Nationals

Top 25 Capsules

Top 25 Capsules

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) No. 1 Indiana had another strong offensive game on Saturday, and it looks as if the Hoosiers can play defense, too.

While Christian Watford scored 21 points and Cody Zeller had 19 points and a career-high 19 rebounds, it was the Hoosiers' suffocating defense that had the starring role in a 100-69 victory over Central Connecticut State.

Indiana is off to its second straight 9-0 start under Tom Crean. It has won 13 straight at Assembly Hall and 27 consecutive non-conference home games.

Central Connecticut State shot just 33.3 percent and Kyle Vinales, the nation's top scorer at 25.9 points per game, was just 3 of 15 from the field and finished with seven points.

Matt Hunter poured in 40 points, matching an Assembly Hall record for a visiting player, but the Blue Devils (4-4) never had a chance against Indiana's comprehensive performance.

The Hoosiers grabbed control with a 22-2 run that gave them a 37-16 lead with 8:30 to play in the first half.

NO. 2 DUKE 90, TEMPLE 67

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) - Seth Curry scored 23 points, big men Mason Plumlee and Ryan Kelly had double-doubles and Duke got the win at the Izod Center.

Curry was 5 for 9 from 3-point range, leading Duke's 12-for-20 effort from behind the arc.

Plumlee finished with 16 points - the first time he was below 19 this season - and 14 rebounds. Kelly had 14 points and 10 rebounds for Duke (9-0).

Quenton DeCosey had 13 points for the Owls (6-1), who were looking for their best start since going 14-0 in 1987-88, a season that ended with a regional weekend loss to Duke in the Izod Center.

NO. 3 MICHIGAN 80, ARKANSAS 67

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) - Jordan Morgan scored a season-high 12 points and matched a season high with 10 rebounds to help Michigan remain undefeated.

The Wolverines (9-0) are off to their best start since they won the first 11 games of the 1988-89 season, when they went on to win the program's only national title.

Michigan led by 13 in the first half, but the game got close after halftime.

The Razorbacks opened the second half with an 11-2 run to pull within two points and trailed 56-55 with 8:58 left. The Wolverines went on a 10-2 run and coasted to the win, John Beilein's 100th in six seasons at the school.

Marshawn Powell had 18 points for the Razorbacks (4-4).

NO. 4 SYRACUSE 108, MONMOUTH (N.J.) 56

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) - Michael Carter-Williams had 15 points and a career-high 16 assists, C.J. Fair finished with 14 points and 10 rebounds and Syracuse pounded Monmouth of New Jersey.

Syracuse (8-0) has won 28 straight home games, the longest streak in the nation. Monmouth (5-5), which had won four of five, is 0-42 against teams from the Big East.

Carter-Williams, who also had five steals and four blocks, has reached double digits in assists five times and his 83 assists are 29 more than he had his entire freshman season.

His total for the game was the third-highest in school history, behind only Sherman Douglas (22) and Pearl Washington (18).

NO. 5 LOUISVILLE 99, MISSOURI-KANSAS CITY 47

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - Russ Smith scored a career-high 31 points, powering Louisville to the easy victory.

Smith was 12 of 18 from the field and 3 of 5 from 3-point range in surpassing his previous high of 30. He led Louisville (8-1) in scoring for the sixth time in nine games.

Luke Hancock added 15 points and Montrezl Harrell had a career-high 14 points for the Cardinals, who shot 56 percent in winning their third in a row.

Louisville's defense stifled Missouri-Kansas City (4-5). Besides forcing 24 turnovers leading to 35 points, the Cardinals held the Kangaroos to 27 percent shooting.

NO. 7 OHIO STATE 89, LONG BEACH STATE 55

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Deshaun Thomas had 18 points, including a 3-pointer in an 11-point run in the first half, and Ohio State cruised past Long Beach State.

