Duquesne hoping to make statement against Panthers

Duquesne hoping to make statement against Panthers

PITTSBURGH (AP) Sean Johnson watched the steady stream of teammates bolt the Duquesne basketball program last spring following a power struggle with former coach Ron Everhart and made a promise to himself to not abandon the program.

``Guys left, I stayed,'' the senior guard said. ``I didn't want to leave. I didn't want to go through all that.''

Besides, Johnson felt there was still too much work to be done, beating Pittsburgh near the top of the list.

Johnson will get his final crack at the Panthers on Wednesday in the 81st edition of the City Game as the Dukes try to end an 11-year losing streak to their crosstown rivals.

``I really want to go out and win,'' Johnson said. ``Everybody is going to have to be on point. I just can't win it by myself.''

Probably not a good idea considering Johnson would basically be going one-on-10. The Panthers (7-1) have cruised through the first month of the season behind a deep bench and the precocious play of freshman point guard James Robinson, who is flourishing despite logging a team-high 30 minutes a game.

``We thought he'd be good (but) he's probably better than what we thought,'' Pitt coach Jamie Dixon said.

A welcome development for a program that lost its way last winter when guard Tray Woodall went down with an abdominal injury in an 80-69 victory over the Dukes. Woodall missed nine of the next 10 games and Pitt stumbled its way out of the NCAA tournament picture for the first time in over a decade.

``It's rare that (a point guard goes down) and when it does, you've got to be in position and we weren't in position and I knew before going into the season,'' Dixon said. ``This year we've got James who is a seasoned veteran as a freshman. He's got a great understanding of the game.''

Even if Robinson, who is from the Washington, D.C. suburbs, is still gaining an understanding for what the annual matchup with the Dukes means to his new city.

``We're going to prepare as if we were playing a team that has won many times against us,'' Robinson said.

Something the Dukes haven't done since well before Robinson and any of his teammates were born. Still, the game remains a vital part of the nonconference schedule for both schools, a fact that will not change even with Pitt going to the ACC next year and Duquesne rebuilding under new coach Jim Ferry.

``This really isn't about our RPI, it really isn't about scheduling,'' Ferry said. ``It's us against Pitt.''

A meeting that has been a rivalry in name only since 1981. Still, there remains a sense of electricity when the programs face each other. The game drew nearly 16,000 fans to Consol Energy Center last winter and it remains a measuring stick of sorts for both schools.

``Sometimes people ask us, because we've won a few of the games lately, why do you continue?''' Dixon said. ``It's because it's the right thing to do. You're never bigger than an institution or a tradition and I think we understand that and hopefully we can continue to do that.''

Particularly if the Panthers can continue to win. There was a time when things were the other way around, an era Ferry believes can return even though the process might take awhile.

The Dukes were picked to finish last in the Atlantic 10 but have won four out of their last five as Ferry's players start to get comfortable with his uptempo system. Ferry led LIU-Brooklyn to back-to-back Northeast Conference titles and NCAA tournament appearances in 2010 and 2011 but now finds himself tasked with reshaping a program that met with moderate success under Everhart before things imploded last spring.

Johnson and fellow senior Andre Marhold stuck around amid the chaos and now find themselves as the elder statesmen on a team that features seven freshmen or sophomores in the rotation. It's not exactly the way Johnson envisioned wrapping up his career. Then again, things could be worse. He believes things are headed in the right direction under Ferry, even if the actual process won't be completed until well after Johnson is gone.

``We've become more of a team,'' Johnson said. ``Even the young guys are getting confidence in themselves.''

Something that's bound to spike if the Dukes can beat the Panthers for only the second time this millennium. It's not the end goal of Ferry's vision, but it would certainly be a start.

``We've got to grind this out and make this a better rivalry,'' Ferry said. ``We have to do our part. We want to play this game and we want to win this game.''


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Game 58: Capitals at Blackhawks Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread


Game 58: Capitals at Blackhawks Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

What: Washington Capitals vs. Chicago Blackhawks

Where: United Center, Chicago, Ill.

When: 8:30 p.m. ET

How to Watch: Capitals-Blackhawks will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington (Channel Finder)

Live Stream: You can watch the Capitals-Blackhawks game on NBC Sports Washington's live stream page.

