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No. 21 USC rebounds for 38-17 win over Arizona St.

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No. 21 USC rebounds for 38-17 win over Arizona St.

LOS ANGELES (AP) Marqise Lee caught 10 passes for 161 yards and a touchdown, Curtis McNeal rushed for 163 yards and two more scores, and No. 21 Southern California bounced back from consecutive losses with a 38-17 victory over skidding Arizona State on Saturday.

Matt Barkley threw for 222 yards and three TDs while becoming the leading passer in conference history for the Trojans (7-3, 5-3 Pac-12), who overcame a slow start and five turnovers to snap their two-game skid. USC hasn't lost three straight since 2001, former coach Pete Carroll's first season.

Taylor Kelly passed for 174 yards and Alden Darby returned an interception 70 yards for a touchdown for the Sun Devils (5-5, 3-4), who lost their fourth straight. Arizona State managed just 250 total yards and scored all of their points off USC's turnovers, getting shut out in the final 27 minutes.

Although Todd Graham has replaced Dennis Erickson on the sideline, Arizona State is in much the same late-season spiral as last year, when the Sun Devils dropped five straight.

USC yielded a school-record 730 yards to No. 2 Oregon in a 62-51 loss last Saturday and endured a midweek distraction when a student manager was fired for underinflating footballs on the Ducks' sideline. The Trojans badly needed a boost of confidence before finishing the regular season against No. 17 UCLA and No. 4 Notre Dame.

After scoring 24 consecutive points in the second half to blow past Arizona State, the Trojans are fully inflated again - and what's more, the FBS' most-penalized team was flagged just four times for 30 yards.

Lee caught an 80-yard TD pass and rushed for 66 yards during the seventh 10-catch day of his spectacular sophomore season - and he even lined up at safety briefly in another do-it-all performance for the Trojans, who thrived on offense with little help from two key players. All-American receiver Robert Woods had two catches for minus-3 yards, while leading rusher Silas Redd watched the game in uniform from the sideline.

McNeal and Xavier Grimble also caught TD passes from Barkley, who needed just 14 yards to pass Carson Palmer's USC and Pac-12 record of 11,818 yards passing, and he picked it up on his second pass of the day. The four-year starter already holds the USC records for touchdown passes, completions and total offense along with several single-game superlatives.

The Trojans' earliest home kickoff since 1998 didn't appear to suit them. Lee fumbled at the end of the 17-yard catch on USC's first play, and Kelly hit Chris Coyle for a 34-yard score moments later.

USC didn't get moving on offense until late in the first quarter when Barkley hit Lee in stride down a seam for an 80-yard TD - but after Arizona State's Rashad Ross fumbled the ensuing kickoff, Barkley threw an interception at the Arizona State 2.

Barkley's second interception was the most costly. After an apparent touchdown pass to Woods was wiped out by pass interference, Darby lunged to pick off the risky screen pass by Barkley, somehow gathered himself without falling and ran 70 yards for a score.

The Coliseum fell uncomfortably silent, except for a few scattered boos that only grew when the Trojans punted moments later. Yet USC gathered itself late in the half and marched 79 yards on a 13-play drive capped by Barkley's sharp TD pass to Grimble 35 seconds before halftime.

Barkley's first pass after halftime also was intercepted, but only on a spectacular play by backup linebacker Carl Bradford, who deflected Barkley's pass and dived to snag it. Arizona State kicked a field goal to go up 17-14, but the Trojans answered with a lengthy drive capped by McNeal's go-ahead TD on third down - the first rushing TD of the season by the veteran tailback.

McNeal then caught a 22-yard TD pass from Barkley late in the quarter, slaloming through the Arizona State defense. Lee turned a broken end-around play into a 38-yard gain in the fourth quarter with his usual speed and grace, setting up Andre Heidari's field goal with 5:08 to play.

Leonard Williams and Lamar Dawson had interceptions in the final minutes for USC, and McNeal made a 27-yard TD run with 38 seconds to play.

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Michigan's Moritz Wagner could be Wizards' solution for a stretch-five

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USA Today Sports Images

Michigan's Moritz Wagner could be Wizards' solution for a stretch-five

The pre-draft workout process can be an exhausting journey for players, with so many flights, hotel rooms and NBA arenas that they can all blend in together. Michigan big man Moritz Wagner, though, may have felt a sense of comfort in Washington for his pre-draft workout for the Wizards on Wednesday.

It was just over a year ago that his Michigan Wolverines cut down the nets at Capital One Arena as champions of the Big Ten conference.

"It was good memories, man. Never gets old," he said while glancing around the stadium.

Wagner, 21, will be seeing a lot more of Capital One Arena once he joins the NBA ranks and it is conceivable he ends up in Washington. They hold the 15th pick in the first round and the 44th pick in the second round and Wagner could be within their reach.

Wagner had an impressive workout in Washington and could provide what the Wizards need. He is a big, mobile and can spread the floor. Wagner was terrific at stepping out to hit threes off pick-and-rolls at Michigan and that ability would work well with Wizards All-Star point guard John Wall.

Wagner measured in at just under 7-feet at this month's NBA Combine, fifth-tallest among those who attended. He averaged 14.6 points as a junior this past season and made 39.4 percent of his threes on 4.1 attempts per game.

With three years of college experience and an NBA-ready jumper, Wagner believes he can step right in and help the Wizards.

"I think what we did at Michigan, sharing the ball and playing as a team, very organized basketball, that can help big-time," he said. "It's basically pro basketball I was playing on a different level."

As Wagner will tell you, he is very confident in his abilities. He is comfortable in his own skin and that includes openly discussing his faults. He feels good about his ability to score at the next level. Defense is where he needs to prove himself.

Despite his size, Wagner wasn't much of a rim protector in college. He averaged just a half-block a game as a junior. The Wizards need rim protection badly and he likely would not provide that.

Wagner, though, believes he can bring more to the table defensively than the numbers would suggest.

"I think I've been an offensive guy all of my life, but the more that you mature as a player, you understand that both sides are important. Without defense, you aren't going to play at any level," he said.

"I think the most important thing that I wasn't able to show in college is that I'm able to switch the ball-screen, especially with the way the league is going. Switch on everything and stay in front of guards as a big guy."

Wagner is from Germany and looks up to Mavs legend Dirk Nowitzki, who is entering his 21st season and will be in the Hall of Fame someday. Nowitzki's game has always been built around shooting and, though he developed into a decent shot-blocker in his prime, was never an elite rim protector.

Wagner hopes to follow in his footsteps playing a similar style.

"He was my MJ. He kind of shows you 'okay, this is possible and this is doable.' It's just basketball," Wagner said. "It gives you a lot of hope. It gives you a lot of belief and motivation."

Hear more from Wagner in his one-on-one interview with Chris Miller in our latest Wizards Tipoff podcast. His interview can also be found in the video above:

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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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