LaQuinton Ross had 16 points in a reserve role, Lenzelle Smith Jr. added 14, and Sam Thompson scored 13 for the Buckeyes (6-1), who built a 42-point lead before experimenting with different lineup combinations.

Dan Jennings scored 16 points and James Ennis had 12 for the 49ers (3-6), who have dropped three straight. They lost at No. 4 Syracuse 84-53 on Thursday before taking on another top-10 team just over 40 hours later.

NO. 8 ARIZONA 66, CLEMSON 54

CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) - Mark Lyons scored 20 points and Arizona used a late second-half run to improve to 7-0 for the first time in 14 years.

The Wildcats squandered a 14-point lead and were down 42-36 after Rod Hall's 3-pointer with 12:07 remaining.

That's when Arizona got moving with a 25-7 surge that put the game away. Solomon Hill and Lyons began the charge with two free throws each.

When Lyons went in for a layup with 2:19 remaining, the Wildcats were ahead 61-49.

Clemson (5-3) scored just two field goals in the final 8:45. Milton Jennings led the Tigers with 15 points in his return from a two-game suspension because of a drug arrest.

NO. 9 KANSAS 90, COLORADO 54

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) - Ben McLemore scored 24 points, Kevin Young added 16 points and eight rebounds and Kansas routed former Big 12 member Colorado.

Elijah Johnson hit three 3-pointers and finished with 11 points, and Travis Releford added 10 points and six assists for the Jayhawks (7-1), who have won seven straight since losing to Michigan State early in the year.

Kansas used an 18-3 run in the opening minutes to silence a small but vocal section of Colorado fans. The Jayhawks led 43-22 at halftime.

Josh Scott had 19 points for the Buffaloes (7-2), who have lost two of three after rattling off six straight wins to start the year.

NO. 13 ILLINOIS 85, NO. 10 GONZAGA 74

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) - Brandon Paul scored 35 points to help Illinois extend its perfect start.

Tracy Abrams added 14 points for Illinois (10-0), and new coach John Groce is off to the best debut for an Illinois coach in the team's modern history.

Kelly Olynyk scored 16 points for Gonzaga (9-1).

Myke Henry's basket gave Illinois its first lead of the game at 44-43, and the Illini pushed that to 54-49 by making all five of their field goals to open the second half.

NO. 11 CINCINNATI 92, MARYLAND-EASTERN SHORE 60

CINCINNATI (AP) - Cashmere Wright set a career high with six 3-pointers, and Sean Kilpatrick scored 19 of his 23 points in the first half, keeping Cincinnati unbeaten.

The Bearcats (9-0) have opened the season with nine wins for only the 10th time in school history. They also did it in during the 2010-11 season, winning their first 15 games.

Wright finished with 20 points and nine assists.

Kyree Jones led the Hawks (0-9) with 25 points. The Hawks shot 29.9 percent from the field.

NO. 12 MISSOURI 68, TENNESSEE STATE 38

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) - Stefan Jankovic scored all 14 of his points in the second half, helping Missouri overcome a sloppy start.

Laurence Bowers had 18 points and 10 rebounds and Alex Oriakhi added 15 points and 10 boards for Missouri (8-1), which defeated its second consecutive Ohio Valley Conference team following an 81-65 win Tuesday over Southeast Missouri State.

Robert Covington scored 12 points and Jordan Cyphers added 11 for Tennessee State (4-6).

Missouri outrebounded Tennessee State 52-27 and made 15 of 19 free throws. Tennessee State only attempted five, all in the second half, and made two.

NO. 14 MINNESOTA 71, SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA 57

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Andre Hollins scored 14 points, and Minnesota coach Tubby Smith earned his 500th career victory.

Rodney Williams added 13 points and 11 rebounds, and Trevor Mbakwe had 12 points for the Gophers (10-1), who led all the way in winning their sixth in a row on their first trip to play USC in Los Angeles since Dec. 29, 1980. Smith became the 19th active Division I coach to reach that win mark.

