Today is Sunday, February 19, 2017.
|Sunday, February 19, 2017|
|National Basketball Assoc.|
|Easterners||vs.||Westerners||8:00 (EST) Preview|
East All-Stars-West All-Stars Preview
Friday, February 17 at 5:50 PM (EST)
NEW ORLEANS -- Players play and coaches coach, except in an NBA All-Star Game.
At the NBA All-Star media availability on Friday, Eastern Conference coach Brad Stevens and Western Conference coach Steve Kerr said they would just roll the ball out on Sunday night (8 p.m. EST) and see if the scoreboards at the Smoothie King Center explode.
"I think it's a great opportunity for a basketball junkie to be around high achievers, and for me it's all about (how much) I love the game," said Stevens, the former Butler University coach whose Boston Celtics are 37-20 and second behind only the Cleveland Cavaliers (39-16) in the East. "I grew up in the state of Indiana, where the game is really important. Whether it was high school or college or pros, there was always somebody to watch and somebody to learn from. To be around the best in this game is an honor."
Stevens, who was 12 years old when the Indiana Pacers drafted Reggie Miller, is coaching his first All-Star Game, and he is a quick study. NBA All-Star Games are not about pick-and-roll defense and drawing up game plans.
"It's great to be there, (but) I don't know how much coaching you actually do," Stevens said, laughing. "I know my lane. I think I'm going to get out of their way. I'll be there if we want to draw something up or do something out of a timeout, but this weekend's about the players. They've decided that coaches should be a part of it, so we'll represent the coaches and go from there."
Kerr, whose Golden State Warriors are 47-9 and No. 1 in the West, will have the opportunity to put four of his players on the court at the same time. Point guard Stephen Curry and forward Kevin Durant will start for the West, and shooting guard Klay Thompson and power forward Draymond Green are reserves.
One piece of drama left for Sunday night is the fifth player Kerr would have on the court if he chooses to play his four Warriors at the same time -- and whether Kerr would put Thunder guard Russell Westbrook on the court with Durant despite their prickly personal relationship after Durant left Oklahoma City for Golden State in the offseason.
"The only thing I want is for our players to enjoy the weekend," Kerr said.
Both Westbrook and Durant deftly deflected questions about being back on the same team for the first time in about nine months.
Someone asked Westbrook if he and Durant needed a "Kumbaya" moment to get past their widely reported differences.
"I don't know what you all need," Westbrook said. "I'm in a great place. I'm having fun, having a great time. I'm happy with my team now and looking forward to moving forward."
Asked if he was excited to be teammates with Westbrook once again, Durant responded economically: "I'm excited to be here."
Durant said, "Stuff that you guys think are important, I don't think it's important at all. Now it's about all this other stuff."
In reflecting for the past several weeks on having four Warriors on the All-Star team, Green said it is probably something that won't happen often in the future.
"It's pretty special -- three of your teammates in the All-Star Game," Green said. "You make up four of the 12 guys, and that says a lot about our team, most importantly. To share the floor with those guys, especially in an environment like this, means a lot."
Even though this is Stevens' first All-Star Game and each squad is filled with incredible talent, the Boston coach believes his 5-foot-9 point guard, Isaiah Thomas, might have a breakout performance among the tall trees.
"I would put out a ceiling on Isaiah," Stevens said.
Thomas said, "I think some people still doubt. Some people don't give me my just due and my respect. At the end of the day, it always comes back to my height. If I was 6-1, they would probably call me the best player in the world. It's been like that my whole life. ... I'm not saying I'm one of the best ever to put on a Celtics uniform, but I want to be in that direction."
|Men's College Basketball|
|Utah||vs.||Oregon State||8:30 (EST)|
|UC Riverside||60||vs.||79||UC Irvine||Final|
|Bucknell||vs.||Boston University||12:00 (EST)|
|George Washington||vs.||Duquesne||12:00 (EST)|
|Holy Cross||vs.||American University||12:00 (EST)|
|Colgate||vs.||Loyola Maryland||12:00 (EST)|
|Maryland||vs.||Wisconsin||1:00 (EST) Preview|
G Koenig of No. 11 Wisconsin questionable for No. 23 Maryland
Saturday, February 18 at 1:35 PM (EST)
MADISON, Wis. -- Senior guard Bronson Koenig participated in shooting and drill sessions during a short practice for No. 11 Wisconsin on Friday.
Koenig's status is still unclear after the standout was sidelined because of a left calf strain and didn't play in the Badgers' 64-58 loss at Michigan on Thursday.
Koenig, who averages 13.4 points per game, sustained the injury against Penn State on Jan. 24, and in the five games before his absence he made 7 of 31 3-point shots (22.6 percent) and 14 of 55 shots overall (25.5 percent). He averaged 8.8 points per game in that span.
But work continues for Wisconsin (21-5, 10-3 in the Big Ten Conference), with or without Koenig. The Badgers are preparing for No. 23 Maryland (22-4, 10-3) and a critical league game on Sunday at noon CST at the Kohl Center.
As Wisconsin lost two straight games for the first time this season, the top spot in the Big Ten standings got more crowded than ever as the Badgers share the slot with Maryland and No. 16 Purdue.
The Boilermakers could take a one-game edge by beating Michigan State on Saturday.
Freshman G D'Mitrik Trice of Wisconsin performed well moving the ball on offense in his first college start and finished with nine points, five rebounds and four assists against Michigan. But Trice shot a woeful 2 of 15 from the field.
Trice, who averaged 16 minutes per game, played 35 minutes against the Wolverines.
"I thought for him coming into this position, having this thrown at him, I thought he did pretty well," Wisconsin coach Greg Gard said. "He didn't seem rattled at all. I thought, for the most part, he got the ball where it needed to go."
The Badgers need more assistance from veteran starters, including senior forward Nigel Hayes and senior forward Vitto Brown. Hayes delivered six points and Brown failed to score against the Wolverines.
Hayes is third in team scoring at 13.3 points per game, but took only seven shots in 33 minutes at Michigan. Sophomore forward Ethan Happ carried the load with 22 points on 10-of-13 shooting at Michigan.
Happ is the Badgers' leader in scoring (14.5 per game), rebounding (9.1), assists (2.9) and steals (2.5).
"We need to have more contributions," Gard said.
Maryland senior guard Melo Trimble is fresh off an impressive effort in a 74-64 win at Northwestern on Wednesday night. Trimble scored a career-high 32 points over the Wildcats.
The Badgers are well aware of Trimble's talent, considering he drilled a 25-foot 3-pointer to beat Wisconsin 63-60 last year at the Kohl Center. Trimble said the Terrapins will be ready.
"Every year is different," Trimble said after the Northwestern game. "The past two years, we've beat Wisconsin, but we lost to them as well last year.
"Every team is going to be different because they're going to have a different scouting report on you. I don't know who's going to guard me, I don't know how the game is going to turn out, but I know we're going to play our best."
The Terrapins have a 6-1 record in Big Ten road games this season, but Maryland coach Mark Turgeon said focus will be important for continued success.
"We need to lock in," Turgeon said. "You see light at the end of the tunnel. We've got to lock in. Our energy level has to be great."
|DePaul||vs.||Butler||1:30 (EST) Preview|
No. 24 Butler wary of DePaul in rematch
Saturday, February 18 at 5:01 PM (EST)
INDIANAPOLIS -- DePaul has a mere one Big East victory but the Blue Demons certainly gave Butler all it can handle in their first meeting this season.
DePaul led Butler 25-5 the first time around before the Bulldogs rallied for a 70-69 overtime victory on Jan. 21. Butler's largest lead in the game was two points.
"We have to get ready for a DePaul that absolutely wore us out," Butler coach Chris Holtmann said. "They physically manhandled us."
The No. 24 Bulldogs (20-6, 9-5 in the Big East) will host DePaul (8-18, 1-12) at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday at Hinkle Fieldhouse.
It will be a big contrast to Butler's 110-86 rout of St. John's on Wednesday night.
"This will be a completely different game (from St. John's)," said Holtmann, whose Bulldogs are 12-2 at home this season. "You talk about adapting styles. That's a completely different style."
The 110 points were the most the Bulldogs have scored in their four years in the Big East. Butler's teams in the past were better known for grinding out victories and playing a little more deliberate pace.
"The best teams can match up with a lot of different opponents," Holtmann said. "We're trying to build team that can play a lot of different styles."
Holtmann said it's a growth process.
"We're getting better at understanding the tempo we need to play," Holtmann said. "We're just trying to get our team's best shot each possession. If they are so extended that our team's best shot is a wide-open 3 because they've had to over-help, then we're going to take it."
Butler senior forward Andrew Chrabascz, who averages 11.9 points, said the important thing is the Bulldogs have to take what opposing teams are giving them.
"When a team presses like (St.John's) was, that opens up the court completely and we've got shooters that are going to hit those," Chrabascz said.
Butler junior forward Kelan Martin, who averages a team-high 15.5 points, scored 19 points against St. John's after scoring only a total of 20 points in the previous three games.
"It's definitely good to see him get back to playing well," graduate transfer Avery Woodson said. "I don't really worry about Kelan. He's fearless. He's very confident. So I knew he would get back to it."
Sophomore guard Eli Cain leads the Blue Demons with 15.8 scoring average, followed by senior guard Billy Garrett Jr. at 14.8.
This is the fourth consecutive game DePaul has played against a team that was ranked in the Top 25. Host DePaul lost to No. 2 Villanova 75-62 on Monday night.
The Blue Demons previously lost to Creighton and Xavier, which was ranked at the time.
