Temple searches for answers, as Cincy hits town

Temple searches for answers, as Cincy hits town

PHILADELPHIA (AP) Temple coach Steve Addazio can see the Owls making progress, even as the wins have dried up.

The Owls' 3-2 start, which included the program's first Big East winning streak, has faded with three straight losses.

They suffered a second-half collapse against Rutgers, were dominated from the start in a 30-point loss to Pittsburgh, then had a first-half tight battle turn into a rout in last week's 45-17 loss to Louisville.

Temple's three early victories put them in a position to still qualify for a bowl - with the season quickly winding down and no wiggle room for another loss. The Owls (3-5, 2-3 Big East) will try to get their season back on track Saturday against Cincinnati (6-2, 2-1) at Lincoln Financial Field.

``I see the positives,'' Addazio said. ``I hope this is the week we can put three, four quarters together against a quality team.''

The Owls hope to learn soon if they'll play a 12th game this season. Temple athletic director Bill Bradshaw has been trying to put the finishing touches on adding another game to the schedule, likely Dec. 7 at Hawaii. While the Owls await final word, Addazio has his team ready for the Bearcats.

He's trying to look forward because looking back at the game film has been tough to take. Addazio has to relive the missed blocks, bad passes and blown opportunities that could have turned one of their losses into a win and given them a cushion as they chase a bowl berth.

``I think,'' Addazio said, ``(that) we're handfuls of plays away from completely different outcomes.''

It's a popular refrain from losing teams. One play, one series goes the other way and suddenly that two-games-under-.500 record becomes a winning one.

``We've got to stop imploding a little bit at certain points,'' Addazio said. ``We're closing halves out not great and coming out not great. There's a series of points that's happening because of that.''

Good luck trying to turn the season around against Cincinnati. The Bearcats lead the Big East in scoring (34.2 points) and rushing yards (226.6) and snapped a two-game losing streak last week with a 35-24 win against Syracuse. Running back George Winn rushed for 165 yard against the Orange.

Even with a successful season, Bearcats coach Butch Jones is considering changing his quarterback. Jones held an open competition in practice this week between incumbent Munchie Legaux and backup Brendon Kay. The Bearcats pulled away from Syracuse last week after Jones replaced Legaux, who has thrown six interceptions in the last three games. Kay completed all three of his passes, including one for a touchdown. Cincinnati - competing with Louisville and Rutgers for the Big East title - even uses a wildcat QB, Jordan Luallen, who's also in the mix.

Jones could decide to give Kay his first start at Temple. He said the three quarterbacks have all done a great job of supporting one another.

``They are high character individuals and they understand and will be extremely supportive,'' Jones said. ``Make no mistake about it; they are going to come out here and compete and battle against each other too.''

The Bearcats used their wildcat package more extensively against Syracuse. Luallen ran six times for 32 yards and completed a pass for 14 yards. In the last three games, Legaux completed only 45 percent of his passes for 508 yards, two touchdowns and those six interceptions.

The Owls have their own issues at QB. Chris Coyer has been yanked in the fourth quarter in each of Temple's last three losses for Clinton Granger. Coyer is still the starter, but that could always change if the Owls are blown out again on Saturday.

``We're really young,'' Addazio said. ``We're making bunch of young-guy mistakes all over the field and they're popping up at the wrong times.''

That's exactly what the Bearcats are counting on.

``They did a lot of things that were really uncharacteristic of their football team last week in terms of turning the football over,'' Jones said. ``But they have tremendous talent and they are extremely well-coached and they take on the personality of their football coach.

``They are tough and physical and I know that that's what they sell in their football program.''

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Bullpen falters as Dodgers rally from 3 runs down to top Nationals


Bullpen falters as Dodgers rally from 3 runs down to top Nationals

LOS ANGELES  -- Although Cody Bellinger's fierce line drive drove in the tying run, it hit the center field wall so quickly that the throw back to the infield beat him to second base.

No problem: Bellinger adroitly avoided the tag with a swim move he learned from watching Mike Trout on television, and the Dodgers kept charging toward the latest win in their comeback surge.

Bellinger followed Yasmani Grandal's two-run double with an RBI double in the sixth, and Corey Seager drove in Austin Barnes with the go-ahead run in the seventh inning of Los Angeles' sixth win in seven games, 4-3 over the Washington Nationals on Sunday night.

