machine, certainly he is a Big East player of the pear candidate as well as national player of the year," Brey said. "Flat out. I mean, we are in the Top Ten and he has driven us into that position and we are in the hunt for the league title. It is starting to be really evaluated. Some people say 'Let's see what he does next game.' Well, he did it again."

After a slow start, Hansbrough took the game over. At one point he was 2 of 8 from the field, including 1 of 7 from beyond the 3-point line, but he used his drive-the-paint style to draw fouls and ended up making 11 of 13 free throws in a game that saw Notre Dame score only twice from the field in the last 8 minutes.

Hansbrough blamed part of his slow start on the early starting time.

"I think that was part of it, a Sunday game at noon," said the younger brother of Tyler Hansbrough who was chosen national player of the year for leading North Carolina to the national championship in 2009. "But you always have to be ready to play, and I don't think we were completely ready to play at the very beginning. We weren't ready to slide our feet and Coach Brey got on us a little bit."

Rutgers coach Mike Rice didn't put up much of an argument with Hansbrough receiving some honors.

"Hansbrough?" he questioned. "He just took the ball and manhandled us."

Jonathan Mitchell, who led Rutgers with 24 points, said Hansbrough "does a great job of using his body and using your weight against you to create fouls. Notre Dame did a great job of attacking us."

The Irish (19-4, 8-3) reclaimed sole possession of second place in the Big East behind No. 4 Pittsburgh and will host No. 15 Louisville on Wednesday.

Scott Martin had 14 points for Notre Dame and Tim Abromaitis added 10.

Jonathan Mitchell scored 24 points for Rutgers (12-11, 3-8) while Dane Miller added 11.

Rice wasn't about to argue about a big discrepancy between teams at the free throw line. Notre Dame was 27 of 34 the Scarlet Knights were only 8 of 12.

"You don't do anything with the referees in the Big East," he said. "They have their own fraternity. You just leave them alone and make adjustments and for the last two weeks we have. Believe me, some of those were fouls."

Brey said he knew Rutgers would be a tough opponent despite the records.

"It is just the ebb and flow of Big East play," he said. "I have not been happier about a win. You can kind of get into (a mindset) of what should happen because of the records, but Rutgers has tough kids and that's a group that beat us last year. They kept game pressure on and it was a hard game for us. We had to figure out how to get out of there. It was good for our group because we are going to be in a lot of these games the rest of the season."

Brey has pretty much let his five seniors play the bulk of the minutes recently.

"Today was a day for our old guys to win the game," he said. "We would make a mistake but they did not panic, they just moved onto the next play. We got the ball to the right guys at the foul line."

Notre Dame pulled away from a 7-7 tie with a 17-6 run that included five straight points and a nice assist by Hansbrough. The Irish stretched the lead to 25-15 before a 3-pointer by the Scarlet Knights' James Beatty started a 7-0 run and got Rutgers within 25-22.

Notre Dame led 37-33 at halftime with Hansbrough scoring 10 points.

The teams battled evenly in the second half before two free throws by Martin started an 8-2 run that made it 51-43 with 12:36 to play. Consecutive 3-pointers by Rutgers made it a two-point game before a layup by Hansbrough sparked an 11-2 run that gave the Irish a 62-51 lead.

Box score
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DePaul basketball program on the rise after landing 5-star recruit Tyger Campbell

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AP

DePaul basketball program on the rise after landing 5-star recruit Tyger Campbell

DePaul hoops received a huge boost this week as five-star recruit Tyger Campbell committed to the university.

The elite point guard recruit out of La Lumiere, will join the Class of 2018, choosing DePaul over schools like Michigan State, Illinois and Memphis.

"I like DePaul and honestly my coach (Shane Heirman) just went there and we have a great connection and he's always had my back," Campbell told Scout.com. "I like [DePaul] coach Dave Leitao, too. I like his program and he's an intelligent guy.

"Mainly what I like about the school is I want to help bring it back. I love Chicago; it's a great city. I want to bring the city a college back to cheer for."

Campbell also said the Blue Demons' new Wintrust Arena at McCormick Place Event Center, which is slated to open this fall, is a big draw for him.

The Blue Demons are a combined 18-45 the last two seasons and hasven't had a winning season since 2006-07 when they went 20-14 and made the NIT Quarterfinals.

The program last made the NCAA Tournament in 2003-04 during Leitao's first stint as the team's head coach.

Northern Illinois adds running back Fotis Kokosioulis

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USA TODAY

Northern Illinois adds running back Fotis Kokosioulis

Northern Illinois University added it's fourth known verbal commitment today in its growing Class of 2018.

Maine South junior running back Fotis Kokosioulis (5-foot-8, 165 pounds) added an offer from the Huskies on Tuesday after making a spring practice visit, and today he gave head coach Rod Carey his verbal commitment.

"I chose NIU because it's been a school that I've liked for awhile now," Kokosioulis said moments ago. "I like the facilities at NIU, the stadium and everything else they have to offer. I also really like all the coaches at NIU. I felt that even if I got more offers I would've still chose NIU over other schools. I know that there are bigger school and programs but I feel that I just fit in well at NIU, so I committed."

Kokosioulis, who was an All-State performer for the Class 8A state champion Maine South Hawks in 2016, is now the fourth known in-state verbal commitment for Rod Carey and the Huskies and the fifth known commitment overall. Kokosioulis joins Andrew defensive end Mike DeHaan, Plainfield East defensive end Jack Sullivan and Danville tight end Julian Pearl in the NIU Huskies in-state Class of 2018.