Reserve Omar Oraby scored each of his 15 points in the second half to lead USC (3-6). Byron Wesley added 13 points, and Dewayne Dedmon grabbed 10 rebounds.

NO. 15 GEORGETOWN 46, TOWSON 40

WASHINGTON (AP) - Georgetown held Towson scoreless over the final 4 1/2 minutes, and the Hoyas won their second home clankfest in a row, recovering from a 17-point first half.

Greg Whittington scored 11 points, and Mikael Hopkins and Otto Porter had 10 apiece for the Hoyas (7-1), who shot 17 percent in the first half and 29 percent for the game. Georgetown won with defense, forcing 22 turnovers and pulling away - if it could be called that - with a 4-0 game-ending run.

Georgetown transfer Jerrelle Benimon had 11 points and 16 rebounds to lead the Tigers (4-5), who are rebuilding with only three scholarship players from last season's 1-31 team.

Georgetown set the school record for scoring futility in the shot clock era with a 37-36 over Tennessee on Nov. 30.

NO. 18 NEW MEXICO 65, VALPARAISO 52

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - Alex Kirk scored 11 of his 12 points in the second half and New Mexico overcame a sluggish start to get the win

Chad Adams and Demetrius Walker also scored 12 for the Lobos (10-0).

Ryan Broekhoff scored 24 for the Crusaders (6-3), but the next best total was seven points for Kevin Van Wijk.

The Lobos forced a season-high 23 turnovers, and turned them into 22 points.

NO. 19 MICHIGAN STATE 73, LOYOLA OF CHICAGO 61

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Gary Harris scored 20 points and the Spartans pulled away in the second half.

Adreian Payne added 14 points and 10 rebounds for Michigan State (8-2).

Down 32-30 at the break, the Spartans went on a 22-9 run to take control. Harris hit three 3-pointers during the burst.

Ben Averkamp had 25 points and eight rebounds for the Ramblers (6-3).

NO. 20 NORTH CAROLINA 78, EAST TENNESSEE STATE 55

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) - Leslie McDonald scored 14 points and North Carolina held East Tennessee State to 12 points in the first half.

Freshman Brice Johnson added 12 points for the Tar Heels (7-2). They shot 42.9 percent and used a 34-2 run to put the overmatched Buccaneers out of this one early, needing only about 15 minutes to go up by 30.

Rashawn Rembert scored a career-high 18 points and Lester Wilson added 13 points and 11 rebounds for ETSU (2-5). Its halftime point total was the fewest for a half in the nearly 27-year-old Smith Center.

NO. 22 NOTRE DAME 84, BROWN 57

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) - Freshman Cameron Biedscheid had a career-high 17 points to lift Notre Dame to the win.

Jack Cooley added 15 points and 12 rebounds for the Fighting Irish (8-1), who committed just three turnovers and finished with 22 assists. Scott Martin made four 3-pointers and finished with 14 points. Eric Atkins had 10 points and 12 assists.

Notre Dame dominated inside, outrebounding Brown 42-32 and outscoring the Bears 38-16 in the paint.

Matt Sullivan scored 18 for Brown (3-5).

NO. 23 OKLAHOMA ST. 62, MISSOURI ST. 42

STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) - Markel Brown scored 15 points, Michael Cobbins and Le'Bryan Nash added 10 apiece and the Cowboys beat the Bears.

The Cowboys (7-1) scored 14 of the game's first 16 points.

After a dreadful first half, Missouri State (2-7) came out of the break hot and used a 10-0 run to claw back within 34-23 after Nathan Scheer's 3-pointer from the wing.

The Bears hit their first four shots and eight of their first 11 in the second half, but couldn't keep up the sharp shooting.

A turnover and three straight misses gave an opening for an 11-0 burst, and Cobbins' jumper with 8:09 left pushed the lead back to 53-31.

NO. 24 WICHITA STATE 80, NORTHERN COLORADO 54

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - Cleanthony Early scored 16 points and Wichita State got off to a fast start on its way to an easy win.

