Orioles

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

201301221831667104902-p2.jpeg

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.''

---

Follow Rusty Miller on Twitter:http://www.twitter.com/rustymillerap

Quick Links

What exactly did the Orioles get in return for Manny Machado?

yusniel_diaz.jpg
USA Today Sports Images

What exactly did the Orioles get in return for Manny Machado?

So, the Orioles made some headlines earlier this week. I’m not sure if you’ve heard, but minor league pitcher Asher Wojciechowski exercised his opt-out clause and is no longer with the organization. Please keep Orioles fans in your thoughts during this trying time.

As everyone reading this is undoubtedly already aware, the Orioles *also* made a trade yesterday, sending 26-year old superstar Manny Machado to the Los Angeles Dodgers. In return for their once-in-a-lifetime talent, the Orioles received a whopping five prospects from the Dodgers’ minor league system.

Yusniel Diaz, OF, 21

It’s fitting that this trade is being compared to the Erik Bedard trade, which was also a five-for-one, because Diaz could be a poor man’s Adam Jones. He’s not the prospect Jones was, but he could end up being a really nice player.

Talent evaluators are split on his ultimate ceiling. Some describe him as a bona fide stud, and others leave him off their top 100 lists. I’ve seen him ranked as high as 31st overall (by Baseball Prospectus), which, if accurate, is a terrific main piece in a package for a star rental. 

Most consider Diaz’s main flaw as a prospect to be his in-game power, though anyone watching the 2018 MLB Futures Game would be confused by that, as he became the second player ever to hit multiple home runs in the game. It’s possible that more power develops as he matures, and he certainly wouldn’t be the first player to hit for more power once reaching the Majors, but for now, it’s not a strength. I wouldn’t expect him to top 20 home runs in most seasons.

His bat-to-ball ability is his clearest strength, as he projects to consistently hit for a high average. His batting eye, while formerly a weakness, has become a strength in 2018, as he’s actually walked more times than he’s struck out (a rarity in this day and age). That will play well with O’s fans who are tired of seeing their players challenge strikeout records.

Dean Kremer, RHP, 22

Kremer isn’t a major name, which is a disappointment for O’s fans and one of the reasons their haul felt so uninspiring. Compared to more highly-touted prospects like Dustin May, Kremer looks like the team settled.

That said, he’s currently sporting the best K/9 ratio in the minors, and could end up being a diamond in the rough. He’s come a long way since being a 14th-round pick two years ago, and you have to wonder if the Orioles’ much-maligned pitching development can pick up where the much more successful Dodgers instructors left off.

Kremer is also notable for being the first Israeli-born player ever drafted in Major League Baseball.

Rylan Bannon, IF, 22

Bannon was an 8th-rounder last year and is having somewhat of a breakout this season. He’s leading the league in home runs, though playing in a notorious band box of a home park is skewing those numbers.

Bannon is undersized, but has a reputation of a good, if not elite, fielder. He’s a third baseman, but will likely spend some time at second as well. If the power breakout is real, he could end up a solid starter for the Orioles down the road. Again, that’s about all you can hope for in trades of this nature.

Zach Pop, RHP, 21

Pop has been described as potentially a future “right-handed Zach Britton,” which every O’s fan would take in a heartbeat. Of course, he’s not ranked like a future All-Star, as even in the weaker Orioles farm system he’s likely no better than around 25th. 

Still, the filler players in big trades like this are just lottery tickets, and considering his lack of pedigree, Pop seems like a relatively “safe” pitcher with projectability. He strikes out a lot of batters and gets a lot of ground balls, and at the very least can likely become a decent middle reliever.

Breyvic Valera, IF, 26

In a best-case scenario, Valera becomes the Orioles’ Ryan Flaherty replacement. If you squint, you can see somewhat decent upside in each of the other returning players, even despite their modest prospect rankings, but Valera is a clear utility player. 

He gets on base and hits for contact well enough to stick around and has proven capable of defending multiple positions, so there actually might be a spot for him at the end of the Orioles bench.

Overall

This trade has been described as anywhere from adequate and somewhat deflating to a great haul O’s fans should be excited about. Four of the five players have decent ceilings, though the chance of all four (or even just two of them) reaching those ceilings is highly unlikely. It’s just the nature of baseball.

Ultimately, this trade will be judged on the success or failure of Yusniel Diaz, who is the clear centerpiece of the package. Whether or not he succeeds will be partially up to him, and partially up to the front office and player development team.

If this trade is the beginning of the core for the next competitive Orioles team, then it’ll have to be considered a success. If these players each bust out of the league, then it was still the correct decision to trade Machado instead of settling for draft pick compensation, but it will still sting all the more for O’s fans seeing Manny soar to new heights elsewhere.

Quick Links

Capitals re-sign Madison Bowey leaving Tom Wilson the lone remaining RFA

usatsi_10325478.jpg
USA TODAY Sports

Capitals re-sign Madison Bowey leaving Tom Wilson the lone remaining RFA

Defenseman Madison Bowey re-signed with the Capitals on Thursday, inking a two-year extension that will carry an average of $1 million.

Bowey carried a cap charge of $703,333 last season.

The 23-year-old appeared in 51 games for the Caps in 2017-18, amassing 12 assists, 24 penalty minutes and a plus/minus rating of minus-3.

Bowey also suited up in nine contests for AHL Hershey, though he finished the season as one of the Black Aces during Washington's run to the Stanley Cup.

With Bowey back in the fold, the Caps now have six of seven defenseman from last season’s roster under contract. (Veteran Brooks Orpik remains an unrestricted free agent.)

Bowey had an uneven first year in the NHL—he didn’t play following the late-February addition of Michal Kempny—but the Caps expect that the 6-2, 198-pound right-shot blue liner will become reliable full-time player with more seasoning.

Bowey’s deal leaves Tom Wilson as the Caps' only remaining unsigned restricted free agent. The sides are in discussions on a multi-year extension.

Including Bowey’s extension, the Caps have roughly $7.3 million in salary cap space remaining, according to www.capfriendly.com.

MORE CAPS NEWS: