Today is Saturday, February 13, 2016.
|Saturday, February 13, 2016|
|Men's College Basketball|
|UNI||vs.||Wichita State||11:00 (EST) Preview|
N. Iowa-Wichita St. Preview
By NICOLINO DIBENEDETTO - STATS Writer
Friday, February 12 at 9:01 PM (EST)
Wichita State has only lost two games in three years during Missouri Valley Conference play. While one came against Northern Iowa just over a year ago, none have come at Charles Koch Arena.
The No. 25 Shockers look to extend the longest active home winning streak in the country Saturday against the surging Panthers.
Wichita State (18-6, 12-1) is 47-2 in its last 49 conference games with one of those defeats coming at Northern Iowa on Jan. 31, 2015. The Shockers need just two more wins to clinch at least a share of a third straight MVC title, and a three-game homestand could help them achieve that.
They've won 43 straight on their own court, including 24 in league play by an average of 19.4 points.
Wichita State has won four in a row at home over the Panthers (15-11, 7-6) and took the first meeting this season, 74-55 on the road Jan. 20 behind 56.5 percent shooting overall and 8 of 15 from 3-point range.
Ron Baker had 21 points and seven rebounds in that meeting, but he's been limited to 9.8 and 5.8 in six games since. However, that drop in production is partly due to the Shockers winning five of those games by an average of 24.0 points.
They coasted to a 74-48 win at Drake on Tuesday with Baker and Shaquille Morris leading the way with 11 points apiece. Wichita State got points from 11 others and the bench had a 34-5 scoring advantage in an impressive display of depth.
"When healthy, I think we're one of the most balanced teams around," coach Gregg Marshall said. "We've got a lot of guys who can put the ball in the basket."
The Shockers are also capable of preventing opponents from doing that. They're the stingiest team in the MVC, ranking first in scoring defense (60.7) and opponent field-goal percentage (38.7).
Wichita State has been even better over the last three games, limiting teams to 53.7 points and 28.0 percent from the field.
The Panthers, though, will present a challenge. They've averaged 71.4 points on 47.3 percent shooting during a five-game win streak following a four-game skid.
Jeremy Morgan led four players in double figures with a career-high 21 points and UNI went 10 for 23 from long range in an 83-69 victory over Missouri State on Wednesday.
Morgan, who also added eight rebounds and five assists, only managed three points on 1-of-6 shooting against Wichita State last month. He's averaged just 4.8 points in five career meetings.
The Panthers have won both games this season against ranked opponents, stunning then-No. 1 North Carolina on Nov. 21 and then-No. 5 Iowa State on Dec. 19.
However, both those victories came at home and they haven't beaten a Top 25 foe on the road since winning at No. 16 Wichita State on Dec. 30, 2006. That's UNI's only road win over a ranked opponent in program history.
|Texas A&M||vs.||LSU||12:00 (EST) Preview|
Texas A&M-LSU Preview
By ALAN FERGUSON - STATS Writer
Friday, February 12 at 6:31 PM (EST)
Texas A&M contained LSU star freshman Ben Simmons last month during its prosperous start to SEC play, but that's quickly becoming a distant memory.
The 15th-ranked Aggies have dropped three in a row heading into Saturday's visit to the Tigers, who will seek to maintain their share of first place in the conference.
Texas A&M held Simmons to 10 points, his second-fewest this season, in a 71-57 victory Jan. 19. Aggies freshman Tyler Davis matched a career high with 18 points and Jalen Jones scored 20 in the sixth of seven consecutive wins to open league play.
Texas A&M has dropped four straight SEC games since then, including a heartbreaker Wednesday at Alabama. Anthony Collins missed a pair of free throws with 2.3 seconds remaining in a 63-62 loss.
The Aggies nearly rallied from a seven-point deficit in the final 2:11 with Collins getting them to within one on a 3-pointer with 53 seconds to go.
"Our guys fought back," coach Billy Kennedy said. "We came out in the second half and were much more aggressive offensively, but we've got some guys playing down instead of playing up, meaning they're not playing with the confidence and ability that they have right now."
A win would have pushed A&M (18-6, 7-4) into a four-way tie for the SEC lead. Instead, it dropped one game back of LSU (15-9, 8-3), South Carolina and Kentucky.
If the Aggies can get past the Tigers, they would appear to have a favorable chance to make their mark in the race with two of their six ensuing games against teams above .500 in the conference.
LSU couldn't keep its hold on sole possession of the SEC lead Wednesday, losing 94-83 at South Carolina. The Gamecocks will face Kentucky on Saturday afternoon, meaning the Tigers need to win to keep pace with the victorious team.
"You've got to focus on the next thing ahead. You can sulk for a couple of minutes about the loss, but you've got to get right back into it," Simmons said. "It's an opportunity for us to get (Texas A&M) back. We're still in a good position right now."
Simmons, averaging 19.4 points and an SEC-best 12.1 rebounds, had a more typical scoring performance against South Carolina with 20 points on 8-of-12 shooting. The Tigers' other top freshman, Antonio Blakeney, had a team-best 22 after scoring a career-high 31 in an 88-77 victory against Mississippi State last Saturday.
Blakeney was averaging 9.5 points in his first 22 collegiate games and had seven at Texas A&M.
The Tigers, 12-2 at home and 5-0 in the SEC, will seek to end a three-game overall skid to the Aggies. Texas A&M earned its second win in 14 trips to Baton Rouge on Jan. 17, 2015, with a 67-64 victory.
Jones and Danuel House each had 18 points in that game. House, the Aggies' second-leading scorer (15.6 ppg), was held to a season-low five points against LSU last month, but contributed 10 rebounds and six assists.
Davis has totaled 19 points in his last three games while Jones had 21 against Alabama, his most in eight contests.
The Aggies haven't lost four straight in SEC play since a five-game skid Jan. 18-Feb. 1, 2014.
|Belmont||vs.||Morehead State||12:00 (EST)|
|Wake Forest||vs.||North Carolina State||12:00 (EST)|
|Kent State||vs.||Eastern Michigan||12:00 (EST)|
|TCU||vs.||West Virginia||12:00 (EST) Preview|
TCU-West Virginia Preview
By NICOLINO DIBENEDETTO - STATS Writer
Friday, February 12 at 10:17 PM (EST)
West Virginia's Jonathan Holton had one of his best performances of the season against TCU last month. His return from suspension gives him a chance to better that effort.
After splitting four games without Holton, the No. 10 Mountaineers go for an eighth straight win over the last-place Horned Frogs in this Big 12 matchup Saturday.
Holton was suspended four games for an undisclosed violation of team rules, leaving West Virginia (19-5, 8-3) without its second-leading rebounder (7.5 per game) and fifth-leading scorer (9.7 ppg).
The senior forward finished two points shy of his season high Jan. 4, scoring 15 on 6-of-8 shooting with six boards in a 95-87 win over TCU (11-13, 2-9).
Holton's return should bolster the Mountaineers on the glass after they were outrebounded in each of the last two games, falling 75-65 to sixth-ranked Kansas on Tuesday following an 80-69 victory over then-No. 15 Baylor last Saturday.
"If you're not mentally ready to go this is a hard league to play in," coach Bob Huggins told the team's official website.
Huggins is also looking for the Mountaineers to show improvement shooting after connecting on 37.3 percent from the floor - 5 of 20 from 3-point range - against the Jayhawks.
"You just can't miss that many shots," West Virginia coach Bob Huggins said. "You can't miss that many transition opportunities. We had all kinds of transition opportunities and we didn't convert one."
Daxter Miles Jr. had a forgettable game against Kansas, scoring two points while missing 7 of 8 shots. He had a season-high 20 points against the Bears three days earlier and contributed 14 at TCU last month.
Jaysean Paige had a team-high 20 points in that matchup as West Virginia improved to 7-0 all-time against the Horned Frogs.
Remaining perfect in the series will keep West Virginia tied atop the Big 12 as fellow co-leaders Kansas and Oklahoma meet in Norman later in the day.
Huggins, though, isn't taking the Horned Frogs lightly since they shot 57.7 percent from the floor and 9 for 17 from long range against the Mountaineers. They ended a seven-game skid in conference play by beating visiting Oklahoma State 63-56 on Monday, but have lost five straight league road games by an average of 19.2 points.
"They're playing better and they're going to play better because they are coached well," Huggins said of his counterpart Trent Johnson. "He coaches them up. I think because they were young on the perimeter they were maybe a little more inside-oriented the last time we played them. Then they started making shots. They are very capable of making shots as they did the other day against Oklahoma State."
TCU had 44 points and shot 65.2 percent in the second half against the Cowboys.
Brandon Parrish led the way with 15 points off the bench, but he was held to five against West Virginia last month. He was even worse in the last visit to Morgantown on Jan. 24, 2015, scoring three points in an 86-85 overtime defeat.
TCU has lost 32 of its last 33 games against ranked opponents, including 11 in a row during which it has allowed 78.7 points and 51.6 percent shooting.
The Horned Frogs have lost 34 consecutive such matchups on the road, dating to a win over No. 24 Hawaii on Jan. 19, 1998.
|Georgetown||vs.||Providence||12:00 (EST) Preview|
Friday, February 12 at 5:52 PM (EST)
Providence hasn't won since a tight contest at Georgetown two weeks ago.
These Big East rivals meet again Saturday, with the visiting Hoyas looking to hand the 20th-ranked Friars a fourth straight defeat.
Providence (18-7, 6-6) is in danger of dropping out of the Top 25 after a 96-91 loss in double overtime at Marquette on Wednesday. The Friars were swept by a Golden Eagles team below them in the standings.
''The two losses to these guys here is devastating, how we lost them both,'' coach Ed Cooley said. ''That's on me as the coach. Hopefully I do a better job if we're fortunate to play them again.''
First his club has to face Georgetown (14-11, 7-5) again after winning 73-69 on the road Jan. 30. Stars Ben Bentil and Kris Dunn each scored 26 points and got to the line for 10 attempts.
"They have two players that are elite, and they played like it," said Georgetown coach John Thompson III after that contest.
Bentil turned in an elite performance Wednesday with a career-high 42 points while Dunn had 17 points, seven boards and six assists. It wasn't enough to prevent the Friars from moving to the verge of their first four-game slide in three seasons.
''Devastating loss,'' said Cooley, whose club is tied for sixth in the conference and seeing its NCAA Tournament seeding drop thanks to this skid.
Last month's loss to Providence started a three-game slide for Georgetown, which ended it with Monday's 92-67 rout of a St. John's team that has the nation's longest losing streak at 15 straight. D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera scored 24 and Isaac Copeland had 23 and eight boards for the Hoyas, who weren't complaining about the caliber of their opponent.
"We needed a game like this, especially with Providence coming up on Saturday," Copeland said. "They're one of the toughest teams in the conference and the nation, so we needed a game like this to build our confidence up and be able to go on the road and get a win."
Smith-Rivera and L.J. Peak combined for 37 points the last time these teams met. Copeland was held to two points in 19 minutes but he is averaging 17.3 points on 50 percent shooting with 20 total rebounds in the three games since.
"He's been all over the place, which I've said all along he has the ability to do," Thompson said. "He's been really locked in and focused on pursuing rebounds, he's getting deflections, he's coming up with loose balls, his defense has been pretty good and all of a sudden now the points come, so I just think he's been playing a complete game."
This contest features the Big East's top three scorers, with Bentil averaging 20.6 points, Dunn 17.0 and Smith-Rivera 16.7. Peak, who started his first 12 games, is second in the conference among reserves with a 12.8 scoring average.
Providence's 2-4 home conference mark is the third-worst in the Big East. Georgetown has dropped three straight on the road since winning 81-72 over then-No. 5 Xavier on Jan. 19.
|Kansas State||vs.||Oklahoma State||12:00 (EST)|
|Kentucky||vs.||South Carolina||12:00 (EST) Preview|
Kentucky-South Carolina Preview
By KEVIN CHROUST - STATS Writer
Friday, February 12 at 10:44 PM (EST)
Recall last season's meetings between Kentucky and South Carolina and one might immediately pass the next off as a waste of time. It's probably a valid response when one team converts more field goals in 40 minutes than the other did in 80.
But the Wildcats are no longer a near or unanimous No. 1 the way they were in those games. And the Gamecocks aren't blindly scrambling for their first respectable season under Frank Martin.
Instead, when they meet Saturday in Columbia, one will fall from a three-way tie atop the SEC and the other will have done away with possibly the biggest threat standing in the way of a regular-season crown.
The teams find themselves here with a little give on the part of No. 22 Kentucky (18-6, 8-3) and plenty of take from South Carolina (21-3, 8-3). The Wildcats won last season's meetings by an average score of 67.5-43.0, limiting the Gamecocks to 25 field goals on 23.1 percent shooting.
John Calipari's team marched on unbeaten until the Final Four, while Martin settled for a 17-16 season after going 28-38 in his first two at the school.
The improvement hasn't been so subtle this season.
While no longer in the Top 25 and long departed from their 15-0 start, the Gamecocks followed last Saturday's 81-78 victory at then-No. 8 Texas A&M with Wednesday's 94-83 home win over LSU - the other team that enters Saturday at 8-3 in the league.
A treble of consecutive victories over each of the teams closest to them in the standings is the next step, which would also secure them their first 22-win season since finishing 23-15 in 2005-06.
"Enjoy being tied for first place. You've earned it," Martin told his team after the win over the Tigers. "But it's not time to celebrate."
Sindarius Thornwell scored 24 points, and the team's No. 2 scorer has averaged 19.2 on 41.2 percent shooting in his last five after posting 11.6 and 34.2 marks through 19 games. Top scorer Michael Carrera is at 20.3 points on 55.8 percent in his last seven after scoring 11.6 on 47.1 through 17.
Kentucky has won eight of the last nine meetings, but the loss came under circumstances similar to now with then-No. 17 Kentucky falling 72-67 at South Carolina on March 1, 2014. Dating to that win, Thornwell has averaged 16.0 points in three meetings, but it's come on 27.3 percent shooting.
While the Gamecocks are 13-0 at home for the first time since 1997-98 - when they lost their 14th game to eventual national champion Kentucky to end a 22-game home streak - the Wildcats are 2-5 on the road with four losses coming against unranked SEC foes.
There's also the matter of Kentucky having some key players either out, questionable or at least limited.
"I think if you look around the country, everybody on the road is struggling. When you're not a dominating team, it's hard to win on the road. ... I'd like to see how we respond," Calipari said.
"We don't have Alex (Poythress). Dom(inique Hawkins) is still probably 80 percent. Jamal (Murray) didn't practice (Thursday). He bumped knees and did it in the game, so he didn't practice. It'll be - this is a great test for us. They don't lose many games there and they're playing well."
So is Kentucky after Tuesday's 82-48 win followed a 80-61 win over Florida last Saturday. Both were at home, but the Wildcats shot a combined 51.8 percent and hit 53.7 percent of their 3-pointers.
Most of that's came from Murray, who had 24 points versus Georgia after a personal-best 35 against Florida and went a combined 14 of 20 from long range.
Calipari focused on the other end, where the Wildcats held the Bulldogs to 22.0 percent - reminiscent of some of those 2014-15 efforts.
"Now, we are back playing defense. We are really working on our team defense," he said. "If you make it an emphasis, they will do it."
|North Dakota State||vs.||Omaha||1:00 (EST)|
|UAB||vs.||Louisiana Tech||1:00 (EST)|
|BYU||vs.||Santa Clara||1:00 (EST)|
|Oregon||vs.||Stanford||1:00 (EST) Preview|
Friday, February 12 at 3:33 PM (EST)
Oregon's six-game win streak ended thanks to an awful start and listless defensive performance.
The 11th-ranked Ducks should be able to rectify their problems at the defensive end Saturday against the worst offensive team in the Pac-12.
They seek a split of their trip to the Bay Area when they try to hand Stanford its first five-game losing streak in 23 seasons.
Oregon (20-5, 9-3) suffered its worst loss of the season Thursday, 83-63 to California. The Golden Bears shot 55.7 percent for the second-highest mark allowed by the Ducks, who trailed by 10 less than three minutes into the game and 20 midway through the first half.
''We came out with no energy, no effort on defense,'' forward Dwayne Benjamin said. ''(We) just let them get a lot of confidence. Once a good team gets confidence, it's hard to stop them.''
