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Panthers regrouping after near miss at Notre Dame

Panthers regrouping after near miss at Notre Dame

PITTSBURGH (AP) Joe Trebitz needed to turn the TV off and forget about football for awhile.

The Pitt senior linebacker just couldn't quite stomach watching the highlights of a season-making victory slip away. The final moments of the Panthers' 29-26 triple-overtime loss to Notre Dame last Saturday will replay in his head for years to come, no need to rub it in.

``I just kind of relaxed and had some recovery time,'' Trebitz said.

Time's up.

Less than 48 hours after a gut-wrenching collapse in which the Panthers squandered a 14-point fourth-quarter lead on the road against the unbeaten Fighting Irish, the Panthers were back at work on Monday getting ready for Friday night's game at Connecticut.

``You can't go back,'' cornerback K'Waun Williams said. ``You've just got to let it be the past.''

This one, though, might take a little bit to get over. The Panthers (4-5) had several opportunities to give first-year coach Paul Chryst a signature victory in an up-and-down season. Instead, Chryst found himself playing both consoler and motivator when Notre Dame escaped.

``Guys will come back,'' Chryst said. ``We've all got a choice and what do we do with that choice. You throw on the film, you know UConn's a good football team. I think in this case, a shorter week is maybe a good thing. I think maybe we all are looking forward to getting back and going. You turn the page. We already have really. You have to.''

Quarterback Tino Sunseri included. The senior made pointed comments about placekicker Kevin Harper, who missed a 33-yard field goal attempt in the second overtime period that would have won the game.

``We missed a field goal,'' Sunseri said in the aftermath. ``That's why we lost the game. It came down to a special teams play. We didn't make the play.''

Chryst chastised Sunseri for the outburst and pointed out there is plenty of blame to go around.

``A lot of guys made plays to put us in position to win that game and we all did some things that led to us not winning,'' Chryst said. ``It doesn't fall on one guy.''

Though watching film on Sunday was a solemn affair, Chryst believes the moping was kept to a minimum. If he needs to get his team's attention, he need only point to the standings. Pitt needs to win two of its final three games to earn a bowl bid for the fifth straight season.

Chryst spends most of the time preaching a ``one play at a time'' ethos but admitted this is the point in the season when it's time to look at the big picture.

``We'll talk about that stuff and yet you can still keep your focus on the task at hand,'' he said.

For the Panthers that includes trying to end their time in the Big East on an up note. It's something they know they can do with ease if they play like they did in South Bend.

The problem is, they haven't always done that this year. Pitt's schedule includes a romp over then 13th-ranked Virginia Tech, a tough 10-point loss to unbeaten Louisville and a thriller against the Irish.

That same slate, however, also features a loss to Youngstown State, a one-point defeat at Syracuse and uninspired victory against overmatched Buffalo.

Chryst understands it's difficult to duplicate the unique opportunity that comes with playing at Notre Dame. Things won't be nearly as electric in Connecticut. Yet the game counts just as much in the standings, and for a team that is looking to play beyond the regular season finale against South Florida on Dec. 1, there's all the incentive in the world to bounce back quickly.

``I want to be around this group of guys as long as I can,'' said Trebitz, who had a team-high 13 tackles against the Fighting Irish in his first career start. ``They're my family. You want to be around them as much as possible. There's three games left. We want to make it four.''

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Follow Will Graves at www.twitter.com/WillGravesAP

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Victor Robles wins first career Play of the Week award

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Victor Robles wins first career Play of the Week award

For the first time in his young Major League career, Nationals rookie outfielder Victor Robles was honored with a Play of the Week award.

Thanks to his lightning speed and fearless playing style, it probably won’t be his last.

Tuesday night in Chicago, Robles found himself chasing down a Leury Garcia rocket to left-center off a Patrick Corbin breaking ball.

Robles, who had been playing Garcia in right-center, covered nearly 90 feet to make the catch, reaching a top speed of 29.9 feet per second. 

As a reference, 30.0 feet per second is considered elite. So, yeah, Robles was running pretty fast here.

The catch was so impressive it brought fans to their feet, showering Robles with a standing ovation. As a reminder, the game was being played in Chicago, not Washington, so for opposing fans to cheer it had to be a pretty special play.

Major League Baseball clearly agreed, awarding Robles for the effort.

Robles is just the second National to win the award, following Anthony Rendon late last month.

The rookie outfielder is enjoying an up-and-down season at the plate, slashing .234/.303/.402 with nine home runs and nine stolen bases.

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Tom Haberstroh: 'I just don't know if the timing is right' for Masai Ujiri to join Wizards

Tom Haberstroh: 'I just don't know if the timing is right' for Masai Ujiri to join Wizards

As soon as the clock hit zero in Game 6 of the NBA Finals and cemented the Toronto Raptors as the 2019 NBA Champions, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski tweeted that the Wizards were preparing to make a lucrative offer to Toronto GM Masai Ujiri. 

NBC Sports Washington's Ben Standig confirmed that Washington was prepared to give the Raptors top front office executive a deal that would be hard to refuse.

The rumored interest in Ujiri became the topic of the most recent Wizards Talk Podcast discussion, and Monday, NBC Sports NBA Insider Tom Haberstroh spoke on the potential pairing. 

"If you're Ted Leonsis and the ownership in D.C., you're hoping that the Raptors are out [of the playoffs] early so you can start the talks and you can try to lure Masai Ujiri over a few days or a week but they dont have that time before Thursday's draft," Haberstroh said.

"I just don't know if the timing is right for Masai to make such a huge decision in his career in the next couple of days."

Ted Leonsis' offer isn't the only factor trying to bring Ujiri to the nation's capital. The Raptors' executive has a relationship with former President Barack Obama, which could weight in the Wizards favor, and Ujiri's wife, Ramatu, attended high school in the D.C. area as well.

"If he takes this job, it is not about the basketball reasons, its all about the off-court reasons, whether it's Barack Obama recruiting him, or it's his wife who is from the area," Haberstroh added.

While Wizards fan would welcome Ujiri to Washington with open arms and hope that he is the missing piece to set the franchise in the right direction, Haberstroh isn't sure that Ujiri bolts from Toronto so soon.

"I just don't know if the timing is right for Masai Ujiri to leave a champion in Toronto," Haberstroh said.

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