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Young helps No. 6 Kansas turn back Temple, 69-62

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Young helps No. 6 Kansas turn back Temple, 69-62

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) Kevin Young had 16 points, hitting four critical free throws down the stretch, and sixth-ranked Kansas fended off pesky Temple 69-62 on Sunday for the Jayhawks' 11th straight win.

Travis Releford added 14 points on 5 for 5 shooting, none of his baskets bigger than a 3-pointer from the wing with 34.9 seconds left. With the shot-clock winding down, Releford's shot gave Kansas a 65-58 lead, essentially turning away its Atlantic 10 foe.

Ben McLemore added 13 points and Jeff Withey had eight points, 11 rebounds and nine blocked shots for the Jayhawks (12-1), who enter Big 12 play having won 30 consecutive games at Allen Fieldhouse and 63 in a row against non-conference opponents.

Khalif Wyatt finished with 26 points for the Owls (10-3), who nearly had their second win over a top-10 team this season. Wyatt scored 33 in an upset of then-No. 3 Syracuse on Dec. 22.

Anthony Lee and Will Cummings added 11 each for Temple, which seemed to have the recipe for winning in the Phog down pat. The Owls only committed three turnovers - though the third one late in the game proved critical - and prevented the high-flying Jayhawks from getting in transition.

After trailing the entire first half, Temple managed to build a 54-50 lead with just under 7 minutes to go. But the Jayhawks finally got going on offense, and then held on down the stretch to start 12-1 for the third time in the last four seasons.

Temple looked as if it'd be trouble before the opening tip, when the Owls were huddling after their introduction and started watching the Jayhawks' intimidating pregame video montage.

It was little surprise that the Jayhawks raced out to a 22-10 lead by the midway point of the first half, clamping down with their intense man-to-man defense and throwing in some token press to put pressure on the Owls' backcourt, which committed a pair of early turnovers.

Temple coach Fran Dunphy eventually got a veteran group that starts three seniors to settle down, and the result was an 8-1 spurt that got the Owls right back in the game.

Wyatt led the charge by banking in a 3-pointer, and a basket by Lee - who had eight points and five boards by halftime - forced Kansas coach Bill Self to call a timeout.

Self was only starting to simmer, though. He really boiled over a few minutes later, when Elijah Johnson committed his third turnover of the half. The Jayhawks' coach slapped his hand against the video marquee at the scorer's table so hard that it knocked out a bank of lights.

Those two early turnovers by Temple? They were their only two in the first half, and Kansas - one of the nation's top defensive teams - failed to produce a steal in forging a 33-27 lead.

Kansas scored the first five points of the second half to push its lead to double-figures, but then Temple scored on its next nine possessions. Along the way, Wyatt outscored the Jayhawks 11-2 by himself, and his free throws with 14:13 left gave the Owls their first lead at 43-44.

Releford, the Jayhawks' top defender, also picked up his fourth foul during the Owls' run and spent much of the second half on the bench. That allowed Temple's talented backcourt to keep answering every time that Kansas tried to make a charge.

Releford eventually checked back into the game, and so did the Jayhawks' defense.

After pulling ahead 54-50, the Owls failed to score on five of their next six possessions, and Johnson's two drives to the basket tied the game. Moments later, McLemore stepped in front of a pass from the Owls' Cummings and went the other way for a dunk and a 58-57 lead.

Young added four consecutive free throws, and then Releford hit his big 3-pointer from the wing, allowing Self and another capacity crowd to finally start relaxing.

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Caps at Islanders: Ovechkin is in for final game before bye week

Caps at Islanders: Ovechkin is in for final game before bye week

The Capitals (32-11-5) head to Long Island to take on the New York Islanders (28-14-4) in the last game before the bye week. Tune in to NBC Sports Washington for all the action! Pregame coverage starts at 12 p.m. with Caps FaceOff Live followed by Caps Pregame Live bringing you up to the 1 p.m. puck drop. Stick with NBC Sports Washington after the game for postgame coverage with Caps Postgame Live and Caps Overtime Live.

