INDIANA BOYS BASKETBALL

CARMEL71INDIANAPOLIS CATHEDRAL57 
HAMMOND MORTON56EAST CHICAGO CENTRAL35 
HAMMOND NOLL87HAMMOND SCIENCE & TECH28 
INDIANAPOLIS ATTUCKS77URBANA (ILL.)60 
INDIANAPOLIS METROPOLITAN87IRVINGTON PREP ACADEMY56 
INDIANAPOLIS TINDLEY74INDIANAPOLIS HOMESCHOOL43 
JENNINGS COUNTY81JAC-CEN-DEL56 
MACONAQUAH57WESTERN49 
MICHIGAN CITY69SOUTH BEND RILEY45 
SMITH ACADEMY44PIERCETON WOODS ACADEMY33 
SOUTH PUTNAM41WHITE RIVER VALLEY39 
DELAWARE COUNTY TOURNAMENT
DELTA66DALEVILLE52 
MARION COUNTY TOURNAMENT
SOUTHPORT65DECATUR CENTRAL46 
NORTH CENTRAL (INDIANAPOLIS)55BREBEUF JESUIT51 
BEN DAVIS74PARK TUDOR39 
PIKE52PERRY MERIDIAN45 
NORTHEAST CORNER CONFERENCE TOURNAMENT
CENTRAL NOBLE59WEST NOBLE52 
FREMONT72CHURUBUSCO59 
EASTSIDE62GARRETT25 
PRAIRIE HEIGHTS37WESTVIEW34 
GARY 21ST CENTURY86LIGHTHOUSE CPA81 

INDIANA GIRLS BASKETBALL

ANDREAN37KOUTS33 
BLACKFORD76MUNCIE BURRIS26 
BOWMAN ACADEMY41GARY 21ST CENTURY15 
CASCADE61NORTHVIEW54 
DANVILLE42DECATUR CENTRAL21 
EAST CENTRAL60DIXIE HEIGHTS (KY.)50 
EMINENCE65CHRISTEL HOUSE MANUAL5 
FORT WAYNE SNIDER63FORT WAYNE LUERS32 
FRONTIER48CULVER31 
HIGHLAND69HAMMOND MORTON13 
HUNTINGTON NORTH54FORT WAYNE WAYNE21 
LAKE CENTRAL71GARY WEST22 
MANCHESTER33PERU32 
MONROE CENTRAL53UNION (MODOC)31 
NORTH MIAMI48LEWIS CASS32 
NORTHWESTERN60OAK HILL31 
NORWELL50FORT WAYNE DWENGER29 
ROCHESTER54LOGANSPORT36 
UNION COUNTY44RANDOLPH SOUTHERN412OT
VINCENNES LINCOLN59EVANSVILLE CENTRAL40 
WARSAW53MISHAWAKA15 
WESTVILLE43SOUTH BEND CAREER14 
NORTHEAST CORNER CONFERENCE TOURNAMENT
ANGOLA49LAKELAND35 
CHURUBUSCO53FREMONT47 
GARRETT44EASTSIDE30 
PRAIRIE HEIGHTS44WESTVIEW27 

TOP 25 MEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL

DUKE76FINAL
WAKE FOREST64
 
MINNESOTA69FINAL
10 MICHIGAN ST.71
 
12 LSU64FINAL
FLORIDA58
 
14 VILLANOVA64FINAL
17 XAVIER60

TOP 25 WOMEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL

10 UCONN92FINAL
BUTLER47
 
KANSAS70FINAL
OT
13 TEXAS66
 
14 BAYLOR77FINAL
23 OKLAHOMA83
 
24 SOUTH FLORIDA75FINAL
TULANE62
 

NBA SCOREBOARD

BOSTON119FINAL
INDIANA100
 
CHARLOTTE109FINAL
PHILADELPHIA98
 
ORLANDO106FINAL
WASHINGTON112
 
MIAMI115FINAL
ATLANTA91
 
DALLAS85FINAL
NEW YORK108
 
HOUSTON128FINAL
SAN ANTONIO124
 
CLEVELAND111FINAL
UTAH91
 
BROOKLYN138FINAL
CHICAGO112
 
LA LAKERS116FINAL
SACRAMENTO125

NHL SCOREBOARD

MONTREAL1FINAL
BOSTON5
 
SEATTLE2FINAL
DALLAS5
 
MINNESOTAPOSTPONED
EDMONTON
 
TORONTO1FINAL
ARIZONA2

TOP INDIANA SPORTS NEWS

CELTICS TAKE CONTROL EARLY, PULL AWAY FROM PACERS 119-100

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum packed a punch Wednesday night. Dennis Schroder added his own touch.

Brown scored 34 points, Tatum added 33 and Schroder finished with 23 as the Boston Celtics rolled past the Indiana Pacers 119-100.

Boston snapped a six-game road losing streak while beating Indiana for the second time in three days and the fourth straight time.

“When we can do that – get out and run and not play against everyone’s half-court set, we’re better,” Celtics coach Ime Udoka said. “Those two came out great and Dennis got going and put a lot of pressure on them. They’ve got to make shots and at the end of the day, they did that.”

With Brown, Tatum and Schroder operating at full throttle, the Pacers struggled to get in synch as two starters – Malcolm Brogdon and Caris LeVert – returned after being cleared through the health and safety protocols.

Neither played like themselves, though.

That left it up to Myles Turner, who had 18 points and Domantas Sabonis added 17 points, six rebounds and six assists as the Pacers lost their second straight and eighth in nine games.

“Look it’s never seamless and in this case, you’re talking about two of our highly, highly skilled guys who have been out a significant amount of time,” Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said. “Tomorrow will be a new day and we’ll circle the wagons and try and get better.”

After the opening minutes, the Celtics never really gave the Pacers a chance.

Boston quickly took a 10-point lead and kept Indiana at arm’s length until the final minutes of the first half, then wasted no time reasserting its dominance in the third quarter. The Celtics scored the first eight points to extend a 54-49 halftime lead to 13 and then made it 68-53 when Schroder made back-to-back 3-pointers.

Another 3 from Schroder late in the third made it a 19-point game. Indiana never seriously challenged again.

“We were up five at halftime and felt like we gave up a double-digit lead so we wanted to do what we did in the first and second quarter,” Udoka said. ” We made two baskets, they called timeout and we felt the momentum was back in our hands.”

TIP-INS

Celtics: Tatum also had seven rebounds and four assists while Brown added five rebounds and three assists. … Schroder was 4 for 5 on 3s while Brown was 7 for 11. … Boston made seven of its first eight 3s and wound up 18 of 38 from beyond the arc. … The Celtics had 11 turnovers. … Marcus Smart missed the game with a bruised right thigh. Payton Pritchard played limited minutes after being cleared through the health and safety protocols.

Pacers: LeVert had 16 points and four assists in 29 minutes. Justin Holiday scored 13. … … One day after signing a second 10-day contract, Lance Stephenson had six points, five rebounds and six assists … The Pacers were 7 for 36 on 3s and went 13 for 20 on free throws.

EARLY EXIT

Brogdon had also been dealing with a sore right Achilles tendon. The injury, combined with the COVID-19 protocols, kept the Pacers starting guard out of nine straight games and 10 of the previous 11. On Wednesday, he left in the third quarter after scoring six points on 3-for-7 shooting in just 17 minutes.

“We were playing him about five minutes at the start of each quarter with the hope of him finishing the game,” Carlisle said. “But five minutes, you’re just getting into the game and you’re coming out. That’s tough. Hopefully, he did OK and didn’t have any setbacks but I need to talk to the trainers.”

UP NEXT

Celtics: At Philadelphia on Friday night.

Pacers: Host Phoenix on Friday night.

HOOSIERS ANNOUNCE 2022 SCHEDULE

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – The Big Ten Conference announced its 2022 football schedule on Wednesday afternoon. Indiana will host Illinois to open the season on Saturday, Sept. 3, and will welcome seven opponents to Memorial Stadium.

The updated schedule accounts for alternations made during the 2020 season.

The full 2022 schedule is below:

Sept. 3              Illinois

Sept. 10            Idaho

Sept. 17            Western Kentucky

Sept. 24            at Cincinnati

Oct. 1               at Nebraska

Oct. 8               Michigan

Oct. 15             Maryland

Oct. 22             at Rutgers

Oct. 29             Bye

Nov. 5              Penn State      

Nov. 12             at Ohio State

Nov. 19             at Michigan State

Nov. 26             Purdue

Dec. 3               Big Ten Championship Game

NOTES: INDIANA TO PLAY FIRST OF TWO STRAIGHT ROAD GAMES AT IOWA

OPENING TIP

Indiana University is in its 122nd season of competition in men’s basketball and will visit Iowa on Thursday night. The Hoosiers are coming off a 73-60 win over Minnesota at home and have won two in a row after topping #13/12 Ohio State, 67-51 on Thursday. Iowa is coming off an 87-78 loss at Wisconsin. IU won both meetings last year against the Hawkeyes, 81-69 in Iowa City and 67-65 in Bloomington.  The Hoosiers have won three straight in the series. IU has equaled its win total from a season ago.

GAME INFORMATION

Indiana (12-3, 3-2 B1G) at Iowa (11-4, 1-3 B1G)

Thursday, January 13 • 9 p.m. ET

Carver-Hawkeye Arena (15,056) • Iowa City, Iowa

TV: FS1 (Joe Davis and Bill Raftery)

Radio: IU Radio Network (Don Fischer, Errek Suhr, Joe Smith) | TuneIn App

Series History: Indiana leads 106-78

Last Meeting: IU 67, IOWA 65 (Feb. 7, 2021 in Bloomington)

IU Rankings: KenPom (24th), NET (33rd)

ON THE SIDELINES

IU Hall of Famer, All-American, Big Ten MVP and Indiana native Mike Woodson is the first Hoosier graduate to lead the program at the start of the season since Lou Watson in 1965. Woodson brings nine years of NBA head coaching experience (Atlanta Hawks and New York Knicks) back to his alma mater and worked for seven franchises as an assistant coach and won an NBA title in 2004 with the Detroit Pistons. He played 11 seasons in the NBA as a player and is the fifth all-time leading scorer in program history with 2,061 points.

Iowa Coach Fran McCaffery is in his 12th year with the Hawkeyes.

DEFENSE LEADS THE HOOSIERS

IU is first in the Big Ten and second in country in field goal percentage defense (35.3%). The Hoosiers also lead the league in scoring defense (60.8). In conference play, IU leads in scoring defense (58.2) and field goal percentage defense (36.7%) and is second in 3-point field goal defense (28.6%).

ALL-AMERICAN TRAYCE JACKSON-DAVIS

Junior/sophomore forward Trayce Jackson-Davis is living up to his preseason accolades averaging 19.4 points (5th in B1G), 8.7 rebounds (5th), shooting 60.0% from the floor (4th) and contributing 3.0 blocked shots per game (2nd).

He set a Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall record by scoring 43 points against Marshall, breaking the previous mark (42) set by Steve Alford against Michigan State. The leading returning scorer in the Big Ten has been named a first-team 2021-22 Preseason All-American by the Associated Press, and selected to the watch list for the Karl Malone Watch, the NABC Player of the Year, Wooden Award (Midseason Top 25) and Naismith Award.

He has had six double-doubles this season and 28 in his career with IU posting a 22-6 record in those games. Jackson-Davis now has scored 1,240 points as a Hoosier, rating 34th all-time in IU lore.

He averaged 20 points and 12 rebounds this week in wins over Ohio State and Minnesota. He is the fifth active leading scorer in the country and is first in free throw attempts (489) and second in free throws made (326) since 2019-20.

ODDS AND TRENDS

IU’s starting lineup of Jackson-Davis (74), Sr./Jr’s. Xavier Johnson (96), Miller Kopp (89), Parker Stewart (88) and Race Thompson (42) have combined for 384 career Division I starts. Off the bench, Sr./Jr’s. Michael Durr (85) and Rob Phinisee (69) have started 154 games.

FINAL 10 MINUTES OF THE TWO-GAME HOMESTAND

IU outscored Ohio State and Minnesota by an average of 21.5 to 8.5, while shooting 61.5% from the floor. The Hoosiers committed just two turnovers total.

The defense held the Buckeyes and Golden Gophers to 21.7% shooting and 27.3% from 3-point range, while forcing a total of nine turnovers.

IU’s guards combined for eight assists and zero turnovers and Thompson was 6-of-6 from the field.

NO. 6/5 INDIANA RETURNS TO ACTION AGAINST NEBRASKA

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – No. 6 Indiana will look to start Big Ten play 5-0 for the first time ever when it hosts Nebraska on Thursday. Tip on Big Ten Network is set for 6 p.m. ET.

#6/5 INDIANA (12-2, 4-0 B1G) VS. RV/RV Nebraska (13-2, 2-2 B1G)

Thursday, January 13, 2022 • 6 p.m. ET

Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall • Bloomington, Ind.

Broadcast: Big Ten Network (Matt Schumacker, Meghan McKeown)                                                                                                                                                                                                        

Radio: WHCC 105.1 FM (Austin Render)

Live Stats: HoosierStats.com

Social Media: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

ABOUT THE CORNHUSKERS

Nebraska coming off a ranked win last week against then No. 8 Michigan before falling to No. 21 Iowa on Sunday. The Huskers are led by junior guard Jaz Shelley who averages 13.7 points and 7.4 rebounds per game. Freshman center Alexis Markowski is coming off Big Ten Freshman of the Week and junior guard Sam Haiby adds 11.1 points per game. One of the most productive offenses in the country, Nebraska averages 82.4 points per game.

SERIES HISTORY

Indiana leads 9-5

LAST MEETING

12/20/21 – W, 81-53 (Bloomington, Ind.) 

NOTES

A win on Thursday would give IU its best start ever in Big Ten play. It matched its best-ever start with a win at Wisconsin to improve to 4-0. It ties the record set in the 2019-20 season and are the only remaining undefeated team in league action.

Indiana moved up one spot in this week’s USA Today/WBCA coaches poll to No. 5, the highest ever ranked amongst the coaches poll. It stayed at No. 6 in the Associated Press Top 25 for the second consecutive week.

They come back to the court after a scheduled eight-day layoff after beating Wisconsin on the road on Jan. 5. Graduate student guard Ali Patberg led the way with 18 points in the victory over the Badgers.

Defense is the name of the game for the Hoosiers, who lead the Big Ten in scoring defense. They allow just 56.5 points per game and have held all 14 opponents to under 70 points this season.

UP NEXT

The Hoosiers will travel to Purdue for the annual Barn Burner Trophy game. Tipoff is set for 2 p.m. ET at Mackey Arena and will be carried on FS1.

#10 UCONN SECURES 92-47 VICTORY AT HINKLE FIELDHOUSE

INDIANAPOLIS – The UConn Huskies recorded a 92-47 victory over Butler on Wednesday night to remain perfect in BIG EAST action. Celena Taborn led the Bulldogs in Butler’s BIG EAST home opener with 13 points and six rebounds. Emilia Sexton also hit double figures with 11 points in 30 minutes of playing time.

How It Happened

UConn scored the first nine points of the game and would lead BU 14-3 at the first media timeout. Butler broke up the Husky scoring spree with a 3-point play from Tenley Dowell and Zoe Jackson would go ahead to score the next four points to push the scoreboard to 17-7.

UConn made seven of their first 10 shots including 2-for-4 from 3-point range. They ended the opening 10 minutes on a 6-0 scoring run to take a 25-9 advantage into the second quarter.

Momentum stayed with the visitors as UConn scored the first 11 points of the second quarter. Christyn Williams was responsible for seven of the 11 points during that stretch. Each team mirrored their first quarter statistics which took us to a 48-19 halftime score.

After the half, UConn stormed out of the locker room to score nine-straight points. They won the third frame 29-12. Butler’s best 10 minutes of action came in the fourth quarter. They outscored UConn 16-15 to take the final score to 92-47.

Stat of the Game

UConn scored 43 points off 27 Butler turnovers.

Inside the Box Score

– The Butler women’s basketball program set a new attendance record with 2,772 fans at Hinkle Fieldhouse on Wednesday night!

– Butler took the floor for the first time in two weeks Wednesday night vs. UConn

– Olivia Nelson-Ododa had 19 points, seven rebounds, five assists and three steals

– Williams matched Nelson-Ododa with 19 points while adding seven boards and seven steals

– Zoe Jackson came off the BU bench to score nine points. She also led the team with four assists

– Tenley Dowell supplied the team with six points and seven rebounds

Up Next

The BIG EAST rescheduled the basketball game between Creighton and Butler for Wednesday, Jan. 19. That contest will begin at 6 PM.

FC CINCINNATI SELECTS CELENTANO IN MLS SUPERDRAFT

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – With the second overall pick in the 2022 MLS SuperDraft, FC Cincinnati selected Indiana men’s soccer junior goalkeeper Roman Celentano on Tuesday (Jan. 11).

At No. 2, Celentano ties the highest pick in program history with former teammate Jack Maher, picked by Nashville in 2020, and Nick Garcia, selected by Kansas City in 2000.

“I’m excited to be going to FC Cincinnati,” Celentano said. “I’m fortunate to be in this position. Indiana has done a lot for me in my development, taking a chance on me early on and letting me grow into the player I wanted to become. It’s been an honor playing at Indiana, and I’m looking forward to my next chapter at FC Cincinnati.”

“I’m really excited for Roman,” IU men’s soccer head coach Todd Yeagley said. “He’s worked hard for this opportunity. To be drafted by FC Cincinnati, a team in the region, and to have the IU connection with [FC Cincinnati head coach] Pat Noonan makes it special. Roman’s huge upside and strong character are great building blocks for putting a team together, and we’re excited to see Roman flourish in the years ahead.”

In Cincinnati Celentano joins former Indiana All-American Pat Noonan, who was named the club’s head coach in December. Noonan (1999-02) was a two-time MAC Hermann Trophy runner-up during his time in cream and crimson and helped Indiana to three NCAA College Cup appearances, two national title matches and the program’s fifth national championship as a freshman in 1999.

Celentano’s selection marks the fifth straight season a Hoosier has been selected within the top 10 picks of the MLS SuperDraft, following Josh Penn (2021), Jack Maher (2020), Griffin Dorsey (2019) and Mason Toye (2018). Combining 45 draft picks and eight homegrown contracts, 53 total Hoosiers have been selected into MLS.

In the 27-year history of the draft, Celentano is just the third goalkeeper drafted within the first two picks and the highest since eight-year veteran and two-time MLS Goalkeeper of the Year Andre Blake went No. 1 overall to the Philadelphia Union in 2014. American international and 18-year professional Brad Guzan is the only other top-two selection.

The first Indiana goalkeeper to earn a first-round selection, Celentano is also the fifth IU netminder selected all-time and the first since Luis Soffner in 2013.

A junior, Celentano signed a Generation adidas contract with MLS that allowed him to forgo his remaining eligibility with IU and enter the draft. In three seasons in Bloomington, Celentano owned a career 37-10-5 record while allowing just 33 goals in 52 matches. His 28 career shutouts rank tied for ninth in program history.

A two-time All-American, Celentano became the first-ever repeat Big Ten Goalkeeper of the Year after earning the awards in back-to-back seasons, 2020-21 and 2021. He is also a two-time Top Drawer Soccer Best XI first team and Big Ten All-Tournament team selection and earned the 2020 Big Ten Defensive Player of the Tournament honor.

PURDUE FOOTBALL ANNOUNCES UPDATED SCHEDULE FOR 2022 SEASON

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Purdue Football, along with the Big Ten Conference, released its updated schedule for the 2022 campaign Wednesday. The 2022 slate, the sixth season under the leadership of head coach Jeff Brohm, features six games at Ross-Ade Stadium, including a season-opening matchup against Penn State (Sept. 3).

After a B1G contest against the Nittany Lions to start the season, Purdue remains at home to host in-state foe Indiana State (Sept. 10) for the first of three straight non-conference games. The Boilermakers hit the road to face Syracuse (Sept. 17) before returning home to take on the Florida Atlantic Owls in Purdue’s annual Homecoming game, closing out the month of September (Sept. 24).

Returning to conference play, the Boilermakers have back-to-back matchups at Minnesota (Oct. 1) and at Maryland (Oct. 8). Purdue welcomes Nebraska to West Lafayette (Oct. 15) before another away game at Wisconsin (Oct. 22). The month of October features three road contests and ends with an off week for the Boilermakers (Oct. 29).

Purdue will then alternate home and away games throughout the month of November, starting with the Iowa Hawkeyes making their way to Ross-Ade Stadium (Nov. 5). The Boilermakers look to keep the Cannon when they travel west to face Illinois (Nov. 12). Northwestern visits West Lafayette for the final home game of 2022 (Nov. 19), while Purdue travels to Indiana (Nov. 26) to close out the regular season and battle for the Old Oaken Bucket.

The updated announcement features changes to the original 2022 schedule that was previously released as part of the Big Ten’s multi-year conference slate. Schedules for all 14 B1G teams were announced on BTN.

The Boilermakers are coming off a 9-4 season, their most wins in a season since 2003. Purdue tied for second in the Big Ten West, which included a pair of Top 5 victories over Iowa and Michigan State that handed both teams their first loss of their respective 2021 campaigns. The memorable season was capped off with a thrilling 48-45 overtime victory over Tennessee at the TransPerfect Music City Bowl in Nashville.

Season tickets for the 2022 Purdue Football season are on sale now. Click here to purchase new season tickets. If you are a current season ticket holder and would like to renew for 2022, click here.

The renewal deadline is March 1, and Boilermaker fans who renew before the deadline will gain access to the Purdue For Life Patio and also receive three John Purdue Club priority points.

2022 Purdue Football Schedule (Home Games in ALL CAPS)

Sept. 3 – PENN STATE

Sept. 10 – INDIANA STATE

Sept. 17 – at Syracuse

Sept. 24 – FAU (Homecoming)

Oct. 1 – at Minnesota

Oct. 8 – at Maryland

Oct. 15 – NEBRASKA

Oct. 22 – at Wisconsin

Oct. 29 – BYE WEEK

Nov. 5 – IOWA

Nov. 12 – at Illinois (Cannon Trophy Game)

Nov. 19 – NORTHWESTERN

Nov. 26 – at Indiana (Old Oaken Bucket Game)

PURDUE SQUARES OFF WITH IOWA THURSDAY NIGHT IN MACKEY

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – The Purdue women’s basketball team is set to square off with Iowa on Thursday night at Mackey Arena. The Boilermakers will go for their sixth straight win in a row with a 7 p.m. tip on B1G+.

Tim Newton and Courtney (Moses) Delks will have the call on 95.3 BOB FM.

GAME INFORMATION

Purdue (11-4, 2-2) vs. Iowa (8-4, 2-1)

Thursday, Jan. 13

Time: 7 PM

TV: B1G+

Radio: 95.3 BOB FM

Live Stats: Purduestats.com

LAST TIME OUT

The Boilermakers rallied in the fourth quarter behind 22 points from Brooke Moore off the bench to beat Michigan State 69-59 on the road. Purdue’s defense held Nia Cloudem, one of the top scorers in the nation, to just seven points on the afternoon. The Boilermakers converted 14 Michigan State turnovers into 23 points and scored 16 points on the fast break. Rickie Woltman fell one rebound shy of a double-double, while Jeanae Terry dished out eight assists in the win.

