No. 18 K-State relies on bench in rout of Texas


No. 18 K-State relies on bench in rout of Texas

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) Thomas Gipson had 17 points off the bench, Angel Rodriguez added 11 points and eight assists, and No. 18 Kansas State routed Texas 83-57 on Wednesday night to snap a two-game skid.

Omari Lawrence also scored 12 in a reserve role for the Wildcats (16-4, 5-2 Big 12), who built a 38-19 lead by halftime despite playing long stretches without three key players.

Rodney McGruder, the Big 12's third-leading scorer, picked up two fouls in less than 2 minutes and spent the rest of the half on the bench. Martavious Irving joined him with two fouls moments later, and Will Spradling went to the locker room after getting smacked in the head.

The Longhorns (9-11, 1-6) couldn't capitalize, committing 18 turnovers.

Sheldon McClellan had 15 points on 3 of 12-shooting for Texas, which sorely missed the ball-handling and playmaking ability of suspended guard Myck Kabongo.

Jaylen Bond added 12 points, most of them when the game had been decided.

The Longhorns, who snapped a five-game skid by beating Texas Tech last Saturday, still have not won a road game in five tries this season. They've also lost five of their last seven against the Wildcats, including three straight in Manhattan.

Kansas State tried to help them out with its early foul trouble.

McGruder couldn't believe it when he heard two quick whistles, and neither could Bruce Weber when Irving joined him on the bench. The Wildcats' first-year coach at one point got into a shouting match with officials that covered the entire width of the court.

The way Texas was executing, it didn't matter who Kansas State played.

During one haphazard stretch, Texas turned the ball over five times in six possessions, and the one time it got a shot off, McClellan tossed up an air ball.

The Wildcats took advantage by putting together an 8-0 run. By the time Texas coach Rick Barnes called for a timeout, the Wildcats had pulled ahead 21-9 with 8 1/2 minutes left in the half.

Texas finally ended its drought when McClellan scored in transition, and in the process ran over Spradling. Trainers rushed out and pushed a towel against his bloody face, and after a few seconds on the bench, Spradling was accompanied to the Kansas State locker room.

Now without three key contributors, Kansas State continued to build on its lead.

Lawrence, who averaged just 2.4 points, matched his career high with 10 in the first half. Shane Southwell had his five first-half points during a stretch that included an intentional foul on the Longhorns' Javan Felix that helped Kansas State take a 31-13 lead.

Two missed free throws ended the Longhorns' miserable half.

Texas had twice as many turnovers (12) as made field goals, going 6 of 23 from the field and missing both of its 3-point attempts. And its 19 points barely eclipsed the season-low for a half - they managed 17 in the first half of a loss to Georgetown in December.

Felix finally got things going for Texas early in the second half, going straight to the rim for easy layups on three straight possessions. But McGruder, back on the court, made a three-point play with 17 1/2 left to put a stopper in the Longhorns' momentum.

Gipson scored three straight baskets to answer another Texas salvo, and a pull-up 3-pointer by Spradling in transition pushed the Wildcats' lead to 53-33 with less than 13 minutes to go.

Kansas State used a 14-2 run a few minutes later to put the game away.

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Caps recall goalie Pheonix Copley after Braden Holtby 'tweaked something' in Dallas game


Caps recall goalie Pheonix Copley after Braden Holtby 'tweaked something' in Dallas game

You thought the Caps had a goalie rotation before, but now they have added a third netminder in the mix.

Pheonix Copley has been recalled from the Hershey Bears and will backup Philipp Grubauer for Washington's game in Detroit, the team announced Thursday.

The move comes in response to an injury concern for Braden Holtby.


Dallas Stars forward Remi Elie collided with Holtby midway through the third period on Tuesday as Holtby was extending to make a save. Holtby reacted awkwardly to the collision and could be seen skating and flexing his leg during the next stoppage.

With only nine games remaining in the regular season, Holtby's injury is a major concern. Given his recent struggles, the final few weeks of the season offered a chance for Holtby to get his game back to form. Just where his game will be when he is 100-percent healthy again is certainly a storyline to watch.


The good news for Washington, however, is that Grubauer is perhaps more ready this season to lead the team than he ever has been and confidence in him around the team should be high.

Since Thanksgiving, Grubauer has played in 22 games with a 17-11-4 record, a .939 save percentage, 1.85 GAA and two shutouts. No goalie who has played in 20 games or more has registered a better save percentage or GAA. He will certainly be looked upon to carry the load until Holtby returns. Whether this means he now has the inside track on starting in the playoffs, however, remains to be seen. That will depend largely on just when Holtby is ready to return and how Grubauer plays down the stretch.

Copley, 26, has gone 14-16-6 with two shutouts, a .898 save percentage and 2.86 GAA in 38 games in Hershey this season. He was originally signed as an undrafted free agent by Washington in 2014. He was traded to the St. Louis Blues in the package that netted the Caps T.J. Oshie, but was reacquired by Washington in Feb. 2017 in a trade deadline deal that included Kevin Shattenkirk.

At the time, it was believed Copley would be the team's backup for the 2017-18 season with Grubauer likely headed to Vegas in the expansion draft. Vegas, however, took Nate Schmidt instead which led to Copley spending the season in Hershey. The Caps now will be happy for the extra goalie depth for as long as Holtby's health remains a concern.

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Wizards to give fans Phil Chenier emoji signs and 1978 title shirts for special weekend

Wizards to give fans Phil Chenier emoji signs and 1978 title shirts for special weekend

This weekend was already going to be special for Washington Wizards fans. Now they will get souvenirs to remember it.

As part of their celebration of Phil Chenier's legendary career and the 40th anniversary of their 1978 NBA championship, the Wizards are handing out emoji signs on Friday night and commemorative t-shirts on Sunday. All fans in attendance will receive a giveaway.


The emoji sign has Chenier's face on it and will be handed out for the March 23 game against the Nuggets. Chenier will have his jersey retired at halftime during the game. 

The emoji sign is presented by NBC Sports Washington. You're welcome, Authentic Fans.


The shirts will be given out on Sunday when the Wizards host the New York Knicks. 

Here's the front...

And the back...

Let's take a closer look at that back...

As a reporter who has received many giveaways over the years at pro sports stadiums, these are uniquely awesome. Should be a great weekend for Wizards fans. See you at the arena.


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