To beat a ranked team, DePaul coach Dave Leitao said his players have be physically tough and mentally on top of their game.
"As we go through this process of getting our guys to believe in what we're doing and getting through this very difficult stretch we're in, they will come out of it with that same kind of mindset," Leitao said.
"In spite of playing the (reigning) national champion (Villanova) or all that stuff, this is what we signed up for, this is what we all signed up for. You've got to embrace it, you've got to love it and you've got to perform in it."
|UAB||vs.||Western Kentucky||2:00 (EST)|
|Fairfield||vs.||Saint Peter's||2:00 (EST)|
|Georgetown||vs.||Creighton||3:30 (EST) Preview|
No. 20 Creighton tries to get back on point against Georgetown
Saturday, February 18 at 7:45 PM (EST)
OMAHA, Neb. -- What Creighton and Georgetown seek to gain from Sunday's Big East rematch are significantly different three weeks before the conference tournament.
With an NCAA bid seemingly secure, the No. 20-ranked Bluejays are looking to bounce back from two setbacks -- Wednesday's 87-81 loss at Seton Hall and the 71-51 drubbing that Georgetown delivered to Creighton on Jan. 25 in Washington, D.C.
Georgetown hasn't played since Feb. 11 and needs another signature win or two to spice up its resume for an NCAA tournament bid. The Hoyas are 14-12 (5-8 Big East) with three road wins -- at Butler, Oregon and Syracuse.
That first meeting between Creighton and Georgetown was the low point of the season for the Bluejays (21-5, 8-5). The normally sharp-shooting Jays made just 1 of 19 from 3-point range, and it was Creighton's second game without point guard and Wooden Player of the Year candidate Maurice Watson.
Watson, a senior from Philadelphia, suffered a season-ending knee injury in a Jan. 16 victory at Xavier. The Bluejays have had a rough go of it since then with a 3-4 record after an 18-1 start, with a loss only to then-No. 1-ranked Villanova.
After Wednesday's loss to Seton Hall, another setback could knock Creighton out of the Top 25 for the first time all season.
With road games against Villanova and Marquette before the Big East tournament, Creighton risks tumbling down the NCAA bracket from potentially a 5 or 6 seed to an 8 or 9 if they can't hold serve at home.
Hoyas coach John Thompson III knows from the past three seasons since Creighton joined the Big East that CenturyLink Center is a difficult venue for any opponent, especially one that already owns a big win over the home team.
"Their fans are crazy, and I say that in a positive sense," Thompson told The Washington Post. "It's going to be sold out. It's loud in there. It's one of the more difficult placesto play in the league to be honest. Their fans area great, and (players) definitely feel it, they definitely see it. It definitely energizes them."
Those fans also have shown their appreciation for Watson and what he meant to the Bluejays before suffering that torn ACL. The national leader in assists, both this season and active career players, Watson has received standing ovations when joining his teammates to watch warmups.
Thompson knows Creighton will have a more confident approach this time around without Watson because it will be the eighth game minus their former floor general.
"They've adjusted a lot, quite honestly, but they have so many weapons that it's easy to adjust," Thompson told the Post. "I feel that they have adjusted to how they're doing things, I don't want to say much different, but differently without Mo in the game."
Kansas State transfer Marcus Foster leads the Bluejays in scoring at 18.0 points per game, having scored 12 points or more in all but two games this season.
Sophomore guard Khyri Thomas averages 12.1 points per game and redshirt freshman Justin Patton averages 13.7 points and 6.3 points. The 7-foot Patton is shooting 70.0 percent from the field (third nationally) and already has 59 dunks.
Robert Morris transfer Rodney Pryor averages 18.3 points per game and L.J. Peak is right behind with at 16.6 for Georgetown. As a team, the Hoyas are shooting 45.6 percent from the field, 36.6 percent from 3-point range and 73.6 percent at the line.
|Loyola Chicago||vs.||Illinois State||4:00 (EST)|
|UNLV||vs.||San Diego State||4:00 (EST)|
|Southern Illinois||vs.||Indiana State||4:00 (EST)|
|Syracuse||vs.||Georgia Tech||6:30 (EST)|
|Saturday, February 18, 2017|
|Men's College Basketball|
|Long Beach State||66||vs.||48||UC Santa Barbara||Final|
|South Dakota State||97||vs.||89||Fort Wayne||Final|
|Northern Kentucky||77||vs.||81||Youngstown State||Final|
|William & Mary||85||vs.||64||Delaware||Final|
|New Mexico State||107||vs.||101||Texas-Rio Grande Valley||Final|
|Lamar||63||vs.||70||Texas A&M-Corpus Christi||Final|
|Tennessee Tech||79||vs.||78||Jacksonville State||Final|
Freshman's nine 3-pointers carry Marquette past Xavier
Saturday, February 18 at 10:28 PM (EST)
Seventeen-year-old freshman Markus Howard tied a program record with nine 3-pointers and scored 34 points as Marquette snapped a two-game losing streak with an 83-61 rout of Xavier on Saturday night at the Bradley Center in Milwaukee.
Howard became just the second true freshman in Marquette history to score 30 points in a game.
His hot hand made up for an otherwise cold night offensively for the Golden Eagles (16-10, 7-7 Big East), who shot 40.6 percent from the floor and 13 of 26 from beyond the arc.
Andrew Rowsey added 18 on 3-of-11 shooting from the field and Haanif Cheatam finished with 15 points and eight rebounds.
Xavier didn't fare much better, hitting 41.8 percent percent of its shots from the field while making only 2 of 17 3-point attempts, and gave up 11 points off 14 turnovers.
Sean O'Mara led the Musketeers (18-9, 8-6) with 14 points and Tyrique Jones added 13. RaShid Gaston and Kaiser Gates finished with 12 and 11 points, respectively.
Marquette used a 19-0 run to race to an early 21-2 lead, but the Musketeers recovered quickly and outscored the Golden Eagles 28-21 the rest of the way but still trailed 42-30 at halftime.
Howard had 11 points in the first half but doubled that total less than four minutes into the second half. He hit his fifth 3-pointer of the game -- and third of the second half -- with 16:52 to play, putting Marquette up 17.
The Musketeers have lost three in a row.
|Eastern Illinois||82||vs.||65||Murray State||Final|
|Randall University||78||vs.||92||Houston Baptist||Final|
|Oklahoma||92||vs.||96||Oklahoma State||Final Recap|
Evans rallies Oklahoma State over Oklahoma
Saturday, February 18 at 10:29 PM (EST)
Jawun Evans scored 27 points and took over the game late as Oklahoma State came from behind to lead Oklahoma 96-92 on Saturday night at Gallagher-Iba Arena in Stillwater, Okla.
Evans scored 16 consecutive Cowboys points late in the game to help lift Oklahoma State to its first sweep over its in-state rival since 2004.
Mitchell Solomon's free throws with 9.3 seconds left iced the game and gave the Cowboys (18-9, 7-7 Big 12) their third consecutive win.
Evans made 11 of 23 shots and added nine assists while Jeffrey Carroll added 23 and Phil Forte 22.
Oklahoma State trailed by 13 with less than nine minutes left before a quick 9-0 stretch put the Cowboys back in the game.
Rashard Odomes had a career night for the Sooners (9-17, 3-11) with career highs of 29 points and 10 rebounds.
But late in the game, freshman Kristian Doolittle missed on three different 3-pointers that would've either given the Sooners the lead or extended it.
Christian James and Dante Buford had 13 points each for Oklahoma.
The Sooners built a nine-point lead by halftime, shooting 56.7 percent. Oklahoma finished shooting 55.4 percent but 22 turnovers helped undo the Sooners, especially during a run early in the second half that lifted Oklahoma State back into the game.
Oklahoma State was 17 of 28 (60.7 percent) in the second half and scored 18 second-chance points off 14 offensive rebounds throughout the game.
The Cowboys climbed back to .500 in conference play after a 0-6 start in league play.
Markkanen helps No. 5 Arizona defeat Washington
Saturday, February 18 at 11:33 PM (EST)
Two of the best freshmen in the country -- Arizona forward Lauri Markkanen and Washington guard Markelle Fultz -- played to a scoring standstill but as usual, Markkanen's team won.
Markkanen had 26 points and 13 rebounds, guard Allonzo Trier scored 21 and the No. 5 Wildcats held on to beat Washington 76-68 on Saturday night in Seattle despite playing without two starters.
"I can't say enough good things about our team," Arizona coach Sean Miller said. "We have some guys on our team that just show up and get the job done -- not just on game day but in-between games.
"There was a lot going against us, and we still find a way. We had some players play a great game. In my mind, Lauri was the best player on the court."
Markkanen, a noted 3-point shooter at 46.5 percent, had more low-post responsibilities with center Dusan Ristic out with a sprained ankle. Markkanen made 9 of 17 shots, but missed his only two 3-point attempts.
"I thought he was outstanding," Washington coach Lorenzo Romar said. "He was the one guy that was just able to get a basket for them."
Markkanen's 13 rebounds -- seven on the offensive end -- tied a career high.
Arizona (25-3, 14-1 Pac-12) stayed a game ahead of Oregon in the conference race. The Huskies (9-18, 2-13) lost their ninth consecutive contest.
Washington had a chance to tie late but forward Carlos Johnson was called for charging with 1:13 left with Arizona up 71-68. Markkanen missed badly on a 3-point attempt at the other end, but center Chance Comanche grabbed the rebound and dunked for a 73-68 lead.
