Wizards

Top 25 Capsules

Top 25 Capsules

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) Jim Boeheim notched his 903rd career victory, breaking a tie with Bob Knight for second all-time among Division I men's coaches, and No. 7 Syracuse rolled past Rutgers 78-53 on Wednesday night in the Big East opener for both teams.

Boeheim, in his 37th season at his alma mater, trails only Duke's Mike Krzyzewski, who has 940 victories after his top-ranked Blue Devils beat Davidson 67-50.

Syracuse (13-1, 1-0) has won 33 straight home games, the longest active streak in the nation, and has beaten Rutgers (9-3, 0-1) 13 straight times. The Orange's last home loss was to Georgetown, 64-56, on Feb. 9, 2011.

Brandon Triche had a season-high 25 points, hitting 5 of 7 3-point attempts, and added six assists to lead Syracuse. Michael Carter-Williams finished with 12 points and 10 assists, his eighth double-double, and C.J. Fair had 15 points and three blocks.

Eli Carter led Rutgers with 19 points.

NO. 1 DUKE 67, DAVIDSON 50

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - Ryan Kelly scored 18 points to help Duke remain unbeaten with a win over Davidson.

Quinn Cook scored 15 points and Mason Plumlee scored eight of his 10 in the second half for the Blue Devils (13-0), who are one of only four undefeated teams remaining in Division I.

The game was tied 29-all at halftime before Duke opened the second half with a 12-0 run. The Blue Devils, who led by as many as 19 in the second half, heated up from 3-point range after the break, going 3 for 4 in the early minutes of the period.

Jake Cohen led Davidson (7-6) with 19 points and eight rebounds.

NO. 4 LOUISVILLE 80, PROVIDENCE 62

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - Russ Smith scored 23 points and Louisville shot 53 percent to run away from Providence in the Big East Conference opener for both teams.

Gorgui Dieng and Luke Hancock each added 11 points, and Chane Behanan and Peyton Siva had 10 each as the Cardinals (13-1, 1-0) won their eighth straight.

Louisville, coming off Saturday's 80-77 victory over archrival Kentucky, didn't let down against Providence. Motivated by the memory of last season's 31-point road loss to the Friars, the Cardinals responded by handing Providence its worst defeat of the season.

Kadeem Batts had 17 points for Providence (8-5, 0-1), which fell to 0-7 all-time in Louisville.

NO. 8 OHIO ST. 70, NEBRASKA 44

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Deshaun Thomas outscored Nebraska in the first half 18-17 and finished with 22 points to lead Ohio State past the Cornhuskers in the Big Ten opener for both teams.

Lenzelle Smith Jr. added 17 points for Ohio State (11-2, 1-0), which won its 15th consecutive Big Ten home opener. The Buckeyes have a tough test Saturday at No. 11 Illinois.

The Buckeyes led by at least 20 for almost the entire second half.

How bad was it for the Cornhuskers (9-5, 0-1)? Only 8:27 remained when they finally exceeded the 31 points that their football counterparts scored in a 14-point loss to Georgia in the Capital One Bowl a day earlier. Ray Gallegos had 14 points to lead Nebraska.

PURDUE 68, NO. 11 ILLINOIS 61

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) - Terone Johnson scored a career-high 25 points and D.J. Byrd scored nine of his 15 during a key 19-3 second-half run, sending the Boilermakers past Illinois.

Byrd sealed the game with a three-point play with 20.1 seconds to go.

The Boilermakers (7-6, 1-0 Big Ten) have won three straight and are over .500 for the first time this season. They have won eight straight over the Fighting Illini.

Illinois (13-2, 0-1) was led by Brandon Paul with 15 points and Joseph Bertrand with 14, but managed only one basket during a decisive 5 1/2-minute stretch of the second half. Illinois has lost eight straight conference road games, dating to a Jan. 4, 2012 win at Northwestern.

NO. 16 CREIGHTON 79, ILLINOIS ST. 72

NORMAL, Ill. (AP) - Ethan Wragge was 6 of 9 from 3-point range and scored 18 points to lead Creighton over Illinois State.