That's something that seems to be in short supply for Stanford (11-11, 4-7) after Thursday's 62-50 home defeat to Oregon State in which it shot 37.0 percent. The Cardinal have hit 38.0 percent during their four-game slide and are at 41.6 for the season - last in the conference.
Stanford also averages a league-worst 69.5 points and is last in 3-point shooting at 31.2 percent - 23.2 in this losing streak.
"We have opportunities right in front of us, and we're turning down those opportunities," coach Johnny Dawkins said. "You might not get a better look than the looks we've gotten, and we're turning them down. That's an indicator to me that we're not as confident shooting the ball as we have been most of the season."
Top scorer Rosco Allen has shot 30.8 percent in his last three games for Stanford, which has not dropped five in a row since losing its final six of 1992-93. Dawkins insists the Cardinal can turn it around.
"I don't think any of our goals are unattainable," he said. "Whether it's winning the Pac-12, or being an NCAA Tournament team, I don't think any of those things are out of the question."
The Ducks posted a 71-58 home win over the Cardinal on Jan. 10. Dillon Brooks had 15 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists to come close to being the first Oregon player with a triple-double in 13 seasons. Stanford was outscored 36-16 in the paint and outrebounded 38-22.
Michael Humphrey led the Cardinal with 18 points in that contest, but the forward has averaged 6.4 points and 38.5 percent shooting in seven games since.
Oregon's Casey Benson had nine points, six assists and one turnover against Stanford. The point guard is third in the nation with an assist-to-turnover ratio of 4.9.
Benson was held scoreless Thursday on a forgettable night in which Brooks scored 17, with 15 coming in the second half after the game was essentially decided. Oregon trailed by as many as 25.
"You just have to bounce back," coach Dana Altman said. "It was not what we wanted or what we were hoping for, so now we have really got to bounce back. The team was shocked, and it'll take some leadership to get these guys to bounce back."
|Arkansas||vs.||Ole Miss||1:00 (EST)|
|Boston University||vs.||Loyola Maryland||1:00 (EST)|
|Kansas||vs.||Oklahoma||1:30 (EST) Preview|
Friday, February 12 at 4:18 PM (EST)
(AP) - Kansas coach Bill Self expects his Jayhawks to have their hands full Saturday dealing with Buddy Hield and the rest of the sharp-shooting Oklahoma Sooners.
Hield dropped in 46 points in Kansas' 109-106 triple-overtime win Jan. 4, but the nation's No. 2 scorer is just part of the story. Third-ranked Oklahoma leads the nation in 3-point shooting percentage by a significant margin heading into the rematch with the sixth-ranked Jayhawks. The Sooners are shooting .451 from beyond the arc - no team has finished a season with as high a percentage since Indiana shot .454 in 1993-94.
Oklahoma boasts three of the nation's best in 3-point shooting percentage - Hield ranks seventh at .500, Jordan Woodard is 15th at .486 and Isaiah Cousins 22nd at .468. Forward Ryan Spangler shoots .355 from beyond the arc.
But it's not just a matter of making jumpers. Self said Oklahoma's ability to attack inside the arc creates open 3s.
''I think that Oklahoma is probably the hardest personnel to guard, I think, because all of them can go get their own,'' Self said. ''All of them put pressure on the defense. None of them are just one-dimensional.''
It starts with Hield, who averages 25.7 points and hit a winning 3-pointer against Texas on Monday. This season, he's attacking, yet showing a willingness to share the ball.
Kansas (20-4, 8-3 Big 12) can't focus too much on Hield because he, Cousins and Woodard, Oklahoma's top three scorers, rank in the top 12 in the conference in assists during league play.
''Maybe something that's gone unnoticed a little bit is the fact that all our guys can drive and kick, and they can all handle it, and they like doing that,'' Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger said. ''They like passing to each other, and they're passing the ball well. Most of our shots from three are pretty good rhythm jumpers. They're not hard shots off the dribble. And the passes are on target.''
And the Sooners (20-3, 8-3) aren't just shooting a high percentage because of volume - they rank fourth nationally in 3-pointers made per game but only 44th in 3-pointers attempted.
Cousins went through a skid earlier during Big 12 play but has made 18 of 28 3s his past seven games.
''Isaiah's playing unbelievable right now,'' Hield said. ''He's sharing the ball and making shots. He's making things tough for the defense.''
Woodard led the nation in 3-point shooting percentage at one point but is 3 for 17 in the last four games. He scored 27 points and went 6 of 9 on 3-pointers the first time Oklahoma played Kansas.
''Jordan's been Jordan all year,'' Hield said. ''He hasn't been shooting the ball good these past couple of games, but I know come Saturday, he's going to be locked in and focused. Every time I come into the gym, he's there, you know, 1, 2 o'clock in the morning, shooting.''
Spangler is a unique combination - an enforcer who leads the Big 12 in rebounding during league play, and a skilled shooter with excellent court vision. He said the confidence the other scorers have in him helps him feel comfortable.
''When you know that all the guys on the floor want you to shoot that shot, then it makes it easier for you,'' he said. ''And we make sure we find the open guy.''
Hield remains Kansas' primary concern, and Self said Frank Mason will have much of the defensive responsibility for him. Self said Mason actually did a decent job last time, and that's what is scary.
''If Frank had not been on our team, he (Hield) would have got 60,'' Self said. ''I mean he scored, I'd say, 50 percent of the time he touched it, when Frank was guarding him. But he didn't touch it very often. If he'd have gotten 10 more touches, he could have scored 10 more points, easily.''
Mason has been struggling at the offensive end, shooting 29.4 percent during the Jayhawks' four-game winning streak. The junior point guard has a 1.06 assist-to-turnover ratio in the past nine games after previously being at 3.46.
Perry Ellis, though, has been hot with an average of 21.0 points in the past three games while hitting 76.5 percent from the field. The senior had team highs of 27 points and 13 rebounds in the first meeting with Oklahoma.
The Jayhawks have won the last four meetings in which he's played - Ellis missed a two-point loss in Norman in March with a sprained knee - as he's averaged 19.0 points and 9.0 boards.
|Purdue||vs.||Michigan||2:00 (EST) Preview|
By SCOTT GARBARINI - STATS Writer
Friday, February 12 at 5:12 PM (EST)
Michigan appears to have regained its outside shooting touch at a time it may really need it.
The Wolverines' ability to score from the perimeter could be critical to the outcome of Saturday's game with 18th-ranked Purdue, which enters the Crisler Center with confidence off its signature win of the season and recent success in the series.
Both teams enter this key Big Ten matchup off important victories that moved each within two games of first place. Michigan (18-7, 8-4) halted a two-game skid with Wednesday's 82-74 win at Minnesota, and Purdue (20-5, 8-4) ended five years of frustration against Michigan State by outlasting the No. 8 Spartans 82-81 in an overtime thriller Tuesday.
The Boilermakers, 0-3 against Top 25 teams coming in, received huge efforts from their two senior starters to stop a seven-game series skid. Raphael Davis went 6 of 8 from 3-point range while tying a career high with 24 points in 43 minutes, and center A.J. Hammons recorded eight blocks along with 19 points and 13 rebounds in a season-high 32 minutes.
"Keeping those guys going and keeping them making plays was huge for us this game," coach Matt Painter said. "Both of them were pretty gassed."
Hammons' presence keyed Purdue's 42-39 rebounding advantage on the Spartans, the leader among all major conference teams in rebounding margin. The Boilermakers are close behind at plus-11.4 and are the only Division I program yet to be outrebounded.
Purdue's size has been an issue for perimeter-oriented Michigan in the last two matchups. The Boilermakers have won both by double digits, outscoring the Wolverines 74-24 in the paint and limiting them to a combined 31.1 percent inside the arc.
Hammons totaled 17 points on 7-of-10 shooting with four blocks in an 87-70 home win Jan. 7. Michigan shot 31.9 percent and was outrebounded 44-22 in a 64-51 loss at Mackey Arena last season.
The Wolverines were outscored 44-26 in the paint by Minnesota but held off the last-place Golden Gophers behind a 14-of-25 effort on 3s. They improved to 12-1 when making more than 10 3-pointers and 11-0 when topping their season average of 40.9 percent.
Michigan shot 29.6 percent from beyond the arc over its previous three games that included home losses to ranked foes Indiana and Michigan State.
Duncan Robinson, second in the Big Ten in 3-point shots made (77) and percentage (48.1), was 2 of 13 over that stretch before finishing 4 of 7 against Minnesota. Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman, 1 of 11 from 3 over his previous four, had three triples while going 5 of 5 from the field for 16 points.
Derrick Walton Jr. had a career-high 26 points along with eight rebounds and seven assists, helping Michigan hold on after the Gophers cut a 19-point deficit to two with 1:37 left.
"We were good enough to make the right plays at the end," coach John Beilein said. "If you look, unfortunately as I do way too often, at the dark side of this one - if we lose this game then it's going to be very difficult. We needed this win."
Michigan was in need of momentum entering a challenging three-game sequence. The Wolverines visit Ohio State on Tuesday before traveling to No. 2 Maryland, whom Michigan defeated Jan. 12 for its lone win in seven games against ranked opponents.
The Wolverines have played five of those contests and 11 straight overall with leading scorer Caris LeVert sidelined by a lower leg injury. The senior guard increased his practice participation this week, though his return remains unclear.
|Western Michigan||vs.||Bowling Green||2:00 (EST)|
|Wyoming||vs.||Boise State||2:00 (EST)|
|Stetson||vs.||USC Upstate||2:00 (EST)|
|Rice||vs.||Old Dominion||2:00 (EST)|
|Gardner-Webb||vs.||Coastal Carolina||2:00 (EST)|
|Tennessee State||vs.||Eastern Kentucky||2:00 (EST)|
|Georgia Tech||vs.||Clemson||2:00 (EST)|
|New Mexico State||vs.||Chicago State||2:05 (EST)|
|Northern Colorado||vs.||Eastern Washington||2:05 (EST)|
|Southern Utah||vs.||Montana State||2:05 (EST)|
|Texas-Rio Grande Valley||vs.||UMKC||2:05 (EST)|
|Xavier||vs.||Butler||2:30 (EST) Preview|
By KEVIN MASSOTH - STATS Writer
Friday, February 12 at 10:03 PM (EST)
The offensive numbers that built Xavier's longest conference winning streak in five years disappeared quickly this week. The fifth-ranked Musketeers' Big East hopes might vanish, too, if they don't rediscover their shooting touch soon.
A suddenly cold Xavier will try to rebound from a disappointing loss when it visits streaking Butler on Saturday.
The Musketeers (21-3, 9-3) are the top-scoring team in Big East play at 78.1 points per game, and they averaged 85 while shooting 48.2 percent during a five-game win streak Jan. 23-Feb. 6 - the program's longest in the conference since the end of 2010-11.
The run was capped by last weekend's 90-82 victory over Marquette in which Xavier shot 50.8 percent and made 13 of 20 from 3-point range. That 65 percent mark from beyond the arc is the best by a Big East team since November 2014.
It was the Musketeers' ineptitude from long range, though, that sank them three days later. An abysmal 1-for-21 performance during Tuesday's 70-56 loss at Creighton marked the program's lowest 3-point percentage (4.8) since it went 0 for 15 in a 65-64 overtime win over Dayton on Feb. 2, 2000.
Sophomore guard Trevon Bluiett jumped on the scene by averaging 17.9 points in the previous nine games, including 23 while making 5 of 6 from long range against the Golden Eagles, but he went 0 for 6 against the Bluejays and finished with four points.
"I really felt like there was no readiness to play on our part," coach Chris Mack said. "We were miserable from 3. It's hard to overcome a 1-for-21 shooting night from the 3-point line. But it was our readiness to play, our lack of readiness to play, that ultimately put Creighton on top."
And in the process it hindered Xavier's chances for the Big East's top spot. The Musketeers trail two-time defending champion and top-ranked Villanova by two games with six to play, including a Feb. 24 matchup in Cincinnati.
First, Xavier will try to get back to its winning ways on the road, where it had won four straight before falling to 6-2 with Tuesday's loss.
The Musketeers have won three straight in this series and eight of 10 dating to December 2010, though both losses came in Indianapolis - where Butler is 10-2.
In this season's first matchup, the Musketeers turned to an unlikely source to pick up their first conference win. Senior guard Remy Abell averages just 5.8 points and hasn't scored in the last two games, but he had a career-high 21 in a 88-69 win Jan. 2.
That was the beginning of an offensive lull for the Bulldogs (17-7, 6-6), who shot 41.4 percent during a 3-5 conference stretch that lasted through January.
Butler, though, has shot 51.5 percent and averaged 85.7 points in three wins since.
Senior Roosevelt Jones became the first Bulldogs player since 1983-84 to record a triple-double with 10 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists in last weekend's 89-56 win at St. John's, and sophomore Kelan Martin had 23 points and 10 boards in Wednesday's 81-75 victory at Seton Hall.
Still, the Bulldogs know they're far away from talk of the NCAA Tournament.
"We are definitely not walking into a tournament of that caliber the way we are now," said senior Kellen Dunham, who had 18 points Wednesday. "We're approaching it that we are going to fight our way to get a chance to play in that tournament, that's the goal for most teams."
|Drake||vs.||Southern Illinois||3:00 (EST)|
|James Madison||vs.||UNCW||3:00 (EST)|
|Northern Kentucky||vs.||UIC||3:00 (EST)|
|Green Bay||vs.||Oakland||3:00 (EST)|
|Saint Francis U||vs.||Mount St. Mary's||3:00 (EST)|
|San Diego||vs.||San Francisco||3:00 (EST)|
|Indiana State||vs.||Missouri State||3:05 (EST)|
|Oregon State||vs.||California||3:30 (EST)|
|Central Connecticut State||vs.||Sacred Heart||3:30 (EST)|
|McNeese State||vs.||Northwestern State||3:30 (EST)|
|Akron||vs.||Northern Illinois||3:30 (EST)|
|Howard||vs.||Coppin State||4:00 (EST)|
|Army West Point||vs.||American University||4:00 (EST)|
|Ohio State||vs.||Rutgers||4:00 (EST)|
|Fresno State||vs.||Nevada||4:00 (EST)|
|Louisville||vs.||Notre Dame||4:00 (EST) Preview|
Louisville-Notre Dame Preview
By KEVIN MASSOTH - STATS Writer
Saturday, February 13 at 12:21 AM (EST)
Rick Pitino muttered one word to describe his mood in the wake of the well-documented controversy surrounding Louisville's program.
"Tired," the coach said with a weary voice at Friday's press conference.
Following a saga that resulted in a self-imposed one-year postseason ban, the No. 13 Cardinals open a tough stretch on the court when they visit Notre Dame on Saturday.
Louisville (19-5, 8-3) will not be eligible for either the ACC or NCAA tournaments after the school's investigation into allegations by an escort that former staffer Andre McGee paid her and other dancers to strip for and have sex with recruits and players.
The Cardinals have since split a pair of games and sat on Monday's 72-65 loss at Duke for three days before Pitino took a moment to reflect this week.
"This just takes a lot out of you, it really does," he said. "I made the statement one time, I said, 'I was born a New Yorker but I want to die a Kentuckian.' But I don't want this to kill me, either."
Pitino also said Friday there won't be a return for Mangok Mathiang, who broke his left food Dec. 19 against Western Kentucky. Mathiang, who was averaging 7.1 points and 5.7 rebounds, was expected to miss six to eight weeks, but Pitino said he will not bring back the 6-foot-10 junior forward with the postseason out of the picture.
Though no potential prizes await the Cardinals, the regular season ACC title is still up for grabs. They are right in the thick of things, trailing leader North Carolina by one game amid a mix of teams that includes the Fighting Irish (17-7, 8-4).
Following this visit to Notre Dame, Louisville hosts surging Syracuse and the Blue Devils before playing at Pittsburgh and No. 12 Miami. After a home game against Georgia Tech, the Cardinals, who are 3-4 in true road games, close the conference slate at seventh-ranked Virginia.
Louisville is one of the top defensive teams in the nation, holding opponents to 60.3 points per game, but Duke became one of six to hang 70 on the Cardinals by shooting 44.7 percent and making 9 of 21 from 3-point range.
Notre Dame is tied with the Blue Devils for second by averaging 78.8 points in ACC play, behind only the Tar Heels' 79.9. The Irish have come around offensively, following an 80-76 win over then-No. 2 UNC on Feb. 6 with Monday's 89-83 victory at Clemson. Notre Dame shot 50.9 percent and made 10 of 22 from beyond the arc against the Tigers.