NOTES

• Purdue leads the all-time series with Iowa 40-35, including a 24-11 mark at Mackey Arena. The Hawkeyes have won the last four meetings.

• The Boilermakers will face a team that is ranked or receiving votes in three of the next four contests – RV Iowa (Jan. 13), No. 6 Indiana (Jan. 16), No. 11/10 Michigan (Jan. 24)

• Madison Layden had success in her two games against the Hawkeyes, averaging 18.5 points on 11 3-pointers, including matching the freshman record for 3-pointers in a game with six last January in Iowa City.

• Jeanae Terry’s impact continues to grow, as the junior climbed up to 16th in the nation and third in the Big Ten with 80 assists.

• Riding a five-game winning streak, the Boilermakers have averaged 79.6 points per game behind a 49.3% shooting clip and a winning margin of 16.8 points per game. Cassidy Hardin has led a quartet of Boilermakers in double figures with 13 points.

• Purdue’s 3-point owns the best 3-point defense in the Big Ten allowing just 4.5 triples per game at a 25.4% clip.

• Cassidy Hardin is up to a team-high 45 3-pointers on the year and sits third in scoring with 10.5 points per game. The senior has the third best scoring improvement this year at 7.7 points.

• Brooke Moore is the only player from the Big Ten to drop a pair of 20-point games

off the bench this season – 22 vs. Maryland and at Michigan State.

• Since joining the starting lineup against Maryland, Woltman is averaging 9.3 points and 7.6 rebounds per game.

• Purdue is averaging 4.1 (70.3) more points per game this season, while holding opponents to 8.1 (65.4) fewer points than in 2020-21.

• The Boilermakers are 8-3 this year when scoring at least 10 second-chance points.

BUTLER MBB HEADS TO GEORGETOWN FOR FIRST BIG EAST ROAD TEST OF THE SEASON

Butler (8-6, 1-2 BIG EAST) at Georgetown (6-6, 0-1 BIG EAST)

Thursday, Jan. 13;  7PM

Capital One Arena; Washington, D.C.

TV:  FS1 – Eric Collins & Donny Marshall

Radio:  1430AM – @MarkMinner & Nick Gardner (@n_gardner)

Varsity Network Radio App, XM385, SiriusXM App 975

The Bulldogs head east for a stretch of three BIG EAST road games over six days. The trip begins Thursday at Georgetown and concludes Tuesday at UConn in a game that was rescheduled from earlier this season due to COVID issues within the Huskies’ program at the time.

THE SERIES: Butler has won five of the last six meetings against Georgetown that have been played in the nation’s capital. The only loss in that stretch was a 78-63 setback in the most recent contest (Feb. 13, 2021).

Chuck Harris led the Bulldogs with 18 points in Butler’s 63-55 home win over the Hoyas Jan. 6, 2021.

Georgetown owns a 10-8 advantage in the all-time series. Other than a 2009 Jimmy V Classic match-up, all of the meetings have come since Butler joined the BIG EAST prior to the 2013-14 season.

Georgetown Leads, 10-8

Streak: Georgetown, W1

At Georgetown: Butler Leads, 5-3

LaVall Jordan (at BU) vs. GU: 4-4

First Meeting: Georgetown, 72-65; 12/8/09 (NYC)

Last Meeting: Georgetown, 78-63, 2/13/21 (at GU)

• Thursday’s game at Georgetown starts a stretch of three road games in six days for the Bulldogs.

• Aaron Thompson is the second Bulldog to register 500 career assists (502).

• Bryce Golden is shooting 62.4 percent from the field this season, which is second in the BIG EAST.

• Thompson’s 20 points vs. Xavier Friday were one shy of his career-high.

• Golden is averaging 15.3 points per game over his last eight games (seven in double figures)

• Three of Golden’s six top scoring outputs in his career have come in the Bulldogs’ last five games.

• Bryce Nze has led the Bulldogs in rebounding in six of the seven games he has played.

• Jayden Taylor has scored in double figures eight times during his freshman campaign; Butler is 6-2 in those games.

• Taylor is third among freshmen in the BIG EAST in scoring.

• Simas Lukosius was named BIG EAST Freshman of the Week Jan. 3 after scoring a career-high 15 points in the Dec. 29 win over DePaul.

• Ty Groce (COVID protocols) and Bo Hodges (knee) are expected to play Thursday vs. Georgetown; it would mark the season debut for Hodges.

• Thompson is fifth in the BIG EAST at 4.5 assists per game.

• Chuck Harris scored a season-high 26 points in the Dec. 7 win at Oklahoma.

• Butler had a season-low six turnovers in Friday’s game against Xavier.

• Five of Butler’s six losses have come to teams ranked in the Top 26 of the NCAA NET metric.

• Butler is allowing only 62.6 points per game so far this season, a mark that is Top 50 nationally.

• Butler is 7-0 this season when shooting more free throws than its opponent and 6-0 when winning the rebounding battle.

GIVE AND TAKE: Aaron Thompson had seven assists and seven steals in Butler’s win over DePaul Dec. 29. The seven steals set a career-high for the guard, who is 12th on Butler’s career list with 138. The seven steals were one shy of Butler’s single-game record (held by Brett Etherington in a 1990 game against Wisconsin). Thompson now has 502 career assists, which is second only to LaVall Jordan’s college teammate Thomas Jackson (540).

WEEKLY HONOR: Simas Lukosius was selected as the BIG EAST Freshman of the Week as announced Jan. 3. This is the first weekly honor of Lukosius’s career. Lukosius led the Bulldogs to a 63-59 win over DePaul Dec. 29 in the team’s only action of the week. The 6-6 guard scored a team-best (and career-high) 15 points. He hit two free throws with four seconds remaining to ice the game after scoring 13 points in the first half. He added four rebounds.

Both Jayden Taylor and Simas Lukosius got the start in the regular season opener against IUPUI Nov. 9. Freshmen starting in their first Butler game is a rarity. Multiple freshmen starting their first collegiate game at Butler was last done in 2008 (Gordon Hayward, Shelvin Mack, Ron Nored). The only other freshman to start his first Butler game between 2008 and 2021 was Myles Tate in 2020.

QUITE THE BATTLE: As part of the annual BIG EAST-Big 12 Battle, the Bulldogs picked up a 66-62 overtime road win Dec. 7 at Oklahoma. Chuck Harris led the Bulldogs with 26 points. Butler trailed by 10 points at the half and by 13 early in the second half before clawing all the way back. After Oklahoma forced overtime with a three-pointer with two seconds remaining in regulation, the Sooners took a 62-58 lead in overtime before Butler scored the game’s final eight points.

TOUGH SLATE: In addition to a true round-robin format that has Butler playing all 10 BIG EAST foes both on the road and at home, the Bulldogs challenged themselves significantly with this season’s non-conference schedule.

Butler’s non-conference opponents include three of the top 11 teams in this week’s AP poll (No. 7 Purdue — Crossroads Classic, No. 10 Michigan State — Gavitt Games, and No. 11 Houston — Maui Invitational in Las Vegas). Oklahoma, Butler’s BIG EAST-Big 12 Battle opponent, is just outside of this week’s AP poll in the 26th position. Texas A&M, another Maui Invitational opponent, is 14-2.

COACH CRUZ MAKES HIS COACHING DEBUT WITH THE CARDINALS AS MVB HOSTS MARYVILLE THURSDAY

Ball State (0-0, 0-0 MIVA) vs. Maryville (0-1, 0-0 GLVC)

Thursday, Jan. 13 (7 p.m. ET) 

Series History: First Meeting

NEW ERA: The Ball State men’s volleyball program will open the Donan Cruz era Thursday night with a 7 p.m. first serve versus Maryville … Prior to taking over the helm of the Cardinals, Cruz was a four-time National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) National Coach of the Year at Grand View University … Just the fourth head coach in the storied history of Ball State men’s volleyball, Cruz led the inaugural Grand View men’s team to a 13-13 mark in 2012 season, on his way to compiling a 211-55 overall record with the Vikings … He concluded his Grand View career with the best winning percentage in NAIA men’s volleyball history at .793.

ALSO NEW TO THE STAFF: Joining Cruz on the Ball State staff are Midwestern Volleyball Association (MIVA) standout and former Lewis University star Mike Iandolo and BYU men’s volleyball alumnus Christian Rupert … Iandolo was a two-time All-MIVA First Team selection and spent the last three season as the head coach at the University of Charleston … Rupert helped lead the Cougars to a pair of appearances NCAA Division I/II Men’s Volleyball Championship Match, and following a brief professional career, spent two seasons as a volunteer assistant at Princeton.

SCOUTING MARYVILLE: The Saints enter tonight’s contest with an overall record of 0-1 after dropping their season opener to fellow MIVA school No. 9 Lewis by a score of 3-0 on Tuesday, Jan. 11 in Romeoville, Ill. … Maryville was led by freshman opposite hitter Mason Mortimer with five kills.

IN THE POLLS: The Cardinals began the 2022 season ranked 15th nationally in the NVA/AVCA Preseason Men’s Division I-II Coaches Poll released on Dec. 20, 2021 … Unfortunately, after setting out opening weekend, Ball State dropped out of the latest top 15, but still received 27 votes in the poll released Monday (Jan. 10) … BSU only received 20 votes in the preseason Top 15.

ISAACSON AND JENNESS NAMED PRESEASON ALL-MIVA:Graduate senior setter Quinn Isaacson and senior outside attacker Kaleb Jenness earned spots on the Preseason All-MIVA Team, while the Cardinals were picked to finish fourth in the MIVA Preseason Poll … Last season, Isaacson earned All-MIVA First Team accolades for the first time in his career after being named to the second team in 2020 … He finished the 2021 season ranked second in the MIVA in assists (800), while averaging 10.81 per set … He was also fifth in digs (143) and service aces (24) … Isaacson also earned All-MIVA Defensive Player of the Week accolades for the week of Feb. 23, 2021 … This is the second-straight year Jenness has been named to the preseason All-MIVA squad … A two-time All-MIVA First Team honoree, Jenness ranked second on the team in kills (260) and third in blocks (48) last season … He recorded double-digit kills for the Cardinals in 16 contests last year, including a season-best 21 at Ohio State on March 11, 2021 … Jenness was named MIVA Offensive Player of Week on Feb. 23 for his performance against Lindenwood.

WHAT’S NEXT: The Cardinals continue their season-opening five-match homestand Saturday, when it welcomes Tusculum University to Worthen Arena for a 3 p.m. ET first serve. … After that, Ball State is set to host George Mason (Jan. 21) and No. 1 Hawai’i (Jan. 29 & Jan. 31).

CARDINALS SAY GOOD-BYE TO A LEGEND: Dr. Don Shondell, an iconic figure in the sport of volleyball who founded the men’s program at Ball State University, passed away on Nov. 24 … He was 92 … A 1952 and 1956 Ball State graduate, Shondell had an illustrious career that was long and varied as a coach, professor, and author … He formed the first men’s club volleyball team at Ball State in 1960, and would spend the next four years working tirelessly to make men’s volleyball a varsity sport … The team earned varsity status in 1964, and over his 34 seasons at the helm of the program, Dr. Shondell accumulated a career record of 769-280-6 (.732), affording him the second-most wins by a head coach in NCAA men’s volleyball history … His 769 career wins are the most by a Ball State coach in any sport … Dr. Shondell received Coach of the Year honors eight times from the MIVA, the conference of which he was a co-founder and first president… Dr. Shondell led Ball State to 19 regular season MIVA titles, 12 MIVA Tournament championships, and 13 NCAA Men’s Volleyball Championship tournament berths.

THREE IRISH SELECTED IN THE FIRST ROUND OF THE 2022 MLS SUPERDRAFT

OTRE DAME, Ind. – For the first time in program history, three players were selected in the first round of the MLS SuperDraft. Notre Dame men’s soccer standouts Mohamed Omar, Philip Quinton and Jack Lynn were each selected in the opening round on Tuesday afternoon.

The three selections extend the total number of Notre Dame MLS picks to 42 in program history (first selection came in 1997), including 27 players that have been chosen during the draft’s opening two rounds (13 in the first round).

Lynn was taken 18th overall by Orlando City SC followed by Omar going 23rd to the Colorado Rapids. Quinton was then selected 25th overall by the Columbus Crew.

Lynn led the Irish attack for the majority of his four-year career, scoring 31 goals and adding eight assists to lead all Notre Dame players during that time frame. The senior became just the 12th player in program history to reach the 30-goal milestone in a career.

The forward saved his best season for last, scoring 10 goals and adding four assists en route to being named a United Soccer Coaches Second Team All-American. Lynn also earned back-to-back All-ACC First Team selections, becoming the third Notre Dame player to accomplish the feat. Lynn was also named to the 2021 ACC All-Tournament Team after helping lead the Irish to their first ACC Championship title in program history.

Omar was a captain on the 2021 Fighting Irish squad and played a major role in the team’s historic season which included the first ACC Championship title in program history and the second ever appearance in the College Cup.

Omar played central midfield for Notre Dame over his four years, making 55 starts and playing in 69 matches. Omar finished his career with six goals, four coming in his senior campaign. The Toronto native also added three assists over his four seasons at Notre Dame.

Quinton anchored the Irish defense as a center back and was a captain during the 2021 season. The senior picked up a number of honors and awards following his prolific season as he was named TopDrawerSoccer Postseason Best XI First Team, CoSIDA Second Team Academic All-American, 2021 ACC All-Tournament Team and 2021 All-ACC Third Team.

The Portland native helped spark Notre Dame’s postseason run, as the team allowed just two goals over eight postseason matches. Quinton helped lead the Irish to the ACC title, as the defense didn’t allow a single goal over four matches. The center back also scored two goals during the 2021 season.

Notre Dame head coach Chad Riley has now had 12 players selected in the MLS SuperDraft that played under his direction during his time as a head coach.

2022 SUPERDRAFT

Jack Lynn (F)

Orlando City SC – First Round – 18th overall selection

Mohamed Omar (M)

Colorado Rapids – First Round – 23rd overall selection

Philip Quinton (D)

Columbus Crew – First Round – 25th overall selection

#13 IRISH CONTINUE ROAD SWING AT #15/16 OHIO STATE

HO: #13/13 Notre Dame (15-6-0, 8-4-0-3-1-0 B1G) at Ohio State (15-6-1, 7-4-1-0-0-1 B1G)

WHEN: Friday, Jan. 14 at 7 p.m. ET // Saturday, Jan. 15 at 8 p.m. ET

WHERE: Value City Arena

WATCH: BTN Plus // BTN

LISTEN: 94.3 FM | UND.com

NOTES (PDF)

SETTING THE STAGE

Notre Dame continues with Big Ten road play this weekend, heading to #15/16 Ohio State for a weekend series versus the Buckeyes on Friday, Jan. 14 (7 p.m. ET) and Saturday, Jan. 15 (8 p.m. ET).

The teams are separated by one point in the Big Ten standings, with the Fighting Irish fourth with 22 points (8-4-0-3-1-0), while Ohio State is tied for second with 23 points (7-4-1-0-0-1).

Notre Dame is in the midst of playing seven games in the first 19 games of January, culminating in next Wednesday’s makeup game against Boston College (Jan. 19).

After taking five of six points at Penn State last weekend including a 4-2 game one win (Jan. 7) and a comeback 5-4 overtime win in game two (Jan. 8), the Fighting Irish are 6-2-0 on the road this season.

Max Ellis had two goals in the game one win versus the Nittany Lions and then scored the overtime winner in game two with 0.2 seconds remaining, with assists from Spencer Stastney and Jake Pivonka.

Nick Leivermann had a career-high three points in that overtime win, scoring his sixth goal of the season and adding a pair of assists.

Ellis leads the Irish with a career-best 24 points on a team-high 14 goals and 10 assists.

Ellis’ 14 goals rank tied for fifth in the country (tied for first in the Big Ten).

Ellis is averaging 0.667 goals per game, which ranks ninth in the NCAA.

Ellis is also tied for the NCAA lead with two shorthanded goals this season.

Senior defenseman Nick Leivermann is tied for second on the team with 17 points (6-11-17).

With the 17 points, Leivermann ranks tied for ninth in the NCAA in points by a defenseman.

Cam Burke and Ryder Rolston lead the Irish with three game-winning goal apiece, which also ranks tied for seventh in the NCAA.

All told, 15 Notre Dame players have scored so far this season, while 11 players have at least 10 points on the season.

The Irish are 11-1-0 when scoring first this season.

Notre Dame’s penalty kill is 75-for-81 on the season (.9259), which ranks second in the NCAA.

The Irish also have four shorthanded goals this season (Ellis 2, Cam Burke, Spencer Stastney), which ranks fifth-most in the country (first in the Big Ten).

Notre Dame has made each of the last five NCAA Tournaments, the longest streak in program history, and eight of the last 11 NCAA Tournaments overall

The five consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances is the second-longest active streak in the NCAA, trailing only Minnesota Duluth (6), with Minnesota State (3) and St Cloud State (3) tied for third.

THE NOTRE DAME – OHIO STATE SERIES

Notre Dame owns a 41-40-11 edge in the all-time series after splitting a series last semester at Compton Family Ice Arena (Dec. 3-4).

Ohio State took game one of that series, 4-2, after building a 2-1 lead in the first period; Ryder Rolston and Max Ellis scored for the Notre Dame goals.

In game two, Nick Leivermann had a goal and an assist to lead the Irish to a 5-1 win and the senior defenseman finished that two-game series with four points on a goal and three assists.

Rolston, Landon Slaggert, Cam Burke and Jesse Lansdell also scored for Notre Dame in the game two win, while Ryan Bischel totaled 24 saves to earn the victory.

Since joining the Big Ten, Notre Dame leads the series with the Buckeyes 10-6-1.

In their last visit to Columbus, the Irish posted wins of 6-1 and 8-1 to sweep the road series against Ohio State last year (Feb. 5-6, 2021), led by Alex Steeves who had a goal and three assists in game one and added three more assists in game two for a seven point weekend and Big Ten Second Star of the Week honors.

Nick Leivermann had three goals and an assist in that series, while Cam Burke posted a career-best three points on a goal and two assists in the game two victory and Spencer Stastney had a goal in each game.

Earlier in the 2020-21 season, the teams split a series at the Compton Family Ice Arena (Dec. 12-13).

Notre Dame went 2-1-1 against the Buckeyes during the 2019-20 season, including a home sweep of Ohio State on Nov. 8-9, 2019 inside Compton Family Ice Arena.

In that home sweep over then #8 Ohio State, the Irish took game one in overtime, 3-2, before earning a 2-1 victory in game two.

Pierce Crawford provided the OT game winner in game one while then-freshman Solag Bakich scored his first career goal in that contest.

In their inaugural season in the Big Ten (2017-18), the Irish and Buckeyes met five times, with Notre Dame skating away with a 4-1-0 record including a 3-2 overtime victory in the 2018 Big Ten Championship game courtesy of a Cam Morrison game winner.

Notre Dame’s first Big Ten conference games included a weekend sweep of the Buckeyes in Columbus by scores of 4-1 and 3-2 on Nov. 3-4.

Notre Dame Associate Head Coach Paul Pooley is a 1984 graduate of Ohio State where he earned All-American honors and graduated as the program’s all-time leader in goals (114), assists (156) and points (270).

Pooley, who wore No. 22, became the first Ohio State hockey player to have his number retired on November 4, 2006 during a game between Notre Dame and Ohio State.

Pooley’s nephew, Austin Pooley, played for the Buckeyes from 2017-21.

Current Ohio State graduate student/forward Eric Cooley is the nephew of former Notre Dame forward Tom Mooney (1984-88).

Notre Dame’s career offensive leaders against Ohio State include Graham Slaggert (14 GP; 3-9-12), Nick Leivermann (9 GP; 4-6-10), Jesse Lansdell (10 GP; 2-5-7), Spencer Stastney (14 GP; 2-4-6), Landon Slaggert (4 GP; 2-4-6) and Cam Burke (13 GP; 3-2-5).

ONE-TWO PUNCH

Fighting Irish goaltenders Ryan Bischel and Matthew Galajda are one of the top tandems in college hockey, with two of the nation’s top-10 save percentages.

Galajda, who is 9-3-0, ranks 10th in the NCAA with a .926 mark, while Bischel, who is 6-3-0, ranks seventh with a .932 save percentage.

In goals against average, the duo also ranks seventh and eighth in the NCAA, with Bischel at 1.85 and Galajda at 1.92.

Galajda (2) and Bischel (1) have also combined for three shutouts.

HOBEY HOPEFULS

Forward Max Ellis and goaltender Matthew Galajda have been named to the Hobey Baker Award’s Phase One Fan Ballot (Jan. 12).

Given annually to college hockey’s top player, the Hobey Baker Award includes candidates exhibiting the exceptional character traits of the award’s namesake, Hobey Baker, with consideration given to scholastic achievement and sportsmanship.

To vote, visit the website www.hobeybaker.com/vote.

Phase two of fan balloting will come from the list of Top Ten Hobey Baker finalists beginning March 17 and closing March 27. The fans’ vote accounts for a full one percent of the total ballot in each phase in selecting this year’s award recipient.

The 2022 Hobey Baker Award winner will be announced from a field of three Hobey Hat Trick finalists on Friday, April 8, 2022 during the NCAA Frozen Four Championship in Boston.

THE BIG TEN STANDINGS

This season, teams are awarded three points in the conference standings for a win in regulation.

If the game is tied following regulation, both teams will receive one point, with a second point being awarded to the team that wins in either the 3-on-3 overtime period or the shootout.

The conference standings now match a national standard: W-L-T-OTW-OTL-SOW.

NATION’S SECOND LEADING SCORER COMES TO FORT WAYNE THURSDAY

FORT WAYNE, Ind. – The Detroit Mercy Titans are undefeated in league play and come to the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum on Thursday (Jan. 13) night to face the Mastodons.

Game Day Information

Who: Purdue Fort Wayne (7-7, 3-3 Horizon) vs. Detroit Mercy (5-7, 3-0 Horizon)

When: Thursday, January 13 | 7:00 p.m. ET

Where: Fort Wayne, Ind. | Allen County War Memorial Coliseum

Listen: 1380 The Fan

Live Stats: Link

Watch: ESPN+

Game Notes: Purdue Fort Wayne (PDF) | Detroit Mercy (PDF)

NOTE:

// Masks are required at all times for spectators at the Gates Sports Center and the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum.

// A clear bag policy is in effect for all games at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum.

TICKET PROMOTION:

// $5 tickets for kids 12 and under. Plus a free foam finger.

KNOW YOUR FOE:

// Leading scorer: Antoine Davis (23.6 ppg, second in the nation)

// Head coach: Mike Davis (4th season)

// Antoine Davis became the all-time scoring leader in school history last game. He now has 2,323 points.

// The Titans are perfect in league play with wins over IUPUI, UIC and Milwaukee. They also have non-league wins over Western Michigan and Central Michigan.

// Detroit Mercy is scoring 69.4 points per game and giving up 70.8.

// The ‘Dons are 2-2 vs. Detroit Mercy all-time. The Titans won a pair of games in Detroit over the ‘Dons last season.

‘DONS AND ENDS:

// The Mastodons are the only team in the Horizon League to use the same starting five for every game.

// The ‘Dons have held a lead for at least five minutes in every game this season except for the loss at SIUE.

