SEAHAWKS ROUT SAINTS: The rest of the NFC better get ready to visit the Pacific Northwest in January. After Monday night's rout, the road through the NFC playoffs is almost certain to go through Seattle.
Russell Wilson threw for 310 yards and three touchdowns, and the Seattle Seahawks became the first team to clinch a spot in the NFC playoffs with a 34-7 victory over the New Orleans Saints on Monday night.
More important than just clinching a spot in the postseason, the Seahawks (11-1) moved two games ahead on the rest of the NFC in the race for home-field advantage and hold the tiebreakers over New Orleans (9-3) and Carolina (9-3), the two closest pursuers.
Wilson was outstanding, picking apart the Saints' defense. He threw touchdown passes of 2 yards to Zach Miller and 4 yards to Doug Baldwin in the first half as Seattle built a 27-7 lead. Wilson added a pinball 8-yard TD pass to Derrick Coleman in the third quarter.
VU'S LEXUS HAS A SWEET RIDE: Valparaiso freshman guard Lexus Williams was named the Horizon League Freshman of the Week following a trio of double-figure scoring performances.
Williams was on the floor for nearly the entire triple overtime loss versus Mercer, scoring a career-best 15 points in 51 minutes of action. One night later, he notched 11 points to go with a career-high eight rebounds in a win over Cincinnati Christian. On the week, the Chicago native averaged 12.0 points, 4.3 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game, while shooting 63.2 percent from the floor.
The award marks the third time in four weeks that Valpo has boasted the Horizon League Freshman of the Week.
SIU EDWARDSVILLE BEATS TEXAS-PAN AM: Christian Salecich scored 16 points and Rozell Nunn added 18 on Monday and SIU Edwardsville beat Texas-Pan American 55-49.
Free throws and 3-pointers made the difference — SIU-Edwardsville (2-6) was outshot by Texas-Pan American (4-6) 35.2 percent from the field to 32.7 percent, but scored six 3-pointers to their three and 17 free throws to their eight.
The Broncs led on a 15-5 run, then Nunn drained a 3-pointer at 7:37, sparking a 17-3 run to give the Cougars a 22-18 edge at halftime.
HOLIDAY LIFTS PELICANS TO 3OT WIN OVER BULLS: Jrue Holiday made a three-point play with 2.6 seconds remaining in the third overtime Monday night, giving the New Orleans Pelicans a 131-128 victory over the Bulls.
Holiday had 19 points and 12 assists for the Pelicans. He made an 18-footer with 3.9 seconds remaining in regulation to tie the score at 103 and force overtime.
Ryan Anderson had a career-high 36 points on 12-of-20 shooting, including 7 for 11 on 3-pointers. Eric Gordon added 23 points for New Orleans (9-8).
Luol Deng led the Bulls with 37 points and also had eight rebounds and seven assists. Reserve Taj Gibson had 26 points and 14 rebounds, Mike Dunleavy added 23 points and Joakim Noah had a double-double with 19 points and 10 rebounds.
MORE ACCOLADES FOR NIU's LYNCH: Northern Illinois University quarterback and Mount Carmel grad Jordan Lynch earned his eighth Mid-American Conference offensive player of the week honor after leading NIU to a 33-14 victory over Western Michigan the league announced Monday.
The honor is a school record for league player of the week awards in a season, and is the 12th of his Huskie career. Lynch was also named a Manning Award Star of the Week.
The Chicago native broke his own NCAA record for rushing yards by a quarterback by tallying 321 yards on 27 carries for with three rushing touchdowns in the win over Western Michigan that capped a perfect 12-0 regular season. Lynch scored on touchdown runs of 29, 36 and 37 yards as he averaged 11.9 yards per carry.
BIG TEN REPRIMANDS OSU, HALL AFTER FIGHT: The Big Ten office has decided not to suspend any players or coaches for their actions in the wake of a fight in Saturday's game between No. 2 Ohio State and archrival Michigan.
The conference office issued a public reprimand to Buckeyes starting right guard Marcus Hall and the Ohio State coaching staff on Monday.
Hall was ejected from the game for coming onto the field to participate in the skirmish. As he was leaving the sideline, he angrily threw his helmet to the ground, kicked the team bench and then held up both hands in an obscene gesture to Michigan fans.
"The officials and coaching staffs from both institutions did a good job of containing the situation once it started," the Big Ten said in a statement. "As bad as it was, we're fortunate the incident did not escalate any further. More can, and should, be done by both coaching staffs in the future to prevent similar incidents from detracting from this rivalry."
Coach Urban Meyer has said he will issue punishment within the team to Hall, kick returner and backup running back Dontre Wilson and another player he did not identify. Wilson was seen throwing a punch.