Redskins

VCU welcomes Grant back with 73-54 drubbing

VCU welcomes Grant back with 73-54 drubbing

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) Troy Daniels scored 16 points and Virginia Commonwealth blitzed Alabama early with a 26-5 run, ruining former coach Anthony Grant's return to the Siegel Center with a 73-54 victory on Saturday.

Treveon Graham added 14 points and Melvin Johnson 12 for the Rams (7-3), who improved to 6-2 in games against schools from the six major power conferences on their floor. The Rams have also now beaten at least one school from each of the power conferences since Shaka Smart replaced Grant as coach four years ago.

Devonta Pollard led the Crimson Tide (6-3) with 13 points and Levi Randolph had 10. Alabama committed 13 turnovers, one more than its average for a whole game, by halftime and finished with 19 giveaways that led to 19 VCU points.

The Rams made their big run after Rodney Cooper's two free throws gave Alabama a 2-0 lead. Daniels and Graham scored eight apiece in the push, which took more than 13 minutes. It helped greatly that Alabama kept turning the ball over, and couldn't shoot. It's first field goal came just 9:18 before halftime.

The Tide closed to within 11 twice early in the second half, the last at 39-28 after Trevor Releford's driving hoop with 16:04 to play, and the sellout crowd grew quiet, fearful that the Rams' tendency to get a big lead on a team with its frenetic pace, then let up and let the opponent come back was surfacing.

It didn't happen this time. Rob Brandenburg, who finished with 10 points, followed with a deep 3-pointer from the top of the key for VCU, Jarred Guest hit a 15-footer after a turnover and the momentum was quickly back on the Rams' side.

Two free throws by Randolph pulled Alabama within 44-30, but Johnson, a freshman, and light-scoring D.J. Haley scored consecutive inside baskets for the Rams, Johnson drilled a 3-pointer from the right corner and Daniels made another 3, pushing the lead back to 54-32 with just 13 minutes remaining.

After a three-point play for Releford, Johnson and Daniels again made consecutive 3s for the Rams, pushing their lead to 60-35, and as the crowd erupted in glee, Smart was able to get lightly used big man David Hinton, the only holdover on the Rams' roster from Grant's tenure, into the game.

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Redskins rank surprisingly low on oddsmakers list of landing spots for Kyler Murray

Redskins rank surprisingly low on oddsmakers list of landing spots for Kyler Murray

The Redskins need a quarterback in the 2019 NFL Draft, but plenty of other teams do too. At least that's the way oddsmakers at BetOnline.ag believe.

The sports book released future landing spots for Oklahoma's Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray, who declared for the NFL Draft on Monday, and the Redskins don't crack the Top 5. 

Per BetOnline, the most likely spot for Murray to land is with the Raiders. Oakland holds the fourth overall selection, and the three teams ahead of them all have quarterbacks in place (Arizona/Rosen, San Francisco/Garoppolo, New York Jets/Darnold).

While Murray isn't likely the top QB on the draft board, that would be Ohio State's Dwayne Haskins, it might make sense to give the Raiders the best chance of landing the Heisman winner since hypothetically Oakland will be the first team stepping to the podium looking for a passer. The Raiders still have Derek Carr under contract, but Oakland boss Jon Gruden hasn't seemed too enamored with his signal caller. 

After Oakland, three more teams pop up before the Redskins. Below is the full list. 

BetOnline: Who Will Draft Kyler Murray 2019 Draft?

Oakland Raiders        3/1       
Jacksonville Jaguars   7/2       
New York Giants        4/1       
Arizona Cardinals      5/1       
Denver Broncos         8/1       
Miami Dolphins         8/1       
Washington Redskins    8/1       
Tampa Bay Buccaneers  12/1

There is a lot to digest from this list, especially given that the Cardinals have higher odds of taking Murray than other QB needy teams. Arizona just spent a first-round pick on Josh Rosen last season. He wasn't particularly impressive as a rookie, but will the Cards give up on him that quick? Keep in mind there has been a coaching change in the desert and new head man Kliff Kingsbury has talked gushingly about Murray's talent. 

The Jags and the Giants make sense. New York holds the 6th overall selection and Jacksonville the 7th, and both need QBs. Even if the Giants want to keep Eli Manning another season, they'd be crazy not to snap up Haskins if he gets to six. And if Haskins goes at six, maybe the Jaguars take Murray at seven. Clearly the oddsmakers see that as a more likely scenario than the Giants picking Murray.

Finally, the Redskins. 

Tied with two other QB needy teams at 8-1, the Redskins odds actually seem appropriate: Hardly a sure thing, but it could happen.

Washington has Alex Smith and Colt McCoy under contract for 2019, but Smith seems unlikely to play next season after suffering a severe leg injury in 2018. McCoy should be healthy, but he's had plenty of injury issues in the past and will be in the last year of his contract. The Redskins need a QB, both for 2019 and for the future. The real question is if the organization wants to commit a first round pick on any passer, let alone somebody that lacks prototypical size like the 5-foot-10 Murray. 

The Broncos and the Dolphins both pick before Washington, and keep in mind the NFL Draft is always full of unexpected trades, especially when first-round QBs are in sight. Miami has no starting QB under contract for 2019, and the Broncos have Case Keenum for another season but hardly seem married to the journeyman. 

Tampa Bay making the list as the long shot adds up. The Bucs just hired Bruce Arians to come in and make things work with former No. 1 overall pick Jameis Winston. Drafting another QB in the first round seems unlikely for Arians, but after four years of Winston, not completely out of the question either. 

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Blue Jackets troll Capitals on Twitter after pulling even atop Metro Division

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Twitter.com/@BlueJacketsNHL

Blue Jackets troll Capitals on Twitter after pulling even atop Metro Division

The Columbus Blue Jackets threw some serious shade at the Caps Tuesday night after their 7-2 blowout loss to the Predators.

The Jackets are now tied for the Metro lead after the Caps lost their third straight game, and they let them have it on Twitter.

That's a bold jab coming from the team that lost to the Caps in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs...

The GIF comes from Saturday night's overtime loss to the Jackets where Columbus celebrated Artemi Panarin's game-winner with Evgeny Kuznetsov's signature bird celly.

When asked about the copycat celebration last Saturday, Kuzy said, "That's fine. It's nice to get some people that think about me, same as in April last year.”

The Capitals meet the Blue Jackets again Feb. 12 where the only bird celly should come from Kuzy.

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