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Johnson, Vanderbilt top Auburn 73-61

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Johnson, Vanderbilt top Auburn 73-61

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Kedren Johnson scored 15 points to lead Vanderbilt over Auburn 73-61 on Wednesday night.

Four players scored in double figures to help the Commodores (8-9, 2-3 Southeastern Conference) win consecutive games for the first time in more than a month.

The Tigers (8-10, 2-3) cut the deficit to five points twice in the second half before Vanderbilt used the long ball to sprint away. Kyle Fuller, Sheldon Jeter and Kevin Bright each drained 3-pointers during a 13-3 run. Rod Odom emphatically capped off the spurt with a two-handed dunk after Josh Henderson found him streaking to the basket for a 52-37 lead with 12:28 left.

Fuller scored 14 points, Bright added 12 and Jeter had 10 as the Commodores won their seventh straight against Auburn.

Rob Chubb and Frankie Sullivan each scored 14 points and Brian Greene Jr. added 11 for the Tigers, who have dropped three straight.

Two straight layups by Chubb sparked Auburn, which made its first five shots. A baseline jumper by Jordan Price put the Tigers up 12-4 just 5:01 into the game.

After missing seven of its opening eight shots, Vanderbilt responded with a run of its own thanks to the play of three former starters. Bright popped off the bench with a straightaway 3-pointer, Henderson followed with a layup and Fuller scored five straight points. He bounced in a 3-pointer to cap off a 10-1 run and give the Commodores a brief 14-13 lead with 11:58 left in the half.

The game tilted back and forth until Vanderbilt ended the half with seven straight points. Coach Kevin Stallings delivered high-fives to his team after Auburn called a timeout with 1:22 left in the half following an offensive rebound and layup by Shelby Moats, which gave Vanderbilt a 34-27 halftime lead.

After the break, the Commodores picked up where they left off as Jeter scored five straight points to stake a 39-29 lead. After Auburn sliced the deficit in half, Fuller answered with a 3-pointer to spark the rout.

Johnson sunk a 3-pointer for a 55-39 lead with 10:59 left but the Commodores went scoreless for nearly 5 minutes. Auburn failed to capitalize even a little, committing four turnovers and missing three shots during a 4-minute drought. After shooting 50 percent (11 of 22) in the first half, the Tigers made just 11 of 31 shots (35.5 percent) the final 20 minutes.

Vanderbilt also finally received a boost at the foul line. After entering as the second-worst free-throw shooting team (57.2 percent) in the country, the Commodores made a season-high 24 free throws out of 30 attempts. Johnson paced the team by making eight of 10. Fuller made six of seven and Odom sunk all six.

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New pieces on offense lead to plenty of questions for Redskins at OTAs

New pieces on offense lead to plenty of questions for Redskins at OTAs

Alex Smith in, Kirk Cousins out.

That's certainly the headline, but there are plenty of other questions for the Redskins, particularly on the offensive side of the ball.

For the last two seasons, most of the questions going into OTAs for Washington came from the defensive side of the ball. After consecutive drafts with a first-round defensive lineman selection, the defense should be much improved. 

On offense, however, there are a lot of new parts. 

  1. The headliner - No position in sports is as important as NFL quarterback. This will be Alex Smith's first action in a Redskins uniform with media present. The 34-year-old veteran is coming off the best season of his career, and if he can continue that level of accuracy and play-making, the Redskins could be poised for an explosive year.
  2. The speedster - Washington's wideouts lacked separation in 2017. It was apparent through much of the year, and likely played a roll in some of Kirk Cousins' reluctance to make tough throws. Free agent addition Paul Richardson is supposed to help, immediately. He has elite deep speed and the 'Skins brass hopes he can bring a similar element to the offense that DeSean Jackson provided a few years back. Time to prove it Paul. 
  3. The injuries - There are big reasons for concern, namely two very large men in Jordan Reed and Trent Williams. Reed will not participate in OTAs, and has been dealing with a foot/toe injury for the better part of a year. Williams, who seems highly unlikely to attend OTAs, underwent knee surgery in January. Beyond Smith, Reed and Williams are probably the two most important offensive players on the Redskins. OTAs aren't important, Reed and Williams participating, or even attending, OTAs is not important. Both men being healthy and ready to go in September is quite important. 
  4. The Rookie - Has Derrius Guice become the most popular player on the Redskins? Maybe. The dynamic rookie running back, with an interesting draft weekend slide, has the charisma and ability to be a star. The "off-field concerns" that hurt his draft status seem like myths at this point, but there was some injury concern his junior season at LSU (see video above). Guice has an opportunity to be a huge part of the Redskins offense, and all eyes will be watching the rookie. 
  5. The leap? - In 2017, Josh Doctson showed flashes of the player that warranted a first-round pick in 2016. Will 2018 be the year he proves it, week after week, game after game? Getting off to a good start with Smith should help, and even more important would be an injury-free offseason. 

There are questions for the defense too, particularly at cornerback after Josh Norman, but this year, the offense has more new parts. 

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Capitals Faceoff Podcast: A trip to the Stanley Cup Final is on the line

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Capitals Faceoff Podcast: A trip to the Stanley Cup Final is on the line

The Eastern Conference Final is going the distance!

After losing three straight to the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Capitals won Game 6 to force a Game 7 in Tampa Bay. Can the Caps beat the Lightning one more time and advance to the Stanley Cup Final?

JJ Regan, Tarik El-Bashir and special guest cameraman Mike D break it all down.

 

PLEASE NOTE: Due to schedule and time constraints, this podcast was recorded by phone and the audio quality is not up to our usual standards.

Check out their latest episode in the player below or listen on the Capitals Faceoff Podcast page.