Nick Wiggins had 14 points, Demetric Williams added 12 and Malcolm Armstead 11 for the Shockers (9-0).

Derrick Barden scored 19 points for Northern Colorado (1-6), while Emmanuel Ado added 11.

Wichita State played without two injured starters - center Ehimen Orupke and guard Evan Wessel - but still matched the best start in school history.

The Shockers led 14-2 about 5 minutes into the game.

NO. 25 N.C. STATE 80, CLEVELAND STATE 63

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - Richard Howell had 17 points and 10 rebounds to help the Wolfpack beat the Vikings in their annual return to Reynolds Coliseum.

C.J. Leslie scored 19 for the Wolfpack (6-2), who shot 55 percent and led by double figures most of the afternoon. Freshman T.J. Warren added 16 points.

Reynolds was the Wolfpack's home for 50 years before the program moved off campus to PNC Arena for the 1999-2000 season. But the school has typically played at least one game a year at Reynolds for the past decade as a nod to the program's tradition.

N.C. State improved to 14-0 in the building since its move.

Charlie Lee scored 15 for the Vikings (6-3).

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Bryce Harper's 2018 Home Run Derby win by the numbers

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USA Today Sports

Bryce Harper's 2018 Home Run Derby win by the numbers

Bryce Harper is the 2018 Home Run Derby champion.

In his home ballpark, Harper put on a show Washington won't soon forget.

He ran through a division foe in the first round in Freddie Freeman, took out a strong, hefty lefty in the semifinals in Max Muncy and then hit nine home runs in 47 seconds in the final minute of the final round when it seemed like he had no chance. On the second swing of his 30 seconds of extra time, Harper launched a bomb to deep center field to win.

And while winning the Home Run Derby in his own ballpark is an impressive feat on its own, the numbers behind his victory make it all the more impressive.

3.

He is just the third hometown winner of the Home Run Derby in the history of the event. Todd Frazier did it most recently in 2016 in Cincinnati, and Ryne Sandberg won at Wrigley Field in Chicago in 1990.

13.

Harper won each of the first two rounds with 13 homers. He didn't need his full time in either of the first two rounds.

446 & 441.

Harper's first two home runs of his first-round matchup against Freeman traveled farther than any of the Braves' superstar's dingers.


10.

In the semifinals, Harper only hit three homers in the first minute, but then blasted 10 in his next 11 swings. That's called efficiency.


5.

In the first round, Harper hit five of the 10 longest home runs of anybody in the field.


45.

Harper hit 45 bombs en route to claiming the title. Here's a visual representation of all of them.

That's also how many dollars cheaper Nats tickets will be... oops!


2.

That's John Wall's number and this is him celebrating his fellow D.C. sports superstar's victory.


19,058.

Bryce Harper hit an absurd 19,058 feet of home runs during the 2018 Home Run Derby. That's more than the 5k you ran last year.

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With All-Star Game in Washington, Bryce Harper looks back on baseball life, ahead to uncertain future

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USA Today Sports Images

With All-Star Game in Washington, Bryce Harper looks back on baseball life, ahead to uncertain future

It's quite possible that, despite nearly a decade of being in the spotlight, gracing the cover of magazines and operating as a transcendent star in the sport of baseball, Bryce Harper's attention-drawing powers reached their apex this week in Washington as the 2018 All-Star Game took center stage at Nationals Park.

Harper has played in plenty showcase games before, he's participated in the Home Run Derby, he was the first overall pick in 2010. But this time the Midsummer Classic is in his professional baseball hometown and he is the primary ambassador for both the team and league. 

Oh, and this is also a pretty big year for his future. The 25-year-old is just months away from being one of the most sought after free agents in the history of the sport and perhaps soon the highest paid.

Harper took it all in stride on Monday as he held court in a club level ballroom at Nationals Park on South Capitol St. He knew the questions about his future were coming and he had answers for every single one of them.

