Nationals

UConn beats Washington 61-53

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UConn beats Washington 61-53

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Shabazz Napier scored 13 points and grabbed eight rebounds to help Connecticut over Washington 61-53 on Saturday in the final nonconference game of the year for both teams.

Omar Calhoun led UConn (10-2) with 14 points and Ryan Boatright added 12 to help the Huskies to their fourth consecutive win.

Scott Suggs had 15 to lead Washington (8-5), which lost for the first time in five games.

UConn's win came hours after coach Kevin Ollie agreed to a new 5 1/2-year contract worth just under $7 million. Ollie had been coaching under a one-season deal that he signed after taking over from Hall of Fame coach Jim Calhoun in September.

Ollie received a standing ovation as he walked onto the court and the student section chanted his name.

UConn held Washington star C.J. Wilcox to just five points on 2-of-12 shooting. Wilcox, who came in scoring more than 19 points per game, had scored 20 or more in three straight games and seven of the Huskies' last eight. He had scored in double figures in every game this season.

Connecticut held Washington to season lows in points and field goal percentage at 29.7 percent (19 of 64). Washington hit just 4 of 17 3-pointers.

UConn also outrebounded Washington 40-36. Connecticut had been outrebounded in 10 of their first 11 games by an average of over six rebounds per game.

Connecticut stretched a five-point halftime lead by scoring the first seven points of the second half to go up 38-26. Its 15-2 run was capped by a 3-point shot by Napier from the corner.

UConn pushed that lead to 14 on an Omar Calhoun layup with 15 minutes to play.

But Shawn Kemp Jr. had a layup, a dunk and a blocked shot to help close that gap to 48-44 and force a UConn timeout with 8:15 to play.

Washington stayed within five before jumpers by Boatright and Omar Calhoun stretched it back to nine with just over 3 minutes to play and put an exclamation point on the game with an ally-oop dunk from Omar Calhoun to 7-foot-1 center Enosch Wolf.

A layup by Wilcox cut the lead to six with 32 seconds left, but Omar Calhoun hit two free throws on the other end to seal it.

Washington had jumped to an early 16-10 lead as UConn missed some early free throws, including four on one play.

Those were shot after Aziz N'Diaye picked up a technical foul for kicking Omar Calhoun after fouling him on a drive to the basket.

Despite the missed free throws, UConn went on an 11-0 run, highlighted by a steal and double-clutch layup from Napier, to take a 21-16 lead.

But Connecticut missed all seven of its first-half attempts from 3-point range and Washington stayed in the game despite having both N'Diaye and Abdul Gaddy in foul trouble. Gaddy picked up his third foul with just under 4 minutes left in the half.

Washington trailed Connecticut 31-26 at halftime.

Washington fell to 1-2 in Connecticut this season. They beat Seton Hall and lost to Ohio State in the Hall of Fame Tip-Off Tournament in nearby Uncasville in November.

Washington dropped to 2-13 in games played in the Eastern Time Zone under coach Lorenzo Romar.

UConn visits Marquette for its Big East Opener on New Year's Day, while Washington opens the Pac-12 season at Washington State on Jan. 5.

The game was played in front of a crowd thinned by a storm that was expected to dump more than eight inches of snow on Hartford Saturday evening. There were almost 13,000 tickets sold, but just over 6,600 fans in the building, school officials said.

Jim Calhoun, who retired in September, missed his first game this season, vacationing in Florida. Ollie said he tried to reach his mentor by telephone on Saturday to tell him about his new deal.

``I think he's on the 14th hole in Miami,'' Ollie said. ``But wherever he is at, I know he's got a great big smile on his face.''

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How to entice Bryce Harper in to re-signing with the Nationals? With food, of course!

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How to entice Bryce Harper in to re-signing with the Nationals? With food, of course!

They say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach… and if that leads us to Bryce Harper’s potential landing spot, then I present to you the yummiest reasons he should stay with the Washington Nationals.

In a video from TMZ, a paparazzi follows Harper to baggage claim and implores him for any hints toward where he is signing this offseason. The only true answer he got was that Harper likes a place called Steak 48 in Chicago. This surf-and-turf hot spot in the River North neighborhood of downtown Chicago has the audacity to serve “Maryland STYLE lump crab cakes.” Really, Bryce? Will the real thing convince you?!

