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Withey leads No. 9 Kansas past Richmond, 87-59

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Withey leads No. 9 Kansas past Richmond, 87-59

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) Jeff Withey had 17 points and 13 rebounds, Ben McLemore added 14 points and No. 9 Kansas used another big first-half run to help put away Richmond, 87-59 on Tuesday night.

Travis Releford and Naadir Tharpe each added 11 points, and Elijah Johnson had seven assists for the Jayhawks (9-1), who will ride an eight-game win streak into Saturday's showdown at No. 7 Ohio State - a rematch of last year's national semifinal won by Kansas.

The Jayhawks used an 18-0 first-half run to bury the Spiders, allowing them to push their home winning streak to 28 games, tied for the sixth-longest in school history.

Derrick Williams had 14 points and Cedrick Lindsay finished with 12 for the Spiders (9-3), who had been 7-3 in their last 10 games against ranked opponents.

The Jayhawks had an easier time with Richmond than the last time the teams met at Allen Fieldhouse. In January 2004, the Spiders waltzed into one of the most intimidating environments in college basketball and beat Kansas with a jumper in the final second.

It's one of the seven home losses in coach Bill Self's 10 seasons at Kansas.

Their game Tuesday night never had the same kind of drama.

Richmond appeared stunned by the boisterous crowd of 16,300 in the opening minutes, allowing the Jayhawks to get out to a quick lead. The Spiders' 3-point shooting allowed them to crawl within 15-11 with 11 1/2 minutes left before everything suddenly went cold.

Johnson started the Jayhawks' big scoring binge with a third-chance basket, McLemore buried his second 3 of the half and fellow freshman Perry Ellis scored inside. On the next possession, McLemore scored and went to the foul line, missed the free throw and watched as Ellis put it back for a four-point trip and a 26-11 lead with 8:20 remaining on the clock.

Withey got into the act with a bucket and then a three-point play, and Johnson finished off the 18-0 run with a couple of free throws that made it 33-11 with 4:26 to go.

Williams, a burly junior forward, provided the basket that ended the Spiders' 8-minute-plus drought, and two more baskets by Richmond trimmed the lead to 15 points.

It was the closest the Spiders would get the rest of the way.

Kansas answered with another four-point trip - Withey scored and missed his foul shot, and Kevin Young was there for the follow. And then with 1.5 seconds left, Releford went to the foul line and made good on both of his free throws, getting a second chance after missing the second when Williams was called for a lane violation.

It all amounted to a 39-18 lead at halftime, with the Jayhawks shooting 57 percent from the field and holding a 24-10 edge on the glass.

The Jayhawks were merely in it for style points in the second half, at one point putting together another 18-2 run that made it 73-35 with 5:21 left. Kansas went through the motions down the stretch as it started to turn its attention toward the Buckeyes.

Kansas beat Ohio State at Allen Fieldhouse early last season before beating the Buckeyes again in the Final Four. The Jayhawks lost to Kentucky in the national title game.

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Lars Eller departs the bubble for birth of his second child

Lars Eller departs the bubble for birth of his second child

Capitals forward Lars Eller has left the NHL bubble in Toronto to be with his family for the birth of his second child, the team announced Wednesday. Eller had made it known he intended to do so before even arriving in Toronto so the news of his departure is no surprise.

Eller is actually not the first player to voluntarily leave the bubble for the birth of a child. That honor goes to Ivan Barbashev of the St. Louis Blues who departed on Tuesday.

Eller’s departure means he will miss Thursday’s game, Travis Boyd is expected to step into Eller’s position at third line center. Boyd has largely been an extra for much of the season in Washington and played in only 24 games, but still managed 10 points. Boyd also has experience playing the third-line center role in the playoffs as he did it in 2018 during the team’s Cup run. An injury to Nicklas Backstrom pushed Eller into the second line, which allowed Boyd to get into the lineup.

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Eller’s return will be complicated. It is not just a matter of rejoining the team, but also being able to re-enter the NHL’s bubble which will mean a period of quarantine and testing. That means that even upon returning to Toronto, he will not be available to join the team right away. Eller will almost certainly miss the team’s final round robin game as well against the Boston Bruins on Sunday.

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Ben Simmons leaves Wizards matchup early with a knee injury

Ben Simmons leaves Wizards matchup early with a knee injury

Philadelphia 76ers point guard Ben Simmons left Wednesday’s game against the Wizards late in the third quarter with an apparent left knee injury. Reports say he will not return for the remainder of the matchup.

In 23 minutes, he recorded eight points, six rebounds, four assists and two steals against Washington before leaving for the locker room early.

Simmons has been an instrumental piece of the 76ers’ success this season and would be a major loss should the injury sideline him from the remainder of play in the bubble. This season, he has averaged 16.6 points, 8.1 assists and 7.8 rebounds.

In the Sixers’ loss to Indiana on Saturday, he recorded a 19-point, 13-rebound double-double and added eight points and five assists in the win over San Antonio on Monday.

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