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Northern Iowa beats No. 15 Wichita State 57-52

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Northern Iowa beats No. 15 Wichita State 57-52

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa (AP) Anthony James scored 16 points and Northern Iowa beat 15th-ranked Wichita State 57-52 on Saturday, sending the Shockers into their first losing streak of the season.

Seth Tuttle had eight points, eight rebounds and four blocks for the Panthers (12-11, 5-6 Missouri Valley Conference). They took control with a 14-0 run in the second half and became just the fourth Valley team in the last 23 games to beat Wichita State at home.

The Shockers (19-4, 8-3) pulled within 52-50 on Carl Hall's steal and bucket with 1:18 left. But Northern Iowa's Seth Tuttle blocked a Nick Wiggins try that would have tied it and then sealed the win with a breakaway dunk.

Hall led Wichita State with 20 points. The Shockers, who lost to Indiana State on Tuesday, have dropped a game behind league-leading Creighton in the Valley race.

The Shockers gave up sole possession of first place in the Valley when they lost to the Sycamores, snapping a 19-game home winning streak.

Wichita State started and finished this one in much the same manner.

The Shockers went over seven minutes without scoring in the first half, allowing Northern Iowa to take an early edge. But Wichita State steadied itself long enough to pull even at halftime, 23-all.

The Shockers then jumped on the Panthers with seven quick points, which can be huge against a slow-paced team such as Northern Iowa. But the Panthers responded behind a pair of Marc Sonnen 3s, jumping back ahead 37-36.

Sonnen had three 3s for Northern Iowa, which scored 23 of the game's next 29 points after falling behind 30-23.

The Panthers, who earned national acclaim with their stunning upset of top-seeded Kansas in the NCAA tournament in 2010, will almost certainly miss the tourney for the third year in a row.

Northern Iowa played a brutal non-league slate that included losses to Louisville, Stanford, Memphis, Iowa and UNLV, and it opened Valley play with a 25-point loss at Wichita State.

The Panthers have been unlucky of late. They lost their last home game when Indiana State drew contact on a desperation heave and hit free throws just before the final buzzer. They also lost in overtime at Evansville, 54-51, on Tuesday.

Northern Iowa didn't need much luck against the Shockers, whose offense went into a funk for the final 12 minutes.

Wichita State finished with 13 turnovers and a season-low 52 points. It hasn't cracked 60 in either of their recent losses.

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Bradley Beal makes most of his opportunity in first All-Star Game

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Associated Press

Bradley Beal makes most of his opportunity in first All-Star Game

Bradley Beal may have had a slow start in the three-point contest on Saturday night, but in Sunday's All-Star Game he worked quickly to make the most of his relatively small window of playing time.

Beal checked in for the first time with 5:45 left in the first quarter and less than 25 seconds later had his first points on a two-handed dunk assisted by LeBron James.

In his All-Star debut, Beal helped lead Team LeBron to a 148-145 victory over Team Stephen as the league utilizied a new format for the annual showcase.

RELATED: BEAL BOUNCED EARLY IN THREE-POINT CONTEST

Beal finished with 14 points and a steal in a productive night. He shot 5-for-10 from the field and an impressive 4-for-8 from long range. 

Beal also tried to get a travelling call from the refs on Karl-Anthony Towns. Yeah, that's not likely to happen in an All-Star Game:

Beal more than held his own and only played 16 minutes, which was good considering he has logged the fifth-most minutes of any player so far this season. A realistic best-case scenario was a strong showing and a short night and that's exactly what he got.

Not only does Beal play a lot of minutes, the Wizards need him now more than ever with John Wall's injury. He needs whatever rest he can get during this All-Star break.

Speaking of Wall, he was in the house despite being in the middle of his rehab from left knee surgery. Per usual, Wall was shining bright:

RELATED: BEST WIZARDS/BULLETS MOMENTS ON ALL-STAR SATURDAY NIGHT

The All-Star Game wasn't all about Beal, of course. Here are some other things that stood out...

*The new format and increased financial incentive were intended to make the game more competitive and that's what happened late in the fourth quarter. Usually, that's how these things go where the players will start trying at the end. But this time it seemed to be up a few levels and it was fun to watch. 

Both teams scored in the 140s, so it wasn't exactly a defensive battle. No matter what the league does, the players will only try so hard for so long. The main goal of everyone's is to not get injured in a game that ultimately doesn't count for anything. Still, this was different and appears to have been a success.

*While everyone was focusing on the reunion of LeBron and Kyrie Irving the best beef was Joel Embiid vs. Russell Westbrook. Those two have traded waves to taunt each other at the end of wins in head-to-head matchups and it was clear on Sunday they still don't like each other. Westbrook tried to dunk all over Embiid in the first half, only to get blocked at the rim.

Westbrook's determination to dunk on Embiid was out of the ordinary for an All-Star Game. It was obvious what was on his mind:

*Irving's handles are simply ridiculous. Check out this fake behind-the-back move he pulled with Giannis Antetkounmpo guarding him. Yes, it didn't fool the defender but it was impressive nonetheless:

*LeBron is 33 years old, yet he was still running up and down the court faster than anyone and leaping above the rim to thrown down alley-oop after alley-oop. It is truly amazing and everyone should enjoy watching him while they can, regardless of whether they like the guy or not.

This was one of his dunks:

LeBron took home MVP with a game-high 29 points, 10 rebounds, eight assists and a steal.

*The pregame show was quite bad. It was anchored by comedians Kevin Hart and Rob Riggle and, though they had some funny jokes, it lasted nearly 30 minutes. The whole thing was pretty much universally panned on social media. Fergie's national anthem was also roasted by the masses.

*The halftime show was much better. It began with N.E.R.D taking it back to their older days with 'Lapdance,' went to Migos performing 'Stir Fry' and swung back to N.E.R.D. who did their latest hit 'Lemon.' 

RELATED: LATEST 2018 NBA MOCK DRAFT

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The NBA All-Star pregame introductions were, uh, something

The NBA All-Star pregame introductions were, uh, something

Whoever put together the NBA All-Star Game player introductions has some 'splainin to do. 

The NBA introduced a kinda-full Staples Center to their 2018 All-Stars about an hour ago, and boy was it weird. There were a lot of dancers in different themed costumes. Kevin Hart was screaming. Rob Riggle was screaming. Ludacris showed up? Hey! Did you know that the Barenaked Ladies are still a band? The NBA would like you to know they're still around.  The whole thing was like when you're at an art museum and you're told that abstract piece in the corner is actually really meaningful but you gotta be honest, you don't get it. 

Anyways, the internet hated it. Here are some highlights from the internet hating it:

The lesson here is that you never need Kevin Hart and Rob Riggle. One will do.