Grant Gibbs had 16 points for the Bluejays (13-1, 2-0 Missouri Valley Conference), while leading scoring Doug McDermott (23.5 points per game) finished with 15 points and nine rebounds.

Tyler Brown and Bryant Allen each scored 15 points to lead the Redbirds,(9-5, 0-2).

Creighton led 42-39 at halftime, although Illinois State mounted a furious run that culminated with a 3-pointer by Nick Zeisloft with 2 seconds left to make it a three-point game.

The teams combined for 26 3-pointers, including 17 in the first half.

NO. 17 BUTLER 70, PENN 57

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Roosevelt Jones scored a career-high 24 points to lead Butler over Penn for its eighth consecutive victory.

Butler (11-2) has opened the new year with a victory for the ninth straight season. The Bulldogs won their sixth straight at Hinkle Fieldhouse.

Miles Cartwright led Penn (2-10) with 15 points and Tony Hicks added 10.

The Quakers trailed 52-49 with under 9 minutes remaining in the game before an 18-8 run sealed the win for the Bulldogs.

Khyle Marshall added 14 points and Kellen Dunham contributed 10 for Butler.

NO. 19 SAN DIEGO ST. 72, CAL STATE BAKERSFIELD 57

SAN DIEGO (AP) - Jamaal Franklin had 18 points and 12 rebounds, and Chase Tapley scored 14 to lead San Diego State over Cal State Bakersfield in its final tuneup before Mountain West play.

Freshman Winston Shepard added 11 points for the Aztecs (12-2), who were playing for the first time since losing 68-67 to No. 3 Arizona in the championship game of the Diamond Head Classic in Honolulu on Christmas night.

The Aztecs, who have been regular-season co-champions of the MWC the last two years and made three straight NCAA appearances, visit Fresno State next Wednesday night in the MWC opener.

Stephon Carter scored 21 points and Corey Hall added 14 for the Roadrunners (6-11).

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Wizards 2018-19 end of season grades: Bradley Beal

Wizards 2018-19 end of season grades: Bradley Beal

Now that the dust has settled for the 2018-19 Wizards season, it's time to review the roster and hand out individual grades...

Who: Bradley Beal, shooting guard

2018-19 stats: 36.9 mpg, 25.6 ppg, 5.5 apg, 5.0 rpg, 1.5 spg, 0.7 bpg, 2.7 tov, 47.5 FG%, 35.1 3P% (2.5/7.3), 54.0 eFG%, 80.8 FT% (4.4/5.5), 113 ortg, 114 drtg

Best game: 1/13 vs. Raptors - 43 points, 15 assists, 10 rebounds, three steals, two blocks, 6-12 3PT

Grade: A+

Season review: One could argue that nobody deserves a higher grade in the Wizards organization for their 2018-19 season than Bradley Beal, who had by far the best individual year of any player on the team. He had high expectations coming into the season and exceeded them, taking the next step from an All-Star to a legitimate All-NBA candidate.

Beal also continued to represent the organization well in public. He spoke for the team after many difficult losses with poise and maturity. And he brought positive attention to the franchise for his charitable efforts, recently being named as a finalist for the league's community assist award.

Beal's on-court performance was a shining light amid a disastrous season overall for the team. He set career-highs in scoring, rebounds, assists, steals and free throw attempts. He played in all 82 games for the second straight season and never complained despite leading the NBA in minutes.

The most impressive part of Beal's season may be how he responded when John Wall went down due to injury. Wall last played on Dec. 26 and in the next 47 games, Beal averaged 27.2 points, 6.0 assists, 5.1 rebounds and 1.8 steals. 

Beal's final numbers put him in elite company. He became the first 25-5-5 player in Wizards/Bullets franchise history. He was one of only six players to reach that mark this season, a list that includes Giannis Antetokounmpo, LeBron James, James Harden, Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry.

Even as the season was winding down and the Wizards were well out of playoff contention, Beal gave an honest and consistent effort. That stood out in a year in which some of his teammates did not play hard and were called out by head coach Scott Brooks and team leaders for doing so. 

