NCAA Hoops: No. 9 Irish overcome Brooks' 52 points

NCAA Hoops: No. 9 Irish overcome Brooks' 52 points

Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2011
Posted 8:58 p.m. Updated 10:07 p.m.

Associated Press

PROVIDENCE, R.I. - Ben Hansbrough scored a career-high 32 points and Tim Abromaitis had a season-high 28 to lead No. 9 Notre Dame to a 94-93 win over struggling Providence on Wednesday night despite a Big East-record 52 points by Marshon Brooks.

The Irish (22-5, 11-4 Big East) are off to their best start ever in the 11 seasons under coach Mike Brey. Notre Dame, in second place in the conference, has won eight of nine.

Brooks' 52 points was the most ever scored against Notre Dame, which hadn't allowed a 40-point scorer since Danny Manning in 1987. Brooks, only the third player in Providence history to score 40 points or more twice in a season, surpassed the previous high of 45 by Michigan State's Julius McCoy on Dec. 21, 1955.

Providence (14-14, 3-12) has lost six of seven after beating then-No. 19 Louisville and No. 8 Villanova four days apart in late January.

The Irish, who led by 10 at halftime, pushed it to 55-39 on Abromaitis' fourth 3-pointer 2 12 minutes into the second half. They maintained a double-digit advantage until the Friars closed to 72-64 on Duke Mondy's 3 from the left corner with 9:22 to play.

Notre Dame, which lost 72-58 at West Virginia on Saturday, shot 58.2 percent from the floor, including 9 of 21 on 3-point attempts. The Irish won their eighth straight against the Friars.

Providence cut it to 74-67 on Brooks' baseline jumper, but Hansbrough's three-point play made it 79-68 with just over 7 minutes to go.

Brooks hit a spinning jumper from the right wing, making it 83-79 with just under 3 minutes left, but the Irish hit just enough from the line to hang.

Brooks' two free throws cut it to 88-86, but Hansbrough hit two on the other end with 29 seconds to play. He made two more with 13 seconds left.

Notre Dame, which took control in the opening minutes, led 48-38 at halftime.

It started out as expected with Providence, which entered next to last in the conference in points allowed but second in scoring, setting the tone for a wide open, mostly defensive-free initial 20 minutes.

After the Friars had the initial two baskets of the game, the Irish - mainly behind Abromaitis' quick start - made things look easy offensively. Notre Dame went on a 14-2 run over the next 3:21 with Abromaitis scoring 12 points.

Before he went to the bench for a rest midway into the first half, he scored 15 of Notre Dame's first 18 points.

The Irish had three easy cuts to the basket for layups, hit four wide-open 3s and added a put-back en route to an 8 of 11 start from the field. They pushed their lead to 31-18 with 10:12 still to play in the opening half before the Friars started to play a bit tighter defensively.

Box Score

St. John's tops DePaul in first ranked game in 10 years

NEW YORK - Dwight Hardy continued his scoring streak with 21 points and No. 23 St. John's, playing as a ranked team for the first time in more than 10 years, dominated DePaul throughout in a 76-51 victory Wednesday night.

Hardy, who came in averaging 26.0 points on 50 percent shooting, including 53.3 from 3-point range, didn't have to come up with any late-game heroics like he did Saturday in a 60-59 win over No. 4 Pittsburgh.

The Red Storm (18-9, 10-5 Big East) controlled the game inside, in transition and on the backboards to win for the eighth time in nine games, a streak that got them in The Associated Press Top 25 for the first time since November 2000.

Freshman Cleveland Melvin had 16 points for the Blue Demons (7-20, 1-14), who have lost 14 of 15. This was DePaul's 29th consecutive loss to a ranked team and eighth this season.

St. John's used a 12-0 run - with Hardy and D.J. Kennedy each getting five points - to take a 33-14 lead with 3:08 left in the half.

Brandon Young hit a 30-footer at the buzzer to pull the Blue Demons to 37-22.

