Capitals

No. 7 Florida overwhelms Marquette 82-49

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No. 7 Florida overwhelms Marquette 82-49

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) Michael Frazier II scored 17 points, one of six Florida players in double figures, and the seventh-ranked Gators routed Marquette 82-49 Thursday night in the SEC-Big East Challenge.

Florida took control midway through the first half, building a double-digit lead thanks to Frazier's hot hand and solid defense, and never let up.

The Gators kept things rolling after the break, opening up a 23-point lead on Will Yeguete's layup.

And get this: the Gators (6-0) stayed unbeaten without much help from Kenny Boynton. The team's leading scorer missed his first six shots and was scoreless until hitting a jumper with 16:34 remaining.

Boynton finished with six points on 2-of-11 shooting. Yeguete (11 points), Casey Prather (11), Mike Rosario (11), Pat Young (10) and Erik Murphy (10) all scored in double digits.

Vander Blue led Marquette (5-2) with 20 points, the team's only player in double figures.

Frazier and Young were even more impressive than Florida's balanced scoring effort.

Frazier made 5 of 8 shots from 3-point range, getting on such a role in the first half that teammates started looking for the 6-foot-4 freshman guard.

Young, meanwhile, came off the bench for the first time this season. Coach Billy Donovan benched Young because of his attitude in practice.

Young responded as well as Donovan could have wanted. He played with energy and effort all night, dominating the boards and doing all the little things. He had two monster blocks, a couple of nifty passes, went after loose balls and had a leaping steal near midcourt that turned into points.

Florida held Marquette to 41 percent shooting. The Golden Eagles finished 3 of 12 from 3-point range and turned the ball over 14 times.

Marquette had won three in a row and was looking to avenge last season's loss to the Gators in the NCAA tournament. Florida won 68-58 in the round of 16 in Phoenix.

Marquette lost Jae Crowder and Darius-Johnson Odom off that team, but the Golden Eagles showed little drop-off while playing Butler tight in the Maui Invitational and beating Mississippi State and USC.

But they were overmatched in Gainesville.

Florida opened a 23-13 lead midway through the first half, pushed it to 38-20 on consecutive 3s from Frazier and could have cruised in the second half.

Instead, the Gators poured it on. Frazier's fifth 3-pointer made it 70-39 with 6:14 remaining.

About the only concerns for the Gators were a couple of minor injuries.

Murphy went to the locker room with what appeared to be a hip injury, and Scottie Wilbekin went down with a right leg injury

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Boyd, Jaskin sizzle as the Caps' fourth line continues to stay ahead of the curve

Boyd, Jaskin sizzle as the Caps' fourth line continues to stay ahead of the curve

Fresh off of a third-star recognition, Travis Boyd returned to home ice to score less than eleven minutes into Tuesday night’s game as the Capitals hosted the Detroit Red Wings.

Saturday’s goal, versus Columbus, was the first of Boyd’s career. The fact that his second came not even four days later may seem unusual – but with the Capitals’ fourth line cruising, it’s hardly a surprise.

The fourth line, consisting of Boyd, Nic Dowd, and Dmitrij Jaskin, has been together the past three games since Tom Wilson sustained an upper-body injury and the lineup changed. That version of the fourth line has combined for eight points in three wins. 

Dowd has had the most sustained success with seven points in his past nine games (three goals, four assists) - though not all of that came with Jaskin and Boyd. But together the trio continues to show that it shouldn’t be overlooked with significant contributions towards the team’s scoring.

“I think right now we're just having fun together,” Boyd said after the 6-2 win against the Red Wings. “It's kind of funny, you play games and you start making plays together and all of a sudden, it's kind of like a snowball effect. The more plays you make, the more confidence you get and it just kind of keeps going.”

The fourth line’s newfound confidence – and the fun they’re having with it – is tangible. Jaskin, after chipping past Detroit defenseman Mike Green, hustled to avoid an icing call and then helped feed Dowd, who passed to Boyd for a goal that put Washington ahead 2-0 just 10:50 into the game. 

The play looked effortless – so much so that the Red Wings were frustrated by the end of the first, down 3-0. It wasn’t until the third period that Detroit was finally able to get on the board thanks to a goal by Dylan Larkin that held up after a coach’s challenge for goalie interference.

Larkin spoke to the struggle to counter Washington’s fourth line’s success..

“There’s no bad players in this league,” Larkin said. “Whoever scores, it’s disappointing. But the next shift is the most important. We got penned in our zone a little too much tonight.”

Capitals coach Todd Reirden had high praise for the line’s developing chemistry.

“[There’s] a lot of chemistry,” Reirden said. “They're playing well and it’s great to see them get rewarded, and they could have had a couple more. They play the right way for the most part.”

Though Boyd, Dowd, and Jaskin have been outstanding in the past few games, it isn’t a completely new development, but rather, an improvement on a larger goal.

“It's something talked about in the summer,” Reirden said. “[There’s an] importance of having depth scoring and I think that was something we struggled with in the first 10 games of the year, getting scoring from that bottom six. Now it's been a really big part of our success.“

As the league evolves, requiring more skill and versatility from more players, Reirden remains positive that the Caps are ahead of the curve.

“The days of just having a fourth line guy that would be your tough guy, that's kind of gone away,” Reirden said. “I think where we're headed, [if] you can get offensive production from that fourth line, you become a very difficult team to match up against. That's a luxury as a coach if you can have that type of depth. Credit all goes to how our players have bought in and taken advantage of their opportunities. They've been given them, they've earned and deserved to be in that situation they're in right now.”


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Wizards release new red alternate jerseys, their fifth uniform

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WashingtonWizards.com

Wizards release new red alternate jerseys, their fifth uniform

The Washington Wizards have another new alternate jersey. On Wednesday, they released pictures of their 'Earned Edition' kit, which is essentially a red version of their 'The District' series.

The Wizards now have five jerseys. They are one of 16 teams with an 'Earned Edition' because they made the playoffs last season.

Here is a look at the new uniforms:

(photos via WashingtonWizards.com)

Notice the nod to the Washington monument up the sides of the jersey. Also, the D.C. flag on the waistband is a nice touch. 

The Wizards now have red and black versions that say 'The District' on the front. Last season, they they had one in white.

The Wizards will debut the uniform on Dec. 29 when they host the Chralotte Hornets.

Expect them to be mixed in for a few games over the course of the rest of this season.

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