Sports Today: Stars not aligning for a Bengals bounce back against Bears

Published: Friday, December 08, 2017 @ 9:51 AM

CINCINNATI, OH - AUGUST 29: Andy Dalton #14 of the Cincinnati Bengals looks to pass in the first quarter of a preseason game against the Chicago Bears at Paul Brown Stadium on August 29, 2015 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images
CINCINNATI, OH - AUGUST 29: Andy Dalton #14 of the Cincinnati Bengals looks to pass in the first quarter of a preseason game against the Chicago Bears at Paul Brown Stadium on August 29, 2015 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)(Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

It’s been some week in Bengaldom, eh? 

Everyone seems to be having a hard time turning the page from the Bengals’ 23-20 loss to the Steelers on Monday night. 

›› Iloka backs Steelers’ Mitchell, defends JuJu hit on Burfict

If you weren’t aware, Cincinnati hosts the Chicago Bears on Sunday

Although the erstwhile Monsters of the Midway are just 3-9, it’s pretty easy to see them winning this weekend. 

RELATED: 5 things Bears coach John Fox said about the Bengals

While the mental state of the Bengals has to be in question considering how they lost Monday night, they’re definitely in bad shape physically. 

Seven starters, including five on defense and running back Joe Mixon, missed practice Thursday. 

Backup defensive backs Darqueze Dennard (who obviously plays a lot) and Brandon Wilson were out, too. 

From a styles-make-fights standpoint, this matchup favors the Bears, too. 

Both teams stink on offense, but the Bears can run the ball and the Bengals’ run defense is below average. 

Chicago also has a good pass rush, so if the visitors get an early lead it could be bad news for the Bengals. 

While both defenses have played above average this season, the Bears have forced more turnovers. 

Score: Bears 20, Bengals 10. 


The Cleveland Browns play host to the Green Bay Packers in a game some are saying could qualify as a trap for the visitors, who are still in the playoff race and might get Aaron Rodgers back next week. 

Of course, there’s more interest off the field (as usual) in Cleveland thanks to the firing of executive vice president Sashi Brown yesterday

The experiment of turning over the football operations to people who don’t have much in way of a football background was judged a failure after less than two seasons, and for now Hue Jackson will remain the team’s coach. 

Cleveland already found a new general manager, too, in John Dorsey, who helped put together a Chiefs team that looked good in the first half of the season but not lately. 

Keeping Jackson is certainly interesting given his record (1-27). He’s a great football mind, and it would seem they are acknowledging he’s been coaching with one arm tied behind his back. 

Wonder how this will turn out… 

Dayton Flyers coach Anthony Grant said at the beginning of the week there was no common thread in the foul trouble his team has had to play through early this season — other than it generally involved the big guys. 

After Dayton’s win over Tennessee State, Kostas Antetokounmpo admitted he’d been doing some “risky” things that have gotten him in trouble at times, though. 

He avoided that against the Tigers and turned in a double-double, giving another hint at his vast potential when he can stay on the floor. 

As for avoiding foul trouble, he credited his brother, Giannis: 

“He said when I get my first foul I gotta lay low. I got to play as hard as I can, but as clean as I can. He said, ‘Don’t get those fouls back to back to back.’”

If only everyone had an NBA superstar to go to for counsel, right? 

At any rate, I continue to be very intrigued by the potential of this team. 

After four great years marked mostly by guys who can probably fairly be judged overachievers, this is a team with a lot of raw ability. 

How far away are they from realizing it? 

I’d say the future is bright — whenever it gets here… 

Area graduates are spread out all over the country playing basketball this winter, including a half dozen in the Big Ten. 

The guy getting the most headlines is easily Vincent Edwards, a senior at Purdue. He scored 15 points and grabbed nine rebounds last night as the 21st-ranked Boilermakers crushed Valparaiso 80-50. 

The Middletown High School product has scored in double figures in all 11 games so far this season. 