St. John's started the second half on a 9-2 run for a 46-24 lead with 16:59 to play and it only got worse from there for DePaul, which trailed by as many as 30 points - 61-31 on a jumper by Hardy with 10:39 to play.

Paris Horne added 12 points and Kennedy had 11 points and 10 rebounds for St. John's, which has won four straight over the Blue Demons, including a 90-82 triple-overtime game last season when Kennedy had 32 points, nine rebounds and seven assists.

Hardy's tightrope walk along the baseline and his underhanded scoop with 1.2 seconds to play gave the Red Storm the win over Pittsburgh, their fifth over a ranked team this season. All five of the teams - Georgetown, Notre Dame, Duke, Connecticut and Pitt - were ranked 13th or higher in the Top 25 when St. John's faced them.

The Red Storm's 2-3 zone had DePaul frustrated about getting the ball inside and forced them to take long perimeter shots. The Blue Demons finished 17 of 55 from the field (30.9 percent).

St. John's, meanwhile, got the ball inside often and effectively, outscoring DePaul 42-18 in the paint. That also helped the Red Storm to 54.4 percent shooting (31 of 57) and they finished with a 43-29 rebound advantage.

It was the 500th game played at Carnesecca Arena, the 50-year-old on-campus gym. St. John's record is now 420-80 in the building named for its Hall of Fame coach, who retired in 1992 and was in the sellout crowd of 5,602.

Box Score

Central Michigan beats Northern Illinois 64-58

DeKALB, Ill. - Jalin Thomas scored 29 points and Central Michigan defeated Northern Illinois 64-58 Wednesday night.

Thomas scored 20 points in the first half, keeping the Chippewas (9-18, 6-7 Mid-American) in the game. Northern Illinois led 34-33 at the break, but it could have been larger as the Huskies shot 65 percent before halftime. They cooled off substantially in the second half, making only 30 percent from the field to finish at 47 percent.

Finis Craddock's 3-pointer gave Northern Illinois (7-9, 3-10) a 58-56 lead with 4:36 to play, but the Huskies didn't score again. Thomas' lay-up tied it with 3:17 to go, then Derek Jackson made two free throws with 1:39 remaining. Trey Zeigler made two free throws, and William McClure and Jackson one each in the final minute.

Zeigler scored 19 points for the Chippewas. Antone Christian led NIU with 11 points; Nate Rucker and Xavier Silas each scored 10.

Box Score

Missouri State overwhelms Southern Illinois 76-58

CARBONDALE, Ill. - Will Creekmore finished with a career-high 26 points and had 11 rebounds as Missouri State defeated Southern Illinois 76-58 Wednesday night to keep pace with Wichita State atop the Missouri Valley standings.

Nafis Ricks added 12 points and Adam Leonard scored 11 for the Bears (22-7, 14-3), who set a school record for conference wins and conference road wins (seven) in a season.

Mamadou Seck led the Salukis (12-17, 5-12) with 17 points and 13 rebounds, and Justin Bocot had 13 points.

After Kyle Weems hit a 3-pointer to give Missouri State an early 3-2 lead, the Bears never trailed again. They took a 35-28 advantage into halftime and pushed their lead to 23, 65-42, with a 9-0 run late in the second half.

Missouri State will host Wichita State, which beat Creighton on Wednesday, in the regular season finale for both on Saturday.

Box Score
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Loyola excited for upcoming season, trip to Spain

Loyola excited for upcoming season, trip to Spain

Loyola didn't have the season they were hoping for in 2015-16 but they're optimistic that things can turn around for the upcoming season. Even though the Loyola roster is filled with newcomers, the Ramblers are hopeful that a summer trip to Spain can help give them a head start.

As part of the trip, Loyola will get 10 extra practices and four games against Spanish competition that will give the team some much-needed experience before practice officially begins in October.

Head coach Porter Moser is already happy about working with this group, which features some productive returnees and a lot of talented newcomers.

"We play four games over there. They get that feel of being coached in a game at this level with their teammates," Moser said. "So then when we start back up in October they have a sense of some of the things we're trying to teach, some of the things of what to expect. And I think that's such a big element."

