Latest Illinois sports


Eaves gets hat trick as Stars beat Blackhawks 4-2

CHICAGO (AP) — Patrick Eaves scored three of Dallas' four goals in the first period, and the Stars avenged an ugly home loss to the Chicago Blackhawks with a 4-2 victory on Thursday night.

Eaves' second career hat trick helped Dallas to its fifth win in six games and moved the Stars within one of the Blackhawks for the most points in the Western Conference. Dallas' lone loss during the strong stretch was a 5-1 rout for visiting Chicago on Saturday night.

John Klingberg added a goal and an assist for Dallas. Kari Lehtonen made 19 of his 44 saves in the third period, including a point-blank stop on Andrew Shaw with Chicago threatening to pull within one with about eight minutes left.


Banyard has 18, Illinois St. beats Evansville 70-60

EVANSVILLE, Ind. (AP) — Nick Banyard had a career-high 18 points as Illinois State used a strong second half to beat Evansville 70-60 on Thursday night as the Redbirds won the battle for second place in the Missouri Valley Conference standings.

Illinois State (15-11, 9-4) shocked No. 21 Wichita State 58-53 on Saturday. The Redbirds are three games back of the Shockers in the conference.

Trailing 30-29 at the break, Illinois State's Tony Wills and DeVaughn Akoon-Purcell opened the second period with back-to-back treys for a 35-32 lead. The Redbirds pushed that to 58-45 with 5:52 left.

Akoon-Purcell had 14 points, Paris Lee, who had a career-high 19 points in the Wichita State win, finished with 12 and MiKyle McIntosh added 11 for Illinois State.

D.J. Balentine led Evansville (19-7, 8-5) with 19 points. Egidiju Mockevicius had 16 points and 10 rebounds and Adam Wing chipped in 11 points.


Western Illinois grabs lead late, tops Denver 63-60

DENVER (AP) — Jalen Chapman scored 26 points and Western Illinois grabbed the lead in the final four minutes and held on to beat Denver, 63-60 in a Summit League battle Thursday night.

Fouled in the backcourt by Jake Pemberton, Garrett Covington sank three straight free throw attempts to give the Leathernecks a 60-58 lead and Chapman padded it with a layup with 3:13 left.

Denver could add only a Nate Engesser layup in the final three minutes and Western Illinois added a Mike Miklusak free throw with five seconds remaining.

The Leathernecks took a 31-26 lead into intermission, but Denver stayed close. Pemberton gave the Pioneers the lead, 51-50 with 7:09 left in the game.

Covington added 11 points and Tate Stensgaard 10 for Western Illinois (9-13, 2-9).

Marcus Byrd scored 18 points to lead Denver (13-12, 5-7). Engesser added 15 points.


Illinois-Chicago fends off Wright State 64-59

CHICAGO (AP) — Freshman Dikembe Dixson scored 26 points with 12 rebounds and Najeal Young made three free throws in the final 37 seconds as Illinois-Chicago fended off Wright State 64-59 on Thursday night.

Tai Odiase, a 6-foot-9 sophomore, scored 18 points and blocked seven shots as Illinois-Chicago (4-19, 2-10 Horizon) maintained a slim lead throughout.

His seventh block was on an attempted layup by Wright State's leading scorer, Mark Alstork, with just under four minutes to go and the Flames holding a three-point lead. Young scored all five of his points in the last 3:24.

Wright State pulled as close as 59-58 on a Micheal Karena dunk with 1:51 to go, but JT Yoho fouled out on the next play and Dixson and Young scored the last five points at the free-throw line.

Alstork led the Raiders (15-11, 9-4) with 15 points. Yoho and Karena each had 11.


Murray State slips past SIU Edwardsville 70-64

EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. (AP) — Wayne Langston scored 24 points to lead Murray State past SIU Edwardsville 70-64 on Thursday night.

Bryce Jones added 17 points for Murray State (13-12, 7-5 Ohio Valley Conference) and Justin Seymour had 14. The Racers shot 55 percent from the field (24 of 44) and went 16 of 19 from the free throw line, compared to SIU Edwardsville's 6 of 10.