Washington guard Matisse Thybulle missed a 3-pointer with 30 seconds left, and Arizona added three free throws.
Fultz, a potential No. 1 draft pick likely playing his final home game, took advantage of the absence of Arizona guard Kadeem Allen, the Wildcats' best perimeter defender who was out because of a finger injury.
Fultz, averaging a Pac-12 best 23 points per game, scored 26 with six assists. He made 7 of 16 shots from the field and was 10 of 15 from the line.
"Markelle has laid it all out on the line this year for this team," Romar said. "He is a guy that, as I've said many times, has not come in with a sense of entitlement. He's done everything imaginable to help our team."
Fultz's spinning layup through the lane with 14:52 to go gave Washington a 52-51 lead, its first advantage since early in the game. But Trier answered with a 3-pointer, and the Wildcats never trailed again.
Miller, who hangs his coaching hat on his man-to-man pack-line defense, used a 2-3 zone for several minutes in the second half to slow the pace and grab a little rest for his short-handed team.
"Going zone in the second half, which is something we seldom do, you don't know if that's going to work or not. I think it changed the game," Miller said. "I give our players a lot of credit. We work on it every day, but it's not a priority.
"Were we great with the zone? No. But for the most part we knew what we were doing and I think it changed the momentum."
Comanche, a sophomore making his first career start, scored 13 points in a career-high 32 minutes. Parker Jackson-Cartwright, starting for Allen, scored 11.
Washington center Malik Dime, who hadn't played since Jan. 7 because of a finger injury and two-game suspension because of an altercation with Colorado fans in a game at Boulder, was in the starting lineup for Senior Night. He scored two points and blocked four shots.
Forward Noah Dickerson added 14 points and nine rebounds for the Huskies, who failed to score a basket in the final 4:41.
Arizona, led by Markkanen down low, had a 17-9 edge in second-chance points.
Washington shot 57.7 percent in the first half and tied the game at 42 on Fultz's 3-pointer with seven seconds left. Fultz scored nine of the Huskies' final 11 points in the half.
NOTES: ESPN announced Saturday that its GameDay program will originate in Tucson, Ariz., before Arizona's game against UCLA on Saturday. This will be GameDay's third appearance at McKale Center. ... Washington PG Markelle Fultz set a school freshman record with 579 points, breaking the mark of Tony Wroten, who scored 559 in the 2011-12 season. ... Arizona C Dusan Ristic has a "grade 1" ankle sprain -- the most mild diagnosis, according to coach Sean Miller. ... Former Arizona coach Lute Olson, who lives in Tucson, attended the game. ... Arizona won eight in a row versus Washington. ... Arizona hosts USC on Thursday. Washington next plays at Washington State on Feb. 26
|Appalachian State||74||vs.||87||South Alabama||Final|
|Virginia||41||vs.||65||North Carolina||Final Recap|
Jackson, No. 10 North Carolina dominate No. 14 Virginia
Saturday, February 18 at 11:03 PM (EST)
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- North Carolina appeared to steal some of Virginia's game plan, turning an expected showdown into a romp Saturday night.
It's often Virginia that stumps opponents with defense, but this time it was the Tar Heels.
Justin Jackson scored 20 points and No. 10 North Carolina dominated most of the game in a 65-41 victory against No. 14 Virginia at the Smith Center.
"Defensively, I think we were locked in from the jump," Jackson said.
Kennedy Meeks scored all 13 of his points in the second half for first-place North Carolina (23-5, 11-3 Atlantic Coast Conference). Isaiah Hicks finished with 10 points.
Virginia's point total marked the fewest ever scored against a Roy Williams-coached North Carolina team.
"I have the utmost respect for (Virginia coach Tony Bennett) and I've never seen his team miss that many shots," Williams said. "It just goes back to that the ball didn't go in the basket for them."
Marial Shayok's 13 points and London Perrantes' 12 points paced Virginia (18-8, 8-6), which has its first three-game losing streak since 2011.
"Tonight, we weren't even close," Bennett said.
Jackson was 4-for-8 on 3-pointers and the Tar Heels pulled away despite rarely going to the free-throw line. They were 4-for-7 on foul shots in the game.
"The guys got me the ball when I was open," Jackson said.
Virginia missed its first 17 attempts from 3-point range, finishing 2-for-20 from beyond the arc.
"We made more shots than they did, but I don't know if we covered them better than they covered us," Williams said. "I don't think we were as good as the statistics will look like."
Virginia shot 27.8 percent (15-for-54) from the field in stumbling to the second-lowest point total under Bennett.
Virginia's four ACC road victories are tied for the most in the league this season, but the Cavaliers have dropped two away from home in a seven-day span.
"You've got to be real good in all areas -- home and away -- to come out with victories in this league," Bennett said. "If you're a little off, teams will make you pay. ... This is the most alive I've felt this place since I've been here."
North Carolina extended its lead to 44-27 early in the second half, putting Virginia in its largest deficit of the season. The Cavaliers shot 2-for-11 from the field in the opening eight minutes of the second half.
North Carolina led by as many as 16 points before taking a 34-22 lead at the break after Perrantes scored the last four points of the half. He also tallied the first points of the second half on a three-point play.
Jackson had 18 points in the first half, though no other player on the team had more than five.
"Needless to say, Justin was our whole offense in the first half," Williams said.
The Tar Heels began to take control when rebounding started to tilt in their favor. During one stretch of the first half, they pulled in 10 of a possible 13 rebounds.
Virginia center Jack Salt had three first-half fouls, adding to the Cavaliers woes in the interior.
North Carolina finished with a 44-26 edge on the boards.
NOTES: These teams meet again Feb. 27 at Charlottesville, Va. ... Virginia entered Saturday night having won the last three regular-season games against North Carolina, which topped the Cavaliers the past two seasons in the ACC Tournament. ... Virginia is 3-5 against ranked teams this season. ... Marcus Paige and Brice Johnson, who finished their North Carolina careers last year, had their numbers officially honored (not retired) during a halftime ceremony. ... Virginia is back in action Monday night against visiting Miami for its fourth game in nine days. ... North Carolina plays another ranked team Wednesday night when Louisville visits.
|Eastern Kentucky||66||vs.||68||Tennessee State||Final|
|South Carolina||62||vs.||71||Vanderbilt||Final Recap|
Guards spark Vanderbilt to upset of No. 21 South Carolina
Saturday, February 18 at 11:54 PM (EST)
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Guards Matthew Fisher-Davis, Nolan Cressler and Riley LaChance combined for 44 points to lead Vanderbilt to a 71-62 upset over No. 21 South Carolina on Saturday night at Memorial Gymnasium.
The trio had 17, 13 and 14 points, respectively, as another great performance from Carolina guard Sindarius Thornwell (21 points) went to waste. Vanderbilt (14-13, 7-7 Southeastern Conference) has now won five of its last seven games.
"Really proud of our guys," Commodores coach Bryce Drew said. "South Carolina is a top-25 team, and plays some of the best defense in the country, and our guys really did a good job of moving the ball and getting defensive stops when we needed it."
South Carolina (20-7, 10-4), meanwhile, has now dropped three of its last four, and fell two games behind Florida and Kentucky for the SEC title chase with four games left.
The Gamecocks forced 15 turnovers, but a 59.1 percent performance from the foul line, which included three key misses in the final two minutes, proved fatal.
Carolina also went cold from the field late. Guard Hassani Gravett hit a jumper from the right baseline with 9:40 left, which would be the last field goal the Gamecocks hit until guard P.J. Dozier hit a long 3-pointer -- the only one Carolina hit all night, in nine attempts -- with 24 seconds remaining.
South Carolina coach Frank Martin thought the Gamecocks missed some good opportunities during that stretch, and also cited Dozier's 0-of-5 performance from the foul line.
But at the same time, Martin acknowledged that Vanderbilt's defense had something to do with the outcome.
"Give them credit," Martin said. "They stayed in the way, they didn't make it easy for us."
Trailing by five after South Carolina center Carlos Silva scored the half's opening points on a layup, LaChance followed with two 3-pointers, plus a three-point play on a layup in traffic, helping Vanderbilt build a 40-36 lead after forward Joe Toye sliced through traffic for a layup with 16:21 left.
It was a tight game with a number of lead changes from there. Silva hit an assortment of short shots to help the Gamecocks go up as many as six. The Commodores, playing with center Luke Kornet on the bench with four fouls, took a 55-54 lead with under eight to play after Fisher-Davis connected on a long 3-pointer from the left side.
With 3:14 left, LaChance buried a 3-pointer from the right side with a man in his face, putting the Commodores up 64-58.
Then it became a free throw shooting contest, with the Commodores hitting 7 of 8, including five from forward Jeff Roberson, from there.
It wasn't the most entertaining first half. The teams combined for 22 first-half fouls, with four players on each team picking up at least two fouls, and Vanderbilt forwards Roberson and Clevon Brown each getting a third before the eight-minute mark.
Thornwell capitalized on Vanderbilt's foul trouble, scoring six of his 14 first-half points from the charity stripe.
The Commodores committed 11 first-half turnovers, but thanks to Fisher-Davis' 12 points off the bench, Vandy trailed just 30-27 at the half.
Cressler's eight first-half points also helped. All came on layups and dunks, which opened up the outside for the Commodores -- they were 9 of 25 (36 percent) against America's second-ranked 3-point defense -- later.
"(Vanderbilt) put their head down and drove the ball, and we haven't done a good job of guarding the ball the last 12 days or so," Martin said.