On a team full of new players, it will be important for senior guard Milton Doyle to have a bounce-back year for Loyola after a disappointing junior campaign. A former star at Marshall, Doyle saw his shooting percentages dip last season as the Loyola coaching staff challenged him to improve for his final season of college basketball. 

Moser is happy with the strides that Doyle has made this summer as he's added over 10 pounds of muscle to now play at 192 pounds. Also committed on the defensive end of the floor and being a team leader, Doyle is the Ramblers' only senior this season, so he'll be counted on to be a productive presence.

"It's a lot this year just because we had four seniors leave last year and I'm the last senior," Doyle said. "So it's my job to make sure everyone stays on track and everyone is uplifted, even when coaches get on them. That's my job right now."

Junior wing Donte Ingram — a former Simeon product — and junior guard Ben Richardson also return as key contributors from last year's team while Iowa State transfer guard Clayton Custer is expected to come in and be a major factor in the team's backcourt rotation.

As for the newcomers, Moser compared juco transfer forward Aundre Jackson favorably to former Loyola forward Christian Thomas while Vlatko Granic gives the team a stretch option at forward that they didn't have in the past. The team's freshmen are also very talented as guard Matt Chastain has shown solid athleticism and a good basketball IQ through some early practices. 

Another freshman guard, Cameron Satterwhite, is coming off of a torn ACL that cost him his senior season, but the Loyola staff is optimistic about his recovery for this season. Croatian freshman guard Bruno Skokna is also recovering from injury as he has played against professionals in Europe the last few seasons on an amateur contract. He is expected to be cleared soon so that he can return to action this season.

"I love this group because it's a group full of gym rats. This is a really enthusiastic group," Moser said. "They've come together, we've got a lot of newcomers. That's the benefit, that's why we did the Spain trip this summer."

Loyola takes its trip to Spain from Aug. 12-22 as they'll hit cities like Barcelona and Madrid during the trip.

Pat Summitt used the sport to empower women at Tennessee and beyond

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Pat Summitt used the sport to empower women at Tennessee and beyond

Needing yet another men's basketball coach, Tennessee officials turned to the one person they thought would be perfect to take over the Volunteers program.

Pat Summitt said no.

She wasn't interested in the job in 1994 after Wade Houston was forced out, and she turned it down again when Jerry Green quit in March 2001. A Tennessee governor once joked he wouldn't have his job if Summitt ever wanted to run her home state.

Breaking the glass ceiling in the men's game, political office, that wasn't Summitt's motivation. She had the only job she ever really wanted.

"I want to keep doing the right things for women all the time," Summitt said in June 2011 after being inducted into her fifth Hall of Fame.

Summitt died Tuesday morning at age 64.

The woman who grew up playing basketball in a Tennessee barn loft against her brothers, and started coaching only a couple years after Title IX was invoked, spent her life working to make women's basketball the equal of the men's game. In the process, Patricia Sue Head

Summitt stood amongst the best coaches in any sport when she retired in April 2012 with more victories (1,098) than any other NCAA coach and second only to John Wooden with eight national championships.

Summitt used the sport and her demand for excellence to empower women and help them believe they can achieve anything, taking no backseat to anyone.

When I moved to Tennessee in 1976, girls played six-on-six, half-court basketball designed to protect them from getting hurt. Summitt, who took her Lady Vols to four AIAW Final Fours, refused to recruit Tennessee players. Tennessee high schools switched to five-on-five rules starting with the 1979-80 season.

The NCAA finally started running a national postseason tournament for the women in 1982. At the time, Summitt was known for having "corn-fed chicks" on her roster, big and strong but not talented enough to win national titles. After she won her first national title in 1987 in her eighth Final Four either in the AIAW or NCAA, she said, "Well, the monkey's off my back."

Back then only a student ID was needed to attend a women's game. And there was no demand for the results of those games. After graduating from Tennessee, I helped the sports writers by bringing notes from an NCAA Tournament game back to the office for someone else to write up. There was no urgency since there was no reader demand.

