Top-25 College Basketball
An inbounds play to remember ended with Tyler Griffey putting in an uncontested layup just before the buzzer, as Illinois stole a thrilling 74-72 victory over No. 1 Indiana in an instant classic at Assembly Hall. The Fighting Illini, who came in 2-20 all-time against No. 1 programs, trailed by double-digits with under 4 1/2 minutes remaining, but D.J. Richardson scored eight consecutive points during an 11-1 run to tie things coming down the stretch. Richardson came away with a steal of Victor Oladipo with time winding down, though Oladipo came from behind and blocked Richardson's potential go-ahead layup out of bounds as the clock ticked to 0.9 seconds. Illinois set up hree players along the right wing perimeter with Brandon Paul inbounding in the corner. A scrum left Hoosiers All-American candidate Cody Zeller with his
back turned to Griffey, who ran down the lane untouched and laid in Paul's bounce pass with ease as the buzzer sounded, signaling the orange-clad crowd to rush the court.
Elsewhere in the Top-25:
(4) Duke 98, North Carolina State 85
(6) Gonzaga 82, Pepperdine 56
Colorado 48, (19) Oregon 47
Texas A&M 70, (21) Missouri 68
National Basketball Association
The Boston Celtics have yet to lose since Rajon Rondo suffered a torn ACL, and none of their six wins following the All-Star point guard's injury were as impressive as Thursday's 116-95 pasting of the rival Los Angeles Lakers. Paul Pierce led the way with 24 points, seven rebounds and six assists for the Celtics, who shot 53 percent from the field and led by as many as 32. Jeff Green donated 19 points off the bench, while Jason Terry and Kevin Garnett added 15 apiece in the rout. The Lakers welcomed back Dwight Howard, who missed three straight games with a shoulder injury, but the All-Star center was a virtual non-factor in totaling nine points and nine rebounds before fouling out in the fourth quarter. Kobe Bryant netted 27 points and did not record an assist for just the third time this season, as LA fell to 3-2 on its seven-game road swing.
Elsewhere in the NBA:
Denver Nuggets 128, Chicago Bulls 96
National Hockey League
Colin Wilson scored twice and Pekka Rinne recorded 32 saves to notch his 26th career shutout, as the Nashville Predators earned their first home win with a 3-0 victory over the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday at Bridgestone Arena. Gabriel Bourque also lit the lamp, while Kevin Klein added a pair of assists for the Predators, who have won four straight since opening the season with losses in five of their first six games. Los Angeles outshot the Preds, 32-14, but the Kings couldn't solve Rinne en route to their third loss in their last four games. Jonathan Quick allowed all three goals in the setback.
Elsewhere in the NHL:
Buffalo Sabres 5, Montreal Canadiens 4 (SO)
New Jersey Devils 4, Tampa Bay Lightning 2
New York Rangers 4, New York Islanders 1
Florida Panthers 3, Philadelphia Flyers 2 (SO)
Pittsburgh Penguins 5, Washington Capitals 2
Calgary Flames 4, Columbus Blue Jackets 3 (OT)
Carolina Hurricanes 3, Ottawa Senators 2 (OT)
Toronto Maple Leafs 3, Winnipeg Jets 2
Detroit Red Wings 5, St. Louis Blues 1
Vancouver Canucks 4, Minnesota Wild 1
Chicago Blackhawks 6, Phoenix Coyotes 2
=== As of 7:45 a.m. (et) ===
=== MLB ===
Seattle Mariners ace Felix Hernandez will soon become a lot richer. According to USA Today Sports, Hernandez and the club have agreed to a seven-year, $175 million contract that should be finalized before spring training. The deal, which would make "King Felix" the highest paid pitcher in MLB history, replaces the final two years of his existing contract. The new contract will take effect this season and pay Hernandez $25 million annually through 2019. Last year, Hernandez, the 2010 AL Cy Young Award winner, went 13-9 with a 3.06 ERA and recorded 223 strikeouts in a season highlighted by a perfect game against the Tampa Bay Rays on Aug. 15. Hernandez, who turns 27 in April, has made 238 starts for the Mariners since debuting in 2005, going 98-76 with a 3.22 ERA.
=== NHL ===
Just because Tim Thomas chose not to play in the National Hockey League for the 2012-13 season, didn't mean the Boston Bruins were going to let him languish. On Thursday, the B's announced that the 38-year-old netminder was dealt to the New York Islanders in exchange for a conditional second-round pick in either 2014 or 2015. New York needs to reach the salary-cap floor of $53 million, and Thomas' "35-plus" contract, which includes a cap hit of $5 million pro-rated for this truncated season, will help satisfy that requirement regardless of whether or not Thomas actually plays. Thomas, who decided to take this season off to spend time with his family in Colorado, won the Vezina Trophy as well as the Conn Smythe Trophy in 2011 when he led Boston to its first Stanley Cup title since 1972.
=== NFL ===
Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson underwent surgery Thursday to repair a sports hernia. The Vikings expect a quick recovery and don't anticipate any long-term issues for the 2012 NFL MVP. If recent history is a guide, Peterson should be more than ready for the start of the 2013 season. Peterson recovered from tearing the anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments in his left knee near the end of the 2011 campaign to finish a mere eight rushing yards shy of Eric Dickerson's NFL single-season record. He posted 2,097 yards and 12 touchdowns on 348 carries and helped the Vikings reach the playoffs.
The NFL has reinstated coach Gregg Williams, who had been suspended indefinitely for his central role in the New Orleans Saints' bounty scandal. Following the reinstatement, Williams was officially named a defensive senior assistant for the Tennessee Titans. Williams was the defensive coordinator for the Saints from 2009-11, when the NFL said the bounty program existed. It will be the second go-round with the Titans for Williams, who started his NFL coaching career with Tennessee in 1990 and spent 11 seasons with the club, including four years as the defensive coordinator.
=== GOLF ===
Hunter Mahan and Russell Knox are each 6-under par and share the lead after the first round of the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am in northern California. Mahan played his round on the par-72 Pebble Beach Golf Links, while Knox
played the par-70 Shore Course at Monterey Peninsula Country Club. The tournament features a three-course rotation that also includes Spyglass Hill. Seung-Yul Noh had reached minus-7, but bogeyed his final two holes to finish at 5-under, joined there by Ted Potter Jr., Matt Every, Greg Owen, Ryuji Imada and Scott Langley. Defending champion Phil Mickelson carded a pair of late bogeys to complete round one at 1-under.