// Three Mastodons finished with 15 or more points in the win at Robert Morris, Jalon Pipkins (18), Bobby Planutis (16) and Jarred Godfrey (15).

// The ‘Dons never trailed in the win at Robert Morris.

FROM THE LINE:

// The ‘Dons are eighth in the nation and first in the Horizon League in free throw shooting (79.2 percent).

// Over the last nine games the Mastodons are 139-of-163 (85.2 percent) from the free throw line.

    at Florida Gulf Coast (17-of-21)

    vs. Wright State (16-of-16)

    vs. Northern Kentucky (14-of-16)

    at SIUE (19-of-20)

    vs. SEMO (15-of-19)

    at Cleveland State (14-of-16)

    at Cleveland State (13-of-15)

    at Youngstown State (14-of-16)

    at Robert Morris (17-of-24)

// In league play the ‘Dons are shooting 85.4 percent (88-of-103) from the free throw line.

// Free throw shooting in league play: Jarred Godfrey (25-of-27), Jalon Pipkins (16-of-17), Bobby Planutis (10-of-10) and Deonte Billups (10-of-10)

// The Mastodons shot 16-of-16 from the free throw line on Dec. 2 against Wright State. It stands as the most free throws the Mastodons have made in a Division I contest while connecting on 100 percent of their attempts.

TURN, TURN, TURN:

// The Mastodons have four single-digit turnover games this season.

// The Mastodons are forcing 15.4 turnovers per game, 70th best in the nation and third in the league

JALON PIPKINS… :

// … recorded a career-high 24 points and 10 field goals in the victory over SEMO.

// … has five games of 18 or more points this season.

// … owns 695 career points with NCAA Division I stops at CSUN and Loyola-Chicago prior to his two seasons in Fort Wayne.

// … is shooting 36.8 percent (14-of-38) from three in wins and 16.7 percent (6-of-36) in losses.

BOBBY PLANUTIS… :

// … has made a 3-pointer in 11 straight games.

// … has eight games of two or more 3-pointers this season.

// … in 14-for-14 from the free throw line this season.

// … has been at his best league play, averaging 10.7 points in Horizon League play compared to his 7.1 in non-league games.

DEONTE BILLUPS… :

// … is shooting a team-best 42.3 percent (30-of-71) from three on the season. He is second in the Horizon League in total made 3-pointers.

// … has improved his 3-point shooting each season. As a freshman he shot 32.4 and last season he shot 38.5 percent.

// … is looking like the leader for Horizon League Sixth Man of the Year, Deonte Billups leads the league in scoring among players without a start this season thanks to his 9.3 points per game.

JARRED GODFREY… :

// … has started every game since the start of his sophomore year.

// … is fourth in the league in steals per game (1.9) and fourth in assists per game (4.2).

// … is averaging 17.1 points per game, fifth-best in the league, but it also would be his best average for a season. He averaged 15.6 as a sophomore and 16.2 last season.

// … owns 1,349 career points, tied for 8th place in program history with Kason Harrell (1,349 points, 2015-19). In 7th place is Ben Botts with 1,400 points from 2007-11.

// … is 8th in program history in made field goals (480)

// … is 8th in program history in assists (297)

// … is 8th in program history in steals (131)

// … scored 35 points against Western Michigan (Nov. 27) on 13-of-18 shooting. His 13 field goals tied a career high

// … has scored in double-digits in every game this season.

RA KPEDI… :

// … is having the best season of his career, averaging 10.1 points and 6.5 rebounds per game.

// … is 21st in the nation in offensive rebounds per game (3.36).

// … has five games of five or more offensive rebounds.

// … picked up his first career double-double with 15 points and 12 rebounds at Florida Gulf Coast.

DAMIAN CHONG QUI… :

// … joined the Mastodons this season. He helped Mount St. Mary’s to an NCAA Tournament berth last season. He averaged 15.1 points per game for The Mount last year on his way to All-NEC First Team honors.

// …. is the second Mastodon to join the ‘Dons after playing at Mt. Saint Mary’s. Bobby Planutis spent his freshman season of 2017-18 at The Mount.

// … scored a season-high 18 points at Cleveland State (Dec. 30). They all came in the second half after he had two quick fouls in the first half.

// … scored 14 points against Florida Gulf Coast (Nov. 28) and went over 1,000 career points. He scored 950 points at Mount St. Mary’s before transferring to Purdue Fort Wayne this season.

JAGS TO OPEN TWO-GAME TRIP AT GREEN BAY ON THURSDAY

IUPUI (1-12, 0-4 HL) at Green Bay (2-12, 1-4 HL)

Date:     Thursday, Jan. 14 – 8:00 p.m. Eastern

Location:              Green Bay, Wisc. I Resch Center (10,200)

Live Video:          ESPN+

Game Notes:     IUPUI (PDF)   |  GB (PDF)

Live Stats:            Click Here

Social Media:                     Twitter   |   Instagram

Series History:   IUPUI leads 8-5

GREEN BAY, Wisc. – The IUPUI basketball team will open up a two-game trip on Thursday (Jan. 13) when the Jaguars take on Green Bay (2-12, 1-4 HL) inside the Resch Center. The game will tip-off at 7:00 p.m. Central (8 Eastern) and will be broadcast on ESPN+.

The Jaguars just missed getting their first Horizon League win of the season on Monday as they fell to UIC inside Indiana Farmers Coliseum, 67-65. The Jags led for a good chunk of the contest and built an eight-point lead midway through the second half, but saw UIC edge ahead in the final minute to hold off the Jags. Sophomore Bakari LaStrap had a career-high 16 points on 7-of-10 shooting and senior forward Jonah Carrasco made all four of his field goal attempts in scoring a career-high 10 points.

IUPUI shot a season-high 52 percent from the floor and tallied a season-high 65 points against one of the league’s better defensive team. The Jags also won the glass by a 29-23 margin and was even in turnovers at 14 apiece.

B.J. Maxwell finished with 10 points and Nathan McClure had nine points and a team-high six boards. Boston Stanton III had seven points and three rebounds. All eight Jaguars that saw action scored and grabbed at least one rebound. The Jags shot 56 percent from the field in the second half and made 8-of-10 free throws after the break after not attempting one in the first half.

QUOTABLE

“I loved the fight (of the team). I think with adding back DePersia and having Bakari, we had some ballhandlers out there and it finally gave us the chance to get some easy baskets. We were able to stay locked in and not get discouraged when (UIC) made a run. I was encouraged by that,” head coach Matt Crenshaw said following Monday’s home defeat to UIC.

SCOUTING GREEN BAY

Green Bay is 2-12 overall and 1-4 in Horizon League play. The Phoenix are 2-2 at home this season with victories over Wisconsin-Superior and Robert Morris. Green Bay shoots 41 percent overall and 25.4 percent from three-point range and is being outrebounded by just less than a board per game. Turnovers have been a problem as the Phoenix lose the turnover battle by more than one miscue per contest. Emmanuel Ansong leads Green Bay in scoring (12.4 ppg), rebounding (5.3 rpg), steals (14) and minutes played (28.4 mpg). Donovan Ivory (10.6 ppg) and Kamari McGee (10.1 ppg) also score in double-digits while sophomore point guard Lucas Stieber leads the team in assists (4.0 apg) and threes made (15).

SERIES NOTES

IUPUI leads the all-time series by an 8-5 margin and is 4-3 in the seven meetings in Green Bay. The two teams split a pair of games in Green Bay last year with the Jags winning the first meeting 80-71 on Feb. 5 and losing the following day, 79-72.

UP NEXT

IUPUI will continue the two-game trip at Milwaukee on Saturday (Jan. 15) at 3:00 p.m. Eastern at Panther Arena. That game will be aired on ESPN+.

WOMEN’S TENNIS PICKED FOURTH IN PRESEASON POLL

The Valparaiso University women’s tennis team has been selected to finish fourth of seven in the Missouri Valley Conference Preseason Poll, which was released by the league office on Wednesday.

The Beacons enjoyed a successful fall season highlighted by Olivia Czerwonka (Kenosha, Wis. / Saint Joseph Catholic Academy) winning the Flight 2 Singles crown at the MVC Individual Championships and Olivia teaming up with her older sister Claire Czerwonka (Kenosha, Wis. / Saint Joseph Catholic Academy) to take the Flight 1 Doubles title.

The team will begin the spring semester on Saturday, Jan. 15 at 2 p.m. vs. IUPUI at The Courts of Northwest Indiana, starting a string of three straight home dates to begin the dual slate. Last season, Valpo achieved the program’s highest win total since 2007.

The fourth-place preseason projection is Valpo’s highest since 2007, the team’s final season in the Mid-Continent Conference. Valpo jumped two spots from last year’s preseason poll, finishing ahead of Stony Brook and Missouri State as well as UNI. Illinois State is the preseason favorite to win the league, followed by Drake and Bradley.

All seven Valpo players won four or more singles matches during the fall slate, which saw Valpo accumulate a winning mark of 41-40 in singles play. Olivia’s team-high 11 triumphs (against just two losses) were followed by Amanda Tabanera’s (Valencia, Calif. / Valencia) seven fall singles successes, while Demi Jhaveri (Westlake, Ohio / Westlake) boasted six. Olivia and Claire paced the squad with seven fall doubles victories as a tandem.

WOMEN’S BASKETBALL LOOKS TO CARRY MOMENTUM INTO ILLINOIS STATE THURSDAY

Valparaiso (4-11, 2-2 MVC)

Game #16 – January 13, 2022 – 6 p.m.

at Illinois State (7-7, 3-0 MVC)

Redbird Arena (10,000) – Normal, Ill.

Next Up in Valpo Basketball: Coming off of the program’s first-ever sweep of the UNI/Drake weekend series, the Valpo women’s basketball team looks to keep the momentum rolling as it returns to the road to take on first-place Illinois State on Thursday evening. The game kicks off a stretch in which Valpo will play five of its next seven contests away from home.

Previously: Sunday afternoon began with Caitlin Morrison being honored for setting Valpo women’s basketball program records for career games played and games started. It ended a reminder of the steps forward the program has taken over her six years in the Brown and Gold, as Morrison knocked down a career-high seven 3-pointers to lead the way as Valpo earned its first-ever win over visiting Drake, 71-61. Led by Morrison’s prowess from deep, the Beacons hit 14 3-pointers in the victory.

Following Valpo Basketball: Streaming Video: ESPN+

Radio: WVUR (95.1 FM, Valparaiso)

Streaming Audio: TuneIn app

Links for all live coverage: Available via ValpoAthletics.com

Head Coach Mary Evans: Mary Evans is in her fourth year at the helm of the program in 2021-22 and owns a record of 41-60. Evans has made an immediate impact on the program in her first three years, raising the team’s level of play to be competitive in a strong Missouri Valley Conference. Evans’ preferred style of play has been a big part of the program’s turnaround, as Valpo has led the MVC in 3-pointers made per game and in steals per game in each of the last two seasons.

Series Notes: Illinois State leads the all-time series 8-4 and owns a 5-3 advantage since Valpo joined the MVC, but Valpo has won two of the last three meetings – all of which have come at Redbird Arena. Last season, the two teams split the two-game series in Normal. Valpo rallied from a double-figure deficit in the second half to force overtime in the opener before falling, 81-75, but rebounded the next day with a decisive 75-58 win behind 21 points from Caitlin Morrison.

@ValpoWBB…

…and @ValleyHoops

– Valpo has been picked to finish in sixth place in the MVC preseason poll, totaling 208 points – just one point shy of fifth place.

– Valpo is in its fifth season as a member of the Missouri Valley Conference in 2021-22.

– The Valley was ranked seventh nationally in conference NET in 2020-21 and was eighth nationally in conference RPI in 2019-20.

…looking back at last year

– Valpo posted a 12-13 overall record during the 2020-21 season and went 7-9 in Missouri Valley Conference play.

– Valpo finished the regular season in seventh place in the MVC standings.

– Included among Valpo’s 12 victories were wins at Illinois and at Purdue, the program’s first Power Five wins since 2012-13.

– Valpo closed the season with a NET of 122 – the program’s best final NET/RPI ranking since the 2003-04 campaign.

– Shay Frederick was a First Team All-MVC honoree as she led the Valley in assists and ranked sixth in scoring.

– Carie Weinman earned Honorable Mention All-MVC notice and repeated on the All-Defensive Team as she led the Valley in steals for a second straight season.

…versus Drake

– Valpo never trailed, as two early 3-pointers from Caitlin Morrison got the Beacons out to an 8-0 lead.

– Drake rallied to tie the game at 12-all, but Valpo scored the final eight points of the first quarter to lead 20-12 at the end of one.

– Matching mini-spurts opened the second quarter, as Drake scored the first five points of the period before Valpo came back with six in a row to extend its lead to nine points.

– The Beacons’ lead reached double digits for the first time late in the first half on a 3-pointer by White, and got up to as many as 12 points before settling in at a 38-29 advantage at intermission.

– Valpo’s lead never fell below nine points in the second half, and reached as many as 18 points as the Beacons earned their first win in program history over the Bulldogs.

– Morrison ended the game 7-for-9 from beyond the 3-point line to match her career high with 21 points.

– Frederick broke her career high, dishing out 10 assists – the first Valpo player to register double-figure assists in a game since 2017.

– Frederick’s distribution was more than enough for the Beacons’ offense on Sunday, as four Valpo players finished in double digits in the scoring column for the first time since Dec. 20, 2020 at Wisconsin — led by the effort of Morrison.

…versus UNI

– UNI converted a four-point play on its first possession of the fourth quarter to pull ahead 53-40, but Valpo held the Panthers to just two points over a stretch of nearly eight minutes to allow the comeback to ensue.

– It was contributions across the board which gave the Beacons an opportunity to nose their way back into contention. The first spurt featured three points from Leah Earnest, a bucket from Maya Dunson and a pair of free throws by Shay Frederick to cut the UNI lead to 53-47 with 7:07 to play.

– The Panthers got a second-chance basket on their next trip to push the lead back to eight points, where it would stay until the clock ticked inside four minutes.

– Grace White broke the two-way scoring drought with a drive and finish, and after the Valpo defense forced a UNI shot clock violation, Ilysse Pitts came up with a big 3-point play with three minutes remaining to bring the Beacons within 55-52.

– After the teams traded turnovers, Valpo forced another Panther miss and came down to tie the game for the first time since 0-0, as Pitts hit White for a triple — the team’s lone 3-pointer of the fourth quarter — to even things up, 55-55, with 2:10 to go.

– UNI split a pair of free throws on its next trip before the Beacons came back and took their first lead of the game, courtesy of an Earnest feed to Olivia Brown for a layup with 1:15 to go.

– The Panthers inched back in front as Karli Rucker connected on a floater on their offensive end at the 1:02 mark, but that just set the stage for the game-clinching basket by Frederick while taking contact to make it a two-point lead with 51 seconds to go.

– UNI missed a 16-foot baseline jumper out of a timeout, and Valpo ran the shot clock all the way down before missing a 3-point attempt. The Panthers had one last shot, but their try from deep was off the mark and the buzzer sounded as the rebound hit the floor, setting off the Valpo celebration.

…looking ahead

– Valpo closes the weekend road swing through central Illinois on Saturday afternoon at Bradley.

– The Beacons then return home to the ARC next weekend to take on Indiana State and Evansville.

…on the road

– Friday marks the 10th of 16 road games for Valpo this season. The Beacons are 1-8 on the road so far this season.

– Valpo has finished at or above .500 in each of the last two seasons in true road games, going 6-6 on the road last year and 9-5 in 2019-20.

@RedbirdWBB

– Illinois State sits at 7-7 overall, but is 3-0 to top the MVC standings after sweeping Indiana State and Evansville on the road last weekend.

– Juliunn Redmond leads three Redbids averaging in double figures, scoring 14.7 points/game.

– Reigning MVC Player of the Week Mary Crompton averages 10.4 points/game and tops the Valley, shooting at a .419 clip from beyond the arc.

MARIAN SOFTBALL RELEASES 2022 SCHEDULE

INDIANAPOLIS – The Marian softball team has released their 2022 schedule, as announced by head coach Scott Fleming on Wednesday morning after the Knights were dubbed the No. 18 team in the NAIA Coaches’ Preseason Poll earlier today. The Knights are scheduled to play a 52-game regular season, with the season opening on March 3 in Indianapolis.

Marian will play their 2022 season opener at home against Indiana Tech, as the Knights open on March 3 with a 3 p.m. doubleheader against the Warriors. Following Marian’s opener, the team will travel south to Florida over their spring break, playing 10 games in five days. The spring break trip will feature three opponents from the Wolverine-Hoosier Atheltic Conference, two games against Judson University, and an NAIA Top-25 battle against Grand View.

Upon returning home, the Knights will host three doubleheaders during the week of March 14, including their Crossroads League opener against Goshen College and a doubleheader against a perennial NAIA Tournament team in IU-Southeast. The following week will feature two road doubleheaders at Crossroads League rival Indiana Wesleyan and at Mount Vernon Nazarene. The Knights will end the month on March 29 with a home twin bill against Taylor.

The Knights will kick off April with their home series against St. Francis on the first of the month, and will travel to Huntington and Grace to close the first round of Crossroads League play. The second round of league play will start on April 9 as Marian travels to Goshen, and on April 13 Marian will play their final non-conference games of the regular season, traveling to Saint Mary of the Woods College.

Marian will host rival Indiana Wesleyan on April 16 for their third and fourth games of the season, with the doubleheader to air on the ISC Sports Network. The regular season will conclude the week of April 25 as Marian will travel to St. Francis on the 26th, while hosting Grace on April 30 for their final games.

Marian will be the host of the entire Crossroads League Softball Tournament in 2022, with the tournament dates scheduled for May 4-6. Games on May 4 will be played off campus, and a full schedule and location will be announced prior to the start of the tournament. The NAIA Opening Round is scheduled to be played at 10 campus sites on May 16-18, with the NAIA World Series beginning in Columbus, Ga., on May 26.

MARIAN BASEBALL ANNOUNCES SCHEDULE FOR 2022

INDIANAPOLIS – The Marian baseball team has revealed their 2022 schedule, as announced by head coach Todd Bacon on Wednesday morning. The Knights are set to hit the diamond for 51 games this season, with the season opener at Carolina University on January 29.

The Knights will begin their campaign with four trips to the south through late January into February. Marian’s season will begin with a three-game series at Carolina University with a 3 PM doubleheader on January 29 and a single game the following afternoon. The Knights will head to Georgia for a doubleheader against Brewton-Parker on February 4 before concluding the three-game series at 3 p.m. on February 5. Their third trip will be a four-game series against Tougaloo College in Mississippi, with a pair of doubleheaders starting at noon on February 12 and 13. The Knights will finish February with a trip to the Sunshine State, playing Edward Waters College for a three-game set beginning on February 25.

Marian’s home opener will also be their Crossroads League opener, as the Knights will welcome Taylor to the Marian University Ballpark at 3 p.m. on March 4 for a doubleheader. After wrapping up their series against the Trojans the following day, Marian will stay home for a four-game series vs. Mt. Vernon Nazarene on March 11 and 12. The Knights will close out March with a couple of back-to-back doubleheaders in the Crossroads League, playing at Goshen on March 18 and 19 and at Bethel on March 25 and 26.

April will be the Knights’ busiest month as they are scheduled to play 22 games in 30 days. The month will start with a split series on April 1 and 2 against Huntington, hosting the Foresters on Friday before making the return trip north the next day. Marian will host Grace for four games beginning on April 8, then head down to Kentucky for a nine-inning game at Thomas More on April 13. The Knights then play at Spring Arbor for four-straight the following weekend, then return home to host Thomas More on April 20. Marian’s April will finish with a four-game series vs. St. Francis, then a regular-season finale at Indiana Wesleyan.

The 2022 Crossroads League Tournament will be hosted by Taylor University, with the entire tournament at Upland, Ind. from May 6-10. The NAIA Opening Round is scheduled to be played at 10 different campus sites on May 16-19, with the NAIA World Series beginning on May 27 in Lewiston, Idaho. The Knights were picked to finish sixth-place in the Crossroads League this season.

MARIAN OUTLASTS ST. FRANCIS 81-71 FOR ROAD VICTORY

Fort Wayne, Ind. – The No. 7 Marian women’s basketball team took their first road win since December 18, pulling away after a high-scoring second half for an 81-71 win at St. Francis on Wednesday night. With the victory, the Knights remain perfect with a 7-0 record in the Crossroads League and improve their overall record to 15-2.

Imani Guy won the opening tipoff and Allison Bosse scored the game’s first points to put Marian ahead at the start. Scoring went back-and-forth in the first quarter with neither team taking more than a two-possesion advantage. With St. Francis holding a 7-4 edge, Guy grabbed and scored an Abby Downard miss, then Kinnidy Garrard added a bucket to put the Knights up by a point just over halfway through the quarter. Buckets by Bosse and Downard put Marian up four points, but an 8-2 run to close the quarter gave the Cougars a 17-15 lead after 10 minutes of play.

Bosse began the second quarter with a game-tying jumper, then Ella Collier finished a three-point play to keep the contest tied up at 20-20 a minute into chapter two. St. Francis’ Emily Parrett hit a three-pointer to put the Cougars back in front, but the Knights answered with a 10-0 run to take and create somewhat of gap on the scoreboard. Collier hit a two-pointer to start the run, which was followed by two more makes by Guy. Downard rattled a three-ball down to put Marian ahead by six points halfway through the quarter. St. Francis crept within four points after a timeout, but a put-back basket by Garrard followed by two more points from Downard gave Marian their largest lead in the first half. The Cougars hit one free throw to close the first half, but Marian held a 34-27 lead at the break.

Marian shot 50 percent from the floor (15-of-30) in the opening half while turning the ball over just three times. Downard led the Knights in scoring with nine first-half points, while Guy had seven points and seven rebounds heading into the third quarter.

Scoring came fast and furious in the third quarter as both teams nearly doubled their scoring in 10 minutes than in the previous half. Marian pulled ahead for a brief nine point lead after a Bosse three-ball and a Guy basket. St. Francis answered with four-straight makes to get the Cougars within three points after back-to-back three-pointers by Sidney Crowe and Chloe McKnight. Downard answered to keep Marian up by two possessions, then Bosse hit a jumper and three-pointer to put Marian up 50-43 midway through the quarter. St. Francis whittled the deficit down to a point several times, but a three-point play by Collier and a last-second basket by Garrard to close the quarter kept the Knights out in front 59-55.

The Cougars took a quick one-point lead after McKnight’s trifecta and and a Cassidy Crawford score to open the fourth quarter. Crucially, Marian was able to slow down the St. Francis offense for a few minutes, going on a 9-0 run to take control back. Guy began Marian’s fourth quarter scoring with a couple of buckets, then Collier made her first three-pointer to put the Knights up six points. Guy converted a couple of free throws before St. Francis could get going again. McKnight’s jumper and two free throws by Meleah Kunkel cut the Knights’ lead in half with Marian ahead 70-66 with 4:33 left. St. Francis’ Crowe then hit from three-point range, getting the Cougars within three points with just over three minutes left. Bosse and Garrard were able to answer and score on two-straight possessions to give Marian some breathing room up seven points. Success from the free throw line allowed Marian to pull away in the final minutes, as Guy, Bosse, and Downard combined to go five-for-six from the charity stripe. Marian also forced three late misses to take the win with an 81-71 final.

