Wizards

Kelly says QB Golson gave fans a glimpse of future

201211031624590847233-p2.jpeg

Kelly says QB Golson gave fans a glimpse of future

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) Everett Golson has played spectacularly and struggled just as spectacularly for fourth-ranked Notre Dame, doing both in last week's triple-overtime victory against Pittsburgh.

Golson has a powerful arm and quick feet but also makes mistakes that are sometimes hard to overcome. But the mistakes have been dwindling and the big plays increasing, especially as he uses his speed to elude defenders.

Coach Brian Kelly is counting on him to be a key factor with the Fighting Irish (9-0) trying to make a push for their first national championship since 1988, starting with Saturday's game at Boston College (2-7).

The sophomore from Myrtle Beach, S.C., showed just how dangerous he can be in rallying the Irish back from a 14-point deficit against Pitt. Of the final 31 plays in regulation, Golson either ran the ball or passed 25 times, including on 18 straight plays. He amassed 55 yards on the ground and 113 through the air during that span with two touchdown passes, and a bad throw that was intercepted in the end zone. He also plunged in for the two-point conversion to tie the game.

``That's what he's capable of,'' Kelly said. ``We want it to be a lot cleaner, a lot more efficient, and there are so many little factors in there. But it's the big picture of what we want. Now we really want to start to refine that. That's the next step for us.''

The Irish also are depending on Golson increasingly as a ball carrier. Through the first four games, Golson averaged more than five carries, losing a total of 11 yards. Through the last four games, he is averaging more than nine carries for 58 yards.

Kelly said he was worried about the durability of the 6-foot, 185-pounder and was concerned about him fumbling.

``As the season has progressed, we've looked at him a little different in terms of running him,'' Kelly said.

Kelly is most pleased, though, by the maturity Golson showed when he was replaced by Tommy Rees late in the second quarter against Pitt after making some bad decisions. In the past when he was yanked, Golson would become so upset that Kelly wouldn't even consider putting him back in.

Golson wasn't happy with Kelly's decision to pull him, but instead of sulking, he watched and learned.

``Me actually seeing my mistakes, and kind of seeing it from the sideline and seeing what they were doing, it helped me kind of come back in and lead us,'' Golson said.

Kelly turned back to Golson after Rees, who played key roles in victories over Purdue, Michigan, Stanford and Brigham Young, threw a terrible interception in the third quarter. Kelly said at that point he felt the Irish needed a mobile quarterback.

With Notre Dame's season on the brink, Golson showed why he won the starting job by using his speed to get out of trouble and make big plays. Kelly said Golson staying focused on the sideline was key.

``He could have kept his head down and said, `I can't help us.' He wanted to go back in there and help his football team. So that's a learning step for him,'' Kelly said.

Kelly said it's a learning curve for a player who has probably never been benched before this season for poor play.

``He's walked through every game he's played. He's been the best player on the field,'' Kelly said. ``But he's such a competitive kid. He wants to do so well. He's growing and he's maturing as we move along.''

Golson said one of the reasons he played well late against Pitt is he plays better when he has a chip on his shoulder.

``I definitely felt like it was my chance to prove what I can do. I was confident that we could do it,'' he said. ``You never want to be comfortable with where you're at. Personally, I want to be 12-0 or 13-0. So you've got to keep going one game at a time.''

Quick Links

Wizards take out Sixers to tie season series behind Kelly Oubre and Otto Porter's hot shooting

usatsi_10657233.jpg
USA Today Sports Images

Wizards take out Sixers to tie season series behind Kelly Oubre and Otto Porter's hot shooting

The Washington Wizards beat the Philadelphia 76ers 109-94 on Sunday night. Here's analysis of what went down...

Playoff implications: Later in the season the stakes are raised and the Wizards' win over the Sixers on Sunday night could loom large in just a few weeks.

By beating the Sixers, who had won seven straight entering the matchup, the Wizards tied up the season series with their second win. A loss would have handed Philly the tiebreaker in playoff seeding if the two teams finish with the same record at season's end.