Vanderbilt has endured some tough moments in Drew's first season as its coach. A four-game losing streak in January dropped Vanderbilt to 8-10, but the Commodores have racked up four nice wins -- wins at home in this one and against Iowa State, and road victories at Florida and Arkansas-since.
With an RPI of 59 and the sixth-toughest schedule coming into Saturday night, the Commodores could have a shot at an NCAA Tournament bid with a strong finish.
"We know we have a really good strength of schedule and we knew we needed to get this one to at least have a little bit of a chance," LaChance said. "We're clawing our way into the conversation."
NOTES: G Matthew Fisher-Davis extended Vanderbilt's streak of games with a made 3-pointer to 991 with a 3 from the right corner early in the first half. ... Fisher-Davis again came off the bench, with F Joe Toye starting in his place for the fourth-straight game. ... South Carolina G Sindarius Thornwell topped the 20-point mark for the 12th time in his 21 games this season. ... Vanderbilt celebrated "Equality Weekend," which commemorated former Commodore Perry Wallace becoming the SEC's first African-American basketball player 50 years ago.
|Grambling State||62||vs.||59||Jackson State||Final|
|Grand Canyon||77||vs.||71||Utah Valley||Final|
|North Dakota||77||vs.||68||Weber State||Final|
|Northern Colorado||87||vs.||81||Idaho State||Final|
|Saint Mary's||70||vs.||57||BYU||Final Recap|
No. 22 Saint Mary's wins on road at BYU
Sunday, February 19 at 1:18 AM (EST)
PROVO, Utah -- When St. Mary's imposes its will on defense, there's few teams in the nation that can stand toe-to-toe with the Gaels. Now that St. Mary's is seeing progress on the offensive side of things, it could add up to the no. 22 Gaels busting more than a few brackets in March.
St. Mary's had no trouble caging BYU's offense over the better part of 40 minutes in a 70-57 victory over the Cougars on Saturday night.
BYU shot just 39.7 percent from the field and went 4 of 14 from 3-point range.
Even when St. Mary's endured a cold spell on offense over the final few minutes of regulation, the Cougars could do little to actually threaten the Gaels in that stretch.
"We didn't turn the ball over and we shot the ball well," St. Mary's coach Randy Bennett said. "We were able to get some separation and it made it tough on them. I think we just kind of wore them out after that."
Calvin Hermanson scored 17 points and Evan Fitzner added 15 to lead the Gaels. For St. Mary's (24-3, 14-2 WCC), it marked the team's first win in Provo since the 2012-13 season.
Bennett had special praise for Fitzner, who scored a new season-high against the Cougars. Fitzner stepped up to the plate with leading scorer Jock Landale battling foul trouble in both halves and picked apart BYU's defense exactly how Bennett hoped.
"We're a little bit different team with Fitzner out there," Bennett said. "He spaces the floor and Dane (Pineau) can play the five. We just play a little bit different out there with Fiztner vs Jock, but it's nice to have a Plan A and a Plan B."
The Gaels entered the game ranked second nationally in scoring defense, allowing just 56.3 points per game.
BYU (19-10, 10-6 WCC) struggled to figure out how to threaten that defense for more than short bursts here and there. The Cougars trailed over the final 34 minutes of regulation after struggling to find any consistent offensive rhythm.
"It seemed like we shot it when we should pass it and we passed it when we should shoot it," BYU coach Dave Rose said. "It got us into a lot of awkward situations and then we kind of got on our heels and were afraid to actually attack and then they took advantage."
Mika scored 18 points, Yoeli Childs added 13 and T.J. Haws chipped in 11 to lead BYU.
Once Saint Mary's took control before halftime, the Gaels kept the gas pedal pressed to the floor in the second half.
BYU went nearly 6 1/2 minutes without a field goal at one point before Haws broke the ice with a jumper. It allowed Saint Mary's to string together a 14-2 run to put the game out of reach.
Hermanson and Fitzner helped fuel the run with two baskets apiece. Joe Rahon capped it with two free throws, giving the Gaels a 62-40 lead with 9:31 remaining.
Saint Mary's led by as many as 25 points after halftime. The Gaels carved out a 69-44 lead on a Fitzner 3-pointer with 7:25 left.
BYU held Saint Mary's without a field goal over the final seven minutes, but could only manage 13 points during that closing stretch.
"That team made a lot of runs on us," Haws said. "Tough defensive and offensive team. Very poised and disciplined. I want our team to just fight. When they punch us in the face, I want us to punch them right back."
Saint Mary's used a combination of efficient shooting and stifling defense to create a safe distance between it and BYU early in the first half.
After the Cougars took a 12-11 lead on a 3-point play from Eric Mika, the Gaels gradually pulled away by attacking from the perimeter. Tanner Krebs and Hermanson each buried a 3-pointer as part of a 10-3 run that gave Saint Mary's a 26-18 lead.
BYU cut it to a three-point deficit on a 3-pointer from Elijah Bryant. Hermanson immediately answered on the other end and Jordan Hunter added a layup on the next possession to preserve Saint Mary's lead.
Hunter extended the lead for the Gaels to 36-26 with 2:49 left before halftime on a jumper, capping another 10-3 spurt.
St. Mary's shot 57 percent from the field in the first half, a key reason BYU stayed a step behind once it fell behind the Gaels.
"Our defense has saved us all year, but our offense is starting to come around," Bennett said.
NOTES: Saint Mary's has finished second or higher in the WCC in eight of the last nine seasons. The Gaels have won 25 or more games eight times in the past 12 seasons. ... BYU F Eric Mika has scored in double figures in all 29 games he has played this season. ... Saint Mary's C Jock Landale ranks in the Top 25 nationally with 12 double-doubles this season. He has scored in double figures in 25 of 27 games this year. ... BYU has won at least 20 games and reached the postseason 11 straight years. Both streaks are a program record.
No. 6 UCLA steamrolls rival USC
Sunday, February 19 at 2:18 AM (EST)
Bryce Alford poured in 26 points as No. 6 UCLA rolled over rival USC to avenge one of its losses with a 102-70 victory Saturday night at a raucous Pauley Pavilion in Los Angeles.
All five starters scored in double figures for UCLA (24-3, 11-3 Pac-12), which shot 53.8 percent, amassed a huge rebounding advantage and outscored the Trojans 31-9 over the final 7:24.
TJ Leaf posted 19 points and eight rebounds for the Bruins, who had lost four in a row to the Trojans. Thomas Welsh recorded his seventh double-double of the season, finishing with 16 points and 16 rebounds.
Lonzo Ball flirted with a triple-double, putting up 15 points, eight rebounds and eight assists. Isaac Hamilton added 13 points.
Bennie Boatwright had 20 points and 10 rebounds for USC (21-6, 8-6), which was coming off an 81-70 loss to No. 5 Oregon. Chimezie Metu had 14 points and six rebounds.
Boatwright posted his first double-double since returning from a two-month injury absence. The Trojans beat the Bruins without Boatwright on Jan. 25, but this time they were no match for an explosive UCLA squad that leads the nation in scoring.
"I'm extremely proud of the guys," UCLA coach Steve Alford said. "I thought they just played really well tonight. We did a really good job on the backboard. I thought what we did on the backboard was special."
The teams exchanged leads several times before UCLA took control late in the first half. The Bruins took a 12-8 lead on a 3-pointer by Leaf. The Trojans went up 17-14 on a 3-pointer by Shaqquan Aaron.
USC led 23-18 following two free throws by Boatwright, but UCLA mounted a 7-0 run to go ahead. The Trojans briefly reclaimed the lead on a 3-pointer by Elijah Stewart, but the Bruins ended the half with a 21-8 run. They went up 30-26 on a layup by Leaf, extended the lead to 11 on a 3-pointer by Alford and carried a 46-34 advantage into the break after Ball made a 3-pointer with five seconds remaining.
USC cut the deficit to nine on a couple occasions in the second half, but UCLA answered each time to push the lead back to double digits. The Trojans trailed 71-61 with just under eight minutes remaining, but the Bruins finished with a flourish.
UCLA blew the game open with a 16-2 run. Alford scored 12 points during that run to lead the surge, including 10 in a row at one point.
"Once they got going, it's kind of tough to stop," USC guard Jordan McLaughlin told the Los Angeles Times.
The Bruins took a 76-61 lead on a 3-pointer by Alford, stretched the lead to 20 on two free throws by Alford and later went up by 30 on another 3-pointer by Alford.
"We were just trying to put together a full 40 minutes," Alford said. "That was our goal. That's our goal every single game, and I think tonight we finally did that really well."
UCLA remained 2 1/2 games behind first-place Arizona and 1 1/2 behind Oregon in the Pac-12. The Bruins made 10 of 20 from 3-point range and outrebounded the Trojans 50-33.
USC shot 33.8 percent and made 7 of 22 from beyond the arc.
NOTES: UCLA freshman PG Lonzo Ball was named Pac-12 Player of the Week after averaging 18.5 points, 8.5 rebounds and five assists in last week's victories over Oregon and Oregon State. ... UCLA improved to 139-108 all-time against USC. ... The Trojans are enjoying their best season since going 22-5 to start the 1991-92 campaign.
|UC Davis||72||vs.||79||Cal State Fullerton||Final|
|San Diego||60||vs.||58||Santa Clara||Final|
|Notre Dame||81||vs.||72||North Carolina State||Final Recap|
No. 25 Notre Dame rolls over N.C. State
Saturday, February 18 at 4:28 PM (EST)
RALEIGH, N.C. -- A big effort from senior captain V.J. Beachem kept No. 25 Notre Dame rolling on Saturday against North Carolina State.
