NCAA Hoops: UConn overcomes No. 17 Notre Dame

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NCAA Hoops: UConn overcomes No. 17 Notre Dame

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) Notre Dame had a chance to make history, including matching a mark set by the Fighting Irish squad that famously ended UCLA's 88-game winning streak. Instead, they saw a repeat of history against Connecticut.

The Huskies outscored the Irish 7-0 in the final minute to win 65-58 on Saturday and end a long home winning streak by No. 17 Notre Dame (14-2, 2-1) for the third time in four years. The loss prevented the Irish from getting off to their best start ever in the Big East and their best start overall since the 1973-74 squad led by John Shumate and Adrian Dantley and coached by Digger Phelps opened 24-1.

"We played with a little bit of the weight of the world on our shoulders," Notre Dame coach Mike Brey said. "That took its toll on us a little bit."

Shabazz Napier scored 19 points, Tyler Olander scored 12 of his career-high 16 points in the second half to pace UConn (12-3, 2-1), who outplayed the Irish in the final minute.

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UIC can't fend off Green Bay rally

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) Alec Brown scored 21 points, one short of his career high, and pulled down eight rebounds Saturday, helping Green Bay rally in the final minutes for a 53-47 victory over Illinois-Chicago.

Brown, a junior, was 6 of 13 from the field, including two 3-pointers, and 7 of 8 from the line. Brennan Cougill added nine points for the Phoenix (8-9, 2-2 Horizon League), who have won their last nine home games against Illinois-Chicago.

Gary Talton led the Flames (10-7, 1-3) with three 3-pointers and 11 points.

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Akron breezes past NIU

DE KALB, Ill. (AP) Reggie McAdams scored 20 points, making all six of his shots from the field, and Akron breezed past Northern Illinois 68-53 on Saturday.

McAdams made all four of his 3-point attempts for the Zips (11-4, 2-0 Mid-American), who have won seven in a row. He missed one of his five free-throw tries.

Nick Harney had 12 points and seven rebounds, Demetrius Treadwell had 11 points and nine rebounds and Deji Ibitayo also had 11 points for Akron.

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Bradley no match for UNI

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa (AP) Marc Sonnen tied two career highs Saturday with 21 points and seven 3-pointers, leading six Northern Iowa players in double figures in an 84-53 blowout of Bradley.

Sonnen, a senior and a 3-point specialist, was 7 of 9 from behind the arc for the Panthers (9-8, 2-3 Missouri Valley), who also got 15 points from Deon Mitchell, 13 from Seth Tuttle and 11 apiece from Jake Koch, Matt Bohannon and Anthony James. Koch led UNI with 11 rebounds and Mitchell dished out seven assists.

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Western records 11th straight win

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) Terell Parks had 19 points and 11 rebounds and Western Illinois won its 11th game in a row, defeating Nebraska-Omaha 89-74 on Saturday.

Don McAvoy III scored 15 points on 6-of-7 shooting for the Leathernecks (14-3, 6-0 Summit), off to their best start since the 1957-58 team won its first 23 games. The winning streak is WIU's longest in 30 years.

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ISU drops fifth straight to open conference slate

NORMAL, Ill. (AP) Chris Hines and Ben Simons scored 23 points apiece as Drake defeated Illinois State 82-78 Saturday night.

Jordan Clarke added 16 points and 11 rebounds for the Bulldogs (7-9, 1-4 Missouri Valley), who snapped a four-game losing streak. Joey King had 11 points and 11 rebounds.

Johnny Hill had a career-high 24 points (all in the second half), Bryant Allen added 22 and Jackie Carmichael had 19 points and 12 rebounds for Illinois State (9-8, 0-5), which has lost five straight.

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SIU collects first MVC victory

CARBONDALE, Ill. (AP) Desmar Jackson scored 29 points and grabbed eight rebounds to pace Southern Illinois to a 76-71 victory over Indiana State on Saturday night.

Southern Illinois (8-8, 1-4 Missouri Valley) got 11 points from Anthony Beane Jr. and 13 rebounds from Jeff Early.

Indiana State (10-6, 3-2) had four men score in double figures. Manny Arop scored 16 points, Jake Odum and Lucas Eitel had 15 each and Justin Gant had 10.

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EIU collapses late in loss to Jacksonville St.

CHARLESTON, Ill. (AP) Tarvin Gaines scored 22 points including an 8 for 9 mark from the free-throw line and Jacksonville State outlasted Eastern Illinois 61-55 on Saturday night.

Jacksonville State (12-5, 4-2 Ohio Valley) shot 47.7 percent from the field and only took its biggest lead of the game after a Gaines free throw put the Gamecocks up 33-26 at the start of the second half.

Eastern Illinois led 48-45 with 7:08 remaining in the game but the Gamecocks went on a 8-2 run sparked by Brian Williams, who scored four straight buckets to give Jacksonville State a 53-50 lead and they never trailed again.

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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.