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Thomas scores 16 as Ohio State hangs on, 72-63

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Thomas scores 16 as Ohio State hangs on, 72-63

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) Almost no one for No. 14 Ohio State was thrilled with the way they played Tuesday night.

Still, the Buckeyes will take the outcome.

Deshaun Thomas, who missed part of the second half with a cut above his eye, scored 16 points and Ohio State built a 24-point lead and then hung on to beat Iowa 72-63.

``We're happy we got the win, but we're not happy with the way we got the win,'' post player Evan Ravenel said.

Thomas, the Big Ten's leading scorer at 21 points per game, sat out about 3 minutes while an open cut over his right eye was bandaged. He had to get what a team spokesman said was six or seven stitches to close it.

His absence came at a time when the Buckeyes (14-4, 4-2 Big Ten) seemed to lose their focus. A majority of it was Iowa contesting every play and fighting back, but it was as if they were content to just ride out the final few minutes and hope for the best.

``We didn't do it the prettiest way. We didn't finish it the way we wanted to,'' said point guard Aaron Craft, who set Ohio State's career mark for steals in the game. ``But we got the win. We found a way to fight and get the win.''

The Buckeyes led 53-29 after Ravenel hit a free throw with 12:48 left. Most in a crowd of 16,040 were itching to head for the exits and beat the rush.

Slowly but surely, however, Iowa (13-6, 2-4) knifed into the lead.

``A lot of times teams don't have the maturity or the patience to try to chip away,'' Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said. ``That's what we did. We got it under 20, then we got it under 15, we got it under 10, we got it under 5.''

He said it's important for teams to know they can't erase such a big lead quickly.

``We got a couple of turnovers, we got a couple of runouts, a couple of easy baskets, and we got to the free throw line,'' he said. ``That's how you have to do it. You can't just start jacking 3s. It's got to be easy baskets, free throws and an occasional 3.''

Aaron White, an Ohio native playing his first college game in his home state, hit the second of two foul shots with 1:30 left to cut the once huge lead down to just 63-49.

Craft added a foul shot with 1:02 left and, after forcing a turnover, Thomas made two more with 52.9 seconds remaining.

Roy Devyn Marble, who had a miserable shooting night for the Hawkeyes, then missed two free throws before Craft made two more to push the lead to 68-59 with 40 seconds left and end the threat.

``I do think in the league we're in right now you take your wins and semi-celebrate them,'' Ohio State coach Thad Matta said. ``By the same token, you've got to look at things and say, `OK, how do we get better?'''

Matta said his team was exhausted by the finish, most likely because he had pushed it hard the past two weeks to get off to a good start in the difficult Big Ten.

Craft and Lenzelle Smith Jr. each had 12 points and Ravenel added 11 for Ohio State. Center Amir Williams had a strange stat line: six blocked shots and no rebounds to go with two points.

The victory broke a stalemate in the series, which began in 1915. Each team had won 75 meetings coming in. Ohio State has won eight straight against Iowa and 10 of the last 11. The Hawkeyes haven't won in Columbus since 2004.

The Hawkeyes' four Big Ten losses have come to teams ranked in the top 15 - No. 2 Michigan, No. 7 Indiana, No. 13 Michigan State and the 14th-ranked Buckeyes. Those teams came into the week with an overall combined record of 62-10 and 16-5 in the conference.

Craft set the school's career mark for steals with 205 when he plucked the ball from White at the 14:25 mark with the Buckeyes leading 10-6. The junior came in sharing the record with Jay Burson (1986-89).

Ohio State scored the final six points of the first half to take a 34-22 lead and then stretched the streak to 10-0 on baskets by Craft and Thomas. It appeared that the rout was on.

``We dug a little bit too big of a hole,'' said Iowa's Mike Gesell. ``We tried to battle back and we just fell a little bit short. We just have to come out stronger in the first half.''

Although displeased with the wild swings in momentum in the game, Craft said the bottom line was the most important thing.

