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No. 18 K-State relies on bench in rout of Texas

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No. 18 K-State relies on bench in rout of Texas

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) Thomas Gipson had 17 points off the bench, Angel Rodriguez added 11 points and eight assists, and No. 18 Kansas State routed Texas 83-57 on Wednesday night to snap a two-game skid.

Omari Lawrence also scored 12 in a reserve role for the Wildcats (16-4, 5-2 Big 12), who built a 38-19 lead by halftime despite playing long stretches without three key players.

Rodney McGruder, the Big 12's third-leading scorer, picked up two fouls in less than 2 minutes and spent the rest of the half on the bench. Martavious Irving joined him with two fouls moments later, and Will Spradling went to the locker room after getting smacked in the head.

The Longhorns (9-11, 1-6) couldn't capitalize, committing 18 turnovers.

Sheldon McClellan had 15 points on 3 of 12-shooting for Texas, which sorely missed the ball-handling and playmaking ability of suspended guard Myck Kabongo.

Jaylen Bond added 12 points, most of them when the game had been decided.

The Longhorns, who snapped a five-game skid by beating Texas Tech last Saturday, still have not won a road game in five tries this season. They've also lost five of their last seven against the Wildcats, including three straight in Manhattan.

Kansas State tried to help them out with its early foul trouble.

McGruder couldn't believe it when he heard two quick whistles, and neither could Bruce Weber when Irving joined him on the bench. The Wildcats' first-year coach at one point got into a shouting match with officials that covered the entire width of the court.

The way Texas was executing, it didn't matter who Kansas State played.

During one haphazard stretch, Texas turned the ball over five times in six possessions, and the one time it got a shot off, McClellan tossed up an air ball.

The Wildcats took advantage by putting together an 8-0 run. By the time Texas coach Rick Barnes called for a timeout, the Wildcats had pulled ahead 21-9 with 8 1/2 minutes left in the half.

Texas finally ended its drought when McClellan scored in transition, and in the process ran over Spradling. Trainers rushed out and pushed a towel against his bloody face, and after a few seconds on the bench, Spradling was accompanied to the Kansas State locker room.

Now without three key contributors, Kansas State continued to build on its lead.

Lawrence, who averaged just 2.4 points, matched his career high with 10 in the first half. Shane Southwell had his five first-half points during a stretch that included an intentional foul on the Longhorns' Javan Felix that helped Kansas State take a 31-13 lead.

Two missed free throws ended the Longhorns' miserable half.

Texas had twice as many turnovers (12) as made field goals, going 6 of 23 from the field and missing both of its 3-point attempts. And its 19 points barely eclipsed the season-low for a half - they managed 17 in the first half of a loss to Georgetown in December.

Felix finally got things going for Texas early in the second half, going straight to the rim for easy layups on three straight possessions. But McGruder, back on the court, made a three-point play with 17 1/2 left to put a stopper in the Longhorns' momentum.

Gipson scored three straight baskets to answer another Texas salvo, and a pull-up 3-pointer by Spradling in transition pushed the Wildcats' lead to 53-33 with less than 13 minutes to go.

Kansas State used a 14-2 run a few minutes later to put the game away.

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GM Brian MacLellan: Capitals are close to re-signing John Carlson

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GM Brian MacLellan: Capitals are close to re-signing John Carlson

DALLAS—The Caps are “really close” to signing star defenseman John Carlson to a long-term extension, GM Brian MacLellan said Friday night.

“We’re getting closer,” MacLellan said following the first round of the NHL Draft. “Hopefully we can get it done here over the next few days. We’re really close.”

Earlier in the day, the Caps cleared significant space under the salary cap ceiling by trading Philipp Grubauer and Brooks Orpik to Colorado for a second round draft pick (47th overall). 

That space will now be used to lock up Carlson, who could become the best defenseman on the open market if he were to reach it.

MacLellan met with Carlson’s agent, Rick Curran, here on Thursday night.

MacLellan did not divulge any figures, but it’s expected that Carlson’s new contract could come in at eight years and $8 million per—or perhaps a bit more. 

He earned $4 million last season.

Carlson had a career year in 2017-18 and was critical during the Caps' run to the Stanley Cup. He led all defensemen in the regular season with 68 points (15 goals, 53 assists). The 28-year-old also skated a career-high 24:47 per game.

MacLellan has long said that re-signing Carlson was the Caps’ top priority this offseason. And now it looks like that could happen within days, assuming the talks do not hit any snags.

“We’re going to do our best to sign John,” MacLellan said. “We’ve said it all along. We waited until the end of the year. We’ve had discussions. We’re close and hopefully we can close the deal here over the next 24 hours.”

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Capitals go to the WHL again, select defenseman Alex Alexeyev with first-round pick

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Capitals go to the WHL again, select defenseman Alex Alexeyev with first-round pick

The last time the Washington Capitals had a first-round draft pick, they selected a WHL defenseman. They did not go off script on Friday.

With the last pick of the first round, selecting for the first time as defending Stanley Cup champions, the Capitals selected Alexander Alexeyev, a left-shooting, two-way defenseman from St. Petersburg.

Alexeyev, 18, certainly boasts NHL size at 6' 4", 196 pounds. He currently plays for Red Deer in the WHL, a junior league that has become a major pipeline for the Capitals. In his second season with Red Deer, he tallied 37 points in 45 games.

The NHL Central Scouting's rankings list Alexeyev as the 22nd best North American skater of the draft. TSN projects him to be a top-four, two-way defenseman.

Analyst Craig Button described Alexeyev as a "Smart, effective defenceman who moves the puck, plays with a calm and doesn't make things complicated for himself."

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