NCAA

Rondo, Pierce help Celtics rally past Hawks

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Rondo, Pierce help Celtics rally past Hawks

ATLANTA (AP) After listening to Doc Rivers lecture the Boston Celtics at halftime, Paul Pierce told his teammates to respect their coach and follow orders.

``We were kind of bickering at each other a little bit too much, figuring out what defense we were going to run,'' Pierce said. ``And I just had to say that the fight ain't with one another. It's against the other team on the court.''

The Celtics responded in the second half, with Rajon Rondo finishing off a triple double as Boston rallied for an 89-81 victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday night.

Pierce scored 17 of his 26 points in the third quarter as the Celtics erased a 19-point deficit and went on to consecutive wins for the first time since late November against Oklahoma City and Orlando. Rondo had 14 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists.

Boston, which beat Indiana 94-75 on Friday night, had lost four straight road games.

Rivers insisted that despite the first-half struggles against the Hawks, the game plan would not change.

``I was like, `This ain't it, don't get mad at Doc, he's coaching,''' Pierce said. ``We've got to get mad at this other team.''

Lou Williams scored 21 of his 28 points in the first half for Atlanta, which has lost two straight. Jeff Teague added 17 points, and Josh Smith, who was 2 for 12 in the second half, finished with 12 points and 10 rebounds.

The Hawks got off to a fast start, then fell apart in the third quarter as Boston began doubling ballhandlers on the perimeter and clamping down on Atlanta inside.

``They just climbed up in us defensively,'' Teague said. ``They got physical and they brought pressure and got us out of our comfort zone. We just didn't respond.''

The Celtics trailed by 19 with 6:20 left in the second, but went up 61-60 on Jared Sullinger's alley-oop layup with 3:47 left in the third. It was their first lead since the game's first minute.

Boston opened the third with a 14-1 run to pull within one. Hawks coach Larry Drew, whose team missed its first five shots from the field to begin the second half, called timeout at the 7:29 mark, but Teague lost the ball out of the bounds on the ensuing possession.

Atlanta, which had 13 turnovers and three assists in the second half, was just 2 for 14 from the field in the third and trailed 71-62 heading to the final period.

Kevin Garnett's fast-break layup with 8:53 remaining gave the Celtics their first double-digit lead at 79-68. Garnett finished with 14 points.

``The second half was completely different,'' Rivers said. ``We worked the set. The first play went from one side to the other on offense. On defense they were late in the shot clock because Avery (Bradley) and Rondo both were up ball pressuring. And it changed the game for us.''

Williams had outscored the Celtics 13-10 by the 5:47 mark of the first, connecting on his first seven shots from the field. His 16th point came on a layup for Atlanta's first double-digit lead at 23-12 late in the first.

But the Hawks could not overcome the absence of injured shooting guards Devin Harris and Anthony Morrow. Kyle Korver then fouled out with 6:37 remaining, and DeShawn Stevenson played only 13 minutes because of sore knees.

Drew called it ``probably the most disappointing loss of the season'' considering the Hawks have gone soft with big leads all season and backed down from the team that eliminated them in the first round of the playoffs last season.

``We've seen this kind of scenario before where we've played well and then when it starts to get more physical, we don't respond,'' Drew said. ``That was clearly what happened tonight.''

Jason Terry, in his first season with Boston and 13th overall, credited Pierce with backing up Rivers and straightening out the team's collective attitude.

``We took the challenge,'' Terry said. ``We took it personal. You come in at halftime, and Lou Williams has 21 points, primarily all easy baskets. He was just letting them fly. So we wanted to invade his space. As we did that, we started to get more and more stops.

``Paul Pierce got it rolling. He really made his imprint on the game.''

NOTES: Korver fouled out for the first time in 27 games this season and finished with nine points. ... Atlanta scored 31 points in the first quarter, tying for the highest by a Boston opponent and the most since the Celtics opened the season Oct. 30 at Miami. ... The Hawks' nine points in the third were a season low by a Boston opponent. ... Harris missed his ninth straight game with a sore left foot. ... Morrow was sidelined for the fifth straight game because of a strained right hip.

Gonzaga beats DeMatha on Hail Mary in bonkers WCAC championship game

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Gonzaga beats DeMatha on Hail Mary in bonkers WCAC championship game

The Washington Catholic Athletic Conference (WCAC) has a long history of football excellence, and the 2018 championship game was no exception. 