Bosse led the charge for the Knights, scoring a career-high 19 points. Guy also finished the game with 19 points while also grabbing eight rebounds. Garrard came next for Marian with 16 points, while Collier and Downard contributed 15 and 12 points, respectively. The Knights shot 59.6 percent from the floor and made the most of their free throws, shooting 87.5 percent (14-for-16) from the line. Marian managed to take the win without scoring a single bench point.

The Knights will eye another road conference win to close the week, facing Spring Arbor on Saturday. Tipoff is set for 1 p.m. and is the opening game of a Marian basketball doubleheader.

MEN’S BASKETBALL: HOME WEEKEND PREVIEW

The Indiana University East men’s basketball team returns home to Lingle Court for River States Conference crossover contests Jan. 13 and Jan. 15.

The Red Wolves (7-10, 3-3) host Indiana University Kokomo (16-3, 6-1) on Jan. 13. Tipoff is at 7:30 p.m. in the second game of a women’s-men’s RSC doubleheader.

IU East then faces RSC newcomer Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College (1-14, 0-6) on Jan. 15. Tipoff is at 1 p.m. in the first game of a men’s-women’s RSC doubleheader.

FOLLOW THE GAMES

General admission for IU East basketball is $7. IU East students, faculty and staff are admitted free with their university ID.

With guidance from the university’s medical and public health leaders as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Indiana Department of Health, all students, faculty, staff and visitors on all IU campuses are instructed to wear a mask indoors, including at IU East basketball home games on Lingle Court. This guidance will allow IU campuses to keep in-person classes, events and activities while also maintaining health and safety.

The GPS address for Lingle Court is 2325 Chester Boulevard in Richmond.

Live video, produced by Whitewater Education Television (WETV), Comcast Channel 20, is scheduled to be available. Live stats also are scheduled to be available.

Monitor iueredwolves.com for the game recaps and results.

YOU OUGHT TO KNOW

* IU East is back at home for the first time since Dec. 18. The Red Wolves’ most recent game was a setback at unbeaten Alice Lloyd College on Jan. 8.

* These are the second and third of seven consecutive “crossover” games against RSC West Division opponents for IU East. The Red Wolves are third in the RSC East Division. The top four teams in each division qualify for the RSC Championship tournament.

* IU East is 12-1 in NAIA meetings against IU Kokomo. The most recent meeting was a 70-65 Red Wolves victory in the 2020 RSC Championship title game – the last athletics event on Lingle Court before the COVID-19 outbreak.

* This is the first meeting between IU East and Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, whose men’s basketball program is in its inaugural year.

* IU East’s losses are against teams that started this week with a combined 117-46 record (a .718 winning percentage).

* IU East is eighth in the nation with 4.8 team blocks per game.

* Justin Williams is IU East’s top scorer with 13.2 points per game. Dionte Raines and Jamisen Smith contribute 10.1 points per game apiece.

* Jehu Lafeuillee (6.4 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game along with 8.5 points per game) and Jamisen Smith (2.7 assists per game and 1.5 steals per game) are IU East’s leaders in the other standard statistical categories.

WOMEN’S BASKETBALL: HOME WEEKEND PREVIEW

The Indiana University East women’s basketball team plays host to River States Conference crossover games on Jan. 13 and Jan. 15.

The Red Wolves (13-5, 4-2 RSC) welcome Indiana University Kokomo (5-9, 2-5) to Lingle Court on Jan. 13. Tipoff is at 5:30 p.m. in the first game of a women’s-men’s River States Conference doubleheader.

IU East hosts RSC newcomer Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College (8-3, 3-2) on Jan. 15. Tipoff is at 3 p.m. in the second game of a men’s-women’s doubleheader on Lingle Court.

FOLLOW THE GAMES

General admission for IU East basketball is $7. IU East students, faculty and staff are admitted free with their university ID.

With guidance from the university’s medical and public health leaders as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Indiana Department of Health, all students, faculty, staff and visitors on all IU campuses are instructed to wear a mask indoors, including at IU East basketball home games on Lingle Court. This guidance will allow IU campuses to keep in-person classes, events and activities while also maintaining health and safety.

The GPS address for Lingle Court is 2325 Chester Boulevard in Richmond.

Live video, produced by Whitewater Education Television (WETV), Comcast Channel 20, is scheduled to be available. Live stats also are scheduled to be available.

Monitor iueredwolves.com for the game recaps and results.

YOU OUGHT TO KNOW

* IU East’s most recent game was a 98-82 setback at Alice Lloyd College on Jan. 8.

* These are the second and third of seven consecutive “crossover” games against RSC West Division opponents for IU East. The Red Wolves are second in the RSC East Division. The top four teams in each division qualify for the RSC Championship tournament.

* IU East is 5-2 at home this season.

* IU East is 9-0 when it makes 30 or more field goals.

* IU East is 7-1 in NAIA meetings against IU Kokomo.

* This is the first NAIA matchup between IU East and Saint Mary-of-the-Woods

* Addie Brown (15.0 points per game) matched her career high with 27 points at Alice Lloyd. Kennedy Griffin (14.6 points per game), Kami McEldowney (12.0) and Bethany Mackin (11.6) also average double digits in scoring for IU East.

* IU East ranks in the national top 15 in free throws per game (7th with 17.1), points scored per game (ninth with 82.2), assists per game (12th with 17.6) and 3-point field goals per game (15th with 9.1).

* Tia Tolbert (6.2 rebounds per game), Bethany Mackin (3.9 assists per game), Marissa Quiroz (0.7 blocks per game) and Paige Gregory (1.9 steals per game) are IU East’s leaders in the other standard statistical categories.

WILDCATS OWN THE BOARDS IN WIN OVER FORESTERS

HUNTINGTON, Ind. – No. 11 Indiana Wesleyan owned the glass posting 51 rebounds in route to conference win over Huntington University 69-35.

After a Klair Merrell three-pointer to get the Wildcats on the board, Maddie Lawrence rattled off the next nine Wildcat points in the first five minutes of action.

Ending the first quarter and midway through the second quarter, Wildcats held the Foresters scoreless for ten minutes. At the break, Wildcats led 31-19.

Third quarter Wildcats held a 17-5 advantage building the lead to 24 points.

Ending the game, IWU continued to clean up the glasses claiming 15 boards of their own in the fourth quarter leading to a 69-35 win.

51 – new season-high rebounds in a game

+24 – rebounding advantage

13 – Wildcats collected at least one rebound

35 – lowest scoring output from the Foresters this season

#10 – Madison Davis returns to the Wildcat lineup from injury

Lilli Frasure – 12 points, 9 rebounds

Madison Davis – 10 points in 13 minutes of play

Maddie Lawrence – 9 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists

Kelli Damman – 9 points, 3 from distance

Wildcats continue play on the road for a 1pm tip off at Mount Vernon Nazarene University on Saturday, January 15.

WBB NIPPED BY BEAVERS

RICHMOND – The Earlham College women’s basketball team fell to Bluffton University in the Quakers’ first game in over three weeks due to COVID-19 cancellations. The Beavers took charge of the contest with a 62-50 win.

The Quakers fell to 0-11 (0-4 HCAC) while the Beavers improved to 8-5 (3-3 HCAC).

Freshmen Janaiya Bright and Amari Bradford led all scorers on the evening with 14 and 12 points respectively. Bradford also tallied a game-high 10 rebounds.

After scoring first, the Quakers gave up a 15-point run through the first nine minutes of play and trailed 20-4 at the end of the first quarter.

Earlham steadily improved its shooting percentage as the game went on, eventually reaching a mark of 44% in the final frame. After trailing 50-29 heading into the fourth quarter, the Quakers out-scored Bluffton 21-12, aided by a 12-0 run in the middle of the quarter.

Earlham will travel to Mount St. Joseph on Saturday for a doubleheader with the men’s team. The women will start the day at 1 pm with the men’s contest following.

RECAP | GRIZZLIES DROP MID-WEEK MATCHUP AT HANOVER

HANOVER, Ind. – The Franklin College men’s basketball team wrapped up a two-game road trip on Wednesday (Jan. 12) night, taking on Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference leading Hanover in another meeting between the long-time rivals.

The Grizzlies (7-7, 3-4 HCAC) had three players finish the night in double figures, but the visiting squad was overwhelmed by the host Panthers (10-2, 6-1 HCAC) in the second half in an 81-57 Hanover win.

How it Happened

The Grizzlies opened the contest with seven of its first nine points, but a 9-0 Hanover run would put the home side in front for the rest of the night. The Panthers’ lead grew to as many as 12 in the opening period, but Franklin would claw back within single digits and headed into the break facing a 36-28 deficit.

A jumper from Ty Wright opened the second half and brought the Grizzlies within six, but the game was put out of reach by a 13-3 Hanover run that made it an 18-point game with 14 minutes left to play.

Inside the Box Score

-Ty Wright led the way for Franklin with 19 points and nine rebounds. Joining him in double figures were junior Carter Crowe (14) and freshman Reggie McDonald (12).

-The Grizzlies shot 44.6% (25-for-56) from the field with the Panthers connecting on 56.7% (34-for-60) of their attempts.

-Junior David Arens and sophomore Jalen Love made their first career starts in the game.

Up Next

The Grizzlies return home for their next matchup, which comes on Saturday (Jan. 15) afternoon against the Bluffton Beavers. Tip-off from the Spurlock Center is set for 4:00 p.m.

RECAP | CROSS NETS CAREER-HIGH IN POINTS, NIX RECORDS DOUBLE-DOUBLE AGAINST HANOVER

FRANKLIN, Ind. – The Franklin College women’s basketball team was back in action at the Spurlock Center Wednesday night (Jan. 12) facing off against the Hanover Panthers in their first game back after seven straight away from home.

The two long-time rival traded punches all night long and the game was decided in the final minutes. Senior Destinee Cross ended the game with a career-high 27 points, but the Grizzlies (4-9, 2-4 HCAC) fell to the Panthers (6-5, 3-3 HCAC) by a 65-59 count.

How it Happened

Through the first four minutes of action, the Grizzlies were getting it done on both ends of the floor starting the contest with an 11-1 run in the first four minutes. The Panthers would shake off their slow start fight back and led 16-15 going into the second quarter. Defense was the story for the both teams in the second quarter, with Franklin holding the Panthers to 14% shooting in the period but the hosts trailed 28-24 at the end of the half.

It was an evenly matched third quarter as Franklin battled for the lead with a made layup by Jessica Nix that gave the Griz their first lead since the first quarter at 35-34 with four minutes left in the frame. But the Panthers would follow with a 7-2 run, closing out the quarter with a 41-37 lead.

The Grizzlies stayed within striking distance until six quick Hanover points put the Panthers up by double digits for the first time in the game with 5:31 to play. Franklin responded with an 11-2 run, capped by a Cross three, to cut the deficit to 55-54 with 2:41 to play. However, the Grizzlies couldn’t get the go-ahead basket in the game’s final minute.

Inside the Box Score

-Cross went 11-for-16 from the field, setting a new career-high in field goals made to go along with a career-best point total.

-Fellow senior Jessica Nix recorded her third career double-double, adding 11 points and leading all players with 13 rebounds.

-The Grizzlies shot 40% (22-for-55) from the floor and did a stellar job on the defensive end, holding Hanover to 29.9% (23-for-77) from the field.

-Turnovers played a major role in the final score, with Hanover getting 37 points off Franklin turnovers.

Up Next

The Grizzlies continue a three-game homestand on Saturday (Jan. 15) afternoon, hosting the Bluffton Beavers. Tip-off from the Spurlock Center is set for 2:00 p.m.

HOT 3-POINT SHOOTING LEADS MANCHESTER MEN PAST RHIT

NORTH MANCHESTER, Ind. — Manchester University relied on hot shooting behind the 3-point arc to pick up a narrow 73-69 men’s basketball victory over Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology on Wednesday night.

Manchester hit 15 three-point shots to pick up the narrow victory in a game that featured several scoring streaks.

The teams were tied 36-36 at the half, before Rose-Hulman opened the second half on a 13-2 run to take a 49-38 lead.  Max Chaplin, who scored a career-high 21 points on the night, had 5 points in the rally and Trey Wurtz scored 6 points in the spurt.

Manchester answered with a 22-4 run to take a 60-53 lead with 10:00 left.  Rose-Hulman fought back with an 8-0 run of its own to take a 61-60 lead on two free throws by Chaplin at the 5:20 mark.

Down the stretch, Manchester relied on the 3-point shot to built a 72-67 lead.  Chaplin hit two free throws to bring the Fightin’ Engineers within 3 points at 72-69, and Rose-Hulman had a 3-point try of its own in the final seconds to force overtime that rimmed out.

Chaplin tallied career-high totals of 21 points and 6 rebounds on 6-14 from the field and a perfect 8-8 on the free throw line.

Terry Hicks added a double-double with 11 points and 12 rebounds.  Wurtz scored 8 points with 4 rebounds and 4 assists.  Willie Bowman added 7 first half points to keep Rose-Hulman close in the opening 20 minutes.

Other key contributors included Samvit Ram with 6 points and 5 rebounds; and Jackson Kabrick, Vuk Djuric, Isaac Farnsworth and Zachary Jackson with 4 rebounds.  Farnsworth pitched in with 8 rebounds as the Fightin’ Engineers outrebounded Manchester 47-23 in the contest.

Brandon Christlieb led Manchester with 17 points.  Ty Lynas had 14 points, and Logan Willoughby also reached double figures for the Spartans with 13 points.

Manchester improved to 5-2 in HCAC play and 6-8 overall, while Rose-Hulman dropped to 8-4 and 4-2 in league play.  The Fightin’ Engineers return home to face Defiance College on Saturday at 3 pm.

RAVENS RALLY PAST YELLOW JACKETS

On Wednesday, the Anderson University women’s basketball team came home with a 77-67 comeback victory over the Defiance College Yellow Jackets. The game, which took place in Defiance, Ohio, saw the Ravens (7-7, 4-3) come back after trailing the Yellow Jackets (7-5, 2-4) at halftime. Multiple Ravens contributed to the Wednesday night victory.

HOW IT HAPPENED

The Yellow Jackets opened up the first quarter with the lead after a basket made by Taylor Steinbrunner. The Ravens responded quickly with a Jade Shipley three.

After the Ravens three, the Yellow Jackets would take the lead and hold it for the remainder of the quarter.

Anderson trailed Defiance 10-12 to start the second quarter.

Trailing the Yellow Jackets by one, Lexi Dellinger hit a pair of free throws to give Anderson a 15-14 lead with 7:35 remaining before halftime.

The game then went back in favor of the Yellow Jackets as they took the lead back and went up by five with 6:50 on the clock.

At halftime, Defiance led Anderson 30-23.

The Ravens found energy coming out of halftime to put up a 19-point quarter.

Payton Moore opened up the third quarter with back-to-back layups to come within three. The Yellow Jackets answered by extending their lead once again.

Starting with 3:51 left, the Ravens closed out the quarter with five baskets, all of which were 3-pointers. Jade Shipley recorded one of the threes while Lexi Dellinger and Makynlee Taylor each had two.

At the end of the third quarter, the two teams were tied 42-42.

The fourth and final quarter marked the largest scoring quarter for both teams.

Anderson began the quarter with a 12-0 run to give the Ravens a 54-42-point lead. The Yellow Jackets got their first point of the quarter with 6:58 left.

After taking the lead to start the quarter, the Ravens would hold onto the lead for the remainder of the game.

Both teams continued to put up shots, with the Ravens controlling the quarter to be able to bring home a 77-67 victory.

INSIDE THE BOX SCORE

Anderson finished 28-of-65 (43.1 percent) from the field, 13-of-29 (44.8 percent) from three, and 8-of-10 (80 percent) in free throws while holding Defiance to 27-of-78 (34.6 percent), 5-of-22 (22.7 percent), and 8-of-14 (57.1 percent) respectively.

Anderson drained 13 3-pointers in a game for the second time this season and for the third time in school history.

A total of 81 rebounds was recorded between the two teams, with Anderson notching out the most by one with a total of 41.

Jade Shipley – 23 points, five assists, three rebounds, one steal

Lexi Dellinger – 19 points, 10 assists, two rebounds, two steals

Makynlee Taylor – 19 rebounds, 11 points, three blocks

Payton Moore – 15 points, nine rebounds, five blocks, one assist

COACH JON GIN’S COMMENTS

I’m stoked for how the squad responded in the second half. This was a great comeback win. Jade [Shipley] was a huge spark plug for us and the bench’s energy was unmatched. It feels great to get a road win against a tough team.

UP NEXT

Anderson is now set to welcome the Transylvania University Pioneers (11-0, 3-0) on Saturday. Transylvania is currently ranked No. 4 nationally in the most recent Women’s Basketball Coaches Association and D3hoops.com top 25 polls. Tipoff between the Ravens and the Pioneers is set for 1 p.m. in O.C. Lewis Gymnasium.

ANDERSON SMASHES DEFIANCE IN HCAC ACTION

The Anderson University men’s basketball team (10-4, 5-2) smashed Defiance College (5-6, 3-2) by a score of 80-52 during Wednesday’s Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference (HCAC) matchup in O.C. Lewis Gymnasium.

HOW IT HAPPENED

Francis Uzorh scored the first bucket of the game with a layup with 18 minutes, 36 seconds remaining in the first half.

Dejsani Beamon evened the score at 2-2. Maurice Knight followed up with a 3-pointer and the Ravens led the rest of the way.

Knight hit another 3-pointer to take a 10-4 lead. Beamon hit a bucket to cut the lead to four.

The Ravens built an 18-8 lead with 12:49 left in the first half.

Defiance cut its deficit to 18-12, but Tate Ivanyo knocked down a 3-pointer to put Anderson ahead by nine.

Anderson forced Defiance into two 30-second violations in the final two minutes of the half. The Ravens entered halftime with a 41-24 lead.

The Ravens opened the second half with an 8-0 run to take a 25-point lead.

Phil Bessick drained a 3-pointer with 1:10 left in the contest to give Anderson a 29-point lead, its biggest lead of the contest.

INSIDE THE BOX SCORE

Anderson knocked down 11-of-21 (52.4 percent) shots from 3-point range while Defiance was held to 20 percent (2-of-10) from the perimeter.

The Ravens outrebounded the Yellow Jackets 40-26.

Tate Ivanyo notched a career-high 18 points. The freshman from Valparaiso drained 6-of-7 (85.7 percent) shots from the floor and 4-of-5 (80 percent) shots from behind the arc.

Maurice Knight filled the stat sheet with 17 points, 10 rebounds, five assists and three blocks.

Alex Hunt and Francis Uzorh scored nine points apiece while Jordan Gadis added eight points.

COACH OWEN HANDY’S COMMENTS

Most teams in the country are going through unpredictable moments with personnel right now, and it sure seems like that is going to be our lot for a little while. We’ve had guys in and out, and I have been in and out. Coach Carter Collins did a great job of getting our group ready to play, and they responded really well to his leadership in my absence. We were ready to compete from the tip and that made for a really fun evening.

Our attentiveness defensively and commitment to rebounding were really good. We executed the way we wanted to against their ball screen for the most part, and did a great job of sealing off penetration. Defiance came into the game as a really prolific three-point making team, and we were able to limit their quality opportunities from outside.

One of the most fun parts of this job is seeing guys grow as players over time, and it has been really rewarding to see Alex Hunt, Tate Ivanyo, and Jordan Gadis keep getting better and better.

UP NEXT

Anderson battles Transylvania University (7-5, 2-3) in HCAC action on Saturday at 3 p.m. in O.C. Lewis Gymnasium.

BOWMAN AND WILLIAMS COMBINE FOR 48 POINTS IN WIN AT OLIVET

OLIVET, Mich. – Coming off a short rest from Monday’s game, the Trine University men’s basketball team toppled Olivet College in Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA) play on Wednesday 75-68.

The Thunder (8-5, 2-1 MIAA) exit the three games in five days stretch with a 2-1 record after the seven-point victory over the Comets (4-10, 1-2 MIAA). Trine got to the free throw line for 26 opportunities opposed to Olivet’s five chances at the charity stripe. The Thunder also forced 16 turnovers that led to 22 points.

Bryce Williams [Archbold, Ohio / Archbold] scored five of the Thunder’s first seven points in an even contest through three minutes. Williams knocked down his first shot from long range early, and would end the night with six makes from distance. An 8-0 run for Olivet would give the Comets a 15-7 lead and Trine had to take a timeout to regroup.

Williams would continue his hot shooting night with seven consecutive points in a 30-second span from 13:15 to 12:45, and another three at the 10-minute mark in the period made it 21-20 Comets. Nick Bowman [Angola, Ind. / Hamilton Southeastern] made a lay-up and took a steal for a dunk on the other end of the floor to spark seven straight from the senior and give the Thunder the lead, 27-21.

Emmanuel Megnanglo [Cotonou, Benin / Amelia Academy] rocked the rim with a dunk with five minutes to go in the half to extend the lead. An and-one by Brent Cox [Kendallville, Ind. / East Noble] helped contribute to a 43-38 halftime lead.

The Thunder scored the first eight points of the second half, capped by a Megnanglo dunk plus the foul to take a 51-38 lead with 17:31 to play. Mitchell Geller [Huntington, Ind. / Huntington North] converted an and-one and gave Trine their largest lead of the game at 60-46 with 12 minutes on the clock.

Olivet attempted to comeback, but makes by Aiden Warzecha [Milford, Mich. / Milford] and Brent Cox thwarted the efforts. A steal from Geller and three-point field goal by Bowman helped to expand the lead back to double digits 69-58 with four minutes left.

It was once again Bowman taking advantage of a turnover on the offensive end for a dunk in the final minute to polish off a 75-68 win.

Bowman and Williams were the high scorers with 27 and 21 points. While scoring a season-high, Bowman was 9-for-18 from the field and grabbed five rebounds, dished out four assists and was credited with three steals. Williams hit six shots from long range, tying his career-best.

Trine returns home on Saturday, January 15 for Community Day. It’s free admission for the men’s and women’s doubleheader versus Kalamazoo College, with the women’s game tipping off at 1 pm and the men after at 3 pm.

SCRAPPY TRINE TEAM DEFEATS ALMA 65-49

ANGOLA, Ind. – The Trine University women’s basketball team outlasted Alma College on Wednesday night 65-49 in a Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA) contest.

The win moves the Thunder to 11-2 in the 2021-22 season and 4-1 in league action. The Scots from Alma College fall to 8-5 overall and 2-2 in the MIAA.

Two big takeaways from the game were second chance points and bench points. Trine outscored their opponents 20-2 off of their own misses and had 30 points from bench pieces compared to zero for the Scots.

“I give them a lot of credit, they play hard every time,” Associate Head Coach Rob Hoffman said postgame. “We tell our girls to match their intensity. We didn’t hit shots early on tonight and that happens, but we want to be intense because we want to get a stop every time.”

That they did on the defensive end of the floor, as the Thunder held Alma to just 27.4% (17-for-62) from the field and 15.8% (3-for-19) from deep.

After nearly two minutes of scoreless action, Kayla Wildman [Rockford, Mich. / Rockford] converted a lay-up from Makayla Ardis [Lake City, Mich. / Lake City] to give Trine a 2-0 lead. A pair of makes for the Scots allowed the visitors to make their only lead of the game, but Kelsy Taylor [Louisville, Ky. / New Albany] hit back-to-back shots to reclaim the lead.

