Capitals

St. John's cruises by South Carolina 89-65

St. John's cruises by South Carolina 89-65

NEW YORK (AP) One of the toughest things to watch is an athlete being taken off the court on a stretcher. Whether it's a teammate or a player from the other team, it's tough to watch.

South Carolina junior guard Brenton Williams injured his neck when he fell after being fouled. His neck was placed in a brace, he was put on a backboard and taken to a hospital for evaluation. A school spokeswoman said he was moving all his extremities.

``You feel for the guy obviously and you feel bad but we had to finish the game,'' St. John's D'Angelo Harrison said after he led the Red Storm to an 89-65 victory Thursday night in the SEC-Big East Challenge. ``You hope he gets well. When he came out I talked to coach Martin and said to tell him to get well soon and hopefully he does.''

About an hour after the game the school announced that Williams was released from the hospital and would travel home with the team.

South Carolina coach Frank Martin said after the game that he ``didn't know a heck of a whole lot.''

``I know what my trainers said after the game that he never lost feeling in his extremities and he had movement. Any time you're dealing with a neck situation that's God's send when you get that news,'' Martin said. ``He had pain in the base of the neck. That's all I know.''

Williams was fouled on a drive to the basket with 13:34 to play and the Gamecocks trailing 51-41. Williams finished with 10 points.

He drove the lane and was fouled by Phil Greene. As he was falling St. John's 6-foot-9, 223-pound freshmen forward Chris Obekpa also fell and landed on Williams.

``I didn't know what happened,'' Obekpa said. ``Someone fouled him and I went to block the ball and he was there. When I tried to get up I had pain in my arms so I stayed down. When I went to get up I realized it was serious.''

Harrison broke the 20-point mark for the sixth time in seven games this season, finishing with 26.

``I give credit to my teammates,'' Harrison said. ``I made a couple of shots but I had so many easy layups and got to the free throw line. It wasn't me in a hot streak. It was me cutting and they found me and I made the layup. Anybody could have had 26 today.''

Harrison, like his teammates and coach, wanted to talk about the other end of the court.

``We played good defense,'' Harrison said. ``Holding them to 36 percent from the field, we feel we can win these games if we are a defensive team first.''

The Red Storm (5-2) led 38-26 at halftime and pulled away over the final 10 minutes, leading by as many as 28 points in the final minutes.

Amir Garrett had 15 points and 11 rebounds for the Red Storm while Phil Greene had 13 and JaKarr Sampson 11.

``Our defense has been pretty good but our defense today was really good,'' Garrett said. ``When we want to take a little breather we go zone and when we want to pressure them we go to the man.''

The Red Storm, who were coming off a season-high 55 percent from the field in the last game against Florida Gulf Coast, shot 56.9 percent (33 for 58) against the Gamecocks. Harrison was 8 of 13, including 3 of 6 from 3-poiunt range, while Garrett was 7 of 8 from the field.

``I think there were some stretches where we played good basketball and naturally there was also some poor play but I think big picture we're making some progress,'' Red Storm coach Steve Lavin said. ``We held them to 36 percent shooting and we did it with changing defenses.''

Michael Cabrera had 11 points and 11 rebounds for the Gamecocks (5-2), who were playing their first true road game of the season.

``I can tell you we were disheartened and that's how we played the rest of the game,'' Martin said of Williams' injury. ``I won't sit here and tell you that the injury affected us. We should be ashamed if it did. St. John's just kind of made us go away and we went away before the 40 minutes expired.''

Bruce Ellington, a running back for the South Carolina football team, made his season debut against St. John's and had seven points on 3-for-10 shooting - missing all four 3-point attempts - in 29 minutes.

``He's had a day and a half of practice,'' Martin said. ``I don't care how much film you watch, it's different out there. He did some things to help today but he hasn't had any time with us.''

Quick Links

GM Brian MacLellan: Capitals are close to re-signing John Carlson

capture_carlson.png
USA TODAY Sports

GM Brian MacLellan: Capitals are close to re-signing John Carlson

DALLAS—The Caps are “really close” to signing star defenseman John Carlson to a long-term extension, GM Brian MacLellan said Friday night.

“We’re getting closer,” MacLellan said following the first round of the NHL Draft. “Hopefully we can get it done here over the next few days. We’re really close.”

Earlier in the day, the Caps cleared significant space under the salary cap ceiling by trading Philipp Grubauer and Brooks Orpik to Colorado for a second round draft pick (47th overall). 

That space will now be used to lock up Carlson, who could become the best defenseman on the open market if he were to reach it.

MacLellan met with Carlson’s agent, Rick Curran, here on Thursday night.

MacLellan did not divulge any figures, but it’s expected that Carlson’s new contract could come in at eight years and $8 million per—or perhaps a bit more. 

He earned $4 million last season.

Carlson had a career year in 2017-18 and was critical during the Caps' run to the Stanley Cup. He led all defensemen in the regular season with 68 points (15 goals, 53 assists). The 28-year-old also skated a career-high 24:47 per game.

MacLellan has long said that re-signing Carlson was the Caps’ top priority this offseason. And now it looks like that could happen within days, assuming the talks do not hit any snags.

“We’re going to do our best to sign John,” MacLellan said. “We’ve said it all along. We waited until the end of the year. We’ve had discussions. We’re close and hopefully we can close the deal here over the next 24 hours.”

MORE CAPITALS NEWS:

Quick Links

Capitals go to the WHL again, select defenseman Alex Alexeyev with first-round pick

nhldraftaalexeyev16x9.png
USA TODAY Sports

Capitals go to the WHL again, select defenseman Alex Alexeyev with first-round pick

The last time the Washington Capitals had a first-round draft pick, they selected a WHL defenseman. They did not go off script on Friday.

With the last pick of the first round, selecting for the first time as defending Stanley Cup champions, the Capitals selected Alexander Alexeyev, a left-shooting, two-way defenseman from St. Petersburg.

Alexeyev, 18, certainly boasts NHL size at 6' 4", 196 pounds. He currently plays for Red Deer in the WHL, a junior league that has become a major pipeline for the Capitals. In his second season with Red Deer, he tallied 37 points in 45 games.

The NHL Central Scouting's rankings list Alexeyev as the 22nd best North American skater of the draft. TSN projects him to be a top-four, two-way defenseman.

Analyst Craig Button described Alexeyev as a "Smart, effective defenceman who moves the puck, plays with a calm and doesn't make things complicated for himself."

MORE CAPITALS NEWS: