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McDermott leads Creighton over Missouri State

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McDermott leads Creighton over Missouri State

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) Doug McDermott scored 29 points and made five of Creighton's 15 3-pointers in the No. 21 Bluejays' 91-77 victory over Missouri State on Wednesday night.

Ethan Wragge added 15 points, Austin Chatman had 14 points and 10 assists for his first double-double, and Grant Gibbs had 10 points for the Bluejays. Creighton (19-3, 8-2) moved into a tie for first place with Wichita State in the Missouri Valley Conference.

Gavin Thurman scored 19 points to lead the Bears (6-16, 4-6), who dropped to 1-10 on the road.

McDermott, who also had 10 rebounds and three assists, got better as the game progressed. He scored 18 points and made 3 of 4 3s in the second half. The performance was still a far cry from his splendid outing in Springfield, Mo., on Jan. 11, when he personally outscored Missouri State 28-25 in the second half and made 14 shots in a row on his way to a season-best 39 points.

Creighton, the nation's top 3-point shooting team, made 15 from long range on a season-high 28 attempts.

The Bluejays turned in their second straight sharp performance after back-to-back road losses to Wichita State and Drake.

They shot 63 percent in a 30-point win at Southern Illinois on Sunday, and they shot 56 percent against Missouri State in one of their strongest overall games.

The Bluejays posted their first regular-season sweep of Missouri State since 2008-09 and won their 72nd straight home game against an opponent that was .500 or worse.

Creighton made nine 3-pointers on its way to a 45-32 lead at the break. Wragge hit two of them and Austin Chatman and McDermott one apiece during a 14-4 spurt that put Creighton up by double digits.

Missouri State twice missed on chances to make it a two-possession game. Bruce Marshall made two free throws after Gregory Echenique was called for a flagrant-1 foul for elbowing him under the basket. The Bears kept possession, but Marcus Marshall committed an offensive foul and the Bears got no closer than eight points.

McDermott put back his own miss, and Avery Dingman drilled a 3-pointer just ahead of the halftime buzzer to make it a 13-point game.

In the first half alone, the Bluejays had assists on 13 of their 16 field goals, converted six offensive rebounds into eight points and committed only two turnovers.

The Bears, playing a ranked opponent for the fifth time this season, came in having won their past two games in Omaha. Southern Illinois (2004-07) is the only team to have won three straight against the Bluejays at the 10-year-old CenturyLink Center.

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3 reasons why the Caps lost to the Lightning

3 reasons why the Caps lost to the Lightning

After a rough start, the Caps battled back to make a game of it against Tampa Bay, but ultimately fell 4-2 to the Lightning. Here's why.

The first period

To put it simply, this game was lost in the opening period. Washington was the better team for the second and third but they could not overcome the 3-0 lead they spotted the Lightning in the first. Beyond the goals, the Caps just did not play well. Even the simplest of plays looked difficult as Washington struggled to get the puck out of their own zone, gave up numerous turnovers and scoring chances and just looked overmatched. Braden Holtby also looked shaky allowing three goals on just eight shots. Usually he is able to cover up some of the mistakes the defense makes it front of him, but he was not there to bail the team out on Tuesday in what was a really rocky start.

RELATED: CHECK OUT THE 3 STARS FROM CAPS-LIGHTNING

Taking a penalty 34 seconds into the game

Entering Tuesday’s game, Tampa Bay boasted the second best power play unit in the league. Playing a disciplined game is part of every game plan, but that is especially true against such a dominant unit. Giving up a penalty just 34 seconds into the game was not an ideal start. The call itself was debatable. Brett Connolly was called for interference when he knocked over Dan Girardi in the offensive zone. The puck was just behind Girardi as he had lost control of it in his skates. The sticking point here is that Girardi no longer had possession and Connolly could have played the puck instead of the player. Most referees would probably let that go with the puck so close, but Connolly was not so lucky. Whether it was a good call or not, the Caps found themselves down a man and down a goal soon after as Brayden Point scored the power play tally.

A missed opportunity from Kuznetsov on one end, a goal for Nikita Kucherov on the other

Even after spotting the Lightning a 3-0 lead, the Caps made a game of it. Lars Eller struck on the power play in the second period and Alex Ovechkin pulled Washington to within one with about nine minutes left to play. Just over a minute later, Evgeny Kuznetsov stole the puck away from Nikita Kucherov, the frontrunner for league MVP this season, at the Tampa blue line giving the Caps a short 2-on-1. Defenseman Andrej Sustr was textbook on the play forcing Kuznetsov as far wide as he could go while still covering the passing lane and Kuznetsov elected to shoot from the faceoff dot rather than attempt the pass to T.J. Oshie.Andrei Vasilevskiy made a routine blocker save to deny what looked like a great opportunity to tie the game. As always happens in hockey, a failed opportunity on one end led to an opportunity in the other direction. Less than a minute later, Kucherov made up for his mistake by scoring a breakaway goal to put the game out of reach at 4-2.

MORE CAPITALS: KEMPNY EXCITED TO MOVE FROM LAST PLACE CHICAGO TO FIRST PLACE WASHINGTON

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3 stars of the game: Lightning strike 3 times in the first to burn Caps

3 stars of the game: Lightning strike 3 times in the first to burn Caps

The first 20 minutes of Tuesday's game did not go well for Washington. The Tampa Bay Lightning scored three times in the opening frame and rode that lead all the way to the 4-2 win.

With the game heading towards a repeat of their blowout loss to Chicago, the Capitals rebounded in the second period to make a game of it as Lars Eller scored on a power play. Alex Ovechkin pulled Washington within one in the third period, but Nikita Kucherov slammed the door shut with a breakaway goal to extend the lead back to 2.

Here are the three stars of the game:

1. Brayden Point: Tampa Bay won this game in the first period when they took a 3-0 lead. Point scored two of those three goals. His first came only 2:30 into the game. He retreated to the blue line on the power play believing Jay Beagle would clear the puck. When Beagle turned the puck over, he recognized it and immediately crashed the net, taking a Ryan Callahan pass in the slot and shooting it through the five-hole of Braden Holtby.

On his second goal, Anton Stralman saw an opportunity on the Caps’ line change and passed the puck up to Point at the blue line. Point turned on the jets to get behind the defense and went five-hole again on Holtby to make the score 3-0.

2. Alex Ovechkin: After the first period, Washington slowly took this game over for much of the remaining 40 minutes. Ovechkin was a big part of that as he totaled an incredible 19 shot attempts for the game. Nine of those shots were on goal and he found the back of the net in the third period for career goal No. 594.

3. Tom Wilson: Through the first period, the Caps looked well on their way to a repeat of the 7-1 debacle they suffered Saturday in Chicago. They had nothing going in this game until Wilson drew a trip from Vladislav Namestnikov in the second period. Eller would score on the resulting power play giving Washington some much-needed life.

The Namestnikov penalty was the 29th drawn penalty of the season for Wilson, which moves him into a tie with Matthew Tkachuk for the most drawn penalties in the NHL.