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Berggren, Jackson lead Badgers past Illini 74-51

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Berggren, Jackson lead Badgers past Illini 74-51

MADISON, Wis. (AP) Jared Berggren scored 15 points and grabbed a season-high 12 rebounds, and Traevon Jackson added a career-best 14 points to lead Wisconsin over No. 12 Illinois 74-51 Saturday.

The Badgers (12-4, 3-0 Big Ten) scored the game's first 14 points and led by 20 at halftime on the way to their sixth straight win.

It was a stunning performance from a team that scored just 47 in the previous game against Nebraska, but a supposedly slow and methodical team locked into a higher gear and ended the suspense almost as soon as the game began.

Whether they were making 3-pointers, driving for layups, putting back misses or throwing down dunks, the Badgers had their way in this one. They outshot Illinois 49.1 percent to 35.3 percent, making 10 of 23 3-pointers, and outrebounded the Illini 43-24.

Berggren was solid as usual.

Jackson eclipsed his previous high of 13 points and Sam Dekker also scored 13.

It was certainly not what Illinois (14-4, 1-3) envisioned coming off a 17-point loss to No. 8 Minnesota. The Illini have now lost four of six after winning their first 12 under new coach John Groce.

They set a season-low for scoring, with star Brandon Paul managing just eight points and making 1 of 11 shots. D.J. Richardson scored 16, but Illinois never had a chance in this one.

The Badgers led 39-19 at the break, with Jackson scoring 12 in the half after averaging just 4.7 points in the first 15 games. Berggren scored 11, including seven as Wisconsin took a 14-0 lead. His corner 3 and another shot from long range by Ben Brust capped that run. Paul gave Illinois its first point when he made 1 of 2 free throws with 13:13 left in the half, and Joseph Bertrand followed with a jumper to give the Illini their first basket.

But the Badgers scored 15 in a row and 18 of 20 to turn a nine-point edge into a 34-9 gulf, starting with three straight 3-pointers.

Sam Dekker buried one from the wing to get it going. Brust made one from well beyond the top of the arc, sending a roar through the stands, and Jackson followed with another one from up top after Berggren blocked a driving Paul.

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Wizards Tipoff podcast: Wizards have big questions to answer coming out of All-Star break

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Wizards Tipoff podcast: Wizards have big questions to answer coming out of All-Star break

On the latest episode of the Wizards Tipoff podcast presented by Greenberg and Bederman, Chase Hughes and Chris Miller look ahead to the biggest questions the Wizards need to answer after the All-Star break. They also explain why Bradley Beal proved a lot in his first All-Star Game appearance.

They also unveiled a new segment involving guessing Wizards players based on their social media captions.

You can listen to the episode right here:

You can download the podcast on Apple Podcasts right here and on Google Play. If you like the show please tell your friends!

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Capitals place Taylor Chorney on waivers, which could signal something, or nothing

Capitals place Taylor Chorney on waivers, which could signal something, or nothing

When the Capitals acquired defenseman Michal Kempny on Monday, that put the team at the maximum of 23 players on the roster including eight defenseman.

Another move seemed likely and the Caps made it on Tuesday by placing veteran blueliner Taylor Chorney on waivers.

Teams now will have 24 hours to potentially claim Chorney. Should he clear at 12 p.m. on Wednesday, it is expected that he will be sent to the Hershey Bears of the AHL. Whether he is claimed or sent to Hershey, his entire $800,000 cap hit will no longer count against the Capitals' salary.

One important thing to note, however, is that placing Chorney on waivers was not required in order for Washington to remain under the salary cap.

Having eight defensemen would mean scratching two every game — assuming the team does not dress seven and after that failed experiment in last year's playoffs, why would they — which means it would be a struggle to make sure everyone gets consistent playing time in the final weeks of the season.

Perhaps placing Chorney on waivers is the team trying to get him more playing time to keep him sharp in case the team suffers injuries on the blue line and he is called upon in the playoffs.

Or perhaps it could mean something else.

RELATED: RANKING THE CAPITALS' TOP PROSPECTS

Chorney played on Feb. 15, but that was during the mentor's trip. Barry Trotz's policy for those trips is to get everyone in at least one of those two games. Before that, Chorney had not played since Jan. 2. It certainly seems like the team was comfortable with him being the designated No. 7 and was not all that concerned about getting him regular playing time before now.

When asked if the Kempny trade would mean any roster moves, Trotz said Monday that he was not sure and hinted that perhaps more moves could be coming from general manager Brian MacLellan. Moving Chorney's salary off the books does not clear much cap room, but it does clear some.

Perhaps MacLellan has another move up his sleeve before Monday's trade deadline.