So Summitt worked to make it impossible to ignore her team or the women's game.

By January 1993, so many people wanted to watch then-No. 2 Tennessee visit top-ranked Vanderbilt that the contest became the first Southeastern Conference women's game to sell out in advance. With children under 6 allowed in free, having a ticket didn't guarantee getting through the door; at least 1,000 were turned away at the door - including Vanderbilt's chancellor.

The Lady Vols won 73-68, a game I covered in my first year as a sports writer for The Associated Press in Nashville.

"This was the biggest game in women's basketball, and that's what I've been waiting 19 years to see," Summitt said. "I'm glad I stayed around to see it."

Summitt scheduled opponents anywhere and everywhere, barnstorming the country to introduce people to women's basketball. Tennessee played Arizona State in 2000 in the first women's outdoor game played at then-Bank One Ballpark, drew the largest crowd ever to a regional championship in March 1998 when 14,848 packed Memorial Gym in Nashville with Tennessee trying to finish off the NCAA's first three-peat and helped Louisville set a Big East record christening the KFC Yum! Center in 2010.

The Lady Vols became must-see TV in the sport as Summitt put the women's game on the national stage with six national titles in the span of 12 years.

I remember when I got real up-close look at what drove Summitt.

Assigned to cover Summitt as part of AP's annual college basketball preview package in the fall of 1998, I spent nearly 30 minutes with the coach in her office.

Door closed, Summitt gave a glimpse of that famous stay-away stare. With undivided attention now on me, she wanted to know if I had talked with her mother, Hazel, for the story. She then showed me the engaging side, laughing when asked about a stretch of play during the 1998 title game that resembled the Showtime Lakers, beaming while reflecting on how well her Lady Vols showed women could play the game.

The Lady Vols lost 69-63 to Duke that season in the East Regional. The next day I left a message at Summitt's house and late that afternoon, she called back to talk about more life lessons and basketball.

"It's a game, and winning and losing both can be great ways to teach kids how to get ready for the real world," said Summitt, who had to stop the interview because her mother had given son, Tyler, a gift. She explained he would have to save some of that cash before buying something for himself. Then she resumed the conversation about the game.

That was Pat Summitt: Hoops and family.

She held everyone to the exacting standards she learned from her father cutting tobacco and helping bale hay on the family farm. Tennessee and Connecticut was the biggest draw in women's basketball with Geno Auriemma and his Huskies handing Summitt her lone title game loss in 1995. But Summitt canceled the series in 2007 and refused to say why other than, "Geno knows."

Summitt ended a nine-year championship drought with her seventh national title in 2007 followed by the eighth in 2008. She became the first NCAA coach to win 1,000 games Feb. 5, 2009, and received a new contract that boosted her annual salary to $1.4 million - far removed from the $8,900 of her first season.

She never got to the 40th season in that contract, her career cruelly and prematurely ended by early onset dementia, Alzheimer's type. She finished 1,098-208 with 18 Final Fours, at the time tying the men of UCLA and North Carolina for the most by any college basketball program.

Not that numbers define Summitt, who once said, "Records are made to be broken."

Yes, all marks fade, but no one will eclipse Summitt's contributions to women's basketball.

Illini starting pitcher Cody Sedlock named Big Ten Pitcher of the Year

Illini starting pitcher Cody Sedlock named Big Ten Pitcher of the Year

University of Illinois starting pitcher Cody Sedlock was named the Big Ten Pitcher of the Year on Tuesday.

The junior from Sherrard, Ill., led the conference in strikeouts (116) and innings pitched (101.1).

He is the fifth Illini pitcher to take home the award, following Tyler Jay who was given the honor last year — and later went on to be picked No. 6 overall by the Minnesota Twins in the 2015 MLB draft. It's the second time in program history that an Illini pitcher has won the award in back-to-back seasons.

The right-hander Sedlock is projected by many to be a first-round selection in the upcoming MLB draft on June 9.