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Alabama rallies from 11 down, beats Vandy 58-54

Alabama rallies from 11 down, beats Vandy 58-54

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Trevor Lacey hit a 3-pointer with 56.8 seconds left, giving Alabama its first lead of the game, and the Crimson Tide wound up edging Vanderbilt 58-54 Saturday afternoon for their first win at Memorial Gym since 1990 after trailing by as much as 11 in the second half.

Alabama (14-7, 6-2 Southeastern Conference) hadn't won here since Wimp Sanderson was coach, and it looked like that drought would reach 12 straight for most of the game. But the Tide rallied despite hitting only one field goal after Andrew Steele's 3-pointer with 5:57 left, and the Tide won for the sixth time in seven games, finishing on an 18-3 run.

Lacey had a game-high 17 points. Steele added 13 points off the bench, and Rodney Cooper had 11.

Vanderbilt (8-12, 2-6) didn't hit a field goal after Kyle Fuller's 3-pointer with 7:10 left. Kedren Johnson had 15 points and Fuller 13.

The Crimson Tide came in tied with Kentucky for third in the SEC and traveling after edging Arkansas 59-56 in a late game Thursday night. Vanderbilt was well-rested after a 58-57 loss at Tennessee on Tuesday night, and the Commodores outshot Alabama 48.7 percent (19 of 39) to 38 percent (19 of 50) and outrebounded the Tide 31-27.

Vanderbilt was having its best shooting game this season, hitting around 60 percent in building a 51-40 lead on Fuller's third 3 of the game with 7:10 left. Then a team that came in next to last in the SEC scoring an average 59.6 points a game reverted to form and just couldn't close out against an Alabama defense that is the SEC's second-best, allowing 58.5 points per game.

The Tide finally started having success with the press defense and finished with 12 steals. Lacey tied it at 53 for the first tie of the game with a pair of free throws with 3:29 remaining, and Alabama was 9 of 13 at the line in the final 5:07. Both teams missed chances to score on their next two possessions, including a shot by Nick Jacobs that went in and out for Alabama.

Johnson hit a free throw for Vanderbilt to give the Commodores their last lead with 2:14 to go. Finally, Lacey threw up his fourth 3-point attempt from a couple of steps behind the arc to put Alabaam ahead to stay.

Josh Henderson, who had just played his way back into the starting lineup for Vanderbilt, had a layup attempt blocked by Jacobs, and Fuller missed a layup down the stretch. Cooper and Lacey each hit a free throw to clinch the comeback.

The Commodores opened the game with a 3-pointer by Sheldon Jeter. Alabama turned it over on its first two possessions by walking, and the Tide also missed six of their first eight shots. Vandy led by as much as eight twice, the last on a 3-pointer by Fuller 32 seconds before the break and a 31-23 halftime edge.

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Braden Holtby puts loss to Tampa solely on his own shoulders

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USA TODAY Sports

Braden Holtby puts loss to Tampa solely on his own shoulders

The mood in the Capitals locker room following a 4-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday was one of frustration. Forty minutes of strong play from Washington amounted to nothing because of a disastrous opening first period in which the Lightning jumped out to a 3-0 lead.

No one in the locker room was more frustrated than Braden Holtby.

"Obviously you don't want to go down three," he told reporters after the game. "That's on no one else but me. The third goal, especially the third, fourth goal, that's the difference in the game. I thought we played a really strong game against a really good team. We should have got a better result and that's on me why we didn't."

Tampa scored three goals in the first off of only eight shots. For the game, the Lightning managed to pierce Holtby four times off of only 19 shots.

RELATED: WHY THE CAPS LOST TO THE LIGHTNING

Frustration seemed to boil over on the fourth goal when a normally stoic Holtby was visibly upset after allowing Nikita Kucherov to beat him on a breakaway in a play similar to what we saw in the All-Star Game.

See for yourself:

"The key to getting better is learning from your mistakes and obviously I didn't do that," Holtby said. "I was just trying to play it patient. I wasn't trying to cheat towards that move and he came at it a different way. That's on me for not recognizing it. That's not a goal I can give up in that situation after our team battled the way they did, especially in the third."

The frustration Holtby feels likely is not the result of one goal, but the culmination of a recent slump that continues to plague the Vezina winner.

Holtby has lost four straight starts and has given up at least four goals in each of those games.

While Holtby was quick to take the blame for Tuesday's loss, head coach Barry Trotz was quick to defend his netminder.

"No one takes the loss," he said. "We all take a loss. I take a loss, the group takes a loss and Braden's part of the group. ... He's had a little tough stretch. It's no different than, we've got guys that haven't scored in 15, 20 games. It's no different than a player."

The challenge now is overcoming that slump.

For a slumping skater, Trotz could try different line combinations or play someone in different situations over the course of the game. Getting a starting goalie out of a slump, however, is more difficult. Most of the work has to be done in practice with the hope that it will carry over into the next game.

"You analyze how the goals are going in, what you're doing differently," Holtby said. "There's always some stuff that you can't control and stuff that you can and it's focusing on those contrallables that you can make a difference at. Like the first goal in Chicago, the last two goals here, those are goals that I could and should stop. You get to practice the next day and you focus on that and work hard until you figure it out so you don't do it again."

MORE CAPITALS: CHECK OUT THE 3 STARS OF THE GAME FROM CAPS-LIGHTNING

Part of the problem in Washington is that team defense is the Caps' biggest weakness. For most of the season, and even in years past, Holtby has made up for much of the team's mistakes on the backend. Now that he is slumping those mistakes become much more glaring and costly.

"The goaltenders in this league are erasers," Trotz said.

Lately, Holtby has not been able to erase those mistakes.

But the team has already moved to address the defense. Brian MacLellan added a puck-moving defenseman in Michal Kempny to help the team get the puck out of the defensive zone more quickly. Waiving Taylor Chorney could also signify another move may be coming before Monday's trade deadline.

As for Trotz, even during the slump, he made clear his confidence in Holtby has not wavered.

"He has been a rock since the day I've been here the last four years and he's been an elite goaltender and I look at him that way."

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2018 Olympic Hockey Results: Czech Republic eliminate U.S. men in shootout winner

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USA Today Sports

2018 Olympic Hockey Results: Czech Republic eliminate U.S. men in shootout winner

GANGNEUNG, South Korea -- Pavel Francouz stopped all five shooters and Petr Kouka scored the shootout winner as the Czech Republic eliminated the United States with a 3-2 victory in the quarterfinals Wednesday.

Jan Kovar and Tomas Kundratek scored in regulation for the Czech Republic, which was fresher after winning its group and getting a bye into the quarterfinals. The U.S. looked fatigued after facing Slovakia in the qualification round and was outshot 29-20.

Ryan Donato and Jim Slater scored for the U.S, which again was led by its youngest players, including speedster Troy Terry. U.S. goaltender Ryan Zapolski allowed three goals on 29 shots and one in the shotoout, while Francouz stopped 18 in regulation and overtime.

Koukal was the only player to score in overtime. Chris Bourque, Ryan Donato, Marc Arcobello, Terry and Bobby Butler couldn't beat Francouz.

RELATED: OVECHKIN HAS LITTLE DESIRE TO WATCH 2018 WINTER OLYMPICS