Beachem scored a game-high 27 points as the Irish ran their Atlantic Coast Conference win streak to four with an 81-72 victory at PNC Arena.
"I was in a good rhythm coming out of the gates and was able to keep it going," Beachem said. "The guys were finding me and I was stepping up and shooting them."
The Fighting Irish improved to 21-7 overall 10-5 in the ACC. It marks the third straight season that Notre Dame has hit double-digit league victories in its fourth year in the ACC.
Dennis Smith Jr. led N.C. State (14-14, 3-12) with 16 points. Booed during pre-game introductions earlier in the week, Wolfpack coach Mark Gottfried was cheered on Saturday.
"We're disappointed," Gottfried said. "We're not into moral victories but I saw some fight today. I liked it. I saw some fight and spirit. We got a little of that back."
On Thursday, North Carolina State athletic director Debbi Yow announced Gottfried would not return for his seventh season. He wants to stay on through the end of the season, whenever that comes.
"It's been a tough couple of days," Gottfried said. "It's not an easy thing. It's difficult."
Although Saturday game was only the second of Beachem's career at PNC, he insisted it's his favorite arena to shoot in. Something about the background and the lighting and the ultra-soft rims appeal to him. His seven 3-pointers were the most ever for an Irish player in an ACC game.
Beachem's corner 3-pointer when the Irish were dying for a basket helped Notre Dame bump its lead back to 14 points with 3:40 remaining.
"It was big for us to stretch that lead out," Beachem said. "The guys just did a great job of finding me and I was able to knock it down."
The leading free throw shooting team in the country, Notre Dame then closed it out by going 6 of 7 from the foul line in the final 55.8 seconds
The Irish led by as many as 23 points following Beachem's wing 3-pointer to beat the shot clock with 14 minutes remaining. They led by 13 with a little more than four minutes to go following a 3-point play by Bonzie Colson.
Notre Dame shot 59.3 percent from the field in the first half and led by as many as 15 points following a late 9-0 run. The Irish were up 13 at the break. It was their largest halftime margin of the year in ACC play.
"I'm thrilled with how we got out of the gate and built the lead," Irish coach Mike Brey. "I'm proud we were poised enough to hold them off."
NOTES: Both teams started lineups Saturday featuring four guards. ... Wolfpack G Dennis Smith Jr. entered Saturday's game leading the league in assists (6.7). He's trying to become the first North Carolina State player to lead the ACC in assists in a season. ... Smith is the fourth player in league history to record multiple triple-doubles in a season. He has two. ... Former State standouts Cat Barber and C.J. Leslie took in Saturday's game from the front row of VIP floor seats. ... Picked in the preseason to finish as high as third in the ACC, N.C. State entered the weekend in 14th place. ... The Wolfpack are 0-5 all-time at home against Notre Dame. ... Irish PF Bonzie Colson earned player of the week honors earlier in the week, including ACC and USBWA, after averaging 30 points and 14.5 rebounds in two wins. ... Irish sophomore G Rex Pflueger made his second straight start and third of the season Saturday. It marked the first time the Irish have used the same starting lineup in consecutive games since Jan. 28 and Jan. 30 in losses to Georgia Tech and Duke.
No. 18 Cincinnati drubs Tulsa, Cronin wins 300th
Saturday, February 18 at 3:40 PM (EST)
CINCINNATI -- Kyle Washington scored 18 points and Jacob Evans added 17 as No. 18 Cincinnati defeated Tulsa 80-60 on Saturday at Fifth Third Arena, giving Mick Cronin his 300th career victory.
Cronin improved to 300-156 in 14 seasons, including a 231-132 mark at Cincinnati, in a game the Bearcats broke open in the second half before a crowd of 13,386.
Cronin accepted a commemorative ball during a brief post-game ceremony but said he didn't dwell on the milestone with his players.
"I don't talk about stuff like that," Cronin said. "I talk to my players about what we've got to do to make a run in March. You can't come out and ignore the scouting report defensively and let a team score like that, especially in your own gym."
The Bearcats (24-3, 13-1 in the American Athletic Conference) endured rough patches defensively in the opening 20 minutes and Sterling Taplin made the team pay with a lay-up off a turnover right before halftime.
Cincinnati clamped down after the break, allowing Tulsa (12-14, 6-8) only 28 second-half points on 37.5 percent shooting.
Offense was never an issue for the Bearcats, who mounted a 16-2 run that ensured a 20-point lead less than seven minutes into the second half. Tulsa never recovered as the run expanded to 26-5.
The Golden Hurricane's spiral started with Taplin's foul along the perimeter, which sent Evans to the line for three shots. He made two. Troy Caupain hit a jumper and Evans converted a turnover into a layup, forcing Tulsa coach Frank Haith to call a timeout with 16:38 left.
It was one of Evans' most productive games in weeks.
"I was just trying to be aggressive," Evans said. "When I'm aggressive offensively and defensively I feel like it just helps the team. I can't just float around on the offensive end, just being passive."
Cincinnati piled on points while the Golden Hurricane slogged through a five-minute scoring drought. By the time Tulsa guard Pat Birt buried a 3-pointer to end the skid, the Bearcats were well in control.
A subsequent Tulsa technical foul sent guard Kevin Johnson to the line. His two free throws, plus Gary Clark's dunk and Washington's free throw paved led to a 61-37 advantage.
Johnson delivered a 3-pointer that widened an insurmountable deficit. Tulsa trailed by as many as 27 points.
"We weren't physical enough to come in here and win that game," Haith said. "But I thought our guys gave ourselves a chance by how they competed, and that's all you can ask for."
The teams' first meeting, on Feb. 1 at Tulsa, had a much different complexion. Cincinnati came back from an 11-point deficit and won on Caupain's jumper with four seconds left.
Cronin said Cincinnati's focus on Taplin made a difference Saturday.
"Once we were able to keep Taplin out of the lane and do a much better job of containing him, the game changed," Cronin said.
Both teams scored in bunches initially in the rematch, and a shootout between Evans and Tulsa's Junior Etou provided a compelling subplot.
Etou buried four 3-pointers en route to 14 first-half points. He didn't score again until 2:55 remained in the game and finished with a team-best 22 points and eight rebounds.
"(Etou) kind of put his trigger away until late in the game and we need to get him understanding he can't go away," Haith said. "He can't hide. He has got to continue to be assertive, but obviously he had a good game."
Cincinnati surrendered nine points off nine turnovers in the first half and finished with 13 miscues, a team-high since committing 18 in a Jan. 21 win at Tulane.
The Bearcats were without freshman Jarron Cumberland, who did not play due to a curfew violation.
NOTES: The Bearcats extended their home winning streak to 24 games. The streak is the longest in the Mick Cronin era. ... Cincinnati clinched a first-round bye in the AAC tourney with Wednesday's victory at South Florida. ... Tulsa has lost six straight, a skid that started with a Feb. 1 loss to the Bearcats. With Saturday's defeat, the Golden Hurricane has dropped seven of their last eight games. ... The last time the Golden Hurricane won in Cincinnati was 1967, when both teams were in the Missouri Valley Conference.
|Sacred Heart||82||vs.||83||LIU Brooklyn||Final|
|UT Martin||61||vs.||90||Southeast Missouri State||Final|
|Clemson||65||vs.||71||Miami (FL)||Final Recap|
Miami holds off Clemson
Saturday, February 18 at 2:28 PM (EST)
CORAL GABLES, Fla. -- Freshman guard Bruce Brown hit a big 3-pointer and senior guard Davon Reed sank four free throws down the stretch as Miami held on for a 71-65 victory over Clemson in an Atlantic Coast Conference game on Saturday.
Senior forward Kamari Murphy scored a career-high 15 points for the Hurricanes (18-8, 8-6 in the ACC). Reed finished with 14, center Ebuku Izundu added 12 and guard/forward Anthony Lawrence Jr. had 10 for Miami.
Clemson forward Jaron Blossomgame led all scorers with 16 points. Guard Marcquise Reed added 15, center Elizah Thomas had 12 and guard Shelton Mitchell scored 10 for the Tigers (14-12, 4-10).
Brown's 3-pointer gave Miami some breathing room in the form of a 67-61 lead with 1:34 left in the game. Reed hit the first two of his late free throws with 40 seconds left to make it a 69-63 game and the Tigers could get no closer.
Miami has won four in a row at home over the Tigers.
Both teams started off hot from the field. The Tigers made their first six shots before cooling on their way to shooting 50 percent (14 of 28) for the half and 45.8 (27 of 59) for the game.
The Hurricanes made their first four shots before cooling and finishing at 46.9 percent for the half. They had 12 assists on their 15 field goals (32 attempts) for the half and held a 35-33 lead going into the break. Miami shot 50 percent (28 of 56) for the game.
The biggest lead for either team in the first half was Miami's 31-27 margin at the 6:29 mark, but the Hurricanes doubled that in less than four minutes of the second half in jumping out to a 43-35 advantage before Clemson called a timeout.
That eight-point margin turned out to be the biggest for either team for the game, and the Hurricanes led the rest of the way.
With starting point guard Ja'Quan Newton serving the second of a three-game suspension, Miami was down to eight scholarship players. Seven played and all seven scored.
Miami faces a quick turnaround for its next outing, traveling to Virginia for a Monday night game. Clemson is at Virginia Tech on Tuesday.
|Villanova||92||vs.||70||Seton Hall||Final Recap|
No. 2 Villanova overpowers Seton Hall
Saturday, February 18 at 4:48 PM (EST)
NEWARK, N.J. -- As a candidate for National Player of the Year and the Big East Conference's pick for Pre-season Player of the Year, Josh Hart understandably gets most of the attention for No. 2 Villanova.
