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No. 16 Oregon State looks toward No. 5 Oregon

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No. 16 Oregon State looks toward No. 5 Oregon

CORVALLIS, Ore. (AP) Mike Riley thought he was missing something on the field.

Just a couple minutes after Brandin Cooks had run in a 48-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter of Oregon State's 62-14 demolition of California Saturday night, a roar went up through cold, drizzly Reser Stadium.

``I was back on the bench talking to someone and I heard the crowd go crazy,'' Riley said.

Fans were cheering not because anything was happening on the field, but because the scoreboard flashed a final from down the road in Eugene: Stanford 17, Oregon 14. The top-ranked Ducks had gone down to defeat and the stage was set for the 116th Civil War.

Oregon State (8-2, 6-2) will be hoping to knock off the Ducks for the first time in the rivalry game since an overtime thriller in 2007 at Autzen Stadium. Oregon (10-1, 7-1) needs to beat the Beavers and hope for a Stanford loss against UCLA in order to keep its hopes for a fourth-straight Pac-12 championship alive.

``There's a little more at stake,'' against the Ducks this year, Beavers cornerback Rashaad Reynolds said of the past two Civil Wars, which Oregon State entered with a losing record.

This year, the Beavers are poised for a decent bowl berth, and they enter the Oregon game coming off their most complete performance of the season, a total domination of the Golden Bears. Quarterback Sean Mannion threw for 325 yards after regaining the starting job he lost to Cody Vaz early in the year. A big night (128 yards) from Terron Ward helped establish the running game. All told, the Beavers rolled up 559 total yards against Cal, and the defense forced two lost fumbles and an interception.

``I feel like we are peaking at the right time,'' Ward said.

Despite the big win, the Beavers dropped a spot to No. 16 in the Associated Press poll on Saturday. The Ducks fell to No. 5 after having the nation's longest winning streak stopped at 13 games. Oregon also dropped to No. 5 in the BCS standings, while Oregon State was No. 15.

Oregon State has been competitive in only one of the last four Civil Wars - a 37-33 loss in 2009. The Beavers were not even a speed bump for the Ducks in 2010 and 2011. Oregon won 37-20 two years ago en route to the BCS Championship game and 49-21 last year as a prelude to the Rose Bowl.

For the past two seasons, the Beavers haven't had a bowl game to play in after falling to the Oregon juggernaut. There is a distinct feeling around the team that this year could be different.

The Beavers are the third-ranked defense in the conference and they could possess the run-stopping ability and experience in the secondary to slow the Ducks high-powered offense, which is averaging 51.1 points per game even after getting stuck in neutral against the Cardinal.

The game will be played at Reser, where the Beavers are 5-0 this season. And unlike the Ducks, who have pretty much taken on the company line about no one game being more important than any other, Oregon State's players are open about how motivated they are to take down their rivals.

``It is unexplainable how much it means to me,'' said senior receiver Markus Wheaton.

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Wizards' assistant Sidney Lowe leaves to join Dwane Casey's staff with Detroit Pistons

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Associated Press

Wizards' assistant Sidney Lowe leaves to join Dwane Casey's staff with Detroit Pistons

The Washington Wizards have an opening on their coaching staff, as assistant Sidney Lowe has left the team to join the Detroit Pistons.

Lowe, according to ESPN, will be the top assistant on new Pistons coach Dwane Casey's staff. 

Lowe spent two seasons under head coach Scott Brooks in Washington. A D.C. native, Lowe starred at DeMatha High School before playing at NC State and then in the NBA.

Lowe was the head coach at his alma mater for five years from 2006 through 2011, but has otherwise been an NBA lifer. He served as head coach of the Timberwolves in 1993-94 and head coach of the Grizzlies from 2000 to 2002.

The Wizards have several coaching hires to make now. They have a new G-League team set to take the court in the fall and will need to hire a staff sometime this summer. 

With Lowe gone, they could choose to promote from within or go outside the organization.

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Nationals look to halt red hot Tampa Bay Rays in 2-game series at Tropicana Field

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USA TODAY Sports

Nationals look to halt red hot Tampa Bay Rays in 2-game series at Tropicana Field

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The Tampa Bay Rays, routinely using relievers as starters to deal with a rash of injuries, are pitching their way to victories.

The Rays (37-40) go into a two-game interleague series against the Washington Nationals with the momentum of a three-game sweep of the American League East-leading Yankees. New York hadn't lost three games in a row at any point all season, but the Rays pulled it off, capped with a 7-6 win in 12 innings on Sunday at Tropicana Field.

"That's the best team in the league right now, them and the Astros ... I think coming home from that we had confidence and it all carried over into that series," said Rays rookie first baseman Jake Bauers, who won the game in the 12th inning.

Since beginning their experimental use of relievers as "openers" to start games, the Rays have a 3.07 ERA, and entering Sunday's game, that edged the Yankees for the best ERA in baseball since May 19. They've won five of seven games to again challenge .500, and Sunday's walkoff home run by Bauers was their second this season, after totaling one in three seasons from 2015 to 2017.

The Nationals (41-35) had gone 3-9 in their last 12 games before Sunday night's rain-delayed game against the Phillies, dropping into third place in the National League East. They'll send out Gio Gonzalez (6-4, 3.08 ERA), who has no wins in his last four starts and his ERA has risen from a sterling 2.10 to 3.08.

Gonzalez lasted only four innings in his last outing, giving up five hits and two runs against the Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday. For his career against the Rays, he's 2-2 with a 5.54 ERA, though he's only faced Tampa Bay once since 2012. That was a rough 2015 start at Tropicana Field, lasting 3 1/3 innings and giving up five earned runs on eight hits, walking more batters than he struck out. For his career at Tropicana, he has an 11.25 ERA.

The Rays will have an actual starter on the mound in Blake Snell (9-4, 2.48), who is in line for an All-Star appearance after the first three months of his season. He has just one loss in his last seven starts, and while he has never faced the Nationals, he has generally fared well in interleague play, going 3-2 with a 2.33 ERA in eight career starts.

Tampa Bay, hoping to build on its current momentum, has a tough week ahead, with two games against Washington, then another four against Houston to close out the homestand.

Washington goes from St. Petersburg to a weekend four-game series at the Philadelphia Phillies before returning home for a week.

The Rays got a head start with a Sunday afternoon game and the Nationals saw their prime-time game delayed by rain, keeping them on the field beyond midnight and still needing to fly to Florida for the two-game stopover.

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