Nationals

Pitt beats Lehigh 78-53 in NIT Season Tip-Off

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Pitt beats Lehigh 78-53 in NIT Season Tip-Off

PITTSBURGH (AP) Tray Woodall scored a season-high 23 points and Talib Zanna tied a career-high with 20 as Pittsburgh crushed Lehigh 78-53 in the NIT Season Tip-Off on Tuesday night.

Woodall added eight assists for the Panthers (3-0), who will play Michigan in the tournament semifinals next week.

Pitt kept Lehigh's C.J. McCollum in check for most of the night. The senior preseason All-American finished with 17 points on 7-of-11 shooting but was a nonfactor when Pitt broke it open.

The Mountain Hawks (1-2) hung tough during the first half but had no answer during a 21-5 burst by Pitt early in the second half. Zanna scored seven straight points during the run while Woodall sandwiched layups around a basket by Steven Adams as Pitt turned a 35-32 lead into a comfortable 56-37 cushion.

Lehigh, which upset Duke in last year's NCAA tournament, shot just 32 percent in the second half.

The Panthers are looking to erase the memory of last season, when they endured the worst year of coach Jamie Dixon's tenure. Pitt missed the NCAA tournament for the first time in over a decade and lacked the kind of typical offensive efficiency that's been one of the program's hallmarks under Dixon.

Those issues appear to have disappeared.

Dixon's decision to start freshman James Robinson at point guard has taken some of the pressure off Woodall to do everything and allowed him to play with more freedom. The fifth-year senior is thriving and so are the Panthers.

Pitt had 17 assists on its 29 baskets and outscored Lehigh 36-12 in the paint, many of them layups for big guys like Zanna and Steven Adams created by Woodall.

Woodall fed Adams for a dunk during the game-turning run that pushed Pitt's lead to double digits. He added a 3-pointer a minute later then pump faked, drew a defender and fed Zanna for another easy basket.

The Mountain Hawks simply couldn't keep up. Gabe Knutson added 12 points but Lehigh was outrebounded 38-22 and had just five assists while turning it over 15 times. Coach Brett Reed exhausted his timeouts during Pitt's surge, but it did little to slow down the Panthers.

Pitt - which struggled at home last season - had little trouble the rest of the way against one of the country's better mid-major programs.

The Mountain Hawks stunned second-seeded Duke in the NCAA tournament last spring and have one of the best guards in the country in McCollum, who bypassed on the NBA to help raise his draft stock and guide Lehigh to another Patriot League title.

McCollum wasted little time asserting himself, scoring Lehigh's first five points, though he had plenty of help during a back-and-forth first half that featured nine lead changes and six ties. Pitt eventually moved in front 35-30 at the break on the strength of the quickly improving Zanna, who has emerged as the Panthers' top big man early in the season.

Slipping into open spaces and being assertive with the ball in his hands, Zanna exploited his size advantage to overwhelm the undersized Mountain Hawks in the lane.

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Follow Will Graves at www.twitter.com/WillGravesAP

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Donaldson's 9th-inning single lifts Braves over Nats 4-3 despite Robles' heroics

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Donaldson's 9th-inning single lifts Braves over Nats 4-3 despite Robles' heroics

Donaldson's 9th-inning single lifts Braves over Nats 4-3

ATLANTA -- Josh Donaldson's bases-loaded single off Fernando Rodney in the ninth inning lifted the Atlanta Braves over the Washington Nationals 4-3 on Friday night after Luke Jackson allowed a tying, two-run homer to Victor Robles in the top half.

Ronald Acuna Jr., who had three hits, led off the bottom of the ninth with a walk off Rodney (0-3) and took second on Dansby Swanson's single. Freddie Freeman walked on four pitches, loading the bases.

Nationals manager Dave Martinez brought in left fielder Juan Soto as a fifth infielder, including three on the left side against the right-handed hitting Donaldson.

Donaldson hit a 2-0 pitch over Robles to center-field warning track, and the Braves boosted their NL East lead to 6 games over the second-place Nationals. Atlanta had lost its previous five home games against Washington.

Robles' homer went 446 feet to left, giving Jackson his seventh blown save in 24 chances.

Julio Teheran gave up one hit through five scoreless innings and retired 14 consecutive hitters before pinch-hitter Gerardo Parra singled with one out in the sixth. Anthony Rendon chased Teheran with a two-out RBI single.

Nationals left-hander Patrick Corbin couldn't win on his 30th birthday while paired with catcher Yan Gomes, who turned 32. Corbin and Gomes became only the second pitcher-catcher tandem to start together on their birthdays since 1900, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Chicago Cubs pitcher Dave Hillman and catcher Jim Fanning did it against Pittsburgh on Sept. 14, 1957.

Corbin allowed two runs and eight hits in five innings. He struck out Ozzie Albies with the bases loaded in the first and fanned Albies to end the fifth with two out.

Albies hit a two-out double in the fourth and scored on Austin Riley's double. Freeman was 2 for 20 in his career against Corbin before his RBI single in the fifth.

Acuna's RBI double against Tanner Rainey gave the Braves a 3-1 lead.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Nationals: RHP Max Scherzer, on the 10-day IL since July 10 with an injury originally announced as a mid-back strain, was given a cortisone shot on Tuesday to address inflammation in the bursa sac under his right shoulder blade. Scherzer still has some discomfort and must throw a bullpen session before cleared to pitch in a game. With Scherzer unavailable, RHP Austin Voth is expected to start in Sunday night's series finale.

Braves: RHP Patrick Weigel, who had Tommy John surgery in 2017, was recalled from Triple-A Gwinnett to make his major league debut Saturday. RHP Wes Parsons also was recalled from Gwinnett. RHPs Kyle Wright and Touki Toussaint were optioned to Gwinnett.

UP NEXT

Nationals: RHP Anibal Sanchez (5-6, 3.71) is 1-0 with a 3.00 ERA in two starts this season against the Braves, his former team.

Braves: Rookie RHP Mike Soroka (10-1, 2.24) will try to win his sixth straight decision on Saturday night. The 21-year-old right-hander became the youngest pitcher in franchise history to be selected an All-Star.

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A timeline of Tommy Sheppard's moves as interim Wizards GM

A timeline of Tommy Sheppard's moves as interim Wizards GM

The Wizards are naming Tommy Sheppard their permanent GM after he served in the role on an interim basis since April 2. 

Let's take a look back at the moves which earned Sheppard the long-term GM job:

April 2: The Wizards fire GM Ernie Grunfeld. Tommy Sheppard takes over the role on an interim basis. 

June 20: The Wizards select Gonzaga forward Rui Hachimura with the No. 9 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. Later in the evening, Washington acquires Jonathan Simmons and the draft rights to Tennessee forward Admiral Schofield from the Philadelphia 76ers. Simmons was placed on waivers on July 7.

July 5: The Wizards acquire Moritz Wagner, Isaac Bonga, and Jemerrio Jones, and a 2022 second-round draft pick as part of the deal which sent Anthony Davis to the Lakers. 

July 6: The Wizards trade Dwight Howard to the Grizzlies in exchange for C.J. Miles and acquire Davis Bertans from the Spurs in a three-team deal with Brooklyn and San Antonio, sending the draft rights of Aaron White to the Nets. 

July 7: The Wizards re-sign center Thomas Bryant on a three-year deal and trade guard Tomas Satoransky to the Bulls for a 2020 second-round pick.

July 9: The Wizards sign guard Ish Smith to a two-year deal.

July 10: The Wizards sign guard Isaiah Thomas to a one-year deal. 

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