NCAA

No. 7 Arizona outlasts Arizona State 71-54

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No. 7 Arizona outlasts Arizona State 71-54

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) Mark Lyons scored 24 points, Nick Johnson added 19 and No. 7 Arizona pulled away in the second half to beat rival Arizona State 71-54 on Saturday.

Arizona (16-1, 4-1 Pac-12) was solid at both ends and went on the decisive run after Arizona State point guard Jahii Carson picked up his fourth foul midway through the second half. Solomon Hill added 13 points for the Wildcats, who scored 18 points off turnovers and outscored the Sun Devils by 14 inside.

Arizona State (14-4, 3-2) never recovered after Arizona's run, thanks to 17 turnovers and a quiet game by second-leading scorer Carrick Felix, who had 5 points on 1-of-8 shooting.

Carson had 22 points and four assists, and Evan Gordon added 14 points for the Sun Devils.

The basketball version of the Territorial Cup featured one of the most anticipated matchups in the rivalry's recent history.

Arizona opened the season loaded with hype and has lived up to it, climbing to No. 3 in the AP Top 25 after winning its first 14 games. The Wildcats have one of the Pac-12's best backcourts in Lyons and Johnson, and a good mix of veterans and talented newcomers in the front court.

Arizona State has had a bit of a resurgence under coach Herb Sendek behind a faster tempo and aggressive man-to-man defense. Carson, the flash-bulb-quick point guard, has been a big part of it, but Felix has emerged as one of the conference's best two-way players and the Big Bachynski, 7-foot center Jordan, has anchored the center of a defense that blocks one out of every eight shots taken by opponents.

The Sun Devils have gotten their better of their rivals recently, too, winning seven of the previous 11 in the series, including an 87-80 win in last season's finale that all but knocked the Wildcats out of the NCAA tournament.

With the highest-ranked opponent to play at ASU's Wells Fargo Arena in five years, not to mention that it was the hated Wildcats, the quaint arena got a jolt of energy, with the Sun Devils' students trading chants with fans of the team from down south.

The guards dominated early.

The brash Carson recently called himself the best point guard in the Pac-12 on Twitter and didn't shrink under the spotlight in the biggest game of his young career, calmly running Arizona State's offense and driving hard to the basket. He had 12 points by halftime before picking up a third foul in the closing seconds.

Gordon, who broke out of a shooting slump with 17 points against Oregon on Sunday, scored seven quick points and had 10 by halftime.

Lyons, who could make a case for himself as the conference's top point guard, played his usual confident game, driving hard to the rim and stroking in jumpers. He and Johnson combined for 18 of Arizona's 29 first-half points.

But after all the early offensive fireworks, the game stalled quickly.

Arizona State struggled against Arizona's pressure, hitting two field goals after the 11:12 mark before Gordon picked Lyons' pocket in the backcourt for a steal and a layup just before the buzzer to cut Arizona's lead to three.

The Sun Devils were fortunate to be that close after hitting 9 of 23 shots - 1 for 7 from beyond the arc - and getting nothing from Felix, who missed both of his shots and was scoreless at halftime.

The Wildcats used a little spurt to go up nine points early in the second half, but the Sun Devils fought back, pulling within 46-44 on a layup by Carson after a nice bounce pass from Gordon on a backdoor cut.

But on Arizona State's next possession, Felix dropped a pass from Carson that would have been a layup. Carson then picked up his fourth foul at the other end and headed to the bench with 9:50 left.

Arizona followed with a 9-0 run, going up 55-44 on a layup by Johnson that forced Sendek to call a timeout.

Sendek gambled by bringing Carson back in a few minutes later, but the damage had been done and the Sun Devils never climbed back out of the hole.

Virginia snaps 3-game losing streak with 63-58 win over Georgia Tech

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USA Today Sports Images

Virginia snaps 3-game losing streak with 63-58 win over Georgia Tech

ATLANTA (AP) -- Jay Huff and Mamadi Diakite scored 17 points apiece as defending national champion Virginia snapped a three-game losing streak with a 63-58 win over Georgia Tech on Saturday night.