Meanwhile, Wayne graduate Ahmad Wagner had two points in five minutes last night for Iowa as the Hawkeyes lost to Iowa State, and former high school teammate D’Mitrik Trice had three points in 30 minutes for Wisconsin as the Badgers lost to Temple on Wednesday night. 

Mark Alstork (Thurgood Marshall/Wright State) had three points in Illinois’ win over Austin Peay on Wednesday night… 

Ohio State football returns to the practice field Friday afternoon to begin work on their meaningless Cotton Bowl matchup with USC. 

The Buckeyes recruiting class grew last night with a verbal commitment from Matthew Baldwin, a three-star prospect from Lake Travis High in Austin, Texas. 

This is raised questions about the status of Emory Jones, a long-time Ohio State commit who has continued playing the recruiting game by visiting Alabama and Auburn. 

Jones is a four-star prospect who apparently still has a spot in OSU’s class -- if he wants it. 

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Trotwood-Madison loses to Akron SVSM in D-II boys state final

Published: Saturday, March 24, 2018 @ 7:18 PM

            Myles Belyeu led Trowood with 20 points. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF
Myles Belyeu led Trowood with 20 points. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF

Trotwood-Madison’s bid for an elusive boys state basketball championship was undone by nemesis Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary 60-51 at Ohio State University’s Schottenstein Center on Saturday night.

It was the second straight Division II title for the Irish, who also defeated the Rams in last year’s D-II state semifinals. It was a record eighth state title for Akron SVSM, the program that LeBron James elevated during his celebrated run with the Irish. That snapped a tie with Middletown.

Trotwood (26-4) had a 19-game win streak snapped. Akron SVSM (21-8) also defeated Trotwood early in the regular season.

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Anthony Muñoz on sports in Ohio: ‘It’s special’

Published: Saturday, March 24, 2018 @ 7:05 PM

Cincinnati Bengals great Anthony Munoz learned right away how important sports are in Southwest Ohio and throughout the state.

Anthony Muñoz was a special player for the Cincinnati Bengals for 13 seasons. 

In Columbus at the boys’ basketball state championships to be recognized as part of the OHSAA Circle of Champions, the California native explained the special place sports have in Ohio helped convince him to stick around long after his pro football career was over. 

His daughter, Michelle, and son, Michael, also were recognized as part of the Circle of Champions along with former Ohio State basketball star Dennis Hopson, Ohio State football standout William White and Dwight “Bo” Lamar, who played in the ABA and NBA. 

Michelle Muñoz was part of a state championship season for the Mason girls’ basketball team while Michael was a highly-regarded offensive line prospect at Moeller High School. 

They both went to Tennessee for college, though Michelle finished her career at Ohio State.

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Flyers’ Mescher on state title: “We got a little help from upstairs”

Published: Saturday, March 24, 2018 @ 3:42 PM
Updated: Saturday, March 24, 2018 @ 4:07 PM

Marion Local senior Tyler Mescher hit the game-winning free throws in a 52-51 defeat of Willoughby Cornerstone Christian to win a boys high school basketball D-IV state championship at OSU’s Schottenstein Center in Columbus on Sat., March 24, 2018. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF

His knees knocking, Tyler Mescher of Marion Local heeded a little help from teammate Tyler Prenger.

“He said calm down, you got this and relax,” recalled Mescher. “Easy shots.”

Not quite. Mescher’s pair of rim-rattling free throws with 2.6 seconds left in the second overtime was the difference as Marion Local stunned Willoughby Cornerstone Christian 52-51 to win a boys high school Division IV state basketball championship on Saturday afternoon.

»RELATED: Marion Local after basketball title, too

»RELATED: Bruns’ late heroics lifts Marion Local

It was one of four season-ending divisional championships that were held at Ohio State University’s Schottenstein Center.

It also completed a rare state-title double for Marion Local (25-4), which also won a D-VI state football championship last December.