"These last 48 hours were very important for us," coach Mike Brey said. "We've made great strides."
Senior center Zach Auguste has taken his own step forward, averaging 16.8 points and 9.8 rebounds over the last four games while shooting 56.5 percent.
Auguste, though, has only scored a combined 14 points in four previous meetings against Louisville, including two in 18 minutes of a 71-59 road win March 4.
Notre Dame leading scorer Demetrius Jackson had 21 points in that game to help snap Louisville's two-game win streak in the series. The Irish have taken each of the last four meetings at Purcell Pavilion, where they are 12-1 and have won five straight.
The latest matchup in South Bend was a 104-101 five-overtime victory for the Irish on Feb. 9, 2013 - the longest game in Big East regular-season history. That was the seventh time over the last 14 in this series that the game went past regulation.
|Nicholls||vs.||Southeastern Louisiana||4:00 (EST)|
|George Washington||vs.||St. Bonaventure||4:00 (EST)|
|Mississippi Valley State||vs.||Alcorn State||4:00 (EST)|
|Maryland Eastern Shore||vs.||Delaware State||4:00 (EST)|
|North Texas||vs.||Charlotte||4:00 (EST)|
|Chattanooga||vs.||East Tennessee State||4:00 (EST)|
|North Florida||vs.||Lipscomb||4:00 (EST)|
|East Carolina||vs.||Cincinnati||4:00 (EST)|
|Florida A&M||vs.||North Carolina A&T||4:00 (EST)|
|Arkansas State||vs.||Louisiana-Monroe||4:00 (EST)|
|San Jose State||vs.||New Mexico||4:00 (EST)|
|Savannah State||vs.||South Carolina State||4:00 (EST)|
|William & Mary||vs.||Towson||4:00 (EST)|
|Bethune-Cookman||vs.||North Carolina Central||4:00 (EST)|
|Davidson||vs.||George Mason||4:00 (EST)|
|Georgia Southern||vs.||South Alabama||4:05 (EST)|
|Georgia State||vs.||Troy||4:15 (EST)|
|Little Rock||vs.||Louisiana-Lafayette||4:15 (EST)|
|Samford||vs.||Western Carolina||4:30 (EST)|
|Ball State||vs.||Central Michigan||4:30 (EST)|
|Virginia||vs.||Duke||4:30 (EST) Preview|
By JEFF BARTL - STATS Senior Writer
Friday, February 12 at 9:21 PM (EST)
Duke responded to being left out of the Top 25 for the first time in nearly eight years by winning its next three games, including its first victory over a ranked opponent this season.
Virginia heads into Cameron Indoor Stadium ranked for just the second time in its last 10 trips on Saturday seeking its first win there in more than 20 years, and the unique disparity doesn't necessarily mean a Blue Devils victory would be classified as an upset.
The seventh-ranked Cavaliers enter as underdogs despite riding a seven-game winning streak.
"I'm excited," Virginia center Mike Tobey told the team's official website. "It's always exciting to play against Duke. Obviously, the history in Cameron is a big thing, and being (my) senior year, this is (the) last opportunity to go in there and hopefully get a win."
The Blue Devils' run of 167 straight weeks in the AP Top 25 ended when it was left out of the poll released Feb. 1 following four defeats in its previous five games. Duke (18-6, 7-4 ACC) has bounced back, though, beating Georgia Tech and North Carolina State before knocking off 13th-ranked Louisville 72-65 on Monday at home.
Grayson Allen finished with a game-high 19 points while freshman Brandon Ingram added 18 and 10 rebounds. The Blue Devils will make a strong case for re-entering the polls with a win over the Cavaliers (20-4, 9-3).
''A couple of weeks ago, there is no way (we beat Louisville),'' coach Mike Krzyzewski said. ''I think we lose that game by 15 points because we wouldn't be able to get there.''
Virginia hasn't won in Durham since a double-overtime victory Jan. 14, 1995, dropping the 16 matchups there since. It has beaten Duke just twice in the last 12 meetings overall since 2008 and fell 69-63 at home in the most recent matchup Jan. 31, 2015.
Those could be reasons why, despite their lofty ranking, the Cavaliers enter this matchup as underdogs by many odds makers.
Much like the Blue Devils, they went through their own January swoon by dropping three of four, but they've recovered to win seven straight since falling at Florida State on Jan. 17.
The Cavaliers have been especially solid defensively lately, holding their last four opponents to an average of 48.3 points with a 33.3 field-goal percentage. Virginia, which ranks third in the nation in scoring defense (59.6), saw its first 20 foes average 61.9 points and shoot 33.1 percent.
Anthony Gill scored 16 points and Isaiah Wilkins added a career-high 14 in Tuesday's 67-49 home win over Virginia Tech.
"Like I say after every game, the only way we're going to win games here at UVA is by the defense," Gill said. "We understand that as a team. We strive to be the best defensive team that we can be, so we go out there every night and try to prove it."
Malcolm Brogdon had been carrying the offense by averaging 21.7 points and shooting 58.3 percent over the previous six, but he finished with 12 points on 4 of 12 from the field against the Hokies.
Coach Tony Bennett was proud to see Wilkins and Tobey, who scored 10 points and hit four of his five shots in 11 minutes off the bench, step up.
"When another guy gives us that output offensively, that really balances our team and makes us more potent on offense and harder to guard," Bennett said.
This will be the second of four straight against ranked opponents for Duke. The Blue Devils visit ninth-ranked North Carolina on Wednesday before a rematch at Louisville next Saturday.
|Robert Morris||vs.||Fairleigh Dickinson||4:30 (EST)|
|South Dakota||vs.||South Dakota State||4:30 (EST)|
|Jacksonville||vs.||Kennesaw State||4:30 (EST)|
|Houston Baptist||vs.||Sam Houston State||4:30 (EST)|
|Penn State||vs.||Nebraska||5:00 (EST)|
|Grambling State||vs.||Prairie View A&M||5:00 (EST)|
|Long Beach State||vs.||UC Davis||5:30 (EST)|
|Morgan State||vs.||Norfolk State||6:00 (EST)|
|Saint Louis||vs.||VCU||6:00 (EST)|
|Alabama State||vs.||Alabama A&M||6:00 (EST)|
|Texas A&M-Corpus Christi||vs.||Stephen F. Austin||6:00 (EST)|
|UTEP||vs.||Florida Atlantic||6:00 (EST)|
|Wisconsin||vs.||Maryland||6:30 (EST) Preview|
By ALAN FERGUSON - STATS Writer
Friday, February 12 at 4:49 PM (EST)
In its return to conference play, Maryland has a chance to gain sole possession of the Big Ten lead.
At least for one day.
To accomplish that, the second-ranked Terrapins will have to stop surging Wisconsin on Saturday night while extending their school-record home win streak.
Maryland (22-3, 10-2) can get a slight jump on the Big Ten's co-leaders this weekend with Indiana and No. 4 Iowa playing on Sunday. Indiana has the far tougher matchup with a trip to No. 8 Michigan State, while Iowa hosts last-place Minnesota.
The Terps will try to do their part with a 28th consecutive home victory. They surpassed a 26-game streak from 1979-81 on Tuesday with a 93-62 win against Division II Bowie State.
Maryland, 14-0 on its own floor this season, has won all 15 Big Ten home games since joining the conference last season and 37 in a row against unranked teams.
Wisconsin (15-9, 7-4) will try to end those streaks while notching a seventh straight victory. The Badgers started that run by knocking off then-No. 4 Michigan State 77-76 on Jan. 17 and topped then-No. 19 Indiana 82-79 in overtime nine days later.
They connected at a season-best 61.1 percent from 3-point range (11 of 18) in Wednesday's 72-61 victory over Nebraska. Vitto Brown went 3 of 3 beyond the arc - 6 of 7 overall - while scoring a career-high 18 points, and Nigel Hayes had 20.
The Badgers started 2-4 under interim coach Greg Gard, who took over when Bo Ryan unexpectedly retired Dec. 15, but nearly pulled off a stunning rally against the then-No. 3 Terps in one of those losses Jan. 9.
Maryland led by eight with 1:27 to go but needed Melo Trimble's 3-pointer with 1.2 seconds left for a 63-60 road victory.
"I think our guys are excited about this game for a lot of reasons, and it's not only because they're ranked (No. 2) in the country or because of the potential postseason ramifications," assistant coach Lamont Paris told the school's official website. "It's because they felt like they left something hanging out there in the first game. We made some mistakes and didn't finish around the rim."
Wisconsin is 24 for 45 from 3-point range in its two games this month and shooting 50.0 percent overall. Bronson Koenig has made a team-leading six of his 11 shots from beyond the arc in those contests after going 2 of 7 in his previous two.
The Badgers, though, are connecting at 39.0 percent and a conference-low 25.9 percent from behind the arc in their six road contests. They went a season-worst 2 for 14 from 3-point range in a 63-55 win at Illinois on Jan. 31.
While Wisconsin contained Maryland's two senior starters, limiting Jake Layman and Rasheed Sulaimon to a combined eight points, Trimble scored 21 in last month's matchup.
Sulaimon has a combined 37 points on 14-of-22 shooting in his past two games and scored 16 in 20 minutes Tuesday. Trimble, averaging 17.8 points in his past six Big Ten contests, should also be well-rested after playing 17 minutes - the fewest among Terps starters.
"The good thing is that we didn't play a lot of guys a lot of minutes," coach Mark Turgeon said.
Brown, who has been dealing with a rib injury, was held scoreless for the only time this season in the loss to Maryland. He has totaled 30 points on 11-of-15 shooting in his past two games.
|Middle Tennessee||vs.||Southern Miss||7:00 (EST)|
|Charleston Southern||vs.||High Point||7:00 (EST)|
|Georgia||vs.||Mississippi State||7:00 (EST)|
|SIUE||vs.||Eastern Illinois||7:00 (EST)|
|Air Force||vs.||San Diego State||7:00 (EST)|
|North Dakota||vs.||Idaho||7:00 (EST)|
|Sacramento State||vs.||Idaho State||7:00 (EST)|
|Western Illinois||vs.||Oral Roberts||7:00 (EST)|
|Northern Arizona||vs.||Montana||7:00 (EST)|
|CSUN||vs.||UC Irvine||7:00 (EST)|
|Wright State||vs.||Valparaiso||7:00 (EST)|
|Colorado State||vs.||UNLV||7:00 (EST)|
|Southeast Missouri State||vs.||Murray State||7:00 (EST)|
|Miami (OH)||vs.||Toledo||7:00 (EST)|
|Texas Tech||vs.||Baylor||7:00 (EST) Preview|
Texas Tech-Baylor Preview
By KEVIN CHROUST - STATS Writer
Saturday, February 13 at 1:01 AM (EST)
Baylor's season was taking a serious hit with a five-game span of questionable defense, but its latest victory showed promise.
Much of Texas Tech's Big 12 slate has been marred by an inability to score, though it overcame that earlier this week to finally beat a ranked opponent.
The Red Raiders will put that to the test once more seeking an elusive road win against the Top 25, though the 21st-ranked Bears are after their fifth straight win in the series with their No. 2 scorer and top rebounder likely to return.
Baylor (18-6, 7-4) ended a two-game skid with Wednesday's 82-72 win at Kansas State, limiting the Wildcats to 39.1 percent shooting after the opposition had a combined 51.9 mark over a 2-3 span, including 46.7 from 3-point range.
"People were locked in, focused, and it took all that to beat Kansas State. They're tremendous," coach Scott Drew said. "We didn't have to motivate our guys at all coming off two losses."
Taurean Prince led the way with 18 points on 6-of-8 shooting following a three-game stretch during which Baylor's top scorer was limited to 13.7 on 32.5 percent.
Despite the two losses, the Bears enter the weekend a game off the conference pace in a five-team cluster.
"We did not expect to lose the last two games that we did lose," Prince said. "We are back, we have been comfortable. It is about getting those wins, and people underestimate how tough the Big 12 is."
They figure to get a boost Saturday with Rico Gathers expected to play. The senior, who averages 12.7 points and 10.3 rebounds, missed the Kansas State game due to illness. The Bears hold a plus-8.7 rebounding differential for the season, but they conceded a minus-10 to the Wildcats without him.
Baylor has won the last four meetings at home and overall, though the last three have been by a combined 11 points, including a 63-60 road win over the Red Raiders (14-9, 4-7) on Jan. 16.
Texas Tech's schedule has been littered by teams with a number next to their names, and it finally has a win to show for the trouble. Wednesday's 85-82 home win over No. 14 Iowa State was the Red Raiders' first in seven tries this season against the Top 25.
"We were fortunate to get the win," coach Tubby Smith told the school's official website. "I love the way our guys competed, especially down the stretch with the way we defended and the way we got stops. A lot of touch plays throughout the game. I'm excited for our kids and certainly we needed a win like this."
It ended a 13-game skid against ranked teams since last season's win over the same foe on Jan. 24, 2015, but they have to go back 36 games to a 2007-08 win over Gonzaga for their most recent win against a Top 25 opponent in a road or neutral environment.
Duplicating some efficient offense could help snap that 35-game skid. The Red Raiders shot 46.8 percent against the Cyclones, but that followed a 2-8 span over which they'd averaged 66.7 points and shot 40.5 percent.
They also hit 10 3s for the first time this season and are shooting 39.0 percent from deep over three games after making 30.9 in their first 20.
Aaron Ross has provided them with another outlet lately, scoring 20 points off the bench against Iowa State to bump his scoring average in the past four games to 16.8 after managing 8.1 through 19 games.
|Marshall||vs.||Western Kentucky||7:00 (EST)|
|Cal State Fullerton||vs.||Hawaii||7:00 (EST)|
|Portland State||vs.||Weber State||7:00 (EST)|
|Cleveland State||vs.||Youngstown State||7:00 (EST)|
|Utah Valley||vs.||Bakersfield||7:00 (EST)|
|Appalachian State||vs.||UT Arlington||7:15 (EST)|
|Jacksonville State||vs.||Tennessee Tech||7:30 (EST)|
|UAPB||vs.||Southern University||7:30 (EST)|
|Texas||vs.||Iowa State||7:30 (EST) Preview|
Texas-Iowa St. Preview
Friday, February 12 at 6:20 PM (EST)
(AP) - ''Havoc'' is finally taking hold at Texas, where first-year coach Shaka Smart and the No. 24 Longhorns have shaken off a slow start to join the hunt for the Big 12 title.
Texas is among four teams in a second-place logjam just one game out of first heading into Saturday night's big road matchup at No. 14 Iowa State.
And while it took a while, Smart's ''havoc'' style of aggressive defense and up-tempo offense has taken root in the last few weeks.
Sweep the regular-season series from slumping Iowa State (17-7, 6-5), and Texas (16-8, 7-4) knows that a league crown the Longhorns haven't worn since 2008 could be there for the taking.
''We know we're going to have a great chance of winning'' the league, guard Kendall Yancy said. ''It just keeps growing and growing, our belief in each other.''
It certainly didn't start that way when Texas was 3-3 and Smart described the Longhorns as a mentally fragile bunch. The Longhorns have clearly shaken off that label in a league long known for its physical play and where intimidation is part of the game.
''They're not going to punk us,'' Yancy said. ''We're fighting back ... We're winning that battle as well.''
Smart has pushed his players in that direction. In Monday night's 63-60 loss at No. 3 Oklahoma - a game the Sooners won with a last-second 3-pointer from Buddy Hield - center Prince Ibeh was caught up in a jostling incident that resulted in officials calling a double technical foul. During the timeout while game officials sorted out the foul, television microphones picked up Smart cautioning his team not to get caught up in ''shenanigans'' but also forcefully telling them, ''We will stand up!''
''We're not a soft group,'' Ibeh said. ''This team has an edge.''
The toughness Smart wants has projected itself in other ways, particularly with the trapping defense he used so well at VCU to the bursts of up-tempo offense fueled by guard Isaiah Taylor and Javan Felix.
To finish out this season, Texas will play five ranked opponents over its final seven games, including home matchups against West Virginia, Baylor, Oklahoma and Kansas.
''We're pretty good when we're the underdogs,'' Yancy said.
