NCAA hoops: Notre Dame, Bradley roll

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NCAA hoops: Notre Dame, Bradley roll

Notre Dame rolls over St. Francis

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) Jack Cooley had 13 points and 13 rebounds Saturday to lead Notre Dame to a 69-52 win over St. Francis of Pennsylvania.

Eric Atkins and Cameron Biedscheid each scored 13 points as well for the Irish, and Garrick Sherman had 11 points in his first start of the season.

Umar Shannon scored 14 points and Ollie Jackson had 12 points on four 3-pointers for St. Francis (0-5), which lost its ninth straight road game dating back to last season. The Irish (5-1) have won 39 of their last 40 home games and improved to 44-0 all-time in November under coach Mike Brey.

Cooley recorded double figures in points and rebounds in the same game for the 17th time in his career.

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Western Illinois can't complete comeback

SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) Rashad Hassan and Preston Blackman scored 13 points apiece as Savannah State held off Western Illinois 39-38 Saturday in nonconference action.

Blackman also tallied a game-high five assists to go with five rebounds and Cedric Smith grabbed nine rebounds for the Tigers, who outrebounded Western Illinois 33-26.

Savannah State (4-3) jumped out to a 22-13 halftime lead behind 11 first-half points from Hassan.

Western Illinois (3-3), following a 23.1 percent (6 of 26) first-half shooting performance, bounced back after intermission. The Leathernecks shot 50 percent (10 of 20) from the field and cut what was an 11-point second-half lead to one, 39-38, with 50 seconds remaining.

The Leathernecks held Savannah State scoreless over the final minute of the game but the Tigers' Arnold Louis blocked Don McAvoy's 3-point attempt as time expired.

Adam Link led Western Illinois with 11 points and had four of the Leathernecks' eight steals.

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Bradley dominates Tennessee-Martin

PEORIA, Ill. (AP) Walt Lemon Jr. scored 15 points and Bradley breezed to an 80-57 victory over Tennessee-Martin on Saturday.

Jake Eastman added 14 points for the Braves (4-1). Will Egolf had 13 points and a team-high nine rebounds, Jalen Crawford scored 12 and Dyricus Simms-Edwards finished with 11 points.

Myles Taylor had 17 points and nine rebounds before fouling out to lead the Skyhawks (2-4). Mike Liabo scored 15 points and Justin Childs added 12 points for UT-Martin.

Bradley has won all four games in the series between the schools. The Braves led 27-21 at halftime but opened up a 28-point lead late in the game.

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Piper leads Eastern over Houston Baptist

CHARLESTON, Ill. (AP) Josh Piper scored 16 points and grabbed 11 rebounds on Saturday to lead Eastern Illinois to a 64-44 victory over Houston Baptist.

Sherman Blanford also helped Eastern Illinois (3-4) with 15 points and eight rebounds, as the team had a 32-22 advantage on the boards.

Malcolm Herron scored 12 points for Eastern Illinois.

Eastern Illinois pulled away in the second half with accurate shooting, hitting 10 of 15 shots.

Houston Baptist (3-3) struggled with its shooting most of the game, hitting just 14 of 40 shots from the floor and missing all 10 of its 3-point attempts.

Tyler Russell scored 11 points to lead Houston Baptist, and Marcus Davis had seven rebounds.

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Loyola takes down NIU

DEKALB, Ill. (AP) Ben Averkamp scored 15 points, including three 3-pointers, and Loyola of Chicago pulled away in the second half for a 53-46 victory over Northern Illinois on Saturday.

Averkamp added 10 rebounds, as did Joe Crisman, for the Ramblers (4-2), and Cully Payne scored 10 points.

Akeem Springs led the Huskies (1-3) with 15 points but was just 6 of 16 from the field, part of a 30 percent overall effort for NIU.

After a tepid first half in which the teams combined for 11 field goals, Loyola came alive, shooting 56 percent from the floor after halftime. An 18-4 run, capped by a Jeff White layup with 7:19 to play, turned a tie game into a 43-29 Ramblers lead. Payne and White made five free throws in the final minute to seal the victory.

The victory moved Loyola ahead of NIU 17-16 in the all-time series, which dates to 1926.

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Jonathan Toews' four-point night paces Blackhawks past Canucks

Jonathan Toews' four-point night paces Blackhawks past Canucks

Jonathan Toews has been doing a lot of things right this season. The offensive production, however, has been hit and miss as the Blackhawks' captain looked for the same consistency on the score sheet he had in the rest of his game.

On Sunday, he hit pay dirt.

Toews recorded a four-point night, including the game-winning goal, and Corey Crawford won his 200th career game as the Blackhawks beat the Vancouver Canucks 4-2 on Sunday night. The Blackhawks remain in second place in the Western Conference. They and the Minnesota Wild each have 65 points, but the Wild still have three games in hand.

It was a milestone night for a few Blackhawks. Marian Hossa had an empty-net goal late to record his 400th point in a Blackhawks uniform. Toews' three assists put him 13th all-time among Blackhawks in that category with 331. Brian Campbell recorded his 500th career point.

Richard Panik had a goal and an assist.

The Blackhawks had arguably their best start of the season in this one, outscoring the Canucks 2-0 (Panik and Patrick Kane) and outshooting them 18-9. But in less than a minute in the third period, the Blackhawks lost the lead, thanks to Troy Stecher's power-play goal and Bo Horvat's rebound goal.