Rachel Stewart [Pekin, Ind. / Eastern] came off the bench to score the final six points of the quarter to make it 14-12 after 10 minutes.

Katie Sloneker [Monroe, Ohio / Monroe] assisted on consecutive makes to begin the second, including a Tara Bieniewicz [Chesterfield, Mich. / Dakota] three-point field goal and jump shot by Ardis. Taylor completed the 9-0 run later in the period, the largest scoring spurt of the game for either team.

Stewart recorded a steal and score with just under two minutes to go in the period to claim a 29-17 lead, but two makes by Alma before the end of the frame made it 29-21 Thunder before the teams returned to their perspective locker rooms.

The Scots had a shot to make it a one-possession game after scoring the first four points of the third quarter, but the miss was gathered by Trine and taken the other way for an Ardis three. Wildman knocked down a shot from three-point land one minute later to bring the advantage back to double figures, 37-25.

“I have a lot more confidence, especially compared to last year,” Ardis explained after her 11-point, five rebound night. “I feel like this season I’ve gotten stronger.”

Alyssa Argyle [Freeland, Mich. / Freeland] got in on the long-range shooting party with a three with 4:26 to go in the third stanza to make the score 43-29. Sam Underhill [Grand Rapids, Mich. / Northview] hit four shots from the free throw line to wrap up the quarter at 49-34.

The Thunder allowed the Scots to creep back into the game after almost five minutes of scoreless basketball in crunch time, but a timeout from Head Coach Andy Rang swung momentum back in favor of the home squad. An and-one by Underhill and wing three from Wildman secured the victory for the sixth-ranked team in NCAA DIII.

The final score was 65-49 after makes from Sophie Sloneker [Monroe, Ohio / Monroe], Wildman, Ardis and Stewart late.

Stewart led all scorers with 14 points and was a perfect 5-for-5 from the free throw line. As a team, Trine shot 100% (13-for-13) on freebees. Ardis and Wildman finished in double figures as well with 11 and 10 points. Taylor and Underhill each pulled down 10 rebounds, a season-high for both forwards. Katie Sloneker dished out six assists in the win, a career-best for the junior.

It’s a men’s and women’s doubleheader next on the schedule when the Thunder square off with Kalamazoo College at home on Saturday, January 15. It is Community Day with free admission. Tip-off for the women’s game is at 1 pm.

THIRD QUARTER DEFICIT TOO MUCH FOR PILOTS

MISHAWAKA – Bethel Women’s Basketball made a furious fourth quarter comeback after trailing by as many as 26 in the second half but fell to Mount Vernon Nazarene 113-107 on Wednesday night. The Pilots trailed 93-67 with 43 seconds remaining in the third quarter used a 35-13 run to cut it to four with 1:46 remaining but could not keep the Cougars at bay.

GAME VITALS

Score: Mount Vernon Nazarene def. Bethel 113-107

Records: Bethel (7-12, 2-5) | Mount Vernon Nazarene (11-7, 5-1)

NAIA Top 25 Coaches’ Poll:  Bethel – NR | Mount Vernon Nazarene – NR

Location: Wiekamp Athletic Center | Bethel University | Mishawaka, Ind.

STAT TRACKER

Maiah Shelton: 17 pts, 4 stl, 5-9 fg

Addi Jones: 13 pts, 5 stl, 5-11 fg

Kallie McElroy: 14 pts, 3 ast

Nyla Asad: 8 pts, 8 reb, 5 stl

INSIDE THE BOXSCORE

The Pilots forced 31 turnovers and turned them into 34 points.

The Pilots struggled from the free throw line, shooting just 24-37 for the game.

The Pilots’ second unit of Shelton, Jones, Morris, Williams, and Garcia combined for 49 points.

The Cougars used a 22-6 run in the middle of the third quarter to open up their largest lead of the game at 93-67.

NEXT TIME OUT

The Pilots host Goshen on Saturday at 1:00 pm in the Wiekamp Athletic Center in the latest matchup of the US Highway 20 Cup Series in a “Blue Out” game for the Pilots.

THE HANOVER DEFENSE DEEMED TO MUCH AS THE PANTHERS DEFEAT FRANKLIN

FRANKLIN, Ind. – The Hanover women’s basketball team forced a game-high 38 turnovers, using the momentum to fuel their offense en route to a 65-59 Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference victory on Wednesday evening at Franklin. With the win, Hanover moves to 6-5 overall and 3-3 in HCAC action.

The Blue and Red were led by freshman Grace Bezold (Covington, Ky.) with a team-high 18 points, while teammates junior Callie Wilder (North Vernon, Ind.) netted 11 points and freshman Taylor Heath (Fairland, Ind.) added 10 points.

Hanover rallied in the first quarter capturing the slim 16-15 advantage after falling behind by double digits. Senior Liz Tynan (Columbus, Ind.) paced the comeback as she halted the Grizzlies charge before a sophomore Skylar Sahatjian (Prospect, Ky.) jumper knotted the contest.

The Panthers carried the momentum into the second stanza as Bezold deemed clutch connecting for back-to-back jumpers en route to the 24-18 advantage. However, Franklin got the final say hitting a free throw to pull within 28-24 at the intermission.

The second half saw the Panther defense continue to fuel their offense as Sahatjian picked up a steal that led to a junior Anna Bauer (Indianapolis, Ind.) layup at the 8:53 mark for the 32-24 advantage. Franklin cut the deficit to as little as 34-33 when freshman Katherine Benter (Brownstown, Ind.) delivered from three-point to push HC out front 41-37.

The final quarter would see Franklin cut the deficit to as little as 55-54 when Bezold sank a pair of clutch free throws. The back-an-forth battle continued with Hanover never surrendering the lead using strong shooting down the stretch to secure the victory.

Hanover returns to action on Saturday, January 15 when they play host to Manchester. Game time is slated for 4:00 PM.

MEN’S BASKETBALL DOMINATES HCAC RIVAL FRANKLIN

HANOVER, Ind. – The Hanover men’s basketball team dominated Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference rival Franklin on Wednesday evening in front of an electric Collier Arena, winning the contest 81-57.

With the win, the Panthers move to 10-2 overall and 6-1 in HCAC action.

Hanover saw three players finish in double-figures led by sophomore Matt Munoz (Indianapolis, Ind.) with a team-high 20 points. Sophomore Max Greenamoyer (Zionsville, Ind.) added 15 points while junior Ty Houston (Union, Ky.) chipped in 14 points.

The opening half saw a slow start when Munoz delivered hitting a three-pointer to spark a Panther run that propelled them to the 11-7 advantage. Hanover carried the momentum late into the frame as senior Noah Williams (Jeffersonville, Ind.) connected from deep pushing the Hanover lead to double figures when Franklin looked to rally. The Grizzlies netted back-to-back scores with just over a minute remaining. However, Hanover was able to combat the charge  and hold the 36-28 advantage at the intermission. 

The second half saw the Grizzlies slowly chip at the deficit using a series of scores to cut the halftime difference to 55-43 with just over 10 minutes to play but Houston had other things in mind. The junior erupted the crowd with a dunk in the paint that swung the contest in favor of the Blue and Red.

The Panthers never looked back getting key scores by Hibbard and Greenamoyer down the stretch to claim the convincing 81-57 victory. 

Hanover returns to action on Saturday, January 15 when they welcome HCAC foe Manchester. Game time is set for 2:00 PM.

SCRAPPY SPARTANS PREVAIL OVER ROSE-HULMAN 73-69

NORTH MANCHESTER, Ind. – The Manchester University men’s basketball team delivered another scrappy performance inside of Stauffer-Wolfe Arena on Wednesday night. The Black & Gold overcame an 11-point deficit in the 2nd half and held on late for a gritty 73-69 victory over the Fightin’ Engineers of Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology.

After an evenly played first half, the Fightin’ Engineers opened the second period on an 11-0 run to grab a 47-36 advantage. Manchester immediately responded with a 9-0 run of its own over the next two minutes of action, whittling Rose’s lead to just a basket at 49-47.

The Spartans regained the lead at the 12:02 mark of the period following a three-pointer by Ty Lynas (Crawfordsville, Ind./Crawfordsville). After a quick basket by the Fightin’ Engineers tied the game at 53, the Spartans would go on a 7-0 to gain a 60-53 advantage. The surge was led by a basket in the paint by Brandon Christlieb (Ashley, Ind./Prairie Heights), a pair of free throws by Logan Willoughby (Greenwood, Ind./Whiteland Community), and a transition triple from Ty Lynas.

After Rose-Hulman regained a slim one-point advantage with just five minutes left in regulation, the Spartans connected on four consecutive three-point attempts to regain the lead for good. Quentez Columbus (South Bend, Ind./Adams), Brandon Christlieb, CJ Hampton (Hammond, Ind./Griffith) and Logan Willoughby all buried perimeter jumpers to help lift the Spartans to their fourth straight victory.

Manchester finished shooting 44.8 percent (26-58) from the field on Wednesday night. The Spartans knocked in 15 threes in the winning effort.

Rose-Hulman converted 45.9 percent (28-61) of its field goal attempts. The Fightin’ Engineers were limited to just 3-of-18 shooting (16.7 percent) from beyond the three-point arc.

Rose-Hulman held a hefty 47-23 advantage on the glass, however, the Spartans were able to convert 18 Engineer turnovers into 21 points. The Spartans only committed 11 turnovers. Manchester also assisted on 19 of its 26 made field goals. 

Brandon Christlieb led three Spartans in double figures with 17 points. Christlieb, the current HCAC Player of the Week, shot 7-10 from the field and was 3-5 from three-point territory. Ty Lynas added 14 points off the bench. Lynas buried a trio of three-pointers in the win. Logan Willoughby scored 13 points off the bench in his collegiate debut. Willoughby also knocked in a trio of three-pointers – including a three just before the end of the 1st half to tie the game.

Both CJ Hampton and Quentez Columbus lined the stat sheet in Wednesday’s win. Hampton finished with eight points, seven rebounds, and six assists. Columbus added seven points, seven assists, three rebounds, and two steals.

Max Chaplin led Rose-Hulman with 21 points.

Winners of four straight, the Spartans (6-8, 5-2 HCAC) will travel to Hanover College on Saturday January 15. Game time against the Panthers is scheduled for 2 p.m.

Rose-Hulman (8-4, 4-2 HCAC) is scheduled to host Defiance College on Saturday January 15 at 3 p.m.

#11 IWU TAKES IT TO FORESTERS

HUNTINGTON, Ind. – The HU women’s basketball team learned firsthand just how good #11 Indiana Wesleyan (17-2, 6-1) is Wednesday night to the tune of a 69-35 loss. It was the Foresters’ first time back in Platt Arena since early December.

Huntington got off to a solid start to take a 12-10 lead on Emily Seboe’s triple midway through the first quarter. To say the hosts hit a dry spell offensively was an understatement as they managed just one point over the next ten minutes to stare at a 29-13 deficit by the five-minute mark of the second quarter.

Thankfully, the Foresters’ defense was on point as evidenced by giving up just two points the rest of the half to head into intermission down by 12 at 31-19. HU scored the first three points of the second frame to trim it to single digits, but they got hit hard by another offensive dry spell.

This time around, IWU doubled up the score by the end of the quarter and then continued to roll in the fourth to make for the lopsided final.

Seboe finished with nine points to lead Culler’s crew. Alli Vaughn enjoyed team-high rebounding honors with six. Lilli Frasure and Madison Davis topped the Wildcats with 12 and ten points respectively.

The Foresters (2-16, 0-7) are back at Platt Arena on Saturday to host Grace at 1:00 p.m.

TAYLOR ATHLETICS | TROJANS RECEIVE VOTES IN NAIA PRESEASON POLL

KANSAS CITY – The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics announced the Softball Coaches’ Top-25 Preseason Poll on Wednesday, in which Taylor received 21 votes, ranking 31st in the nation.

The Trojans finished the 2021 season with an overall record of 43-18, going 24-12 in league-play. Taylor defeated seven top-25 opponents throughout the year, including three in the Crossroads League Tournament en route to a spot in the championship game.

In 2021, Taylor excelled at both offensive and defensive sides of the game, ranking fourth in the nation with 569 total hits and seventh with 393 batters struck out. Taylor’s offense was not just consistent, though, it was explosive, driving in the nation’s 10th-most runs while hitting the nation’s 13th-most home runs per game.

Furthermore, Taylor led the Crossroads League with 352 total runs scored, 96 doubles and 52 home runs, while ranking second in hits and slugging percentage with a 0.525 mark. Meanwhile, the Trojan pitching staff led the league in strikeouts and ranked second with a 0.221 opponents’ batting average.

In 2022, the Trojans return seven key starters including four that earned postseason All-Crossroads League honors.

Senior, pitcher and third basemen, Maddi Evans, had an incredible junior season, for which she was recognized as a First-Team All-Crossroads League selection. Evans set the school-records for both strikeouts and wins, retiring the nation’s fifth-most batters via strikeout with 263 and securing 23 wins inside the pitcher’s circle. Meanwhile, the senior standout struck the league’s second-most home runs with 11 and drove in the third-most RBI’s with 48.

Fellow senior, Kristin Mihalic, started all 61 games at first base and posted numerous career-bests, including 11 home runs, 38 RBI’s, a 0.367 batting average and a 0.593 slugging percentage. Don’t lose sight of her defensive abilities, though, as a 0.990 fielding percentage reveals that Mihalic is no slouch outside of the batter’s box either. For these efforts and more, the Canton, Michigan, native was celebrated as a Second-Team All-Crossroads League selection.

Emma West joined Evans on the First-Team all-league list, as the junior shortstop had an astounding sophomore season. West was a menace to opposing defenses, hitting at a 0.373 clip while stealing 36 bases and scoring 56 runs. The Silver Lake, Indiana, native ranked second in the Crossroads League in both steals and runs scored.

Finally, Aleyah Rastetter returns for her sophomore season after a fantastic freshman campaign, for which she was recognized as a Second-Team All-Crossroads selection. Ratstetter hit the ball with pop, posting a 0.354 batting average with nine doubles, four triples and 10 home runs for a remarkable 0.652 slugging percentage. The Trojan outfielder ranked top-five in the league in home runs, triples, and slugging percentage, while driving in the league’s eighth-most RBI’s with 42.

Taylor is set to begin the 2022 season in Oneida, Tennessee, where the Trojans will play four games throughout the Bear Creek Tournament beginning on Friday, February 18th.

LADY COUGARS’ WIN STREAK SNAPPED BY NO. 7 MARIAN KNIGHTS DESPITE GREAT EFFORT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. – On Wednesday evening, the University of Saint Francis Lady Cougars (9-6; 3-3 Crossroads) played host to the No. 7 Marian University Knights (15-2; 7-0 Crossroads) at Hutzell Athletic Center and fell 81-71 despite a great team effort.

As the game got underway, the Lady Cougars came out strong on both sides of the ball. Both teams exchanged leads through the first quarter with the Lady Cougars trailing 9-8 midway through the frame. Then as the quarter came to an end, Saint Francis led the Knights 17-15 thanks to a buzzer-beater by junior forward Cassidy Crawford.

Heading into the second quarter, the script remained similar through the first several minutes as the Lady Cougars were able to answer Marian each shot before pulling ahead 23-22.

Unfortunately for the Lady Cougars, the Knights offense started gaining momentum and took advantage of a couple turnovers by the Lady Cougars to regain the lead late in the half.

Then through the final three minutes, Marian built themselves a seven-point lead as the game went to halftime with the Lady Cougars trailing 34-27.

Heading into the second half, both teams picked up where they left off answering each other’s scoring drives.

But then after having to call a timeout, the Lady Cougars went on a tear scoring six unanswered points capped by three consecutive made threes by freshman guard Chloe McKnight to pull Saint Francis to within one point at the end of the frame.

As the game entered the fourth quarter, the Lady Cougars were trailing just 52-51 with the momentum on their side.

During the fourth quarter, both teams went back-and-forth as the Knights kept applying the pressure only to have the Lady Cougars answer back.

With two minutes remaining in the game, Saint Francis trailed just 74-69.

But then, a turnover for the Lady Cougars proved costly as the Knights answered back with four unanswered points, and Saint Francis could not complete the comeback as their four-game winning streak is snapped.

Throughout the game, the Lady Cougars shot 50 percent from the floor, 43 percent from beyond the three-point line, and 50 percent from the free throw line. Cassidy Crawford led the team in scoring with 18 points and also had three assists and five rebounds while junior forward Meleah Kunkel had a team-leading eight rebounds and four assists while contributing with 13 points.

The Lady Cougars resume play on Saturday afternoon when they travel to Upland, Indiana to face the Taylor University Trojans (9-9; 3-3 Crossroads) beginning at 1:00 pm.

LADY LANCERS MUSCLE PAST MAPLE LEAFS

GOSHEN, Ind. – Grace’s women’s basketball team picked up a 52-44 win over Goshen on Wednesday night.

The Lady Lancers (11-7, 2-5 CL) led from the opening tip and used a dominant performance from Karlee Feldman to pick up their second Crossroads League win of the season.

The first quarter started out as a defensive slugfest with neither team scoring a field goal for the first 4:27 of play.

Kenzie McMahon sparked the Lady Lancers, scoring four of Grace’s first six points to build an early advantage.

The offense for the Maple Leafs (9-10, 3-4 CL) was stymied by the Lady Lancers which forced Goshen into five turnovers and allowed them to convert on just two of their 11 field goal attempts.

Peyton Murphy and Maddie Ryman each hit a 3-point shot, and Murphy closed the quarter with a buzzer-beating layup as Grace took a 16-4 lead into the quarter break.

Grace pushed its lead to as many as 13 in the second quarter as Feldman began to dominate in the paint. Feldman scored four points and grabbed three rebounds in the opening minutes as Grace built a 24-11 lead.

Grace began to cool from the field which allowed Goshen to slowly chip away at Grace’s lead.

The Lady Lancers again converted from the field as time expired as Feldman grabbed an offensive rebound and immediately scored on the putback. Grace went into halftime leading 28-21.

Feldman had amassed a double-double in the first half with 14 points and 14 rebounds in the first 20 minutes of action.

The Lady Lancers only shot 30 percent from the field compared to 37% from the Maple Leafs. Grace’s 27-14 advantage on the boards aided their lead.

As the second half got under way, McMahon and Kiersten Poor each made baskets early, but Grace went over five minutes without scoring a field goal again which allowed Goshen to claw back.

Kaylee Patton ended the cold stretch for Grace, but Goshen answered with a late triple to pull within one as the game entered the final quarter.

Maddie Ryman and Feldman each converted early baskets to reestablish a five-point lead for Grace, but Goshen refused to go away. Goshen was within four at the midpoint of the quarter.

After Goshen missed on a plethora of chances to make it a one-possession game, Ryman went on a solo scoring run. The junior guard scored the last eight points for Grace, and the Lady Lancers’ defense shutdown Goshen to claim the 52-44 victory.

Grace outrebounded Goshen 45-35 and outscored them 26-22 in the paint. Grace shot 35 percent from the field in the game, and made 2 of 13 on 3-point field goal attempts.

Feldman was a force in the paint with 17 points, 20 rebounds and a block. Ryman scored 14 points, and Murphy scored seven off the bench.

McMahon added eight points and nine rebounds, while Poor grabbed six rebounds and added two steals.

The Lady Lancers will be in action again on Saturday as they travel to Huntington for a 1 p.m. showdown.

GRACE CONTINUES WINNING WAYS

GOSHEN, Ind. – Grace’s men’s basketball team continued its charge through the 2021-22 season with an 85-49 rout at Goshen on Wednesday.

The win moves the No. 9 Lancers to 17-2 overall (6-1 Crossroads League) in one of the best starts in program history.

Jake Wadding earned the curtain call for Grace, pouring in 31 points with five rebounds and three steals. He shot 12 of 20 from the floor and 2 of 3 on 3-pointers.

The first half was evenly played, which did not ring true for the rest of regulation.

The score was level at 28-28 with just two minutes left before halftime. But the Lancers ended the half on a 6-0 spurt to claim a 34-28 lead at the break.

Wadding scored four of his 17 first-half points during the final minutes to give Grace momentum.

Grace (40 percent) and Goshen (37 percent) shot similarly from the floor before halftime. The Lancers did have a 21-16 edge in rebounding, and Grace assisted on 11 of its 14 made field goals.

Wadding shot 6 of 10 for his 17 points in the first half. Frankie Davidson scored 10 points as the duo accounted for 27 of the team’s 34 points.

The Lancers blew the game open with a monstrous run to start the second half.

Grace started the half on a 27-4 run, pushing the lead to 29 by the midway point of the half.

The Lancers’ defense was airtight. Grace did not allow the Maple Leafs (5-14, 1-6 CL) to make a field goal for the first 11:24 of the second half.

The Maple Leafs’ first field goal of the half came with 8:36 remaining.

Grace began to empty its bench by the middle of the second half, utilizing the sizable lead to employ the full roster.

Overall, 10 players scored for Grace. Ian Scott had 11 points, 10 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 block off the bench, and Brycen Graber had eight points and zero turnovers.

Frankie Davidson finished with 12 points, 4 rebounds and 2 assists, and Cade Gibbs was on triple-double watch with 8 points, 8 boards and 7 assists.

Elijah Malone grabbed six rebounds and blocked three shots, Brett Sickafoose scored seven points, and Carter Stoltzfus had 6 points, 6 boards, 2 assists and 2 steals.

The Lancers will next head to Huntington for a 3 p.m. meeting on Saturday. Grace is looking for its first win at Huntington since Jan. 5, 2016.

CHAPMAN DOUBLE-DOUBLE NOT ENOUGH AS GRACE COMES OUT ON TOP

GOSHEN, Ind. – In a game that didn’t see much scoring for either team, the Maple Leafs women’s basketball team fell to the Grace Lancers, 52-44 in Goshen on Wednesday night.

The Lancers started the game with a couple of free throws from Karlee Feldman to get the scoring underway, but turnovers, steals, and missed shots kept the score 2-0. Then Taniece Chapman got Goshen on the board nearly four and a half minutes into the game to tie it at two. Grace ended the quarter on a 10-0 run and held Goshen to four points in the first. The Leafs got into a rhythm in the second and outscored Grace 17-12. At the half, the visitors led 28-21.

Goshen was down nine in the third, but a 10-3 run brought them back to within two. It was a one-point game at the quarter’s end. And although they got close, Goshen never had a lead during the game. The Lancers held the Leafs to just seven in the final frame, and they came out on top 52-44.

Taniece Chapman recorded a double-double for the Leafs with 14 points and ten rebounds. Graysen Cockerham had nine points and six rebounds. Kyla Foster added five points, four boards, and four assists.

Grace won the rebounding margin tonight, 45-35. They held the Leafs to shooting 30.8% from the field. Goshen was also just 8-17 at the free-throw line.

Grace was coming off of two close losses. On January 5, they lost to #11 Indiana Wesleyan 65-59. Then on January 8, they were defeated by Taylor in overtime, 90-81. Goshen won three of their last four games and beat #24 Mount Vernon Nazarene on the road on Saturday, 69-61.

The next game for Goshen is a U.S. Highway 20 Cup matchup at Bethel on Saturday, January 15, at 1:00 pm. The next home contest will be Wednesday, January 19, at 7:00 pm against Huntington.