Texas beat Iowa State 94-91 on Jan. 12 with Taylor scoring five of his 28 points in overtime to help the Longhorns snap a four-game losing streak in the series. Despite the extra five minutes, Texas had five turnovers - its fewest since the 2010 NCAA Tournament.
Iowa State bounced back from that defeat to win four in a row, which includes victories over Oklahoma and No. 6 Kansas, but has since lost three of four. It blew a nine-point lead in the second half of Wednesday's 85-82 overtime loss at Texas Tech.
''We didn't finish,'' Cyclones coach Steve Prohm said. ''We just didn't finish in crucial times.''
Prohm has lifted the suspension of Jameel McKay, who has missed the last two games for a violation of team rules.
The 6-foot-9 McKay is Iowa State's best interior defender and is third in the Big 12 with 9.0 rebounds per game and averages 12.4 points.
Georges Niang is second only to Hield in scoring in the Big 12, averaging 19.0 points, and he scored 27 on 11-of-16 shooting against Texas last month.
The Cyclones are returning to Hilton Coliseum for the first time since losing to West Virgina on Feb. 2. They haven't lost back-to-back home games since 2011 and won four straight over the Longhorns in Iowa.
|Cal Poly||vs.||UC Riverside||7:30 (EST)|
|UT Martin||vs.||Austin Peay||7:30 (EST)|
|Jackson State||vs.||Texas Southern||7:30 (EST)|
|La Salle||vs.||Saint Joseph's||8:00 (EST)|
|Loyola Marymount||vs.||Saint Mary's||8:00 (EST)|
|St. John's||vs.||Villanova||8:00 (EST) Preview|
St. John's-Villanova Preview
By SCOTT GARBARINI - STATS Writer
Friday, February 12 at 7:06 PM (EST)
After smoothly handling its first test as the nation's No. 1 team, Villanova appears headed for an extended stay atop the rankings.
The Wildcats return to the Wells Fargo Center as a prohibitive favorite in Saturday night's game against a St. John's team making history of a different kind in Chris Mullin's first season.
Taking the court atop the AP Top 25 for the first time, Villanova (21-3, 11-1 Big East) didn't disappoint in Tuesday's 86-59 rout at DePaul. The Wildcats recorded 19 points off 19 turnovers and outscored the Blue Demons 36-16 in the paint in a game they led handily throughout.
"I was really interested to see how we came out," coach Jay Wright said. "We did a good job in all of the meetings and I thought we came out very focused. I was impressed. I'm pleased with their maturity but I can't say I'm surprised."
The Wildcats have displayed noticeable determination since having their 22-game Big East winning streak end with an 82-76 overtime loss to then-No. 16 Providence Jan. 24 in Philadelphia. They've since outscored opponents by an average of 19.8 points in four consecutive double-digit victories, including a 72-60 win in last Saturday's rematch with the Friars.
That strong stretch began with a 68-53 win over the Red Storm at Madison Square Garden on Jan. 31, one of a school-record 15 consecutive losses for St. John's (7-18, 0-12). The rebuilding Red Storm haven't won since upsetting Syracuse 84-72 at the Garden on Dec. 13.
St. John's, which lost its top six scorers from last season's 21-win NCAA Tournament team, seemed to be making strides by playing current No. 5 Xavier tough in a 90-83 road defeat last week. It's followed by losing to Butler and Georgetown by a combined 58 points, however, and is allowing 90.3 per game over its last three.
The Hoyas shot 54.2 percent in Monday's 92-67 rout, two days after Butler went 12 of 25 from 3-point range in an 89-56 win.
"They (Georgetown) have a nice offense but, from my standpoint, (it was) way too easy," Mullin said. "More like a 5-on-0 offense. Too easy, too comfortable and no resistance."
Turnovers also remain an ongoing issue for Mullin's young squad. They had 21 against Butler and 21 in the recent meeting with the Wildcats, who scored 18 points off those miscues to offset a 36.2 percent shooting night.
The Red Storm also were outrebounded by a 48-35 margin despite Villanova missing Daniel Ochefu, a matchup problem for St. John's in the past, due to a concussion. The senior center returned from a three-game absence to score 11 points in 24 minutes against DePaul.
Ochefu went 6 of 7 from the field in a 13-point, 13-rebound effort in the Wildcats' 90-72 win at Madison Square Garden last season, then amassed 21 points on 8-of-9 shooting in last March's 105-68 victory over St. John's in Philadelphia.
Darryl Reynolds has filled in well for Ochefu, scoring a career-high 19 points on 9-of-10 shooting in the Providence win and averaging 9.7 rebounds over the last three games.
St. John's will have leading rebounder Yankuba Sima back after missing the teams' last matchup with a broken left hand.
The Red Storm's last win over a No. 1 team came during Mullin's senior season, a 66-65 victory at Georgetown on Jan. 26, 1985. They've lost nine straight against top-ranked opponents.
|Gonzaga||vs.||SMU||9:00 (EST) Preview|
By KEVIN CHROUST - STATS Writer
Friday, February 12 at 8:26 PM (EST)
SMU can't do anything about its NCAA Tournament ineligibility and may soon relinquish control of the American Athletic Conference. Gonzaga is in a similar battle in the West Coast Conference and less of a lock for March Madness than in years past.
The 16th-ranked Mustangs and unranked Bulldogs take a break from their respective conference races Saturday night in Dallas, and a win would bolster Gonzaga's tournament resume should an automatic bid not materialize.
Considering SMU (20-3) has lost three of five, that might also have been a concern developing for the Mustangs if NCAA sanctions didn't prohibit the program from any postseason competition. After Wednesday's 82-77 home loss to Tulsa, they couldn't feel much further removed from their 18-0 start.
"We've got to get back to where we were at in the beginning of the year where we knew what we were about and we knew what we were going to go out there and do," said Markus Kennedy, who scored all 13 of his points in the second half. "It's real easy just to get complacent and just to be nonchalant about the rest of the season.
"We can't let that happen."
SMU is now tied with Temple atop the AAC after a 2-3 span in the league during which opponents have averaged 73.6 points and shot 45.0 percent, including 38.3 from 3-point range. That's up from 61.9 on 39.3 and 33.0 during the unbeaten start.
"Everybody has all these visions," coach Larry Brown said. "I knew we were going to get exposed a lot when we were playing some really, really quality teams. And as the season goes on, you get in conference, you're playing against some really, really quality teams."
The Golden Hurricane shot 58.5 percent, essentially wiping out Nic Moore's 27 points on 10-of-17 shooting, including 6 of 10 from long range. SMU's top scorer has averaged 20.5 points on 50.0 percent from both inside and outside the arc in the last four games.
He wasn't as effective as Gonzaga won last season's meeting 72-56 in Spokane on Nov. 17, 2014, while holding the Mustangs to 31.1 percent shooting. Moore scored 10 and shot 3 for 9, but Gonzaga top scorer Kyle Wiltjer wasn't much better with 10 on 4-of-10 shooting. Domantas Sabonis had 13 points and nine rebounds in 20 minutes off the bench.
The sophomore has taken on a larger role this season while averaging 17.4 points and 11.5 rebounds, including 19.3 and 11.0 in his last three while shooting 68.0 percent.
He had 17 and 11 in Thursday's 92-66 win at Portland, but it was Wiltjer leading the way with 21 points while making 5 of 9 from 3-point range. It was part of the team's 15-for-26 mark, and though the Bulldogs remain inconsistent game to game from long range, they're shooting 41.9 percent over the last eight.
Gonzaga (20-5) reached 20 wins for a 19th consecutive season with its sixth straight victory after losing two of three to spark a battle in the conference, but the Bulldogs have turned it on during their streak with victories by an average of 20.5 points.
Out of the WCC, Gonzaga played plenty of competition on SMU's level, beating Washington, then-No. 18 Connecticut and Tennessee while losing to then-No. 25 Texas A&M, then-No. 19 Arizona and UCLA.
Knocking off SMU would be the Bulldogs' most impressive road win and their first against the Top 25 since winning at Oklahoma State on Dec. 31, 2012, though the three such losses since have come by a combined 10 points.
|Friday, February 12, 2016|
|Men's College Basketball|
Princeton beats Cornell 85-56
Friday, February 12 at 10:20 PM (EST)
ITHACA, N.Y. (AP) Henry Caruso and Amir Bell had 13 points each and Princeton beat Cornell 85-56 for its third straight win on Friday night.
The Tigers (15-5, 5-1 Ivy League) broke out to a 33-8 lead just past the midpoint of the first half and kept their lead between 16 and 33 the rest of the way.
Devin Cannady added 11 points and Myles Stephens 10 for Princeton, which shot 50 percent from the field, 44 percent from 3-point range and 90 percent from the foul line.
Cannady was 3 of 4 from 3-point range while Caruso, Bell and Spencer Weisz added two 3-pointers each.
Cornell (9-12, 2-5) led on the opening basket but trailed immediately after as Princeton's Weisz hit a 3. The Big Red made three of their next 20 from the field.
Matt Morgan was the Cornell's lone double-digit scorer with 15 points.
|USC||67||vs.||74||Arizona State||Final Recap|
Holder scores 20, Arizona State knocks off No. 23 USC, 74-67
By BOB BAUM - AP Sports Writer
Friday, February 12 at 11:30 PM (EST)
TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) Arizona State turned up the defense gave No. 23 USC a loss it never expected.
The Sun Devils (14-11, 4-8 Pac-12) were supposed to be the warmup act before the Trojans faced No. 17 Arizona Sunday night.
But Tra Holder scored 20 points, Savon Goodman added 17 and Arizona State knocked off USC 74-67 on Friday night.
Nikola Jovanovic had 25 points and 15 rebounds for the Trojans (18-6, 8-4 Pac-12), who would have been within a half-game of first-place Oregon in the Pac-12 with a victory. Gerry Blakes added 14 for Arizona State.
''This one was big for us and it's a pivotal moment in our season,'' Holder said. ''We were going after it. We were hungry and we did what it takes to win.''
The Sun Devils have won two conference games in a row for the first time this season, holding USC 18 points below its average in conference play.
''I thought our defense was unbelievable throughout the entire game,'' Arizona State coach Bobby Hurley said. ''The way we guarded the 3-point line, and forced some turnovers, our activity was really good, and to hold them to 67 is a challenge because they can really score and they have a lot of talent out there on the court. `'
Arizona State took the lead with a 10-2 run to start the second half and never trailed again.
Blakes and Holder sank 3s in what turned out to be a decisive surge.
The Sun Devils stretched the lead to nine but the Trojans were down just 60-57 on Julian Jacobs' dunk with 4:58 to play. Arizona State responded with a 9-3 run, and when Holder banked in a 3-pointer with 1:49 to play, the Sun Devils led 69-60.
''We just didn't play well,'' Trojans coach Andy Enfield said. ''We played hard at times. We just didn't play well enough. A 31-game schedule, you are going to have bumps in the road.''
Both teams had their struggles. USC committed 17 turnovers, seven by Jacobs.
''We gave them 12 extra possessions, five more turnovers and they had seven more offensive rebounds than us,'' Enfield said, ''so you give up 12 extra possessions to a team on their home court, you are going to lose.''
The Trojans controlled most of the first half, when they shot 58 percent to the Sun Devils' 33 percent in the first 20 minutes,
''Being down three (at the half) after the way we played offense with our shooting percentages, our free-throw shooting percentages, our turnovers, and to have it a one-possession game,'' Hurley said, ''I knew, I told the guys we're going to get this done because we're going to play better offense in the second half.''
A six-point spurt put the Trojans up 16-11 in the early minutes, but neither team led by more than five points in the first half.
Arizona State cut the lead to one point twice and trailed the Trojans 30-27 at the half.
But the second half was a different story.
The difference in the game, Holder said, ''was our activity level, our deflections, guys coming off the bench with big energy, getting down there, banging with those guys and making it hard for them. We just didn't want them to be comfortable.''
USC: Entering the game, all five starters averaged between 12.2 and 12.6 points per game. ... Trojans lost at Arizona State for the eighth time in nine tries.
Arizona State: Arizona State outrebounded the Trojans on the offensive boards 16-9. ... Entering the game, Sun Devils average 76 points per game, highest since the 2002-2003.
USC: At No. 17 Arizona Sunday night.
Arizona State: Hosts UCLA Sunday night.
|Grand Canyon||71||vs.||60||Seattle||Final Recap|
Glaze leads Grand Canyon in win over Seattle 71-60
Saturday, February 13 at 12:31 AM (EST)
SEATTLE (AP) Grandy Glaze scoring 16 points on 7 for 12 shooting and grabbed 10 rebounds as Grand Canyon won its third straight, beating Seattle 71-60 Friday night.
With the win, Grand Canyon (22-4, 8-2 Western Athletic Conference) avenged an earlier loss to Seattle which snapped the Antelopes' then NCAA-best 12-game winning streak. Seattle's (12-12, 6-4) loss ended its five-game winning streak.
Manroop Clair led Seattle with 20 points.
The Lopes used a 10-0 run in a three-minute span to break open a close game for a 59-50 lead with 4:09 to play. Joshua Braun and Gerard Martin each hit 3s, Braun also had a jumper and Glaze made a layup during the decisive stretch.
Grand Canyon sits a half-game behind conference leader New Mexico State and has a half-game lead over third-place Cal State Bakersfield, both of whom play Saturday.
|Central Arkansas||69||vs.||71||Incarnate Word||Final Recap|
Incarnate Word holds off Central Arkansas 71-69
Friday, February 12 at 10:28 PM (EST)
SAN ANTONIO (AP) Kyle Hittle had a double-double scoring 24 points while grabbing 10 rebounds as Incarnate Word edged Central Arkansas 71-69 on Friday night.
Hittle's layup with 22 seconds remaining iced the game. He made a 3 and followed with two free throws to give the Cardinals a 61-52 lead with 5:30 left to play.
But Derreck Brooks hit a 3, Jeff Lowery made a layup and Mathieu Kamba made 1 of 2 free throws to cut Central Arkansas' deficit to 61-58 with 3:54 left.
After Mitchell Badillo's 3, Lowery and Kamba scored layups and Brooks hit two free throws to cut the Cardinals' lead to a point. Following two free throws from Simi Socks, Brooks' 3 tied the game at 67 with 1:35 left.
Badillo had 17 points and Socks had 11 for Incarnate Word (13-9, 8-3 Southland)
Central Arkansas (5-16, 4-7) got 16 points from Jordan Howard, Kamba added 15 and Brooks finished with 12.
Harvard ends skid with 79-73 win over Brown.
Friday, February 12 at 9:22 PM (EST)
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (AP) Agunwa Okolie and Corbin Miller led a balanced Harvard attack with 14 points apiece and the Crimson held off Brown 72-66 on Friday night.
Harvard trailed 33-28 at the half but Corey Johnson hit consecutive 3-pointers in a 10-2 run that produced a 49-35 lead with 11:23 to play. After a 3 from Brown's Steve Spieth, Miller hit a 3 and Okolie had a 3-point play to make it 55-48.
Brown stayed close but in the last 1:24 Harvard made 13 of 16 free throws.
Johnson and Patrick Steeves had 14 points each and Zena Edosomwan 13 for Harvard (10-13, 2-5) and Okolie had a career-high 12 rebounds. The Crimson made 24 of 34 free throws to end a five-game losing streak. It was the 80th league win for coach Tommy Amaker, tying for ninth in Ivy history.
Tavon Blackmon had 19 points for Brown (7-14, 2-5), Obi Okolie had 14, and Spieth and JR Hobbie 10 apiece.
Campbell leads Ohio over Buffalo 94-75
Friday, February 12 at 9:28 PM (EST)
BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) Antonio Campbell tied a career high with 28 points and grabbed 15 rebounds on Friday night to help Ohio beat Buffalo 94-75.
The Bobcats (14-11, 7-5 Mid-American Conference) never trailed after the opening minutes and led by as many as 30 despite allowing a career-high 36 points from Bulls freshman CJ Massinburg.
Jordan Dartis added 23 points, Jaaron Simmons scored 13 and Treg Setty 10. Ohio won its third straight and fifth of the last six. Campbell had his 21st career double-double.
Massinburg scored 28 after halftime, including all four of his 3-pointers. He finished with five rebounds, three assists, two blocks and four steals.
Massinburg made 10 of 15 from the field in the second half but Ohio cruised, stretching a 16-point halftime lead to 82-52 at 9:20. Ohio led by at least 20 until Massinburg scored the final basket.