Some of those questions included:

Do you ever have guys on other teams try to recruit you?

Has it ever crossed your mind how odd it would be to play somewhere else?

Do you have a relationship with [Yankees star] Aaron Judge?

One reporter didn't even finish his question before Harper sniffed it out.

When you shaved your beard [on June 19]... 

Harper: ..."it was because the Yankees were in town, right. You got it," he said sarcastically. "My beard was getting too long. My wife wanted me to trim it and it was a good idea."

Harper has by most accounts become closed off in recent years. His personality has been withdrawn. He famously began his first spring training press conference earlier this year with a written statement and a warning that any questions about his free agent future would result in him walking out of the room.

At least for a day, Harper was his old and congenial self. Though, he did explain why his personality has changed with the media in recent years.

"I think I've gotten older. I'm not going to say the same things at 16 that I do at 25," he said. "There were things that people did in college that they don't want people to know about. There are things that I've said in the media at 16 or 17 that I guess I was real about. I can't take them back and I don't want to."

Harper has been able to operate throughout the first half of the season while saying very little of substance to the media. The fact his batting average has dipped to just .214 has given him extra reason to put up walls.

As Harper addressed the media, he didn't offer any trademark one-liners, but he did get introspective about his life as a baseball player and his role as the face of the Washington Nationals.

He spoke glowingly about the franchise and the city, about how much he enjoys seeing the same faces every day, from his teammates to those in the front office to stadium employees and security guards. He shared his appreciation for the fans and area kids who look up to him.

The All-Star Game taking place in D.C. offered Harper a chance to reminisce. As Harper looked ahead to the Home Run Derby, he rattled off the most memorable homers he has seen at Nationals Park. 

He mentioned Jayson Werth's walkoff homer in Game 4 of the 2012 NL Division Series. He brought up the time Michael Morse hit one to the top of the Red Porch in left-center and the many times Adam Dunn cleared the third deck in right field.

Harper was asked about his the pressure of playing host and the duress of struggling in a contract year. He told a story from his days at the College of Southern Nevada that put it all into perspective.

"I got absolutely dominated for two weeks prior to our season opening before fall ball. I'm sitting there at 16 years old, I just got back from Team USA," he recalled.

"I got punched out like nine or 10 times in probably a matter of about 12 at-bats against my own team... I sat down and was like 'you know what, I don't want to do this. I want to go back to high school. I want to enjoy those moments and do that.' But I knew that I couldn't do that. I sat down and they said 'you can't come back, you tested out.' I said 'okay, you've gotta cowboy up.' I needed to do what I needed to do. A week later, we started our fall ball season and I went deep in my first at-bat at Cashman Field. The rest is history, I guess you could say."

If Harper had indeed been able to go back to high school, his draft status would have changed. He never would have been drafted first overall by the Nationals in 2010.

Harper feels the pressure of playing in junior college ball with his draft status on the line, playing against guys who were four or five years older than him, was the toughest thing he has done in baseball. It prepared him for all of these moments, just like the media scrutiny did over the years.

"It was only what, [eight] years ago? It's those moments that make you who you are," he said. "I'm 25 years and old and I play this game of baseball every day. What pressure do I have to feel?... It's the game that I love to play. I'm getting chills [right now]. There's nothing greater than running out there wearing No. 34 and being Bryce Harper and loving the game that I play."

Harper remained patient and upbeat for the over 30 minutes that he addressed the media. He was soaking it all in and trying to embrace the attention he was receiving.

But it was one of those questions from above that provided a dose of reality to set in. When asked if it would be strange to play for another team, he reminded the reporters present of what could very well happen this winter.

"It's always a possibility [I leave]. I think that everybody knew that at the beginning of the year, that this could possibly be my last year in D.C. Everybody knows that. There's no elephant in the room. Everybody knows that it's a possibility, but I'm not really focused on that," he said.

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