»RELATED: Marion Local state semifinal photo gallery

»RELATED: Trotwood joins Marion Local in finals

No one came up more clutch than Mescher for the Flyers. Trailing by one in the second OT, his first free throw clanged several times on the rim and backboard before circling and falling through the net.

WATCH: Marion Local wins state title on late free throws(David Jablonski - Staff Writer)

The second rim-rattler wasn’t as dramatic, but almost.

“We got a little help from upstairs,” said Mescher, a robust senior who doubled as a blocking tight end and defensive end on the football team.

»RELATED: Springfield standouts on All-Ohio teams

»RELATED: Wayne, Trotwood players picked for All-Ohio

“I couldn’t stay still at all. It’s a dream come true to be able to shoot those free throws. Any little kid, that’s their dream, to be able to shoot two free throws at the end of a state championship game and make them both.”

Cornerstone (21-8) missed a half-court heave and the Flyers’ fans - among the 9,620 in attendance - rocked the Schott in celebration.

»RELATED: Rams’ opposing coach, ‘They’re crazy athletic’

»RELATED: Boys state final four pairings

Mescher’s bucket with about 10 seconds left in regulation forced overtime.

“There aren’t many 6-1, 240-pound guys on our schedule,” Cornerstone coach Dan Selle said of Mescher. “He’s not a vegetarian. He eats meat for breakfast. He’s tough as nails and a lot of respect to him. He’s a guy you hate to fight against but you want to have on your team.”

»RELATED: Moeller bumps Wayne off tourney trail

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Mescher and Nate Bruns each had 18 points to lead the Flyers. Mescher also had nine rebounds.

Bruns, a 6-6 wing who doubles as the Flyers quarterback, added 14 rebounds. It was Bruns’ 3-pointer with 17.7 seconds left that knotted the teams even and forced the second OT. He had several late key field goals, free throws and rebounds for the Flyers.

“We had to go to our money man late in the game,” Flyers coach Kurt Goettemoeller said of Bruns. “He’s a stud.”

»RELATED: Boys regional results

»RELATED: Ahrens, Barhorst earn top D-IV boys honors

Prenger added three 3-pointers and 10 points.

Cornerstone, anchored in Lake County and a Cleveland suburb, is an independent that mostly played high-level Division I and II teams, which made its record deceiving. The Patriots also had the D-IV state player of the year in Michael Bothwell. The Furman signee tallied a game-high 23 points.

“State-wide, I definitely had the feeling we were an underdog,” Goettemoeller said. “We figured it out at the end. We just found a way a get it done.”

»RELATED: Trotwood-Madison back to final four

»RELATED: Girls state final four results

Is was the third boys state basketball title for Marion Local, which also won in 2003 and 1975. The Flyers were a state runner-up in 2004.

Cornerstone won a D-IV state title in 2016 in its only other final four appearance.

Of the Flyers’ 12 players, 10 also played on the state-title football team.

“This senior class, that really shows what they’re made of,” Bruns said. “To be able to do that in both (sports), that’s something special for them.”

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Mescher hits winning free throws as Marion Local wins state title

Published: Saturday, March 24, 2018 @ 12:58 PM
Updated: Saturday, March 24, 2018 @ 1:01 PM

WATCH: Marion Local wins state title on late free throws

Tyler Mescher converted two free throws with with 2.6 seconds left as Marion Local stunned Willoughby Cornerstone Christian 52-51 in double-overtime to win a boys high school basketball Division IV state championship on Saturday.

That matched Marion Local’s D-VI football state title it won last fall, making the Flyers a rare double state winner in the same school year.

A senior, Mescher’s first free throw rattled all around the rim before falling. His second also clanged in. Cornerstone inbounded and missed a half-court heave as time expired. Marion Local players and their fans erupted in celebration.

Mescher and Nathan Bruns each had 18 points to lead the Flyers (25-4). Bruns also had 14 rebounds. Tyler Prenger added 10 points.

Cornerstone (21-8) was led by D-IV state player of the year Michael Bothwell with 23 points.

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