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No. 4 Florida thumps South Carolina 75-36

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No. 4 Florida thumps South Carolina 75-36

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) Kenny Boynton and Mike Rosario scored 15 points apiece and No. 4 Florida dominated another Southeastern Conference opponent, drubbing South Carolina 75-36 Wednesday night.

The Gators, who won their ninth game in a row, led 33-10 at halftime and made their first five shots after the break. They opened a 31-point lead that seemingly couldn't get any more lopsided.

Then it did.

Florida (17-2, 7-0 SEC) pulled ahead 55-15 on Scottie Wilbekin's floater in the lane with 12:32 remaining, sending the happy home crowd to the exits even earlier than usual this season.

The Gamecocks (12-8, 2-5), meanwhile, seemed dazed on the floor and the bench.

Michael Carrera led South Carolina with 13 points and nine rebounds. None of his teammates reached double figures.

The Gators have enjoyed seven blowouts in as many conference games. They won the first six by an average of 26.5 points. This one made those seem like nail-biters.

Florida overwhelmed South Carolina from the opening tip, doing just about everything right.

It had to ease coach Billy Donovan's mind some. After all, the Gators came into the game with their highest ranking since the 2006-07 season, and Donovan expressed concern earlier in this week when he talked about his players needing to ``drive our car with two hands on the wheel inside the lane and looking at what's in front.''

The Gators had no issues staying focused.

In fact, they probably could have been stopped for speeding.

Florida led 11-2 in the first 6 minutes of the game, pulled ahead 21-4 at the halfway point of the first half and probably could have named their score after that.

The Gamecocks had three baskets, two assists and 11 turnovers at the break. Guards Bruce Ellington and Eric Smith had four points between them, combining to go 1 for 9 from the field. They also combined for seven turnovers and no assists.

About the only things that went wrong for Florida were free throws.

The Gators missed nine of 16 shots from the charity stripe in the first half, five of them by Pat Young.

Still, it was a minor bump in a blowout.

Florida shot 53 percent from the field, made 12 of 21 shots from 3-point range and dominated on the glass.

Young, Wilbekin and Erik Murphy had eight points apiece for the Gators. Michael Frazier chipped in 12 points and seven rebounds off the bench. Frazier made all four of his shots from beyond the arc. Even forward Casey Prather, who was not expected to play while recovering from a high ankle sprain, got in the game.

South Carolina shot 31 percent from the field, went 2 of 14 from 3-point range and finished with 17 turnovers. The Gamecocks were outrebounded 38-24 and lost for the fifth time in their last seven games.

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Team USA reclaims women's hockey gold from Canada in instant Olympic classic

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Team USA reclaims women's hockey gold from Canada in instant Olympic classic

GANGNEUNG, South Korea  -- The Americans' gold medal drought in women's hockey -- finally -- is over.

Even though they needed the first shootout in an Olympic women's final to do it.

Twenty long years after taking gold when the sport debuted in 1998 at Nagano, the United States snapped Canada's streak of four straight Olympic golds Thursday with a 3-2 shootout victory.

Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson scored in the sixth round of the shootout to start the Americans piling over the boards, throwing gloves in the air before huddling and hugging on the ice.

Gigi Marvin and Amanda Kessel also scored in the shootout. Monique Lamoureux-Morando tied it up with a breakaway with 6:21 left in regulation.

Hilary Knight also had a goal.

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Maddie Rooney made 29 saves for the win against their archrival. The 20-year-old goalie stopped the last two Canadian shooters in the shootout in Brianne Jenner and then Meghan Agosta on her second attempt.

It was sweet redemption for the 10 Americans who watched the Canadians snatch gold from their hands in 2014 at Sochi after tying it up with 54.6 seconds left in regulation and winning 3-2 in overtime.

Not only did the Americans snap the Canadians' stranglehold on Olympic gold, they ended a skid of five straight against their rival coming into this game, including a 2-1 loss to wrap up pool play a week ago.

Marie-Philip Poulin and Haley Irwin each scored goals for Canada. Agosta and Melodie Daoust scored in the shootout.

The Americans had been dominating in non-Olympic years, winning the last four and eight of the last 10 world championships, including a 3-2 overtime victory over Canada last spring.

Their domination on the world stage only made the lack of gold at the Olympics all the more noticeable, and Canada has been in their way since losing the inaugural gold in Nagano. Canada had won 24 straight Olympic games to go along with four consecutive gold medals. It's a streak of success in a women's team sport second only to the United States' basketball team's current streak of six straight gold.

This was the eighth time these North American rivals met in the Olympics and the fifth with gold on the line. None of the previous seven were decided by more than two goals.

U.S. coach Robb Stauber went with the 20-year-old Rooney in net for the biggest game of her career, but she was the goalie for each of the three games the Americans beat Canada last fall during their pre-Olympic exhibition tour, including Four Nations Cup title in November.

Canada had Shannon Szabados, 31, in goal for her third Olympic gold medal game, and her teammates made her job very easy by keeping the puck in front of Rooney for most of the first period by dictating play. The Americans couldn't use their speed or get organized even with two power plays until Sarah Nurse went in the box for interference late in the period.

Knight gave the U.S. a 1-0 lead with 25.4 seconds left in the first, redirecting a shot from Sidney Morin through Szabados' pads giving the Americans a jolt of energy.

That lasted only 2 minutes into the second when Irwin tipped a pass from Blayre Turnbull over Rooney's left leg for Canada. When Morin lost the puck, Melodie Daoust grabbed it and passed to Meghan Agosta who hit Poulin for the wrister into the left side of the net at 6:55 for a 2-1 lead.

 

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With Ross placed on 60-day DL, Nationals agree to 1-year deal with veteran reliever

With Ross placed on 60-day DL, Nationals agree to 1-year deal with veteran reliever

WASHINGTON  -- The Washington Nationals say they have agreed to a one-year deal with 40-year-old reliever Joaquin Benoit.

The team announced the move Wednesday, along with placing pitcher Joe Ross on the 60-day disabled list as he recovers from Tommy John surgery in July.

The Nationals didn't release terms of the agreement, though a person with knowledge of the deal told The Associated Press on Monday that it was for $1 million.

The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the deal wasn't official at the time.

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Benoit is a right-hander who first reached the big leagues in 2001. 

He has played for eight teams, finishing last year with Pittsburgh.

He has 764 career appearances, going 58-49 with a 3.83 ERA and 53 saves.

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