Wizards

No. 14 Sooners, No. 22 Cowboys gear up for Bedlam

201211171644602623283-p2.jpeg

No. 14 Sooners, No. 22 Cowboys gear up for Bedlam

STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) Get ready for a Bedlam rivalry with some sizzle.

An outright Big 12 title is back in play for No. 14 Oklahoma after first-place Kansas State suffered its first loss of the season, and even No. 22 Oklahoma State could claim a share of the conference crown after winning five of its last six games to climb back into the Top 25.

The Sooners (8-2, 6-1 Big 12) certainly can't afford to breathe a sigh of relief after quarterback Landry Jones and receiver Kenny Stills had huge performances to rescue them in a 50-49 shootout against West Virginia, which had the most yards ever by an Oklahoma opponent with 778.

Switching from wide receiver to running back, Tavon Austin set a school record with 344 yards rushing for a Mountaineers offense that had been struggling on the ground. And Oklahoma State (7-3, 5-2) boasts the league's best run game, along with a third-string quarterback who's got the hot hand.

After two months of keeping his starting quarterback a secret, coach Mike Gundy even went as far as announced that Clint Chelf would take the first snap against the Sooners on Saturday in Norman.

``It's exciting but at the end of the day, it's just the next game that you've got to go win,'' said Chelf, who has won his first two career starts against West Virginia and then-No. 23 Texas Tech.

``It doesn't really matter who you're playing, you've got to go out and execute and play hard and hopefully come out with the win.''

Much like Oklahoma did in borrowing Oklahoma State's three-back ``diamond'' formation a couple years ago, the Cowboys took a page from the Sooners' playbook in unveiling a short-yardage running package with an alternate quarterback on Saturday. J.W. Walsh, who Gundy had ruled out with a season-ending knee injury four weeks ago, returned and ran for one touchdown and threw for another out of a jumbo set with an extra offensive lineman and three backs.

``It adds a whole `nother dynamic. To be able to do that and to mix up the offense, it just gives those guys a whole lot more to work on and allows us to be more successful and have a whole lot more productivity out there,'' Walsh said.

As if Oklahoma didn't have enough to worry about already on defense. Coach Bob Stoops acted as though he was OK with it after Baylor became the fourth team this season to surpass 200 yards against his defense. He admitted after an even bigger, record-setting outing by West Virginia that ``it eats at all of us'' and changes could be coming to the seven-defensive back package used the past two weeks.

``Definitely, some of it's what we're doing but some of it's also guys are in position and didn't make plays. When you miss a tackle, you miss a tackle and a guy goes for another 50 yards. You're doing the right things. You've just got to play better,'' Stoops said.

``So, it's on both of us. The players can play better in some instances and we can hopefully move them in better position in some instances, too.''

Defensive captain David King said he's not sure what's wrong ``but we can't make any plays, we can't get any pressure on the quarterback, can't tackle. Just all out, just poor defense.''

``It's embarrassing,'' added King, a defensive end. ``That's two weeks in a row that we have been exposed by high-powered offenses.

``It's all out there on tape now, so OSU's going to come in and try to expose us again for a third week.''

Oklahoma State holds the Bedlam bragging rights at the moment, having blown out the Sooners 44-10 in Stillwater last season to end an eight-game losing streak in the series and wrap up the team's first Big 12 title.

The Cowboys haven't won in Norman since 2001.

``Big game,'' said Jones, who broke his own school record with 554 yards passing and tied his own mark with six touchdown passes Saturday night.

``Final home game for the seniors. Final home game for myself, so obviously I'd love to go out there and I'd love to play to the best of my capabilities.''

---

AP Sports Writer John Raby contributed to this report from Morgantown, W.Va.

Quick Links

Wizards destroy Raptors behind Bradley Beal's breakout effort, move series to 2-1

Wizards destroy Raptors behind Bradley Beal's breakout effort, move series to 2-1

The Washington Wizards beat the Toronto Raptors 122-103 on Friday night. Here's analysis of what went down...

Wizards show some fight: The Washington Wizards who punch back, who play with an edge and impose their will on opponents physically and mentally, the team that initiates contact and trash-talks their foes into misery, that team finally showed up in the 2018 NBA Playoffs on Friday night and did so at the perfect time. With an 0-2 deficit and following a blowout loss three days before, the Wizards pulled themselves up off the mat and struck the Raptors with a message-sending blow that may have saved their season.

They blasted Toronto in a convincing win that looked a whole lot like the proverbial switch had been flipped. Their best players played to their capabilities on both ends of the floor and there was nothing the Raptors, as good as they are, could do about it. The net result is a 2-1 series and some newfound belief that an upset is possible.

It was just one game and anyone who has watched this team all season knows there are two very different versions of the Wizards. They aren't in the clear until they are actually in the clear.