Now that their season series is over and locked even, it will come down to their record against other Eastern Conference teams if they tie. At 22-15 vs. the East, the Wizards currently have the edge on the Sixers, who are 18-14 in that category.

The Wizards dominated the Sixers for much of the night and they did so by once again moving the ball with generosity and precision. They had 35 assists on 43 field goals. The Wizards have had 30 or more assists in five games this season and four have come within the last month.

Those four games have been part of a 9-3 surge for the Wizards since John Wall got injured. With their win against Philly, the Wizards moved to 35-25 on the season and a half-game out of third in the East. The Sixers are among several teams nipping at their heels in an increasingly crowded conference.

PODCAST: WHAT SESSIONS SIGNING MEANS FOR SATORANSKY

Oubre put on a show: The Wizards led 67-48 at halftime and that was in large part due to Kelly Oubre, Jr.'s impact on both ends of the floor. He had eight points in each of the first two quarters, including four threes, and made several key plays on defense.

Oubre had three blocks to set a career-high by halftime, including one on Robert Covington that bounced off Covington's leg and gave the Wizards possession. He also took a charge on Ben Simmons and flashed a smile for the cameras as he sprinted back down the floor.

Oubre ended the game with 19 points on 6-for-11 shooting. It wasn't long ago that Oubre was in a significant shooting slump.

In his last 11 games before the All-Star break, Oubre was averaging just 9.4 points on 31.2 percent shooting. In three games since the break, Oubre has scored 47 points (15.7/g) while shooting 51.5 percent. It's safe to say he's put those shooting struggles behind him.

Oubre had been making his mark defensively as the Wizards closed the first half on a tear, but Sunday showed how much of a boost he can provide when he's in a rhythm offensively. He completely changed the game and helped the Wizards knock off a team that came to Washington super hot.

Porter wasn't fazed: Otto Porter did something on Sunday that likely has never been accomplished before. He hit not one, not two, not three but four buzzer-beaters all in the first half. Three of them were to beat the shot clock. Then, he hit another one to end the first half:

That shot capped an 8-1 run to end the second quarter for the Wizards and it brought a burst of energy out of the crowd. Porter had 14 points in the second quarter and shot 6-for-6 in the frame. The Wizards outscored the Sixers 37-20 in the second and Porter led the charge.

Porter finished with 23 points, seven rebounds, three assists and two steals.

Much like Bradley Beal, who had 24 points in this game, Porter has thrived in this second extended absence for Wall. Both Beal and Porter battle inconsistency as they adapted to being the primary focus of opposing teams back in November when Wall first went down. But this time around, they have answers to everything teams are throwing at them.

Porter's patience at the end of the shot clock on Sunday was an example of that. His confidence seems to be at an all-time high, knowing he has enough tricks to keep his opponents guessing. That was on display with under two minutes to go when he drained a three in Covington's face, turned around to stare at him afterwards and then shook his head as he trotted down the court, as if he were saying that no one can stop him. 

Up next: The Wizards are off Monday before playing back-to-back games on Tuesday and Wednesday against the Bucks and Warriors. Tuesday is an 8 p.m. tipoff on TNT. We will have pre- and postgame coverage of Wizards-Bucks on NBC Sports Washington Plus beginning at 7 p.m.

RELATED: LATEST NBA MOCK DRAFT SORTS OUT LOADED CLASS

Quick Links

Dan Fegan, former agent for John Wall, dies in car crash

screen_shot_2018-02-25_at_8.43.53_pm.png
Photo by Jerritt Clark/Getty Images for Caravan

Dan Fegan, former agent for John Wall, dies in car crash

NBA agent Dan Fegan, who had previously represented many high-profile NBA clients including John Wall, died in a car crash Sunday morning, according to The Aspen Times. 

According to the report, Fegan's SUV was struck by a bus while trying to merge onto Highway 82 in Colorado a little after 9 am this morning. 

The two passengers in the car - an unidentified woman and Fegan's 5-year old daughter - were airlifted to a nearby hospital with serious injuries. 

Fegan was 56.