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Drake stuns No. 17 Creighton 74-69

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Drake stuns No. 17 Creighton 74-69

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) Richard Carter scored 20 points and Drake stunned No. 17 Creighton 74-69 on Wednesday night, handing the Bluejays their first consecutive losses of the season.

Ben Simons added 13 for the Bulldogs (9-10, 3-5 Missouri Valley Conference), who blew a 16-point lead before rallying for their first win over a ranked opponent in five years.

Grant Gibbs brought Creighton within 71-69 with 32 seconds left, and the Bluejays got the ball back on a steal. But Gibbs missed a layup and Simons sealed the win with a steal and two free throws with 0.5 seconds left.

Doug McDermott had 21 points to lead Creighton, which shot just 24 percent from 3-point range. But McDermott had just four points in the second half and didn't touch the ball on Creighton's last two possessions.

Four days after losing by three points to No. 20 Wichita State, the Bluejays opened with perhaps their worst half of the season.

Drake's substantial lead didn't last long, though.

Will Artino's dunk off an alley-oop pass preceded two layups by Grant Gibbs that brought Creighton within 53-51 with 12:03 left. Creighton finally retook the lead, 62-61, with 7:10 to go on McDermott's first basket of the second half.

Gibbs added 16 points for the Bluejays, who outscored Drake 41-30 in the second half but couldn't get it done in the final minutes.

Creighton pounded Drake by 30 points in their meeting in Omaha two weeks ago.

The Bulldogs seemed intent on returning the favor in the first half.

Consecutive 3s by Carter gave the Bulldogs a 25-20 lead, riling up a home gym that was much more packed than it usually is. With everyone but McDermott struggling for Creighton, Drake pushed its lead to 41-28 on a layup by Seth VanDeest.

McDermott then got called for a sloppy travel under the basket, and Chris Hines drilled a 3 from the elbow that put the Bulldogs ahead by 16 at halftime.

McDermott, who entered play as the nation's second-leading scorer at 24.1 points per game, had 17 at halftime. But his teammates chipped in with just four baskets in 20 minutes.

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Follow Luke Meredith on Twitter: www.twitter.com/LukeMeredithAP

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Stanley Cup Final 2018: Who could win the Conn Smythe Trophy?

Stanley Cup Final 2018: Who could win the Conn Smythe Trophy?

The Stanley Cup is not the only trophy that will be awarded at the end of the Stanley Cup Final series between the Washington Capitals and Vegas Golden Knights. The Conn Smythe will also be given to the player deemed the most valuable to his team during the playoffs.

Who will that player be?

It's not hard to figure out who the frontrunner is right now. Marc-Andre Fleury hasn't just been the best goalie in the playoffs, he's been the best player with a dominant postseason in which he has posted a .947 save percentage and four shutouts. He has been so dominant, he could win it even if Vegas loses the series.

See the top contenders for the Conn Smythe heading into the Stanley Cup Final here.

The last player from the losing team to win the Conn Smythe was Jean-Sebastian Giguere from the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim in 2003.

But what about the Caps?

Alex Ovechkin is the leader of Washington and has been absolutely dominant throughout the postseason. He even scored the series-clinching goal in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final.

Surprisingly, however, Ovechkin does not lead the team in points through the playoffs. Evgeny Kuznetsov holds that edge with 24 points to Ovechkin's 22.

Will their offensive dominance propel them to win the Cup and the Conn Smythe? Will a different player emerge as the hero of the series?

See the top contenders for the Conn Smythe heading into the Stanley Cup Final here.

MORE CAPITALS PLAYOFF NEWS:

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Need to Know: A closer look at Alex Smith's contract with the Redskins

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Associated Press

Need to Know: A closer look at Alex Smith's contract with the Redskins

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, May 26, 17 days before the Washington Redskins start minicamp.  

Note: I am vacationing in the Outer Banks this week. In this space, I’ll be presenting some of the most popular posts of the last few months. I hope you enjoy these “best of” presentations and I’ll see you folks when I get back. 

Contract makes Alex Smith a Redskins for at least three seasons

This post was originally published on March 19. 

When the Redskins traded for Alex Smith on January 30, news also broke that he had agreed to a four-year extension with Washington in addition to the one year left on his contract with the Chiefs. While we got some top-line numbers on the deal, we have gone since then without any details. 

Until now. 

The details show a deal that has a slightly higher cap hit in 2018 than was on his original Chiefs contract and the numbers rise gradually over the life of the deal, which runs through 2022. 

Smith got a $27 million signing bonus and his salaries for 2018 ($13 million) and 2019 ($15 million) also are fully guaranteed at signing making the total $55 million (information via Over the Cap, which got data from a report by Albert Breer). 

But there I another $16 million that is guaranteed for all practical purposes. On the fifth day of the 2019 league year, his 2020 salary of $16 million becomes fully guaranteed. He almost assuredly will get to the point where that money will become guaranteed since the Redskins are not going to cut him after one year having invested $55 million in him. So the total guarantees come to $71 million. 

His 2021 salary is $19 million and it goes up to $21 million in 2022. There have been reports of some incentives available to Smith but since we have no details we’ll set those aside for now. 

The cap hits on the contract are as follows: 

2018: $18.4 million
2019: $20.0 million
2020: $21.4 million
2021: $24.4 million
2022: $26.4 million

The Redskins can realistically move on from Smith after 2020. There would be net cap savings of $13 million in 2021 and $21 million in 2022. 

The first impression of the deal is that the Redskins did not move on from Kirk Cousins because they didn’t want to guarantee a lot of money to a quarterback. The total practical guarantee of $71 million is second only to Cousins’ $82.5 million. It should be noted that Cousins’ deal runs for three years and Smith’s contract is for five. 

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