FOUR PLAYERS COMMIT TO VU: Jubril Adekoya (Andrew), Nick Davidson (Andrean), Lexus Williams (Marist) and Clay Yeo (Triton) have all singed national letters of intent to play basketball at Valparaiso University.
Adekoya, a 6-foot-6 forward, averaged 15.8 points and 11.1 rebounds per game last season, setting a program single-season record with 301 rebounds. Davidson, a 6-4 guard, averaged 17.7 points, 4.1 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game last season. Williams, a 5-11 guard, averaged 13 points, six assists and four steals per game last season. Yeo, a 6-5 swingman, helped lead the Trojans to the Class A state title game two seasons ago.
NORTHWESTERN BEATS MISSISSIPPI VALLEY: Mississippi Valley junior transfer Davon Usher scored a game-leading 35 points to almost single-handedly keep the Delta Devils in the game, but Northwestern got key late baskets from sophomore guard Dave Sobolewski to pull out 81-68 win on Thursday night.
Sobolewski scored his first field goal of the season on a layup to break a 58-58 tie midway through the second half moments after Usher had hit a 3-point shot from the right corner to knot the score.
Sobolewski scored all 13 of his points, including two-3 point baskets, down the stretch to give Northwestern (2-0) the victory.
Reggie Hearn had 23 points and Jared Swopshire added 22 for the Wildcats, who needed a 23-10 spurt in the final 8:54 to win.
LANDIS LEADS GARDNER-WEBB TO WIN OVER DEPAUL: Max Landis scored a career-high 20 points, and Kevin Hartley added 16 points and 12 rebounds to lead Gardner-Webb to a 71-59 upset win over DePaul in the first round of the Cancun Challenge on Thursday night.
Gardner-Webb (2-2) got its first win against a Big East school, albeit against DePaul, which has managed to win just five conference games in the past four seasons.
Cleveland Melvin had 18 points, and Brandon Young added 10 for DePaul (1-1).
Gardner-Webb will play at Iowa in the second round of the Cancun Challenge. DePaul will host Austin Peay on Saturday.
SHRUM COMMITS TO VU: Sydney Shrum (Cloverdale) recently signed her national letter of intent to play women's golf at Valparaiso University. Shrum tied for 22nd at the IHSAA finals this season.
"Sydney has a tremendous amount of room for growth in her game," VU coach Mat Blair said of Shrum in a news release. "Her upside has no end, and she will definitely be an asset for our growth as a team moving forward."
CUTLER REMAINS SIDELINED BY CONCUSSION: Bears quarterback Jay Cutler missed practice on Thursday and his playing status remains in question because of a concussion.
Coach Lovie Smith said Cutler continues to improve, but it's not clear if he'll be ready to play at San Francisco on Monday night.
If Cutler can't play, Jason Campbell will likely start.
The Bears believe Cutler was injured on a helmet-to-helmet hit from Houston's Tim Dobbins late in the second quarter of Sunday's loss. He finished the half but sat out the final two quarters after showing symptoms in the locker room at the break.
Cutler needs to be cleared by team physicians and independent neurological consultants before he can return. The same goes for teammate Shea McClellin and 49ers quarterback Alex Smith, who also suffered concussions last week.
URLACHER SAYS AGAIN HE'D LIE ABOUT CONCUSSION: Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher still says he would lie to cover up a concussion.
With quarterback Jay Cutler recovering from a concussion, the Bears' defensive star wasn't backing off comments he made to HBO earlier this year.
He responded "yeah" when asked if he would try to cover up such an injury. He said he's not sure "how you can lie these days with all the (stuff) they have to see who's concussed and not."
He also said the NFL needs to do a better job protecting players' knees.
BUFFALO DEFENSE STUFFS MIAMI: Leodis McKelvin scored on a 79-yard punt return, and the Mario Williams-led Buffalo Bills oft-maligned defense finally flexed its muscles in a 19-14 victory over the Miami Dolphins on Thursday night.
Safety Jairus Byrd recovered a fumble and made a diving interception, and Bryan Scott sealed the win with an interception to end the Dolphins' final drive. Williams had one of three sacks for a Buffalo defense that limited the Ryan Tannehill-led Dolphins to 184 yards.
That was enough to make up for an offense that settled for Rian Lindell's four field goals on four drives into the red zone.
Buffalo (4-6) snapped a three-game skid.
CUBS' GARZA CLEARED TO RESUME OFFSEASON ROUTINE: The Cubs say pitcher Matt Garza can resume his normal offseason routine after a scan this week showed the right-hander's pitching elbow is healing as expected.
Garza sustained a stress reaction against St. Louis on July 21 and missed the rest of the season.
He was 5-7 with a 3.91 ERA in 18 starts and is eligible for arbitration after earning $9.5 million last season. He was a potential trade candidate before the injury and could be again.
Around the horn
Exercise physiologist and Purdue University Calumet Fitness Center Coordinator John Bobalik discusses how to combat unwanted weight gain during the upcoming holiday season on "Purdue Calumet Sports Insight" at 5:30 p.m. today on WJOB-AM (1230).