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Releford leads No. 3 Kansas past No. 11 K-State

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Releford leads No. 3 Kansas past No. 11 K-State

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) Kansas and Kansas State rarely paint a masterpiece when they meet on the hardwood.

The defensive-minded Jayhawks, with Travis Releford on the perimeter and Jeff Withey in the paint, make life miserable for opposing offenses, while the veteran Wildcats relish the chance to bump, bang and bludgeon foes on both ends of the court.

Little surprise that they played another tough-as-nails game Tuesday night.

Releford scored 12 points, Withey and Ben McLemore each added 11, and the third-ranked Jayhawks held on down the stretch for a 59-55 victory that gave them sole possession of first place in the Big 12.

``That game went just as all you predicted, not the most artistic,'' Kansas coach Bill Self said, sporting the kind of wry smile that said he didn't mind one bit.

The Jayhawks have grown accustomed to such blood-and-guts games, needing a desperation 3-pointer from McLemore to force overtime in a win over Iowa State and a frantic second-half comeback to beat Texas, all while running their winning streak to a nation-leading 16 games.

Kansas (17-1, 5-0 Big 12) briefly led by 10 points in the second half before needing everything it could muster in the closing seconds to end the Wildcats' eight-game winning streak.

``They just find ways to win,'' Kansas State coach Bruce Weber said.

Shane Southwell, who had a career-high 19 points, tried to do the same for Kansas State (15-3, 4-1), getting his team within 56-53 with a scooping layup with 38.2 seconds left.

Naadir Tharpe made two foul shots to restore the Jayhawks' five-point lead, and the Wildcats' Rodney McGruder misfired from beyond the arc at the other end. But McLemore missed the front end of a 1-and-1, and McGruder's two foul shots made it 58-55 with 5 seconds left.

Elijah Johnson was fouled, and his free throw put the game away.

``There were several plays that allowed us to keep our distance,'' Self said. ``We made it hard on ourselves by not converting at the free throw line and stuff like that, but just a tough game and a great road win.''

McGruder finished with 13 points and Angel Rodriguez had 12 for the Wildcats, who lost for the 45th time in the last 48 games against their bitter in-state rival.

Kansas improved to 23-2 in Bramlage Coliseum since its opening in 1987.

``If anything, we look forward to this game,'' Withey said. ``It's a lot of fun, a hostile environment. It's one of the best crowds we're going to get besides our own crowd.''

The atmosphere was amped long before the opening tip. Students on their first day back from winter break lined up for several hundred yards in freezing temperatures, and then flooded seats on one side of the building more than 2 hours before the game started.

The Jayhawks, undaunted by the pulsating crowd, methodically built a 16-8 lead midway through the first half. Kansas took advantage of some balky outside shooting by the Wildcats, and routinely beat them off the dribble at the other end for easy baskets around the rim.

McLemore picked up his second foul of the half with 9:22 left, though, and Kansas State went on a run with the Jayhawks' leading scorer on the bench. Martavious Irving started the 11-2 spurt with a scooping layup and Southwell ended it with a 3-pointer for a 19-18 lead.

Self called a timeout and it settled down the senior-laden Jayhawks.

Perry Ellis scored a couple of baskets around a shot clock-beating jumper by Tharpe to help Kansas retake the lead, and Kevin Young's putback off his own miss made it 31-27 at halftime.

McGruder, shadowed everywhere by Releford, only managed two points on a soaring jam just before halftime. He missed both of his outside shots as the Wildcats went 4 for 16 from the arc.

The Big 12's reigning player of the week finally hit a 3 to start the second half, but Kansas answered with eight straight points, including a dunk by Withey off a feed from Young that forced Weber to call a timeout of his own early in the half.

McGruder hit consecutive 3s later in the half to help keep the Wildcats close, but a 3 from the corner by McLemore and then an open jumper by the freshman with 6:50 to go gave the Jayhawks a 53-43 lead, the first time the margin had reached double figures all game.

Southwell shot the Wildcats back in it, hitting a jumper with 8:13 remaining and then consecutive 3-pointers - his fourth and fifth of the game - to make it 54-49 with 5:30 remaining.

But the Jayhawks kept buckling down on defense, kept finding an answer for every push that the Wildcats made, allowing them to pull out a win despite a scoring a season-low 59 points.

``I'm upset we lost that game. This is the last time I'm going to play them in Bramlage,'' McGruder said. ``But we have a lot of basketball left. This can't be the end of it right here.''

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Game 6 Capitals at Blue Jackets Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

Game 6 Capitals at Blue Jackets Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

After three straight wins, the Caps now sit just one win away from closing out the Columbus Blue Jackets. They will get their shot to finish the series Monday in Game 6.

Nicklas Backstrom was the hero in Game 5 for Washington with three points including the overtime winner. Who will step up in Game 6? The Caps will need to make sure it's not Artemi Panarin who has been held without a point in two straight games. Washington will also need to make sure their penalty kill stays hot as they have killed off 13 straight power plays for the Blue Jackets.

The Pittsburgh Penguins await the winner of this series after closing out the Philadelphia Flyers on Sunday. Will the Caps close out Columbus and set up the rematch?

What: Washington Capitals vs. Columbus Blue Jackets, Round 1, Game 6

Where: Nationwide Arena, Columbus, Ohio

When: 7:30 p.m. ET

How to Watch: Capitals-Blue Jackets, Game 6 will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington (Channel Finder)

Live Stream: You can watch Capitals-Blue Jackets, Game 6 on NBC Sports Washington's live stream page.

WHEN IS THE CAPITALS-BLUE JACKETS GAME?

The Capitals take on the Blue Jackets in Game 6 on Monday, April 23 at 7:30 p.m. ET in Columbus. Washington currently leads the series 3-2.

WHAT CHANNEL IS THE CAPITALS-BLUE JACKETS GAME ON?

Capitals-Blue Jackets, Game 6 will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington. Coverage kicks off with Capitals FaceOff at 6:30 p.m. followed by Caps GameTime at 7:00 p.m. Stay with NBC Sports Washington for Caps Extra following the game, Caps Overtime at 10:30 p.m. and Caps in 30 at 11:30 p.m. for all your postgame coverage. (NBC Sports Washington channel Finder)

6:30 p.m. — Caps FaceOff
7:00 p.m. — Caps GameTime
7:30 p.m. — Capitals at Blue Jackets
10:00 p.m. — Caps Extra
10:30 p.m. — Caps Overtime
11:30 p.m. — Caps in 30

WHERE CAN I STREAM THE CAPITALS-BLUE JACKETS GAME?

Capitals-Blue Jackets Game 6, as well as Caps GameTime and Caps Extra, is available to stream live here through NBC Sports Washington's live stream page and is available to authenticated NBC Sports Washington subscribers on desktops, tablets, mobile devices and connected TVs anywhere in the United States.

WHAT ARE THE PROJECTED LINES FOR THE CAPITALS-BLUE JACKETS GAME?

Here are the Caps' projected lines:

Alex Ovechkin - Evgeny Kuznetsov - Tom Wilson
Chandler Stephenson - Nicklas Backstrom - T.J. Oshie
Brett Connolly- Lars Eller - Devante Smith-Pelly
Jakub Vrana -  Jay Beagle - Alex Chiasson

Michal Kempny - John Carlson
Dmitry Orlov - Matt Niskanen
Brooks Orpik - Christian Djoos

Braden Holtby with Philipp Grubauer as backup.

Scratches: Travis Boyd, Andre Burakovsky (upper-body), Shane Gerisch, Madison Bowey, Jakub Jerabek

CAPITALS-BLUE JACKETS OPEN THREAD

Use the comment section below to discuss the game action with other Capitals fans. 

For all the latest Caps coverage, follow Capitals Insider Tarik El-Bashir, Capitals correspondent JJ Regan and the NBC Sports Capitals account on Twitter. Be sure check out our Capitals page and NBC Sports Washington's Facebook page.

SEE THE CAPITALS VS. BLUE JACKETS FULL SERIES SCHEDULE HERE

CAPITALS SCHEDULE

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Need to Know: Setting the final odds on the Redskins first-round draft pick

Need to Know: Setting the final odds on the Redskins first-round draft pick

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, April 23, three days before the 2018 NFL draft.  

Setting the odds on the Redskins’ top pick

We have just three days left until the draft and it’s time to make the final predictions. For the last time before this draft, we’re going to break out the $100 in imaginary poker chips and see who is the favorite to be the Redskins’ top pick. 

Before we get started, all of these odds are set with the Redskins staying at No. 13. With a separate stack of chips, I’ll put $20 on them trading down, $80 on them staying put. There just isn’t an obvious team to deal with or a player that would be on the board to make a team want to move up. 

DT Vita Vea, $30—I would have this a little higher but I’m becoming less confident that he’ll be on the board when the Redskins draft at 13. Normally nose tackle isn’t a high-value position, but this is an odd draft and Vea is a freakish talent. He has to get past the Raiders picking tenth and the Dolphins at No. 11 and I’m not sure they will. 

S Derwin James, $20—If Vea is gone then there is a good chance that James will be there at 13, assuming that the four quarterbacks everybody thinks will go in the top 12 are indeed selected. Although the Redskins have D.J. Swearinger and Montae Nicholson at safety, the versatile James could find snaps all over the field, as a third safety to cover tight ends and perhaps even at slot corner. 

DT Da’Ron Payne, $15—It’s starting to look like he’ll be a reach at 13; his real value lays more in the late teens or early twenties. But the analysts’ consensus doesn’t necessarily match up with what the Redskins think. If they believe that Jim Tomsula can coach some pass rushing ability out of him, they could well have him graded high enough to go ahead and fill the need with the first-round pick. 

LB Roquan Smith, $10—His size may concern enough teams to leave him on the board until the Redskins are on the clock. I’m not sure that the Redskins would take him because they just re-signed Mason Foster and Zach Brown. But he is fast, hard hitting, and he may be too good to pass up. 

DB Minkah Fitzpatrick, $10—Many project him to be a slot corner in the NFL. A few years ago, many teams would hesitate to take a nickel corner in the first-round. But today, with teams lining up with three or more wide receivers on 63 percent of the snaps a slot corner is much more than a role player. Add Fitzpatrick’s ability to move back to safety and you have a player the Redskins should covet if he drops to 13. 

CB Denzel Ward, $10—I don’t give much of a chance of being on the board when the Redskins pick but stranger things have happened. He would be a steal at 13.

RB Derrius Guice, $5—I don’t think that this will happen, but I can’t look at all of the attention the Redskins have given to him and believe that there is a zero chance of them taking a running back this high in an RB-rich draft.  

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCS.

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Timeline  

Days until:

—Rookie minicamp (5/11) 18
—OTAs start (5/22) 29
—Training camp starts (7/26) 94

The Redskins last played a game 113 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 139 days. 

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