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Buckeyes still trying to find a No. 2 scorer

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Buckeyes still trying to find a No. 2 scorer

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) A lot of teams would love to have the leading scorer in their conference.

No. 14 Ohio State has Deshaun Thomas, averaging 23.2 points a game in conference play to lead the Big Ten by a wide margin.

The problem for the Buckeyes, who have had difficulty gaining much traction once conference play began, is that they are still on the lookout for somebody to pick up the points left after Thomas gets his allotment.

``Other teams have that second- or third-leading scorer,'' Thomas said Monday as the Buckeyes (13-4, 3-2 Big Ten) went through their final paces before hosting Iowa (13-5, 2-3) on Tuesday night. ``With the offense we've got, anybody can score. Everybody thinks it's a play running for me, but it's not. In our offense, it's for everybody to get a shot off.''

The thing is, they often do not. Or, at least they don't make it if they do get a shot.

No Ohio State player one other than Thomas is averaging more than 8 points a game in conference play. So opposing defenses can concentrate on him and take their chances that even a wide-open teammate may not hurt them.

``With the offenses that we run, there's definitely multiple options and multiple places for different guys to score,'' said point guard Aaron Craft, who is one of three starters not shooting even 40 percent from the field in conference action. ``At times we don't look at those options. We sort of focus on one part of the play - and that's part of the problem.''

A prime example came Saturday when Thomas, despite heavy pressure from No. 13 Michigan State, scored 28 points - but the rest of the team matched him with 28 points in a 59-56 loss.

Coach Thad Matta, whose new Ohio State contract was announced earlier on Monday, said it was mandatory that the Buckeyes get their points by picking their spots and taking advantage of all the attention that Thomas gets.

``It's probably going to lend itself to really playing off each other,'' he said. ``That's one of the things that we have to continue to do is to play off of each other, making simpler plays, and kind of letting things unfold.''

Craft and his fellow point guard, Shannon Scott, have not established themselves as perimeter shooters that opposing teams need to respect. Likewise, the Buckeyes aren't getting much on a consistent basis from guard Lenzelle Smith Jr. or wings Sam Thompson and LaQuinton Ross.

Another glaring shortcoming has been the lack of production from the post position, where Amir Williams, Evan Ravenel and Trey McDonald are combining for only 11.2 points and 7.6 rebounds a game in the Big Ten.

Thomas, for his part, isn't just chucking up shots. He had done a much better job of finding open players when he's being double-teamed. He believes the problem can be corrected.

``I have faith in my guys,'' he said. ``There are guys on this team who are capable of scoring in double digits every night. We just have to be patient within our offense and run with great pace. Anybody can be that second scorer.''

Craft said that perhaps the scoring load can be distributed across several other players instead of just having a single, solid No. 2 scorer.

``It doesn't necessarily have to be one of us. I think we have a lot of guys who are capable and who have shown that they're capable throughout this year,'' he said. ``It's just finding more consistency and not having someone score a lot and then not score much the next night. And hopefully DT can continue to do what he's doing and we'll be in business.''

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Follow Rusty Miller on Twitter:http://www.twitter.com/rustymillerap

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Meet the group of friends saving up for matching Caps tattoos

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NBCSW

Meet the group of friends saving up for matching Caps tattoos

Charlie Sutton’s nails garnered lots of attention at the official Game 4 watch party, as her blue, white and red “LET'S GO CAPS” nails sparkled among the sea of red jerseys.

“I was originally just going to make the nails have the colors and sparkles, but I realized I had enough fingers to write out ‘Let’s Go Caps,’ so that’s what I did!” she said.

Sutton grew up in Idaho following the Steelheads. “We moved to Maryland five years ago because my dad’s in the military and he got stationed here, so when he did I thought, ‘Hey, there’s an NHL team here!’ and started following the Caps then. I've been a huge fan since” she said.

Sutton was at the watch party with her two friends, Hannah Steele and Amye Elfin. Steele’s father worked in Northern Virginia when the Capitals organization started and sold them equipment. “He’s probably the first Caps fan ever,” she joked. Elfin’s father was a sports journalist for the Washington Times when Alexander Ovechkin was drafted, creating a Capitals lineage in their family.

“This has been my whole life,” Elfin said.

The three friends are hardcore Capitals fans, saving enough money to get Capitals-themed tattoos together. Elfin already has three blue and red stars tattooed on her left arm: “I got this done at Tattoo Paradise, where the Caps got their tattoos done!”

“We were way too broke to get that tattoo with her,” Sutton said, laughing with Steele. “But we’ve been coming up with lots of ideas and thinking about placement together.”

The three joked about getting Lars Eller’s abs tattooed on their stomachs, skate laces tattooed over their feet or the entire Stanley Cup tattooed over their spines.

Realistically, though, Sutton said that they plan to get something small to memorialize their favorite team.

“Ovechkin has ‘Sergei’ on his gloves, so maybe I’ll get that on the bottom of my hand where it is on his gloves,” Sutton said. Steele said that she might get the year 2019 for the team’s Stanley Cup victory, or a jersey number or two.

Check in with us when you’re at the parlor!

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Hurricanes shock Capitals, score 17 seconds into Game 4

Hurricanes shock Capitals, score 17 seconds into Game 4

The Capitals were looking to rebound quickly from their 5-0 drubbing Monday night against the Hurricanes and take a 3-1 series lead.

But the Hurricanes had other plans.

17 seconds into the game, Matt Niskanen pinched to try and keep the puck in. It backfired, and Justin Williams found Jaccob Slavin with an outlet pass. The Canes' speed created a  3-on-1 opportunity, and Slavin sent the puck to a streaking Warren Foegele for the tap in.

It's Foegele's third goal of the series. The fastest goal to start a playoff game is courtesy of Don Kozak in 1977. He scored 6 seconds into the opening frame. 

The fastest the Capitals have conceded a goal to start a period was to Sidney Crosby 12 seconds into a 3-2 loss against the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2017.

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