Trier scores 18, No. 17 Arizona holds off UCLA 81-75
By JOHN MARSHALL - AP Basketball Writer
Saturday, February 13 at 12:27 AM (EST)
TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) Arizona had trouble guarding anybody in the first half, slow to rotate out to shooters, allowing UCLA to repeatedly get to the rim.
The Wildcats looked like an entirely different team in the second half, contesting shots, bumping the Bruins off the ball, harassing them for every inch.
The difference wasn't some adjustment or change in scheme. It was just a matter of intensity and attention to detail.
''We had the same players and the same scheme, we just did it at a much better level,'' Arizona coach Sean Miller said after the 17th-ranked Wildcats outlasted UCLA 81-75 on Friday night.
Arizona (20-5, 8-4 Pac-12) stumbled through a lackluster first half at both ends to trail by 10. The Wildcats tightened up defensively in the second, anchored by Kaleb Tarczewski in the middle, with Gabe York and Allonzo Trier chasing shooters off screens on the perimeter.
Arizona started hitting shots in the second as well, some by getting out on the break after defensive stops.
Parker Jackson-Cartwright, who started in place of Kadeem Allen (ill), was the offensive spark in the first half and hit a big shot late in the second to finish with 16 points.
Trier did most of his damage after ditching a brace on his right hand at halftime, scoring 15 of his 18 points in the second half. York chipped in 15 and hit a big shot of his own with under a minute left.
''We didn't have to make big adjustments, we just had to play hard,'' said Jackson-Cartwright, who added four assists.
UCLA (13-11, 4-7) was in control until the fouls started piling up.
The Bruins had centers Thomas Welsh and Tony Parker foul out in a span of 42 seconds late in the second half and Arizona took advantage by pounding the ball inside.
Kaleb Tarczewski and Ryan Anderson combined for 27 rebounds, and Arizona made 29 of 45 free throws for a massive advantage at the line.
Isaac Hamilton scored 24 points and Bryce Alford had 17 for UCLA, which was 12 for 16 on free throws.
''It was hard to keep them at bay when one team is getting 45 free throws and one is getting 16,'' UCLA coach Steve Alford said. ''Hopefully, we won't foul as much in the next game.
UCLA won the first meeting 87-84 on Jan. 7 at Pauley Pavilion when Alford hit a 3-pointer with 1.8 seconds left
The Bruins have struggled since then, losing four of seven, including an 80-61 blowout by rival Southern California.
UCLA controlled the rematch early, effectively working the ball around as Arizona struggled with the Bruins' ball screens. UCLA had a 17-4 run midway through the first half and made 17 of 32 shots to lead 44-34 at halftime.
Arizona was impatient on offense, settling for jump shots instead of getting the ball inside or to the rim. The Wildcats made five shots inside the 3-point arc and were outscored 22-10 in the paint in the first half.
''We were lucky to be down 15 at halftime,'' Miller said.
The Wildcats tightened up defensively in the second half and Trier scored nine quick points, highlighted by an alley-oop dunk on a feed from York and a long 3-pointer to beat the shot clock to pull the Wildcats within four.
Arizona's ability to draw fouls began to cause problems for UCLA late in the second; Welsh fouled out with about 6 1/2 minutes left and Parker was right behind him after re-entering the game.
The Bruins still kept up with the Wildcats, hitting one clutch shot after another in the closing minutes.
The Wildcats hit the biggest ones down the stretch, though: a 3-pointer by Jackson-Cartwright and York's three-point play with 54 seconds left to cap a 9-0 run that put Arizona up 78-70.
''I thought our guys got frustrated a little because of the flow of the game,'' Alford said. ''If you have two centers that commit 10 fouls, that makes it extremely hard on us.''
Allen played 21 minutes, but was not himself due to a lingering virus. Miller said he threw up three times Friday night, including once during the game, and missed his three shot attempts, finishing with four points. Allen has been battling the virus for nearly two weeks and Miller said the medicine was causing his upset stomach.
UCLA: Hamilton scored in double figures in 20 straight games, longest by a UCLA player since Kevin Love did it in all 39 games of his freshman season in 2007-08.
Arizona: The Wildcats had a 42-34 rebounding advantage and scored 14 second-chance points. ... Arizona had three turnovers in the second half, finishing with nine.
UCLA plays at Arizona State on Sunday.
Arizona hosts No. 23 USC on Sunday.
Yale winning streak at 11 after 75-65 win over Dartmouth
Friday, February 12 at 10:22 PM (EST)
HANOVER, N.H. (AP) Makai Mason scored 25 points and Justin Sears had 21 with 13 rebounds to lead Yale to a 75-65 win over Dartmouth on Friday night, the Bulldogs' 11th-straight victory.
Yale, down one at half, used a 10-2 run to go up 52-51 with 8:38 to play. Almost immediately they put together a 13-2 run that included two of four second-half 3-pointers by Mason, to make it 64-54 at the 4:01 mark.
Dartmouth was within six on a 3 from Evan Boudreaux with 1:52 left but Yale (16-5, 7-0 Ivy) made 7 of 8 from the line, four by Mason, to go 7-0 in league play for the first time. The winning streak is the longest since winning 12 in 1948-49. The school record is 13, set in 1906-07.
Brandon Sherrod added 14 points for the Bulldogs. Sears also had 13 rebounds, seven on the offensive end.
Bourdreaux had 21 points and 10 rebounds and Miles Wright had 15 points for the Big Green (7-14, 1-6).
|Dayton||68||vs.||66||Rhode Island||Final Recap|
Davis helps No. 19 Dayton beat Rhode Island 68-66
Friday, February 12 at 10:15 PM (EST)
KINGSTON, R.I. (AP) Darrell Davis made a go-ahead 3-pointer from the corner with 21.1 seconds left and No. 19 Dayton beat Rhode Island 68-66 on Friday night.
Rhode Island's Four McGlynn missed a 3-pointer with 4 seconds left. Dayton got the rebound, and Steve McElvene made one of two free throws for the Flyers with 0.3 seconds to go.
Dyshawn Pierre led Dayton (21-3, 11-1 Atlantic 10) with 17 points and also had nine rebounds. Scoochie Smith added 16 points, and Davis finished with eight.
The Flyers won their ninth straight game and ended a six-game losing streak in Kingston.
McGlynn had 19 points for Rhode Island (14-11, 6-6). Hassan Martin added 15 points and 10 rebounds.
There were 17 lead changes, three in the final 55 seconds.
Pierre made two free throws with 55 seconds left to give the Flyers a one-point lead. Martin countered for the Rams with a three-point play 40 seconds left.
Dayton: Dayton's 21-3 start is its best since also opening 21-3 in 2008-09. ... The Flyers shot 52.0 percent, going 26 of 50.
Rhode Island: Rhode Island's six Atlantic 10 losses have been by a combined 30 points. ... Martin made his 15th career double-double.
Dayton: at Saint Joseph's on Wednesday night.
Rhode Island: at VCU on Tuesday night.
|Niagara||59||vs.||72||Saint Peter's||Final Recap|
Welton scores 24, St. Peter's beats Niagara 72-59
Friday, February 12 at 9:51 PM (EST)
JERSEY CITY, N.J. (AP) Quadir Welton had 24 points and 11 rebounds, Antwon Portley added 21 points and six boards and St. Peter's beat Niagara 72-59 on Friday night.
Welton had 17 and Portley 10 in the first half as the Peacocks (10-13, 8-6 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference) built a 38-25 lead.
Emile Blackman's 3-pointer pulled Niagara (6-20, 4-11) within 46-35 early in the second and the Purple Eagles would get no closer. St. Peter's pulled away for good with an 11-5 run to lead 66-47 with 6:36 left.
Marvin Prochet led Niagara with 19 points and eight rebounds. Matt Scott added 15 and Blackman 14.
Both teams had six 3-pointers and 21 field goals. The difference was at the foul line where Saint Peter's made 24 of 30 and Niagara just 11 of 17.
St. Peter's had its second-straight win following a five-game losing streak. Niagara lost its fourth in a row.
Lo's 21 points sends Columbia past Pennsylvania 63-53
Friday, February 12 at 9:26 PM (EST)
NEW YORK (AP) Maodo Lo scored 21 points and had five rebounds and Grant Mullins added 11 points and six steals to lead Columbia past Pennsylvania 63-53 on Friday night.
Leading 28-24 at halftime, the Lions emerged from the break with a 7-0 run in the first two minutes. The Quakers then ran off a 14-2 run to cut the deficit to 41-40 with 11:30 left on Jackson Donahue's 3-pointer.
But Columbia (17-7, 6-1 Ivy League) countered with an 11-0 run over a three-minute span to put the game away. Jeff Coby, who finished with nine points, scored seven points during that surge. Coby's layup with 2:09 to play made it 63-47.
Alex Rosenburg scored 10 points and had eight rebounds for Columbia, which collected 13 offensive rebounds. The Lions were 25-for-59 shooting from the field (42.4 percent) but 7 for 19 (36.8 percent) from the free throw line.
Matt Howard led Penn (8-12, 2-4) with 14 points.
Monmouth stuns Rider late in 79-78 win
Friday, February 12 at 11:36 PM (EST)
LAWRENCEVILLE, N.J. (AP) Justin Robinson scored 21 points, and his 3-pointer with 3.4 seconds to play capped a wild finish as Monmouth's furious comeback shocked Rider in a 79-78 win Friday night.
The 5-foot-8 Robinson created space off his dribble, launched the 3 over the outstretched arm of 6-foot-4 Teddy Okereafor and drained it.
Monmouth (21-5, 13-2 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference) shot 4 for 25 from the field during the first 16 minutes of the second half before going 7 for 7 in the final 3:42.
Okereafor's layup with 4:02 left gave Rider (6-9, 10-16) a 76-62 lead with 4:02 to play. But Micah Seaborn capped a 14-0 run with a high-arching step-back 3 to tie it at 76 with a minute left. Khalil Thomas gave Rider its last lead on a jumper with 22 seconds left before Robinson's game winner.
Thomas led Rider with 18 points and 13 rebounds.
|Saturday, February 13, 2016|
|National Hockey League|
|Bruins||vs.||Wild||1:00 (EST) Preview|
By JEFF MEZYDLO - STATS Senior Writer
Friday, February 12 at 10:56 AM (EST)
The character of the Minnesota Wild continues to be tested amid one of the roughest stretches in club history.
Mired in their worst-ever home slide, the Wild look to avoid matching the team record with an eighth consecutive loss overall Saturday against the Boston Bruins, who are looking for a season-high sixth straight road victory.
Loser of 12 of 13 and stuck in an 0-4-3 hole at home, Minnesota (23-21-10) is struggling to comprehend what is going on.
''If this wasn't really maddening and really frustrating, it would almost be comical the way things are going right now,'' coach Mike Yeo said.
The Wild, who have lost two in a row by 4-3 scores and dropped four by one goal during the 0-5-2 slide, last lost eight straight Dec. 13-28, 2011.
"It's definitely frustrating," defenseman Ryan Suter told the NHL's official website. "We usually have to hit rock bottom before we go up, and I feel like we've hit rock bottom. Now we just need it to start turning for us."
Perhaps Minnesota can start by faring better in the second period, during which it's been outscored 13-3 in the last five games. The Wild allowed Washington's Alex Ovechkin to record a hat trick during the second in Thursday's defeat.
Minnesota has yielded four goals in each of the last four contests and at least that many in six of seven. Its last three opponents have gone 5 for 14 on the power play after the previous 15 were 4 for 31.
All-Star Devan Dubnyk has lost nine straight starts and owns a 4.07 goals-against average in four February outings.
''Getting tired of it, really,'' said forward Charlie Coyle, who has recorded five of his career-high 15 goals in eight games. ''We've got to find ways. You keep seeing we're taking strides and that's the positive thing to do, and I think we are. But we've got to get that end result.''
Dubnyk made 34 saves in a 4-2 loss to the Bruins on Nov. 19 and is 0-5-0 with 5.20 GAA against them.
Loui Eriksson registered his third career hat trick in that meeting with Minnesota, and he had a goal and an assist as Boston (29-19-6) opened its season-high six-game trip with a 6-2 victory over Winnipeg on Thursday. The Bruins have outscored their last five road opponents 20-8.
"It was a huge start, that's what we wanted," said forward Patrice Bergeron, who scored twice to snap a five-game goal drought. "But we know there's a lot more to this road trip than just one game and now we need to focus on Minnesota."
Brad Marchand had a goal and two assists and Brett Connolly recorded three assists as the Bruins rebounded from Tuesday's 9-2 defeat to Los Angeles.
"Different guys stepped up," said Connolly, who had one point his previous nine games. "And that's what we're going to need going forward on this road trip if we want to make it successful."
Tuukka Rask made 34 saves Thursday and has a 1.72 GAA during a four-game road winning streak.
Eriksson has six goals in the last five matchups with Minnesota while Bergeron has two and two assists during the same span.
Boston has gone 3 for 35 on the power play in the last 12 contests.
|Devils||vs.||Flyers||1:00 (EST) Preview|
By ALAN FERGUSON - STATS Writer
Friday, February 12 at 2:15 PM (EST)
With their rookie defenseman trying to keep his streak going to set a franchise record, the Philadelphia Flyers want to get some momentum going before a long road trip.
Shayne Gostisbehere will seek to extend his point streak to 11 games while helping the Flyers get past the New Jersey Devils on Saturday.
Philadelphia (24-20-9) ended a three-game slide by routing Buffalo 5-1 on Thursday. The Flyers scored four times in the second period, and R.J. Umberger kicked off that binge by ending a 50-game drought that dated back to January 2015.
"It's huge for us, just everyone pulling on the same side of the rope, just having an explosion like that. Four goals in one period," Gostisbehere said. "That's huge for a team like us, especially after laying an egg (in a 4-1 loss to Anaheim on Tuesday)."
The 22-year-old assisted on Wayne Simmonds' second-period goal to match the team's longest point streak by a rookie, set by Mikael Renberg in 1993-94. Gostisbehere has two goals and 11 assists during his 10-game run, currently the longest in the NHL.
He has 17 points in 17 home games, but this is the last time the Flyers will be playing in Philadelphia until Feb. 25. They begin a five-game trek Sunday against the New York Rangers, followed by their season series finale with the Devils on Tuesday.
New Jersey (27-21-7) also ended a three-game skid in its latest game but had a little more tension in a 2-1 victory over Edmonton on Tuesday. The Devils didn't get the tiebreaking goal until Reid Boucher converted on a power play with 12:47 remaining.
Adam Henrique also scored on a man advantage, and New Jersey improved to 9 for 23 in its last eight games. The Devils have killed off all 19 penalties in their five contests this month.
"Our special teams were great," said Cory Schneider, who is 7-3-1 with a 1.64 goals-against average in his last 11 starts. "We needed this one after (a 2-1 loss to the Rangers on Monday). We felt good about our two prior games but didn't win. To get a win is important. We couldn't settle for single points here."
Like the Flyers, New Jersey is just outside the Eastern Conference playoff picture. The Devils have won six of their last seven visits to Philadelphia, including 4-1 on Oct. 29, but have lost a season-worst three in a row on the road while scoring three goals.
They're averaging a league-worst 1.44 goals on the road since 2016 began, partly offsetting the fact Schneider's 1.86 GAA away from home this season is tops among goalies with at least 10 road starts.
Simmonds has eight goals and two assists in his last eight contests. He has the Flyers' only power-play goal in 15 chances over the last three contests, though they've killed off 13 of 14 penalties in the last four.
Kyle Palmieri has seven points in five career games against Philadelphia, including two goals and two assists this season.
Travis Zajac had two power-play goals in Philadelphia but sat out the last matchup in New Jersey because of an upper-body injury as Philadelphia won 4-3 in overtime Dec. 4. The Devils are 14-0-2 in their last 16 games against the Flyers - including the playoffs - when Zajac is on the ice.
Top Philadelphia netminder Steve Mason has lost all seven starts he's made against New Jersey with a 3.77 GAA.
|Maple Leafs||vs.||Canucks||4:00 (EST) Preview|
Maple Leafs-Canucks Preview
By JEFF MEZYDLO - STATS Senior Writer
Friday, February 12 at 11:40 AM (EST)
Following back-to-back road victories, the Vancouver Canucks must find a way to start winning at home.
