Wizards

Top 25 Capsules

Top 25 Capsules

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) Travis Releford scored 12 points and No. 3 Kansas held off No. 11 Kansas State down the stretch for a 59-55 victory Tuesday night that gave the Jayhawks sole possession of first place in the Big 12.

Ben McLemore and Jeff Withey added 11 points each for the Jayhawks (17-1, 5-0 Big 12), who pushed their nation-leading winning streak to 16 games and ended the Wildcats' 12-game home winning streak.

Shane Southwell, who scored a career-high 19 points, got Kansas State (15-3, 4-1) within 56-53 with a scooping layup with 38.2 seconds left. Naadir Tharpe made two foul shots to restore a five-point lead.

Rodney McGruder finished with 13 points and Angel Rodriguez had 12, all in the first half, as the Wildcats lost for the 45th time in 48 games against their bitter in-state rival.

Kansas State had its own eight-game winning streak snapped.

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VILLANOVA 73, No. 5 LOUISVILLE 64

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Achraf Yacoubou hit the tiebreaking 3-pointer late in the second half to help Villanova to the upset.

The Wildcats (12-7, 3-3 Big East) led by as many as 10 points in the first half and rallied late in the second to send the Cardinals to their second straight loss. Louisville (16-3, 4-2) had an 11-game winning streak end in a 70-68 loss to Syracuse on Saturday.

Ryan Arcidiacono scored 15 points, and JayVaughn Pinkston and Mouphtaou Yarou each scored 11 for Villanova.

Yacoubou hit the go-ahead 3 with just less than 4 minutes left and the Wildcats held on from there.

Peyton Siva had 15 points and 13 assists for the Cardinals and Wayne Blackshear scored 17 points. The Cardinals, a 71 percent free throw shooting team, was 12 of 24 from the line and shot 40 percent from the field.

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No. 13 MICHIGAN STATE 49, WISCONSIN 47

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Keith Appling scored 19 points and Branden Dawson added 18 for Michigan State.

Mike Bruesewitz led Wisconsin (13-6, 4-2 Big Ten) with 10 points.

Both teams went more than 4 minutes without scoring down the stretch. Dawson broke the drought, hitting one of two from the free throw line to put the Spartans (17-3, 6-1) up 48-44 with just over 2 minutes left.

Ryan Evans' 3-pointer from the wing with 17 seconds left pulled Wisconsin within 48-47.

Michigan State freshman Gary Harris was fouled and hit front end of a 1-and-1, but rimmed out the second, leaving Michigan State up 49-47.

Wisconsin's George Marshall, who missed practice Monday because he was sick, was fouled with 3.5 seconds left. He missed the first free throw and intentionally tried to miss the second but he didn't draw iron, giving the ball to the Spartans.

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No. 14 OHIO STATE 72, IOWA 63

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Deshaun Thomas, who missed part of the second half with a cut above his eye, scored 16 points as Ohio State built a big lead and then held on.

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.

The Buckeyes (14-4, 4-2 Big Ten) led by 24 points with under 13 minutes left but watched as Iowa cut the lead to four with 1:30 remaining.

Aaron White had 13 points for Iowa (13-6, 2-4).

Aaron Craft and Lenzelle Smith Jr. both had 12 points and Evan Ravenel added 11 for Ohio State.

The Buckeyes used a 10-0 run bridging halftime to build a 24-point lead. Iowa rallied to draw within five points on White's bank shot with 2:30 left.

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WAKE FOREST 86, No. 18 N.C. STATE 84

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) - Freshman Devin Thomas had a season-high 25 points, 14 rebounds and four blocks for Wake Forest.

Travis McKie added 16 points for the Demon Deacons (10-8, 3-3 Atlantic Coast Conference), including two free throws with 3.4 seconds left that helped Wake Forest hold on down the stretch in a wild final 4 1/2 minutes.

N.C. State led by 16 points in the first half and 12 at halftime only to see the Demon Deacons rally and push ahead to their own 10-point lead.

Then N.C. State (15-4, 4-2) managed its own comeback, closing the gap to a point with about a minute left. But ultimately, Wake Forest - a team filled with freshmen - did just enough to earn a win that sent their fans storming the court to celebrate.

Wake Forest shot 59 percent after halftime.

Rodney Purvis scored 18 points to lead the Wolfpack, who fell to 1-2 since upsetting top-ranked Duke on Jan 12.

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No. 22 MISSOURI 71, SOUTH CAROLINA 65

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) - Earnest Ross and Jabari Brown hit key 3-pointers in the final 1:11 and Missouri overcame 5-for-27 shooting from long range and a 13-point second-half deficit.

Ross had a career-best 21 points and Brown had 17 for Missouri (14-4, 3-2 Southeastern Conference), which is 11-0 at home this season and has won 12 straight at the Mizzou Arena.

Brown had eight points in a 20-2 run that gave Missouri a five-point lead with just under 12 minutes to go. Alex Oriakhi was 10 for 10 at the line and fouled out in the final minute with 18 points and 11 rebounds for the Tigers, who won despite 33 percent overall shooting.

Brenton Williams had 16 points with four 3-pointers for South Carolina (11-7, 1-4), which has lost four conference games by a combined 18 points and faced its first ranked opponent of the season.

