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Pitt wins 7th straight, drops Delaware State 71-43

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Pitt wins 7th straight, drops Delaware State 71-43

PITTSBURGH (AP) Talib Zanna scored six of his game-high 20 points to spark a second-half run and Pittsburgh pulled away from Delaware State for a 71-43 victory on Wednesday night.

J.J. Moore added 15 points and Steven Adams had 10 points, eight rebounds and four blocks for the Panthers (11-1), who clamped down on the Hornets in the second half to continue their December domination of a tame nonconference schedule.

Delaware State (5-7) was Pitt's third Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference opponent in the last three weeks, and after some early success the Hornets went down quietly much like Howard and Bethune-Cookman before them.

Tahj Tate led Delaware State with 19 points but Delaware State couldn't keep pace when the Panthers got serious in the second half.

Panthers played without backup center Dante Taylor, who sat out with a heel contusion, but Pitt hardly missed him on a night Adams and Zanna had their way. The duo outrebounded the Hornets by themselves (17-14) and Pitt outscored Delaware State 48-18 in the paint.

Most of those baskets came on dunks and layups thanks to deft passing from guards Tray Woodall and James Robinson, who combined for 17 assists. The Panthers finished with 24 assists on 30 baskets and at one point registered assists on 10 straight buckets in the second half.

Zanna, quickly developing into one of the better post players in the Big East, led the way. He scored the first six points of the second half, part of a 15-2 burst that helped the Panthers break things open.

All seven Pitt baskets during the run came at the rim and it deflated any hopes the Hornets had of sticking around. Delaware State shot just 31 percent (6 of 19) in the second half and didn't threaten after a Zanna lay-up off a nice feed from Robinson gave Pitt a 50-32 lead.

The Hornets, picked to finish second in the MEAC, hardly appeared intimidated in the early going. Delaware State took Penn State to overtime on Saturday, leading with a minute to go in the extra period before falling 80-76.

Playing fearlessly, the Hornets kept it close during a tight first half. Launching shots from all over - at one point Bell hit a 3-pointer with Trey Zeigler's hand smacking him in the face and Tate banked in a 3 from the top of the key - Delaware State never let Pitt get comfortable.

The Hornets took a brief 15-14 lead before the Panthers settled in behind Zanna, who scored four points during a 13-5 burst, though Delaware State pulled within 31-27 at the break thanks to a pull-up jumper from Tate. He followed it up by stripping Adams then racing the 7-footer down the floor and flipping in an acrobatic layup at the horn.

It would be Delaware State's last gasp. Zanna dunked on Pitt's first possession of the second half and the Panthers were on their way.

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For a January game, Wizards vs. Pistons has plenty of playoff implications

For a January game, Wizards vs. Pistons has plenty of playoff implications

Winners of six of their last nine games, the Washington Wizards have breathed new life into their season, now with revitalized hopes of making the playoffs. On Monday, they will get a shot at one of the teams standing in their way.

With a 2 p.m. tip-off on NBC Sports Washington, the Wizards host the Detroit Pistons in a Martin Luther King Jr. Day matinee. The Wizards are 10th in the Eastern Conference and the Pistons are ninth.

With a win over the Pistons, the Wizards would move into a tie for ninth, just one spot out of the playoff picture. Though more than two months remain in the regular season, the Wizards can gain some valuable ground.

Whether that is on their mind going into the match-up depends on whom you ask.

"It's definitely too early to talk about it," head coach Scott Brooks said.

"I think there are some very important games [coming up] where we go head-to-head against the guys who are around us in the standings," guard Tomas Satoransky said, singing a different tune.

Satoransky doesn't just see an opportunity against the Pistons on Monday, he mentioned Friday's game against the Magic as well. Orlando is one spot behind the Wizards in 11th.

The standings are one thing. Even more important for the big picture is head-to-head records, which determine tiebreakers for playoff seeding. The Wizards are 0-1 against the Pistons, having lost in Detroit on Dec. 26. 

A win on Monday would tie the season series with only one meeting left, on Feb. 11. If the Pistons win on Monday, they would lock up the tiebreaker.

The Wizards have reasons to be confident going into this meeting with the Pistons. While they are playing their best basketball of the season, Detroit has been in a tailspin. Going back to Dec. 3, they are 7-18. Only the Cavaliers have more losses during that stretch.

In those 25 games, the Pistons have been 28th in the NBA in offensive rating (103.6) and effective field goal percentage (49.6). They have committed the third-most turnovers per game (15.6).

Injuries haven't been the reason, but the Pistons have a few to report entering Monday's game. All-Star center Andre Drummond missed their last game on Saturday with a concussion and is considered day-to-day. Guard Ish Smith is also day-to-day after missing Saturday's game with a groin injury.

The Wizards have a chance to beat a reeling team and gain some control of their playoff hopes. We'll see if they take advantage.

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That time Antonio Brown and Kyler Murray practiced together

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That time Antonio Brown and Kyler Murray practiced together

Thanks to Antonio Brown, we have the hopes and dreams of a splashy off-season for the Washington Redskins in one tidy four-second video.

Brown, the NFL’s best receiver, is angling for a trade out of Pittsburgh.

Kyler Murray is the reigning Heisman Trophy quarterback and a projected 2019 first round pick.

During the NFC Championship game, the Steelers wide receiver tweeted out a clip of him hauling in a deep pass from the University of Oklahoma product. Yes, that’s going to draw some eyeballs, perhaps especially from fans of a team with quarterback uncertainty and lacking offensive playmakers.

Another OU standout, wide receiver Marquise “Hollywood” Brown”, joined his cousin Antonio and Murray for the workout. This isn’t the first time all three shared a field.

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The best rolled thru today, appreciate you @ab 📞

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Marquise Brown, a true speed threat, could become the first wide receiver selected in the 2019 draft.

There’s no way for the Redskins to land all three. Even two seems highly unlikely considering the two prospects are projected first-round selections and acquiring Brown would cost a No. 1 and plenty more. It’s still cool to dream. Considering the quarterback concerns with Alex Smith, Jamison Crowder entering free agency and the need for more pieces regardless, even landing one of them would work.

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