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No. 8 Gonzaga defeats Portland 71-49

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No. 8 Gonzaga defeats Portland 71-49

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) Kelly Olynyk had 21 points and eight rebounds and No. 8 Gonzaga easily defeated Portland 71-49 on Thursday night, the Bulldogs' eighth straight victory.

Olynyk, the 7-foot center who leads the West Coast Conference in scoring, got off to a slow start against the Pilots after two straight games with more than 30 points, scoring just one basket in the first half.

Kevin Pangos added 14 points, including four 3-pointers for Gonzaga (17-1, 4-0 WCC), as the Bulldogs extended the best start in school history.

Kevin Bailey had 16 points for the Pilots (8-11, 1-3) who trailed by as many as 21 points and dropped their 19th straight game in the series with the Zags.

The Bulldogs have not lost since falling 85-74 to then-No. 13 Illinois on Dec. 8 in Spokane. They were coming off an 83-78 victory over St. Mary's on Saturday, which pulled them up a spot in the AP Top 25, the team's highest ranking since Dec. 22, 2008, when they were No. 7.

The Pilots were coming off a 68-64 victory over Loyola Marymount last Saturday in Los Angeles. The win snapped a three-game losing streak.

Three consecutive 3-pointers and a layup from Pangos put Gonzaga up 14-2 early at the sold-out Chiles Center.

But Portland closed in, coming within 16-10 after David Ahern's jumper. Ahern, a freshman walk-on from Northern California, was playing in just his second game for the Pilots. Portland starting point guard Davis Carr is out for the season after tearing a ligament in his right knee in a loss to Pepperdine on Jan. 5.

Guy Landry Edi made a 3-pointer that put the Bulldogs up 23-10 midway through the first half.

But the Pilots closed in again, pulling to 31-26 after Ryan Nicholas' 3-pointer and Bailey's running jumper. It was as close as Portland could come, and the Zags led 36-26 at halftime.

Pangos led all first-half scorers with 11 points, including his three 3-pointers, and Gonzaga was 8 of 15 from beyond the arc.

Gonzaga began to pull away in the second half, going ahead 51-36 after Elias Harris had consecutive dunks. The Pilots simply couldn't keep up with the taller and faster Zags.

Olynyk's dunk gave Gonzaga a 58-44 lead with just more than 9 minutes left. Edi dunked for the final margin.

Olynyk was the first Gonzaga player with consecutive 30-point games since Adam Morrison in 2006.

Portland's last victory over Gonzaga came in 2003, when the Pilots won 72-68 in Spokane.

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John Wall takes another step in rehab, facing teammates in practice

John Wall takes another step in rehab, facing teammates in practice

WASHINGTON -- The steady progress continues for John Wall in his rehab from a ruptured left Achilles tendon, as the Wizards point guard is now facing teammates in 4-on-4 drills at practice.

Head coach Scott Brooks described the games as "controlled," noting they were not full-speed or with contact and featured a 10-second shot clock. But that remains a notable step in his road back after he had previously been playing mostly against player development coaches.

"He practiced for the whole practice. He looked great," Brooks said. "There is still a ways to go. But his energy, his enthusiasm, his strength [looks good]. His shot looks better."

Wall, 29, hasn't played in a game since Dec. 26 of 2018. He had surgery on his Achilles on Feb. 12, 2019. He is currently over 11 months into what is typically an 11-to-15 month recovery.

Brooks, though, makes a point to couch positive updates about Wall with patience. The team has indicated he may not play at all this season.

"I don't know if he plays this year," Brooks said. "We can be patient and we're going to be patient because we need him to be right for a lot of years. This is his career and we know how serious that injury is. He's taking it serious."

Part of the equation is the financial commitment the Wizards have made in Wall. He is due roughly $131.5 million over the next three seasons. They want to make sure he is good to go not just for this year, but that he can be effective for the remainder of his contract.

According to Brooks, even having Wall back to this level has added some positive energy to the Wizards' organization.

"I know the excitement is around because he's around and he's looking [good]," Brooks said. "When he comes back, he's going to be the John Wall we all love."

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Houston QB D'Eriq King reportedly transfers to Miami over Maryland

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Houston QB D'Eriq King reportedly transfers to Miami over Maryland

Just one week after announcing that he had entered the NCAA transfer portal, University of Houston QB D'Eriq King has reportedly chosen Miami over Maryland.

The Athletic's Hurricanes beat writer Manny Navarro reports that King has informed Canes coaches of his decision and intent to start classes Tuesday, Jan. 21. 

At the same time, Mark Berman of Fox26 reported that King has not made a final decision but did indeed like Miami.

 

King was scheduled to visit Miami Friday night and Maryland on Saturday, but Jeff Ermann of InsideMDSports reports that King may have cancelled his visit to second-year head coach Mike Locksley and company last minute after liking Miami. Berman reports that King is still "planning" on visiting College Park.

The Terps struggled to finish 3-9 with Josh Jackson and Tyrell Pigrome under center, combining for 16 touchdown passes and 12 interceptions. Under first-year head coach Manny Diaz, Miami went 6-7 over 2019.

King redshirted this season after playing the maximum four games allowed under new NCAA rules in order to preserve eligibility and transfer for  his senior season. In those four games, King tallied 663 passing yards and six touchdowns. 

The sought-after QB is also just one of three in FBS history that have recorded at least 35 passing touchdowns and 13 rushing touchdowns in a single season.

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