Nationals

Plumlee leads No. 1 Duke past Elon 76-54

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Plumlee leads No. 1 Duke past Elon 76-54

DURHAM, N.C. (AP) Mason Plumlee had 21 points and 15 rebounds, and No. 1 Duke beat Elon 76-54 on Thursday night for its 100th straight nonconference win at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

Ryan Kelly added 14 points, freshman Rasheed Sulaimon had 13 and Tyler Thornton hit a pair of key 3-pointers 30 seconds apart that helped the Blue Devils (11-0) pull away.

Playing on back-to-back nights, Duke counted on its defense to pick up an offense that was off on more open shots than usual. Duke shot 43 percent but forced 17 turnovers and turned them into 19 points while holding the Phoenix to just five offensive rebounds.

Sebastian Koch scored 14 points but Elon (6-5) was denied its first win over an Atlantic Coast Conference team since 2005.

Quinn Cook added 10 points for Duke, which hasn't lost to a non-ACC team at Cameron since falling to St. John's on Feb. 26, 2000.

The Blue Devils outscored Elon 29-10 during a defense-driven 13-minute stretch that began in the first half and ended midway through the second. Thornton connected on the second of his two 3s two possessions before Sulaimon capped it with a 3 that made it 54-35 with about 10:45 to go.

Thornton then made it a 20-point game for the first time when his jumper with 6 1/2 minutes left made it 63-43.

That capped a rather successful four-day span for the Blue Devils, who returned to No. 1 for the first time since February 2011, rolled to a couple of nonconference wins and picked up a nationally televised oral commitment from Jabari Parker, one of the most highly touted recruits in years.

Plumlee, who has scored at least 16 points in every game, finished with his fourth 20-point performance of the season and picked up a pair of senior classmates whose shooting was a bit off: Seth Curry, who has played all season with persistent shin pain, was 3 of 10 while Kelly was 4 of 13.

The Blue Devils also had a short bench: Marshall Plumlee, Mason's younger brother who played 2 minutes Wednesday night against Cornell in his season debut, had a boot once again on his left foot, leaving Duke with just nine scholarship players. He missed nine games with a stress fracture in that foot.

Lucas Troutman had 13 points and Jack Isenbarger finished with 12 for Elon.

Just as they did the night before in what became a 41-point win over the Big Red, the Blue Devils had decent numbers early but not much of a working margin to show for it.

Duke shot 43 percent in the first half and held Elon without an offensive rebound for the first 15 1/2 minutes - and yet it was tied at 25 with less than 4 minutes before the break. The Blue Devils never led by more than five until closing the half with a 10-2 burst that coincided with the start of the decisive run.

Cook banked in a 35-footer in traffic at the buzzer to make it 35-27 at the break.

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How will MLB's new extra inning with a runner on second rule work strategically?

How will MLB's new extra inning with a runner on second rule work strategically?

Major League Baseball is going to be bizarre in 2020. A 60-game schedule. The designated hitter in the National League. No fans.

But the change a lot of baseball fans might have the toughest getting used to is the tweak to extra innings. Each team will begin each extra inning with a man on second base. The crew from the Nationals Talk podcast had differing opinions on the new rule.

“I absolutely love it,” NBC Sports Washington's Nick Ashooh said.

Team reporter Todd Dybas did not agree.

“The rule is dumb. It goes against everything that baseball is about.”

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Chase Hughes broke the tie. “I’m a no on the rule too. I’m with Todd.”

What about the strategy of starting with a man on second base? Could team's exploit or alter the ending of the previous frame to set up a new inning? 

The rule states: “The runner placed on second base at the start of each half-inning shall be the player (or a substitute for such player) in the batting order immediately preceding that half-inning’s leadoff hitter.”

Dybas wondered if it would be wise to end the previous inning on purpose if a speedster is at the plate with two outs.

“Would it behoove [Giants'] Billy Hamilton to make the final out? So the next inning he would start at second base?” Hamilton is a career .242 hitting but has 299 stolen bases in 809 games played. 

RELATED: COULD MORE OPT-OUTS BE COMING? 

Frustration will also be inevitable. “I can’t wait to hear from the players on the first team to lose by that rule,” Hughes said. “What are they going to say?” 

2020 has already thrown us plenty of curveballs, the changes to baseball will just be a couple more the sports world will have to adjust to. 

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Charles Barkley jokingly admits he doesn't know anyone on the Wizards besides John Wall and Bradley Beal

Charles Barkley jokingly admits he doesn't know anyone on the Wizards besides John Wall and Bradley Beal

Without John Wall, Bradley Beal and Davis Bertans, Washington's three best players, the Wizards hopes of making the playoffs in the NBA's Orlando restart have taken a hit.

On Thursday, Wizards coach Scott Brooks joined the Inside the NBA team on TNT, where Charles Barkley genuinely asked him who has to step up for the team when the games begin.

Brooks' response was unexpected, yet also hilarious. Here was the exchange:

Barkley: "Obviously, without John and Bradley, your two best players, give us two names that really need to step up for you guys."

Brooks: "Well, I think we should play that game where you name two guys on our team besides those two guys." 

Barkley: "Let me tell you something, I don't know anybody on your team! So I want you to tell us two players on your team."

To Barkley's credit, much of the national media has not paid any attention to the Wizards this season. The team only had one game on national TV this season, a November clash with the lowly Cleveland Cavaliers.

RELATED: ISH SMITH SAYS BUBBLE FOOD ISN'T THAT BAD

When basketball does resume, the Wizards are six games back of the Orlando Magic for the eighth spot in the East. Washington needs to make up two games over the final eight contests in order to force a play-in game for the conference's final playoff spot.

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