That hasn't been a problem when the Toronto Maple Leafs come to town.
The Canucks can avoid a fourth straight defeat at Rogers Arena by beating the Maple Leafs for an eighth consecutive time there Saturday night.
Just outside of playoff position in the Western Conference, Vancouver (22-20-12) has little room for error in its quest to make the playoffs.
"Every game is do or die for us," defenseman Alex Biega said. "Every point really matters. For the most part, that's playoff-type of hockey."
The Canucks have looked like a serious postseason contender this week, scoring three unanswered goals in Tuesday's 3-1 win at Colorado and getting 33 saves from Ryan Miller in a 2-1 victory at Arizona one night later.
"We have to build off that," Biega said.
Vancouver can do so by getting back on track at home, where it's 9-10-5 and has been held to one goal in three straight games.
"The guys are still battling," said coach Willie Desjardins, whose team averages a West-low 2.25 goals at home. "We know we've got to put together a string of (winning) games."
The Canucks also need the Sedin brothers to produce.
Henrik Sedin snapped a five-game point drought with an assist against the Coyotes, but Daniel has one point in six and none in the last four. Daniel had three goals and five assists in a five-game home point streak against Toronto that ended in a 4-1 win March 14.
Henrik totaled six points in the previous three home matchups with the Maple Leafs before also going scoreless in that contest.
Vancouver fell 4-2 to Toronto (19-25-9) on Nov. 14, but hasn't lost at home to the Maple Leafs since November 2003 and has outscored them 25-7 in the last six there.
Miller has yielded four goals each time in losing two starts against the Maple Leafs with the Canucks. He's expected to face them for the first time at Rogers on Saturday.
Toronto fell to 0-3-0 on a five-game trip with Thursday's 5-2 loss to Edmonton. The Maple Leafs have yielded 15 goals on the swing, including nine in two games since sending veteran defenseman Dion Phaneuf to Ottawa in a nine-player deal Tuesday.
Despite another rough season for the Leafs, coach Mike Babcock is happy with his team's effort and spirit, especially with this week's roster shake-up.
''I didn't mind our game, to tell you the truth,'' said Babcock, whose club trailed 3-2 after two periods against the Oilers. ''We got ourselves in a good spot (Thursday). ... We didn't finish and they did.''
After James Reimer yielded seven total goals in the first two of the trip, Jonathan Bernier gave up four on 34 shots against Edmonton. Bernier has posted a 3.82 goals-against average while losing four straight road starts.
Reimer made 43 saves Nov. 14 but has given up four goals apiece in losing both starts at Vancouver, and Bernier is likely to start this game.
Leo Komarov has recorded two of his team-leading 17 goals in the last 21 games for Toronto, which is 2 for 45 on the power play over the past 14.
Vancouver's Jannik Hansen matched a career high with his 16th goal Wednesday. He's scored in two straight against the Maple Leafs and has two goals and three assists in four home matchups.
|Capitals||vs.||Stars||7:00 (EST) Preview|
By SCOTT GARBARINI - STATS Writer
Friday, February 12 at 2:43 PM (EST)
Few teams have been able to keep pace with the Washington Capitals, particularly when Alex Ovechkin is as locked in as right now.
That hasn't been an issue for the Dallas Stars.
As the Capitals aim for a sixth consecutive win, the Stars look to maintain their recent dominance in the series when the NHL's highest-scoring teams face off Saturday night.
This marquee matchup has the makings of a possible Stanley Cup Final preview with Washington (40-9-4) a runaway leader atop the Eastern Conference and Dallas (35-15-5) one point off Chicago's lead in the West. There's clearly the potential for plenty of scoring as well, as the Stars top the NHL with 178 goals and the Capitals average a league-high 3.3 per game.
Washington has generated 33 goals over a 7-1-1 stretch and nine over the first two tests of a three-game trip. Ovechkin has scored in three straight and passed Chicago's Patrick Kane for the league lead with a hat trick in Thursday's 4-3 win over Minnesota.
Ovechkin recorded all three goals in the second period and has 34 this season, 13 of which have come in his last 13 games.
"It's incredible. The puck just comes to him, but he has that ability when it comes to put it in the net," said teammate Nicklas Backstrom, who assisted on all three scores. "It's hard to do."
Ovechkin has a goal in three of Washington's past five meetings with Dallas, though that production hasn't translated into team success as the Stars have won eight consecutive matchups and seven straight in regulation. They won 3-2 on Nov. 19 in Washington, where Kari Lehtonen made 31 saves and Jason Spezza scored the game-winner shortly after Ovechkin tied it in the third period.
Lehtonen was just as sharp as Dallas won both ends of its recent two-game trip. After compiling 37 saves in Tuesday's 4-3 overtime victory at Minnesota, he notched a season-high 44 as the Stars closed the gap on the Blackhawks with Thursday's 4-2 win.
"He made some great saves for us," coach Lindy Ruff said. "Minnesota was the same way; we needed some big saves at important times. He made some game changers."
Lehtonen was supported by Patrick Eaves' second career hat trick that helped Dallas, which lost 5-1 at home to Chicago last Saturday for its only defeat in six games, build a 4-0 lead through one period.
''We were ourselves (Thursday),'' said Tyler Seguin, who assisted on two of Eaves' goals. ''Obviously I think they handed it to us last game.''
Eaves has four goals and three assists over a four-game point streak, aiding an offense that's been without Spezza for three straight due to an upper-body injury. Seguin has seven points over his last five and has scored in four straight against Washington.
Lehtonen owns a 1.71 goals-against average in winning seven straight starts against Washington, while the Capitals' Braden Holtby earned a fifth consecutive win with 33 saves against Minnesota.
Holtby, who did not play in the November meeting, is 17-3-2 with a 2.21 GAA in 22 road starts.
The Capitals are expected to have Evgeny Kuznetsov, the club's leader with 54 points, available after passing a concussion test on Friday. The All-Star forward exited Thursday's game after being high-sticked in the face on a third-period faceoff.
|Islanders||vs.||Hurricanes||7:00 (EST) Preview|
By NICOLINO DIBENEDETTO - STATS Writer
Saturday, February 13 at 12:07 AM (EST)
John Tavares has ended his slump in emphatic fashion. A matchup with the Carolina Hurricanes isn't likely to slow him down.
Tavares looks to extend his scoring surge and help the New York Islanders match their longest winning streak of the season Saturday night.
Tavares has five goals and seven assists over the past eight games, exactly matching his production over the previous 24.
"I never worried or doubted that the points were going to come," coach Jack Capuano told the team's official website. "He's had a lot of chances and works hard. But it's good to see Johnny get the points. As he goes, we go."
That's certainly been true during a three-game winning streak as Tavares has six points after tallying a goal and an assist in a 5-2 win over Los Angeles on Thursday.
"I just want to keep doing the right things," Tavares said. "I think I've been playing well for a few weeks and I want to be consistent, keep it going and create opportunities."
That shouldn't be a problem since the All-Star center has 28 points over his last 16 meetings with the Hurricanes, including 13 in six visits to Raleigh.
Tavares, though, was kept off the score sheet in a 3-2 overtime loss to the Hurricanes at home Oct. 29.
After averaging 2.5 goals in a 4-5-1 stretch, the Islanders (29-18-6) have scored 16 during three straight wins. They are 4 for 10 on the power play in those games.
"We're getting more of a rhythm coming out of our own end, getting up into the neutral zone," Tavares said. "Guys are making plays and we're starting to put some more pucks in the net."
New York has 14 goals in a three-game win streak at Carolina (24-21-10), and is 5-1-2 in its last eight visits.
Brock Nelson is tied with Tavares for the team lead with 20 goals, but hasn't scored in five consecutive games. However, he has three in his last two road games with the Hurricanes.
Carolina opened this three-game homestand with a 2-1 shootout loss to Pittsburgh on Friday after falling by the same score in a shootout at Montreal on Sunday.
"When it gets late, gets to those dying moments, it always gets nerve-racking," coach Bill Peters said Friday. "I thought the guys did a good job staying with it."
Andrej Nestrasil forced overtime against the Penguins by scoring with 5:28 left in regulation. The center has three goals in three games to match his total from the previous 30.
The Hurricanes are unsure if they'll have Justin Faulk available after a lower-body injury sidelined him Friday. The All-Star defenseman leads Carolina with 34 points and his 15 goals match his career high from last season.
"Day to day means day to day," Peters told the team's official website.
Jeff Skinner, who had his five-game point streak snapped Friday, has six points in as many home matchups with the Islanders.
Cam Ward made 25 saves against the Penguins, giving Carolina at least a point in each of his past eight starts. He is 4-0-4 with a 1.79 goals-against average in those games.
Ward, who could be rested in the second of this back to back, is 18-3-3 with a 2.62 GAA in his last 27 games against New York.
|Predators||vs.||Panthers||7:00 (EST) Preview|
By JEFF BARTL - STATS Senior Writer
Saturday, February 13 at 12:40 AM (EST)
Roberto Luongo and Al Montoya have helped the Florida Panthers reach the top of the Atlantic Division with stingy goaltending, but pucks are slipping past them at an alarming rate lately.
The Nashville Predators are having that problem, too, and the scoreboard operator could be busy Saturday night when the slumping clubs meet in Sunrise.
Florida (32-17-6) ranks near the top of the league defensively allowing an average of 2.3 goals per game, backed by Luongo's 2.23 goals-against average in 43 appearances and Montoya's 2.06 mark in 15 games.
Both were needed Friday, though, after Luongo allowed three goals on 13 shots in the first period and Montoya made 13 saves in the final 40 minutes of a 5-3 loss to St. Louis that began a six-game homestand.
The Panthers, who were coming off Tuesday's 7-4 win at Buffalo, dropped to 1-2-1 following a five-game winning streak and have allowed at least three goals in each of their last five.
"(Luongo's) been a horse all year long. It was just to shake up the team," coach Gerard Gallant said. "We weren't happy with how we were playing."
Derek MacKenzie, Aaron Ekblad and Jonathan Huberdeau scored while Jaromir Jagr had two assists for Florida, which had its division lead trimmed to five points over Detroit after the Red Wings lost to Colorado in a shootout Friday.
Aleksander Barkov missed his second straight with an upper-body injury suffered from a big hit in Monday's loss at Detroit and isn't expected to return until at least Monday against Pittsburgh.
"We were not as sharp as we were the past few games," Huberdeau said. "I think (Saturday) we've got to come back and be better defensively. That's usually where we're good at. (Friday), we allowed too many odd-man rushes."
Luongo has an .893 save percentage over his last four, but a short night could mean he'll be in net for this one. The Predators, on the other hand, might want to consider giving Pekka Rinne a break.
Nashville (25-21-9) has scored 15 times over its last four, but it also has allowed 17 goals during that time as Rinne has struggled with a .838 save percentage in that stretch. He gave up the tying goal with 26.6 seconds remaining in regulation Friday before Tampa Bay scored 1:04 into overtime for a 4-3 victory over the Predators, who are 1-3-1 following a four-game winning streak.
James Neal scored his 20th goal to give him at least that many in each of his eight NHL seasons. Filip Forsberg has four goals and two assists over his last three after putting Nashville ahead 7:46 into the third.
The tying goal came with Nashville shorthanded and the Lightning having an empty net. The Predators weren't happy with the slashing call on Viktor Arvidsson that led to Tampa's power play.
"It seems like we're taking penalties at the wrong times," said Mike Fisher, who scored in the first. "We're trying to do the right things. We've just got to be a little smarter. It's hurting us."
Nashville had allowed one goal in each of its previous five. Backup Carter Hutton started one of those contests, making 26 saves in a 2-1 win over Calgary on Jan. 27 in his last outing.
Rinne faced only 16 shots when Huberdeau scored and Luongo made 32 saves in the Panthers' 2-1 victory in Nashville on Dec. 3. The Predators had gone 4-0-1 in the previous five meetings.
|Senators||vs.||Blue Jackets||7:00 (EST) Preview|
Senators-Blue Jackets Preview
Friday, February 12 at 1:04 PM (EST)
Ottawa Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson is on pace to break his career-high mark of 78 points set four seasons ago, and a matchup with the Columbus Blue Jackets should serve to further his cause.
Karlsson has seven points in two easy wins over Columbus this season and looks to help the Senators end a three-game road losing streak Saturday night.
He's a leading candidate for the Norris Trophy as the league's top defensemen with 62 points, including an NHL-best 51 assists. No other defenseman has more than 46 points.
Karlsson has 17 points in his last 12 games and 11 in his last seven. He had the second four-assist performance of his career in last Saturday's 6-1 rout of Toronto.
The previous one came in a 7-3 win over Columbus (22-28-6) on Oct. 14. He then had two goals and an assist in a 3-0 home win over the Blue Jackets on Nov. 19 in which Craig Anderson made 25 saves.
Karlsson has 15 points in 10 career games against Columbus, including nine in Ottawa's four-game road win streak in this series. The seven goals allowed by the Blue Jackets in October are the most they have yielded at home.
Ottawa (25-25-6) likely can't afford anything less than a victory after falling to 3-7-0 in its last 10 overall after Thursday's 4-3 home defeat to Colorado. The Senators have the fourth-worst record in the Eastern Conference, although they remain within striking distance of a playoff spot.
"These are points that we need," winger Chris Neil said. "We still believe in here, we still believe that we can get to where we need to be to make the playoffs but you gotta win games to do that."
The Senators failed to battle back from a three-goal deficit in the second period after the Avalanche scored the game's first three goals on the power play. Special teams have been a problem all season for Ottawa, which is at minus-16 in power-play goal differential for the league's second-worst mark.
"I thought we were real good 5-on-5," coach David Cameron said. "I thought we were the better team today, we were a little quicker, dug ourselves a hole and stayed with it and fell short."
Karlsson and Dion Phaneuf each had two assists, with Phaneuf making his home debut after being acquired from Toronto on Tuesday.
The Senators are last in the NHL in average shot differential at minus-4.6.
The lowly Blue Jackets have played four straight one-goal games, winning for the third time Thursday, 4-3 in a shootout over Anaheim. Former Senators winger Nick Foligno had two assists.
''This is a group of guys I want to be a difference maker for and lead them and playing the right way,'' Foligno said. ''Sometimes it just doesn't go your way, but it's the little things that you can do consistently to get you back to playing the right way.''
Brandon Saad ended a four-game goal drought with his team-high 20th and William Karlsson scored his third goal in as many games.
Rookie Joonas Korpisalo has made eight straight starts, going 5-1-2 with a 2.16 goals-against average. He has never faced the Senators.
|Coyotes||vs.||Sharks||7:30 (EST) Preview|
By KEVIN MASSOTH - STATS Writer
Saturday, February 13 at 1:47 AM (EST)
The San Jose Sharks' win over the Arizona Coyotes last month came amidst a season-high point streak that has since drifted into inconsistent play.
The good news is the Coyotes haven't been able to make up much ground, anyway.
While the Coyotes seek just their fourth win in the last month on Saturday night, the Sharks hope a home game against their Pacific Division foe brings similar success that it has over the last decade.
San Jose (28-20-5) earned its fourth win in the last five games of this series with a 3-1 victory at Arizona on Jan. 21. That was the Sharks' seventh step on a 10-game point streak that lasted from Jan. 9-26, though they have been up and down since.
They have traded wins and losses for a 2-2-1 record and have surrendered at least five goals in two of the last three games. A shutout came from the other, but the Sharks have dropped eight points behind division-leading Los Angeles.
While San Jose combined for just nine goals in its four previous games, it busted out for five on Thursday against Calgary. The Flames, however, scored the same amount on backup Alex Stalock before eventually winning 6-5 in a shootout.
The Sharks did, though, escape with a point after trailing 4-1 through one period - a nice consolation to tag onto Tuesday's 2-0 win at Chicago.
''We stuck with it and found a way to get a point," coach Peter DeBoer said.
San Jose has taken most of the points in this series since the 2012-13 season, earning 23 of a possible 30 with a 10-2-3 record.
The advantage is more lopsided while dating back further at San Jose. The Sharks are 18-2-5 there against the Coyotes since Jan. 18, 2007, going 5-0-3 in the past eight.
San Jose is also currently riding an eight-game home point streak, but it follows Saturday's game with a five-game road trip that starts Tuesday in Tampa Bay.
