Philadelphia 76ers Tell 'Em: Hawks Downed 90-76 in Best Win of Season

Philadelphia 76ers Tell 'Em: Hawks Downed 90-76 in Best Win of Season

Well, it probably won't make the Lead on SportsCenter or anything, but
the Sixers got their most legit win of the season tonight at the Wells
Fargo Center, beating the 11-4 Atlanta Hawks by a score of 90-76. Things
were looking pretty dire for the Liberty Ballers after a first half
shooting under 40% and trailing by as much as 11, but they clamped down
in the third, allowing a season-best 10 points in the third and running
out to a seven-point lead at quarter's end that they never relinquished.
The Hawks waved the white flag with their scrub unit with three minutes
to go, and the Sixers cruised to a suddenly easy victory.

The
game ball certainly goes to Jrue Holiday, having a nice bounce-back game
after a rough performance against the Nuggets, scoring 16 points on
6-16 shooting, but handing out 11 assists, including a beautiful
alley-oop to Andre Iguodala [watch the oop video here] that helped propel the team's second-half
run. Thaddeus Young also had his second 20-point game in a row, scoring
20 on 8-11 shooting, while Elton Brand posted a double-double with ten
points and a season-high 16 rebounds. On the other side of the ball,
Iguodala played his trademark smothering defense on Joe Johnson, holding
him to just eight points on eight shots in 31 minutes of action.

The
win is probably the biggest for the team this young season, not just
because the Hawks have the best record of any Sixers opponent, but
because it was a hard-fought win right after the biggest loss of the
season, and because it was in front of the home fans at a respectably
filled and very appreciative WFC, who now have a reason to come back on
Friday Nights in the future besides the prospect of free Big Macs.

Our man Enrico was at the game and will be by in a minute with a fuller
report, but in the meantime, let's hear it for the Sixers, taking care
of business before heading out to Miami for that first-round rematch. At
the very least, they know they can play tomorrow with a big win in
their back pocket, knowing this test stretch won't be completely in
vain.

Penn State uses dominant second half to top No. 6 Wisconsin for Big Ten title

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Penn State uses dominant second half to top No. 6 Wisconsin for Big Ten title

INDIANAPOLIS — Penn State’s offense rewrote the Big Ten Championship’s offensive record book Saturday night but its 38-31 victory over Wisconsin wasn’t secure until the final minute.

And Linebacker U. got the game-saving play from the secondary.

Wisconsin, armed with a pair of timeouts and lining up for a fourth-and-1 play from the Nittany Lions’ 24, called on Corey Clement. Clement, who’d already racked up 166 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries, got the ball but never got close to the marker.

Grant Haley made sure of it.

The junior cornerback wrapped up Clement’s legs and safety Marcus Allen kept Clement from leaning forward and the game was over. Penn State (11-2) has the 2016 Big Ten title and, at worst, will play in the Rose Bowl for the first time since 2009.

“They ran [a counter] early in the game and split it for a touchdown,” Haley said of the final play. “I saw them set the edge, so I got triggered really well and Marcus finished off the play.”

Haley and company watched the Badgers run wild in the first half; 164 yards and three touchdowns, including Clement’s 67-yard scamper. Wisconsin, one of the conference’s best rushing teams this season, managed less than half that total (77) in the second half.

“They really weren’t running that many plays,” Haley added. “We just came out in the second half and had a jolt. 

“We just had the energy going into the second half.”

Wisconsin got the ball twice in the fourth quarter but managed only 65 yards - 51 of which came on its final drive.

“Give credit to Penn State for coming out in the second half and making those adjustments and allowing those big plays to happen,” Wisconsin coach Paul Chryst said. 

Give plenty of credit, too, to the Nittany Lions’ offense. 

Quarterback Trace McSorley was named the game’s most valuable player after completing 17 of his 25 passes for 319 yards and four touchdowns - both championship game records. He helped Penn State complete the biggest comeback in the game’s six year history after his team fell behind 28-7 in the first half and also finished the regular season with 3,360 yards and 25 touchdown passes, both school records.

Saeed Blacknall had six catches for a Big Ten Championship-record 155 yards and two touchdowns and DaeShean Hamilton finished with 118 yards on eight grabs.

Tailback Saquon Barkley, injured in last weekend’s victory over Michigan State, returned with 88 yards and a touchdown on the ground and caught an 18-yard scoring pass from McSorley early in the fourth quarter to put the Nittany Lions ahead for good.

Penn State, in its first-ever trip to this game, is coming home from it with just its second outright Big Ten title. It’s on a nine-game winning streak that has seen it average 40 points per contest.

It also could present the College Football Playoff selection committee with a bit of quandary. The Nittany Lions, who were ranked seventh by the committee last week, topped the No. 6 Badgers and claimed a conference championship, something likely playoff teams Alabama, Clemson and Washington all boast.

On the flip side, Penn State’s last defeat was a lopsided 49-10 loss at Michigan, which sits at No. 5 in the rankings and likely won’t move into the top four after losing last week to No. 2 Ohio State.

Penn State coach James Franklin stated his team’s case after Saturday night’s win, but also made it clear he and his team won’t be moping their way to Pasadena, Calif., where the conference champion is slotted if it is not chosen for the playoff.

“We’ve got great options in front of us,” he said. “I hear people on TV talking about they feel like maybe the playoff has taken away from the bowls. 

“Are you kidding me? The Rose Bowl? It doesn’t get a whole lot better than that.”

Report: Jordan Matthews (ankle) not expected to play vs. Bengals

Report: Jordan Matthews (ankle) not expected to play vs. Bengals

Jordan Matthews will not play Sunday against the Bengals after missing practice all week with an ankle sprain, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.

Matthews is the Eagles' leading receiver with 57 catches for 686 yards and three touchdowns. The team has called him a game-time decision.

Second-year receiver Nelson Agholor will reportedly be inserted back into the lineup. If Matthews doesn't play the Eagles will have only four healthy receivers active on Sunday: Agholor, Dorial Green-Beckham and undrafted rookies Bryce Treggs and Paul Turner.