But sophomore point guard Jalen Rose makes a fine Robin to Hart's Batman.
On Saturday in the Wildcats' 92-70 win over Seton Hall at the Prudential Center, Brunson became the first player in the last 20 seasons to score at least 20 points with 10 assists without missing a shot from the field goal.
Brunson scored 22 points, was 7 of 7 from the floor and 6 of 7 from the line to go with a career-high 10 assists, helping the reigning national champion Wildcats (26-2, 13-2 in the Big East) earn at least a share of the Big East title for a record fourth-straight season.
Villanova is three games ahead of No. 24 Butler (9-5) in the loss column with three games to play, including a meeting with the Bulldogs on Feb. 22.
"(Brunson) just controlled the game," Villanova coach Jay Wright said. "When he sees that we need scoring from the position he does it and when he sees we need him to organize us he does it.
"That's the beauty of a great point guard. Some guys see that they need to score, but they can't score. Some guys are scorers and know they need to run the offense, but they struggle with it. He's great at both and I thought it was really apparent today.
"(Brunson) is not flashy. He doesn't dunk on people, he doesn't make fancy passes. He just runs the team."
Kris Jenkins added 22 points, Hart had 19 and Mikal Bridges added 15 points for Villanova.
Khadeen Carrington led Seton Hall (16-10, 6-8) with 22 points.
The Wildcats were 12 of 21 (57 percent) from beyond the arc in recording their seventh win in a row. Villanova shot 67 percent from the floor in what Wright called the team's best performance of the season.
"When you make shots, you're probably going to win most games," Wright said. "That was the big difference in the game."
Seton Hall led for only 4:50 early in the first half.
The Pirates was the only Big East team to defeat Villanova in each of the first three seasons since the conference was reconfigured in 2013-14.
Seton Hall dropped a 76-46 decision to Villanova in January at the Pavilion.
Darryl Reynolds, Villanova's best interior defender, missed his third straight game because of a rib injury, and that helped Seton Hall's 6-10 forward Angel Delgado record his nation-leading 21st double-double, with 19 points and 12 rebounds.
Villanova led by double-digits the entire second half, building its largest margin to 69-42 with 12:13 remaining.
The Wildcats opened the second half on a 15-2 run in only 3:11 to extend their lead to 57-33.
Hart picked up two fouls in a span of 18 seconds and left the floor with Villanova leading 27-21 at the 4:52 mark. The Pirates got to within 29-27 on Carrington's 3-pointer, but the Wildcats went on a 13-4 surge to end the half with a 42-31 cushion.
"That's big," Wright said of the run. "We had Josh (Hart) in foul trouble. We got some good defensive stops and got out in transition. It really came off of our defense."
Brunson, whose father Rick played in the NBA for nine seasons, scored eight points and recorded two assists in that sequence, finishing the half with 18 points.
"We locked in defensively," Brunson said. "We played Villanova basketball. As long we're sharing the ball, playing defense and rebounding, we should win."
Seton Hall coach Kevin Willard said the late first half blitz was the defining moment.
"I thought we were in a good position, but in the last three minutes of the first half, (Jalen) Brunson flipped a switch and hit a tough step-back 3, then split the pick-and-roll and hit (Mikal) Bridges in the corner for a 3 and that took a little momentum out of our sails," Willard said.
Seton Hall connected on only 3 of 12 3-point shots in the first half.
The Pirates hit four of their first six shots, then went into a cold spell for 3:40, going 1 for 7, allowing the Wildcats to take a 17-11 lead with 11:12 left in the half.
NOTES: The crowd of 16,733 was the largest for Seton Hall at the Prudential Center. ... Villanova has defeated Big East opponents by a league-leading 13.7-point margin. ... Villanova freshman F Dylan Painter played 13 minutes for the second straight game, hitting his only shot. ... Seton Hall's Desi Rodriguez (16.5 points), Khadeen Carrington (16.2) and Angel Delgado (15.6) rank in the top nine in scoring in Big East play. ... Seton Hall G Khadeen Carrington's 41 points against Creighton on Wednesday tied for 14th all-time in a Big East Conference game, and is only the 26th time that anyone has scored 40 or more in a conference game. ... Delgado leads the nation in rebounding and is second in double-doubles and offensive rebounds. ... Villanova leads the Big East in free throw percentage (80.5).
|Wake Forest||94||vs.||99||Duke||Final Recap|
No. 12 Duke holds off Wake Forest behind Kennard's 23
Saturday, February 18 at 3:51 PM (EST)
DURHAM, N.C. -- Even with six players scoring in double figures and breaking out from some recent low offensive numbers, it came down to defense for No. 12 Duke on Saturday.
The Blue Devils thwarted three consecutive Wake Forest possessions in the final minute, pulling out a 99-94 victory at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
"The last few possessions, we did (the job defensively)," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "Down the stretch, we had some big-time defensive rebounds."
Luke Kennard scored 23 points as Duke pushed its winning streak to seven games after clinging to a one-point lead late in the game.
Duke swept the season series from Wake Forest, with both outcomes determined in the final seconds.
"They're an explosive offensive team," Krzyzewski said. "We tried to stop them from driving and take them off the foul line."
Jayson Tatum added 19 points, Amile Jefferson had 16 points, Frank Jackson notched 12 points, Grayson Allen scored 11 and Matt Jones supplied 10 for the Blue Devils (22-5, 10-4 in the Atlantic Coast Conference), who shot 59 percent from the field.
Sophomore forward John Collins scored a career-high 31 points to go with 15 rebounds for the Demon Deacons. Bryant Crawford added 21 points, Keyshawn Woods tallied 13 points and Brandon Childress had 10 points for Wake Forest (15-12, 6-9).
The Demon Deacons have lost in their last 18 visits to Cameron Indoor Stadium, although this one was at least dramatic.
"We gave ourselves a chance to have some success," Wake Forest coach Danny Manning said after watching Duke sink 13 3-point shots. "We have to do a better job of going out and guarding and contesting at the 3-point line."
Neither team led by more than four points until Jackson scored back-to-back baskets for a 60-54 edge with less than 16 minutes to play. That was part of a 9-0 run that put Duke up 63-54 before creating a 12-point lead with 12 minutes remaining.
But Wake Forest hit 7 of 9 shots to pull within 79-75.
"That's what you're supposed to do when you get down," Manning said. "You fight and grind."
The Demon Deacons closed an 89-81 gap to 91-90 with 2:29 to play with three consecutive three-point possessions.
Kennard responded with a layup before Crawford's drive. With 1:02 left, Allen missed the front end of a 1-and-1, but Crawford's shot off a drive rolled off the rim to keep the score at 93-92.
Tatum converted both ends of a 1-and-1 with 31.1 seconds to play. Then Crawford failed to get the ball to drop on his next drive.
Jefferson made two foul shots with 14.1 seconds remaining to help seal the result.
"For us to turn it up a notch in the second half was really, really good," Krzyzewski said. "We played with greater hunger. Winning is difficult because you have to be hungry all the time."
The teams played to a 47-47 halftime tie, with Duke shooting 62.1 percent from the field with seven 3-point baskets.
There were 14 first-half lead changes. The game was tied 40-40 before Allen scored for the first time, hitting a 3-pointer with 2:06 to play in the half.
The offensive burst was a relief for Duke, which was coming off its two lowest-scoring games of the season, beating Clemson 64-62 and Virginia 65-55.
Collins had 16 points by halftime, on his way to reaching the 20-point mark for the 10th consecutive game. However, he picked up his second foul with less than a second remaining in the half, with Allen hitting two free throws.
NOTES: Duke needed G Luke Kennard's winning 3-pointer for an 85-83 victory in the first meeting this season. ... Wake Forest hasn't defeated a ranked team on the road since 2010, a string of 18 losses in that category. ... G Mitchell Wilbekin of Wake Forest didn't play because of an ankle injury sustained in practice. ... Wake Forest was denied its third ACC road victory, something that hasn't happened since 2008-09 and there's only one more chance. ... Jeff Capel Sr., a former Old Dominion coach, one-time Wake Forest assistant and father to Duke assistant Jeff Capel, sat next to his son on the Blue Devils' bench Saturday. The elder Capel has been diagnosed with ALS. ... Duke is back in action Wednesday night at Syracuse. ... Wake Forest also plays Wednesday in a home game against Pittsburgh.
|Virginia Tech||90||vs.||94||Louisville||Final Recap|
No. 8 Louisville survives Virginia Tech
Saturday, February 18 at 4:12 PM (EST)
LOUISVILLE -- No. 8 Louisville survived an incredible 17 3-pointers by feisty Virginia Tech to win 94-90 Saturday at the KFC Yum! Center.
"It was a great win over a team that shot the lights out," Louisville coach Rick Pitino said.
The Cardinals (22-5, 10-4 in the ACC) got 26 points from Donovan Mitchell, 19 from Quentin Snider and 16 from Jaylen Johnson. Mitchell hit 8 of 13 shots, including 5 of 7 3-pointers.
Virginia Tech (18-8, 7-7) was led by Seth Allen's 23 points, which included six threes. The Hokies tied the Yum! Center record with 17 threes.
"We were fortunate that many of them went in -- some of them didn't deserve to go in -- but that's what enabled us to stay in the game," coach Buzz Williams of Virginia Tech said. Later adding, "I think if we don't have a hot shooting night they beat us by 40."
