Nationals

Texas Tech frosh guard earns starting role

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Texas Tech frosh guard earns starting role

LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) Texas Tech freshman Dusty Hannahs learned long ago that when he's wasn't practicing somebody else probably was.

That notion has driven the 19-year-old since his youth growing up in Arkansas. In the family's Little Rock backyard, his father would chase rebounds so Hannah could repeatedly put up more shots.

In seventh grade, he finagled a key to the school gym and spent hours practicing his shot. High school? Different key, same routine.

``Once that happened it was over,'' said Hannahs, who has started the past nine games and is averaging 6.5 points a game. ``I wanted to live there.''

Now, long after Red Raiders fans leave the arena or practice is over, Hannahs lingers. Sometimes under dimmed lights with only the janitorial staff as company.

That time has paid off. After 18 or fewer minutes in Texas Tech's first eight games Hannahs earned a starting role. He has become the go-to guy from beyond the arc, hitting 26 of 66 to lead the team. He's also perfect from the free throw line (9-9) and notched a season-high 21 points in his second start, a win over North Carolina A&T. He hit seven of his 12 shots, going 4 of 8 on 3s.

``And he'll get better as time goes on when he learns how to hunt his shot,'' interim coach Chris Walker said.

The 6-4, 210-pounder's presence has helped the Red Raiders, who despite struggling have already won more conference games than all of last season under coach Billy Gillispie. He resigned in September for medical reasons after getting just one Big 12 victory and matching a school record for the most losses in a single season (23) in his lone year in Lubbock.

The Red Raiders (9-8, 2-4 Big 12) halted a four-game skid Wednesday night when they beat Iowa State 56-51. On Saturday, they travel to Texas and have a shot at beating the struggling Longhorns, who are winless in Big 12 play.

Walker said Hannahs' work ethic in shooting is ``light years'' ahead of his teammates. But there are areas where he needs improvement, like rebounding and defense.

``If you're not making 3s, what other value do you bring to the team?'' Walker said. ``He's not going to be a defensive stopper. That's not his role on the team. I just have to continuously challenge him to be a more well-rounded player.''

Hannahs understands his shortcomings and is working to become better on defense. His confidence is growing each week.

``I just always was getting by, but I needed to learn principles,'' Hannahs said. ``I've come such a long way with the help of the coaches. They're just so good at helping me, letting me know what I'm doing wrong and right.''

Redshirt junior Jaye Crockett, the team's leading scorer (13.1 points per game) and its sixth man, has been impressed by Hannahs and the energy he always brings. When the freshman is on the floor and opponents must respect his shooting prowess, it opens up lanes inside for teammates, Crockett said.

Then there's the extra time Crockett sees Hannahs put in.

``Dusty's in the gym all the time,'' he said. ``He's one of the reasons why I started getting in the gym a lot just trying to work on my game because I've seen a freshman come and his work ethic and all, I was like, `Maybe I need to change something.'''

Hannahs believes the Red Raiders are finding their stride.

``We're just going to keep working,'' he said. ``We all know what we have and once we come together, which is what we feel we are, we're the only people who can stop us.''

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3 things to watch as the Nationals try to even the series with Colorado

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3 things to watch as the Nationals try to even the series with Colorado

Here are three things to watch for as the Nationals try to even the series in Colorado: 

1. Brian Dozier's slow start to 2019 seems to be in the rearview mirror. The second baseman hit his third long-ball in four games Monday night inside Coors Field. 

2. How long will Anthony Rendon be held out of the lineup? The third baseman is nursing his left elbow after being hit by a Jose Urena pitch Saturday in Miami. 

3. One of the MLB's best closers remains unsigned 20+ games into the season. Craig Kimbrel could very well help solve an NL East division-wide problem

Coming Up:

Tuesday, 4/23: Nationals @ Rockies, 8:40 p.m. ET, Coors Field

Wednesday, 4/24: Nationals @ Rockies, 3:10 p.m. ET, Coors Field

Friday, 4/26: Padres @ Nationals, 7:05 p.m. ET, Nationals Park

Download the MyTeams app for even more Nationals content, and check out the latest episode of the Racing Presidents podcast below.

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A frustrating Game 6 loss, but Caps can't dwell on the negative

A frustrating Game 6 loss, but Caps can't dwell on the negative

RALEIGH — By the end of the night the frustration was evident. Three times the Capitals have played at PNC Arena during this Stanley Cup playoffs first-round series and three times they have left the ice stick-smashingly angry. 

Capitals coach Todd Reirden screamed at the officials. Alex Ovechkin earned a game misconduct after a mock wave following a late penalty call. By then the Carolina Hurricanes had already assured there would be one final game in this closer-than-expected series with a 5-2 win. Now both teams face elimination with Game 7 looming Wednesday at Capital One Arena. 

Washington’s anger was understandable. Alex Ovechkin apparently poked home the game-tying goal with 9:26 remaining. But while the Capitals celebrated, referee Kyle Rehman blew his whistle. In his view, Ovechkin had shoved Carolina goalie Petr Mrazek’s pads to force the puck into the net. 

The NHL Situation Room in Toronto upheld that call on the ice after the Capitals tied it. Just 1:24 later, ex-Capitals forward Justin Williams stuck a dagger in the heart of his old team with a deflected goal to give the Hurricanes a 4-2 lead.

"I don't think anyone expected it to be easy,” defenseman Brooks Orpik said. “They played well all series. We were up 2-0 and we were probably fortunate to be up 2-0 and we've been good on home ice and now we have a Game 7 and it is probably good that we have home ice."

There were other issues on Monday. Dmitry Orlov was whistled for embellishment in the second period that denied Washington a power play. Carolina tied the game 2-2 at 1:56 of the second period when referees – in the Capitals’ view – missed an obvious slash by Sebastian Aho on defenseman Jonas Siegenthaler behind the net. His attempted clear was flubbed and Aho found Teuvo Teravainen alone in front for an easy goal.

None of it matters now. The Capitals didn’t play well enough to win anyway, especially in a ragged second period that ominously looked like the 5-0 Hurricanes win in Game 3. Reirden himself admitted that Carolina earned the breaks it got. Goalie Braden Holtby was especially critical of his team for not building on a dominant 6-0 win at home in Game 5 on Saturday. 

“I don’t know. I thought we played pretty well to come out and we just faded,” Holtby said. “I’m not sure why. At this point it doesn’t matter. It’s over with and it’s down to one game.”

The challenge will be leaving all of that negativity in the PNC Arena locker room. One player walked away and said to no one in particular “No goal….what a call.” The sarcasm dripped. But it can’t follow the Capitals back home to Washington. This group of players has plenty of experience putting bad playoff losses behind them. 

If anything carries over into Game 7, however, they could be in trouble. Those days are thought to be long over after last spring’s Cup. And maybe they are. But the Capitals will have to forget about what happened in Raleigh. They have one last chance. It can't be clouded by what happened here.  

"It's over. Again, right now nothing you can do,” Ovechkin said. “After fight, you can't do anything. It was a good battle. Good for them, they win Game 6, and you know, Game 7 is going to be much interesting. We know how to play that. Pressure on both teams, but it's a good chance for us to beat them at home." 

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