Now Beal, of course, had many reasons to keep giving 100 percent. With the numbers he has put up, he could make All-NBA in late May and, if he does, will qualify for a supermax contract. That could mean tens of millions more on his next deal, if he chooses to sign back with the Wizards.

As Beal looks ahead to this summer and next season, another question is how much better he can become. He took a significant step from the All-Star year he had in 2017-18. What if he makes another, similar leap?

Beal upped his scoring average by three points year-over-year. Another jump like that could put him in the MVP conversation, depending on how the Wizards finish in the standings.

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Trevor Rosenthal’s fate among key questions as Nationals stumble home

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Trevor Rosenthal’s fate among key questions as Nationals stumble home

Rolling back into town, things same as they ever were, the Nationals can take solace in their situation by looking across the division. Brutish, really, a bunch of teams labeled contenders which can’t assemble winning streaks or bullpen outs. The National League East is an ugly affair filled with teams barely playing winning baseball. Not one of the five has a record better than .500 across the last 10 games.

Which is good news for the Nationals. They left the District with hopes consecutive series against supposedly inferior teams would jumpstart this pothole-filled season. No such results. Losers of four of six against downtrodden Miami and suddenly vibing Colorado leaves Washington a game under .500 -- its home of a year-plus. The Nationals have been within one game of .500, either a game above or below, 95 times since the 2018 season began with a 4-0 sweep in Cincinnati. That’s the most in the majors by 22 games.

So, a week away did nothing to change the team’s record or problems. Trevor Rosenthal still can’t find the plate. Trea Turner still has not healed. The bullpen as a whole is still languishing. Anthony Rendon’s elbow bruise was enough to keep him out of the Colorado series but not on the 10-day injured list.

Rosenthal remains a conundrum. Another wild appearance in Colorado undermined the progress of his previous appearance. He hits batters, bats and backstops, none of which are the goal.

Washington has few options with him. Rosenthal is earning $7 million guaranteed this season. He has minor-league options, but his major-league service time means he would have to accept an assignment to the lower levels. The Nationals can’t just send him down. He also just spent a year-plus recovering from surgery in order to pitch in the major leagues. Try telling that person it’s time for the minor leagues. He currently can’t be trusted in any spot. But, he needs to pitch to fix his issues.

An argument to Rosenthal to accept a minor-league assignment could go like this: go down there, get right, come back to help us when that happens. Don’t think only about now. Think about the future, too. A $14-million club option is on the line for next season. The chance Washington takes that option is close to nil. So, Rosenthal needs to think about employment elsewhere. What’s happening now -- pitching sparingly with stomach-churning results -- is not working, and it’s not working for anyone.

Another looming question as spunky San Diego arrives for a three-game series, is Rendon’s status. He has not played since being hit by a pitch April 20 in Miami. He also is yet to make his way to the injured list. Which, presumably, means the Nationals expect Rendon to be available Friday night against the Padres. If not, he should have been placed on the injured list already, retroactive to Sunday.

Without Rendon, the Nationals received a sustained look at Victor Robles hitting second. The results were intriguing. Robles remains a dynamic athlete who is still learning to hit. Davey Martinez will have to decide whether he is a fit to hit second without Turner and with Rendon in the lineup. Putting Robles second would have a two-fold benefit: It moves Rendon to hitting third, which moves Juan Soto to fourth, giving further separation to the left-handed bats in the lineup (part of the original thought for hitting Turner second). It also simply provides Robles more at-bats.

However Martinez -- and the organization -- decide to act will not be made easier by the coming schedule. San Diego’s negative run differential suggests its 14-11 record is built on false underpinnings. However, it remains a competitive team. St. Louis -- the NL’s best team as of Thursday -- is next. Another drive to Philadelphia follows, then a trip to Milwaukee and four games in Los Angeles against the first-place Dodgers.

Washington has to figure out if Rosenthal will be making any of those journeys, where Robles will be hitting, and, most notably, how they can put together consecutive wins. Its longest winning streak is two games. Its longest losing streak is two games. The Nationals have never been more than one game over .500 or two games below this season. This is peak middling, and not what a $190 million payroll was dispatched to do.

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