Defense helps Oregon State move to No. 7


Defense helps Oregon State move to No. 7

CORVALLIS, Ore. (AP) The defense came to the rescue again for Oregon State.

Utah's four turnovers - two lost fumbles and two interceptions - were the difference in the Beavers' 21-7 win over the Utes in a cold, drizzly game Saturday night.

The reward was that Oregon State (6-0, 4-0 Pac-12) became bowl eligible and the next day popped up a place in the rankings to No. 7. The Beavers also moved to No. 7 in the BCS standings.

``When you look at why you win, turnovers can be great indicators. ... (Utah) ran the ball better than we did, but they turned the ball over in very bad field position,'' Oregon State coach Mike Riley said.

Turnovers were killer for the Utes (2-5, 0-4). The first two - a Michael Doctor interception and a Dylan Wynn fumble recovery - set up the Beavers for easy touchdown drives deep in Utah territory. The third - a fumbled pitch at the Beavers 3-yard line - killed a promising scoring drive. Finally, a frantic Utah rally in the final minutes ended when quarterback Travis Wilson was picked off by Sean Martin.

``The biggest disappointment offensively was turning the ball over four times and scoring one touchdown,'' Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said. ``You're going to win exactly zero games doing that.''

In contrast, the Beavers committed no turnovers. Oregon State has forced 16 turnovers this year while committing only six, giving the Beavers the best turnover margin (1.67) in the conference and eighth best in the nation. Last season, while stumbling to a 3-9 record, the Beavers committed 31 turnovers while opponents had only 23.

Led for the second straight game by backup quarterback Cody Vaz, the Beavers' offense managed a paltry 230 yards on offense compared to Utah's 307. Vaz overthrew some receivers and was not as impressive as in his 332-yard debut passing performance against BYU, which earned him Pac-12 player of the week honors.

However, Vaz managed the game well. He didn't force throws - relying mostly on short passes - and avoided major mistakes. Riley employed a conservative strategy, punting several times on fourth-and-short situations, and putting the game in the hands of the defense.

That defense put the focus on Utah quarterback Wilson, a true freshman who took over last month when Jordan Wynn suffered a career-ending injury. The Beavers believed if they were aggressive they could rattle Wilson and cause mistakes. They were right.

``Coverage and pressure go together,'' said safety Ryan Murphy. ``The guys on the D-Line did what they had to do and the secondary did what we had to do also. That's all that matters.''

Curiously, the Beavers have been much better offensively in road games than at Reser Stadium and have had to rely on the defense to pull out the victories in each of their three home wins, 10-7 over Wisconsin, 19-6 win over Washington State, and this game.

Starting quarterback Sean Mannion could return for the Beavers when they travel this weekend to Washington, though Riley refused to say when he would decide. Mannion missed two games after undergoing surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his knee, but he returned to practice late last week.

The Huskies (3-4, 1-3) lost 52-17 to Arizona on Saturday. The Beavers will attempt to go 7-0 for the first time in school history.

``I think the sky is the limit for us,'' running back Storm Woods said. ``We have to keep going, respecting ourselves and staying humble.''

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5 must-see moments from Wizards' important win over Pacers, including Kelly Oubre's big dunk

5 must-see moments from Wizards' important win over Pacers, including Kelly Oubre's big dunk

Here are five plays or moments from the Wizards' 109-102 win over the Pacers on Saturday night that are worth revisiting... 

1. The Wizards took care of business against the Pacers on Saturday night and in doing so earned an important advantage in the playoff race. They won the season series and therefore own a tiebreaker for playoff seeding and currently that would mean home court advantage in the first round if the playoffs began today.

The Wizards took control early and part of that effort were five first-half assists by Bradley Beal. He ended up with 19 points, but some of his best plays were passes.

On this one, he executed a perfect pick-and-roll with Marcin Gortat:


2. This was another pretty pass to Gortat. Tomas Satoransky, who had 12 points and eight assists, fed Gortat with a nice reach-around pass on a play that featured some impressive ball movement overall:

3. This was a great moment. The Wizards had a member of the military surprise his niece on the court. She literally did not see it coming:


4. These last two plays are dunks by Kelly Oubre, Jr., who finished with 16 points. On this play, he cut through the and threw down with authority:

5. This dunk was set up by a beautiful pass from Ramon Sessions. It traveled about three-quarters of the court and Oubre did the rest:

The Wizards now have three days off before their next game as they sit fourth in the Eastern Conference. Things are trending positive for the Wizards as the playoff race heats up.

