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Paige helps UNC beat Virginia Tech 72-60 in OT

Paige helps UNC beat Virginia Tech 72-60 in OT

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) Freshman Marcus Paige scored eight of his season-high 19 points in overtime to help North Carolina beat Virginia Tech 72-60 on Saturday.

James Michael McAdoo had 22 points and 10 rebounds and Reggie Bullock added 11 points for the Tar Heels (15-6, 5-3 Atlantic Coast Conference).

They hounded the nation's leading scorer, Erick Green, into his second-worst game of the season and scored on their first nine possessions of overtime to pull away for their fifth win in six games.

Green, who averages 25.5 points, finished with 16 on 7-for-21 shooting while being defended mostly by Dexter Strickland.

Green missed a jumper that would have won it in regulation and was held to fewer than 20 points for just the second time this season.

Jarell Eddie added 15 points for the Hokies (11-10, 2-6). They have lost four straight and 10 of 14 since starting 7-0.

McAdoo put North Carolina ahead to stay with a jumper that made it 59-57 with 3:45 left in overtime. Joey van Zegeren pulled the Hokies within one with a free throw on their next trip downcourt.

That's when Paige took over.

He entered 8-for-39 in the past five games but was 6-for-14 in this one while hitting four of his team's five 3-pointers.

His open 3 from the left wing with 3 minutes left in OT made it 62-58, and he followed that with a jumper from the baseline that made it a six-point game. His three free throws in the final 1:36 helped ice it.

Cadarian Raines finished with 12 points and Robert Brown added 10 for the Hokies, who had a chance to win it in regulation.

Van Zegeren - a 46 percent free-throw shooter - tied it at 55 with two foul shots with 45.8 seconds left, and the Hokies got the ball back when Paige threw the ball away with about 30 seconds left.

Green milked the clock before his pull-up jumper from the wing over Bullock didn't hit anything, and North Carolina rebounded with 1.9 seconds left. Jackson Simmons' full-court pass was tipped out by a Hokie with 0.1 seconds. After a timeout, van Zegeren picked off Paige's inbounds pass in the lane.

North Carolina trailed by eight twice in the second half, but clawed back with a McAdoo-led 19-9 run to take its first lead.

Bullock, who missed his first five 3-pointers, swished an open 3 to make it 42-all with just over 13 minutes left. Brice Johnson then put the Tar Heels up 46-45 on a tip-in with 9 1/2 minutes to go. After McAdoo stretched it to 47-45 on a free throw with 9:01 left, it was a one-possession game throughout the rest of regulation.

The Tar Heels played without injured swingman P.J. Hairston, who suffered a concussion in their last game at Boston College, and his absence was felt on the perimeter. They were 5 of 24 from 3-point range, with Bullock missing seven of his eight.

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GM Brian MacLellan: Capitals are close to re-signing John Carlson

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GM Brian MacLellan: Capitals are close to re-signing John Carlson

DALLAS—The Caps are “really close” to signing star defenseman John Carlson to a long-term extension, GM Brian MacLellan said Friday night.

“We’re getting closer,” MacLellan said following the first round of the NHL Draft. “Hopefully we can get it done here over the next few days. We’re really close.”

Earlier in the day, the Caps cleared significant space under the salary cap ceiling by trading Philipp Grubauer and Brooks Orpik to Colorado for a second round draft pick (47th overall). 

That space will now be used to lock up Carlson, who could become the best defenseman on the open market if he were to reach it.

MacLellan met with Carlson’s agent, Rick Curran, here on Thursday night.

MacLellan did not divulge any figures, but it’s expected that Carlson’s new contract could come in at eight years and $8 million per—or perhaps a bit more. 

He earned $4 million last season.

Carlson had a career year in 2017-18 and was critical during the Caps' run to the Stanley Cup. He led all defensemen in the regular season with 68 points (15 goals, 53 assists). The 28-year-old also skated a career-high 24:47 per game.

MacLellan has long said that re-signing Carlson was the Caps’ top priority this offseason. And now it looks like that could happen within days, assuming the talks do not hit any snags.

“We’re going to do our best to sign John,” MacLellan said. “We’ve said it all along. We waited until the end of the year. We’ve had discussions. We’re close and hopefully we can close the deal here over the next 24 hours.”

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Capitals go to the WHL again, select defenseman Alex Alexeyev with first-round pick

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Capitals go to the WHL again, select defenseman Alex Alexeyev with first-round pick

The last time the Washington Capitals had a first-round draft pick, they selected a WHL defenseman. They did not go off script on Friday.

With the last pick of the first round, selecting for the first time as defending Stanley Cup champions, the Capitals selected Alexander Alexeyev, a left-shooting, two-way defenseman from St. Petersburg.

Alexeyev, 18, certainly boasts NHL size at 6' 4", 196 pounds. He currently plays for Red Deer in the WHL, a junior league that has become a major pipeline for the Capitals. In his second season with Red Deer, he tallied 37 points in 45 games.

The NHL Central Scouting's rankings list Alexeyev as the 22nd best North American skater of the draft. TSN projects him to be a top-four, two-way defenseman.

Analyst Craig Button described Alexeyev as a "Smart, effective defenceman who moves the puck, plays with a calm and doesn't make things complicated for himself."

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