Capitals

Georgetown tops Seton Hall 74-52 for 5th win in 6

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Georgetown tops Seton Hall 74-52 for 5th win in 6

WASHINGTON (AP) Otto Porter scored 20 points, and Georgetown made a season-high 15 steals and got a rare first-half boost from a walk-on Wednesday night in a 74-52 win over Seton Hall.

Markel Starks added 16 points as the Hoyas (15-4, 5-3 Big East) never trailed, taking advantage of Seton Hall's turnovers to take a 20-4 lead less than 8 1/2 minutes into the game.

Georgetown has won five of six after an 0-2 start in the conference, but coach John Thompson III's search for help from his thin bench reached a new level when he inserted junior John Caprio, who had played 13 minutes all season, into the rotation with the outcome still in doubt.

Caprio had three points, two rebounds, an assist and a steal in five first-half minutes after the Pirates had pulled within seven. The student section began chanting ``Ca-pri-o!'' after his putback gave Georgetown a 32-18 lead.

Brian Oliver scored 13 points and Aaron Cosby 12 for the Pirates (13-8, 2-6), who have lost six of seven.

Coach Kevin Willard tried his 10th different starting lineup of the season, but 25 turnovers - including seven in the first 7 minutes - and poor 3-point shooting (5 for 20) kept his team playing catch-up all evening. Seton Hall entered the game making a conference-best 8.2 3-pointers per game.

The Pirates were also hurt by foul trouble. Eugene Teague and Brandon Mobley both had four with 16:19 remaining - which was also when the Hoyas started shooting 1-and-1 at the line. Georgetown attempted 22 free throws in the second half.

Georgetown has been playing better recently despite losing Greg Whittington for academic reasons six games ago. The Hoyas have been playing more up-tempo in his absence, and one first-half sequence showed how it's paying off: After Seton Hall's Fuquan Edwin missed a 3-pointer, freshman D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera grabbed the rebound and pushed the ball upcourt to Starks, who fed Nate Lubick for a layup before the Pirates had any chance to set up on defense.

With Whittington out and starter Mikael Hopkins regularly ineffective, Thompson has been putting all sorts of unusual combinations on the floor. Aaron Bowen scored the first winning basket of his three-year Georgetown career in Saturday's win over Louisville, and Stephen Domingo made a first-half appearance Wednesday for his first game action since Jan. 12.

But Caprio seemed a most unlikely choice. He had played only 42 minutes over three seasons, scoring eight points while committing 10 turnovers.

Caprio returned in the second half - after the game was essentially decided - and finished with four points, six rebounds and two assists.

The lights dimmed for several minutes during the second half because of a storm in the Washington area, but the game was not stopped and play did not appear to be affected.

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Follow Joseph White on Twitter:http://twitter.com/JGWhiteAP

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Canadiens halt Capitals' point streak at 13

Canadiens halt Capitals' point streak at 13

WASHINGTON -- You've got to lose sometime. The clock finally struck midnight on the Capitals' point streak on Friday as Washington fell 5-2 to the Montreal Canadiens. A sleepy first period gave way to an onslaught in the second where Montreal scored four of its five goals.

The loss was the Caps' first regulation loss since Oct. 14, ending a streak of 13 straight games with at least a point.

Here is how the Caps lost.

Ovechkin’s hit

Early in the second period, it would be fair to call this a lifeless game. The score was tied at 0 with neither team generating much in the way of offense. There were no real highlight plays, highlight, nothing. It was just...blah.

Alex Ovechkin changed that.

Just over four minutes into the second, Ovechkin obliterated Canadiens forward Jonathan Drouin with a heavy hit.

Drouin was slow to get up and immediately headed to the locker room. Those type of hits can be momentum-changers, but it is not always the hitter that gets that momentum boost. In this case, it seemed to wake up Montreal and not the Caps.

About two minutes after the hit, Phillip Danault would score the first of four goals the Canadiens would score in the second period. All four goals came in a span of 8:20.

It's hard not to draw the connection between the hit and the immediate response from Montreal on the scoresheet.

Defensive zone turnovers

Defensive zone turnovers are very dangerous in hockey. When a team has possession of the puck and is trying to break out, players head down the ice ready to transition from defense to offense.

In the second period, the Caps and Canadiens were locked in a board battle off a faceoff in Washington's defensive zone. John Carlson kicked the puck up near the blue line and T.J. Oshie stepped in. It looked like he was going to get the puck out or at least that's what his four teammates thought. Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom were already out of the defensive zone and both while Carlson and Kempny began skating up after them. Tomas Tatar and Ben Chiarot continued battling for the puck on the boards and prevented Oshie from getting it out. The puck squirted away from the boards and Montreal took possession. The Caps thought they had the puck on the breakout, but the defense suddenly found itself out of position thanks to the turnover. Tomas Tatar passed to Danault who was all by his lonesome in front of the net and he made it 1-0.

It wasn’t just that one moment. Puck management was an issue all night long for the Caps and it cost them again about five minutes later.

Now down 2-0, the Caps shut down an offensive zone possession for Montreal and had taken away the puck. Lars Eller attempted a stretch pass from the defensive zone right up the middle, but Tatar batted the puck down with his stick and Nate Thompson picked up the puck right behind the blue line and took it right back in to continue the offensive pressure. Less than 20 seconds later, Jordan Weal backhanded a shot that hit off the post and bounced off Samsonov to barely trickle over the goal line.

Out of gas

Lengthy streaks can be exhausting for teams and it certainly looked through 40 minutes like the Caps were just out of gas.

Montreal played well, but each goal in the second seemed to take more of the wind out of Washington's sails until there wasn't much left in the second period.

Through the first 40 minutes, the Caps were being outshot 30-18 in shots on goal and 50-36 in total shot attempts. The team rallied somewhat in the third period with Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov each scoring to make things interesting, but there was not enough time or energy left for Washington to mount a real comeback.

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Karl-Anthony Towns gets technical foul for frustration with Mo Wagner

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Karl-Anthony Towns gets technical foul for frustration with Mo Wagner

Mo Wagner became the NBA's leader in charges drawn Friday night, and his activity during the first half helped him get under Karl-Anthony Towns' skin. 

After Wagner attempted to draw yet another charge on Towns, the Minnesota big man finished a layup on the drive and laid the ball in Wagner's lap when the foul went uncalled. 

Towns received the technical foul as the Wizards continued to play a strong first half against one of the better offenses in the league on the road. 

Towns has been on a mean streak this season. He got in an epic brawl with Joel Embiid earlier this season and got into it with Rudy Gay just a few nights ago. He's demonstrated that he's a player you can get to, and Wagner did just that early on. 

The Wizards' defense has seemingly responded to Wagner's activity, so we'll see if they can keep it up to supplement one of the league's best offensive units. 

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