Wizards

Texas Tech isn't distracted by coaching change

Texas Tech isn't distracted by coaching change

HOUSTON (AP) Texas Tech quarterback Seth Doege has seen this before.

The Red Raiders head into Friday's Meineke Car Care Bowl against Minnesota after some serious upheaval with coach Tommy Tuberville abruptly leaving the team for the job in Cincinnati. Doege, a senior, remembers how the team came together for a win in the Alamo Bowl under an interim coach just days after coach Mike Leach was fired in the 2009 season.

The Red Raiders have hired Kliff Kingsbury to replace Tuberville, but interim coach Chris Thomsen will lead Texas Tech against the Golden Gophers.

``It's settled now, and the young guys are excited. I remember ... when I was younger how close we became as a football team,'' Doege said. ``Because with all the uncertainty, all the distractions, that's what gets you through it.''

Thomsen, who coached the offensive line before becoming the interim head coach, said he believes his team has dealt with the changes and is ready to move forward.

``It's really just business as usual for us,'' Thomsen said. ``The great thing about this team, the staple of this team, has been leadership all year, and we define leadership as guys who come out every single day focused and do it. If you can do that, you can lead as a freshman, sophomore, senior; it doesn't matter. And that's really the way they've approached it.''

Minnesota coach Jerry Kill doesn't expect any drop off for the Red Raiders with Tuberville's departure.

``I don't think a whole lot is going to change with them,'' Kill said. ``Their system, offensively all the way back to coach Leach, has stayed the same, pretty much ... they've got good football players, a good system, and I know they'll be prepared to play.''

Texas Tech returns to a bowl game after seeing an 18-year bowl streak snapped with last season's disappointing 5-7 finish. This is their fourth straight bowl game in Texas and their eighth since 2000. They've won their last two bowl games.

The Gophers are in a bowl for the first time since 2009 and looking for their first bowl win since 2004. They won six games this season, which is the same number of games they won in the previous two seasons combined.

``We're in the building blocks of a program right now,'' Kill said. ``There's no question that getting a bowl victory gives you great momentum going into the offseason. We won our last game of the year last year, and I feel like it took some momentum into the offseason. I think getting a bowl win would be certainly special for this group of kids, and certainly our seniors that have been through so much.''

A win on Friday would give Minnesota a winning record for the first time since going 7-6 in 2008.

To do that they'll have to figure out how to slow down Texas Tech's passing attack. Doege is fourth in the nation in yards passing with 3,934 and his 38 touchdown passes are second in the country. He needs just 66 yards to join Graham Harrell as the only players in school history to throw for 4,000 yards in consecutive seasons.

He'll face a Minnesota defense that is 11th in the nation against the pass, allowing 178.5 yards a game. The Gophers have allowed just one 300-yard passer this season. Doege has nine games with more than 300 yards passing this season, and two for more than 400, including a season-high of 499 against West Virginia.

``I don't think we have to do anything a lot different, and they're not going to do anything different,'' Kill said. ``And I think that the style gives us an opportunity to try to keep their offense off the field, but we have to stay on the field. We didn't do a real good job of that over the last two ball games.''

Texas Tech tight end Jace Amaro, who was injured Oct. 13 and hasn't played since because of internal bleeding, returned to practice this week and expects to play Friday. He said he wants to help the seniors go out with a victory.

``We have a lot of personal emotion going into this game,'' he said. ``Even though a lot of people think we're distracted, I think this just made us a lot more focused on this game for these seniors.''

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5 must-see moments from Wizards' blowout loss to Hornets, including Bradley Beal's buzzer-beater

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5 must-see moments from Wizards' blowout loss to Hornets, including Bradley Beal's buzzer-beater

Here are the five best plays or moments from the Wizards' 122-105 loss to the Charlotte Hornets on Friday night...

1. This was a tough one for the Wizards. For the third time this season, they got beaten by the Hornets and for the second straight time it was in a blowout.

