Capitals

McDaniels leads Clemson past Georgia Tech 63-60

McDaniels leads Clemson past Georgia Tech 63-60

CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) K.J. McDaniels scored 15 points, including two foul shots with 16 seconds left, as Clemson held on to defeat Georgia Tech 63-60 on Tuesday night, its sixth straight victory over the Yellow Jackets.

The Tigers (12-8, 4-4 Atlantic Coast Conference) held an 11-point lead early in the second half, but the Yellow Jackets (11-8, 1-6) gradually chipped away. When Mfon Udofia made a free throw with 17.2 seconds left, Clemson's lead had shrunk to 61-60.

That's when McDaniels grabbed the inbounds pass, got fouled by Udofia and confidently made both ends of the 1-and-1 attempts. The Yellow Jackets had a chance to tie, but Brandon Reed's 3-point attempt from left of the basket was off the mark and Clemson won for the fourth time in its last six games this season.

Daniel Miller had a career-high 16 points and Kammeon Holsey 14 to lead Georgia Tech.

McDaniels' play rescued the Tigers in a game where their two senior post players, Devin Booker and Milton Jennings, had off nights. Booker, the team's leading scorer, was 3-of-10 shooting for eight points while Jennings followed up his career-high 28 points against Virginia Tech on Sunday by going 4 of 12. He managed nine points and nine rebounds before fouling out.

The Tigers were finishing up a stretch of four games in nine days and improved to 8-2 at Littlejohn Coliseum.

Both Clemson and Georgia Tech carried some momentum into the contest.

The Tigers broke a two-game losing streak last Sunday as they rallied in the second half to defeat Virginia Tech 77-70. The Yellow Jackets finally broke through after starting ACC play with five straight losses, defeating Wake Forest 82-62 and shooting over 50 percent after not breaking 40 percent in their previous five games.

Georgia Tech, last in ACC shooting percentage coming in, carried that touch into this one and made eight of its first 10 shots to open a 20-10 lead after Holsey's three-point play less than eight minutes into the opening half.

Then Clemson tightened its defense and got back in it, closing the half on a 26-10 run. McDaniels got the run started with a jumper. Freshman Jordan Roper hit two outside shots to cut the lead to 26-24. Three minutes later, McDaniels had a 3-pointer and an inside shot to put the Tigers up for the first time, 31-30.

Damarcus Harrison had a 3-pointer and McDaniels closed the run with a layup and Clemson went to the half ahead 36-30.

Georgia Tech made only five of its final 15 shots and had no field goals over the final five minutes.

The Yellow Jackets started 3 of 3 on long-range baskets, then struggled the rest of the way as they made only one of their last 12, including Reed's miss just before the buzzer sounded.

Quick Links

3 stars of the game: Burakovsky's big night propels Caps to the Stanley Cup Final

3 stars of the game: Burakovsky's big night propels Caps to the Stanley Cup Final

For just the second time in franchise history, the Capitals are Eastern Conference Champions. They will play the Vegas Golden Knights in the Stanley Cup FInal after a dominant 3-0 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final.

Alex Ovechkin gave the Capitals the lead just 62 seconds into the game. It was a lead they would never relinquish as Braden Holtby recorded his second consecutive shutout.

Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final will be Monday in Las Vegas.

Here are the three stars of the game.

1. Andre Burakovsky: It's been a rough year for Burakovsky, but all that was erased on Wednesday with his brilliant two-goal performance to lead the Caps.

The Caps were clinging to a 1-0 lead in the second period, but the Lightning were buzzing, outshooting the Caps 8-1. They had all the momentum until Burakovsky stole a bouncing puck from Dan Girardi and fired a quick shot far-side for the beautiful goal.

Burakovsky added a second goal later in the second as John Carlson banked a pass off the boards to launch him on a breakaway. Burakovsky coolly shot it through the open five-hole of Vasilevskiy to make it 3-0.

It's incredible to think that Burakovsky had not recorded a point yet this postseason prior to Game 7, was a healthy scratch for Game 5 and was talking about seeing a sports psychologist over the summer after the morning skate for Game 6.

2. Braden Holtby: The goaltending for much of the series was Andrei Vasilevskiy who led Tampa Bay's comeback in the series with his phenomenal netminding. He was outplayed in the most important games by Holtby, however, who recorded shutouts in both Game 6 and Game 7. The last goal the Lightning scored in the series came 33 seconds into the second period of Game 5. That's 139:27 of continuous play and 60 straight saves for Holtby.

Holtby was phenomenal in Game 7 with big save after big save as the Lightning pushed to tie. His biggest save came in the second period when he denied Alex Killorn on the breakaway. The score was just 2-0 at that point.

This marks just the fifth time a goalie has recorded a shutout in Game 6 and Game 7 in a playoff series.

3. Alex Ovechkin: It took Ovechkin just 62 seconds to put the Capitals ahead and it turned out to be the goal that sent Washington to the Stanley Cup Final. How fitting for it to be Ovechkin to score the game-winner?

Quick Links

Referees miss blatant boarding by Paquette on Orpik

usatsi_10849897.jpg
USA TODAY Sports

Referees miss blatant boarding by Paquette on Orpik

A rough hit to the back of Brooks Orpik left him down on the ice and slow to get up. Cedric Paquette skated back to his bench and waited for the trainer to attend to Orpik and (probably) for the referees to call his number and send him to the box.

The penalty, however, never came.

You always hear in hockey that if you can see a player's numbers, you should pull up on the hit.

What that refers to is the numbers on the back of a player's jersey. You are not allowed to hit a player directly in the back into the boards.

The official definition of boarding according to the NHL rule book is, "any player who checks or pushes a defenseless opponent in such a manner that causes the opponent to hit or impact the boards violently or dangerously." Hitting a player "in the numbers" is a defenseless position.

Apparently Cedric Paquette didn't know that and, unfortunately for the Capitals, neither did the referees.

Someone explain to me how this is not a boarding penalty:

Sometimes referees are put in a tough position because a player turns his back right before they take the hit, thus putting themselves in a vulnerable position to draw a penalty. That was not the case here. Orpik never turned.

When Tom Wilson hit Pittsburgh Penguins forward Zach Aston-Reese in the second period, the hockey world spent the next day debating whether it was an illegal hit. There is no debate here, no grey area. Just a clear board.

And no call.

You can understand referees wanting to put away the whistles for a Game 7, but you have to call the blatant dangerous plays like this. This was a bad miss by the referees, plain and simple.

MORE CAPITALS STORIES