``A win is a win in conference play. That's a big one to try to keep us in the hunt,'' he said. ``There's still a lot of basketball to play, but in this league you have to protect home court.''

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Wizards' 2019 top prospects rankings: Rui Hachimura, Troy Brown Jr. lead the way

Wizards' 2019 top prospects rankings: Rui Hachimura, Troy Brown Jr. lead the way

Though the maturation of the G-League has brought the NBA closer in line with MLB and its minor league farm system, there has been one noticeable element missing for those of us who follow the two sports closely. In baseball, multiple media outlets publish top prospect lists both league-wide and team-specific, yet the equivalents are nowhere to be found in basketball.

Prospect rankings are a great window into the future and they are fun to revisit years later to see who was right and who was wrong. But, so far, they haven’t become widespread in basketball.

The reason why may be rooted in semantics. Generally, basketball players are considered prospects before they are drafted. After they join teams, they just become regular players.

Part of that perception is simply because NBA players can impact their teams at a much younger age. While it is very rare to see a 19-year-old in the majors, it is commonplace in the NBA.

The Wizards, though, may be the perfect team to get this started with. They have a collection of players that are now out of college but have yet to establish themselves in the professional ranks. They are essentially prospects by baseball's definition.

So, in the interest of doing something new here, let's rank them...

1. Rui Hachimura, F

Age: 21
Strengths: midrange shooting, offensive versatility
Areas to improve: three-point shooting, passing

The ninth overall pick this past June, Hachimura is the highest draft pick the Wizards have selected since Otto Porter Jr. in 2013. He is 21, but young in basketball years because he didn't pick up the sport until Age 13. Yet, with three years of college under his belt, he comes in with the experience to likely make a difference right away. And with the Wizards' current roster state, he should have a big opportunity for minutes and shot attempts as a rookie.

Hachimura appears to have several NBA-ready skills, particularly on offense. He makes smart decisions with the ball in his hand and can score at all three levels. His outside shooting needs to be more consistent, but he can knock it down enough to be a threat. Defensively is where he will need to grow the most, but the potential seems to be there for him to develop until a versatile player on that end of the floor. 

Passing is another area he can improve. He didn't record many assists at all in college or in the Summer League. 

2. Troy Brown Jr., G/F

Age: 19
Strengths: rebounding, passing
Areas to improve: outside shooting, turnovers

Though Brown was drafted one year before Hachimura, he is still a year-and-a-half younger. He also didn't crack the Wizards' rotation until late in his rookie season. That makes him still very much a prospect as he enters his Age 20 campaign looking to make a much bigger impact in his second season than he did in his first.

The good news for Brown is that the minutes should be there. At this point he looks like at-worst the second small forward behind C.J. Miles and he should have a chance to battle for the starting job in training camp. With Isaiah Thomas' checkered injury history (he only played 12 games last year), there is a good chance Brown sees time at point guard as well, maybe even some starts there. We'll see.

Brown's passing and rebounding are up-to-speed for his size and position, but he needs to cut down on the turnovers and improve his three-point shot. Though he dominated in his brief time in the Summer League, he still only shot 40.6 percent from the field. Also, the Wizards could really use a leap from him on defense because he has a relatively high ceiling on that end of the floor and most of their players do not.

3. Moe Wagner, C

Age: 22
Strengths: outside shooting, free throw shooting
Areas to improve: defense, rebounding

The path to minutes isn't quite as clear for Wagner, who is probably going to be stuck behind Hachimura, Davis Bertans and Thomas Bryant in the frontcourt. But the way he can crack the rotation is by hitting his threes, something he was not able to do as a rookie for the Lakers last season or in the 2019 Summer League for the Wizards.

Wagner presents intriguing long-term upside because of his shooting and his knack for getting to the rim off pump-fakes. But he needs to learn how to affect more shots around the rim, even if he can't block shots. And his rebounding could use some improvement, as his 9.8 rebounding percentage last season wouldn't even stand out for a wing player, much less a seven-footer.

