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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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Fans, Redskins pay tribute to longtime NBC Sports Washington reporter Rich Tandler

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NBC Sports Washington

Fans, Redskins pay tribute to longtime NBC Sports Washington reporter Rich Tandler

NBC Sports Washington lost an important piece of its family this week when longtime Redskins reporter Rich Tandler died on Tuesday. He was 63.

Tandler joined NBC Sports Washington in 2011. He began his writing career in his 40s after working in restaurants and created his blog, Real Redskins, in 2004, which became the longest-running blog on the team. He also wrote three books on the Redskins and posted an estimated 2,300 consecutive “Need To Know” posts, becoming a must-read for Redskins fans as part of their morning routine.

“We’re devastated to learn of the loss of one of our most loved and valued media members, Rich Tandler of NBC Sports Washington,” Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder said in a statement. “His dedication to covering the Redskins over the past 14 years has made him an irreplaceable presence among our media corps, and he will be in our hearts. Our thoughts are with his family, our family at NBC Sports Washington, and the entire Redskins community. He will be truly missed.”

The team will hold a moment of silence for Tandler before its game against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday and will keep his regular seat on press row empty. On Wednesday, Redskins quarterback Alex Smith offered his “thoughts and prayers to his family.”

“Rich’s kind and warm nature made him a good friend and an especially close colleague to many of us at NBC Sports Washington,” NBC Sports Washington General Manager Damon Phillips said in a statement. “His passion for his work and the Redskins was inspiring and made him a critical part of many of our successes over the past seven years. This is a very big loss for the sports community. Our thoughts are with his family and his many friends.”

Fans, Redskins players, fellow reporters, and friends of Tandler paid tribute to him on social media.

“Incredibly saddened by the sudden passing of NBCSW’s Rich Tandler. He was a great talent and an important voice in the DC sports community. Our thoughts are with his wife @MissSkeetersmom, his family and his family at @NBCSWashington,” Washington Wizards and Capitals owner Ted Leonsis wrote on Twitter.

 

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Dwight Howard improving, but status still unknown entering Wizards' season opener

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NBCSW

Dwight Howard improving, but status still unknown entering Wizards' season opener

Dwight Howard may play in the Wizards' regular-season opener on Thursday night against the Miami Heat, but the team will not know until the day of the game and likely won't announce the decision either way until head coach Scott Brooks addresses the media about two hours before tipoff.

Howard only has three practices under his belt but has made significant progress throughout this week after missing all five of the team's preseason games due to a strain in his piriformis muscle.

Head coach Scott Brooks said Howard has looked good in those three practices but has a lot of missed time to make up for.

"I think he's definitely winded at times, but that's part of it," Brooks said.

Brooks added that Howard is not getting the same lift when jumping that he's used to. Howard, 32, is used to playing above the rim and his vertical leap is an important part of his game.

The Wizards play their first two games at home, the second on Saturday against the Raptors. They then embark on a Western Conference road trip beginning with the Blazers on Monday.

Brooks said Howard will "definitely" make that trip with the team, which gives a good indication of how close he is to returning to game action. When Howard is ready to play will be left up to the team's medical staff.

If Howard does miss time, the Wizards are expected to rely on his backup Ian Mahinmi as the starting center. Jason Smith would then become the No. 2 center on the depth chart, though they could use forwards like Markieff Morris or Jeff Green at the five-spot.

Howard signed a two-year free-agent deal worth $11 million to join the Wizards in July.

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