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Virginia Tech stuns No. 15 Ok St, 81-71

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Virginia Tech stuns No. 15 Ok St, 81-71

BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) Erick Green scored 28 points and hit eight critical free throws in the final 76 seconds Saturday to help Virginia Tech remain unbeaten and handed No. 10 Oklahoma State its first loss, 81-71.

Robert Brown added 18 points and Jarell Eddie had 15 with 12 rebounds for the Hokies (7-0) and first-year head coach James Johnson. It's their first 7-0 start to a season since 1982-83.

Le'Bryan Nash and Marcus Smart scored 18 each to lead the Cowboys (5-1), who lost to the Hokies for the fourth straight time, all in past three seasons.

The game was close throughout, especially after Tech saw what had been an eight-point led cut to 69-66 on Markel Brown's deep 3-pointer from the top of the key with 2:22 remaining.

Brown missed the front end of a one-and-one for Virginia Tech, but as Oklahoma was setting up its offense, Green stole the ball and was fouled driving toward the basket. He made both, pushing the Hokies' lead to 71-66. Nash made 1 of 2 at the other end, and Green was fouled again with 53.8 seconds left.

He made both again, and finished the game having made 51 of his last 53 from the line.

Green played only nine minutes in the first half after drawing two quick fouls, but scored the Hokies' first 10 points of the second half on a pair of 3-pointers, two free throws and a long fadeaway.

Jarell Eddie's 3-pointer gave Virginia Tech a 49-46 lead with 15 minutes left. Forte scored for Oklahoma State, and Robert Brown put back his own miss. Smart's drive cut the Hokies' lead to 51-50 with 13:17 to go, but the Cowboys didn't score against for 5:05 as the Hokies reeled off seven straight.

The Cowboys used a 9-2 run featuring five points by Smart to close to 60-59, but after the Hokies' Robert Brown and the Cowboys Kamari Murphy traded baskets, Virginia Tech scored seven of the next nine. Eddie scored on a drive, and Brown was credited with a basket when Philip Jurick was called for goaltending. After Nash's driving bank, Marshall Wood was fouled twice and made 3 of 4 free throws.

Markel Brown's 3-pointer from the top of the key for the Cowboys made it 69-66 with 2:22 left.

The Cowboys led 36-32 at a first half in which both teams took turns going on short scoring bursts. The biggest of those was an early 10-0 run by Oklahoma State that gave it a 12-7 lead. The score remained close until 3-pointers by Smart and Phil Forte around an inside basket by Michael Cobbins gave the Cowboys a 34-26 lead. Virginia scored six of the last eight points in the half to get within four at the break.

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Orioles bats fall silent in 4-0 loss to revamped Marlins

Orioles bats fall silent in 4-0 loss to revamped Marlins

The Orioles began Tuesday set to play the Marlins at Camden Yards in a matchup more than a week overdue. But the problem was, no one knew exactly who the Marlins were nearly up until first pitch.

They are a team decimated by an outbreak of COVID-19 in the clubhouse, which caused an incredible number of transactions before Tuesday’s game. 

The Marlins put 17 players on the injured list (with one opt out), then added an astonishing 18 new players to play as replacements. Seven were newly acquired players and 11 were players from the team’s alternate training site. From the team’s last game on July 26, 60 percent of their roster had been overturned. 

Miami brought up heralded prospects, old veterans and even a former Olympic medalist, in speedskating, to make up the new-look roster. It was, by all accounts, one of the more unique roster-building moments in recent MLB history.

But despite all that, the Orioles managed just three hits and never threatened offensively as the Marlins won their first game in more than a week in a 4-0 Orioles defeat.

“I thought (starting pitcher Pablo) Lopez’s pitching played a part in the outcome,” Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said. “We just didn’t swing the bat very well, and didn’t hit very many balls hard.”

RELATED: ESPN NOT CONVINCED BY ORIOLES’ HOT START, PUTS THEM LAST IN FIRST POWER RANKINGS

Hyde remarked pregame that the Marlins’ roster turnover made it especially difficult to prepare, considering he hadn’t seen the Marlins’ 30-man roster with less than two hours to go before first pitch. The turnover, though, was remarkable.