Starting goaltender Martin Jones has only been part of this series this season, but he made 23 saves to earn the win last month. Jones recorded one of his 12 career shutouts in his only other start against Arizona while with Los Angeles in December 2014.
Arizona (25-23-6) followed last month's loss to San Jose with back-to-back wins, but the Coyotes picked up only one point while matching a season-worst five-game losing streak.
Shane Doan put the brakes on the skid Friday, however, with two goals and an assist in a 4-1 win over Calgary. Doan's big day helped him become the Coyotes leader with 931 career points.
''What he's done for this organization is phenomenal,'' coach Dave Tippett said. ''The commitment he has to the organization, to the city, to his teammates, it's just amazing to watch every day.''
Louis Domingue made 26 saves for the win, but it may be Anders Lindback who gets a shot to end his struggles Saturday. Lindback hasn't won since Dec. 27 and surrendered five goals in his last start, a 5-2 loss at Anaheim on Feb. 5.
Sharks left winger Patrick Marleau has scored in his last two games and added an assist against the Flames, and he beat Domingue for a goal last month.
|Ducks||vs.||Blackhawks||7:30 (EST) Preview|
By MATT BECKER - STATS Editor
Friday, February 12 at 3:44 PM (EST)
Anaheim Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said a lack of respect for a last-place opponent is why his team lost its last game.
They won't have the same problem when their road trip continues against the Western Conference leader.
The Ducks look to bounce back Saturday night when they face a Chicago Blackhawks team that knocked them out of last season's playoffs and has won this season's first two meetings in overtime.
Anaheim was on its way to victory Thursday against Columbus, leading 2-0 late in the second period, but allowed a goal with five seconds to go in that period and blew another two-goal lead in the third of its 4-3 shootout loss. The Ducks (26-19-8) were outshot 34-27 and went 0 for 2 on the power play.
''Personally, I just didn't think we respected that team enough to start that game,'' Boudreau said. ''And this is the NHL. You can't come into a game and not respect your opponent. We were lucky to get a point, but we'll bounce back.''
The Blackhawks (36-18-4) have a similar mindset after a pair of disappointing showings reduced their lead over second-place Dallas to a point.
Two nights after opening a four-game homestand with a 2-0 loss to San Jose, Chicago fell behind by four goals - three by Patrick Eaves - in the first period of Thursday's 4-2 setback to the Stars.
The Blackhawks dominated play in the third, outshooting the Stars 21-2, but the early deficit was too big to overcome.
''The last two, we've been in a little bit of a funk,'' said Patrick Kane, who scored his 33rd goal but fell out of the league lead. ''We'll work ourself out of it, just like we always do, and come back ready to play Saturday.''
Having a healthy Artemi Panarin would certainly help, but his status is uncertain after missing the last two games with an illness. The 24-year-old, who plays alongside Kane and Artem Anisimov, is second on the team with 52 points and leads all rookies.
"I think anytime you miss one of your top players it's going to have an effect on everyone," said Kane, who has 77 points.
Anisimov had the winner in Anaheim on Nov. 27 after Jonathan Toews scored in a 1-0 victory over the Ducks on Oct. 26, their first meeting since last season's conference finals.
Corey Crawford has stopped 62 of 64 shots against Anaheim this season but was shaky Thursday, making 14 saves on 18 shots. Crawford, who was replaced after one period by Scott Darling, was 13-3-0 with a 1.88 goals-against average in his previous 16 starts.
The Blackhawks had won 13 of 15 at Chicago before this homestand and haven't lost three in a row overall since Nov. 28-Dec. 3.
The Ducks have lost two of three to start a seven-game trip for their only defeats in the last nine contests. They haven't lost back-to-back games since Dec. 21 and 22. Since then, they've gone a West-best 14-4-2 with the Blackhawks owning the conference's second-best record at 16-6-0.
Frederik Andersen has been instrumental to Anaheim's success and Boudreau praised his 31-save performance Thursday in his first loss since New Year's Day. He is 6-0-2 with a 1.72 GAA in 2016 while John Gibson is 5-4-0 with a 2.83 GAA over that same stretch.
Corey Perry, who has a team-high 21 goals, was held without a point for the second time in nine games Tuesday. He had three goals in last season's playoff series with the Blackhawks but has only two assists while the Ducks have lost six of the last seven regular-season meetings with Chicago.
|Jets||vs.||Oilers||8:00 (EST) Preview|
By TOM CASTRO - STATS Senior Editor
Friday, February 12 at 3:35 PM (EST)
Connor McDavid continues to show that he might be the player to finally lead the Edmonton Oilers out of the wilderness.
Coming off a career-high five-point effort, the star rookie looks to keep rolling in a Hockey Night in Canada appearance when the Oilers host the Winnipeg Jets in a matchup of last-place teams Saturday night.
McDavid became the third rookie in team history to record a five-point game with two goals and three assists in a 5-2 win over Toronto on Thursday. The effort helped the Oilers (22-29-5) break a three-game losing streak after they had scored one goal in each of those contests.
''We needed this,'' McDavid said. ''There was a lot of pressure on us coming in, playing against a team that was desperate and missing a lot of guys. They played a great game in terms of structure and not giving up too much. But it was a big night for us to start off the (six-game) homestand.''
McDavid's line had a huge game, with Jordan Eberle recording his first career hat trick and adding an assist while Benoit Pouliot had four assists, but it was the center's effort against his hometown team that was the most spectacular. Years of high draft picks haven't resulted in the Oilers becoming a winning organization again, but McDavid, the top overall pick in the 2015 draft, seems to offer promise that it might finally happen.
''His performance did all the speaking,'' coach Todd McLellan said. ''You turn into a fan as a coach and as players and just admire what he and his linemates did.''
McDavid has four goals and eight assists in his last six games. Eberle has eight goals and three assists in the past 10 contests, while Pouliot has recorded two and eight in six.
''I think the more we play together, the better we will be,'' Eberle said. ''Tonight was obviously our best, we put up goals and whatnot. But it was the little plays that I really liked. Coming out of our end, cycling, I thought we did a better job of that. Chemistry is not something you get right away, you've got to grow it a bit.''
The Oilers will look to make it three straight wins and four in five at home, having scored five times in each of their last two there. They beat Winnipeg 3-1 at Rexall Place on Dec. 21 behind two goals and an assist from Teddy Purcell and 44 saves from Cam Talbot, who's expected to start this game after stopping 34 shots against the Maple Leafs.
The December result snapped the Jets' four-game winning streak in the series, and Winnipeg comes in looking to bounce back from a 6-2 home loss to Boston on Thursday.
The Jets (24-27-3) have given up at least five goals three times in the past five games and are 3-6-0 in nine. The Bruins dominated the third period, scoring three unanswered goals and holding a 14-6 shot advantage.
"We came out in the third and we looked tentative," defenseman Tyler Myers told the team's official website. "Being down a goal we can't play like that if we want to come back. They get the first one in the third and we're caught chasing and it's tough to come back like that."
Bryan Little had a goal and an assist - giving him goals in two straight games after an eight-game drought - and Blake Wheeler added two assists.
Despite its recent struggles, Winnipeg opens a four-game trip having won three straight and four of five on the road.
|Friday, February 12, 2016|
|National Hockey League|
Foligno, Kane score twice in Sabres' 6-4 win over Canadiens
By JOHN WAWROW - AP Hockey Writer
Friday, February 12 at 11:24 PM (EST)
BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) With little time to think, Sabres forward Marcus Foligno picked his spot just as he lined up to take his penalty shot.
''You don't want to stickhandle, so I was just trying to get a shot off,'' Foligno said. ''I just thought, `Get it over his glove.'''
Foligno was on target.
He beat Canadiens goalie Mike Condon high on the glove side to put Buffalo up by two goals late in the second period in a topsy-turvy 6-4 win over Montreal on Friday night.
''It's a lot of pressure, but it's fun pressure, and it was great to score that one,'' said Foligno, who had two goals and an assist for a career-best three points.
Evander Kane scored twice, including an empty-netter, and the Sabres hung on after nearly squandering a 4-1 lead to snap a four-game skid and win for just the second time in 11 home games (2-7-2).
While the Sabres gave their home fans something to finally cheer about, frustration set in among the Canadiens players.
Defenseman P.K. Subban was upset by how Kane sealed the victory with 55 seconds left.
Ryan O'Reilly cleared the Sabres' zone by bouncing the puck high off the boards and up the left wing. The puck was headed directly to Subban before it struck linesman Brad Kovachik's skate and caromed back to Kane, who crossed the blue line and fired it into open net.
''If it doesn't hit him, it rolls right to me and I turn it up the ice,'' Subban said. ''I'm just not sure what we're supposed to do in that situation. Are we supposed to smile and be happy after that and say, `Thank you,' to the linesman? I don't think so. I'm a little disappointed.''
Canadiens coach Michel Therrien refused to use the bad bounce as an excuse by noting the linesman is in play.
Therrien blamed the loss on too many defensive breakdowns.
''It's always when you're making the big mistakes, and it cost us the game,'' Therrien said. ''We scored four goals, you allow a team 21 or 22 shots against, you should win those hockey games. And we didn't win tonight.''
Alex Galchenyuk and rookie Sven Andrighetto scored two goals apiece for Montreal. The Canadiens had a three-game winning streak snapped and dropped to 1-5-1 in their past seven road games.
Montreal also lost ground in the Eastern Conference playoff race by dropping into 11th place after Carolina moved ahead of the Canadiens by earning a point in a 2-1 shootout loss to Pittsburgh.
The Canadiens, who had been off since a 4-2 win over Tampa Bay on Tuesday night, were beaten by a Sabres team that was playing on back-to-back nights following a 5-1 loss at Philadelphia.
Defense remains an issue for Buffalo, which has allowed 16 goals in its past three games, including a 7-4 loss to Florida on Tuesday night.
''It might not be the prettiest game, it certainly wasn't a Picasso, but this group fought hard,'' Sabres coach Dan Bylsma said.
The game turned after the Canadiens opened the scoring on Andrighetto's goal.
David Legwand tied the game on a breakaway, and then the Sabres erupted for three goals in 2:18 overlapping the first intermission. Josh Gorges also scored for Buffalo.
It was a tough night for goaltenders.
Buffalo's Chad Johnson allowed four goals on 30 shots. Johnson, however, did come up big in the opening minutes of the third period, when he got his arm up to foil Tomas Fleischmann, who was set up in front.
Ben Scrivens started for Montreal, but was chased 1:28 into the second period after giving up three goals on eight shots. Condon took the loss after allowing two goals on 13 shots.
NOTES: Subban had a hand in each of Montreal's past 12 power-play goals before the streak ended on Galchenyuk's first goal with the man advantage. The 12-goal streak was one shy of matching the franchise record set by Jean Beliveau in 1962-63. ... The Sabres placed rookie C Daniel Catenacci on IR and called up forward Philip Varone from AHL Rochester. Catenacci was being evaluated for a concussion after being hurt against Philadelphia. ... In an odd turn of events, the Sabres public address announcer referred to Buffalo rookie first-round draft pick Jack Eichel (pronounced: ''Aye-kel'') as ''Ick-el,'' in crediting him with an assist.
Doan gets franchise points mark, Coyotes beat Flames 4-1
By MIKE CRANSTON - Associated Press
Saturday, February 13 at 12:58 AM (EST)
GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) The Arizona Coyotes needed their top players to guide them out of a recent funk, and franchise cornerstone Shane Doan came through with a record-breaking performance.
Doan had two goals and an assist to become the Coyotes' leader with 931 career points and Arizona beat the weary Calgary Flames 4-1 on Friday night to snap a season-worst five-game losing streak.
Doan's 4-on-4 goal 3:31 in tied him with Hall of Famer Dale Hawerchuk on the team list. Near the end of the game, a scoring change gave Doan an assist on Oliver Ekman-Larsson's second-period goal.
The 39-year-old Doan broke another of Hawerchuk's franchise records late in the third when he got his 123rd career power-play goal. During a 5-on-3, he sharply one-timed a cross-slot pass from Mikkel Boedker for the 21st goal of his 20th season with the franchise.
''What he's done for this organization is phenomenal,'' coach Dave Tippett said. ''The commitment he has to the organization, to the city, to his teammates, it's just amazing to watch every day.''
Doan passed Hawerchuk for the franchise goals record on Dec. 31. Doan debuted with the then-Winnipeg Jets in 1995-96 and has been with the franchise since it moved to Arizona a year later.
For a boy from Alberta, setting the record against a team he grew up watching wasn't lost on Doan.
''They were in the Smythe Division, not that a lot of people know the Smythe,'' Doan said, smiling.
That was before 20-year-old teammate Anthony Duclair's time. Duclair was born two months before Doan's rookie season.
''One day I'm going to tell my kids I played with Shane Doan,'' Duclair said.
Ekman-Larsson assisted on Duclair's second-period power-play goal, and Louis Domingue stopped 26 shots in the Coyotes' third win over Calgary this season.
Joe Colborne scored in the third for the Flames, who had their three-game winning streak snapped. Jonas Hiller filled in for the injured Karri Ramo and made 32 saves in his first regulation loss to Arizona since 2011.
A night after a wild 6-5 shootout win in San Jose, the Flames had little energy without their No. 1 goaltender, wasting a chance to move past Arizona into fifth in the Pacific Division.
''They were the better team,'' Flames coach Bob Hartley said. ''We just had no answers for them.''
Ramo was helped off the ice with an apparent leg injury late in the game Thursday night. He was placed on injured reserve Friday, and the Flames called up Joni Ortio from Stockton (AHL) to be Hiller's backup.
Ramo stayed with the team in Arizona and was scheduled to be evaluated by doctors Saturday in Calgary.
Hartley planned to start Hiller against Arizona even before Ramo's injury. Hiller was 11-0-1 against the Coyotes in the past five seasons, with the last regulation loss coming when he was with Anaheim.
But Hiller got off to a slow start on his 34th birthday when Doan's shot went through his legs. And the Flames kept putting pressure on him by taking 10 penalties.
Entering with 19 goals in a 2-7-2 stretch, Tippett shook up his lines. Tobias Rieder skated with Doan and Brad Richardson, while Jordan Martinook moved to the second line with Antoine Vermette and Boedker.
The Coyotes, though, relied on their captain, who secured his 13th 20-goal season while Arizona moved within three points of Nashville for the final wild-card spot.
''He's a franchise player and has been very loyal,'' Hartley said. ''I'm very proud for Shane Doan.''
NOTES: Flames D Dennis Wideman served the sixth game of a suspension for cross-checking a linesman. The NHL has yet to announce the result of his appeal to reduce the 20-game ban. ... Only three active players have more 20-goal seasons than Doan: Jaromir Jagr (18), Jarome Iginla (16) and Marian Hossa (14). ... Coyotes G Mike Smith (abdominal) practiced Thursday for the first time since December. ... Flames D David Jones sat out a night after being injured blocking a shot. ... Eleven fathers, one uncle and a grandfather traveled with the Flames as part of the annual player family trip.
Pearson's overtime goal powers Kings to 5-4 win over Rangers
By DENIS P. GORMAN - Associated Press
Friday, February 12 at 11:27 PM (EST)
NEW YORK (AP) The Los Angeles Kings often work overtime. And it's paying off for them in a big way.
Tanner Pearson's goal with 1:50 left in the extra period powered the Kings to a 5-4 win over the New York Rangers on Friday night.
Anze Kopitar recorded a hat trick and Marian Gaborik added a goal for Pacific Division-leading Los Angeles, which has won three of its last five. The Kings (33-18-3) are 8-1 in the NHL's newfangled 3-on-3 overtime format, and 2-2 in shootouts.
''We've had good luck 3-on-3,'' Los Angeles coach Darryl Sutter said. ''Our record is right there and that is probably why we are in a playoff spot.''
Peter Budaj made 24 saves in his season debut start. Budaj, who spent the season with the Kings' AHL farm team in Ontario, California, last played in the NHL on May 17, 2014, when he replaced injured Montreal Canadiens starting goaltender Carey Price in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final. Budaj allowed three goals on eight shots in that one, a 7-2 Rangers win.
''It was very nice to come back,'' Budaj said of his call-up. ''I was very excited.
''I don't think it could be better than that.''
Kevin Hayes and Mats Zuccarello each finished with a goal and an assist for New York, which lost for the first time since Feb. 2. Viktor Stalberg and Derek Stepan also scored for the Rangers. Antti Raanta stopped 29 of 34 shots in his first start since Jan. 17.
