Duke takes over 1st place in ACC Coastal


Duke takes over 1st place in ACC Coastal

DURHAM, N.C. (AP) It's not a misprint. That really is Duke atop the Atlantic Coast Conference's Coastal Division in football.

The Blue Devils' last-minute win over rival North Carolina sets up a meeting of division leaders this week when they visit No. 11 Florida State.

Duke's 33-30 victory on Saturday, plus losses by Miami and Virginia Tech, made the Blue Devils (6-2, 3-1) the division's only team with one conference loss.

It also marked the latest step forward in coach David Cutcliffe's massive reconstruction project at what for years had been one of the biggest laughingstocks in the Bowl Subdivision. Since Duke made its last bowl trip and had its last winning season in 1994, the Blue Devils went winless four times.

``I'm concerned about our injuries, but I'm not concerned about our emotions,'' Cutcliffe said. ``I don't think we're going to come out of here satisfied. I think this team realizes that it can win if it plays well every time we get on the field.''

The Blue Devils were one of four one-loss teams in their division heading into the weekend, joining Miami, North Carolina and Virginia Tech. The Hokies slipped off the pace when they were routed by Clemson and the Seminoles took care of Miami in the late game, giving the top spot in the Costal to Duke.

The tough part will be staying there. The Blue Devils close the season with games against Florida State, Clemson, Georgia Tech and Miami, and since the ACC grew to 11 schools in 2004, their win over Clemson that year marks their only victory against any of those teams.

They'll worry about those opponents as they come. For now, it's a time to savor their first win over the Tar Heels since 2003 - and first at home since 1988 - and keep thinking big.

``We know we wanted to go bowling, but this (isn't) it,'' running back Josh Snead said. ``We (have) our eyes set on winning this division and going to the ACC championship, and then going bowling.''

This one was made even more remarkable because they did some things better than any recent - or not-so-recent - Duke team has.

The Blue Devils rolled up 510 total yards, and their 234 yards rushing marked the most by a Duke team since Cutcliffe took over in 2008. Both totals marked season highs allowed by a North Carolina defense that entered ranked in the ACC's top tier in every significant statistical category.

They also overcame a late series of events that, in most other years, would have led to yet another loss.

Duke led virtually all night, only to have a two-touchdown lead evaporate in the fourth quarter. North Carolina went up 30-26 on a bizarre play: The Tar Heels' Erik Highsmith fumbled after a long catch, Duke couldn't recover the ball and Gio Bernard scooped it up and scored.

Many previous Duke teams would have folded there. This one responded by going 87 yards in 14 plays, converting three third-and-longs to move to the North Carolina 5. On fourth down in the closing seconds, Sean Renfree rolled and threw over the middle to Jamison Crowder - who held on in the end zone as he was upended by a pair of defenders for the winning touchdown.

``That's just something that you dream about since you were a little kid,'' Crowder said. ``Watching a lot of ballgames and you see players catch game-winning touchdowns or hit game-winners in basketball. It's just a dream come true for me. I always think about that, scoring the last touchdown to win the game. It couldn't have come better against Carolina.''

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Anthony Davis trade to Lakers gives Silver Spring's Josh Hart fresh start with Pelicans

Anthony Davis trade to Lakers gives Silver Spring's Josh Hart fresh start with Pelicans

The Anthony Davis trade will have ripple effects across the NBA, not only on teams, but also on the players involved.

Josh Hart, who was traded from the Lakers to the Pelicans as part of the package for Davis on Saturday, could stand to benefit from the move.

First, here's a look at all of the assets reportedly swapped in the deal, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

Now, where does the Silver Spring, Md., native figure in the proceedings?

Hart spent his first two NBA seasons with the Lakers. He averaged 7.9 points in 24.4 minutes per game in his two years in Los Angeles. 

Still, Hart was often the Lakers' third or fourth option at shooting guard behind starter Brandon Ingram and shared minutes with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Reggie Bullock and Lance Stephenson. 

LeBron James and the Lakers' win-now strategy left little room to develop Hart last season.

Now in New Orleans, he is part of a franchise rebuilding around presumptive No. 1 overall pick Zion Williamson. The trade gave the Pelicans both a younger roster and a long enough timeline for success to develop players.

That can only be good news for Hart, giving him the chance to start fresh and impress Pelicans general manager David Griffin and head coach Alvin Gentry with his potential. 

Where the Sidwell Friends alum fits into the lineup depends on several factors.

At first glance, the new-look Pelicans could start Lonzo Ball at point guard, move Jrue Holiday to shooting guard, then complete the lineup with Ingram at small forward, Williamson at power forward and Julius Randle at center. 

If both Ingram and Holiday remain healthy, Hart would compete with Stanley Johnson to be the first wing off the bench for New Orleans.

But if Ingram does suffer recurring issues related to blood clots, Hart could press his case to start. 

The only issue complicating his place in New Orleans' plans is the No. 4 pick that was traded from the Lakers.

If the Pelicans keep that pick and draft a wing player like Jarrett Culver, Hart could find himself on the outside looking in again. 


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Pelicans reportedly trade Anthony Davis to the Lakers for a huge haul including Lonzo Ball

Pelicans reportedly trade Anthony Davis to the Lakers for a huge haul including Lonzo Ball

According to a report from ESPN NBA Insider Adrian Wojnarowski, the Los Angeles Lakers have acquired Pelicans' forward Anthony Davis in exchange for Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, and multiple first-round draft picks, including the No. 4 overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft.

The announcement comes less than 48 hours into the NBA offseason, although the rumors and speculation of the deal has been a prominent storyline for months.

The much-anticipated deal gives the Lakers the star they've been trying to pair with LeBron James for some time and gives the Pelicans a young nucleus to build around the presumptive No. 1 pick Zion Williamson. 

According to Marc Stein of The New York Times, the Boston Celtics refused to part ways with promising forward Jayson Tatum in a potential trade with New Orleans.

The Celtics had been in the mix for Davis, but with Kyrie Irving likely headed for the exits, Danny Ainge was unwilling to part with his young assets in exchange for the one year remaining on Davis' contract.

Before the Davis domino fell, NBC Sports Washington's Chase Hughes wrote about how a Davis trade could impact Bradley Beal's value

The Lakers, Knicks and Celtics all appear to want Davis and only one can get him, if he is even traded at all.

If the quest for Davis comes down to those three teams, there will be at least two that lose out.

The Knicks or Celtics now must determine whether trading for Beal is their next-best option behind Davis.