They still had their moments, though, including this alley-oop from Tomas Satoransky (11 points) to Markieff Morris (13 points, eight assists, six rebounds). It was the second alley-oop connection for those two in as many games:

PODCAST: WHAT THE SESSIONS SIGNING MEANS FOR SATORANSKY

2. This was a play that encapsulated the Wizards' night. Jodie Meeks drew a flagrant foul on Michael Carter-Williams, but took a hard shot to the head:

3. Kelly Oubre, Jr. had a solid game with 11 points, including this big dunk:

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4. Speaking of Oubre, he helped the Wizards close the first half with a late surge. The real highlight was Bradley Beal stealing the ball and hitting a corner three at the buzzer:

5. Beal ended up with 33 points, six assists and six rebounds. Here's an and-1 he got to go down in the second half:

All in all, it was an ugly performance for the Wizards. To cheer you up, we'll leave you with this young fan who had a great time at Capital One Arena despite the result:

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Wizards suffer lopsided loss against Hornets, who have had their number this season

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Wizards suffer lopsided loss against Hornets, who have had their number this season

The Washington Wizards lost to the Charlotte Hornets 122-105 on Friday night. Here's analysis of what went down...

Bad matchup: Despite their poor record, there is something about this Charlotte Hornets team that gives the Wizards trouble. The Wizards lost to the Hornets for the third time in three tries this season on Friday night and, aside from a push in the third quarter, were never really in it.

All in all, it was a dud of a game for the Wizards who were probably due for one. They had won three straight games and eight of 10 since John Wall got injured. They were also coming off a huge road win the night before in Cleveland, a game that started an hour later than usual.

It was a tough turnaround and the Wizards sure looked like it. It was evident in their defense and unforced errors. They did, however, have a decent shooting night. They shot 49.4 percent from the field 16-for-17 from the free throw line.

The Wizards' second unit didn't provide a lift outside of Kelly Oubre, Jr. (11 points). Mike Scott, one of their best bench options, was held scoreless.

PODCAST: WHAT THE SESSIONS SIGNING MEANS FOR SATORANSKY

Ugly first half: The Wizards only trailed by 12 points at halftime, but that score was skewed by a five-point push in the final seconds. The Hornets dominated for much of the first two quarters and did so by hitting threes and forcing turnovers. Those mistakes dug the Wizards a hole they never recovered from.

The Wizards had 10 turnovers in the first half, the same amount they had in their entire game the night before. Limiting mistakes was a big reason they beat the Cavaliers, yet the script was flipped by Charlotte.

The Hornets capitalized with 23 points off those 10 first-half turnovers. The Wizards had 14 giveaways for the games that led to 28 total points. 

Charlotte was 7-for-11 from three at one point in the first half and finished 17-for-39 (43.6%) for the game. That is very uncharacteristic for the Wizards, who entered the night second in the NBA in opponents three-point percentage.

Again, though, the first half ended well as Oubre and Bradley Beal gave the Wizards a jolt in the final seconds:

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Bad defense: The Wizards have played some great defense in recent weeks, but they just didn't have it on Friday night. Most surprising were the guys that hurt them most.

Dwight Howard was limited to 11 points and six rebounds and Kemba Walker didn't score his first points until the final minute of the first half. But others like Frank Kaminsky (23 points), Marvin Williams (15 points) and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (14 points) got pretty much anything they wanted.

For Walker, it was a tale of two halves. He was held in check by Tomas Satoransky in the first half, but broke out in the third quarter and finished with 24 points and seven rebounds. Maybe it was tired legs on the Wizards' part, but Walker just kept dribbling until he got space and once he did, he knocked down shots.

Much like Kyle Lowry did a few weeks ago, Walker made adjustments to find success against Satoransky. We haven't seen that happen much since Wall went out, but those two guys have given him some trouble. Both guys are considerably smaller than Satoransky and very quick. Maybe there's something to that.

Add it all up and this was one of the worst defensive games of the season for the Wizards. They allowed their most points in a game since Jan. 17 against, you guessed it, the Hornets. Only three times this year have they given up more than what they allowed on Friday.

No Sessions: The Wizards did not debut their newest player on Friday night, which was probably to be expected given Ramon Sessions has not had any practice time yet. That is part of why he didn't play, but it's also another indication that he is unlikely to play much with the Wizards. Sessions is on a 10-day contract and is not expected to supplant either Satoransky or Tim Frazier at point guard. Frazier would seem to be the guy in danger of losing minutes, but it was business as usual for him against the Hornets.

Up next: The Wizards are off Saturday before returning to action at home against the Philadelphia 76ers on Sunday night. Tipoff is at 8 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington.

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