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Quarterbacks in flux for TCU, Oklahoma State

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Quarterbacks in flux for TCU, Oklahoma State

STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) J.W. Walsh is done playing for Oklahoma State this season. His inspiring final performance could have a lasting impact, though.

Walsh played the final 3 1/2 quarters of the Cowboys' 31-10 win against Iowa State last weekend with an injured knee, running for a touchdown, maneuvering past defenders and throwing for a career-best 415 yards despite being hurt. When his teammates arrived the next day to find him on crutches and out for the season because of the injury he'd been playing through, coach Mike Gundy made sure to recognize his sacrifice.

``In order for our organization, our team, to continue to get better, the overall concept has to be unselfish football, the team, and to do whatever it takes within reason,'' Gundy said. ``We've had guys that couldn't compete. ... He wasn't unstable but had an enormous amount of pain. He continued to fight through it, and I made an example of that with the team.

``When you're young, those are things you have to learn. It's the greatest game there is for life lessons because there's pain in our lives at times and we have to fight through it. It may not be all physical. It may be mental.''

Walsh was one of three players who were lost for the season during last week's win, along with tight end Justin Horton and C.J. Curry. The Cowboys (4-2, 2-1 Big 12) have had five players suffer season-ending injuries already, and numerous others have missed time, but they still control their Big 12 destiny heading into Saturday's game against TCU (5-2, 2-2).

Gundy held out hope that Wes Lunt, who opened the season as the starting quarterback before his own knee injury thrust Walsh into the role, would be able to return to face the Horned Frogs. If not, it would be third-stringer Clint Chelf who gets the call.

``Whoever gives us the best chance to win,'' offensive coordinator Todd Monken said. ``Does Clint run with the same fever as J.W.? No. You have decide if you like the way we are moving and is Wes ready? Those are the things we have to determine this week.''

TCU has been dealing with its own instability at quarterback, with Trevone Boykin taking over after Casey Pachall was suspended indefinitely following a 4-0 start. Boykin has gone 1-2 as the starter, sandwiching a superb game in a win at Baylor between the program's first consecutive home losses in the same season since 1998.

``We're excited about where we're at. We'd rather not be 2-2, but I think we're seven, eight, maybe nine plays away from being 7-0,'' coach Gary Patterson said.

A good number of those plays fall into the turnover category. The Frogs have committed eight turnovers in their two losses with Boykin at quarterback, including five interceptions by him. He accounted for five touchdowns with no turnovers in the victory at Baylor.

``He's doing a fantastic job. It doesn't matter if he's a freshman or a senior, if he's played one game or 20 games. He's got to step up and make plays, and he's done a great job doing that,'' guard Eric Tausch said. ``You couldn't ask for a better job than what he's done.''

The Cowboys had been tinkering with their offense to tailor it more toward Walsh's running ability instead of Lunt's tendency to be a drop-back passer. Now, it could be a reversal if Lunt's able to return or less so if Chelf gets his first career start after backing up Brandon Weeden the past two seasons.

``We're concerned about it because you can't have so many plays you're not good at any of them,'' Gundy said. ``They're two different styles of players, but we have to have enough of both based on who we feel like ... gives us the best chance of success.''

Lunt returned to practice a couple weeks ago and Gundy has said he was able to play if needed in the previous two games. Even with the changes so far this season, the Cowboys lead the nation with 605 yards per game - 23 more than any other team.

``This week, whether we move the ball or not, it won't be because of Wes Lunt or Clint Chelf,'' Monken said. ``Those guys are good enough for us to move the ball and score points.''

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Bradley Beal fouling out nearly changed the series, but Wizards rallied

Bradley Beal fouling out nearly changed the series, but Wizards rallied

After calling an inconsistent game throughout the night, the referees made a decision with five minutes to go in Game 4 that nearly altered the entire series between the Wizards and Raptors.

DeMar DeRozan was chasing a rebound on the baseline and ran into Bradley Beal. Beal, who had a team-high 31 points, was levied a sixth foul. He was out of the game with the score tied.

Beal had unloaded for 20 points in 12 minutes in the second half, but now the Wizards would have to close it out without their All-Star shooting guard. Somehow, they were able to seal the win and tie the series.

Beal heard the whistle as he laid on the ground. He immediately hopped up and unleashed a tantrum that nobody could blame him for. He jumped up and down, screaming at the referees, who had just called by all accounts a questionable foul and in a key moment of a playoff game.

Both Beal and head coach Scott Brooks were incensed and with good reason.

“I was beyond emotional, beyond mad, frustrated," Beal said. "I honestly thought they were going to kick me out of the game I was so mad, but I was happy they didn’t do that."

