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Kay, Kelce lead Cincinnati over UConn 34-17

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Kay, Kelce lead Cincinnati over UConn 34-17

EAST HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Brendon Kay threw two touchdown passes to Travis Kelce, and caught one from the big tight end on a trick play as Cincinnati beat Connecticut 34-17 on Saturday.

The win gives the Bearcats (9-3) a share of the Big East championship, along with Louisville, Rutgers and Syracuse, all of which ended the season with 5-2 conference records. Cincinnati's two conference losses came to the Cardinals and Scarlet Knights and the Bearcats were not in the running for the conference's Bowl Championship Series bowl berth.

Kelce caught five balls for 69 yards and the two scores. Kay completed 19 of his 29 passes for 245 yards and the two scores.

Chandler Whitmer threw for 264 yards and a touchdown for UConn (5-7, 2-5), before leaving the game with a head injury in the third quarter.

Kay hit Kelce for a 25-yard touchdown on the Bearcats' opening drive, one of three passes of at least 25 yards during the six-play, 76-yard march.

Kelce returned the favor in the second quarter. An interception return by Chris Williams set the Bearcats up on the UConn 39. On first down, Kelce took a backward screen pass from Kay and threw the ball back across the field to his quarterback, who ran down the right side for a touchdown that made it 14-0.

Kay found Kelce from 21-yards out on the opening drive of the second half to give the Bearcats a 21-10 lead.

Kelce and Kay came into the program together as quarterbacks.

Connecticut tight end Ryan Griffin got the Huskies into the game in the second quarter with a 74-yard catch and run. He caught the ball on the UConn 35 and outran the Bearcats' defense, diving into the end zone after almost being tripped up at the 6-yard line by Deven Drane. It was 14-10 at the half.

UConn freshman kicker Bobby Puyol made the first field goal of his career, a 40-yarder to give the Huskies their first points. That was set up when Chandler Whitmer found Michael Smith open over the middle for a 51-yard pass from the UConn 24-yard line. UConn's regular kicker, Chad Christen, sat out the game with a hip injury.

Whitmer started for UConn despite being knocked out of last week's win over Louisville with a head injury. He left this game in the third quarter after taking a shot from Greg Blair on a trick play and hitting his head on the turf.

Senior walk-on Johnny McEntee replaced Whitmer and completed the 15-play, 69-yard drive which ended with a 1-yard touchdown plunge by Lyle McCombs. It was the first second-half touchdown in a Big East game for UConn and brought the Huskies to within four at 21-17.

McCombs finished with 21 carries for 60 yards.

But a bad pass by McEntee that was intercepted by Drane set up another Bearcats touchdown, a 4-yard run by George Winn, his 12th touchdown this season. That came after Tony Miliano had made it a seven-point game, hitting a 38-yard field goal with 12 minutes left. His 42-yarder with 6 minutes left put a bow on the game.

McEntee finished with 73 yards passing and two interceptions.

Winn finished with just 70 yards rushing after coming in averaging 105 yards per game and 5.5 yards per carry. He had just 8 yards at the half.

Cincinnati gets a share of its fourth conference title in five years and the Bearcats will be going to their sixth bowl game in seven years.

Connecticut, which also lost to Cincinnati last season with bowl eligibility on the line, finished its second consecutive losing season since Paul Pasqualoni took over the program from Randy Edsall.

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Michigan's Moritz Wagner could be Wizards' solution for a stretch-five

Michigan's Moritz Wagner could be Wizards' solution for a stretch-five

The pre-draft workout process can be an exhausting journey for players, with so many flights, hotel rooms and NBA arenas that they can all blend in together. Michigan big man Moritz Wagner, though, may have felt a sense of comfort in Washington for his pre-draft workout for the Wizards on Wednesday.

It was just over a year ago that his Michigan Wolverines cut down the nets at Capital One Arena as champions of the Big Ten conference.