Here is what you need to know for Saturday's game.

Ovechkin is in

By skipping the All-Star Game, Alex Ovechkin is subject to a one-game suspension. He must serve that suspension in either the last game before the bye week or the first game back. Todd Reirden said following Thursday's game that Ovechkin will play on Saturday meaning he will miss the Jan. 27 game against the Montreal Canadiens. This should come as no surprise considering the Islanders game is a division game and the Montreal game is not.

Here are the lines based on Friday's practice:

Alex Ovechkin - Nicklas Backstrom - Tom Wilson
Jakub Vrana - Evgeny Kuznetsov - T.J. Oshie
Carl Hagelin - Lars Eller - Richard Panik
Brendan Leipsic - Nic Dowd - Garnet Hathaway

Michal Kempny - John Carlson
Dmitry Orlov - Nick Jensen
Jonas Siegenthaler - Radko Gudas

Ovechkin is red-hot

It is a good thing Ovechkin is playing Saturday because he is red-hot right now. He has five goals in just the past two games and sits one behind Mario Lemieux for 10th all-time in goals.

Holtby starts

Ilya Samsonov started the last two games and played well, but with the bye week upcoming, Reirden felt it important to get Braden Holtby back in. He confirmed Friday that Holtby will be the starter.

Holtby has not registered a save percentage above .900 in six straight starts and he sits at .899 for the season. He has still managed a 18-9-4 record for the season, however. Reirden said the last two games for Samsonov allowed Holtby the chance to "reset." HIs last game was on Jan. 11 against the New Jersey Devils.

When last we met

With Holtby in net, he will have a chance to rebound after this last start against the Islanders, a tough 4-3 loss at home on New Year's Eve. He allowed four goals on 22 shots in that game.

It was a very sloppy affair, not what we are used to seeing from the typically buttoned-up Islanders defense and turnovers were a problem for both sides. Semyon Varlamov closed the door in the period, stopping a whopping 17 shots as Washington poured it on looking to tie it.

Here's a recap of the game.

Washington is 1-1-0 against the Islanders this season with the final matchup coming on Feb. 10.

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Harbaugh reflects on resting starters: 'I might go the other way' next year

Harbaugh reflects on resting starters: 'I might go the other way' next year

If the Ravens can pull off winning the AFC North division title three years in a row, their starters might be on the hook for Week 17 next time around.

In head coach John Harbaugh's season-review press conference on Friday, the Ravens leader of 12 years was asked if resting his starters in Week 17 vs Pittsburgh contributed to their AFC Divisional Round loss to the Tennesse Titans. 

"I mean, we didn't play well," he said.

Harbaugh went on to explain how he dove into the numbers of football's past in order to make decisions ahead of hosting the Steelers in their regular-season finale. The Ravens ultimately won 28-10 before two weeks off and then losing to Tennessee, 28-12.

"You look at the history, and I did that, went back and looked at the history," Coach Harbaugh said. "And the history is about 50/50. You know, teams have held their guys out and won and then won the Super Bowl. Teams have held their guys out and lost. It's gone both ways. We held our guys out and won and we won the Super Bowl [in 2012]. I was probably leaning on that in all honesty."

"Going forward after this, I might go the other way, you know?" Harbaugh offered. "Right now, if I had to do it today, and it's next year and we're in this situation, God willing we're in the same situation, we'll probably go the other way in all honesty."

Analytics can only tell you what has happened in the past, not what will happen next. A predictive guide at best, resting starters is likely best exercised as a case-by-case, team-by-team situation.

Since coming to Baltimore in 2008, Harbaugh has only been faced with this specific decision twice, establishing a 50/50 track record himself. It worked for the Ravens in 2012 as they went on to beat the 49ers 34-31 in Super Bowl XLVII.

It did not work in 2019. 

"The disappointment ... is that we didn't play our best football," Harbaugh continued. "That's the thing that really sticks to us. We're way better than what we played in both those games, and we're gonna have to grow from that." 

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