The Cavaliers (12-5, 4-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) finally regained their winning touch after dropping out of The Associated Press ranking for the first time since November 2017.

Georgia Tech (8-10, 3-5) lost its fourth straight home game. The Yellow Jackets haven't won at McCamish Pavilion since a Dec. 4 victory over Nebraska. 

Diakite's dunk with 14:47 remaining gave Virginia its biggest lead, 43-29.

The Cavaliers were still up 48-37 with just over 10 minutes to go when Georgia Tech suddenly came to life offensively.

The Yellow Jackets scored on four of five possessions, stringing together a 9-0 run that cut Virginia's edge to 48-46.

That was as close as Georgia Tech would get.

Huff, a 7-foot-1 center, knocked down a 3-pointer from the top of the key to thwart Georgia Tech's momentum. A few minutes later, he swished another open jumper to make it 55-48. 

Georgia Tech got a basket and a defensive stop, but Braxton Key swooped on for an offensive rebound to give the Cavaliers a second chance. With just over 2 minutes to go, Diakite was left open on the wing for a jumper that made it 57-50, effectively finishing off the Yellow Jackets.

Jose Alvarado paced Georgia Tech with 20 points.

Virginia led 33-25 at halftime, taking advantage of the home team's sloppy play. The Yellow Jackets hit 11 of 18 shots (61.1%) but turned it over 13 times, wasting far too many possessions against the defensive-minded Cavaliers.

BIG PICTURE

Virginia: The Cavaliers picked up a desperately needed victory to avoid their longest losing streak since a four-game skid from Feb. 12-20, 2017. While still a far cry from their national championship squad, Virginia showed some offensive efficiency to go along with its always-tenacious defense. Key chipped in with 10 points. 

Georgia Tech: This is shaping up to be another disappointing season, raising more doubts about whether coach Josh Pastner can turn around a program that is approaching a decade since its last NCAA Tournament appearance. The Yellow Jackets continue to show flashes of promise, but Pastner has been unable to develop any sort of consistency in his fourth season. 

UP NEXT

Virginia: Returns home to play North Carolina State on Monday night. 

Georgia Tech: Hits the road for the first of two meetings against No. 11 Louisville. The teams will meet again in Atlanta on March 7, the final game of the regular season. 

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Capitals hosting Rock The Rink skate and watch parties around DMV

Capitals hosting Rock The Rink skate and watch parties around DMV

The Capitals may not be participating in Stadium Series this year, but the team is embracing outdoor hockey around Washington for spirited game day fun.

The Caps are hosting Rock The Rink skates at The Wharf, Penatgon Row, Rockville Town Square and The Avenue at White Marsh on select game days from January to March 2020. Fans attending these events can wear Capitals jerseys or gear to get either $5 off admission or free skate rentals.

The Wharf

Jan. 18 at 1 p.m., Jan. 31 at 6 p.m., and Feb 17. at 1 p.m.

Transit Pier will boast a Capitals-paneled ice rink with an ice resurfacer, trivia contests, giveaways, along with a DJ. The Capitals Campire will also boast Adirondack chairs around a fire to roast marshmallows for smores in front of a 14-foot jumbotron screen to watch the Capitals games. 

Pentagon Row

Feb. 27 at 7 p.m. and March 9 at 6 p.m.

These skates will feature Slapshot, giveaways, a DJ and Capitals-centic specials at local restaurants. The Caps games will also be on at surrounding bars. 

The Avenue at White March

Feb. 7 at 6 p.m.

This event will feature Slapshot, giveaways, a DJ and Capitals-centic specials at local restaurants.

Rockville Town Square

Jan. 31 at 5:30 p.m. and March 5 at 6 p.m.

In addition to the above fun, Rockville native and Capitals hockey ambassador Haley Skarupa will be there on Jan. 31. You can watch the Capitals game at local bars as well. 

Fans attending these events or using local outdoor rinks this season are encouraged to post about it on social media by tagging @capitals and using the hashtag #RockTheRink to enter themselves for a chance to win prizes.

Caps slept through the first 40 minutes, they did not give Holtby much help though he was bad in his own right and Vrana sure did show something with the game-winning goal.

As for no penalties...not so much.

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