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No. 24 UCLA beats Oregon St. 74-64

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No. 24 UCLA beats Oregon St. 74-64

LOS ANGELES (AP) Shabazz Muhammad scored 21 points, Kyle Anderson added 17 and No. 24 UCLA defeated Oregon State 74-64 on Thursday night, the Bruins' 10th consecutive victory.

Travis Wear added 17 points for the Bruins (15-3, 5-0 Pac-12), who equaled their longest winning streak since the 2008-09 season. They have won 23 of the last 24 games played against Oregon State on their home court.

Roberto Nelson scored 17 points and Joe Burton added 12 points for the Beavers (10-7, 0-4). They lost their fourth straight and fifth in their last six.

The Beavers had the upper hand in the game's opening minutes before the Bruins took over for good. Ahead by 11 at halftime, UCLA ran off 11 straight points early in the second half to take a 48-28 lead.

Muhammad had a three-point play, Wear and Jordan Adams had baskets and Anderson scored four straight points during the run that put the Beavers in a double-digit deficit the rest of the game.

Oregon State got to 58-48 during an 8-0 run capped by Nelson's 3-pointer. But Muhammad answered with a 3-pointer to key a 7-0 spurt and extend UCLA's lead to 65-48.

The Beavers were held under their 75.7-point scoring average. They are one of two Pac-12 teams with five players averaging double figures, but only three players reached that mark in the game.

The Beavers opened the game on a 12-7 run while UCLA struggled with turnovers and missed shots. The Bruins settled down and outscored the Beavers 20-7 to take a 27-19 lead. Muhammad and Norman Powell hit consecutive 3-pointers, while Travis Wear had six points in the spurt.

Anderson and Muhammad combined to score UCLA's final eight points of the first half, extending its lead to 37-26.

Oregon State forward Eric Moreland and guard Victor Robbins were suspended for the game after violating team rules. They will be available to play at Southern California on Saturday.

Former UCLA star Jamaal Wilkes had his No. 52 jersey retired at halftime, with former Bruins stars Bill Walton, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Mike Warren on hand. He helped lead the Bruins to NCAA championships in 1972 and 1973 under coach John Wooden. Wilkes had his jersey retired by the Los Angeles Lakers last month, and he was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame last year.

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The Kerrigans are having a baby and, WOW, this is all so very exciting

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@kerrigan91

The Kerrigans are having a baby and, WOW, this is all so very exciting

The Kerrigan family is about to make a big-time addition to its roster.

Ryan and his wife, Jessica, already have two very, VERY, very, very cute bulldogs in their household. 

But on Tuesday, the two announced in separate Instagram posts that Jessica is 18 weeks pregnant and that a third human Kerrigan will arrive in 2019.

"Can I eat dis sign aftur da picturr iz over?" George the bulldog said when reached for comment on the news.

"How did dey gett such a smawl jerzey for da baby alreddy?" Franklin the other bulldog added.

This is all very wonderful.

Come next March, the world is about to get a little precious-er.

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The Caps are a bad faceoff team, here’s what they’re doing about it

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USA Today Sports

The Caps are a bad faceoff team, here’s what they’re doing about it

Tuesday’s practice was a lot like every other for the Caps until the end. After working on the power play, the team gathered at one end of the ice and began working on faceoffs. It was not just the centers, but wingers and defensemen alike got into the action with every win celebrated by loud cheers from teammates.

It should could as no surprise to see faceoffs as a point of emphasis for Washington considering just how much the team has struggled with them in the early season. The Caps rank 30th in the league in faceoff win percentage at only 43.8-percent.

“Yeah, there's little details that can help our game,” Lars Eller told reporters after practice. “The more you have the puck, easier the game is gonna be for you. We have a little more time in between games than usual during the season here, so we have the time to work on something like that, which can be little things that makes the difference.”

The team as a whole watched video on faceoffs prior to practice and then worked as a five-man unit during the drill. The main point of emphasis head coach Todd Reirden wanted to drill into his players was that faceoffs are not simply the responsibility of the centers alone.

“The days of it just being center vs. center and a clean draw being won back are a rarity now so it's important to have all five guys helping, something we watched video on earlier today,” Reirden said.

“You ask any centerman if they have a good group of wingers that can help them out on draws, that makes a huge difference,” Nic Dowd said. “I've been lucky, I have [Devante Smith-Pelly] on my right and I'm a righty so I win all my draws my backhand side so a lot of pucks go his way and he wins a lot of draws for me. That's huge. You have a guy that's sitting over there that's sleeping, you could go easily from five wins to five losses and then that's your night. It makes a big difference.”

Faceoffs were always going to be more of a struggle for the Caps this season with the departure of Jay Beagle who was, by far, the team’s best faceoff man for several years. Whenever the team needed a big draw, Beagle was the player relied upon to win it. With him gone, it is no surprise to see the team struggle.

But the Caps don’t like the idea of keeping possession off a draw just 43.8-percent of the time.

“It's essentially like the ref is creating a 50-50 puck and you snap it back, you get possession, now you're forechecking and it makes a huge difference,” Dowd said. “You play against those top lines, they want to be in the O-zone. Well, if you lose the draw, now you're playing D-zone, you win the draw now you're playing O-zone. So effectively, you've shut down their shift.”

There is a school of thought suggesting that perhaps the importance of winning faceoffs is overrated and a team’s faceoff win percentage is not overly important. Eller himself admitted as much to reporters.

What no one can argue, however, is that while some faceoffs may not matter all that much, there are some that are hugely important in a game. The Caps recognize that. For them, being a strong faceoff team is not necessarily about improving the team’s win percentage, but more about being able to win those critical draws.

“It's something that for the most part the players understand and a neutral zone faceoff with 14 minutes to go in the first period is not nearly as important as one that's 5-on-6 at the end of the game,” Reirden said. “We all know that. It's important to put the right people on those situations and give them the best chance to have success.”

“A center ice draw, I could see where guys could make the argument, well you lose it you still will play hockey and stuff could still happen,” Dowd said. “But I think the game is such a possession game now that any opportunity you can win a 50-50 puck whether that's a faceoff or a board battle, it makes a huge difference.”

 

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