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Kilpatrick leads No. 24 Cincy over Rutgers 62-54

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Kilpatrick leads No. 24 Cincy over Rutgers 62-54

CINCINNATI (AP) Sean Kilpatrick scored 19 points and No. 24 Cincinnati intensified its defense in the second half, overcoming a 10-point deficit to beat Rutgers 62-54 on Wednesday night for a sweep of their season series.

Cincinnati (17-4, 5-3 Big East) blocked eight shots, forced 21 turnovers and held the Scarlet Knights to 24 points in the second half. The Bearcats also won at Rutgers 68-58 on Jan. 12.

Myles Mack scored 15 points to lead the Scarlet Knights (12-8, 3-6), who have lost four in a row with an offense that can't find any consistency.

The Bearcats trailed by 10 early in the second half and didn't lead until Kilpatrick's fastbreak layup put them ahead with 11 minutes left. Point guard Cashmere Wright hit a 3-pointer that put them ahead to stay.

Cincinnati had eight days off following its 57-55 loss at Syracuse, giving Wright more time to recover from a sprained right knee. Wright missed one game and returned at Syracuse even though the knee wasn't fully healed. He played 29 minutes and went only 2 of 13 from the field, missing seven of eight shots from behind the arc.

Wright started Wednesday but picked up his second foul at the 16:07 mark and headed to the bench. He was limited to 20 minutes and finished with six points and three assists on 1-of-6 shooting.

Justin Jackson had seven points, seven rebounds and six blocks for Cincinnati.

Kilpatrick has carried the offense while Wright was either sidelined or limited by the injury. He missed his first four shots on Wednesday, and the Bearcats' offense bogged down again. He finished 5 of 13 from the field and 3 of 8 behind the arc.

Cincinnati missed its first nine shots from long range and opened the game only 2 of 13 from the field, helping Rutgers pull ahead 13-5. The Scarlet Knights never trailed, leading by as many as nine in the half.

Mack leads Big East guards in shooting percentage and averages a team-high 12.8 points, but had been in a shooting slump during the Scarlet Knights' previous three losses. He was only 3 of 16 from 3-point range during the three games.

He didn't start Wednesday, coming off the bench at the 14:33 mark. He had a steal and layup, four free throws and a 3-pointer that helped Rutgers hold a 30-22 lead at halftime.

Wright picked up his third foul only 53 seconds into the second half but stayed in the game. Wally Judge's two free throws gave Rutgers its biggest lead, 32-22.

That's when Kilpatrick asserted himself. He made a driving basket and a pair of 3s, helping the Bearcats cut the lead to 36-35 with 14:49 left. Kilpatrick got a loose ball and drove for a layup that gave Cincinnati its first lead, 42-40, with 11:06 to go.

Wright missed his first four shots, but made a long 3-pointer from the top of the arc that gave Cincinnati a 49-46 lead. The Bearcats never trailed again, finishing it off with 11 free throws down the stretch.

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Follow Joe Kay on Twitter:http://twitter.com/apjoekay

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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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