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Wizards take out Pacers to earn important advantage in playoff seeding

Wizards take out Pacers to earn important advantage in playoff seeding

The Washington Wizards beat the Indiana Pacers 109-102 on Saturday night. Here's analysis of what went down...

Important victory: Saturday night's game between the Wizards and Pacers had several layers of playoff implications on the line and it was Washington who rose to the occasion and showed the urgency commensurate for the stakes.

By beating the Pacers, the Wizards locked up the season series between the teams, two games to one. That gives them the tiebreaker for playoff seeding if the teams finish the regular season with the same record. That could very well prove paramount. As of now, the Wizards and Pacers have the same record (40-30) with 12 games to go.

The season series advantage means the Wizards are above the Pacers in the standings despite having the same record. They moved into fourth place in the East with the win and the Cavs slotted back into third. There will likely be a lot more movement as these next few weeks play out, but the Wizards now hold an important edge over the Pacers.

The win also pushed the Wizards to 14-8 since John Wall went down with a left knee injury. Wall could return this coming week or the week after and the Wizards have more than stayed afloat during his absence.

The Wizards' magic number to make the playoffs is now just five. 


Sato went off: The Wizards jumped out to a double-digit lead in the first quarter mostly thanks to a hot start from Tomas Satoransky, who scored the Wizards' first five points and had 10 by the end of the first quarter.

Satoransky's floater was automatic. He dropped in several in the lane from all different angles. Satoransky was practicing the same shots, floaters off each foot, the day before in practice and it paid off.

It was a well-rounded night for Satoransky. In addition to his 12 points, he also had eight assists and five rebounds, including this one to find Marcin Gortat for the dunk:

Gortat came up big: Speaking of Gortat, the Wizards' big man had one of his best games of the season. He poured in 18 points to go along with eight rebounds, four assists a steal and a block. Gortat shot 6-for-8, consistently having his way on the block.

The Pacers were without two of their best big men in Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis and Gortat took advantage of that. He was way too much for Al Jefferson.

The Pacers tried to roll with small-ball lineups using Trevor Booker and Thaddeus Young as their big men, but it didn't work. Gortat was too big for them and his teammates did a great job finding him for open looks.

Gortat's 18 points were his most since Jan. 3 when he had a season-high 21 against the Knicks. Lately, Gortat has seen his minutes dwindle with the increased role for Ian Mahinmi, so Saturday night must have felt good for the Polish Machine.


Bojan held in check: Bojan Bogdanovic, who spent part of last season with the Wizards, was a major factor in the first two matchups between Washington and the Pacers this season. He had 20 points in one game and 29 in another, each time getting hot from three.

The Wizards, though, made some adjustments in this one and held Bo Buckets in check. He didn't make his first shot until nearly the midway point of the second quarter and it was only because Kelly Oubre, Jr. (16 points, 18 minutes) lost his balance. Oubre stumbled backward, giving Bogdanovic a split second to get off an open three. That was the only shot he hit in the first half as he began the game 1-for-4.

Oubre did a good job harrassing Bogdanovic and not giving him space on the premiter. Otto Porter (eight points) and Bradley Beal (19 points) did as well. Both Porter and Beal stripped the ball out of Bogdanovic's hands early in the third quarter. Midway through the third, Bogdanovic got past Porter only to be called for an offensive foul on a collision with Gortat. All in all, it was a frustrating night for Bogdanovic, who had 11 points, three below his season average.

Bogdanovic is a very good shooter and when he's hot can alter games. But when you take his shots away, there's not much else he can do to hurt you. The Wizards did a good job taking away his strengths and making others beat them. Not having to focus on Turner and Sabonis certainly helped. 

Sessions is still in the rotation: It turns out those five games for Ramon Sessions over the course of his second 10-day contract weren't just an audition. Now that he has been signed for the rest of the season, Sessions is still getting the nod over Tim Frazier as the backup point guard.

Sessions logged 18 minutes and even played alongside Satoransky and Jodie Meeks in the fourth quarter. The Wizards had a sizable lead and head coach Scott Brooks decided to experiment with his lineups. That is something to keep in mind for when Wall comes back. Once he does, Sessions will be the third point guard and likely rarely see the court. But if they see something they like about him at shooting guard, that could open the door for more playing time possibilities.

Up next: The Wizards have three off-days before their next game. That will be on Wednesday when they head to San Antonio to face the Spurs. Tipoff is at 9:30 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington. Pregame coverage begins at 8:30 p.m. with Wizards HangTime.

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