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Paige helps UNC beat Virginia Tech 72-60 in OT

Paige helps UNC beat Virginia Tech 72-60 in OT

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) Freshman Marcus Paige scored eight of his season-high 19 points in overtime to help North Carolina beat Virginia Tech 72-60 on Saturday.

James Michael McAdoo had 22 points and 10 rebounds and Reggie Bullock added 11 points for the Tar Heels (15-6, 5-3 Atlantic Coast Conference).

They hounded the nation's leading scorer, Erick Green, into his second-worst game of the season and scored on their first nine possessions of overtime to pull away for their fifth win in six games.

Green, who averages 25.5 points, finished with 16 on 7-for-21 shooting while being defended mostly by Dexter Strickland.

Green missed a jumper that would have won it in regulation and was held to fewer than 20 points for just the second time this season.

Jarell Eddie added 15 points for the Hokies (11-10, 2-6). They have lost four straight and 10 of 14 since starting 7-0.

McAdoo put North Carolina ahead to stay with a jumper that made it 59-57 with 3:45 left in overtime. Joey van Zegeren pulled the Hokies within one with a free throw on their next trip downcourt.

That's when Paige took over.

He entered 8-for-39 in the past five games but was 6-for-14 in this one while hitting four of his team's five 3-pointers.

His open 3 from the left wing with 3 minutes left in OT made it 62-58, and he followed that with a jumper from the baseline that made it a six-point game. His three free throws in the final 1:36 helped ice it.

Cadarian Raines finished with 12 points and Robert Brown added 10 for the Hokies, who had a chance to win it in regulation.

Van Zegeren - a 46 percent free-throw shooter - tied it at 55 with two foul shots with 45.8 seconds left, and the Hokies got the ball back when Paige threw the ball away with about 30 seconds left.

Green milked the clock before his pull-up jumper from the wing over Bullock didn't hit anything, and North Carolina rebounded with 1.9 seconds left. Jackson Simmons' full-court pass was tipped out by a Hokie with 0.1 seconds. After a timeout, van Zegeren picked off Paige's inbounds pass in the lane.

North Carolina trailed by eight twice in the second half, but clawed back with a McAdoo-led 19-9 run to take its first lead.

Bullock, who missed his first five 3-pointers, swished an open 3 to make it 42-all with just over 13 minutes left. Brice Johnson then put the Tar Heels up 46-45 on a tip-in with 9 1/2 minutes to go. After McAdoo stretched it to 47-45 on a free throw with 9:01 left, it was a one-possession game throughout the rest of regulation.

The Tar Heels played without injured swingman P.J. Hairston, who suffered a concussion in their last game at Boston College, and his absence was felt on the perimeter. They were 5 of 24 from 3-point range, with Bullock missing seven of his eight.

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Trade to Caps potentially offers Jerabek what he never got in Montreal

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USA TODAY Sports

Trade to Caps potentially offers Jerabek what he never got in Montreal

Defenseman Jakub Jerabek is really happy about the opportunity to play with the Washington Capitals, but it could have come at a better time. The trade came with his parents already on their way from the Czech Republic to visit him.

“It was crazy days past three days because I had my parents on the way to Montreal and they didn't know so it was a big surprise for them,” Jerabek told reporters Saturday after his first skate with the team.

A native of the Czech Republic, Jerabek signed his first NHL contract with the Montreal Canadiens in May 2017. After spending some time in the AHL and struggling to consistently earn a spot in the Canadiens’ lineup, he knew a trade was possible.

“My family, maybe we expected some trade. When its come with Caps and it was Washington, I was really happy.”

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Jerabek said he came into the NHL with no expectations and was simply happy for the opportunity, but it is fair to wonder if he was not just the least bit frustrated with how he was utilized by Montreal.

For a player with experience playing for the national team, the Czech league and the KHL, getting only 25 games with a bad Montreal team seems a bit low.

“In first two weeks, I didn't know what's going on because the coaches just told me that I played well, but we just make some competition between the [defensemen] and that I have to wait for my next chance,” Jerabek said. “It was hard, but now I'm happy down here.”

Washington now offers a very different opportunity. In need of help on the blue line, Jeraebek has the chance to earn consistent playing time for a team on pace to reach the postseason.

Jerabek will not play in Saturday’s game against Buffalo, but he was hopeful he would be in the lineup for Monday’s game against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

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For now, Jerabek and head coach Barry Trotz are unclear as to what his ultimate role on the team will be. With eight defensemen now on the roster, Trotz cautioned any lineup decision could not be rushed because of the trickle-down effect it will have on the other players.

“You always look at chemistry and all that with your group depending how high that player goes up the lineup, it affects different people,” Trotz said. “In a forward group, if you get a guy that you all of a sudden stick on the first line, there's four other guys that are bumped down and one guy's bumped out.”

The addition of Jerabek, however, offers the Caps another defenseman who can quickly move the puck out of the defensive zone, something the team has struggled with immensely throughout the season. Though he shoots left, he also said he is comfortable playing on the right said and has played there regularly over the past few years. That provides the lineup with some flexibility on the third pair behind Matt Niskanen and John Carlson.

As for Jerabek’s parents, they will be arriving in Washington on Saturday.

“I tried to figure out the situation with them to get them to here and they will come today,” he said. “So I'm really happy.”

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Warriors will visit D.C. kids instead of White House when they play Wizards

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Warriors will visit D.C. kids instead of White House when they play Wizards

Instead of visiting the White House when they come to Washington this week to play the Wizards, the defending-champion Golden State Warriors plan to hold an event with D.C.-area kids.

Their invitation was rescinded by president Donald Trump following a back-and-forth between the two sides last year. After the Warriors won the title, they openly questioned whether they should follow the tradition given many of the players and coaches disagree with his policies. Trump took the opportunity away before they came to a final decision.

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The Warriors' event will be closed off to the media and held at an undisclosed location. It is set for Tuesday, the day before they play the Wizards at Capital One Arena. The Warriors had the option of holding a ceremony with other politicians in the Democratic party, but decided that would send the wrong message. 

"It's their championship. They got disinvited to the White House, so it's up to them what they wanted to do. So they made their plans," coach Steve Kerr said. "I want the players to have a good day and to do something positive and to enjoy what they're doing."

The Warriors are the first NBA team to make this choice since Trump was elected president. Last season, the Cleveland Cavaliers held their celebration with president Barack Obama in November. They did so just days after Trump was elected and LeBron James questioned at the time whether he would visit the White House with Trump in office.

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Sports teams visiting the White House goes back to the mid-1800s. The first World Series title team to visit was the 1924 Washington Senators. By the 1960s, NBA teams were going and by the 1980s NFL and NHL teams made it a tradition.

Entire teams snubbing the White House is unusual, but many players have turned down the opportunity. In the NBA, some famous cases include Larry Bird in 1984 and Michael Jordan in 1991, according to Rolling Stone.

Perhaps the Warriors start a trend, or maybe it will be a one-off thing. Regardless, the alternative they chose is a respectable one. 

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