Said Johnson: "That's a great shooting team and they really showed it tonight. It was a great display of 3-point shooting. We tried to make it hard, but they made a lot of them."
Mitchell scored Louisville's first 10 points and hit big shots throughout the game when Louisville needed him.
"He's an elite level player, elite level," Williams said. "He can score on all three levels, great body, very physical and because he is so strong, he is deceptively an elite level athlete. He's a great player."
Mitchell's performance helped Louisville overcome a record-setting night for Virginia Tech. No Louisville opponent had ever scored 90 points in the KFC Yum! Center.
Virginia Tech also set a record for the most 3-pointers allowed by a Louisville team in a regulation game. And Louisville still won.
"It has been a while since we had to win by being the better offensive team," Pitino said. "It was enjoyable for the fans, I'm sure, but for a 64-year old coach who prides himself on defense, it wasn't very enjoyable."
Virginia Tech didn't start the game hot. In fact, the Hokies struggled to find the net in the first 10 minutes, missing 10 of their first 14 shots, but the hottest-shooting team in the ACC caught fire before halftime.
The Cardinals built a 30-20 lead after a three-point play by Ray Spalding with 7:44 left.
Then the Hokies hit every shot they took in the last seven minutes of the first half. It started with layups by Zach Leday, Ty Outlaw and Justin Robinson and continued with a string of five-straight 3-pointers, two by Ahmed Hill, one by Outlaw, one by Robinson and another by Justin Bibbs.
A dunk by Leday rounded out the shooting run, with Virginia Tech leading 44-43 at half.
After holding a 10-point lead in the first half, the Cardinals had to come from behind in the second half.
Louisville finally took the lead for good with just over 15 minutes left, but the Hokies kept hitting big shot after big shot to stay within striking distance, as the Cardinals' lead never reached double-digits again.
The Hokies had the ball while trailing 89-85 with 37.5 seconds left, but a 3-point shot by Justin Bibbs rimmed out and Snider grabbed the rebound for Louisville. He was fouled and hit both free throws to put the game away.
Virginia Tech shot an astounding 65.4 percent from 3-point range for the game, hitting 17 of 26.
Louisville shot well from long range as well, hitting 12 of 22 (54.5 percent).
"We will not win on the defensive side," Williams said. "We are playing four guards so we are going to have to out-score people, but we will not win when they score 26 points on put-backs."
Louisville outscored Virginia Tech 26-3 in second-chance points.
NOTES: Louisville holds a 31-8 series edge on the Hokies. The Cardinals have not lost to Virginia Tech since Feb. 13, 1991. ... Saturday was Virginia Tech's second game without star forward Chris Clarke, who is out for the season because of a torn ACL. ... Louisville played without reserve forward VJ King (thigh bruise) and reserve guard Tony Hicks (broken hand). ...Louisville claimed its 1,800th victory all-time, 10th in NCAA history.
No. 3 Kansas takes control of Big 12, tips Baylor
Saturday, February 18 at 4:42 PM (EST)
WACO, Texas -- Kansas has had a knack for surviving hard-fought, back-and-forth Big 12 games all season and added a big one versus Baylor.
Jayhawks forward Landon Lucas stepped to the line and nailed two free throws with 11 seconds left to lift No. 3 Kansas to a 67-65 victory over No. 4 Baylor on Saturday at the Ferrell Center.
The Jayhawks (24-3, 12-2 Big 12) trailed by six late, but finished the game on an 8-0 run to knock off Baylor (22-5, 9-5) on the Bears' home court.
After Kansas erased a seven-point deficit in the final minute against West Virginia on Monday, the Jayhawks notched another win over Baylor in similar fashion.
"The thing I like about us is that I think we've got a bunch of winners on our team," Kansas guard Josh Jackson said. "Nobody is a quitter and everybody keeps fighting and we all believe in each other."
Kansas's survival instinct is a big reason why the Jayhawks now lead the Big 12 by three games with four contests left in the regular season.
"At the beginning it was just all about taking it one game at a time," Jackson said. "I feel like we've been doing a good job of doing that. Just taking it one game at a time and taking care of business and we're in a great position right now."
Baylor is still in second place in the conference standings, but the Bears need a Jayhawks collapse to have a shot at a share of the Big 12 title.
Guard Frank Mason III finished with 23 points and Jackson added 16 to lead Kansas.
Forward Johnathan Motley scored 19 points to lead Baylor. Guard Manu Lecomte pitched in 16 and forward Jo Lual-Acuil added 11.
Lucas grabbed a crucial offensive rebound of guard Devonte' Graham's missed 3-pointer with 11 seconds left. Motley fouled Lucas on the put-back attempt, sending the Kansas forward to the line for the game-winning free throws.
"Coach said (Lucas) was the only one crashing the glass on the final possession," Mason said. "I watch him shoot free throws every day. He knocks a lot of them down and shoots a good percentage. So I had a lot of confidence in him."
Kansas denied Baylor's attempt to get the ball inside to Motley on the Bears' final possession. Lecomte took a desperation 3-pointer with Mason and Jackson in his face, but the shot came up short.
"We were trying to get it to Motley and they did a good job of helping down," Baylor coach Scott Drew said. "When they took that away, we wish we could have gotten a better look and a better shot in the last seven seconds. They deserve the credit on taking away (Motley) down low."
Kansas wrested the lead and momentum from Baylor midway through the second half with an 11-0 surge. The Jayhawks, who trailed for most of the first half, went ahead 52-47 when forward Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk hit a 3-pointer from the left side with 10:18 remaining.
But Baylor bounced back by scoring the next nine points to retake the lead by four when Lual-Acuil hit a pair of free throws.
Guard King McClure hit a pair of free throws to put Baylor ahead by six with 3:34 remaining. But that would be the Bears' final points and Kansas took over after that.
"It's real disappointing, especially when you kind of have them on the ropes," Motley said. "We were up a couple of points and there was a stretch when offensive rebounds were their strength."
Jackson had a pair of baskets, including a dunk on an assist from Mason, and Graham tied the game at 65 with a pair of free throws with 2:16 left.
Baylor and Kansas hit each other with significant runs in the first half.
After Baylor pushed out to a 15-6 lead, Kansas responded with a 9-0 surge to tie it. Mason made his first jumper of the contest, then dished to Jackson for a dunk and Lucas for a layup that evened the score.
Then it was the Bears' turn. Lecomte hit a pair of 3-pointers to fuel an 8-0 run that helped Baylor re-establish the lead for the rest of the half.
The Bears led by 12 when Lecomte hit a jumper from just inside the free-throw line with 55 seconds left before the break. But Mason nailed his first 3-pointer and Jackson hit a trey just before the halftime buzzer as the Jayhawks cut Baylor's lead to six.
"The two biggest possession of the game, other than the last one, were the two 3's we made at the end of the half," Kansas coach Bill Self said. "If they have it at 12, they have total control of momentum."
Kansas shot 38 percent from the field in the first half, but kept Baylor from pulling away by scoring nine points off of the Bears' seven turnovers.
Lecomte led all scorers with 11 in the first half as he hit 3 of 5 from 3-point range.
NOTES: Baylor was hosting a top-10 opponent for the third time this season. Previously, the Bears defeated then-No. 4 Oregon and then-No. 7 Xavier in nonconference play. ... Kansas was facing its second-straight top-10 opponent after the Jayhawks defeated No. 9 West Virginia 84-80 on Monday in Lawrence, Kan. It's the second time this season Kansas has played back-to-back top 10s. The Jayhawks defeated then-No. 4 Kentucky and then-No. 2 Baylor on Jan. 28 and Feb. 1. ... Baylor Guard Al Freeman returned after he was suspended for the previous three games due to a violation of team policy. He did not see any action.
Williams, Hubbs carry Tennessee past Missouri
Saturday, February 18 at 3:17 PM (EST)
Tennessee bounced back from consecutive Southeastern Conference losses to Georgia and Kentucky with a 90-70 thumping of Missouri on Saturday at Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville, Tenn.
In upping their record to 15-12 overall and 7-7 in the SEC, the Volunteers got a game-high 25 points from Grant Williams and 21 from Robert Hubbs.
Reserve Admiral Schofield added 17 and Shembari Phillips scored 10 to keep Tennessee, which has played one of the nation's toughest schedule, in play for an NCAA Tournament at-large bid.
Terrence Phillips scored 18 points for the Tigers (7-19, 2-12) while reserve Jordan Barnett hit for 11 and Kevin Puryear added 10 points. It wasn't close to being enough as Missouri experienced serious issues with fouls and turnovers.
The Tigers sent the Volunteers to the foul line 37 times -- they made 28 -- and also coughed up 14 turnovers that led to 24 points.
Tennessee wasted little time putting its stamp on this one, establishing a 28-13 first-half lead as Missouri was in the double bonus before the under-8-minute timeout. On the strength of 16-of-19 free-throw shooting in the half, the Volunteers took a 41-28 advantage to intermission.
There was no let-up in the second half as Tennessee pushed the lead as high as 24 points on two occasions in the last 10 minutes. Canning 51.5 percent of their shots after halftime, the Volunteers were able to cruise to the finish line.
Frustration appeared to color the Tigers' effort at times in the second half. Coach Kim Anderson and Terrence Phillips were slapped with technicals before the midway point.