No. 2 Gonzaga College High School defeated No. 1 DeMatha Catholic High School, 46-43, in the title game at Catholic University of America on Sunday night thanks to three lead changes in the final 60 seconds and a game-winning Hail Mary. 

After allowing  DeMatha to race out to a 20-point lead, the Purple Eagles scored in the second quarter on a one-yard rushing touchdown. Dean Engram, son of Baltimore Ravens’ WR coach Bobby Engram, caught a 35-yard pass to score again for Gonzaga, closing the deficit to just six at 20-14. DeMatha rushed in another touchdown and intercepted Gonzaga’s next pass before entering the half at 26-14.

Both powerhouses scored a touchdown in the third, leaving the teams to fight until the very end of the fourth quarter in order determine the 2018 championship. That's when things got extra weird.

With 39 seconds left, Gonzaga's Sam Sweeney caught an 11-yard touchdown pass from Caleb Williams to give the Eagles a 40-36 lead. 

But on the ensuing kickoff DeMatha senior Dominic Logan-Nealy returned the kick to the end zone, giving DeMatha a 43-40 lead with just 15 seconds left.

Gonzaga would get another crack at the title, and they did not let it go to waste. Williams hurled a desperation pass to the end zone with no time remaining. Eagles' receiver John Marshall got his hands on the pass and snagged the game-winning touchdown catch to give Gonzaga the stunning 46-43 win. 

The winners immediately rushed to celebrate with their student section, but the protective fencing separating the two was ultimately torn down.

The WCAC champions end the year 9-3. Head Coach Randy Trivers emotionally addressed his troops after their battle, reminding them that Gonzaga won their first title on Catholic University of America’s field:

DeMatha ended its season 8-3.

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NFC East Update: Division race tightens as Redskins stumble, Cowboys surge

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USA Today Sports

NFC East Update: Division race tightens as Redskins stumble, Cowboys surge

When the sun came up Sunday morning, the Redskins held a two-game lead in the NFC East and looked to have a clear route to a division title. 

By the time the sun went down, a lot changed. 

Washington lost at home in a crazy game to Houston, but big picture, the more important outcome was the broken leg for Alex Smith. The Redskins now turn to backup Colt McCoy, and while the Burgundy and Gold remain in first place, their lead shrunk.

  1. Washington Redskins (6-4, 2-0) - Talk about a roller coaster game. The Redskins got down early to the Texans, trailing 10-0 in the first quarter, but fought all the way back. In the process, the team lost Smith for the season, but McCoy played well when he entered the game. A veteran in Jay Gruden's system, McCoy should be able to step in and run the offense without any hesitation. Will that be enough? What isn't being talked about in Washington: a suddenly slumping run defense. A huge game looms Thursday against Ezekiel Elliott and a surging Cowboys squad. Up next: Nov. 22 @ Dallas, 4 p.m.
  2. Dallas Cowboys (5-5, 2-1) - It seemed like the Cowboys season was over a few weeks ago after a humbling home loss on Monday Night Football to the Titans. Two weeks later, the script has flipped. Dallas won their second straight game on Sunday, holding off a late Atlanta rally and winning the game on a last-second field goal. Elliott went for 201 total yards from scrimmage and the Cowboys young defense continued to make impressive plays. Jerry Jones' team struggles on the road, but at home, the Cowboys are 3-1 this season. Up next: Nov. 22 vs Washington, 4 p.m.
  3. Philadelphia Eagles (4-6, 1-1) - Fans waiting for the defending Super Bowl champion Eagles to get it together might want to stop waiting. Philly got boat raced in New Orleans on Sunday, losing 48-7 and dropping to two games below .500. Carson Wentz threw three INTs in New Orleans and really, while the QB was bad in the Superdome, it's hard to pin the Eagles' woes on any one thing. The offense hasn't been very good, and the defense hasn't either. Sitting just two games back of the 'Skins and one behind Dallas, don't count the Eagles out yet. But don't really count them in either. Up next: Nov. 25th vs New York Giants, 1 p.m.
  4. New York Giants (3-7, 0-3) - Don't look now but the Giants might be the hottest team in the division. Or at least not the coldest team in the division. The Giants won their second game in a row on Sunday, a nail-biting 38-35 victory over Tampa. New York got out to a big lead before the Bucs crept back in it, but powered by four combined TDs between Saquon Barkley and Eli Manning, the Giants did enough. Simple arithmetic suggests the Giants are closer to a Top 5 draft pick than a playoff run, but hey, they haven't been eliminated yet. Crazy things happen in this league. Up next: Nov. 25th @ Philadelphia, 1 p.m.

 

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