NCAA

Plumlee leads No. 1 Duke past Elon 76-54

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Plumlee leads No. 1 Duke past Elon 76-54

DURHAM, N.C. (AP) Mason Plumlee had 21 points and 15 rebounds, and No. 1 Duke beat Elon 76-54 on Thursday night for its 100th straight nonconference win at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

Ryan Kelly added 14 points, freshman Rasheed Sulaimon had 13 and Tyler Thornton hit a pair of key 3-pointers 30 seconds apart that helped the Blue Devils (11-0) pull away.

Playing on back-to-back nights, Duke counted on its defense to pick up an offense that was off on more open shots than usual. Duke shot 43 percent but forced 17 turnovers and turned them into 19 points while holding the Phoenix to just five offensive rebounds.

Sebastian Koch scored 14 points but Elon (6-5) was denied its first win over an Atlantic Coast Conference team since 2005.

Quinn Cook added 10 points for Duke, which hasn't lost to a non-ACC team at Cameron since falling to St. John's on Feb. 26, 2000.

The Blue Devils outscored Elon 29-10 during a defense-driven 13-minute stretch that began in the first half and ended midway through the second. Thornton connected on the second of his two 3s two possessions before Sulaimon capped it with a 3 that made it 54-35 with about 10:45 to go.

Thornton then made it a 20-point game for the first time when his jumper with 6 1/2 minutes left made it 63-43.

That capped a rather successful four-day span for the Blue Devils, who returned to No. 1 for the first time since February 2011, rolled to a couple of nonconference wins and picked up a nationally televised oral commitment from Jabari Parker, one of the most highly touted recruits in years.

Plumlee, who has scored at least 16 points in every game, finished with his fourth 20-point performance of the season and picked up a pair of senior classmates whose shooting was a bit off: Seth Curry, who has played all season with persistent shin pain, was 3 of 10 while Kelly was 4 of 13.

The Blue Devils also had a short bench: Marshall Plumlee, Mason's younger brother who played 2 minutes Wednesday night against Cornell in his season debut, had a boot once again on his left foot, leaving Duke with just nine scholarship players. He missed nine games with a stress fracture in that foot.

Lucas Troutman had 13 points and Jack Isenbarger finished with 12 for Elon.

Just as they did the night before in what became a 41-point win over the Big Red, the Blue Devils had decent numbers early but not much of a working margin to show for it.

Duke shot 43 percent in the first half and held Elon without an offensive rebound for the first 15 1/2 minutes - and yet it was tied at 25 with less than 4 minutes before the break. The Blue Devils never led by more than five until closing the half with a 10-2 burst that coincided with the start of the decisive run.

Cook banked in a 35-footer in traffic at the buzzer to make it 35-27 at the break.

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.

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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.