''I was really nervous the first couple periods,'' said Raanta, who allowed three goals on 21 shots in the first two periods before making 11 saves in the third and overtime. ''I couldn't play my own game. I was moving too much so I wasn't set any time the shot was coming.''
Pearson's off-wing goal capped a wild game in which the teams traded the lead throughout.
Trailing 4-3 with 30 seconds left in regulation, Kopitar completed his third NHL hat trick by whipping a shot from the right side which ricocheted off of Kevin Klein.
Kopitar's third goal was a gut punch for the Rangers, who appeared headed for their fifth straight win.
With Alec Martinez serving a delay of game penalty, Hayes finished off
Zuccarello's feed to give New York its second and final lead of the game at 15:14 of the third. The sequence began with Zuccarello carrying the puck toward the slot before feathering a pass that Hayes one-timed for his ninth of the season.
''We battled back,'' New York coach Alain Vigneault said. ''We (will) take (the) point.''
Los Angeles backed Budaj in the first period as Kopitar and Gaborik scored 10:53 apart to stake the Kings to a 2-0 lead.
Kopitar opened the scoring with his 14th of the season 33 seconds into the game with a snap shot from the slot, and Gaborik pushed the lead to 2-0 with his 12th of the season on the power play at 11:26.
''Definitely the start we wanted (and) a bit of a letdown for them,'' Kopitar said. ''They didn't get the start that they wanted.''
New York halved the deficit on Stalberg's eighth of the season 1:34 after Gaborik's goal, and the teams went into the first intermission with the Kings leading 2-1.
In the second period, the Rangers showed the Kings they can score in a hurry.
Stepan drew the game even with his 10th of the season 7:44 into second. The New York center forced a turnover in the offensive zone before curling toward the middle of the ice and firing a shot for the unassisted goal.
Just 1:37 later, Zuccarello pinballed a shot off Budaj to give the Rangers a 3-2 lead. Zuccarello's goal was his team-leading 19th of the season.
New York's advantage didn't last.
''When your team shows no quit, it's a big positive,'' Keith Yandle said.
Kopitar scored his second of the game at 15:46 of the period, to conclude a sequence which began with Rangers center J.T. Miller turning the puck over in the defensive zone following a hit from Brayden McNabb.
NOTES: Los Angeles G Jonathan Quick missed his second straight game with a lower body injury, suffered at the end of the Kings' 9-2 win over the Bruins in Boston on Feb. 9. ... New York's Ryan McDonagh and Rick Nash sat out due to injuries. McDonagh (concussion) has missed New York's last three games, while Nash (bruised bone in his left leg) hasn't played since Jan. 22, a stretch of eight games. ... Los Angeles scratched Jamie McBain, Kyle Clifford and Andy Andreoff. ... Dan Girardi became the fifth defenseman and the 11th player overall to play in 700 games for the Rangers. ... Among the 18,006 in attendance were New York Giants linebacker J.T. Thomas and New York Jets safety Jaiquawn Jarett.
Letang scores in shootout to lift Pens over Hurricanes 2-1
By MIKE POTTER - Associated Press
Saturday, February 13 at 12:32 AM (EST)
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) Kris Letang scored for Pittsburgh on the final shot of a shootout, and that spoiled the Carolina Hurricanes' reunion party Friday night.
Marc-Andre Fleury made 29 saves, Letang got the only goal in the shootout and the Penguins beat Carolina 2-1 on a night the Hurricanes celebrated their only Stanley Cup championship.
The win was Pittsburgh's eighth in 10 games and gave the Penguins a 2-1-1 lead in the season series.
''I thought there was momentum on both sides tonight,'' Pittsburgh coach Mike Sullivan said. ''They had it for stretches, we had it for stretches. It felt like a track meet on the bench. There was a lot of pace in that game. It's two teams that can skate, and they had a lot of energy tonight.''
The game was part of the Hurricanes' three-day celebration for the 10th anniversary of their 2006 Stanley Cup championship. Captain Eric Staal and goalie Cam Ward are the only members of that team still active with the club.
Andrej Nestrasil scored for Carolina with 5:28 left in the third period to help force overtime, and Hurricanes coach Bill Peters said he was happy to get the point.
''When it gets late, gets to those dying moments, it always gets nerve-racking,'' Peters said. ''I thought the guys did a good job staying with it.''
Ward made 25 saves for Carolina, which is 1-1-2 in its last four games.
''I think we dominated most of it,'' Fleury said. ''Ward made some big saves. I was trying to keep the puck out of the net and I felt all right.''
Phil Kessel put the Penguins ahead at 15:43 of the second by squeezing a shot between Ward and the post from the bottom of the left circle. Former Hurricane Matt Cullen - also a member of that Hurricanes Stanley Cup team - assisted on the goal.
''We'd like to play better,'' Cullen said. ''I don't think we had great jump, but sometimes you have nights like that on the road. We just need to find ways to get two points. It's a huge win and a gutsy win and we'll take it. ... It was kind of a special day and it was great to be here.''
Nestrasil weaved into the right circle during a rush and tied the game with a shot from there. Joakim Nordstrom had the assist on the goal with 5:18 left.
In overtime, the Penguins put four shots on goal and the Hurricanes had two, but the goaltenders were perfect.
After both teams went scoreless to begin the shootout, Letang beat a sprawled Ward high with a backhand shot in the third round.
NOTES: Carolina will host the New York Islanders on Saturday night in the second of a three-game homestand, and then on Sunday will play an alumni reunion game featuring many of the Cup champions. ... The Penguins visit Florida on Monday night before returning home on Thursday night against Detroit. ... Carolina D Justin Faulk (lower body) was out, while C Brad Malone and C Riley Nash were healthy scratches. ... Pittsburgh C Evgeni Malkin (lower body) missed his fifth straight game, while LW Sergei Plotnikov and D Ian Cole were healthy scratches. ... The teams' final meeting will be on St. Patrick's Day in Pittsburgh.
|Avalanche||vs.||Red Wings||Final Recap|
Varlamov, Avalanche edge Red Wings 3-2 in shootout
By NOAH TRISTER - AP Sports Writer
Saturday, February 13 at 12:32 AM (EST)
DETROIT (AP) Semyon Varlamov lifted his team to a win on a night when the rest of the Colorado Avalanche were outplayed thoroughly.
Varlamov made 43 saves and Blake Comeau scored in both the third period and the shootout to help the Avalanche to a 3-2 victory over the Detroit Red Wings on Friday night. It was the highest save total of the season for Varlamov.
''He was phenomenal for us,'' Colorado coach Patrick Roy said. ''We had back-to-back games and got in late last night. Not trying to find an excuse, but they're a good puck-possession team. Our goalie needed to be our best player for us to win and he was.''
Matt Duchene also scored for the Avalanche, who won despite being outshot 45-21. Colorado has won nine of its last 12 road games.
Jonathan Ericsson and Pavel Datsyuk scored for Detroit, which had its three-game winning streak snapped.
''I thought we played really good,'' Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. ''I thought our energy level was great, I thought we won tons of puck races and puck battles in the `O' zone, I thought we shot the puck well, we had net presence. ... What you can really control is your process and I thought our process was great.''
The Avalanche, who won at Ottawa on Thursday, improved to 6-2 on the season in the second game of back-to-backs. The shootout went four rounds, and Comeau ended it by beating Petr Mrazek with a wrist shot to the glove side.
Datsyuk scored Detroit's only goal of the shootout. Varlamov denied Dylan Larkin, Brad Richards and Gustav Nyquist.
Nathan MacKinnon had Colorado's first goal of the shootout on the third attempt by the Avalanche - Detroit would have won if Mrazek had stopped him.
''We play a team game. A goalie can't win a game by himself,'' Varlamov said. ''We scored two nice goals, and then in the shootout a nice goal by Nate saved us and then Blake scored on a nice shot.''
Duchene opened the scoring in the first period after the Red Wings were sloppy with the puck in their own zone. Colorado's Mikhail Grigorenko backhanded a pass to Duchene, who scored from around the edge of the crease.
Detroit evened it up in the second when Ericsson's wrist shot from the point deflected off Duchene and then skipped off the ice surface and past Varlamov.
Comeau put Colorado ahead in the third with a shot from the slot, but the Red Wings answered on a power play when Datsyuk backhanded the puck past Varlamov from in close with 10:09 remaining in regulation.
The Avalanche had 25 blocked shots to Detroit's four, underscoring just how much of the game was played in Colorado's zone, but the Red Wings came away with just the one point for the shootout loss. Nyquist had a great chance in overtime when he swooped in alone on Varlamov, but his backhander was stopped.
Detroit's Darren Helm had a career-high nine shots on goal.
''He's shooting from everywhere,'' Detroit's Luke Glendening said. ''I was hoping one would go in for him, but I think it's a good sign that he's getting a lot of chances.''
NOTE: Detroit D Mike Green returned after missing two games with a sore groin, and D Danny DeKeyser played after leaving Detroit's win over Ottawa on Wednesday during the third period because of a bruised right leg. ... The Red Wings were short-handed for the final 92 seconds of overtime, but managed to kill the penalty.
Follow Noah Trister at www.Twitter.com/noahtrister
Backes, Tarasenko score; Blues hold off Panthers 5-3
By BILL WHITEHEAD - Associated Press
Saturday, February 13 at 12:33 AM (EST)
SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) Jaden Schwartz's return to St. Louis' lineup may be just what the Blues offense needs.
Schwartz, David Backes and Robby Fabbri scored in the first period and St. Louis rolled to a 5-3 win over the Florida Panthers on Friday night.
After missing 49 games with a fractured ankle suffered against Montreal on Oct. 20, Schwartz scored his first goal of the season to put the Blues up 2-1 at 15:57 of the first period.
''I?didn't know what to expect, so it went well. It was fun being a part of the team again and contributing,'' Schwartz said. ''It was a good line rush. (Tarasenko)?made a great play to (Colton Parayko). He shot and I?kind of went to the net and got a lucky bounce on my stick there.''
Vladimir Tarasenko and Alexander Steen also scored for the Blues, and Parayko had two assists.
St. Louis had scored just 10 goals in its last seven games, including one or fewer in five of its last six.
Winning goaltender Brian Elliott said Schwartz brings a spark.
''Yes, especially when everybody is pulling for him,'' said Elliott, who had 29 saves in his 13th straight start. ''He's been watching games for I?don't know how many months now, so it's good to see him get back out there and put it in right away. We obviously can't expect that every night, but he's a big piece to our puzzle.''
Derek MacKenzie, Aaron Ekblad and Jonathan Huberdeau scored for Florida, and Jaromir Jagr had two assists.
Panthers goalie Roberto Luongo moved past Glenn Hall into sixth in career NHL games played with his 907th appearance. He had 10 saves before being replaced after the first period by Al Montoya. Montoya stopped 13 of 15 shots.
''It was just to shake up the team,'' Florida coach Gerard Gallant said. ''We weren't happy with how we were playing. It actually worked a little bit in the second.
''They come hard. They play their game. We just didn't play physical enough in the first. After the first, I thought we were fine.''
Gallant said he would decide Saturday if the 36-year-old Luongo would return to face the Nashville Predators for starts on consecutive nights.
The game featured a matchup of two of the league's stingiest defenses, with Florida second-best in allowing just 2.26 goals per game while St. Louis's 2.32 ranked fifth.
However, the first period was all about St. Louis pushing forward and taking advantage of Florida's defensive breakdowns.
MacKenzie scored 5:05 in with his third goal against St. Louis this season, but then the Blues blitzed Luongo and the Atlantic Division-leading Panthers with three goals in a 7:25 span.
Backes ended a 10-game scoreless drought with his 13th goal at 12:16 by beating Luongo on the stick side.
''That was a big monkey off my back. It's great to contribute offensively,'' Backes said.
Schwartz put the rebound of Parayko's shot past Luongo at 15:57 for his first of the season.
Fabbri scored on the power play with 19 seconds left for his 12th goal.
Tarasenko scored his 27th goal on a rebound at 8:00 of the second period to make it 4-1 before Ekblad's 11th goal at 10:44 cut into the lead.
Huberdeau trimmed the margin to one goal when he tallied his 11th by tapping in a pass through the crease from Campbell at 10:47 of the third.
Steen roofed his 16th goal at 12:17 to help St. Louis regain the two-goal margin and beat the Panthers again in Florida, where the Blues haven't lost since 2011.
''They're just a sound team,'' MacKenzie said of the Blues. ''They have guys who can put the puck in the net.
''When you makes mistakes or spend too much time in your end zone, sooner or later it's going to burn you.''
NOTES: St. Louis D Alex Pietrangelo (knee) is expected to miss at least three weeks. ... Last season, the Blues were an NHL-best 21-8-3 in play outside of the Western Conference but entered their game with Florida just 10-9-5 against the Eastern this year. ... The Panthers recalled F John McFarland, a 2010 second-round pick (33rd overall), from Portland (AHL). The 23-year-old McFarland was scratched from the lineup. ... Florida top-line center Aleksander Barkov (upper body) missed his second consecutive game after being injured in Detroit. ... The club sent down F Corban Knight.
Johnson scores OT goal, Lightning beat Predators 4-3
By MARK DIDTLER - Associated Press
Saturday, February 13 at 12:33 AM (EST)
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) Steven Stamkos got a second great scoring chance during the final minute of regulation and made the most of it.
Stamkos scored the tying goal late in the third period, Tyler Johnson won it 1:04 into overtime and the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Nashville Predators 4-3 on Friday night for their ninth straight home win.
''You could sense he was feeling it,'' Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper said of Stamkos, who had a game-high seven shots.
J.T. Brown and Nikita Kucherov also scored for the Lightning. Ben Bishop made 27 saves to give him a victory over all 30 NHL teams.
Tampa Bay can tie the team record for consecutive home victories, set last season, on Sunday night against St. Louis.
Nashville got goals from Mike Fisher, James Neal and Filip Forsberg. Pekka Rinne stopped 24 shots and is 5-1-0 against Tampa Bay.
Johnson got the winner after skating in from the right wing and beating Rinne from in-close.
''Johnnie used his speed to his advantage,'' Cooper said.
Stamkos pulled the Lightning even at 3 on a power-play goal from above the left circle with 26.6 seconds to play in the third. His second goal in the last 11 games came shortly after he hit the crossbar.
''It has been a tough go lately,'' Stamkos said. ''It was nice to get those quality shots off.''
Stamkos' goal came near the end of a man advantage with Viktor Arvidsson off for slashing the Lightning captain's stick, a call that didn't sit well with the Predators.
''It wasn't a penalty,'' Nashville coach Peter Laviolette said. ''It was a penalty actually: It was embellishment by them dropping the stick.''
Stamkos and Kucherov top Tampa Bay with 22 goals apiece.
After Neal scored his 20th goal during a breakaway at 4:01 of the third, Forsberg put Nashville up 3-2 7:46 into the period on his fourth goal in the last three games.
Neal has 20 or more goals in all eight of his NHL seasons.
Brown (8:22) and Kucherov (10:07) both scored on rebounds of their own shots 1:47 apart in the second to put Tampa Bay up 2-1. Kucherov's goal came as he was being held by defenseman Ryan Ellis.
Brown has four of his seven goals over the last seven games, while Kucherov has a point in 19 of his last 23 games.
Tampa Bay's Victor Hedman had two assists and moved past Pavel Kubina into eighth place on the team's assists list with 172.
Fisher opened the scoring from the top of the right circle 9:40 into the first.
Neal almost made it 2-0 with 5 minutes left in the first, but his shot went off Bishop and hit the post.
Rinne made a nifty glove save on a first-period left circle shot by Ryan Callahan, who played in his 600th NHL game.
NOTES: Nashville is 1-8 in 3-on-3 overtime play. ... Tampa Bay D Jason Garrison, hurt in Monday's game against Ottawa, will miss 3-to-5 weeks with a lower body injury. ... The Lightning recalled G Kristers Gudlevskis from Syracuse and assigned G Andrei Vasilevskiy to the AHL club. ... Former Detroit great Nicklas Lidstrom, with Team Sweden in an advisory role, spent time in the press box with former Red Wings coach and current Chicago senior adviser Scotty Bowman. ... There was a moment of silence before the game for longtime NHL equipment man Jim Pickard, who died last week at 66. He was with the Lightning and New York Islanders when they won Stanley Cup championships.