No. 21 Cincy looks for fast start in Toledo

No. 21 Cincy looks for fast start in Toledo

CINCINNATI (AP) Munchie Legaux is tired of those sluggish starts.

The 21st-ranked Cincinnati Bearcats have become a second-half team, and it's not what they envisioned. The offense takes its time to find its stride behind the junior quarterback, allowing opponents to hang around until after halftime.

At Toledo (6-1) on Saturday night, that wouldn't be a good idea.

``We have to just come out and play with more intensity and energy in the first half,'' Legaux said. ``We can't come out with the slow starts we've had.''

The Bearcats (5-0) lead the Big East in yards and points, but not in making a good first-half impression. In the last two games, they let overmatched opponents hang around.

Cincinnati led Miami University only 24-14 at halftime before pulling away to a 52-14 win. The same thing happened against Fordham last Saturday, when the Bearcats scored touchdowns on all five second-half possessions for a 49-17 win.

Both of those games were played at home. Cincinnati will be facing a high-scoring team on Saturday night at Toledo's 26,000-seat Glass Bowl, a place where other big schools have showed up and gotten shocked.

The Rockets have beaten Colorado, Pittsburgh and Kansas at the Glass Bowl in recent years and are 4-1 at home against Top 25 teams.

``I give a lot of credit to our athletic director to be able to get some of the teams to come into our school,'' said Matt Campbell, in his first full season as head coach.

These Rockets are counting on the offense to keep up. Toledo has won its last six games by averaging more than 36 points per game. The Rockets are coming off a 50-35 win over Central Michigan and a 52-47 victory at Eastern Michigan, which had one ominous sign - the Rockets allowed 624 yards and a lot of big plays.

``We were too aggressive,'' Campbell said. ``We're kind of building this defense from the ground up. Sometimes when you do that, you've got to make sure you take it steady.''

The Rockets' young defenders were repeatedly caught out of position and seemed to lose their poise.

``We can't think too much,'' defensive tackle Elijah Jones said. ``We can't get overexcited.''

Cincinnati's defense has given up only 72 points all season and ranks 10th nationally, allowing 14.4 points per game. Still, coach Butch Jones thinks it can do a lot better.

``The biggest thing we need to improve on is the overall intensity, our mental energy with the way we approach every single snap,'' Jones said. ``We had too many missed tackles. In the first half, we didn't get off the field on the third down and had too many mental errors.''

The offense could help by getting into a rhythm before halftime for a change. The Bearcats have self-destructed with penalties, dropped passes and missed throws by Legaux.

``Against a team like this, every play counts,'' Legaux said. ``You don't want to take any drives off. You don't want to have three-and-out situations. You don't want to put your defense in tough situations. So we have to do a better job of completing drives - whether it's a field goal or touchdown - and keeping our defense out of bad positions.

``We're not going to take those guys lightly. They're going to get our `A' game.''

It's Toledo's last game outside the Mid-American Conference this season. For Cincinnati, it's the last game before getting back into Big East play with a game next Friday at Louisville, which has been picked to win the conference.

That's two tough road games in six days for Cincinnati, which doesn't have a week off the rest of the way.

``It's very critical,'' safety Drew Frey said. ``Every game we play, we're telling our team it's for a championship. We don't like to look forward, but it is a long stretch with no bye week.''


AP writer John Seewer in Toledo contributed to this report.

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Believe it or not, this isn't the first D.C. vs. Vegas postseason matchup

Believe it or not, this isn't the first D.C. vs. Vegas postseason matchup

In what is perhaps the most unexpected Stanley Cup Final pairing in recent memory, the Washington Capitals and the Las Vegas Golden Knights are going to make history this year.

Either it is going to be the first expansion team to win a title in their first season, or it will be a team looking to end a 27-year title drought for one of the biggest cities in the United States.

But what it will not be is the first D.C. vs. Vegas postseason matchup.

Going even farther back than the Capitals last Stanley Cup appearance (1998), the Georgetown Hoyas and UNLV Rebels met in the 1991 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.

Sin City took the first, and up until now, the only postseason bout between these two cities. The Larry Johnson-led University of Las Vegas squad powered right past the Hoyas in the Second Round of the NCAA Tournament.

[D.C. sports and Second Rounds, I know right?]

Coming fresh off the NCAA title in 1990, UNLV waltzed right to the Final Four before meeting their demise against Duke. It also ended up being the last game for Dikembe Mutombo in a Georgetown uniform.

While in all likely-hood this will not be the final game/ series for Alex Ovechkin rocking the red, it may be his last and only chance for him to play this far into a postseason.

In the past two seasons, Vegas has gone from zero professional teams to having a Stanley Cup contender, a WNBA franchise, and lined up to take over the Oakland Raiders in 2020. 

Now time for the Golden Knights' Cinderella story to come up a little bit short. 


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Bradley Beal receives zero All-NBA votes, which itself is a snub

Bradley Beal receives zero All-NBA votes, which itself is a snub

On Thursday the NBA revealed the All-NBA teams for the 2017-18 season.

Not surprisingly, Bradley Beal and John Wall did not make it to one of the three five-player teams. Of the two superstars, only Wall has been recognized once in his career.

What is surprising is that neither Beal nor Wall received a single vote in the whole process, especially Beal.

The 2017-18 season was without question the best in Beal’s career. He played in all 82 games, coming right off of the heals of his All-Star recognition. Beal seems to agree in his snubbing, tweeting this minutes after the teams were announced:

Looking at the list of players who made the top three teams, it shouldn’t be an issue, but these three guys got more votes than the Wizards' duo combined: Steven Adams, Trevor Ariza, and Dwight Howard. It is not surprising that Beal and Wall did not make an All-NBA team. It is odd that Beal didn’t receive a vote.

Here is a list of the full All-NBA Teams:


LeBron James (Cavaliers), James Harden (Rockets), Anthony Davis (Pelicans), Damian Lillard (Trail Blazers), Kevin Durant (Warriors)


Giannis Antetokounmpo (Bucks), Russell Westbrook (Thunder), Joel Embiid (76ers), LaMarcus Aldridge (Spurs), DeMar DeRozan (Raptors)


Stephen Curry (Warriors), Victor Oladipo (Pacers), Karl-Anthony Towns (Timberwolves), Jimmy Butler (Timberwolves), Paul George (Thunder)