SECOND-HALF RUN CATAPULTS #9 GRACE PAST GOSHEN

GOSHEN, Ind. – It was a tale of two halves for the Goshen men’s basketball team on Wednesday night. While they hung in there with the #9 Grace Lancers in the first half, the second half was controlled by the visitors. The Lancers won 85-49.

Grace scored the first six points, but Goshen took its first lead at 9-8. The Leafs had a three-point lead at one point and were tied multiple times – eight times in the first half. They were tied at 28 with two minutes to go. However, the Lancers finished the half how they started it – on a 6-0 run. They led 34-28 at the break.

Goshen made four early free throws in the second half and was down four. Then the Lancers went off on a 26-0 run in eight minutes and fifty-nine seconds to put the game out of reach. They outscored Goshen 51-21 in the second half and took the win, 85-49.

Michael Johnson led the Maple Leafs with 16 points, six rebounds, and three blocks. Greg Johnson had nine points, four rebounds, and four assists. Ryan Mansbarger added nine points and three boards.

Jake Wadding was the star of the show for Grace. He came into the game as the team’s fourth-leading scorer, averaging 12.7 points per game. Tonight he had 31.

Goshen’s defense was a bright spot. Grace came into the game with the second-highest shooting percentage in the NAIA, but they were held to 41.8% tonight. They also had just eight assists when they averaged 17.9. On the other hand, the Lancers held GC to shooting 26.6% from the floor. Grace has an 8-1 record on the road this season.

Next up for the Maple Leafs is a U.S. Highway 20 Cup matchup with Bethel. They will play on Saturday, January 15, at 3:00 pm in Mishawaka. The next home contest is Tuesday, January 18, at 7:00 pm against Huntington.

INDY ELEVEN’S 2022 USL CHAMPIONSHIP REGULAR SEASON SCHEDULE UNVEILED

TAMPA/INDIANAPOLIS – The USL Championship has announced its full 2022 schedule, with the season set to bring old rivalries and new matchups across a 34-game, eight-month campaign to determine which clubs advance to the 2022 USL Championship Playoffs.

The 2022 USL Championship season will feature 83 percent of its games on weekend dates (Friday-Sunday), a figure helped by the entirety of Indy Eleven’s 17-match home schedule at IUPUI Carroll Stadium being hosted across 15 Saturdays and a pair of Sundays. The full 34-game schedule will see the Eleven face its fellow 13 Eastern Conference foes twice – once home, once away – and eight Western Conference squads, split between four home and four away affairs.

“Today’s schedule release is just another reason to get excited about a promising 2022 season,” said Greg Stremlaw, Indy Eleven President & Chief Executive Officer. “Our collaboration with IUPUI has resulted in our most fan-friendly home schedule ever, with all games being hosted on weekends. A return to regular series against all our Eastern Conference rivals and several intriguing games against Western Conference foes make this is the most competitive and entertaining schedule in our nine-year history as a club, and we can’t wait to get started alongside the best fans in the USL Championship.”

Every match of the Championship’s 459-game season will be available live on ESPN+ except for those that air on ESPN or ESPN2. The 2022 USL on ESPN broadcast schedule will be announced in the coming weeks, as will kickoff times and Indy Eleven’s local TV broadcast schedule.

Indy Eleven will begin its home slate on Saturday, April 2, when the Boys in Blue play host to LA Galaxy II. Other high-profile dates on the 2022 calendar at “The Mike” include a visit from reigning USL Championship title-holder Orange County SC on April 24, an Indy 500/Memorial Day Weekend welcoming of New Mexico United on May 28, the continuance of Indy’s rivalry series with Louisville City FC on June 11, a July 4th Weekend clash with The Miami FC on July 2, and the Eleven’s first meeting against new regional rival Detroit City FC a week later on July 9. Indiana’s Team will close out its home schedule on Saturday, October 8, against Charleston Battery FC.

Games of interest away from the Circle City include the March 12 season opener at Loudoun United FC, the first “Louisville-Indianapolis Proximity Association Football Contest” at Lynn Family Stadium on March 26, a Labor Day Weekend visit to Detroit’s Keyworth Stadium on September 3, and the season finale at Birmingham Legion FC’s new home of Protective Stadium on October 15. In addition, the Boys in Blue will hit the road to face a trio of Western Conference playoff squads from a year ago – Rio Grande Valley Toros FC (April 9), Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC (June 18), and San Diego Loyal SC (June 25) – as well as expansion side Monterey Bay F.C. (September 17).

The full 2022 schedule can be found below and at indyeleven.com/2022-schedule, which is also where the most up-to-date version of the schedule will be posted.

MARCH

Saturday, March 12: Loudoun United FC vs. Indy Eleven

Saturday, March 19: Tampa Bay Rowdies vs. Indy Eleven

Saturday, March 26: Louisville City FC vs. Indy Eleven

APRIL

Saturday, April 2: Indy Eleven vs. LA Galaxy II

Saturday, April 9: Rio Grande Valley FC vs. Indy Eleven

Saturday, April 16: Indy Eleven vs. Atlanta United 2

Sunday, April 24: Indy Eleven vs. Orange County SC

Saturday, April 30: Indy Eleven vs. Hartford Athletic

MAY

Saturday, May 14: Memphis 901 FC vs. Indy Eleven

Saturday, May 21: Indy Eleven vs. New York Red Bulls II

Saturday, May 28: Indy Eleven vs. New Mexico United

JUNE

Saturday, June 4: Charleston Battery vs. Indy Eleven

Wednesday, June 8: The Miami FC vs. Indy Eleven

Saturday, June 11: Indy Eleven vs. Louisville City FC

Saturday, June 18: Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC vs. Indy Eleven

Saturday, June 25: San Diego Loyal SC vs. Indy Eleven

JULY

Saturday, July 2: Indy Eleven vs. The Miami FC

Wednesday, July 6: Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC vs. Indy Eleven

Saturday, July 9: Indy Eleven vs. Detroit City FC

Friday, July 15: New York Red Bulls II vs. Indy Eleven

Saturday, July 23: Indy Eleven vs. Memphis 901 FC

Saturday, July 30: Indy Eleven vs. Tampa Bay Rowdies

AUGUST

Saturday, August 6: Indy Eleven vs. Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC

Saturday, August 13: Hartford Athletic vs. Indy Eleven

Saturday, August 20: FC Tulsa vs. Indy Eleven

Saturday, August 27: Indy Eleven vs. San Antonio FC

SEPTEMBER

Saturday, September 3: Detroit City FC vs. Indy Eleven

Saturday, September 10: Indy Eleven vs. Birmingham Legion FC

Saturday, September 17: Monterey Bay F.C. vs. Indy Eleven

Sunday, September 25: Indy Eleven vs. Loudoun United FC

Wednesday, September 28: Atlanta United 2 vs. Indy Eleven

OCTOBER

Saturday, October 1: Indy Eleven vs. FC Tulsa

Saturday, October 8: Indy Eleven vs. Charleston Battery

Saturday, October 15: Birmingham Legion FC vs. Indy Eleven

TOP NATIONAL SPORTS NEWS/RELEASES

MEDICAL MARVEL: WATT TRIES QUICK RETURN FOR CARDINALS

(AP) — The Arizona Cardinals are a team in desperate need of a spark, stumbling into the playoffs with a 1-4 mark over the past five games.

J.J. Watt and his bionic left shoulder might be able to provide it.

The three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year is trying to complete an unlikely comeback from a serious shoulder injury in an effort to help the Cardinals’ defense when they travel to face the Los Angeles Rams on Monday night in the wild-card round.

“The only thing that matters to me is being out there for my teammates, trying to help us win a game and get to the end goal,” Watt said Wednesday. “That’s all this is about. I’m not doing all this work and not trying to come back in half the time for no reason.”

The idea Watt could return seemed absurd in late October. The injury was reportedly serious and the 11-year veteran confirmed most of the details Wednesday, including a dislocated shoulder, torn rotator cuff, torn labrum and capsule. He also dislocated his biceps tendon and had surgery on Nov. 3.

Doctors told Watt a normal expectation for a return was four to six months. A little over two months later, he could be back.

There are no guarantees he’ll actually be on the field against the Rams. He has tested the shoulder against offensive linemen in simulated situations, but a real practice Thursday is the next step.

“It’s been a lot of work, it’s been a lot of time put in by a lot of people that I’m very thankful for,” Watt said. “And I’m just looking forward to getting out there, seeing how it goes, and help this team get to where it wants to go.”

Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury has said several times how impressive it was to see Watt attack his comeback bid. The 6-foot-5, 288-pound defensive end was at some practices over the past few weeks, doing conditioning work to stay in shape.

Kingsbury – like everyone else – doesn’t know what to expect. But he’d obviously welcome Watt back onto the field.

“I don’t have a feel either way,” Kingsbury said. “It’s been a while since he’s been out there, and I don’t want to get ahead of ourselves. He’s done everything he possibly can, like I said. Weight room, training room, there’s nothing left for him to do in there, so it was time to progress out on the field.”

Watt was injured in Arizona’s 31-5 win on Oct. 24 over the Houston Texans, which pushed the Cardinals to 7-0 for the season. Since he has been sidelined, the Cardinals haven’t looked like the same team with a 4-6 record, and it has taken some of the excitement out of the team’s first appearance in the postseason since 2015.

Arizona’s fade isn’t just because of Watt’s absence. The Cardinals have certainly had other issues: Star receiver DeAndre Hopkins is out with a knee injury. They’ve also struggled with ill-timed penalties and stopping the run.

“It’s just a matter of playing good football, gap soundness and sometimes just a matter of making a play,” Watt said. “We know (run defense) is an area we want to be good at, and that’s an area we need to be good at.”

This isn’t the first time a serious injury has interrupted Watt’s stellar career. He’s missed big chunks of three other seasons, including 2016, `17 and ’19. If Watt returns Monday, it also won’t be the first time he returns quickly from a serious injury.

In 2019, he tore his pectoral muscle when he was with the Texans and missed the final eight regular-season games. He returned for the playoffs and helped the Texans rally from a 16-0 deficit to beat the Buffalo Bills 22-19 in the wild-card round.

“Those are the things you come back for and that’s why you play the game, for those moments,” Watt said.

Watt’s hoping for another one Monday.

The Cardinals have mostly struggled since his injury, but the defensive end said the beauty of the playoffs is it doesn’t matter anymore.

“You can leave the last two months behind,” Watt said. “Now we go to work.”

AGENT: VETERAN SAFETY ERIC WEDDLE REJOINS RAMS FOR PLAYOFFS

LOS ANGELES (AP) Eric Weddle’s agent says the veteran NFL safety is coming out of retirement to rejoin the Los Angeles Rams for the playoffs.

David Canter made the announcement Wednesday morning. A person with knowledge of the deal confirmed the Rams plan to re-sign Weddle, who turned 37 last week and hasn’t played since the 2019 season, to fill their glaring need at safety. Jordan Fuller is out for the playoffs with a right ankle injury and fellow starting safety Taylor Rapp is in the concussion protocol.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity because Weddle hasn’t yet signed his contract. The NFC West champion Rams (12-5) return to practice Thursday ahead of their visit from the Arizona Cardinals (11-6) on Monday night.

Weddle retired in February 2020 after one season with the Rams and one year left on his contract. The Los Angeles-area native spent his first 11 NFL seasons with the San Diego Chargers and the Baltimore Ravens before joining the Rams and making 108 tackles for Wade Phillips’ defense.

The Rams missed the playoffs in Weddle’s only season with them. The two-time All-Pro selection and four-time Pro Bowler has appeared in just one playoff game since 2013, but the Utah product is seizing the chance to fill in for a defense that desperately needs help.

Fuller, the Rams’ leading tackler and defensive signal caller, is out for the season after injuring his ankle late in the Rams’ overtime loss to San Francisco last Sunday, costing them the second seed in the NFC. Rapp played nearly the entire game, but went into the concussion protocol Monday.

Cornerback Jalen Ramsey is having an outstanding season for the Rams, but every defensive back except him and Fuller has had a rough year. Rapp, Darious Williams, Dont’e Deayon, Nick Scott and David Long have all struggled at various points in coverage and as tacklers. Los Angeles finished 17th in the NFL in total yards allowed this season after being the league’s stingiest defense in 2020.

The Rams’ secondary and linebackers group are clear weaknesses to be exploited by capable offenses. Kyler Murray has already thrown for 651 yards against the LA defense this season for the Cardinals, who racked up 912 yards while splitting their two meetings with the Rams this season.

AP SOURCE: PANTHERS TALK TO KUBIAK, GROH ABOUT OC VACANCY

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) The Carolina Panthers have interviewed Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator Klint Kubiak and Indianapolis Colts wide receivers coach Mike Groh for their vacant offensive coordinator position, according to a person familiar with the situation.

The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Wednesday because the team does not announce its interviews.

Both coaches were interviewed remotely. Finalists are expected to be brought in for in-person interviews.

Panthers coach Matt Rhule fired offensive coordinator Joe Brady midseason with the offense struggling. The Panthers finished 5-12 and ranked 30th on offense in yards and 29th in points scored.

Kubiak has spent five seasons coaching at the NFL level, including the last three with the Vikings. He was promoted to offensive coordinator in February of 2021, replacing his father Gary Kubiak after he retired.

Groh has 21 years of coaching experience, including nine seasons in the NFL. He previously served three years as the Philadelphia Eagles offensive coordinator, helping them win a Super Bowl in 2017.

NFL PLAYOFFS KICK OFF WITH THREE DAYS OF SUPER WILD CARD ACTION

Get ready for a three-day weekend unlike any other.

Super Wild Card Weekend begins with two games Saturday, continues with a tripleheader on Sunday and finishes with the debut of a Monday night Wild Card game.

The 2021 postseason kicks off Saturday on the heels of the most exciting regular season in NFL history. NFL teams combined to pack into the 2021 season:

  • 34 games that featured a winning score on the final play, the most ever;
  • 49 game-winning scores in the final minute of regulation or in overtime, tied for the most in a season all-time;
  • 57 game-winning scores in the final two minutes of regulation or in overtime, also tied for the most in NFL history.

Super Wild Card Weekend features steady, quality teams led by consistent veterans, and young and on-the-rise clubs guided by sensational newcomers.

Each of the last six NFL Drafts have contributed a starting quarterback to this weekend’s games: The Patriots’ MAC JONES (first round, 2021), the Bengals’ JOE BURROW (first round, 2020), the Eagles’ JALEN HURTS (second round, 2020), the Cardinals’ KYLER MURRAY (first round, 2019), the Bills’ JOSH ALLEN (first round, 2018), the Chiefs’ PATRICK MAHOMES (first round, 2017) and the Cowboys’ DAK PRESCOTT (fourth round, 2016),

And, with six starting quarterbacks not yet 27 years old, the 2021 playoff field is expected to tie for the second-most such quarterbacks in league history. Only the 2020 postseason, with seven, had more.

The weekend also features TOM BRADY guiding a Tampa Bay team challenging to snap the NFL’s 17-year stretch without a repeat Super Bowl champion, the longest streak in league history. Not since Brady and the Patriots won consecutive Super Bowl titles in 2003 and 2004 has an NFL team repeated as world champion.

SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles awaits. For 14 teams, the journey toward that dream continues this weekend. 

The NFL Super Wild Card Weekend schedule with kickoff times:

Saturday, January 15
AFCLas Vegas at Cincinnati4:35 PM ETNBC, Peacock, Universo
AFCNew England at Buffalo8:15 PM ETCBS, Paramount+
Sunday, January 16
NFCPhiladelphia at Tampa Bay1:05 PM ETFOX, FOX Deportes
NFCSan Francisco at Dallas4:40 PM ETCBS, Paramount+, Nickelodeon, Amazon Prime Video
AFCPittsburgh at Kansas City8:15 PM ETNBC, Peacock, Telemundo
Monday, January 17
NFCArizona at Los Angeles Rams8:15 PM ETESPN/ABC, ESPN2, ESPN+, ESPN Deportes

The 14 teams in contention for the Vince Lombardi Trophy at Super Bowl LVI in Los Angeles:

American Football ConferenceNational Football Conference
1.Tennessee Titans (12-5), AFC South champion*1.Green Bay Packers (13-4), NFC North champion*
2.Kansas City Chiefs (12-5), AFC West champion2.Tampa Bay Buccaneers (13-4), NFC South champion
3.Buffalo Bills (11-6), AFC East champion3.Dallas Cowboys (12-5), NFC East champion
4.Cincinnati Bengals (10-7), AFC North champion4.Los Angeles Rams (12-5), NFC West champion
5.Las Vegas Raiders (10-7)5.Arizona Cardinals (11-6)
6.New England Patriots (10-7)6.San Francisco 49ers (10-7)
7.Pittsburgh Steelers (9-7-1)7.Philadelphia Eagles (9-8)
*Earned conference’s only first-round bye

WILD-CARD SUPER BOWL WINNERS: The Buccaneers last year took their first postseason step toward an eventual Super Bowl title by winning a Wild Card game as a Wild Card team (non-division winner). Since the inception of Wild Card playoff entries in 1978, Tampa Bay became the seventh Wild Card team to win a Super Bowl. Will another Wild Card team playing this weekend join that group at Super Bowl LVI in Los Angeles?

The seven Wild Card teams to win the Super Bowl:

WILD CARD TEAMSEASONOPPONENTSUPER BOWL
Tampa Bay Buccaneers2020Kansas City ChiefsLV
Green Bay Packers2010Pittsburgh SteelersXLV
New York Giants2007New England PatriotsXLI
Pittsburgh Steelers2005Seattle SeahawksXL
Baltimore Ravens2000New York GiantsXXXV
Denver Broncos1997Green Bay PackersXXXII
Oakland Raiders1980Philadelphia EaglesXV

REMATCHES: Five of the six games on Super Wild Card Weekend are rematches of 2021 regular-season games. No other Wild Card round in league history has had as many rematches.

The five rematches in the Wild Card round of the 2021 playoffs:

WILD CARD GAMEIN REGULAR SEASON
Arizona at L.A. RamsCardinals, 37-20 (Week 4 at Rams); Rams, 30-23 (Week 14 at Cardinals)
Las Vegas at CincinnatiBengals, 32-13 (Week 11, at Raiders)
New England at BuffaloPatriots, 14-10 (Week 13 at Bills); Bills, 33-21 (Week 16 at Patriots)
Philadelphia at Tampa BayBuccaneers, 28-22 (Week 6, at Eagles)
Pittsburgh at Kansas CityChiefs, 36-10 (Week 16, at Chiefs)

Don’t expect the team that won the regular-season matchup to automatically follow with a Wild Card win. Eight teams in the previous five years have rebounded from at least one regular-season loss against an opponent to avenge that loss with a win in the Wild Card round.

  • Last season alone, the BALTIMORE RAVENS knocked off Tennessee while the CLEVELAND BROWNS defeated Pittsburgh and the LOS ANGELES RAMS beat Seattle after each splitting their regular-season series.

ENCORE PERFORMANCES FOR MONDAY NIGHT WINNERSThe Rams host the Cardinals in the NFL’s first Monday postseason contest since the Rams lost to the Minnesota Vikings in a Wild Card game on Dec. 26, 1988. The winner of Monday’s game will have history on its side in the Divisional round.

  • During the 2021 regular season, teams that won on a Monday went 13-2-1 on the following Sunday.
  • Over a longer stretch, dating to Week 14 of the 2020 season, clubs that won a Monday game have gone 16-2-1 on the following Sunday.

WATCH OUT FOR ROAD TEAMS: The road club has won 10 of the last 14 NFL Wild Card games over the past three seasons, including four of the six Wild Card games last year. Since the 2017 playoffs, road teams are 12-6. And, in eight of the past nine seasons, at least one road team has won a Wild Card game.

A look at the six games on Super Wild Card Weekend:

LAS VEGAS RAIDERS (10-7) at CINCINNATI BENGALS (10-7)

Saturday, NBC/Peacock/Universo, 4:35 PM ET

  • Cincinnati has captured its first division title since 2015 and looks for its first postseason win since Jan. 6, 1991, when the Bengals won a Wild Card game over the Houston Oilers before traveling to the Los Angeles Coliseum, where they lost to the Raiders, 20-10, in the last postseason meeting between the clubs.
  • This season, Bengals head coach ZAC TAYLOR guided a team that became the first in NFL history with a 4,000-yard passer (JOE BURROW), a 1,000-yard rusher (JOE MIXON) and two 1,000-yard receivers (JA’MARR CHASE and TEE HIGGINS) all under the age of 26 in the same season. Chase and Higgins, who are each under the age of 23, became the youngest pair of 1,000-yard receivers in NFL annals.
  • Burrow makes his postseason debut after setting single-season franchise records with 4,611 passing yards and 34 touchdown passes and ranking second in the NFL with a 108.3 passer rating.
  • Chase led the AFC with 1,455 receiving yards, the most by a rookie in the Super Bowl era.
  • Mixon finished third in the league with a career-best 1,205 rushing yards. He joined AUSTIN EKELER and JONATHAN TAYLOR as the only players with at least 1,500 scrimmage yards and 15 touchdowns (16) this season.
  • Cincinnati also had the fifth-stingiest rushing defense in the NFL (102.5 rushing yards per game).
  • Bengals defensive end TREY HENDRICKSON is one of two NFL players with 13-or-more sacks in each of the past two seasons, joining T.J. WATT.
  • Raiders head coach RICH BISACCIA and quarterback DEREK CARR have led the franchise to its first postseason appearance since 2016 and the first since the team moved to Las Vegas.
  • Carr, who was injured and could not play in the team’s last postseason game, is expected to make his postseason debut after ranking fifth in the NFL with a franchise-record 4,804 yards this season. Carr is one of four quarterbacks in league history with at least 3,000 passing yards in each of his first eight seasons.
  • Las Vegas wide receiver HUNTER RENFROW led the team with career bests in receptions (103), receiving yards (1,038) and touchdown catches (nine), joining Pro Football Hall of Famer TIM BROWN (104 in 1997) as the only wide receivers in franchise history to reach 100 catches in a season.

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (10-7) at BUFFALO BILLS (11-6)

Saturday, CBS/Paramount +, 8:15 PM ET      

  • Buffalo and New England will meet for a third time in 2021, having split the regular-season series. The road team has won each of the past three meetings.
  • On defense, the Bills (17.0 points allowed per game) and the Patriots (17.8) ranked first and second, respectively, in the NFL. Each team also had 30 takeaways this season, tied for third in the NFL.
  • The Patriots secured their 11th postseason berth in the past 12 seasons. Head coach BILL BELICHICK has 31 postseason wins in 43 postseason games as a head coach, both the most in NFL history.
  • New England’s MAC JONES became the first rookie quarterback to lead his team to the playoffs since DAK PRESCOTT in 2016. Jones led all rookies this season in completion percentage (67.6), passing yards (3,801), touchdown passes (22) and passer rating (92.5). He is bidding to become just the fourth rookie quarterback since 2000 and first since RUSSELL WILSON in 2012 to go on the road and win his first NFL postseason start.
  • The Patriots ranked second in the league with 24 rushing touchdowns this season, including 15 rushing touchdowns from running back DAMIEN HARRIS, tied for the second-most in the NFL this season.
  • New England defensive back J.C. JACKSON led the NFL with a career-high 23 passes defensed, including eight interceptions. Jackson, who has 25 career interceptions, became the fourth player in the Super Bowl era to record 25-or-more interceptions in his first four seasons.
  • Buffalo’s SEAN MCDERMOTT has led the Bills to playoff appearances in four of his five seasons as an NFL head coach, including consecutive AFC East titles, the team’s first division crowns since 1995. His 2021 club was the only team in the NFL to finish in the top five in both total offense (381.9 yards per game, fifth) and total defense (272.8 yards allowed per game, first).
  • Bills quarterback JOSH ALLEN became the first player in franchise history to pass for 4,000 yards in consecutive seasons. With six rushing touchdowns this season, he also became the first quarterback ever with six-or-more rushing touchdowns in each of his first four seasons.
  • Buffalo wide receiver STEFON DIGGS is one of two NFL players with 1,000-or-more receiving yards and at least six touchdown catches in each of the past four seasons, joining MIKE EVANS.

PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (9-8) at TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (13-4)

Sunday, FOX/FOX Deportes, 1:05 PM ET

  • Answering the team’s first Super Bowl victory since 2002, Tampa Bay won its division for the first time since 2007. The Buccaneers are bidding to become the first team since the 2004 Patriots and the eighth overall to repeat as Super Bowl champions.
  • Under head coach BRUCE ARIANS, who owns a 5-2 career postseason record, the Buccaneers in 2021 ranked second among NFL teams in both scoring offense (30.1 points per game) and total offense (405.9 yards per game), and led the NFC by allowing only 92.5 rushing yards per game on defense.
  • Reigning Super Bowl MVP TOM BRADY paced the NFL in passing touchdowns (43) and passing yards (career-high 5,316, the third-most passing yards in a season in NFL history). His 485 completions this year were a single-season NFL record. Brady this season joined DREW BREES as one of two players all-time with multiple 5,000-yard passing seasons, and joined AARON RODGERS as one of two quarterbacks ever with three seasons of 40-or-more touchdown passes.
  • Buccaneers wide receiver MIKE EVANS, who ranked second in the NFL with 14 receiving touchdowns in 2021, became the first player in NFL history to reach 1,000 yards in each of his first eight seasons.
  • First-year head coach NICK SIRIANNI returned the Eagles to the playoffs. Philadelphia has now advanced to the postseason in four of the past five years, including a Super Bowl LII title in 2017.
  • In 2021, no other team had more rushing yards than the Eagles (159.7 yards per game). Philadelphia became the first team since the 1985 CHICAGO BEARS to record at least 175 rushing yards in seven consecutive games (Week 8-15 this season).
  • Eagles quarterback JALEN HURTS makes his playoff debut after leading NFL quarterbacks with 784 rushing yards and 10 rushing touchdowns in 2021. His five career games with two-or-more rushing touchdowns are the most by a quarterback in his first two NFL seasons during the Super Bowl era.
  • Wide receiver DEVONTA SMITH established the Eagles’ rookie franchise record with 916 receiving yards.

SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (10-7) at DALLAS COWBOYS (12-5)

Sunday, CBS/Paramount+/Nickelodeon/Amazon Prime Video, 4:40 PM ET

  • Pittsburgh clinched its second straight postseason berth. The Steelers are seeking their first playoff win since beating the Chiefs, 18-16, at Arrowhead Stadium in the 2016 Divisional Playoffs.
  • MIKE TOMLIN has guided Pittsburgh to a .500-or-better record in each of his 15 seasons as an NFL head coach (2007-21) and makes his 10th postseason appearance at the reins of the franchise.
  • Kansas City extended its streak of AFC West division titles to six (2016-21). In Week 18, the Chiefs’ ANDY REID became just the fifth head coach in NFL history to reach 250 career wins. Including the postseason, Reid is 250-150-1 (.625) in 23 seasons.
  • Steelers quarterback BEN ROETHLISBERGER is expected to make his 23rd career postseason start and tie Pro Football Hall of Famer JOE MONTANA for the fourth-most by a quarterback in NFL history. Roethlisberger has at least 450 passing yards and four-or-more touchdown passes in each of his last two postseason starts.
  • Pittsburgh running back NAJEE HARRIS led NFL rookies with 1,667 scrimmage yards (1,200 rushing, 467 receiving) this season.
  • Steelers linebacker T.J. WATT had 22.5 sacks and matched the single-season NFL record held by Pro Football Hall of Famer MICHAEL STRAHAN (2001).
  • Chiefs quarterback PATRICK MAHOMES, who has a 100.4 passer rating in eight career postseason games, ranked fourth in the NFL with 4,839 passing yards and tied for fourth with 37 touchdown passes this season.
  • Kansas City’s TRAVIS KELCE became the first tight end ever with to top 1,000 receiving yards in six NFL seasons, and also the first ever at his position to reach 80 receptions in six consecutive years.
  • Wide receiver TYREEK HILL led the Chiefs and ranked third in the NFL with a career-best 111 receptions.

PITTSBURGH STEELERS (9-7-1) at KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (12-5)

Sunday, NBC/Telemundo/Peacock, 8:15 PM ET

  • Pittsburgh clinched its second straight postseason berth. The Steelers are seeking their first playoff win since beating the Chiefs, 18-16, at Arrowhead Stadium in the 2016 Divisional Playoffs.
  • MIKE TOMLIN has guided Pittsburgh to a .500-or-better record in each of his 15 seasons as an NFL head coach (2007-21) and makes his 10th postseason appearance at the reins of the franchise.
  • Kansas City extended its streak of AFC West division titles to six (2016-21). The Chiefs’ ANDY REID last week became just the fifth head coach in NFL history to reach 250 career wins. Including the postseason, Reid is 250-150-1 (.625) in 23 seasons.
  • Steelers quarterback BEN ROETHLISBERGER is expected to make his 23rd career postseason start and tie Pro Football Hall of Famer JOE MONTANA for the fourth-most by a quarterback in NFL history. Roethlisberger has at least 450 passing yards and four-or-more touchdown passes in each of his last two postseason starts.
  • Pittsburgh running back NAJEE HARRIS led NFL rookies with 1,667 scrimmage yards (1,200 rushing, 467 receiving) this season.
  • Steelers linebacker T.J. WATT had 22.5 sacks and matched the single-season NFL record held by Pro Football Hall of Famer MICHAEL STRAHAN (2001).
  • Chiefs quarterback PATRICK MAHOMES, who has a 100.4 passer rating in eight career postseason games, ranked fourth in the NFL with 4,839 passing yards and tied for fourth with 37 touchdown passes this season.
  • Kansas City’s PATRICK KELCE became the first tight end ever with to top 1,000 receiving yards in six NFL seasons, and also the first ever at his position to reach 80 receptions in six consecutive years.
  • Wide receiver TYREEK HILL led the Chiefs and ranked third in the NFL with a career-best 111 receptions.

ARIZONA CARDINALS (11-6) at LOS ANGELES RAMS (12-5)

Monday, ESPN/ABC/ESPN2/ESPN+/ESPN Deportes, 8:15 PM ET    

  • The Rams make their fourth trip to the playoffs in six seasons since returning to Los Angeles in 2016.
  • Under head coach SEAN MCVAY (2017-21), the Rams clinched their third NFC West title and fourth playoff berth.
  • Rams wide receiver COOPER KUPP led the NFL in receptions (145), receiving yards (1,947) and receiving touchdowns (16) in 2021, becoming the fourth player since the league merger in 1970 to lead the league in all three categories. His 145 receptions and 1,947 receiving yards were each the second-most by a player in a season all-time.
  • Los Angeles quarterback MATTHEW STAFFORD finished second in the league with 41 touchdown passes and third with 4,886 passing yards in 2021.
  • Defensive lineman AARON DONALD led the Rams with 12.5 sacks this season and became the fourth player since 1982, when the individual sack became an official NFL statistic, to record at least eight sacks in each of his first eight NFL seasons.
  • Arizona makes its first playoff appearance since advancing to the NFC Championship Game in 2015. Head coach KLIFF KINGSBURY and quarterback KYLER MURRAY make their postseason debuts.
  • The Cardinals in 2021 became one of just three teams ever to win seven consecutive road games, each by double digits, including a 37-20 triumph over the Rams at SoFi Stadium in Week 4.
  • Murray, who has 70 career touchdown passes and 20 career rushing touchdowns, became the first quarterback in NFL history to reach those two marks in his first three NFL seasons. He also distinguished himself as the only quarterback in league annals to reach 3,500 passing yards, and 400 rushing yards in each of his first three NFL seasons.
  • Arizona running back JAMES CONNER ranked third in the NFL with a career-high 18 touchdowns (15 rushing, three receiving). In each of the Cardinals’ two games against the Rams in 2021, Conner had two rushing touchdowns.

PLAYOFF PREVIEW

The NFL playoffs begin with Super Wild Card Weekend (January 15-17), which for the first time will conclude with a game on Monday night.

The NFL Super Wild Card Weekend schedule:

Saturday, January 15

AFCLas Vegas at Cincinnati4:30 PM ETNBC, Peacock, Universo
AFCNew England at Buffalo8:15 PM ETCBS, Paramount+
Sunday, January 16

NFCPhiladelphia at Tampa Bay1:00 PM ETFOX, FOX Deportes
NFCSan Francisco at Dallas4:30 PM ETCBS, Paramount+, Nickelodeon, Amazon Prime Video
AFCPittsburgh at Kansas City8:15 PM ETNBC, Peacock, Telemundo
Monday, January 17

NFCArizona at Los Angeles Rams8:15 PM ETESPN/ABC, ESPN2, ESPN+, ESPN Deportes

The NFL expanded the playoffs last season for the first time since 1990, adding a third Wild Card team in each conference and in the process creating “Super Wild Card Weekend” – three Wild Card games on Saturday and three games on Sunday.

With the addition of a Monday night game to the 2021 playoffs, Super Wild Card Weekend will now have two Wild Card games on Saturday (4:30 PM and 8:15 PM ET), three on Sunday (1:00 PM, 4:30 PM, and 8:15 PM ET), and one on Monday (8:15 PM ET).

On Saturday, the Las Vegas Raiders play at the Cincinnati Bengals (NBC, Peacock, Universo, 4:30 PM ET) and the New England Patriots visit the Buffalo Bills (CBS, Paramount+, 8:15 PM ET).

Super Wild Card Weekend continues Sunday as the Philadelphia Eagles visit the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (FOX, FOX Deportes, 1:00 PM ET), the Dallas Cowboys welcome the San Francisco 49ers (CBS, Paramount+, Nickelodeon, Amazon Prime Video, 4:30 PM ET) and the Pittsburgh Steelers travel to face the Kansas City Chiefs (NBC, Peacock, Telemundo, 8:15 PM ET).

Super Wild Card Weekend concludes with the Arizona Cardinals visiting the Los Angeles Rams on Monday night(ESPN/ABC, ESPN2, ESPN+ ESPN Deportes, 8:15 PM ET).

TURNAROUND TEAMS & CONSISTENT WINNERS HIGHLIGHT PLAYOFF FIELD

There are seven new playoff teams in 2021: ARIZONACINCINNATIDALLASLAS VEGASNEW ENGLANDPHILADELPHIA and SAN FRANCISCO.

Since 1990 – a streak of 32 consecutive seasons – at least four teams have qualified for the playoffs in every season that were not in the postseason the year before.

The teams since 1990 to make the playoffs a season after failing to qualify:

SEASONPLAYOFF TEAMS NOT IN PREVIOUS SEASON’S PLAYOFFS
19907 (Cincinnati, Chicago, Kansas City, Los Angeles Raiders, Miami, New Orleans, Washington)
19915 (Atlanta, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, New York Jets)
19926 (Miami, Minnesota, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, San Diego Chargers, San Francisco)
19935 (Denver, Detroit, Green Bay, Los Angeles Raiders, New York Giants)
19945 (Chicago, Cleveland, Miami, New England, San Diego Chargers)
19954 (Atlanta, Buffalo, Indianapolis, Philadelphia)
19965 (Carolina, Denver, Jacksonville, Minnesota, New England)        
19975 (Detroit, Kansas City, Miami, New York Giants, Tampa Bay)
19985 (Arizona, Atlanta, Buffalo, Dallas, New York Jets)
19997 (Detroit, Indianapolis, St. Louis Rams, Seattle, Tampa Bay, Tennessee, Washington)
20006 (Baltimore, Denver, New Orleans, New York Giants, Oakland Raiders, Philadelphia)
20016 (Chicago, Green Bay, New England, New York Jets, Pittsburgh, San Francisco)
20025 (Atlanta, Cleveland, Indianapolis, New York Giants, Tennessee)
20038 (Baltimore, Carolina, Dallas, Denver, Kansas City, New England, St. Louis Rams, Seattle)
20045 (Atlanta, Minnesota, New York Jets, Pittsburgh, San Diego Chargers)
20057 (Carolina, Chicago, Cincinnati, Jacksonville, New York Giants, Tampa Bay, Washington)
20067 (Baltimore, Dallas, Kansas City, New Orleans, New York Jets, Philadelphia, San Diego Chargers)
20076 (Green Bay, Jacksonville, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay, Tennessee, Washington)
20087 (Arizona, Atlanta, Baltimore, Carolina, Miami, Minnesota, Philadelphia)
20096 (Cincinnati, Dallas, Green Bay, New England, New Orleans, New York Jets)
20105 (Atlanta, Chicago, Kansas City, Pittsburgh, Seattle)
20116 (Cincinnati, Denver, Detroit, Houston, New York Giants, San Francisco)
20124 (Indianapolis, Minnesota, Seattle, Washington)
20135 (Carolina, Kansas City, New Orleans, Philadelphia, San Diego Chargers)
20145 (Arizona, Baltimore, Dallas, Detroit, Pittsburgh)
20154 (Houston, Kansas City, Minnesota, Washington)
20166 (Atlanta, Dallas, Detroit, Miami, New York Giants, Oakland Raiders)
20178 (Buffalo, Carolina, Jacksonville, Los Angeles Rams, Minnesota, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Tennessee)
20187 (Baltimore, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Indianapolis, Los Angeles Chargers, Seattle)
20195 (Buffalo, Green Bay, Minnesota, San Francisco, Tennessee)
20207 (Chicago, Cleveland, Indianapolis, Los Angeles Rams, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay, Washington)
20217 (Arizona, Cincinnati, Dallas, Las Vegas, New England, Philadelphia, San Francisco)

Two teams won division titles – Cincinnati (AFC North) and Dallas (NFC East) – after missing the playoffs last season. At least two teams have won their divisions the season after missing the playoffs in 18 of the past 19 years.

Cincinnati completed the “worst-to-first” turnaround, winning the AFC North the season after finishing in last place. At least one team has won its division the season after finishing in or tied for last place in 17 of the past 19 seasons.

The divisions with new champions in 2021:

AFC NORTHNFC EASTNFC SOUTHNFC WEST
2021CincinnatiDallasTampa BayLos Angeles Rams
2020PittsburghWashingtonNew OrleansSeattle

In the 20 seasons since realignment in 2002, 30 of the 32 NFL teams have won a division title at least once.

How the 2021 playoff teams have fared in the 20 seasons since realignment in 2002 (2021 division winners in bold/italics):

TEAMDIVISION TITLESPLAYOFF BERTHS
New England1617
Green Bay1215
Philadelphia812
Pittsburgh812
Kansas City811
Dallas68
Cincinnati58
San Francisco46
Tennessee48
L.A. Rams46
Tampa Bay45
Arizona35
Buffalo24
Las Vegas13

Seven of this season’s 14 playoff teams have won at least one Super Bowl since 1999, capturing 14 of the past 22 Vince Lombardi Trophies. Those teams are the Patriots (XXXVI, XXXVIII, XXXIX, XLIX, LI, LIII), Buccaneers (XXXVII, LV), Steelers (XL, XLIII), Packers (XLV), Chiefs (LIV), Eagles (LII) and Rams (XXXIV).

SUPER BOWLSEASONWINNER
XXXIV1999St. Louis Rams*
XXXV2000Baltimore Ravens
XXXVI2001New England Patriots*
XXXVII2002Tampa Bay Buccaneers*
XXXVIII2003New England Patriots*
XXXIX2004New England Patriots*
XL2005Pittsburgh Steelers*
XLI2006Indianapolis Colts
XLII2007New York Giants
XLIII2008Pittsburgh Steelers*
XLIV2009New Orleans Saints
XLV2010Green Bay Packers*
XLVI2011New York Giants
XLVII2012Baltimore Ravens
XLVIII2013Seattle Seahawks
XLIX2014New England Patriots*
502015Denver Broncos
LI2016New England Patriots*
LII2017Philadelphia Eagles*
LIII2018New England Patriots*
LIV2019Kansas City Chiefs*
LV2020Tampa Bay Buccaneers*
*In 2021 postseason

The New England Patriots (.638), San Francisco 49ers (.604) and Green Bay Packers (.600) have the three highest postseason winning percentages in NFL history, while the Patriots (37 wins), Packers (36) and Pittsburgh Steelers (36) have the most postseason wins all-time.

The 14 playoff teams and their postseason records:

TEAMWINSLOSSESPCT.
New England Patriots3721.638
San Francisco 49ers3221.604
Green Bay Packers3624.600
Pittsburgh Steelers3626.581
Las Vegas Raiders2519.568
Dallas Cowboys3528.556
Tampa Bay Buccaneers109.526
Philadelphia Eagles2323.500
Buffalo Bills1618.471
Los Angeles Rams2227.449
Arizona Cardinals79.438
Tennessee Titans1722.436
Kansas City Chiefs1520.429
Cincinnati Bengals514.263

YOUTH & CONSISTENCY HIGHLIGHT THE PLAYOFF QUARTERBACKS

The 2021 postseason is filled with young stars on the rise and veterans at the top of their game at the quarterback position.

Six starting quarterbacks are under the age of 27 – Buffalo’s JOSH ALLEN (age 25), Cincinnati’s JOE BURROW (25), Philadelphia’s JALEN HURTS (23), New England’s MAC JONES (23), Kansas City’s PATRICK MAHOMES (26) and Arizona’s KYLER MURRAY (24). The only postseason with more was 2020 (seven).

Four quarterbacks have won at least one Super Bowl title, including three that have been named Super Bowl Most Valuable Player:

  • Tampa Bay quarterback TOM BRADY, who has a league-record seven Super Bowl titles after leading the Buccaneers to a Super Bowl LV title last season, led the NFL in passing yards (5,316) and passing touchdowns (43) as the Buccaneers earned their first NFC South division title since 2007. Brady is the postseason’s all-time leader in games played (45), passing yards (12,449) and touchdown passes (83) and has been named Super Bowl MVP five times, more than any player in league history.

  • Kansas City quarterback PATRICK MAHOMES ranked fourth in the NFL with 4,839 passing yards and tied for fourth with 37 touchdown passes to help the Chiefs earn their sixth consecutive AFC West Division title and fourth since he became the starting quarterback in 2018. In eight career postseason starts, he has 2,324 passing yards (290.5 per game) with 21 touchdowns (17 passing, four rushing) against four interceptions for a 100.4 rating and has led the Chiefs to consecutive Super Bowl appearances. During the 2019 season, Mahomes became the youngest quarterback to win Super Bowl MVP honors as Kansas City earned the Super Bowl LIV title.

  • Green Bay quarterback AARON RODGERS, who is expected to make his 21st career playoff start in the Divisional round, can tie Pro Football Hall of Famer JOHN ELWAY (21 starts) for the sixth-most in NFL history. Rodgers led the NFL with a 111.9 passer rating and became the fourth quarterback since 1970 to lead the league in the category in at least four different seasons. In 20 career postseason starts, he has 5,669 passing yards (283.4 per game) with 49 touchdowns (45 passing, four rushing) and 13 interceptions for a 100.5 rating. Rodgers earned Super Bowl MVP honors when he led the Packers to a Super Bowl XLV championship in 2010.

  • Pittsburgh quarterback BEN ROETHLISBERGER has 22 career postseason starts, the fifth-most in NFL history, and can tie Pro Football Hall of Famer JOE MONTANA (23 starts) for the fourth-most all by a quarterback. He has totaled 5,757 passing yards and 37 touchdowns (34 passing, three rushing) in the playoffs and led the Steelers to Super Bowl titles in 2005 (XL) and 2008 (XLIII). In 249 regular-season games, he ranks fifth all-time in passing yards (64,088) and eighth in touchdown passes (418).

    Five quarterbacks, including four age 25 or younger, are scheduled to make their playoff debuts:

  • Cincinnati quarterback JOE BURROW (age 25), the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, is slated to make his postseason debut on Super Wild Card Weekend. He finished the 2021 season ranked second in the NFL in passer rating (108.3), sixth in passing yards (4,611) and eighth in touchdown passes (34). In Week 16, Burrow recorded 525 passing yards, the fourth-most in a single game in NFL history.

  • Las Vegas quarterback DEREK CARR makes his playoff debut after ranking fifth in passing yards (career-high 4,804) during the 2021 regular season. He became the fourth player with at least 3,000 passing yards in each of his first eight seasons in NFL history and the fifth player to reach 30,000 passing yards (31,700) in his first eight seasons all-time.

  • Philadelphia quarterback JALEN HURTS (age 23), a second-round selection (No. 53 overall) in the 2020 NFL Draft, looks to make his playoff debut in the Wild Card round. He passed for 3,144 yards and 16 touchdowns in 15 games this season and led all quarterbacks in rushing yards (784) and rushing touchdowns (10). Hurts has five career games with at least two rushing touchdowns, the most by a quarterback in his first two seasons in the Super Bowl era.

  • New England rookie quarterback MAC JONES (age 23) makes his postseason debut after totaling 3,801 passing yards, 22 touchdown passes and a 92.5 rating in 17 starts, all the most among rookies this season. He completed at least 70 percent of his passes in nine games, tied for the most such games by a rookie quarterback all-time. Jones became the third rookie to win each of his first six road starts and the fourth rookie quarterback in the Super Bowl era to win seven consecutive starts (Weeks 7-13).

  • Arizona quarterback KYLER MURRAY (age 24), the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, makes his postseason debut after leading the Cardinals to their first playoff berth since 2015. Murray totaled 3,787 passing yards with 24 touchdowns and a 100.6 rating while adding 423 rushing yards and five rushing touchdowns. He became the first player with at least 70 touchdown passes (70) and 20 rushing touchdowns (20) in his first three seasons all-time.

    Five starting quarterbacks will be making at least their second career postseason appearance:

  • Buffalo quarterback JOSH ALLEN, who led Buffalo to its second-consecutive AFC East division title, is expected to make his fifth-career postseason start. In his first four playoff starts, he has totaled 1,081 passing yards (270.3 per game) with five touchdowns against one interception for an 87.4 rating and added 237 rushing yards and one rushing touchdown. He also recorded a receiving touchdown in the 2019 Wild Card round. Allen has 103 touchdown passes and 31 rushing touchdowns since entering the NFL in 2018 and is the first player ever with at least 100 touchdown passes and 30 rushing touchdowns in his first four seasons.

  • San Francisco quarterback JIMMY GAROPPOLO is expected to make his fourth-career postseason start on Super Wild Card Weekend. He led the 49ers to a Super Bowl LIV appearance following the 2019 season. Garoppolo, who recorded 3,810 passing yards and 23 total touchdowns (20 passing, three rushing) in 15 starts this season, ranked third in the league with a 103.2 rating over the final 10 weeks of the regular season (Weeks 9-18).