Leading 40-27 at the break, Murray State had to hold off SIU Edwardsville (4-20, 1-11) down the stretch.

The Cougars trimmed the deficit to 56-55 on a 3-pointer from C.J. Carr that capped a 9-0 burst with 4:37 left. But then Langston hit a layup at the other end, followed by a jumper from Jones, to spark a 10-2 run to pad Murray State's advantage.

Carr finished with 13 points and Jalen Henry had 11 for SIU Edwardsville, which shot 55 percent from the field.


2017 NHL draft to be held in Chicago

CHICAGO (AP) — The 2017 NHL draft is coming to the home of the Chicago Blackhawks.

Commissioner Gary Bettman made the announcement at the United Center on Thursday. It is the first time hosting the draft for the Blackhawks, something Bettman said was a complete surprise to him.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel said no public money will be used to finance the event, and it will have a huge economic impact on the city. He said it will be similar approach to the one for the NFL draft, which will be held in Chicago this year for the second straight year.

The 2016 NHL draft is in Buffalo from June 24-25.

The league says ticket distribution plans and other details for the draft will be announced later.


Obama hosting Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks at White House

CHICAGO (AP) — President Barack Obama will host his hometown Stanley Cup-winning Chicago Blackhawks at the White House next week.

The White House said Thursday afternoon that Obama will welcome the team on Thursday, Feb. 18, to celebrate their 2015 championship.

Obama last June called Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville, captain Jonathan Toews and chairman Rocky Wirtz to offer congratulations on the team's victory. He told them he was looking forward to hosting them again in Washington.

The Blackhawks won the team's third championship in six years.


McKendree coach Harry Statham reaches 1,100 victories

LEBANON, Ill. (AP) — McKendree University coach Harry Statham reached 1,100 victories when his team erased a 19-point second-half deficit to beat Missouri S&T 108-105 in overtime Thursday night.

The 78-year-old Statham set a victory record for a coach at a four-year school last weekend, passing former Tennessee women's great Pat Summitt with a victory over Maryville University.

Statham has a career record of 1,100-476 in 50 seasons at McKendree. The Bearcats are 12-10 overall and 5-9 this season in the Great Lakes Valley Conference in NCAA Division II.

Freshman Nate Michael had 30 points for McKendree, going 13 for 14 at the free throw line, and David Franklin had 29 points.

McKendree shot 62.5 percent and topped 100 points for the fourth time.


Jackie Robinson West parents sue league, ESPN, whistleblower

CHICAGO (AP) — The parents of 13 members of the Chicago Little League team stripped last year of its 2014 U.S. championship are suing team officials, Little League Baseball, an ESPN sportscaster and the man who exposed the team's residency violations.

The lawsuit filed Thursday in Cook County Circuit Court claims Jackie Robinson West officials and the Little League "concealed the ineligibility of team members in order to reap the benefits of notoriety and media attention."

The lawsuit alleges Little League officials should have figured out the team's violations sooner. The parents say ESPN's Stephen Smith defamed them by accusing them of "perpetrating a fraud."

Spokesmen for ESPN and the Little League said their organizations had not yet reviewed the lawsuit.

Bill Haley, JRW director in 2014, and Chris Janes, who reported the residency issues, couldn't immediately be reached.


Stewart participating at US women's hoop training camp

UNDATED (AP) — UConn senior Breanna Stewart is taking a break from her season to participate in a three-day training camp for the U.S. women's national basketball team.

Stewart, who has guided the No. 1 Huskies to an undefeated season, is the only college athlete among the 16 players competing at the camp. She helped the U.S. win gold at the 2014 World Championship.

Joining Stewart at the training sessions from Feb. 21-23 on UConn's campus are former Huskies Diana Taurasi, Sue Bird and Maya Moore. Three-time Olympian Tamika Catchings returns to USA Basketball after helping the team win its fifth straight gold medal at the 2012 London Olympics.

Former Olympians Lindsay Whalen, Seimone Augustus and Angel McCoughtry will attend camp, along with WNBA MVP Elena Delle Donne and Brittney Griner.