You can also stream the game online with no cable TV subscription on fuboTV (try for free!).


The Capitals (33-17-7) take on the Blackhawks (24-26-8) Saturday, February 17 at 8:30 p.m. ET in Chicago.


The Capitals-Blackhawks game will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington. Coverage kicks off with Capitals FaceOff at 7:30 p.m. followed by Caps GameTime at 8:00 p.m. Stay with NBC Sports Washington for Caps Extra following the game, Caps Overtime at 11:30 p.m. and Caps in 30 at 12:30 a.m. for all your postgame coverage. (NBC Sports Washington channel Finder)

7:30 p.m. — Caps FaceOff
8:00 p.m. — Caps GameTime
8:30 p.m. — Capitals at Blackhawks
11:00 p.m. — Caps Extra
11:30 p.m. — Caps Overtime
12:30 a.m. — Caps in 30


Here are the projected lines for the Caps-Blackhawks game:

Alex Ovechkin - Nicklas Backstrom - Tom Wilson
Alex Chiasson - Evgeny Kuznetsov - T.J. Oshie
Brett Connolly - Lars Eller - Andre Burakovsky
Chandler Stephenson - Jay Beagle - Devante Smith-Pelly

Christian Djoos - John Carlson
Dmitry Orlov - Matt Niskanen
Brooks Orpik - Madison Bowey

Braden Holtby starts with Philipp Grubauer as backup

Scratches: Jakub Vrana, Taylor Chorney


The Capitals-Blackhawks game, as well as Caps GameTime and Caps Extra, is available to stream live here through NBC Sports Washington's live stream page and is available to authenticated NBC Sports Washington subscribers on desktops, tablets, mobile devices and connected TVs anywhere in the United States.

The game is also available to stream, along with all the pregame and postgame shows, on fuboTV (try for free).


Use the comment section below to discuss the game action with other Capitals fans. 

For all the latest Caps coverage, follow Capitals Insider Tarik El-Bashir, Capitals correspondent JJ Regan and the NBC Sports Capitals account on Twitter. Be sure check out our Capitals page and NBC Sports Washington's Facebook page.

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2018 NBA All-Star Saturday night: TV and live stream info, things to watch for dunk contest, three-point contest

2018 NBA All-Star Saturday night: TV and live stream info, things to watch for dunk contest, three-point contest

The 2018 NBA All-Star Saturday Night is here with the three-point contest, dunk contest and skills competition set for Los Angeles.

Here is all you need to know: TV and live stream info, tip-off time, plus three things to watch:


Where: Staples Center
Tip-off: 8 p.m.
Online with no cable TV: fuboTV (try for free)


Skills competition

Participants: Lou Williams, Clippers; Jamal Murray, Nuggets; Al Horford, Celtics; Spencer Dinwiddie, Nets; Joel Embiid, Sixers; Buddy Hield, Kings; Lauri Markkanen, Bulls; Andre Drummond, Pistons

What to know: This year's crop has a fascinating mix of guards and big men and don't sleep on the seven-footers. Embiid in particular has a unique skillset for his size. Still, it's tough to beat the guards. Watch out for Dinwiddie, who is the best passer of the bunch.


Three-point contest

Participants: Klay Thompson, Warriors; Eric Gordon, Rockets; Devin Booker, Suns; Paul George, Thunder; Wayne Ellington, Heat; Bradley Beal, Wizards; Kyle Lowry, Raptors; Tobias Harris, Clippers

What to know: Thompson and Gordon enter the contest as past champions, as Thompson won it in 2016 and Gordon took it home last year. Thompson has the best three-point percentage among the group and is the favorite, but watch out for Beal, a past runner-up, and George who has the second best percentage. Also, Booker is one of the game's best young players and has a very smooth stroke from three.


Dunk contest

Participants: Dennis Smith Jr.; Mavericks; Donovan Mitchell, Jazz; Larry Nance Jr., Cavaliers; Victor Oladipo, Pacers

What to know: This is all about the rookies, Smith and Mitchell, who most are predicting to win. Oladipo has been in the contest before, but didn't win. He's also the only All-Star of the bunch. Nance is the only guy who isn't a guard and his father won it back in 1984. It will be interesting to see if he does some sort of nod to his old man, now 34 years later.