  • Dallas quarterback DAK PRESCOTT makes his third trip to the postseason after leading Dallas to its first division title since 2018. In three career postseason starts, he has seven touchdowns (five passing, two rushing) with two interceptions and a 95.7 rating. Prescott ranked third in the league with a 104.2 passer rating this season and tied for fourth with a franchise-record 37 touchdown passes.

  • Los Angeles Rams quarterback MATTHEW STAFFORD makes his fourth-career postseason appearance and first with Los Angeles. He has at least 300 passing yards and a passer rating of 85-or-higher in two of his first three playoff starts, all of which occurred on the road. Stafford ranked second in touchdown passes (41), third in passing yards (4,886) and sixth in passer rating (102.9) this season.

  • Tennessee quarterback RYAN TANNEHILL is set to make his fifth-career postseason start when the Titans host their the Divisional playoff game after leading Tennessee to consecutive AFC South division titles. He recorded 3,734 passing yards and 21 touchdown passes in 2021 and is the only quarterback with at least seven rushing touchdowns in each of the past two seasons.

BEST NFL PLAYOFF PERFORMANCES

(Single postseason)

PASSING YARDS
PLAYER, TEAMSEASONCOMP.ATT.YARDSTDINT
Eli Manning, New York Giants20111061631,21991
Kurt WarnerHOF, Arizona2008921351,147113
Joe Flacco, Baltimore2012731261,140110
Tom Brady, New England2016931421,13773
Tom Brady, New England2017891391,13280
RUSHING YARDS
PLAYER, TEAMSEASONATT.YARDSTD 
John RigginsHOF, Washington19821366104 
Terrell DavisHOF, Denver19971125818 
Terrell DavisHOF, Denver1998784683 
Marcus AllenHOF, Los Angeles Raiders1983584664 
Eddie George, Tennessee19991084493 
RECEIVING YARDS
PLAYER, TEAMSEASONREC.YARDSTD 
Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona2008305467 
Hakeem Nicks, New York Giants2011284444 
Jerry RiceHOF, San Francisco1988214096 
Steve Smith, Sr., Carolina2003184043 
Charlie Brown, Washington1983144011 
RECEPTIONS
PLAYER, TEAMSEASONREC.YARDSTD 
Travis Kelce, Kansas City2020313603 
Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona2008305467 
Hakeem Nicks, New York Giants2011284444 
Demaryius Thomas, Denver2013283063 
Steve Smith, Sr., Carolina2005273353 
Wes Welker, New England2007272132 
SCRIMMAGE TOUCHDOWNS
PLAYER, TEAMSEASONTOTAL TDRUSH TDREC. TD 
Terrell DavisHOF, Denver1997880 
Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona2008707 
Larry CsonkaHOF, Miami1973660 
Franco HarrisHOF, Pittsburgh1974660 
Sony Michel, New England2018660 
Jerry RiceHOF, San Francisco1988606 
John RigginsHOF, Washington1983660 
Gerald Riggs, Washington1991660 
Emmitt SmithHOF, Dallas1995660 
Ricky Watters, San Francisco1993660 
Damien Williams, Kansas City2019642

NFL PLAYERS OF THE WEEK

AFC

Quarterback RYAN TANNEHILL of the Tennessee Titans, defensive end MAXX CROSBY of the Las Vegas Raiders and kicker DANIEL CARLSON of the Las Vegas Raiders are the AFC Offensive, Defensive and Special Teams Players of the Week for games played in Week 18 (January 8-9).

OFFENSE: QB RYAN TANNEHILL, TENNESSEE TITANS

  • Tannehill completed 23 of 32 pass attempts (71.9 percent) for 287 yards and tied a career-high with four touchdowns passes with no interceptions for a 138.9 rating in Tennessee’s 28-25 win over Houston to secure the top seed in the AFC playoffs. He led the AFC in both passing touchdowns and rating in Week 18.
  • This is Tannehill’s third career Offensive Player of the Week award and second with the Titans:
    • 2015: Week 7 (with Miami)
    • 2019: Week 14 (with Tennessee)
    • 2021: Week 18 (with Tennessee)


  • He joins Marcus Mariota (four-time winner), Steve McNair (four) and Vince Young (two) as Tennessee quarterbacks to earn the honor multiple times.

  • Tannehill becomes the first former Texas A&M Aggie to win three Offensive Player of the Week award.

DEFENSE: DE MAXX CROSBY, LAS VEGAS RAIDERS

  • Crosby recorded six tackles, three tackles for loss, three passes defensed and two sacks in Las Vegas’ 35-32 overtime win over the Los Angeles Chargers to secure a playoff berth. Crosby has three games with at least two sacks this season, tied for second-most in the AFC this season.

  • This is the third Defensive Player of the Week award for Crosby (second this season) and fourth overall Player of the Week award:
    • 2019: Week 11
    • 2020: Week 17 (Special Teams)
    • 2021: Weeks 1, 18
  • Crosby’s three defensive Player of the Week awards are tied with linebacker Khalil Mack, cornerback Terry McDaniel and linebacker William Thomas for the most-ever by a Raiders player. He is the first Raider to earn the honor multiple times in a season since Mack (2016).

SPECIAL TEAMS: K DANIEL CARLSON, LAS VEGAS RAIDERS

  • Carlson converted all five field goal attempts – from 24, 31, 40, 47 and 52 yards – as well as making both point after attempts. His 47-yard kick was a game-winner in overtime, earning a 35-32 win over the Los Angeles Chargers to clinch a playoff berth.

  • He is the only player in the league this season with two games of five made field goals.

  • This is the sixth Special Teams Player of the Week award for Carlson and fourth this season:
    • 2018: Week 11
    • 2020: Week 1
    • 2021: Weeks 2, 12, 17, 18

  • Carlson’s six Player of the Week awards are the second-most by a Raiders kicker, trailing only Sebastian Janikowski (seven).

  • Carlson is the first kicker ever to win four Player of the Week awards in one season.

NFC

Quarterback DAK PRESCOTT of the Dallas Cowboys, safety TRACY WALKER of the Detroit Lions and kicker ROBBIE GOULD of the San Francisco 49ers are the NFC Offensive, Defensive and Special Teams Players of the Week for games played in Week 18 (January 8-9).

OFFENSE: QB DAK PRESCOTT, DALLAS COWBOYS

  • Prescott completed 21 of 27 pass attempts (77.8 percent) for 295 yards and five touchdowns with no interceptions for a 151.8 rating in the Cowboys’ 51-26 win over Philadelphia. It marked his first career game with five touchdown passes, the most touchdown passes among all quarterbacks in Week 18.

  • This is the sixth-career Offensive Player of the Week award for Prescott and third in 2021, becoming the first quarterback in Cowboys history to win Offensive Player of the Week three times in one season:
    • 2019: Weeks 1 and 11
    • 2020: Week 2
    • 2021: Weeks 2, 16 and 18

  • Prescott is now tied with Pro Football Hall of Famer Troy Aikman (six-time winner) for the most Offensive Player of the Week awards by a Dallas quarterback.

DEFENSE: S TRACY WALKER, DETROIT LIONS

  • Walker tied his career-high with 13 tackles and recorded his third-career interception in the Lions’ 37-30 win over Green Bay. He was the only player with at least 10 tackles and an interception in Week 18.

  • This is Walker’s first Defensive Player of the Week award and he is the first Lions defensive player to earn the award since Darius Slay (Week 14, 2018).

  • Walker joins Charles Tillman (three-time winners) and Ike Taylor (two-time winner) as former Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns to win the award.

SPECIAL TEAMS: K ROBBIE GOULD, SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS

  • In Week 18, Gould converted both of his field goals – from 42 and 24 yards – and all three point after attempts for a total of nine points in the 49ers’ 27-24 overtime win at the L.A. Rams. He also punted twice with an average of 45 yards, including one downed inside the 20-yard line.

  • This is Gould’s 10th-career Special Teams Player of the Week award:
    • 2005 (with Chicago): Week 9
    • 2006 (with Chicago): Week 16
    • 2015: (with Chicago): Week 4
    • 2017 (with San Francisco): Weeks 13 and 15
    • 2018 (with San Francisco): Weeks 2 and 15
    • 2019 (with San Francisco): Week 16
    • 2020 (with San Francisco): Week 12
    • 2021 (with San Francisco): Week 18

  • Gould is the sixth kicker with at least 10 Special Team Player of the Week awards, joining Adam Vinatieri (19), Matt Prater (14), John Carney (13), Jason Hanson (12) and Justin Tucker (12).

AUSTRALIAN OPEN DRAW DELAYED AMID UNCERTAINTY OVER DJOKOVIC

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) The Australian Open draw was delayed at least 75 minutes Thursday amid uncertainty over top-ranked Novak Djokovic’s visa status.

The draw, to determine the men’s and women’s singles brackets at the year’s first tennis major, was scheduled to be held at 3 p.m. local time in Melbourne, but a tournament official told waiting media that the ceremony had been postponed until further notice and declined further comment.

It was later rescheduled to 4:15 p.m. local time.

The Australian Open begins Monday. Djokovic traveled to Australia seeking to win a 21st Grand Slam titles to break the men’s record of 20 he shared with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

The Australian immigration minister was still considering whether to deport the nine-time and defending Australian Open champion, who is not vaccinated against COVID-19, on public interest grounds.

Djokovic remained in limbo.

The 34-year-old Serb had his visa canceled on arrival in Melbourne last week when his vaccination exemption was questioned, but he won a legal battle on procedural grounds that allowed him to stay in the country.

Immigration Minister Alex Hawke can overrule the judge’s decision to reinstate the visa.

FROSH DUO HELPS NO. 8 DUKE BEAT WAKE FOREST WITHOUT COACH K

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) Paolo Banchero had 24 points and eighth-ranked Duke hit 13 straight shots to blow it open after halftime and beat Wake Forest 76-64 on Wednesday night with Hall of Fame coach Mike Krzyzewski sidelined by illness.

Fellow freshman A.J. Griffin had a season-high 22 points to help the Blue Devils bounce back from a weekend home loss to Miami. They did it with the retiring longtime Duke coach out with what the school called a “non-COVID-related virus,” while associate head coach Jon Scheyer – designated as Krzyzewski’s successor after this season – worked as acting coach.

Banchero and Griffin led the way as the Blue Devils (13-2, 3-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) suddenly stretched out a two-possession lead in the final minute of the first half – then carried a scorchingly hot hand into the second that wobbled the Demon Deacons (13-4, 3-3) for good.

Griffin ended the first half by pump-faking Khadim Sy off his feet and then stepping over to knock down a corner 3-pointer just before the horn for the 35-29 lead. The Blue Devils made their last four shots of the first half, then roared out of the break by making their first nine shots.

Alondes Williams scored 25 points for the Demon Deacons, who had the Blue Devils in a tight game coming down the first-half stretch and led 29-27 on Dallas Walton’s and-1 dunk with 54.1 seconds left. But the Demon Deacons erased a stretch of quality minutes with a shaky finish that jumpstarted Duke’s run-turned-landslide.

BIG PICTURE

Duke: This was the Blue Devils’ third game back from a COVID-19 outbreak that led to two postponements. They returned by shooting a season-low 37% in the win against Georgia Tech, then committed a season-worst 17 turnovers in the Miami loss. Along the way, Krzyzewski said it would take time for the Blue Devils to rebuild their conditioning to full-go game shape. This time, Duke shot 61% after halftime and 51% for the game while also making 7 of 15 3-pointers, with Griffin in particular continuing to blossom.

Wake Forest: Second-year coach Steve Forbes has brought a spark to the program after years of struggle, and it showed here with a loud home crowd – including a full and rowdy student section commonplace for the Chris Paul era in the mid-2000s. The Demon Deacons gave reason for the buzz by erasing an early eight-point hole and getting into a tight game, only to see this one unravel with a few ill-timed turnovers just before halftime to help Duke make its move.

UP NEXT

Duke: Hosts North Carolina State on Saturday.

Wake Forest: At Virginia on Saturday.

FORMER CUBS, RED SOX PITCHER JON LESTER ANNOUNCES RETIREMENT

CHICAGO (AP) Jon Lester, a durable left-hander who won three World Series titles during 16 years in the majors, has announced his retirement.

Lester, who turned 38 on Friday, finishes with a 200-117 record and a 3.66 ERA in 452 career games, including 451 starts. He also has been a reliable postseason performer, compiling a 2.51 ERA in 26 appearances.

The 6-foot-4 Lester helped Boston win the championship in 2007 and 2013, and led the Chicago Cubs to the title in 2016. The championship for the Cubs was the franchise’s first since 1908.

“It’s kind of run its course,” Lester told ESPN. “It’s getting harder for me physically. The little things that come up throughout the year turned into bigger things that hinder your performance.

“I’d like to think I’m a halfway decent self-evaluator. I don’t want someone else telling me I can’t do this anymore. I want to be able to hand my jersey over and say, `Thank you, it’s been fun.’ That’s probably the biggest deciding factor.”

Lester was selected by Boston in the second round of the 2002 amateur draft. The five-time All-Star broke into the majors with the Red Sox in 2006, going 7-2 with a 4.76 ERA in 15 starts.

Lester’s first big league season was cut short when he was diagnosed with a rare form of lymphoma. He underwent chemotherapy and returned to the majors in July 2007, helping the Red Sox to the AL East title by going 4-0 with a 4.57 ERA in 12 games down the stretch.

Lester then delivered in the postseason, pitching 5 2/3 scoreless innings in Boston’s clinching 4-3 victory over Colorado in Game 4 of the World Series.

Lester signed a $155 million, six-year contract with Chicago after the 2014 season. He shared NLCS MVP honors with Javier Baez on the way to the Cubs’ historic championship in 2016.

Lester got his 200th career win when he pitched six effective innings for St. Louis in a 5-2 victory at Milwaukee on Sept. 20.

RAYS: BULLPEN CATCHER JEAN RAMIREZ DIES UNEXPECTEDLY AT 28

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) The Tampa Bay Rays say bullpen catcher Jean Ramirez died unexpectedly this week. He was 28.

The team made the announcement on Twitter on Tuesday, with baseball operations president Erik Neander describing the former minor league player as a “caring teammate and friend” who “exuded so much joy in all he did.”

Tampa Ray didn’t release details of the death, which it said occurred Monday.

“As we process this unexpected and difficult loss, we are grateful for the times we shared with Jean,” Neander said.

Ramirez, a native of Puerto Rico who attended high school in Fort Worth, Texas, was a 28th-round draft pick out of Illinois State in 2016. He played three years in Tampa Bay’s minor league system before beginning a three-season stint as a bullpen catcher with the major league team in 2019.

“He brought so much passion and energy each day to our clubhouse and bullpen, and his love for the Rays and baseball was evident to all who interacted with him,” manager Kevin Cash said in a statement.

TV THURSDAY

COLLEGE BASKETBALLTIME ETTV
SETON HALL AT DEPAUL5:00PMFS1
STANFORD AT WASHINGTON STATE5:00PMESPNU
OHIO STATE AT WISCONSIN7:00PMESPN2
BUTLER AT GEORGETOWN7:00PMFS1
UNC ASHEVILLE AT WINTHROP7:00PMESPNU
SOUTHERN MISS AT LOUISIANA TECH7:00PMCBSSN
WRIGHT STATE AT ROBERT MORRIS7:00PMESPN+
DENVER AT SOUTH DAKOTA8:00PMESPN+
WESTERN ILLINOIS AT NORTH DAKOTA8:00PMESPN+
ST. THOMAS AT NORTH DAKOTA STATE8:00PMESPN+
INDIANA AT IOWA9:00PMFS1
GEORGIA STATE AT SOUTH ALABAMA9:00PMESPN2
RICE AT WKU9:00PMCBSSN
SIUE AT EASTERN ILLINOIS9:00PMESPNU
SOUTHERN UTAH AT MONTANA9:00PMESPN+
ABILENE CHRISTIAN AT GRAND CANYON9:00PMESPN+
OREGON AT UCLA9:30PMESPN
UTAH AT ARIZONA STATE9:30PMPAC12N
LOYOLA MARYMOUNT AT SAN FRANCISCO11:00PMCBSSN
COLORADO AT ARIZONA11:00PMFS1
BYU AT GONZAGA11:00PMESPN2/U
OREGON STATE AT USC11:00PMESPN2/U
GOLFTIME ETTV
SONY OPEN7:00PMGOLF
NBATIME ETTV
GOLDEN STATE AT MILWAUKEE7:30PMTNT
MINNESOTA AT MEMPHIS8:00PMBALLY SPORTS
LA CLIPPERS AT NEW ORLEANS8:00PMBALLY SPORTS
OKLAHOMA CITY AT BROOKLYN8:30PMYES
BALLY SPORTS
PORTLAND AT DENVER10:00PMTNT
NHLTIME ETTV
PHILADELPHIA AT BOSTON7:00PMESPN
COLUMBUS AT CAROLINA7:00PMESPN+
HULU
VANCOUVER AT TAMPA BAY7:00PMSPORTSNET
BALLY SPORTS
WINNIPEG AT DETROIT7:30PMSPORTSNET
BALLY SPORTS
NEW JERSEY AT NY ISLANDERS7:30PMMSG+
MSG
SEATTLE AT ST. LOUIS8:00PMROOT SPORTS
BALLY SPORTS
BUFFALO AT NASHVILLE8:00PMMSG-BUF
BALLY SPORTS
MONTREAL AT CHICAGO8:30PMNBCS-CHI
SPORTSNET
OTTAWA AT CALGARY9:00PMSPORTSNET
NY RANGERS AT SAN JOSE10:30PMNBCS-CA
MSG
PITTSBURGH AT LOS ANGELES10:30PMATTSN-PIT
BALLY SPORTS

NBA STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
 WLPCTCONF GBHOMEROADDIVCONFLAST 10STREAK
CHICAGO2712.69215-512-75-218-88-21 L
BROOKLYN2614.6501.511-1015-46-119-85-51 W
MIAMI2615.6342.012-414-117-117-78-23 W
MILWAUKEE2617.6053.013-713-106-218-136-42 L
PHILADELPHIA2317.5754.58-915-83-614-118-21 L
CLEVELAND2418.5714.511-913-94-114-95-52 W
CHARLOTTE2319.5485.512-511-145-315-97-34 W
TORONTO2018.5266.512-118-75-512-117-31 L
WASHINGTON2220.5246.512-710-136-515-135-53 W
10 BOSTON2121.5007.513-88-135-515-115-53 W
11 NEW YORK2121.5007.511-1110-104-613-177-32 W
12 ATLANTA1723.42510.58-109-134-410-133-73 L
13 INDIANA1527.35713.512-113-162-78-222-82 L
14 DETROIT931.22518.56-133-182-76-194-61 L
15 ORLANDO735.16721.52-155-201-104-270-1010 L
 
WESTERN CONFERENCE
 WLPCTCONF GBHOMEROADDIVCONFLAST 10STREAK
PHOENIX319.77517-514-45-420-76-41 W
GOLDEN STATE3010.7501.018-312-77-116-76-41 L
MEMPHIS2914.6743.515-814-64-222-910-010 W
UTAH2814.6674.014-814-69-018-45-54 L
DALLAS2219.5379.511-811-118-218-107-31 L
DENVER2019.51310.59-711-123-513-125-51 L
LA CLIPPERS2121.50011.014-127-93-513-174-62 W
LA LAKERS2121.50011.014-117-102-612-155-52 L
MINNESOTA2021.48811.511-109-114-415-145-51 L
10 PORTLAND1624.40015.014-112-131-48-184-62 W
11 SACRAMENTO1727.38616.011-146-135-612-194-61 W
12 SAN ANTONIO1526.36616.57-118-151-58-162-84 L
13 NEW ORLEANS1526.36616.59-116-152-410-165-51 W
14 OKLAHOMA CITY1327.32518.08-135-141-510-192-85 L
15 HOUSTON1231.27920.57-135-182-45-172-81 W
 

EIGHT TEAMS IN EACH CONFERENCE QUALIFY FOR THE PLAYOFFS. 

X – CLINCHED PLAYOFF SPOT,  Y – CLINCHED DIVISION,  Z – CLINCHED CONFERENCE

NHL STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
 GPWLOTLPTSROWGFGAHOMEROADL10
FLORIDA PANTHERS362475532314210819-3-05-4-56-3-1
CAROLINA HURRICANES33247250241157311-3-113-4-18-1-1
TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING382495532212811012-4-312-5-26-3-1
NEW YORK RANGERS372310450211079410-3-213-7-25-4-1
TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS35239349221178814-4-19-5-26-3-1
WASHINGTON CAPITALS372089491812510410-4-510-4-44-3-3
PITTSBURGH PENGUINS35219547201169010-5-211-4-39-1-0
BOSTON BRUINS332011242191048510-6-110-5-17-3-0
DETROIT RED WINGS3716165371510112512-5-24-11-33-5-2
10 COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS3416171331310812211-6-15-11-03-6-1
11 PHILADELPHIA FLYERS35131573313901196-7-37-8-44-3-3
12 NEW JERSEY DEVILS361417533131051269-7-35-10-24-6-0
13 NEW YORK ISLANDERS2810126261064804-5-36-7-35-2-3
14 BUFFALO SABRES3510196268921256-11-24-8-42-5-3
15 OTTAWA SENATORS299182208791075-9-04-9-25-4-1
16 MONTREAL CANADIENS357244186741285-10-12-14-31-7-2
 
WESTERN CONFERENCE
 GPWLOTLPTSROWGFGAHOMEROADL10
NASHVILLE PREDATORS372411250231179911-5-013-6-28-1-1
VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS3923142482013811712-9-211-5-05-3-2
COLORADO AVALANCHE332283472114310914-2-18-6-28-1-1
ST. LOUIS BLUES362110547191269814-3-27-7-37-2-1
ANAHEIM DUCKS3919137451611711012-6-47-7-34-4-2
LOS ANGELES KINGS361813541161009412-8-26-5-36-3-1
MINNESOTA WILD3321102441712210211-3-110-7-15-4-1
SAN JOSE SHARKS3720161411910511410-7-110-9-06-4-0
CALGARY FLAMES33171064015104834-3-413-7-23-6-1
10 DALLAS STARS33181323816979614-3-14-10-15-5-0
11 EDMONTON OILERS3418142381611311110-6-08-8-22-6-2
12 WINNIPEG JETS33161253715999910-6-16-6-45-4-1
13 VANCOUVER CANUCKS35161633513911008-7-18-9-28-1-1
14 CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS36131853110871216-7-37-11-23-4-3
15 SEATTLE KRAKEN35102142410971316-11-24-10-21-7-2
16 ARIZONA COYOTES348233198741294-12-14-11-23-6-1
 

EIGHT TEAMS IN EACH CONFERENCE QUALIFY FOR THE DIVISIONAL PLAYOFF FORMAT.  THE TOP THREE TEAMS FROM EACH DIVISION MAKE UP THE FIRST SIX SPOTS.   THE TWO REMAINING TEAMS WITH THE HIGHEST POINTS, REGARDLESS OF DIVISION, QUALIFY FOR THE FINAL TWO WILD CARD SPOTS.  

X – CLINCHED PLAYOFF SPOT, Y – CLINCHED DIVISION, Z – CLINCHED CONFERENCE