Nationals

No. 11 Florida thumps Georgia 77-44 in SEC opener

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No. 11 Florida thumps Georgia 77-44 in SEC opener

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) Mike Rosario scored 19 points, Erik Murphy added 11 despite playing with a broken rib and No. 11 Florida opened Southeastern Conference play with a 77-44 victory over Georgia on Wednesday night.

The Gators improved to 12-5 in league openers under Donovan, including 7-0 at home. They also extended their recent dominance against the Bulldogs, winning for 16th time in the last 19 meetings.

The latest one was no big surprise since the Gators (11-2) have played well most of the season while Georgia (6-8) has struggled against just about everyone on its schedule.

The Bulldogs, though, had won four in a row after losing six of seven. Georgia turned the ball over 19 times and fell to 0-3 against ranked teams this season.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, the team's lone bright spot, led the Bulldogs with 11 points.

Rosario made 6 of 10 shots from the field and all four from the free-throw line.

Murphy's night was even more impressive.

Coach Billy Donovan called Murphy ``doubtful'' Monday because a broken rib under his right arm. Murphy went through shoot-around Wednesday and felt good enough to play with a protective pad around his rib cage. He made 3 of 6 shots from 3-point range.

Patric Young chipped in 11 points for the Gators, who shot 52.7 percent from the field and made 12 of 26 shots from 3-point range.

Casey Prather, who started in place of Murphy, scored the first three baskets of the game. He finished with 10 points and seven rebounds.

Will Yeguete had been expected to start over Prather, but the power forward injured his right knee in practice and was scratched from the starting lineup. He played sparingly, was scoreless and kept ice on his knee while on the bench.

The injuries were the latest setback for Donovan's team.

Point guard Scottie Wilbekin was suspended to start the season and has played lately with a broken finger on his shooting hand. Reserve forward Cody Prather left the team a few days before the season opener. Prather missed several games because of multiple concussions. Murphy missed practice time because of migraine headaches. Young was benched for a lack of effort in practice.

Donovan probably could have rested several of them against Georgia.

The Gators opened up a double-digit lead in the first 6 minutes, extended it to 24-9 on Rosario's floater in the lane and really pulled away after halftime.

Florida hit five consecutive 3s to turn a big lead into a laugher. Wilbekin got the run started, hitting one from just outside the top of the key. Michael Frazier II, Rosario and Murphy followed his lead, with Frazier hitting two. The flurry of outside shots made it 53-26 with 12:05 remaining.

It was 70-36 after Rosario's third trey - the 11th of the night for Florida.

The Gators coasted from there, getting bench players in for the final few minutes.

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3 things to watch as the Nationals try to even the series with Colorado

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3 things to watch as the Nationals try to even the series with Colorado

Here are three things to watch for as the Nationals try to even the series in Colorado: 

1. Brian Dozier's slow start to 2019 seems to be in the rearview mirror. The second baseman hit his third long-ball in four games Monday night inside Coors Field. 

2. How long will Anthony Rendon be held out of the lineup? The third baseman is nursing his left elbow after being hit by a Jose Urena pitch Saturday in Miami. 

3. One of the MLB's best closers remains unsigned 20+ games into the season. Craig Kimbrel could very well help solve an NL East division-wide problem

Coming Up:

Tuesday, 4/23: Nationals @ Rockies, 8:40 p.m. ET, Coors Field

Wednesday, 4/24: Nationals @ Rockies, 3:10 p.m. ET, Coors Field

Friday, 4/26: Padres @ Nationals, 7:05 p.m. ET, Nationals Park

Download the MyTeams app for even more Nationals content, and check out the latest episode of the Racing Presidents podcast below.

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A frustrating Game 6 loss, but Caps can't dwell on the negative

A frustrating Game 6 loss, but Caps can't dwell on the negative

RALEIGH — By the end of the night the frustration was evident. Three times the Capitals have played at PNC Arena during this Stanley Cup playoffs first-round series and three times they have left the ice stick-smashingly angry. 

Capitals coach Todd Reirden screamed at the officials. Alex Ovechkin earned a game misconduct after a mock wave following a late penalty call. By then the Carolina Hurricanes had already assured there would be one final game in this closer-than-expected series with a 5-2 win. Now both teams face elimination with Game 7 looming Wednesday at Capital One Arena. 

Washington’s anger was understandable. Alex Ovechkin apparently poked home the game-tying goal with 9:26 remaining. But while the Capitals celebrated, referee Kyle Rehman blew his whistle. In his view, Ovechkin had shoved Carolina goalie Petr Mrazek’s pads to force the puck into the net. 

The NHL Situation Room in Toronto upheld that call on the ice after the Capitals tied it. Just 1:24 later, ex-Capitals forward Justin Williams stuck a dagger in the heart of his old team with a deflected goal to give the Hurricanes a 4-2 lead.

"I don't think anyone expected it to be easy,” defenseman Brooks Orpik said. “They played well all series. We were up 2-0 and we were probably fortunate to be up 2-0 and we've been good on home ice and now we have a Game 7 and it is probably good that we have home ice."

There were other issues on Monday. Dmitry Orlov was whistled for embellishment in the second period that denied Washington a power play. Carolina tied the game 2-2 at 1:56 of the second period when referees – in the Capitals’ view – missed an obvious slash by Sebastian Aho on defenseman Jonas Siegenthaler behind the net. His attempted clear was flubbed and Aho found Teuvo Teravainen alone in front for an easy goal.

None of it matters now. The Capitals didn’t play well enough to win anyway, especially in a ragged second period that ominously looked like the 5-0 Hurricanes win in Game 3. Reirden himself admitted that Carolina earned the breaks it got. Goalie Braden Holtby was especially critical of his team for not building on a dominant 6-0 win at home in Game 5 on Saturday. 

“I don’t know. I thought we played pretty well to come out and we just faded,” Holtby said. “I’m not sure why. At this point it doesn’t matter. It’s over with and it’s down to one game.”

The challenge will be leaving all of that negativity in the PNC Arena locker room. One player walked away and said to no one in particular “No goal….what a call.” The sarcasm dripped. But it can’t follow the Capitals back home to Washington. This group of players has plenty of experience putting bad playoff losses behind them. 

If anything carries over into Game 7, however, they could be in trouble. Those days are thought to be long over after last spring’s Cup. And maybe they are. But the Capitals will have to forget about what happened in Raleigh. They have one last chance. It can't be clouded by what happened here.  

"It's over. Again, right now nothing you can do,” Ovechkin said. “After fight, you can't do anything. It was a good battle. Good for them, they win Game 6, and you know, Game 7 is going to be much interesting. We know how to play that. Pressure on both teams, but it's a good chance for us to beat them at home." 

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