"It was good memories, man. Never gets old," he said while glancing around the stadium.

Wagner, 21, will be seeing a lot more of Capital One Arena once he joins the NBA ranks and it is conceivable he ends up in Washington. They hold the 15th pick in the first round and the 44th pick in the second round and Wagner could be within their reach.

Wagner had an impressive workout in Washington and could provide what the Wizards need. He is a big, mobile and can spread the floor. Wagner was terrific at stepping out to hit threes off pick-and-rolls at Michigan and that ability would work well with Wizards All-Star point guard John Wall.

Wagner measured in at just under 7-feet at this month's NBA Combine, fifth-tallest among those who attended. He averaged 14.6 points as a junior this past season and made 39.4 percent of his threes on 4.1 attempts per game.

With three years of college experience and an NBA-ready jumper, Wagner believes he can step right in and help the Wizards.

"I think what we did at Michigan, sharing the ball and playing as a team, very organized basketball, that can help big-time," he said. "It's basically pro basketball I was playing on a different level."

As Wagner will tell you, he is very confident in his abilities. He is comfortable in his own skin and that includes openly discussing his faults. He feels good about his ability to score at the next level. Defense is where he needs to prove himself.

Despite his size, Wagner wasn't much of a rim protector in college. He averaged just a half-block a game as a junior. The Wizards need rim protection badly and he likely would not provide that.

Wagner, though, believes he can bring more to the table defensively than the numbers would suggest.

"I think I've been an offensive guy all of my life, but the more that you mature as a player, you understand that both sides are important. Without defense, you aren't going to play at any level," he said.

"I think the most important thing that I wasn't able to show in college is that I'm able to switch the ball-screen, especially with the way the league is going. Switch on everything and stay in front of guards as a big guy."

Wagner is from Germany and looks up to Mavs legend Dirk Nowitzki, who is entering his 21st season and will be in the Hall of Fame someday. Nowitzki's game has always been built around shooting and, though he developed into a decent shot-blocker in his prime, was never an elite rim protector.

Wagner hopes to follow in his footsteps playing a similar style.

"He was my MJ. He kind of shows you 'okay, this is possible and this is doable.' It's just basketball," Wagner said. "It gives you a lot of hope. It gives you a lot of belief and motivation."

Hear more from Wagner in his one-on-one interview with Chris Miller in our latest Wizards Tipoff podcast. His interview can also be found in the video above:

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Believe it or not, this isn't the first D.C. vs. Vegas postseason matchup

Believe it or not, this isn't the first D.C. vs. Vegas postseason matchup

In what is perhaps the most unexpected Stanley Cup Final pairing in recent memory, the Washington Capitals and the Las Vegas Golden Knights are going to make history this year.

Either it is going to be the first expansion team to win a title in their first season, or it will be a team looking to end a 27-year title drought for one of the biggest cities in the United States.

But what it will not be is the first D.C. vs. Vegas postseason matchup.

Going even farther back than the Capitals last Stanley Cup appearance (1998), the Georgetown Hoyas and UNLV Rebels met in the 1991 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.

Sin City took the first, and up until now, the only postseason bout between these two cities. The Larry Johnson-led University of Las Vegas squad powered right past the Hoyas in the Second Round of the NCAA Tournament.

[D.C. sports and Second Rounds, I know right?]

Coming fresh off the NCAA title in 1990, UNLV waltzed right to the Final Four before meeting their demise against Duke. It also ended up being the last game for Dikembe Mutombo in a Georgetown uniform.

While in all likely-hood this will not be the final game/ series for Alex Ovechkin rocking the red, it may be his last and only chance for him to play this far into a postseason.

In the past two seasons, Vegas has gone from zero professional teams to having a Stanley Cup contender, a WNBA franchise, and lined up to take over the Oakland Raiders in 2020. 

Now time for the Golden Knights' Cinderella story to come up a little bit short. 

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