Hoops du jour
PSU men vs. No. 8 Purdue
Tipoff: 4:30 p.m. Madison Square Garden
Records: Penn State (21-12, 11-9 Big Ten); No. 8 Purdue (27-5, 16-3 Big Ten)
Coaches: Patrick Chambers is 108-121 in his seventh season at Penn State and 150-149 in nine seasons overall. Matt Painter is 291-147 in his 13th season at Purdue and 316-152 in 14 seasons overall.
Radio: ESPN 1430
Probable starters: Penn State — G Shep Garner, 6-1 Sr. (10.3), G Tony Carr, 6-3 So. (19.9), G Josh Reaves, 6-4 Jr. (10.3), F Lamar Stevens, 6-7 So. (15.1), F Julian Moore, 6-10 So. (1.7). Purdue — F Vincent Edwards, 6-8 Sr. (14.7), C Isaac Haas, 7-2 Sr. (14.6), G Carsen Edwards, 6-1 So. (18.2), G P.J. Thompson, 5-10 Sr. (7.4), G Dakota Mathias, 6-4 Sr. (12.5).
Notes: Penn State upset No. 13 Ohio State for the third time this season on Friday night. Josh Reaves made a dunk in the final seconds to advance to the semifinal of the Big Ten tournament. The Lions will be without Mike Watkins, who has a knee injury. Julian Moore and John Harrar, who had a big game against the Buckeyes, will play in his place… Purdue beat Rutgers in their first game of the tournament. Carsen Edwards leads the Boilermakers’ offense with 18.2 points per game. The winner will advance to the Big Ten championship. If Penn State wins, they will have a spot in the NCAA tournament for the first time in Chambers’s tenure.
Mirror prediction: Purdue 71, Penn State 68
Comment: The Lions may prove me wrong again, but I don’t believe their interior is good enough. Isaac Haas should fare better than Kaleb Wesson did against the Lions.
Mirror prediction record: 24-10
— Paddy Cotter
76ers rally for 13th straight win in Philly
PHILADELPHIA — Ersan Ilyasova’s return to Philadelphia came in time to key a comeback against the Hornets.
The “Trust the Process!” chants rang out in the final minute and the 76ers — who won just 10 times in 2015-16 — won the type of game that proved why they might make some noise in the playoffs.
Ilyasova scored 11 of his 18 points in the fourth quarter in his first home game since he rejoined the Sixers, Joel Embiid had 23 points and 15 rebounds, and Philadelphia beat Charlotte 110-99 on Friday night.
“I told him, ‘Let’s do whatever we had going on last year,'” Embiid said. “He played great. Everybody had a great second half. But I was excited to have him back.”
Ilyasova played 53 games for the Sixers last season before he was traded to Atlanta. The Hawks waived him this week and he was enticed to reunite with a familiar organization ready to make a run at the postseason.
“I’m glad I came,” he said.
So were the Sixers, once Ilyasova delivered a flawless fourth (4 for 4 from the floor, sank both free throws) that compensated for Embiid’s scoreless quarter. Embiid had been otherwise dominant in a lopsided matchup against Dwight Howard.
The Sixers won their 13th straight game at the Wells Fargo Center.
“I think, for me, I need that energy,” Embiid said. “We’ve got to put on a show. It’s great, especially if we make the playoffs, it’ll be louder than usual.”
The Sixers were coming off an impressive 108-97 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Thursday night that ended an 11-game losing streak against the Eastern Conference champions. Coach Brett Brown said playing the second of a back-to-back at home against a Hornets team badly in need of victories would be a nice test.
“We’re closer than we’ve ever been to achieving a pretty significant goal. We don’t feel like we’re there at all, and I don’t see complacency creeping in there,” Brown said. “We’re playing a team in desperation mode.”
Led by Kemba Walker and Frank Kaminsky, the determined Hornets charged to a 14-point lead and seemed poised to snatch a needed road win.
The 76ers stole the win right back.
Dario Saric and Ilyasova hit consecutive 3-pointers for a 91-89 lead in the fourth that sent a stout crowd that had trudged through a storm to get to the Wells Fargo Center into a frenzy.
Friday’s other games:
Warriors 114, Hawks 109: Stephen Curry scored 28 points, including 15 in the final seven minutes of the first half after returning from an ankle injury, and Golden State beat Atlanta for itts fifth straight victory.
Curry turned his right ankle and left the game in the first quarter. He returned for his high-scoring second period before returning to the locker room for good in the third. The Warriors said a “tweaked right ankle” was the reason Curry would not return.
Kevin Durant also had 28 points for the Warriors, who are unbeaten since the All-Star break.
Magic 115, Pistons 106: Aaron Gordon had 27 points and 13 rebounds to help Orlando stop a seven-game losing streak with a victory against Detroit in overtime.
Bulls 108, Mavericks 100: Bobby Portis scored 22 points and made three straight shots during the decisive run late in the fourth quarter to help Chicago roar back and beat Dallas .
Raptors 102 Wizards 95: DeMar DeRozan scored 23 points, reserve CJ Miles added 20 and Toronto beat Washington .
Nuggets 108, Grizzlies 102: Gary Harris scored 26 points, hitting a key basket with just under a minute left, and Denver weathered a fourth-quarter rally to beat Memphis .
Pacers 103, Bucks 96: Victor Oladipo had 21 points, and Indiana nearly blew a 17-point lead in the middle of a mistake-laden fourth quarter before holding off Milwaukee.
Mirror, wire reports