But it would be hard to not to find encouragement in exactly how the Wizards won this game. They forced the Raptors into 19 turnovers and held their bench to 32 points, many of which came late when the game was decided. Washington shot 55.3 percent against one of the NBA's best defenses.

Bradley Beal (28 points) finally looked like himself. John Wall (28 points) was dominant and pumping up the crowd. Marcin Gortat (16 points), who almost lost his starting job, stepped up with several timely buckets. Mike Scott (12 points, 4-for-4 FG) played well for the third straight game.

Everything clicked and now we have ourselves a series.

Beal woke up: The fabled monster of the spring known as Playoff Beal showed up on Friday and announced his presence early. After the worst performance of his playoff career in Game 2, Beal broke out in a big way with a colossal first half of 21 points on 8-for-11 shooting.

Beal scored just nine points in Game 2, but surpassed that in about 10 minutes in Game 3. By halftime, he had more threes (four) than he did in his first two games this series combined.

Very quickly in the first quarter Beal looked different. His first bucket came on a turnaround fadeaway off the glass. From there his confidence grew as three-point shots fell one after another, whether he was guarded or not.

Beal finished with 28 points, four assists, four rebounds and three steals. in between Games 2 and 3, head coach Scott Brooks held a meeting with Beal and John Wall, hoping to find Beal more opportunities. There may or may not have been an apology issued on Brooks' part.

Whatever the nature of the discussion, it seemed to work. Wall and Brooks told Beal to be more aggressive and that's exactly what happened. Beal looked much more like the guy who averaged 28.8 points against the Raptors during the regular season and was largely dominant vs. this very same team and without Wall to help out.

Wall needs some attention, too. He looked like the best player on the court for much of the game and accrued a ridiculous line of 28 points, 14 assists, six rebounds, four steals and a block, of the chasedown variety of course.

Oubre lit a spark: Beal did most of the heavy lifting early, but Kelly Oubre, Jr. also deserves credit for the first half surge by the Wizards. He was all sorts of active on both ends of the floor. In one sequence he blocked a shot, dunked it on the other end, took a charge and then dunked once more. 

Each time, Oubre let out one of his signature screams to the crowd. He was making plays and infusing energy into the team. That's the stuff Brooks wants to see from Oubre. Many people, including Oubre, obsess over his three-point shooting but defense and hustle plays are really the name of the game for him.

Oubre ended up with 12 points, four rebounds and shot 5-for-9 from the field.

Playoff basketball: The tone may have been set early by Markieff Morris. After two games where the Wizards didn't show much fight, Morris literally almost got in one. 

After hitting the deck on a collision with OG Anunoby, Morris got up and shoved both him and Serge Ibaka. Double technicals were assessed and one could argue Morris lost his cool on the play. The counter to that would be the Wizards needed to show some fire and Morris was sending a message. Given he wasn't kicked out of the game, it wasn't too costly.

Here is the whole sequence:

That's the playoff version of Morris we remember and it may have rubbed off on his teammates. In the third quarter, more animosity broke out after Jonas Valanciunas was called for an offensive foul on Marcin Gortat. Beal went after the ball and that started a big argument between the teams, highlighted by Wall and Ibaka needing to be separated by Wizards bodyguard Dave Best. 

The arena was playing Tupac's 'Ambitionz az a Ridah' as it all went down, invoking memories of the 'Death Row D.C.' days of last season. Wall is, of course, Tupac according to the Morris-conceived metaphor.

The end result was technicals for Beal, Wall and Ibaka. That, and the realization that this series is now a lot more fun.

Up next: Game 4 is on Sunday at Capital One Arena. Tipoff will be at 6 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington with pregame coverage starting at 5 p.m. with Wizards HangTime.

NBC Sports Washington is on Apple News. Favorite us!

Quick Links

It took three minutes for the Wizards and Raptors to get into a Game 3 altercation

It took three minutes for the Wizards and Raptors to get into a Game 3 altercation

WASHINGTON —  It didn't take long for playoff basketball to escalate in the nation’s capital.

Less than three minutes to be exact.

On only the fifth possession of Game 3 between the Wizards and Raptors at Capital One Arena, Wizards forward Markieff Morris and Raptors forward OG Anunoby got tangled up and let their emotions out.

From the initial look it appeared that Morris just got tripped up in setting a screen, but if you look more closely, Anunoby appeared to pull down Morris from the back.

Even though a foul was called, Morris made sure that Anunoby knew his displeasure and even threw an extra shove at Serge Ibaka.

Both Morris and Anunoby received a technical foul after the altercation.

Once again the Wizards getting physical in a playoff series. 

MORE ON THE WIZARDS-RAPTORS SERIES:

THE DRAKE-WIZARDS TRASH TALK WON'T STOP

HISTORIC ODDS FOR TEAMS THAT GO DOWN 0-2

BROOKS MAY CHANGE STARTING LINEUP FOR GAME 3