BIG TEN HONORS VALPO'S FICKEN: Penn State sophomore kicker Sam Ficken of Valparaiso is the Big Ten Conference Special Teams Player of The Week.
Ficken kicked the game-winning 37-yard field goal in overtime to give Penn State a 24-21 triumph over Wisconsin on Saturday. He was a perfect three-for-three on field goal tries, also converting from 23 and 32 yards.
He ended the season having made 10 straight attempts.
CUBS HIRE ASSISTANT HITTING COACH: The Cubs hired former 11-year major leaguer Rob Deer as their assistant hitting coach on Monday. He will work with current batting instructor James Rowson.
Deer was a teammate of Cubs manager Dale Sveum when both played for the Milwaukee Brewers from 1987-1990.
As a player, Deer hit .220 with 230 home runs and 600 RBIs.
NHL, PLAYERS TO MEET WITH MEDIATOR: On Monday, the NHL and its players agreed meet with federal third-party mediation, designed to aid both sides into establishing a collective bargaining agreement.
The Federal Media and Conciliation Service, which assigned Scot L. Beckenbaugh and John Sweeney, was used in labor disputes between the NBA and NFL last year.
NETS TAKE KNICKS TO OVERTIME: The Brooklyn Nets worked overtime to pull out the opener of their new-look rivalry with the New York Knicks, winning 96-89 on Monday night to tie their city rivals for first place.
Jerry Stackhouse, wearing the No. 42 Jackie Robinson made famous in Brooklyn, made the tiebreaking 3-pointer with 3:31 left in overtime as the Nets controlled the extra period of a playoff-like game that neither team led by more than seven.
Brook Lopez had 22 points and 11 rebounds, and Deron Williams added 16 points and 14 assists as the Nets improved to 7-1 in their new home and tied the Knicks atop the Atlantic Division at 9-4.
BROEKHOFF NAMED HORIZON LEAGUE PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Valparaiso University senior forward Ryan Broekhoff has been named the Horizon League co-Player of the Week. Broekoff averaged 22.5 points, including a career-high 30 in last Saturday's win over Bethune-Cookman. Broekhoff was a perfect 13-of-13 from the free throw line, 56.5 percent from the field and averaged six rebounds in the two wins.
Around the horn
Regional Radio Sports Network's Paul R. Condry and Mike Knezevich have been named finalists for the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association's Indiana Sportscaster of the Year plus Matt Kopsea has been named a finalist for the NSSA's Indiana Sportswriter of the Year. ...