Beal is probably lucky the referees didn't take offense to his reaction because it continued when he was on the bench. He walked past his teammates and leaned over with his hands on his knees, still furious. Then he returned to the sideline to yell at the refs. Center Ian Mahinmi helped convince him to step back and cool off.

Beal has made a major difference in this series. He averaged 14.0 points in the first two games, both losses. He has averaged 29.5 points in Games 3 and 4, two Wizards wins.

Getting him out of the game was a major break for the Raptors, but they couldn't take advantage. The Wizards closed the final five minutes on a 14-6 tear. John Wall stepped up to lead the charge with eight of those points.

The Wizards still had one star on the court and he played like one.

“Just go in attack mode," Wall said. "When Brad went out, I knew I had to do whatever it took... I just wanted to do whatever, so that we could advance to Game 5, tied 2-2.”

Once Beal composed himself, his confidence grew in his teammates. He and Wall feel comfortable playing without each other because they have done so often throughout their careers.

This year, Wall missed 41 games due to a left knee injury. Two years ago, Beal missed 27 games. Early on in his career, he had trouble staying healthy. Now he is an iron man who played in all 82 games during the 2017-18 regular season.

Beal has grown accustomed to being on the floor a lot, but he realized he can still affect the game from the sidelines.

"I just gathered my emotions, gathered my thoughts and told my team we were going to win, regardless. I knew if we still had John [Wall] in the game I loved our chances," Beal said. "Face the adversity that I had to overcome, just gather myself and be a leader, being vocal and keeping everyone encouraged in the game.”

Wall and others did the heavy lifting in the end. The Wizards used Kelly Oubre, Jr. as the shooting guard with Beal out and he made key plays down the stretch, including a steal on Kyle Lowry in the closing seconds.

The Wizards were thrown a significant curveball and they overcame it to put themselves in good position now having won two straight.

“You have to have resolve to win in this league," Brooks said. "You win playoff games and you win playoff series with having that. We have that, and we have to continue to have that because we have to win two more games and one of them has to be on the road."

When it comes to the officiating, the Wizards deserve credit for their resilience and restraint early in Game 4. The Raptors had 16 free throws in the first quarter compared to the Wizards' four. Washington perservered and ended up with more free throws (31) than the Raptors (30) did for the game.

In Game 1, the Wizards appeared to be affected by a lack of foul calls. That came was called loosely by the referees, while this one was officiated tightly. Though Beal went off, the Wizards for the most part stayed the course and were rewarded for it.

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The Wizards supplied all the highlights and fireworks; 5 must-see moments from Game 4

The Wizards supplied all the highlights and fireworks; 5 must-see moments from Game 4

WASHINGTON -- As the home team in a dire situation you have to take advantage, and that is exactly what the Washington Wizards did in their 106-98 win over the Toronto Raptors.

Highlight reel play after highlight reel play, the Wizards ignited the crowd with some of their best plays from the entire season to make it 2-2 in the series. Here are just a few of them:

1. John Wall collects posters in the first half

The first one was perhaps the best. Everything was going wrong for the Wizards, poor turnovers, bad shots, a three from Toronto. Then John Wall had enough. Not only did he fly past his defender Kyle Lowry, but he went up and slammed one home past the 7-foot Jonas Valanciunas. Up until that point, the Wizards were shooting 1-for-7.

Rinse and repeat, except this time Jakob Poeltl was Wall’s victim.

2. Wall to Beal alley-oop in transition

With the Wizards’ offense faltering, the Raptors remained on the verge of blowing the game open throughout the second quarter. But with a steal from Otto Porter Jr., Wall hung up the ball for Bradley Beal to slam home. The alley-oop kept the Wizards within single digits in the second with an uninspiring offensive effort.

3. Otto Porter breaks out of the half

A subdued offensive start to the game was due in part to the production from Porter. In the first half he went 0-for-4 with one point in nearly 17 minutes of action.

Throw that away in the second half. He broke out of halftime with back-to-back threes and 10 of the Wizards’ 26 in a monster 26-14 run to take the lead back in the third.

He finished the quarter with 10 points, an assist, and two blocks.

4. The Polish Hammer throwing it home

Are you convinced yet that Marcin Gortat’s new haircut is doing him some good? Gortat squeezed through two Raptors’ defenders, threw it down, gave a Goliath-type roar to the crowd before officially bringing the hammer down. 

5. Beal being called for his sixth foul of the game

Agree with the call or not, there is no denying that Beal’s removal from the game lit a fire underneath the Wizards. From that point Washington went on a 14-6 scoring run to end the game, closing out for the win.

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