NCAA

No. 25 NC State beats Cleveland State 80-63

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No. 25 NC State beats Cleveland State 80-63

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) Richard Howell had 17 points and 10 rebounds to help No. 25 North Carolina State beat Cleveland State 80-63 on Saturday in its annual return to Reynolds Coliseum.

C.J. Leslie scored a team-high 19 for the Wolfpack (6-2), who shot 55 percent and led by double figures most of the afternoon. Freshman T.J. Warren added 16 points, part of a balanced offensive showing for N.C. State.

Reynolds was the Wolfpack's home for 50 years before the program moved off campus to PNC Arena for the 1999-2000 season. But the school has typically played at least one game a year at Reynolds for the past decade as a nod to the program's tradition.

N.C. State improved to 14-0 in the building since its move.

Charlie Lee scored 15 to lead the Vikings (6-3), who got no closer than 10 points after halftime.

Cleveland State, a Horizon League program, played its third straight game without preseason all-conference pick Anton Grady. The 6-foot-8 sophomore is expected to miss at least four weeks because of a knee injury sustained against Robert Morris on Nov. 20.

His absence made it tougher for the Vikings to match up inside with Leslie and Howell.

Howell, a 6-8 senior, finished 7-for-11 from the field and posted his third double-double in four games. Leslie, a 6-9 junior, finished 7-for-8 from the field to go with eight rebounds.

Warren added two 3-pointers, the second to beat the shot clock and push the Wolfpack's lead to 73-55 with 4:44 left.

N.C. State was coming off a 69-65 win against Connecticut in Madison Square Garden for the Jimmy V Classic on Tuesday night, capping a demanding first few weeks for the preseason Atlantic Coast Conference favorite.

The Wolfpack lost to Oklahoma State in the Puerto Rico Tipoff championship, then lost at Michigan in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. But things should get considerably easier with N.C. State starting a six-game homestand Saturday that will keep it in Raleigh until 2013.

Cavaliers clamp down on Pitt

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Cavaliers clamp down on Pitt

PITTSBURGH -- No. 1 Virginia allowed just seven points in the first half and secured the regular-season Atlantic Coast Conference title outright with a 66-37 win over Pittsburgh on Saturday.

Freshman guard De'Andre Hunter came off the bench to lead the Cavaliers (26-2, 14-1 ACC) with 14 points in a game that didn't take big offensive efforts from Virginia's regulars. Of the five starters, only guard Ty Jerome exceeded his season average with 13 points.

The game was never competitive, as Virginia started on an 8-0 run and Pitt didn't make a field goal until Jared Wilson-Frame hit a 3-pointer at the midway point of the first half.

Virginia coach Tony Bennett rested most of his regulars in the second half. Reserve Nigel Johnson added 12 points on 4-of-6 shooting.

Parker Stewart led Pitt (8-22, 0-17) with 12 points, all on 3-pointers. Pitt had next to no presence inside. The Panthers were outscored 28-8 in the paint and out-rebounded 36-24. Seven of Pitt's 11 made field goals were from beyond the arc.

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3 reasons the Caps beat the Sabres

3 reasons the Caps beat the Sabres

The Caps could not shake Buffalo for two periods, but a dominant finish on Saturday helped them pull away for a 5-1 win. Here's how they finally put away the Sabres.

A quick start

Strong starts go a long way towards helping a team in the middle of a slump. It's a confidence boost for a group in desperate need of one and the Caps got that boost on Saturday from Evgeny Kuznetsov. Kuznetsov used his wheels to zip in behind the defense and score just 50 seconds into the game. Washington led 1-0 at the end of the first, just the second time in 19 games they have held a lead after the opening 20 minutes.

RELATED: SEE THE 3 STARS FROM CAPS-SABRES HERE

Andre Burakovsky snapping a second period slump

It looked in the second period like the Caps were caught trying to protect the lead again, but Andre Burakovsky woke the team back up with his incredible highlight end-to-end goal. It really looked like Buffalo was going to tie the game at one, but instead, Burakovsky extended the lead to two. Going end to end the way he did shows a player who is starting to play with some confidence, something Burakovsky has lacked for much of the season.

Ovechkin's two-goal third period

Buffalo would not go away. Sam Reinhart got the Sabres on the board just 14 seconds into the third period and suddenly the Caps found themselves in a one-goal game again. But Ovechkin ended any hopes for the comeback as he struck in the top corner of the net on the power play from the office. He would later add a deflection goal to extend the lead to 5-1, giving a scuffling Washington team the dominant win they so sorely needed.