Miami’s bullpen started the season with 12 relievers on the Opening Day roster. Tuesday, eight of those players were on the injured list. 

That meant the Marlins had to search far and wide across baseball for players to fill out the lineup card. One of those new additions was former Orioles reliever Richard Bleier, traded after a win last week over the Rays. For good measure, Bleier threw one inning Tuesday and struck out one batter with zero hits allowed.

The Marlins' starter, Lopez, threw five innings of two-hit ball which stifled the Orioles' offense, which had been hot to start the season.

But not only did the ragtag Marlins have a totally new roster, there was some question about whether or not a game would even occur. 

After some COVID-19 tests for the Marlins came back inconclusive, the game was delayed 45 minutes while players from both sides waited for results.

“I wouldn’t say any circumstance kind of was the reason for the outcome today,” Orioles pitcher John Means said. “Everybody showed up, and they just out-pitched us, and they won.”

Means showed up at the ballpark at 3:45 for a coronavirus test, then went home and waited for further instruction. 

“We were kind of lost on it,” he said. 

For his part, Means didn’t let the delay affect him. He threw 4 ⅔ innings, allowed two hits and one earned run — a home run — which ended his night after 72 pitches. 

Means’ home run allowed was all the Marlins’ pitching staff needed, as five pitchers combined to pitch a three-hitter in a surprising victory after the team’s suspended season. 

Baltimore fell to 5-4 with the loss with a doubleheader scheduled for Wednesday. 

“We’ve been taking really good at-bats off some really good pitching so far this season, and tonight, it just didn’t happen for us offensively,” Hyde said. “We never really got a rally going...We didn’t put any pressure on them defensively.”

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What's goalie prospect Vitek Vanecek's upside? Let Olie Kolzig explain

What's goalie prospect Vitek Vanecek's upside? Let Olie Kolzig explain

The injury to Ilya Samsonov left an opportunity for another goalie to step in as the backup to Braden Holtby and prospect Vitek Vanecek has taken that opportunity and run with it. He beat out Pheonix Copley for the job despite the fact that Copley was the backup just last season in 2018-19. When looking at the Capitals' future in net, that conversation has largely begun and ended with Samsonov. But what exactly is the upside of Vanecek? Who better to ask than Olie Kolzig?

Kolzig is one of the best goalies in franchise history so he knows a thing or two about goaltending. As a professional development coach for Washington, he is also very familiar with Vanecek. Kolzig joined the broadcast on NBC Sports Washington on Monday and, when asked about Vanecek, he offered a glowing review.

"I think if you see the small sample size that he showed last week in the exhibition game against Carolina, he can fill in adequately," Kolzig said. "He's got a great demeanor about him, players love playing for him and his progression over the last three or four years has been nothing but phenomenal."

RELATED: VANECEK WILL PLAY IN ROUND-ROBIN, CAPS' FATE THOUGH WITH HOLTBY

Vanecek now has five years of experience in North America under his belt, but has yet to play in an NHL game. He has nothing left to prove at the AHL level, but his appearance in Wednesday's exhibition against the Carolina Hurricanes was the closest he has come to NHL action.

With the likely departure of Holtby in the offseason, there is going to be an opening on the roster at the goalie position. That makes the biggest question on the mind of Caps fans is just what is Vanecek's ceiling?

"I think he can definitely be a No. 2 in the NHL," Kolzig said. "It wouldn't surprise me if he could battle for a No. 1, but as of now is a No. 2. He's progressed here since [the Capitals] drafted him. His demeanor, his relationship with his teammates, he just needs to be seen. He needs to get some NHL action because he's proved it at the East Coast level and the American League level, but small sample size we saw last week shows he can do it so far at the NHL."

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This is going to be a tricky situation for Washington. If the feeling on Vanecek is that he is a No. 2, then you can see why the team was all-in on Samsonov this season as the backup to Holtby to prepare him for the future. Even if Samsonov is the No. 1 going forward, however, it is not a given that Vanecek will be the No. 2. If the Caps still see themselves as contenders, will general manager Brian MacLellan really want to hand the crease over to two goalies with a combined 26 games of NHL experience? Probably not.

Having a No. 2 goalie in the system is a good player to have, but the timing of it makes it difficult to see what the possible future of Vanecek may be in Washington.

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