4. Admiral Schofield, F

Age: 22
Strengths: outside shooting, team defense
Areas to improve: defense against taller players, ball-handling

The expectations should be low for Schofield in his rookie season, despite the fact he played four years in college and has an NBA-ready frame. Most second round picks don't make much of an impact early on and he is slotted to be on the outside of the rotation looking in.

Schofield's fastest way to NBA playing time is through his defense and three-point shooting, the two biggest reasons the Wizards drafted him. If he can provide toughness and an edge in the midrange, it will give the Wizards something they have lacked in recent years. And he shot at both a high percentage and for volume from three at Tennessee, and you can't have enough perimeter shooting these days.

5. Justin Robinson, G

Age: 23
Strengths: outside shooting, passing
Areas to improve: finishing around rim, turnovers

Like Schofield, Robinson is probably going to spend a good deal of his time with the Capital City Go-Go this season. But working in his favor is the team's lack of depth at point guard. They have Thomas, who again has some injury concerns. And they have Ish Smith, but there appears to be an opening at the third point guard spot.

Brown could fill the void and so could Jordan McRae. The Wizards could even give Bradley Beal more of an extended look running the offense. But the door seems to be open for Robinson to make an impact and early. He needs to focus on taking care of the ball, playing physical defense and making his open threes. The Wizards don't need Robinson to be a big-time scorer, but he can add spacing if he shoots from three as he did in college.

Honorable mention: Garrison Mathews, Isaac Bonga

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Orioles Roundup: O's fall to Nationals in opening game of Beltway Series

Orioles Roundup: O's fall to Nationals in opening game of Beltway Series

Another night, another loss for the Baltimore Orioles. Tuesday night featured a one-sided affair, as the Nationals beat the O's 8-1 at Camden Yards.

The Orioles fell to 28-66 on this season, while the Natoinals continued their climb to 50-43.

Here are the latest news and notes:

Player Updates:

SP Asher Wojciechowski gave up three earned runs over 5 1/3 innings in Tuesday night's loss. The righty gave up two home runs, with Matt Adams and Juan Soto hitting one deep ball each, while managing to strikeout seven batter and issue no walks on the night. He has now whiffed 21 batters in 15 2/3 innings since joining the Orioles, but also holds a 5.74 ERA.

2B Hanser Alberto was the only offense to speak of for the Orioles on Tuesday night. The utility player had two of the team's four hits and scored their only run after blasting a home run off Austin Voth in the second inning. Alberto has been a breath of fresh air for a struggling O's team, sporting a .306/.325/.402 batting line.

Before first pitch on Tuesday, the Orioles released INF/OF Jace Peterson. The versatile player had a July 15 opt-out in his minor league contract that he decided to exercise in order to find a better opportunity. Through 86 games this season in Triple-A Norfolk, Peterson boasted a .309/.394/.505 battling line with nine home runs, 44  RBI, 12 stolen bases and 55 runs scored.

Also before first pitch on Tuesday, it was announced that DH Mark Trumbo (knee) has resumed baseball activities. Though there is no timetable for his return to the team, the Orioles are optimistic that he will be able to contribute before the end of the season. He has missed the whole season so far due to complications following right knee surgery.

Injuries:

SP Dylan Bundy: Knee, 10-day Injured List

RP Josh Rogers: Elbow, 10-day Injured List

OF DJ Stewart: Ankle, 10-day Injured List

SP Alex Cobb: Back, 60-day Injured List

SP Nate Karns: Arm, 60-day Injured List

DH Mark Trumbo: Knee, 60-day Injured List

Coming Up:

Wednesday 7/17: Orioles vs. Nationals, 7:05 p.m., Oriole Park at Camden Yards

Friday 7/19: Orioles vs. Red Sox, 7:05 p.m., Oriole Park at Camden Yards

Saturday 7/20: Orioles vs. Red Sox, 7:05 p.m., Oriole Park at Camden Yards

Source: Rotoworld

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