With smart plays by Bellinger, Barnes and almost everybody else, the Dodgers (10-10) got back to .500 after a rough start for the defending NL champions. They were largely dominated by Jeremy Hellickson until they erased a three-run deficit in the sixth with three big hits from their patchwork lineup.

"There were signs of that old ballclub when we were coming from behind," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. "That was good to see."

Los Angeles went ahead shortly after Barnes was hit by a pitch from Trevor Gott (0-1). Barnes wisely advanced to third on Chris Taylor's single and scored on Seager's fly.

"You've got to make something happen in that situation," Barnes said of his dash to third. "We're trying to get runs on the board late in the game. It was worth a shot. Be aggressive and play our kind of baseball, and eventually it'll pay off for us."

Alex Wood pitched six innings of six-hit ball for the Dodgers, and Josh Fields (1-0) survived a rocky seventh inning.

Kenley Jansen pitched the ninth for his first save since April 10 and his third of the season -- but not without drama. The Dodgers' vaunted closer began the ninth by yielding two singles, but then struck out Andrew Stevenson and Trea Turner before ending it on Howie Kendrick's fly to the warning track.

Michael Taylor homered, doubled, singled and walked for the Nationals, who have lost seven of 11.

Hellickson retired 14 straight Dodgers before doubles by Chris Taylor and Grandal, with a walk by Seager sandwiched between them. Bellinger followed with his go-ahead line drive against Sammy Solis.

"The one that Taylor got was probably just a tad up," Hellickson said. "(The pitch to) Grandal was down. Probably the only at-bat I'd like to have back is that one to Seager."

Michael Taylor put his first homer of the season into the home bullpen beyond left field in the fourth. He then doubled, advanced on Wood's pickoff throw into center field and scored on Moises Sierra's mid-length fly in the sixth for a 3-0 lead.


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Another 40-point third quarter evens another playoff series for the Wizards

Another 40-point third quarter evens another playoff series for the Wizards

Last night's Washington Wizards comeback would not have happened had it not been for the team's blowout third quarter. 

Of course, you can say that literally about any quarter, but if you take away the third, the Toronto Raptors outscored Washington easily, 78-66.

The Wizards won by eight and this wasn’t the first time we’ve seen a performance of this magnitude from this bunch.

In that frame alone in Game 4, the Wizards broke out to 40 points, the same amount they had in the first two quarters combined. As a team, they shot 65 percent and 83 percent from deep (5-for-6).

By far that was their best offensive quarter of this series.

Of course, Bradley Beal got his due, 12 points including three 3pters, but for the first time this series, Otto Porter Jr. became a threat on the offensive end of the court.

The 6-8 forward scored 10 of his 12 points, all of which came in a 26-14 run. First, he started with back-to-back three-pointers, both in the tail end of a transition, both a feed from John Wall. One came from the corner and the other came off of a screen that ended up being a close contest from OG Anunoby.

That run resulted in the Wizards’ first lead of the game from a corner three courtesy of Beal.

Speaking of Anunoby, he was silent in that quarter for the Raptors. Granted in the first half he was taken off the court after getting pinned under Marcin Gortat, but the Raptors’ guard played for nine minutes and the only thing he recorded on the stat sheet was a foul.

Serge Ibaka, who has also been a pain in the Wizards’ side also disappeared. One rebound, two points from the free throw line, and one block was all that the 6-10 forward managed. With Porter on the court and producing, it pushed Ibaka to set up outside the paint, clearing the lane for Wall to generate movement on the offense.

All this being said, Toronto actually didn’t have a bad quarter. They shot 50 percent from the field and DeMar DeRozan had 14 points.

But the Wizards were simply better. They out-shot one of the best all-around offensive teams in the league.

Rolling with the punches in transition, not passing up open looks, Wall dealing out six assists; that is the Wizards’ team that knocked off some of the top teams in the NBA this year. No one shot more than five times in the quarter and the team combined for 10 assists on the 15 made baskets.

They erased a 14-point deficit and were tied at 80 heading into the fourth.

If you look back to the last 40-point playoff quarter for Washington, there are many parallels. It was another series where the Wizards were down 0-2 to the Celtics. They were dealing with an offensive driven team and the physicality became a prevalent story in the series.

Had it not been for those 12 minutes of basketball, the Wizards would be down 3-1 and face an insurmountable climb to get back into their First Round series. Now they are at a fresh slate in a best-of-3 series. With all the momentum, Washington is just two wins away from getting back to the Second Round of the NBA Playoffs.

Hopefully, this time is a little different than the last.