NCAA: Sobolewski leads Wildcats past Penn State

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NCAA: Sobolewski leads Wildcats past Penn State

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- Dave Sobolewski scored 18 points and Jared Swopshire added 17 as Northwestern handled cold-shooting Penn State with ease in a 70-54 Big Ten Conference victory Thursday night.The Wildcats (10-6, 1-2) used a 25-4 run over an 11-minute span to lead by as many as 17 points, 33-16, in the first half. Penn State didn't score a basket for nearly seven minutes during that span.Northwestern shooters maintained their touch after the break, as the Wildcats made 5 of 10 from 3-point range in the second half. Freshman Kale Abrahamson matched his season-high with three 3s in the game.Penn State (8-7, 0-3) struggled all night to find a rhythm offensively. The Nittany Lions, who were led by 20 points from guard D.J. Newbill, shot just 31.6 percent (18 of 57) from the floor and were just 3 of 15 beyond the arc.Nittany Lions coach Patrick Chambers' frustration was evident as he knelt often at the end of the Penn State bench with his head hung low. The Lions went to a full-court press early in the second half but found little success in slowing down Northwestern.Sobolewski finished a tightly contested layup on a fast break at the 14:07 mark to put Northwestern ahead by 21 points, 45-24. A pair of free throws by Jermaine Marshall cut the Wildcats' lead to 46-33 with 11:39 remaining, but Northwestern countered with a 10-0 run to keep Penn State at bay.Northwestern relied on the long ball throughout the game, and it was a pair of deep 3-pointers that gave head coach Bill Carmody's squad momentum during that run. Redshirt freshman Tre Demps hit a 3 from the corner to start the stretch.The Wildcats had four different players score in double-digits, as Reggie Hearn scored 14 and Abrahamson added 10. The crowd of 6,479 at the Bryce Jordan Center began filing out in the waning minutes.Complete Recap Box ScoreTennessee Tech edges Eastern IllinoisCHARLESTON, Ill. -- Jud Dillard scored 34 points to help Tennessee Tech slip by Eastern Illinois 77-73 Thursday night, snapping a five-game losing streak.Dillard was 12 of 18 from the field and had three 3-pointers, including one with 53 seconds to play. He also had a team-high five rebounds.Dennis Ogbe added 11 points for the Golden Eagles (7-9, 1-3 Ohio Valley). Jeremiah Samarrippas had eight assists.Eastern Illinois led 44-40 at halftime and stayed out front until Dillard hit a 3-pointer, putting Tennessee Tech up by two with 53 seconds remaining. Sherman Blanford made a layup to tie the game at 73, but Dillard scored again and Matt Marseille hit a pair of free throws to seal the win.Morris Woods led Eastern Illinois with 25 points and seven rebounds. Blanford added 18 points for the Panthers (3-14, 0-4).Eastern Illinois has lost 10 consecutive games.Complete Recap Box Score

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.