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Scott Brooks on how journeyman veterans like Ish Smith can be leaders by example

Scott Brooks on how journeyman veterans like Ish Smith can be leaders by example

WASHINGTON -- When identifying leaders from an outside perspective, it is only natural to look at the Washington Wizards and see Bradley Beal and John Wall, their two All-Star guards. Logic would suggest they set the tone for younger, less experienced players, that they are the ones the rookies should look up to.

But Wizards head coach Scott Brooks sees similar value in less-heralded members of his team, the journeyman veterans to whom nothing has been given. Guys like Ish Smith and Gary Payton II have bounced around the league to varying degrees. In Payton's case, that has included extended time in the G-League.

Brooks has been tasked with creating an environment for the Wizards that is conducive to the development of young players and he believes those types of veterans set an important example.

"If you're really good, you have two or three All-Stars on your team," Brooks said. "But the league is made up of guys like Ish. His story can help the younger guys make it and stay in the league. It's what the league is about. He has the grit, the fiber, the substance and the experience to share with all the players who are trying to make it."

Brooks has used similar language to describe Payton II, who was first signed by the team to a 10-day contract last season. He was let go, then returned this past December and then had his contract guaranteed for the rest of the season earlier this month.

"He's fought and he's been cut many times and sometimes those are the guys you want in your program because they have that fiber, that toughness and that anger because they know that it can go away," Brooks said.

Wizards general manager Tommy Sheppard has said on several occasions they want Brooks to install a culture and mindset with their young roster similar to the one he helped build in Oklahoma City. Smith happens to remind Brooks of one of his former players with the Thunder.

"I love guys on a team like Ish. We kind of had that guy with Nick Collison [in OKC], just a winning player on and off the court. Ish is the same way. I look at Ish the same exact way," Brooks said.

Collison averaged a modest 5.9 points in 14 NBA seasons, but was so respected for his leadership role that his jersey number was retired by the Thunder last year. 

There is another person guys like Smith and Payton II remind Brooks of and that is himself. Before he became a coach, he was a 10-year NBA player. And he carved out that career as an undrafted, undersized point guard.

He was constantly fighting for his NBA future on the fringe of rosters and was able to stick around only because of his hard work and toughness.

Though he played with some great teammates like Hakeem Olajuwon, Charles Barkley and Patrick Ewing, Brooks likes to think he left his own mark.

"I always took pride in having a relationship with the best player to the, well, myself; the worst player," he said.

"This game, it's a family and it's fun and it's about relationships; empowering and inspiring one another. You don't have to be a star player to do that. I've had great conversations with Olajuwon. I've had great conversations with players that only play on a 10-day or a year in the league. I took pride in it and I think Ish does the same thing. I think it's pretty important that we all are blessed and honored to be in the league, that now it's your job to leave your situation better than when you started it. We have a couple of guys on our team that can really carry on what we want our team to be about."

Ultimately, though, the Wizards' young players have to put in the necessary work to reach their potential. Brooks can teach them lessons directly and guys like Smith can do so indirectly.

But the players themselves have to understand the message.

"Now it's up to the younger players to listen to it. It's one thing to listen to John and Brad, but there's a great chance you're not going to be as good as John or Brad. There's a chance you're going to be a player like Ish," Brooks said.

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Alex Ovechkin inches closer to 700 career goals

Alex Ovechkin inches closer to 700 career goals

WASHINGTON — Alex Ovechkin is flying up the NHL leader board. 

Doesn’t matter if you want to specify this season or his career overall, Ovechkin’s hat trick on Thursday night in a 5-2 win against the New Jersey Devils helped in both cases.

Start with the big names. Ovechkin now has 689 career goals. He is inching closer to the magic 700 mark. Only seven NHL players in history have reached it. Before then he will pass Mario Lemieux (690) – fittingly maybe on Super Bowl Sunday Feb. 3 when the Capitals play the Pittsburgh Penguins. 

Then Steve Yzerman (692) and Mark Messier (694) are up next. These are incredible names, the greatest to ever play the sport. Ovechkin has etched his name into the record books with them all.

“[Lemieux was] one of my idols when I'm growing up,” Ovechkin said. “I get lucky I have a time to play against him, was on the ice with him a couple times. It's huge….They're legends. To be close to those guys, it's pretty impressive.”

Just looking at this season: Ovechkin is now at 31 goals. He needs 19 more in his 32 remaining games to reach 50 for a record-tying ninth time. For a time this season that appeared to be drifting away from Ovechkin. Now? Seems reasonable. Ovechkin will miss the Jan. 27 game against the Montreal Canadiens to serve a suspension for skipping the All-Star game in St. Louis next week. 

Ovechkin has pulled to within five goals of Boston’s David Pastrnak for the NHL lead (36) and is in third place overall. Toronto’s Auston Matthews is second (34). 

“It seems like every week at least that he’s breaking someone’s record,” Capitals teammate John Carlson said. “And they’re not cupcake records, either. I’ve said this before. I don’t think that as a teammate you realize what’s happening. It kind of becomes maybe a little more normal than if you’re in a different job or on a different team even.”

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