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Wichita State tops No. 12 Creighton, 67-64

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Wichita State tops No. 12 Creighton, 67-64

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) Carl Hall had 17 points and 13 rebounds, Malcolm Armstead hit two key free throws in the closing seconds to help Wichita State hold off beat Doug McDermott and No. 12 Creighton 67-64 on Saturday to forge a tie atop the Missouri Valley.

Cleanthony Early added 13 points and Demetric Williams had 10 for the Shockers (17-2, 6-1 MVC), who pushed their home-court winning streak to 17 games.

McDermott finished with 25 points for the Bluejays (17-2, 6-1), but he never got the ball with the game on the line. Instead, Ethan Wragge misfired on a potential tying 3 with 6 seconds left, and then had another chance when Hall missed two free throws at the other end.

This time, Wragge's shot from the top of the key clanked off the back of the rim.

Grant Gibbs finished with 14 points for the Bluejays, who trailed almost the entire way while having their 11-game winning streak snapped. Creighton hadn't lost since Nov. 28.

Hall gave the Shockers a 65-63 lead when he made the second of two free throws with 48.3 seconds left, but Gibbs - a 67 percent free throw shooter - only made one of two with 25.3 seconds to go, allowing the Shockers to cling to a lead and forcing Creighton to foul.

Wichita State got the ball to Anthony on the inbounds, and after getting fouled, he calmly made both free throws for a 67-64 lead with 15.3 seconds left.

That set up Wragge's two misfires, the second as the final horn sounded.

It was little surprise that a game between last season's regular-season champion, Wichita State, and tournament champion Creighton would come down to the wire. They have played 29 games decided by 12 or fewer points since 1994-95.

The Shockers were thankful to have Hall back in the lineup.

The senior forward had energy to burn after missing seven games with a thumb injury, at one point scoring six straight points for the Shockers underneath. Later in the half, he missed two layups and got two offensive boards before finally scoring for a 25-19 lead.

Hall was also doing his duty on defense, one of several defenders that Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall attached to McDermott throughout the game.

After scoring 39 points against Missouri State and 31 in a win over Northern Iowa, the son of Creighton coach Greg McDermott struggled just to find enough space to put up a shot. McDermott was just 3 of 8 from the field before Gibbs found him at the top of the key for a buzzer-beating 3-pointer, pulling the Bluejays within 36-33 at halftime.

The Shockers were just 3 of 15 from the 3-point line in the first half, but they only committed four turnovers and kept the Bluejays from going on a big run.

Creighton tied the game 38-all early in the first half, only for the Shockers to put together a quick run. Early poured in a 3-pointer and then popped a jumper right over McDermott, helping the Shockers extend their lead to 49-42 with 15:15 left in the game.

That's when Creighton's run finally happened.

McDermott's basket and an open 3-pointer by Gibbs from the wing helped to trigger a 10-2 charge, and a jumper by Austin Chatman gave the Bluejays their first lead at 52-51 with 11:28 left.

Buoyed by a capacity crowd of 10,506, the Shockers refused to give in, and a flagrant foul on Gibbs sent Tekele Cotton to the foul line and helped Wichita State pull back ahead.

The Bluejays got within 64-63 when they took advantage of a 5-on-4 situation with Early, who had landed hard and hit his head, still rolling around under the other basket. McDermott scored with a baseline jumper with 2:17 left in the game.

It was the last basket he would make in the game.

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3 reasons why the Caps beat the Sabres

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3 reasons why the Caps beat the Sabres

You may think this was an ugly four-game road trip for the Caps, but with a 3-2 win in Buffalo on Monday, Washington managed to earn five out of a possible eight points.

Here is why the Caps beat the Sabres and managed to save the road swing.

A missed high-stick (maybe) from Ovechkin

Ovechkin scored the first goal of the game in the second period as he deflected a high-shot from Christian Djoos down past goalie Chad Johnson. But did the deflection come on a high stick? The play was reviewed and the goal was ultimately upheld. According to the NHL, it was determined that "video review supported the Referee's call on the ice that Alex Ovechkin's stick was at or below the height of the crossbar when he tipped the puck into the Buffalo net."

NBC Sports Washington analyst Alan May broke the play down during the second intermission and made his case for why the NHL actually got the call wrong.

Was that a high stick? I don't know. As compelling an argument as May made, it still looks inconclusive which means the review made the right call. What surprises me is that the referee did not disallow the goal on the initial call.

Whether the review is truly inconclusive or flat out wrong, Washington was fortunate to walk away from this sequence with the goal.

MORE CAPITALS: BIZARRE SEQUENCE LEADS TO CAPS SCORING AND GETTING PENALIZED AT THE SAME TIME

A centimeter of ice

Hockey is a game of inches and it took less than an inch to put Washington up 2-0. When an Evgeny Kuznetsov shot hit off the boards and bounced back to the front of the net, it sparked a scrum next to goalie Chad Johnson. Eventually, John Carlson was able to get a swipe on the puck sending it trickling to the goal line, but Kyle Okposo was there waiting and appeared to kick it out to safety just before it crossed. A review triggered by the Situation Room, however, revealed that the puck had just barely managed to cross the goal line before Okposo got to it.

Here's the view the NHL released after the review:

Philipp Grubauer's third period

After dominating the first 40 minutes of the game and taking a 2-0 lead, Buffalo predictably made a late push in the third period with two goals to pull within one. Washington outshot the Sabres in the first and second periods, but Buffalo reversed that trend in a big way in the third as they outshot the Caps 17-6. Grubauer turned aside 15 of those shots and was impressive after barely being tested in the first two periods.

RELATED: CHECK OUT THE 3 STARS OF THE GAME FROM CAPS-SABRE

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3 stars of the game: Caps knockout the punchless Sabres

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3 stars of the game: Caps knockout the punchless Sabres

Coming off an ugly 7-1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks, a Buffalo Sabres team missing star Jack Eichel was just what the doctor ordered for the Caps to get back on track. Washington dominated the first two periods and then survived a late surge from Buffalo for the 3-2 win.

After battling to a scoreless first, Alex Ovechkin and John Carlson spotted Washington a 2-0 lead in the second. They then held on in the third period as Buffalo began to tilt the ice in their favor, with Evgeny Kuznetsov scoring the empty-netter to put this game out of reach. Evander Kane would pull Buffalo within one, but with only three seconds left it was too little, too late.

Here are the three stars of the game:

1. Alex Ovechkin: Ovechkin opened up the scoring in the second period as he deflected down an innocent shot from Christian Djoos past Chad Johnson. Ovechkin also set a physical tone as he battled with defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen all game long. After taking a high elbow from Ristolainen early in the game Ovechkin skated up to Ristolainen prior to the faceoff on his next shift and let him know that it was on. 

2. John Carlson: Carlson had a hand in both of Washington's goals on Monday. He recorded a secondary assist on Ovechkin's goal as he made a blue line pass to Djoos which Djoos fired on net and Ovechkin deflected. Carlson then managed to hit the puck past the goal line in a scrum next to Johnson. It looked initially like Kyle Okposo had managed to kick out the puck just before it crossed, but Carlson was awarded the goal as a review showed the puck had completely crossed the line.

3. Philipp Grubauer: A Sabres team that ranks last in the NHL in scoring and that was also without its leading scorer did not test Grubauer much in the first two periods. Facing a 2-0 deficit, however, Buffalo made a third period push to try to tie the game, but Grubauer was up to the task as he turned aside 15 of the 17 shots he faced in the final 20 minutes. He finished with 32 total saves on the night.