NCAA Hoops: Purdue too much for Illini

NCAA Hoops: Purdue too much for Illini

Tuesday, March 1, 2011
CSNChicago.comAssociated Press
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) Minutes after No. 6 Purdue's 75-67 victory over Illinois, the band played a version of DJ Khaled's "All I Do is Win" before the school honored JaJuan Johnson and E'Twaun Moore on Senior Night.

The song title was fitting.

Johnson scored 23 points and Moore added 18 as the Boilermakers (25-5, 14-3) finished undefeated at Mackey Arena and remained in contention for the Big Ten title.

Johnson and Moore came off the court to a standing ovation with 3.6 seconds left.

"Tonight was a special night for us," Moore said. "It was our last night playing in front of our home crowd. Right before the game, I was nervous. I tried not to think about it, but I couldn't help it. I'm glad we got a victory and everything turned out well."

Johnson said the team takes pride in its 16-0 home record.

"I think it says a lot about how we protect our home court," he said. "It also says a lot about Mackey in general, with all the fans getting loud. It's definitely one of the loudest arenas in the country, and this is definitely a big advantage for us every time we play here."

Illinois coach Bruce Weber said Johnson and Moore were too much to handle.

"I think they have two special seniors that rose to the occasion and made some big shots down the stretch," he said.
Complete Recap, Box Score

UIC eliminated from Horizon tourney

CLEVELAND (AP) Norris Cole scored 26 points as Cleveland State cruised to a 73-61 win over Illinois-Chicago on Tuesday night in the first round of the Horizon League tournament.

The third-seeded Vikings (25-7), who claimed a share of their first Horizon regular-season title Saturday, set a school record with their 16th home win.

Cleveland State will play No. 6 seed Wright State in the second round on Friday in Milwaukee.

The Flames (7-24), the No. 10 seed, ended the season with their fifth straight loss.

The Vikings shot 50 percent in the first half (14 of 28) en route to a 40-23 lead at the break.

The Flames got within five points twice, the last time at 51-46 with 8:55 to go, then Cole answered with a 3-pointer.

Jeremy Montgomery added 17 points for the Vikings and Trevon Harmon had 13.

Paul Carter led Illinois-Chicago with 18 points, hitting 13 of 16 free throws.

Complete Recap, Box Score
Loyola eliminated in first round

DETROIT (AP) Chase Simon scored 19 points, leading six Detroit players in double figures, and the Titans defeated Loyola of Chicago 90-69 in the first round of the Horizon League tournament Tuesday night.

The Titans (17-15), seeded fifth in the 10-team Horizon League, will face fourth seed Valparaiso in the tournament quarterfinals on Friday in Milwaukee.

Ray McCallum had 16 points, Jason Calliste scored 14 and Nick Minnerath added 12 points. Chris Blake scored 11 points and Eli Holman scored 10 for Detroit. The Titans shot 52 percent from the field in the game, and made 25 of 29 free throws, including 8 for 8 by Calliste.

Ben Averkamp led Loyola with 15 points. Terrance Hill scored 12 points and Andy Polka had 10 points and 13 rebounds for the Ramblers (16-15), who were the eighth seed in the tournament.

Complete Recap, Box Score

Leathernecks drop 13th straight as noose tightens

MACOMB, Ill. (AP) Jovonni Shuler scored 21 points Tuesday night as Savannah State beat Western Illinois 51-47, handing the Leathernecks their 13th consecutive loss.

Joshua Montgomery added 13 points and Jyles Smith 12 rebounds for the Tigers (11-18), whose victory in the nonconference game was their fourth in a row and ninth in their last 10.

Kaimarr Price scored 12 points and Matt Lander 10 for the Leathernecks (7-23). Their season is over after failing to qualify for the Summit League tournament.

Savannah State won despite shooting 34.5 percent and making only 3 of 17 3-pointers.

Western Illinois led 26-21 at intermission, but the Tigers' 17-5 run forged a 38-31 lead with 9:56 left. Montgomery scored seven and Shuler six in the spurt.

Emeka Okafor Jr.'s three-point play brought the Leathernecks within 46-45 with 1:52 to go, but Shuler scored Savannah State's last five points.

The Tigers close against North Carolina Central.

Complete Recap, Box Score

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DeShone Kizer stays the same leader for new group of Notre Dame teammates

DeShone Kizer stays the same leader for new group of Notre Dame teammates

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — A number of teammates took the field for the first time with DeShone Kizer during the cacophony of Sunday night’s atmosphere at Darrell K. Royal Stadium in Austin. And much as Kizer did last year, he led the Irish offense with a certain kind of poise and mentality that deftly toes the line between confident and cocky. 

“When we were down by two touchdowns or when it was tied, he had the same demeanor,” sophomore receiver C.J. Sanders said. “That really speaks volumes about him as a man.”

Kizer wowed his teammates a year ago when he subbed in for the injured Malik Zaire and threw a game-winning touchdown to Will Fuller. It wasn’t just for the throw, but it was also for the way in which the quarterback conducted himself in a hostile, pressure-packed environment. 

Last year’s Irish offense, though, was loaded with leaders. Ronnie Stanley, Nick Martin and Chris Brown were pillars on that team, and there were veterans all around like Fuller, C.J. Prosise, Steve Elmer and Amir Carlisle. 

Notre Dame only returned a handful of upperclassmen who played on that 2015 team in Kizer, Torii Hunter Jr., Mike McGlinchey and Quenton Nelson (running back Tarean Folston was injured in Week 1 against Texas, and tight end Durham Smythe missed the remainder of the regular season after an injury in Week 2). 

So that meant there was quite a bit of inexperience permeating Notre Dame’s offense Sunday night. But some of those greenhorns said Kizer’s composure and confidence helped them ease into a roaringly-intense evening. 

“When we were down, he brought us together and said we’re going to drive and score and come back,” sophomore receiver Equanimeous St. Brown said, adding that message from Kizer gave him and the rest of the Irish offense a confidence boost in the second half. 

“What young guys typically don’t understand when they go into that environment is that it’s not too much different from what you’re doing in practice,” Kizer said. “When you step in front of 100,000 people, there’s a lot of noise and that could definitely create some adrenaline. But other than that, we’re playing the same game that we’ve been playing all summer. 

“The plays have been made time and time again all offseason and just understanding that when they’re out there, they’re expected to make those same exact plays and all they have to do is do that and do that well. You don’t have to go out there and be someone else. We have a really good coaching staff who put you in good positions to make big plays and all you have to do is execute what they say.” 

Leadership is one of those nebulous things every football player and coach will tell you is necessary, but it’s a quality that’s impossible to quantify. It’s not an end-all, be-all for an offense or defense — Notre Dame, after all, didn’t score when it got the ball back after Jarron Jones’ miraculous blocked PAT, which probably had more to do with the loss of Hunter Jr. than anything else — but it is something that can be pointed to as an asset in close games. 

And with Kizer quarterbacking the offense, Notre Dame has to feel confident in its ability to hang in close games. It still needs its special teams, defense (which was primarily behind recent losses to Stanford and Texas) and coaching (behind the loss to Clemson) to come through, but the next time Notre Dame finds itself in a high-pressure, hostile situation, it can count on Kizer to keep things calm. 

And that counts for something, whatever the extent of it is. 

“Before the game he kind of talked to us, got in front of us and told us hey, I don’t care how young you are, I know you guys can make plays,” Sanders said. “So just hearing that from him developed a comfort level to know that he can depend on us. Hearing that from him really made a big difference.” 

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.