Orioles

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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‘We’re moving in the right direction’: Orioles leadership pleased with progress, fan support in a trying season

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‘We’re moving in the right direction’: Orioles leadership pleased with progress, fan support in a trying season

It’s been a long and trying season at Camden Yards, a fact not lost on Orioles leadership. 

Prior to the home finale Sunday afternoon, manager Brandon Hyde met with the media for his usual pregame availability. He answered each question, explained a few decisions he had been made, and sprinkled in a few jokes. It was a typical press conference.

Then, when all the questions were done, Hyde stopped everyone getting up to leave, asking to say a few words.

“The energy in the ballpark last night was fantastic,” Hyde began. “I’m looking forward to the day when it’s like that all the time. I appreciate the way the fans showed up.”

Of course, that fan support came in what was ultimately a losing effort for the Orioles. It’s a pattern that’s been prevalent all season long in Baltimore.

“It’s been hard,” the manager continued. “Been a trying process, I totally understand the frustrations. But it will get better.”

It did get better, at least for a day, as the Orioles held off the Mariners 2-1 in a breezy Sunday afternoon affair.

Most of the players impacting Sunday’s win may not be around the next time the Orioles are competitive, but the starting pitcher certainly caught the eye of Mike Elias this season.

“I think the team has played its butt off all year,” the general manager praised before the game. “It’s battled, and I think we can all go with the individual success stories. You know, Means, Santander, Severino, Mancini having a huge year. I mean, there’s too many to go through right now. Not everything goes perfectly in a baseball season, but I think the positives this year far outweigh the negatives, and our organization is positioned so much better for the future than it was this time last year.”

The general praise continued from the man leading the Orioles' rebuild, though he is quick to recognize the reality of the franchise’s situation.

“We’ve got a lot of areas to get better in, I think that’s no secret,” Elias admitted. “But overall we sit back and look around at what’s happened in the organization and it was just a very positive year. Got a lot accomplished across the organization...The farm system’s taken a huge jump this year. Some of that, obviously, is the draft with the number one pick. But I would argue most of it is what happened with the players that were already in the system. Some player development improvements that we made, the changes and the steps forward the group took. Here at the big league level, look. I mean we’re still losing games way more than we want to. This is not fun, it’s not easy to crawl out of.”

Elias is right. The Orioles finished 61 games out of first place in 2018. Even with Sunday’s win, they are currently 50 games behind the Yankees in the AL East in 2019. 

This is a huge hole, and a better year than last doesn’t mean the Orioles are close to competing. Yet.

While Elias and the rest of the front office appreciate the fan support the team has received in 2019, he knows it’s all relative to the on-field success of the organization.

“I can’t ask anyone to embrace losing the way we have. Our record last year was historically bad, this year it’s not going to be a ton better. Nobody wants to do this. We never want this to happen again,” Elias told reporters emphatically. “There’s a long way to go, a lot to be done. I think the support has been tremendous. The people coming out here, they love this team. The people of the city love this team, they know that this needs to be done. And I’m confident that they’re going to come back, and they’re gonna come back in a big way.”

At least one pregame request from Hyde came true Sunday, as he hoped fans would show appreciation for both Chris Davis and Mark Trumbo, two Orioles who have experienced rough years for different reasons.

The Camden Yards faithful responded, showering Davis with thunderous applause after his home run in the seventh inning gave the O’s their 2-1 lead. Of course, any player homering in that scenario would receive an ovation. But that doesn’t make it any less nice to see it come Davis’ way.

Hyde also put out a second plea to Orioles fans pregame. 

“I’m asking for everybody’s patience. I want fans to feel good about the start of the process, and trust that it’s going to get better.”

The confidence from management has not wavered, and for now, it hasn’t wavered from most fans either. If Hyde and Elias are to be believed, even a 100-loss season can signal a positive step forward, and the Orioles firmly believe they’re on the right track.

This time in 2018, the Orioles were a franchise in disarray, with a lame-duck leadership team and a bleak future. 

It’s hard to believe what a difference a season can make.

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Mark Ingram boxes with Chiefs logo after second TD of the day

Mark Ingram boxes with Chiefs logo after second TD of the day

Heading into Sunday's matchup between the Ravens and Chiefs, it was assumed that the contest featuring two 2-0 teams with loads of talent would be a battle, or a fight.

For running back Mark Ingram II, it seems like he took the analogy literally.

Following Ingram's second touchdown of the game, this one from 19 yards out, the running back found himself near a Chiefs' logo. To celebrate his score, he promptly put up his fists and began boxing the logo.

Though Chiefs fans may not be happy with it, Ingram didn't receive any flags for the celebration. In the future though, the NFL may have to look into how to handle hits against a defenseless logo. 

Ingram's touchdown cut the Kansas City lead to 23-13. Earlier in the game, the running back opened up the scoring with a two-yard rushing touchdown in the first quarter.

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