On that note, let’s start off with the seafood we have to offer. This is the Mid-Atlantic, after all.

How can you work here April-September without eating local crabs in some form? I think that’s impossible. You can choose from hard shell or soft shell, but no shame in either game.

Live Chesapeake blue crabs can be bought at Captain White’s Seafood and other vendors on The Wharf off Maine Avenue. Otherwise, you can sit down and have them steamed for you at Quarterdeck, Ivy City Smokehouse, Bethesda Crab House or Captain Pell’s.

If Harper is more of a soft shell guy, all of those places also serve out-of-the-park crab cakes, but you can’t go wrong with Hank’s Oyster Bar, Old Ebbitt Grill, Chris’ Marketplace, or Clyde’s.

If the star really wants to dive in to local taste, he should eat Chesapeake Bay oysters from the largest estuary in America. My personal favorite selection is at Whaley’s (seafood tower on me, Bryce), but Rapphanock Oyster Bar, The Dabney, Pearl Dive Oyster Palace and Black’s Bar & Kitchen can’t be beat.

I find it hard to believe the team hasn't had an outing at The Salt Line, the lively seafood spot just a short throw from Nats Park where teammate Ryan Zimmerman is an investor and co-owner.

Now that we’ve satisfied Harper’s iron intake, let’s break down his protein. In order to keep the superstar here, I want to make sure he knows that D.C. cares about providing a well-rounded diet.

Barbecued meats in general around here are delectable. Sitting in juxtaposition between the north and south, D.C. restaurants bring a mash-up of styles of smoked and sauced meats. Favorites are Federalist Pig, Hill Country, Fat Pete’s and Hardy’s BBQ truck.

However, if Bryce Harper show he’s as invested in authentic Nationals fans as our season tickets are in him, he should really pick up a half-smoke, the district’s original recipe for a spicy, thicker pork and beef dog that’s aggressively seasoned and sometimes served with chili sauce.

Could you imagine Harper making his announcement to stay over a half-smoke at Ben’s Chili Bowl? I think even the panda statue would cry tears of joy.

Another hyper-local taste is mumbo sauce. While proven not originally from here, D.C. natives are enthusiastic about the special sauce. Yum’s is pretty well-known for carrying it.

Time for dessert! I think we can all agree that in the past 10 years, cupcakes have become iconic in the district with Georgetown Cupcakes, Baked & Wired and Sprinkles all having a home in Georgetown. To settle the debate, Baked & Wired is best. They are ranked #1 on Yelp if you don’t believe my own palette.

But what if it’s game night, you ask? D.C. has it’s hearty share of restaurants that are open even after extra innings. The Diner, Kramerbooks, Mandu, New Big Wong, Old Ebbitt Grill, Oyamel Cocina Mexicana, Amsterdam Falafelshop and Jumbo Slice are all here to keep you warm at night no matter what you’re craving post-victory. Need I go on?

Bryce reassured Nats fans and TMZ that he is “still a National right now.” Better eat these while you can, Bryce, or you’ll be sorry you didn't sign in one of the best food cities in the MLB.

Do you have any local food or restaurants you think will convince Bryce Harper to stay with the Washington Nationals this offseason? Send them to @NBCNationals or @rmhopmayer. Maybe we can throw together a friends-giving or holiday dinner for those that want him to stay our beloved Guest of Honor.

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Josh Norman wants to play 'early Santa,' will give away Redskins tickets

Josh Norman wants to play 'early Santa,' will give away Redskins tickets

Josh Norman caused quite a stir with his comments Sunday about the atmosphere at FedEx Field, and the Redskins cornerback made it clear he plans to do his part in making sure the stadium is packed for Sunday's game against the Texans. 

Norman told reporters Thursday he's going to be giving away "40 or 50" free tickets for the Houston game, online and perhaps even in person.

"Yes, I will be giving out free tickets," he said. "I'll be doing it on my socials as well, I think I'll probably post tonight or something about it."

"Who knows, you may see me coming out and being an early Santa somewhere in the mall or something, just handing out tickets."

And if you are one of the lucky fans who gets a ticket from "Santa Norman," he has specific instructions on how you should behave at Sunday's game:

"Whoever get(s) them, we want them loud and just obnoxious. Just really obnoxious."

Norman joins several Redskins players who have promised to give away tickets to the Texans game.

It may be November, but the Christmas spirit is alive and well at Redskins Park. 

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