NCAA hoops: Notre Dame, Bradley roll


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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Why to watch: Naperville North vs. Lyons Township Tale of the Tape

Why to watch: Naperville North vs. Lyons Township Tale of the Tape

Matchup: No. 19 Lyons Township (7-2) at No. 14 Naperville North (8-1)

Where to watch: Live broadcast on CSN at 7 p.m., plus a live stream available on and the NBC Sports app.

Overview: This Class 8A showdown features teams from two of the top largest public school conferences in Illinois. Lyons Township and head coach Kurt Weinberg fired off six straight wins to start the 2016 season (including an impressive, 28-14, road win over Glenbard West) before dropping two straight games in Weeks 7 and 8 to Hinsdale Central (28-21) and Oak Park-River Forest (27-3). Naperville North and head coach Sean Drendel posted a 2-7 record last season. However, the Huskies welcomed back 18 returning starters this fall. The Huskies only loss this season was to Neuqua Valley (35-20) back in Week 6.

When Lyons Township has the football: The Lions will look to expand the field with both the pass and run, via its no-huddle shotgun spread offense. Junior quarterback Ben Bryant is already drawing FBS scholarship offers and has several weapons including senior wide receiver Hasahn Austin, junior wide receiver Nate Rusk and junior running back Reggie Terrell Jr. Lyons Township also features a big offensive line. 

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When Naperville North has the football: The Huskies will look to establish thunder and lightning in the backfield with senior running backs Cross Robinson and Eric Wright. Then, mix in Naperville North's play-action passing game, led by senior quarterback Luke Cegles, junior wide receiver Nick Calcagno and senior wide receiver Mitch Lewis (6-foot-6, 220 pounds). North also has a good size and experience on the offensive line.

Key matchups to watch: The Naperville North offensive line vs. the Lyons Township defensive line. Naperville North wants to run the ball and also control the clock. The Lions defensive line is very good. Keep an eye on senior Andrew Ezell and junior Mickey Brown. Also, how well can the Naperville North secondary handle the spread passing attack from Lyons? Naperville North has an experienced secondary, led by seniors Cam Hardy and Grant Ericksen. This group will be tested by a speedy group of Lyons receivers and backs..

Impact player for Lyons Township: Bryant. He is an experienced signal-caller who can take over a game when he's on.

Impact players for Naperville North: Robinson and Wright. The Huskies backfield has been special. according to those in and around the Huskies program.

Prediction: Naperville North 28, Lyons Township 21. The keys here will be (1) time of possession for Naperville North and (2) which team wins the turnover battle. I fully expect this to be a close game from start to finish, but I'll give the nod to the home team here. 

In Game 1, Jon Lester doesn't quite live up to his World Series reputation: 'We got a long ways to go'

In Game 1, Jon Lester doesn't quite live up to his World Series reputation: 'We got a long ways to go'

CLEVELAND – While the Cubs came into this World Series as the heavy favorites, the team with the global following and baseball’s best roster on paper, Jon Lester understood the challenge ahead. The Cleveland Indians would counter with their own Game 1 ace, a dynamic reliever changing the way we think about bullpens and a future Hall of Fame manager.

That’s how it played out in a 6-0 game that felt a lot closer, Corey Kluber pitching like a Cy Young Award winner, Andrew Miller handling the seventh and eighth innings and Terry Francona improving his record to 9-0 in World Series games.     

Welcome to “Believeland,” where the Fourth Street bars on Tuesday were buzzing more than seven hours before first pitch. That night, LeBron James and the Cavaliers would get their championship rings and watch the banner-raising ceremony at Quicken Loans Arena, just up the street from Progressive Field.

By the first inning – when pitching coach Chris Bosio had to walk out to the mound to talk to Lester – the red video ribbons lining the stadium said: “CLEVELAND AGAINST THE WORLD.” With the bases loaded, Lester had just drilled Brandon Guyer with a pitch, forcing in a second run, a sequence set in motion by walks to Mike Napoli and Carlos Santana and Jose Ramirez’s soft infield single up the third-base line.

It didn’t matter that Lester would eventually settle down and pretty much control this Cleveland lineup. (Except for that rocket Roberto Perez launched off the left-field railing for a solo homer and a 3-0 lead in the fourth inning.) Or that the Indians didn’t run all over the bases, with Francisco Lindor going 1-for-2 in stolen bases. (“Whatever, it’s happened all year," Lester said.)

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This is Cleveland’s blueprint for October, maybe its only chance to win its first World Series since 1948.

“It’s always important (to get a lead), no matter what time of year it is,” Lester said. “It makes a manager’s job a lot easier. It makes your job a lot easier. When you give a guy like Kluber – who’s locked in from pitch one – two runs in the first, it makes his job a lot easier. I know the feeling on the other side. You’re just able to attack differently.

“With the bullpens and all that stuff that they’re setting up nowadays, all you got to do is get through six.”

Lester kept it a 3-0 game, but didn’t finish the sixth inning, a rare October night where he didn’t seem to be automatic. Until Tuesday night, he had gone 3-0 in three World Series starts, allowing only one earned run in 21 innings.

Lester won his two World Series rings with the Boston Red Sox, overlapping with Francona and Miller at different points. This is why the Cubs gave Lester a $155 million contract, to set the tone on the mound and within the clubhouse.

Near the end of a 103-win regular season – and even after winning the franchise’s first pennant in 71 years – Lester has offered colorful versions of: We haven’t done anything yet.

But Lester – the National League Championship Series co-MVP after putting up a 1.38 ERA against the Los Angeles Dodgers and watching the Cubs win both of those starts – also doesn’t do overreactions to losses.

“We got a long ways to go,” Lester said. “If we win tomorrow, we’re right back in it. Just like LA – everybody counted us out after Game 3. They said we were the worst best team in baseball. We’re here. We’re not giving up.

“I know my guys. I know my team. And I know that nobody in this clubhouse is giving anything up.”