Wizards

No. 13 Illinois beats No. 10 Gonzaga 85-74

201212082201792756865-p2.jpeg

No. 13 Illinois beats No. 10 Gonzaga 85-74

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) Brandon Paul scored 35 points to lead No. 13 Illinois over No. 10 Gonzaga 85-74 on Saturday in a matchup of unbeaten teams.

Tracy Abrams added 14 points for Illinois (10-0) and new coach John Groce is off to the best debut for an Illinois coach in the team's modern history.

Kelly Olynyk scored 16 points to lead Gonzaga (9-1).

Myke Henry's basket gave Illinois its first lead of the game at 44-43 in the opening seconds of the second half, and the Illini pushed that to 54-49 by making all five of their field goals to open the half.

Henry's 3-pointer gave Illinois a 59-51 lead. Two baskets by Przemek Karnowski cut Illinois' lead to 61-58.

But shooting woes hurt Gonzaga in the second half, and D.J. Richardson's 3-pointer gave the Illini a 68-59 lead.

Gonzaga was held without a field goal for 6 minutes, then got consecutive baskets from Olynyk and Gary Bell Jr. to close within 68-64.

Paul replied with two baskets for a 73-64 Illini lead with 5:45 left.

Gonzaga rallied, and Kevin Pangos' free throw cut Illinois' lead to 75-71 with 2:51 left.

But Paul completed a 3-point play to give Illinois a 78-71 lead with 2:29 left. Tracy Abrams hit two more free throws for an 80-71 Illini lead, and Gonzaga started taking desperation shots.

In the first half, Gonzaga made six of its first seven shots to jump to a 14-6 lead. Paul's free throw cut Gonzaga's lead to 20-16, but David Stockton replied with a 3-pointer for the Bulldogs, and they went on to build a 31-20 lead. Illinois fought back with a 12-2 run, and Paul's free throws tied the score at 35.

The score was tied at 41 at halftime, and Paul led all players with 18 points in the half for the Illini.

Illinois, which leads the NCAA with an average of 10.8 3-pointers per game, made 11 of 26 from long range.

Illinois had lost five straight games to ranked teams. Illinois' previous road win over a ranked team came in 2010.

Quick Links

John Wall puts 7-foot Jonas Valanciunas on a poster

John Wall puts 7-foot Jonas Valanciunas on a poster

WASHINGTON -- Things were not looking good for the Washington Wizards to start Game 4. Honestly, there were some flashes back to the team’s performance in the first two games of the series against the Toronto Raptors.

That all quickly changed when John Wall did what he does best: drive to the basket.

Not only did Wall drive to the basket, he went and put Raptors' center Jonas Valanciunas on a poster.

Valanciunas is a 7-foot Lithuanian.

We get it John, it’s your city and we’re all your residents.

MORE FROM WIZARDS-RAPTORS SERIES:

GORTAT DITCHES MOHAWK, TEAMMATES APPROVE

MUST-SEE MOMENTS FROM WILD GAME 3

WIZARDS DOMINATED GAME 3 BECAUSE EVERYONE ATE... LITERALLY

Quick Links

Capitals one win away from facing the Penguins ... again

capture_penguins.png
USA Today Sports Images

Capitals one win away from facing the Penguins ... again

The Washington Capitals are one win away from advancing to the second round of the 2018 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs

If they do beat the Blue Jackets in Game 6 or Game 7, a familiar foe awaits them.

The Pittsburgh Penguins ended their series against the Philadelphia Flyers on Sunday with a 8-5 win in Game 6. They will play the winner of the Capitals-Columbus Blue Jackets series.

Because of course they will.

The Penguins have beaten the Capitals in the second round in each of the past two seasons. The series went six games in 2016 and seven in 2017.

Washington’s biggest rival has been a thorn in the side of the Caps throughout the team’s history. Washington and Pittsburgh have met in the postseason 10 times. Only once have the Caps come out victorious, in 1994.

Pittsburgh has won five Stanley Cups in their history and each time, they had to beat the Caps in the playoffs to do it.

The emergence of Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin helped to reignite the Washington-Pittsburgh rivalry, but that too has been one sided. Crosby has won three Stanley Cups while Ovechkin has never advanced past the second round.

Before you despair, however, consider this. Coming into the season, no one knew what to expect from the Capitals. Expectations were low. Somehow, Washington managed to overcome the loss of several players in the offseason and managed to win the Metropolitan Division.

In a season in which the Caps have already defied expectations, perhaps this will be the year they finally get past Pittsburgh and advance to the conference final. Maybe? Please?

First things first, they still need one more win against Columbus. Game 6 will be Monday at 7:30 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington.

MORE CAPITALS:
How the Caps stymied Artemi Panarin
Nick Backstrom's Game 5 heroics, explained
Capitals' PK unit the series difference-maker
John Tortorella makes Game 7 proclamation