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No. 11 Cincinnati beats Wright State 68-58

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No. 11 Cincinnati beats Wright State 68-58

CINCINNATI (AP) JaQuon Parker scored 16 of his 21 points in the second half Saturday, and No. 11 Cincinnati remained unbeaten by overcoming another poor start for a 68-58 victory over Wright State.

The Bearcats improved to 12-0 for the eighth time in school history and the second time in three seasons. Cincinnati won its first 15 games in 2010-11.

For the second game in a row, the Bearcats struggled in half-court offense and scored only 22 points in the first half. Parker scored Cincinnati's first eight in the second half, sparking a 23-6 run that put the Bearcats in control for the first time. The 21 points matched his season high.

Titus Rubles added 11 points and nine rebounds. Justin Jackson had nine points, seven rebounds and two of Cincinnati's 10 blocked shots.

Wright State (8-4) got 14 points from Jerran Young and 13 from J.T. Yoho.

The Bearcats have won all nine games in the series, including a 78-58 victory at Wright State last season.

Cincinnati was coming off a 60-45 win over crosstown rival Xavier on Wednesday, an emotional game that often leaves both teams a little flat for the next one. On Xavier's campus 2 1/2 miles away, the Musketeers lost to Wofford 56-55 on Saturday afternoon. Cincinnati came out flat and found itself trailing 5-4 after 5 1/2 minutes.

The Bearcats opened only 2 for 10 from the field with a pair of turnovers. Wright State missed its first 10 shots, getting its first five points off free throws. The Raiders' first field goal came off Cole Darling's 3-pointer with 13 minutes left in the half.

The Raiders led 15-11 after the first 11 minutes despite going 3 of 17 from the field. They didn't turn the ball over against Cincinnati's defense, which applied little pressure on the perimeter. At one point, coach Mick Cronin stomped his right foot on the floor and yelled at a player, ``Wake up!''

Young's driving layup put Wright State ahead 28-22 at halftime, another poor start for Cincinnati. The Bearcats trailed Xavier 24-22 at halftime on Wednesday, part of a recent trend of struggling to make shots in the opening 20 minutes.

Leading scorer Sean Kilpatrick went 1 of 5 from behind the arc and had only five points at the break, with Cincinnati shooting 24 percent from the field.

Tavares Sledge opened the second half with a driving basket that gave Wright State a 30-22 lead, the Raiders' biggest of the game. Parker asserted himself and took control at that point, sending Cincinnati ahead to stay.

Parker had a three-point play, a 3-pointer and a fast-break layup for an eight-point run that tied it. He scored 15 points overall during the 23-6 spurt that opened the second half and gave the Bearcats a 45-34 lead.

Wright State never got closer than seven points the rest of the way.

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Wizards, Mystics to wear jersey patch to honor Wes Unseld for rest of season

Wizards, Mystics to wear jersey patch to honor Wes Unseld for rest of season

The Washington Wizards will honor Wes Unseld, the greatest player in their franchise history, with a special jersey patch for the rest of the season, the team announced on Thursday.

The jersey patch is the No. 41 in the colors Unseld wore with the Washington Bullets; red, white and blue. It is located just below the right shoulder.

RELATED: UNSELD'S LEGACY WENT BEYOND THE COURT

Here is a look:

The Mystics will also wear a patch as they play their 22-game season in the WNBA. The Mystics are joined with the Wizards through Monumental Basketball. Their patch is a black band on the left shoulder.

Unseld passed away on June 2 and the age of 74. He is an NBA Hall of Famer and the only league MVP and Finals MVP in Wizards/Bullets history. Unseld also served as an executive and coach for the franchise. 

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The Wizards will play their first game in these uniforms on July 22 when they face the Nuggets in an exhibition. They have three exhibition games before beginning their regular season on July 31 against the Phoenix Suns. 

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Wizards' inclusion in Orlando restart is GM Tommy Sheppard's time to shine

Wizards' inclusion in Orlando restart is GM Tommy Sheppard's time to shine

One year ago this month, the Washington Wizards convened with the rest of the NBA for a stretch of games played at a neutral location. They put out a roster highlighted by Rui Hachimura and Troy Brown Jr., their two most recent first round picks. It was a collection of young players assembled by newly-promoted general manager Tommy Sheppard.

That was the Las Vegas Summer League. One year later, the Wizards have taken a similar group to Orlando for the NBA's restart.

That is by no means a knock on their roster. In fact, the summer league may be a good baseline to compare from. With John Wall, Bradley Beal and Davis Bertans out of the mix, guys like Hachimura and Brown will have to lead the way on offense. It may be the most responsibility they have had on a team since then.

And with their top trio of players out, the final eight games (or more) at Disney World will be a very good test for the supporting cast Sheppard has built. Though he was in the front office, Beal and Wall preceded him taking over as GM. This roster is almost entirely comprised of players he acquired since assuming the job last spring, first in an interim role.

Of the Wizards in Orlando, all but three of them were acquired by Sheppard as GM. Those three would be Thomas Bryant, Ian Mahinmi and Brown.

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The rest are Sheppard's players and what that means is this final stretch of the season will be a good barometer of how he has done so far. He remade the roster around Beal and Wall while working within cumbersome salary cap constraints. Despite that, he has had a series of solid finds.

Hachimura has arguably exceeded expectations so far. Moe Wagner and Isaac Bonga have been productive after being acquired for essentially nothing in a trade last summer. Though Bertans isn't in Orlando, the same and more could be said about him.

Also in Orlando with the Wizards are Jerome Robinson, Ish Smith, Shabazz Napier, Jerian Grant, Anzejs Pasecniks, Admiral Schofield and Jonathan Williams III; all Sheppard acquisitions. Of that group, Robinson and Schofield are particularly interesting as it pertains to Sheppard. Both are expected to get the best opportunities at the NBA level in their careers so far.

Through two pro seasons, Robinson has always been behind stars on the depth chart. He has had to share a rotation with Beal this season and before that Kawhi Leonard, Paul George and Lou Williams in L.A.

Schofield was a second round pick in 2019, but spent most of this season in the G-League. How he plays at Disney will be a good indication of the Wizards' player development system from the top-down.

Sheppard put it in clear terms recently when talking about what he expects from his young players in Orlando.

"Everybody has to show value," he said. "They have to show us 'why are you here and why should we keep you on the roster moving forward?'"

Those players will be evaluated closely to see who is worth holding onto going into next year, when the team will have higher expectations once Wall returns from his Achilles injury. Either way, a lot of these guys will probably be back.

The team won't have much money to spend in free agency. They will have two draft picks and can make trades. But the team in Orlando could resemble the core supporting cast Beal and Wall will be rolling with next season. It's time to see what they can do.

If the Wizards' young players surprise and make the playoffs in Orlando, it will be a sign the team is ahead of schedule under Sheppard. No matter the adjusted postseason format, that would be an impressive feat. They have a scaled-down roster facing a scaled-up schedule, as the NBA only brought its 22-best teams to Disney World.

Because of that, this will be a really good look at the margins of the roster. The Wizards' depth will be tested against a schedule of basically all playoff teams.

The Hachimura and Brown-led Wizards, by the way, went 2-3 in Summer League. That may be interesting to compare how they do in Orlando, given the roster similarities.

But more important will be the way Hachimura and Brown handle a larger role in the offense. What happens when they have to take more shots and when they are a greater focus of the defense will be interesting.

It may tell us a lot about the Wizards' future and the hands they are in, with Sheppard in charge.

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