Wright, George Mason beat William & Mary 73-66

Wright, George Mason beat William & Mary 73-66

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. (AP) Sherrod Wright scored a career-high 28 points as George Mason rallied in the second half to beat William & Mary 73-66 Saturday in a Colonial Athletic Association matchup.

Corey Edwards added 10 points for the Patriots (8-6, 1-1).

Trailing at halftime 37-33, George Mason opened the second half on a 12-6 run to take a 45-43 lead with 12:30 left to play. Wright's steal and fast-break layup capped the run for the Patriots.

George Mason shot 59.1 percent (13 for 22) in the second half.

After Brandon Bitt's 3-pointer tied the game at 61 with 3:04 remaining, two three-point plays by Johnny Williams and Wright helped push the Patriots ahead 68-61 with 1:54 remaining.

Corey Edwards and Jonathan Arledge made five free throws for George Mason in the final minute to seal the victory.

Tim Rusthoven led William & Mary (7-6, 1-1) with 19 points and 11 rebounds.

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Trevor Ariza is a valuable trade asset if the Wizards can't win now


Trevor Ariza is a valuable trade asset if the Wizards can't win now

Trevor Ariza is officially a Washington Wizards again, and it's assumed the D.C. team acquired his expiring $15 million contract so he can provide as a spark on the court and in the locker room, like when he was with the team for the 2012-13 and 2013-14 seasons.

But there's a backup plan in case the 33-year-old veteran from the Phoenix Suns can't turn the Wizards in the right direction before the February trade deadline. He could be a valuable trade asset.

As NBC Sports' Tom Haberstroh explained:

"Ariza figures to stay in D.C. for a playoff push, but if it doesn’t work, the Wizards also have the option of trading him again, as long as it’s a one-for-one deal, according to the collective bargaining agreement. If Phoenix owner Robert Sarver truly was hell-bent on not trading Ariza to the Lakers -- like The Athletic’s David Aldridge reported late Friday night -- perhaps the Wizards can extract more value from the Lakers than Phoenix could.

One deal to monitor in that scenario would be flipping Ariza to the Lakers for 25-year-old wing Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. The potential trade works from a CBA perspective and would endlessly tickle every Sarver adversary out there."

Obviously, the hope in Washington is that Ariza push the Wizards in the direction of the 44-win season they had back in 2013-14.

Those two years Ariza spent in Washington were some of his best in his 15-season career, particularly the latter year when he averaged 14.4 points (the second-highest in his career) while shooting 45.6 percent from the field as he helped Washington advance to the Eastern Conference semifinals.

The Wizards need Ariza -- for whom they dealt 23-year-old Kelly Oubre and 26-year-old Austin Rivers -- to provide a defensive spark for the 12-18 team. Even though he's averaging just 9.9 points and 5.6 boards, they will benefit from his veteran presence as they try to mount a playoff push.

Perhaps him shooting just 37.9 percent from the field through 26 games in Phoenix -- he's only finished two seasons shooting less than 40 percent -- was a product of his environment, Haberstroh suggests. Or maybe he needs the Wizards as much as they could need him.

Either way, while Plan A is always the goal, the Wizards have a contingency plan when it comes to trading for Ariza.


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Philadelphia fires head coach Dave Hakstol 31 games into season


Philadelphia fires head coach Dave Hakstol 31 games into season

The Philadelphia Flyers have fired coach Dave Hakstol after losing four in a row and 11 of their last 14 games and named Scott Gordon as the interim replacement.

General manager Chuck Fletcher announced the move Monday, less than two weeks since taking over for the fired Ron Hextall.

"After meeting this morning with Dave Hakstol and thoughtful consideration, I have decided to relieve him of his duties as head coach," Fletcher said. "As I continue to assess the team, I feel that this is the best course of action for our group moving forward."

The last-place Flyers have lost five of six and are 12-15-4. Philadelphia went 1-3-1 on the road trip Fletcher said he'd use to evaluate Hakstol, the rest of the coaching staff and the team at-large.

Hired by Hextall from the University of North Dakota in 2015, Hakstol took the Flyers to the playoffs twice in his three full seasons, but they lost in six games in the first round each time. His teams were plagued by inconsistency in the form of long winning and losing streaks, and that ultimately cost him his job in his fourth season.

It was not immediately clear when the Flyers would hire a full-time coach. Three-time Stanley Cup-winning coach Joel Quenneville, who was fired by the Chicago Blackhawks last month, has been linked to Philadelphia because of a connection with Fletcher.

Gordon is an NHL head coach for the second time after parts of three seasons with the New York Islanders. He has spent the past three-plus seasons as coach of the American Hockey League's Lehigh Valley Phantoms, Philadelphia's top affiliate.

"He's got some creative ways of thinking the game," said defenseman Andrew MacDonald, who played for Gordon with the Islanders. "We had a really young team in New York when I was there -- transitioning from an older team to a younger team. It was kind of a tough situation for him. He was trying to bring in new ideas with speed and some of his philosophies. I really liked Scott as a coach. He's a good man, he's got good systems and I think he'll do a good job for us."

Hakstol's final game was a 5-1 loss at Vancouver on Saturday night. The 50-year-old coach from Warburg, Alberta, said he felt his players battled all the way through the blowout loss. He added it's "not good enough, obviously, because the end result is what matters."

The end results for the Flyers weren't enough for a franchise that hasn't won the Stanley Cup since 1975 and was ready to try to contend after several years of retooling.

"It's been four years and you build relationships," captain Claude Giroux said. "I think for one guy to kind of pay the price for what's going on, it's not fair, but it's the business side of it. It's a tough day."

Hextall's inability to speed up the course of those efforts was among the reasons he was unexpectedly dismissed Nov. 26. Hakstol at the time got a reprieve while team president Paul Holmgren searched for a GM who would get to make the call.

Long before Fletcher got the job, the Flyers under Hakstol in 2016-17 became the first team in NHL history to miss the playoffs after having a 10-game winning streak and last season the first to make the playoffs after a 10-game losing streak.

Philadelphia went 134-101-42 under Hakstol, who coached the third-most games in franchise history behind Fred Shero and Mike Keenan.