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But Toews, who played his part in the Blackhawks' start, was there for the finish. Panik's late third-period shot caromed off the backboard and went right to Toews, who scored for the 3-2 lead with 1:18 remaining in regulation.

"I guess the goals have scored lately are just getting those bounces and being in the right spot at the right time. Nice to get that one on my stick," Toews said. "I just keep telling Hartsy (Ryan Hartman) and Panner to keep shooting — they both have unbelievable shots — and we're going to generate stuff whether it hits the end wall, goes in or hits the guy's pads. We'll find something around the net. It's nice to get that bounce late in the game."

The Blackhawks had some bad luck — and Michal Kempny had a rough shift or two — during the Canucks' third-period comeback. It was a bit of frustration at the time, but coach Joel Quenneville said the Blackhawks kept their cool.

"I still thought we didn't get away from our game at that point, which could have happened," he said. "Finding a way to get it to overtime or scoring a late goal tonight is something our guys have been good at. Just (the) play at the net, Johnny in the right spot with the finish. I still thought we kept our composure at that point."

Crawford, meanwhile, stopped 25 of 27 shots and looked better than he has in some recent outings.

"We gave him some looks where he could feel comfortable again, and he had some great plays in close from post to post on their power plays, especially in the second," Toews said. "He was finding them all night. Nice to see Crow play the way he did tonight and obviously he was a big part, as usual, in the win."

The Blackhawks had a bit of a gaffe early in the third period, but they were able to weather it. Toews has been steady in most facets of his game this season but was looking to build on his production. Sunday’s game was a step in the right direction.

Bad blood fueled Bears-Vikings playoff bout profiled in 'Bears Classics: Eclipsing Moon'

Bad blood fueled Bears-Vikings playoff bout profiled in 'Bears Classics: Eclipsing Moon'

From the high ground of hindsight, what unfolded in the Metrodome that day in 1995 was actually quite a big deal. But not for reasons that you could have really understood at the time watching the Bears stun the Minnesota Vikings 35-18 in the wild card round of the 1994 playoffs.

It was not so much the game alone. It was the overall context of the time for the Bears, before and after.

Though the 1995 season would get off to a 6-2 start for the Bears before their near-historic collapse, the Minnesota game would prove to be the high-water mark for the coaching tenure of Dave Wannstedt. This was the postseason, and the Bears looked to be going where then-president Mike McCaskey envisioned when he made the play to beat the New York Giants in securing Wannstedt, who was unquestionably the hot coaching prospect coming out of the Dallas Super Bowl pantheon after the 1992 season.

To fully grasp the situation, you need to understand the undercurrent of venom that had developed between the Bears and Vikings. Bears-Packers might have been the glitzy rivalry, but what had grown between the Bears and Vikings was true hostility, with little of the respect that the Bears and Packers had managed. The Vikings carried grudges for Pro Bowl slights going back almost to the Bears' Super Bowl win. One Bears defensive lineman remarked that his most hated opponent was Minnesota right tackle Tim Irwin, adding, "He's a guy that, if I ran over him with a car, I'd back up over him to make sure I got him." Dwayne Rudd's backpedaling taunt after an interception came a couple years later, but you get the idea.

What's easily forgotten looking back through the mists of time was the epic decision made by Wannstedt to make a quarterback change, from a quarterback he wanted in free agency to one he knew well from their time together at the University of Miami. That was every bit the turning point of the season and the real reason the playoff trip and win ever happened.

The Bears had been annihilated in their first game against the Vikings in the 1994 season — 42-14 — and something was really, really wrong, which become glaringly more evident just a few weeks later, even though the Bears were reaching a 4-2 mark under quarterback Erik Kramer, the centerpiece of an aggressive offseason foray into free agency. But the Bears then lost — badly — to the Lions and Packers, with Kramer throwing three interceptions against Detroit and two against Green Bay, the latter in only 10 pass attempts.

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I talked privately to Kramer after the Green Bay game, specifically about why it was that he was playing his absolute worst against Detroit, Green Bay and Minnesota, all teams with which he was intimately familiar. My thought: You know those defenses and where their people are going to be.

Kramer shook his head: "The 'other guys' I know. It's my own guys. I don't know where they're supposed to be."

It wasn't a comment on his receivers whatsoever. It was Kramer admitting bluntly that he was not getting the West Coast scheme of coordinator Ron Turner and its timing element.

Wannstedt knew it wasn't working and made the change to Steve Walsh, who'd been the Hurricanes' quarterback under Jimmy Johnson when Wannstedt was the defensive coordinator.

That was the tipping point, and Walsh and Wannstedt are among the principals of "Bears Classics: Eclipsing Moon," airing on Monday at 8 p.m. on CSN.

Anyone with any time spent in or around the NFL knows that beating a team three times in a season is incredibly difficult. The Bears had been blown out in the first Minnesota game but had pushed the Vikings to overtime in the second and would have won had Kevin Butler not missed a 40-yard field goal try.

The playoff meeting was No. 3, and after the Vikings put up a field goal in the first quarter, the Bears scored with a Lewis Tillman touchdown in the second and just pulled steadily away from the winner of the only NFL division that produced four teams with winning records.

From there it would be another decade-plus — 2006 season — before the Bears would win a playoff game.