Capitals

Pittsburgh rolls over North Florida 89-47

201212081911690735997-p2.jpeg

Pittsburgh rolls over North Florida 89-47

PITTSBURGH (AP) Tray Woodall scored 14 points and tied a season-high with nine assists, and Pittsburgh pulled away in the second half of an 89-47 win over North Florida on Saturday night.

Dante Taylor led Pitt with 16 points and Talib Zanna added 15 as the Panthers (9-1) wore the Ospreys down with their size. Lamar Patterson scored 13 points and Cameron Wright had 10 points off the bench as Pitt won its fifth straight.

The Ospreys, giving away height at every position, settled for jumpers, one of the reasons they never made it to the free-throw line all night.

The Panthers shot a season-high 59 percent (33 of 58) from the field and dominated the final 25 minutes after getting serious on defense.

Travis Wallace and David Jeune scored 10 points each for North Florida (3-6), but the Ospreys didn't have enough firepower. North Florida scored just 20 points over the game's final 25 minutes after briefly tying it at 27 in the first half.

The game was a homecoming for North Florida coach Matthew Driscoll, a Pittsburgh native. Maybe it was why the Ospreys looked so comfortable in the Petersen Events Center during a back-and-forth first half in which they had an answer every time Pitt made a move.

The Panthers led by 11 points early, but North Florida responded behind a flurry of 3-pointers to tie it at 27. The Ospreys struggled whenever Pitt was able to get its defense set, so they looked for quick shots to catch the Panthers flat-footed.

Maybe Pitt was distracted by the presence of football coach Paul Chryst, who took in the game from behind one of the baskets along with a handful of recruits. Chryst received a standing ovation when he was introduced to the crowd, a salute that was likely more out of loyalty than the team's 6-6 record.

There was speculation earlier in the week that Wisconsin might try to lure Chryst back to his hometown to take over for departed coach Bret Bielema. Instead, Chryst is sticking at Pitt, a rare respite for a football program that's seen more than its fair share of coaching turmoil the past two years.

There are no such problems on the basketball side of things, though coach Jamie Dixon had several of his players on the move in the first half trying to find a combination that was interested in guarding the Ospreys. He found one in the final minutes, and Pitt closed the half on a 14-3 burst led by Woodall and defensive specialist Cam Wright to give the Panthers a little breathing room.

It would grow quickly in the second half. Freshman center Steven Adams got the Panthers going with a spectacular alley-oop, and Pitt wasted little time opening up a 20-point lead and cruised.

The huge advantage allowed Dixon to experiment and let Taylor show signs of life. The senior center has turned into a role player of sorts while serving as a backup to Adams. Yet he played with confidence after an early dunk, and his 16 points were six more than he scored in his previous five games combined.

--

Follow Will Graves at www.twitter.com/WillGravesAP

Quick Links

Blackhawks fans tossed after directing racist remarks at Washington's Smith-Pelly

capture_dsp.png
NBC Sports Washington

Blackhawks fans tossed after directing racist remarks at Washington's Smith-Pelly

CHICAGO—Four fans were ejected from United Center on Saturday night for taunting Devante Smith-Pelly as the Capitals’ winger sat in the penalty box.

The fans, according to a team spokesman, yelled “basketball, basketball, basketball” at Smith-Pelly, who is black. Smith-Pelly was in the box for fighting in the third period of an eventual 7-1 loss to the Blackhawks.

The taunts were confirmed by an off-ice official, the spokesman said, and the fans were subsequently removed from the arena.

Smith-Pelly did not speak with reporters after the game but is expected to address the incident at the team’s next media availability. The team is scheduled to practice Sunday at KeyBank Center in Buffalo.

Caps Coach Barry Trotz did not hold back when asked about the fans' comments.

“There’s absolutely no place in the game of hockey or our country for racism,” Trotz said. “I think it’s disgusting, and there’s no place for it. …It just shows ignorance.”

The Blackhawks responded on Twitter with an apology to Smith-Pelly, who is one of roughly 30 black players in the NHL.

February is Hockey is For Everyone month in the NHL.

Quick Links

3 stars of the game: Caps suffer ugly loss to scuffling Blackhawks

3 stars of the game: Caps suffer ugly loss to scuffling Blackhawks

Just about everything that could go wrong did for the Capitals on Saturday in a 7-1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks.

The Caps were coming off a strong 5-2 win over the Minnesota Wild on Thursday, but none of that carried over in the trip to Chicago. The Caps took on a Blackhawks team that had lost eight in a row, but Chicago quickly took control in the first period and never looked back.

Washington gave up 21 shots on goal in the first period and found themselves down 3-1 after the opening frame. Things did not get much better from there as they gave up another three goals in the final four minutes of the second.

Here are the three stars of the game.

1. Jonathan Toews: Toews opened up the scoring in the first period with a quick shot from the corner that caught Braden Holtby by surprise.

Later in the first, he recorded an assist as his pass sparked a breakout that led to Brandon Saad's deal that gave Chicago back the lead. The Caps tried to make a game of it in the second period, but Toews intercepted a pass from Brooks Orpik that led to a 2-on-0 with himself and Patrick Kane that Kane netted to give the Blackhawks a 4-1 lead and signaled to everyone that the rout was on. Saturday was only the second three-point night of the season for Toews.

2. Patrick Kane: Toews helped the Blackhawks take control early, but Kane helped provide the knockout punches in the second period. A bad pass from Orpik was intercepted by Toews that led to a 2-on-0 with Kane. Holtby made the initial save on Toews, but Kane was able to knock in the rebound for the goal.

Kane also added an assist on Artem Anisimov's power play goal which extended Chicago's lead to 6-1.

3. Tom Wilson: Before this one got out of hand, it looked like Wilson had erased the tough start for the Caps as he deflected a shot from Matt Niskanen into the net to get Washington on the board.

Saturday's tally was his third goal in two games and his 10th of the season, marking the first time in his career he has reached double digits in goals.