NCAA: Illinois falls to Purdue in conference play

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NCAA: Illinois falls to Purdue in conference play

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- Purdue figured out how to slow the pace - and still score a little, too, Wednesday night.Terone Johnson finished with a career-high 25 points and D.J. Byrd scored nine of his 15 during a key 19-3 second-half run, sending the Boilermakers past No. 11 Illinois 68-61.Byrd sealed the game with a three-point play with 20.1 seconds to go.The Boilermakers (7-6, 1-0 Big Ten) have won three straight and are over .500 for the first time this season. They have won eight straight over the Fighting Illini.Illinois (13-2, 0-1) was led by Brandon Paul with 15 points and Joseph Bertrand with 14, but managed only one basket during a decisive 5 12-minute stretch of the second half. Illinois has lost eight straight conference road games, dating to a Jan. 4, 2012 win at Northwestern.Complete Recap Box ScoreLoyola handles Valparaiso
VALPARAISO, Ind. -- Ben Averkamp scored 16 points and had four blocked shots Wednesday night as Loyola of Chicago beat Valparaiso 63-54 in the Horizon League opener for both schools.Christian Thomas had 14 points and six rebounds, and Cully Payne had 13 points and seven assists for the Ramblers (10-3).Ryan Broekhoff led Valparaiso (10-5) with 15 points and seven rebounds. Kevin Van Wijk also had seven rebounds, and contributed 10 points. LaVonte Dority also scored 10 points for the Crusaders, going 8 for 8 from the free-throw line.Loyola led 26-24 at halftime. Broekhoff made a 3-pointer for Valparaiso early in the second half, but Thomas' layup with 18 12 minutes to go put the Ramblers ahead for good.Complete Recap Box Score

UIC edges Youngstown State

Gary Talton drilled a go-ahead 3-pointer with 17 seconds remaining and made three free throws to protect the lead as Illinois-Chicago defeated Youngstown State 65-60 on Wednesday night.Talton had 19 points and Hayden Humes 15 for the Flames (10-4, 1-0 Horizon League), who snapped a three-game losing streak.Kendrick Perry scored 19 points and Blake Allen had 12 points and 10 rebounds for the Penguins (8-6, 0-1). Allen's 3-pointer gave Youngstown State a 60-59 lead with 1:31 remaining.Josh Crittle scored 14 points and Daniel Barnes 10 for Illinois-Chicago.Talton was 7 of 15 from the field with six rebounds.Complete Recap Box ScoreDePaul falls in heart-breaker to Seton Hall
ROSEMONT, Ill. -- Fuquan Edwin converted the game-winning layup with 6.9 seconds remaining to give Seton Hall a 73-72 win against DePaul on Wednesday night.Aaron Cosby led Seton Hall (12-2) with 24 points.Jamee Crockett of DePaul missed a wide open 3-pointer with four seconds left to seal Seton Hall's win in the Big East conference opener for both teams. A turnover gave Seton Hall the ball with 26 seconds remaining as they trailed DePaul, 72-71.DePaul (9-5, 0-1) chipped away at Seton Hall's 40-32 halftime lead. DePaul guard Durrell McDonald made a 3-pointer as the shot clock expired to tie the game at 52 with 9:42 remaining.Less than a minute later the Blue Demons took the lead on Brandon Young's three-point play. From then on, the teams traded baskets as neither squad led by more than five points the rest of the game.Complete Recap Box Score
Bradley knocks off Southern Illinois

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Walt Lemon Jr. scored 20 points Wednesday night to help Bradley to a 66-60 victory over Southern Illinois.Lemon's basket with 2:58 left gave the Braves (10-4, 2-0 Missouri Valley) the lead for good at 57-56. Lemon finished 8 for 11 from the field and also contributed five steals for Bradley, which was 0-9 on the road in the MVC last season. Dyricus Simms-Edwards and Jordan Prosser had 11 points apiece for the Braves.Desmar Jackson led the Salukis (7-6, 0-2) with 15 points and nine rebounds. Jeff Early scored 11 and Anthony Beane Jr. added 10 points for SIU.Bradley shot 50 percent from the field and led 28-23 at halftime. Southern Illinois shot 42 percent and was just 13 for 23 from the free-throw line. Bradley was 14 of 18.Complete Recap Box Score
Western Illinois defeats Savannah StateMACOMB, Ill. -- Adam Link scored 10 points and Western Illinois slipped by Savannah State 39-35, extending their winning streak to eight games.Terell Parks had eight rebounds and blocked seven shots for the Leathernecks (11-3).Savannah State led 23-12 at halftime. But the Tigers shot 32.6 percent from the field for the game, while Western Illinois shot 44 percent.Khiry White led the Tigers with 10 points. Arnold Louis had eight rebounds.Savannah State (5-8) has now lost five consecutive games.Complete Recap Box Score

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.