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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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Canadiens halt Capitals' point streak at 13

Canadiens halt Capitals' point streak at 13

WASHINGTON -- You've got to lose sometime. The clock finally struck midnight on the Capitals' point streak on Friday as Washington fell 5-2 to the Montreal Canadiens. A sleepy first period gave way to an onslaught in the second where Montreal scored four of its five goals.

The loss was the Caps' first regulation loss since Oct. 14, ending a streak of 13 straight games with at least a point.

Here is how the Caps lost.

Ovechkin’s hit

Early in the second period, it would be fair to call this a lifeless game. The score was tied at 0 with neither team generating much in the way of offense. There were no real highlight plays, highlight, nothing. It was just...blah.

Alex Ovechkin changed that.

Just over four minutes into the second, Ovechkin obliterated Canadiens forward Jonathan Drouin with a heavy hit.

Drouin was slow to get up and immediately headed to the locker room. Those type of hits can be momentum-changers, but it is not always the hitter that gets that momentum boost. In this case, it seemed to wake up Montreal and not the Caps.

About two minutes after the hit, Phillip Danault would score the first of four goals the Canadiens would score in the second period. All four goals came in a span of 8:20.

It's hard not to draw the connection between the hit and the immediate response from Montreal on the scoresheet.

Defensive zone turnovers

Defensive zone turnovers are very dangerous in hockey. When a team has possession of the puck and is trying to break out, players head down the ice ready to transition from defense to offense.

In the second period, the Caps and Canadiens were locked in a board battle off a faceoff in Washington's defensive zone. John Carlson kicked the puck up near the blue line and T.J. Oshie stepped in. It looked like he was going to get the puck out or at least that's what his four teammates thought. Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom were already out of the defensive zone and both while Carlson and Kempny began skating up after them. Tomas Tatar and Ben Chiarot continued battling for the puck on the boards and prevented Oshie from getting it out. The puck squirted away from the boards and Montreal took possession. The Caps thought they had the puck on the breakout, but the defense suddenly found itself out of position thanks to the turnover. Tomas Tatar passed to Danault who was all by his lonesome in front of the net and he made it 1-0.

It wasn’t just that one moment. Puck management was an issue all night long for the Caps and it cost them again about five minutes later.

Now down 2-0, the Caps shut down an offensive zone possession for Montreal and had taken away the puck. Lars Eller attempted a stretch pass from the defensive zone right up the middle, but Tatar batted the puck down with his stick and Nate Thompson picked up the puck right behind the blue line and took it right back in to continue the offensive pressure. Less than 20 seconds later, Jordan Weal backhanded a shot that hit off the post and bounced off Samsonov to barely trickle over the goal line.

Out of gas

Lengthy streaks can be exhausting for teams and it certainly looked through 40 minutes like the Caps were just out of gas.

Montreal played well, but each goal in the second seemed to take more of the wind out of Washington's sails until there wasn't much left in the second period.

Through the first 40 minutes, the Caps were being outshot 30-18 in shots on goal and 50-36 in total shot attempts. The team rallied somewhat in the third period with Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov each scoring to make things interesting, but there was not enough time or energy left for Washington to mount a real comeback.

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Karl-Anthony Towns gets technical foul for frustration with Mo Wagner

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Karl-Anthony Towns gets technical foul for frustration with Mo Wagner

Mo Wagner became the NBA's leader in charges drawn Friday night, and his activity during the first half helped him get under Karl-Anthony Towns' skin. 

After Wagner attempted to draw yet another charge on Towns, the Minnesota big man finished a layup on the drive and laid the ball in Wagner's lap when the foul went uncalled. 

Towns received the technical foul as the Wizards continued to play a strong first half against one of the better offenses in the league on the road. 

Towns has been on a mean streak this season. He got in an epic brawl with Joel Embiid earlier this season and got into it with Rudy Gay just a few nights ago. He's demonstrated that he's a player you can get to, and Wagner did just that early on. 

The Wizards' defense has seemingly responded to Wagner's activity, so we'll see if they can keep it up to supplement one of the league's best offensive units. 

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