Tennessee finished the game at 46.6 percent from the field and sank 8-of-21 3-pointers. It limited Missouri to 40 percent shooting and won the rebounding battle 38-30, with Hubbs grabbing eight.
|Army West Point||71||vs.||68||Navy||Final|
Hill powers Illinois past Iowa
Saturday, February 18 at 4:40 PM (EST)
Illinois won on the road for just the second time this season, defeating Iowa 70-66 at Carver-Hawkeye Arena at Iowa City, Iowa.
Malcolm Hill led all scorers with 21 points for the Fighting Illini, including seven in the final 3:31.
Iowa certainly had its chance. Jordan Bohannon, an 88-percent free-throw shooter, missed two freebies with 2:14 left and the Hawkeyes down 62-61. Jalen Coleman-Lands hit a 3-point shot on the next possession to put the Illini back up by four points.
Peter Jok hit two free throws with 28.4 seconds left for Iowa. Te'Jon Lucas hit 1 of 2 to stretch the lead to 66-63. Nicholas Baer missed a 3-point attempt to tie and Illinois grabbed the rebound. Lucas made 1 of 2 free throws again to make it a two-possession game.
Jok missed an open long-range jumper, and Hill grabbed the rebound and was fouled. He made one free throw before Jok hit an uncontested 3-pointer with 1.2 seconds left, but Illinois was able to inbound the ball safely and escape with the win.
Illinois (15-12, 5-9 Big Ten) used a 9-0 run at the 15:55 mark in the second half to retake the lead for the first time since early in the first half. From that point on the game was tight, with neither team leading by more than four points until the final seconds.
Hill was joined in double figures for Illinois by three players with 12 points each (Lucas, Coleman-Lands and Michael Finke).
Iowa (14-13, 6-8) was led by Jok with 16 points, Tyler Cook with 14 and Bohannon with 11.
Both teams struggled early. Illinois took an early 12-6 lead but went 6:08 without scoring. The Hawkeyes managed only nine points in that stretch and held only a 15-12 lead. The Illini finished the first half shooting just 39.3 percent. Iowa shot better at 50 percent but committed 11 turnovers and still led only 29-25 at halftime.
The Illini were led by Hill with 11 points, but nobody else scored more than four points. Iowa was led by Cook with eight points and Jok with seven.
|Florida||57||vs.||52||Mississippi State||Final Recap|
No. 15 Florida survives Mississippi State upset bid
Saturday, February 18 at 6:03 PM (EST)
Kevarrius Hayes has a new increased role and he performed it well on Saturday.
The sophomore is Florida's new starting center and he scored the decisive points and followed that with a crucial defensive play to help the No. 15 Gators escape with a 57-52 victory over Mississippi State on Saturday in SEC play at Starkville, Miss.
Hayes moved into the starting role after junior John Egbunu suffered a season-ending knee injury in Tuesday's victory over Auburn. He looked comfortable against the Bulldogs as he contributed nine points, a career-high 10 rebounds and four blocked shots as Florida (22-5, 12-2 in the SEC) won its eighth straight game.
"He was flying around, playing with crazy energy," Gators coach Mike White said. "He would have played more minutes, of course, if he didn't find himself in some foul trouble.
"Kevarrius plays hard as anyone on the floor. He was terrific for us."
Junior point guard Chris Chiozza scored 14 points on 6-of-8 shooting, and sophomore guard KeVaughn Allen added 11 points for Florida.
Sophomore guard Quinndary Weatherspoon scored 17 points for the Bulldogs (14-12, 5-9), who lost their fourth straight game and sixth of their last seven. Mississippi State has dropped seven straight games to Florida and 17 in a row to ranked teams.
"We're right there against really good teams," Bulldogs coach Ben Howland said. "We need to get over that hump."
A put-back by Hayes gave Florida a 54-52 lead with 1:57 remaining. Hayes then rejected a game-tying shot by Mississippi State senior point guard I.J. Ready with 30 seconds left.
The Gators made 3 of 6 free throws over the final 28 seconds left to seal it.
Florida won despite shooting only 38.5 percent from the field and committing 16 turnovers.
"We'll take them how we can get them, as long as we're playing the right way and playing really hard and playing for each other," White said. "It was a struggle offensively. We never found a great offensive rhythm.
"But defensively, after an emotional week after the huge letdown with John Egbunu being done for the season. ... For these guys to defend at the level they did on the road is something that you can only be proud of."
The Bulldogs had their own issues by shooting 36.1 percent from the field, including 2 of 23 from 3-point range, and 6 of 13 from the foul line.
"We had an opportunity to knock down wide open shots," Howland said. "I got to think at least 8-to-9 of them were wide open."
The Gators led by eight points at halftime before Mississippi State moved to within three in the first two minutes of the second half.
Florida answered with nine consecutive points and a jumper by senior point guard Kasey Hill made it 43-31 with 13:13 to play.
A short time later, Weatherspoon scored five straight points to start a 10-2 push that cut the deficit to four with 5:51 remaining.
The Gators increased their lead to seven before Mississippi State made another charge. The Bulldogs went on a 9-2 burst, with sophomore forward Aric Holman delivering a dunk to tie it 52-52 with 2:23 remaining.
Florida played poorly most of the first half but took a 32-24 lead at the break.
Mississippi State missed all 13 of its 3-point shots in the half and was only 2 of 7 from the free-throw line.
The Bulldogs scored the first five points and held a 13-7 edge less than eight minutes into the contest. The Gators inched ahead by one point on two occasions before a steal, and fast-break hoop by Weatherspoon gave Mississippi State a 19-18 lead with 5:15 to play in the half.
Florida controlled the next five minutes, with Chiozza scoring seven points during a 14-3 burst as the Gators opened up a 10-point lead. Holman converted a put-back with 0.5 seconds left to account for the halftime score.
NOTES: Gators sophomore C Kevarrius Hayes drew the start for injured junior C John Egbunu (season-ending knee injury) and stood out while playing 25 minutes. ... Bulldogs freshman G Lamar Peters made Mississippi State's first 3-pointer with 18:17 left in the game. ... Florida senior PG Kasey Hill scored nine points to become the 52nd player in school history to reach 1,000 career points. He had one assist to move into a tie for second place on the school's all-time list with Ronnie Montgomery (503 from 1984-88). ... Mississippi State freshman G Mario Kegler had only four points on 2-of-7 shooting after averaging 15.8 points over the previous four games. ... Florida senior G Canyon Barry (ankle) was injured late in the contest but coach Mike White doesn't think it was serious.
|Texas Tech||74||vs.||83||West Virginia||Final Recap|
No. 9 West Virginia prevails in double OT
Saturday, February 18 at 6:33 PM (EST)
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- This time No. 9 West Virginia survived a late-game meltdown.
Jevon Carter scored 24 points and Daxter Miles provided two put-backs in double overtime as the Mountaineers held off Texas Tech 83-74 on Saturday.
Elijah Macon produced a season-high 17 points and 12 rebounds for West Virginia (21-6, 9-5 Big 12), which won despite coughing up a six-point lead in the final 1:12 of regulation.
That came in the wake of squandering a 14-point cushion in the final 2:45 on Monday at Kansas, a crushing collapse that had left the Mountaineers 0-3 in overtime this season.
The deja vu felt tangible when Texas Tech (17-10, 5-9) extended the game at 64-all on Keenan Evans' fall-away 3-pointer with 4.6 seconds left in regulation.
"I was just thinking, 'OK, it's time to go. We can't keep losing overtime,'" Miles said.
West Virginia's junior guard finished with 11 points, including a tip-in among several taller defenders in the second extra period. He added a follow-up dunk that put West Virginia ahead 78-72.
In a scintillating matchup of point guards, Carter enjoyed a season-best scoring output and grabbed seven rebounds. He had his hands full defensively with Evans, whose end-of-regulation 3 was closely contested after West Virginia opted against fouling.
Evans poured in a career best with 28 points and had another chance to play hero at the end of the first overtime. But Carter's defense was unyielding and Evans dribbled out the clock before lofting an 18-foot airball.
"I felt like I played the same defense both times," Carter said. "The first one he hit it -- tough shot. The second one he missed it -- tough shot."
The Red Raiders, desperately needing to bolster their NCAA Tournament resume, shot 1-of-8 in the second overtime and fell to 0-7 in Big 12 road games.
Coach Chris Beard's squad is 2-4 against the Big 12's top three teams, Kansas, Baylor and West Virginia, though five of those games were winnable.
"If you asked them about Texas Tech, they would tell you we're one of the best 68 teams in the country," Beard said. "Now whether we do our part and end up having a resume worthy is yet to be determined. You guys saw it -- we have a good team."
Niem Stevenson scored 17 points for Texas Tech, though he was scoreless after intermission and missed his final five shots.
Tarik Philip finished with 15 points, six assists and four steals for West Virginia.
The Red Raiders committed 13 of their 20 turnovers after halftime, almost negating 68 percent second-half shooting.
Carter's big offensive performance seemingly had the Mountaineers in good shape to put the game away in the second half. He freed himself for a step-back 17-footer and moments later added a turnaround jumper after pump-faking Texas Tech's top shot-blocker Zach Smith, part of a 14-4 run.
Macon's impact was so huge Beard that labeled him "the difference-maker." During one frantic sequence in which the big forward looked winded and raised his hand in search of a substitution, he stayed on the floor and scored three straight baskets on post spins to put West Virginia up 56-49.
"That's the Elijah Macon that everybody thought we got when we recruited him," West Virginia coach Bob Huggins said.
Stevenson's 5-of-7 first-half shooting included 3-of-3 from long range. On four occasions he either tied the score or put Texas Tech ahead, including a late 3-pointer that led to a 33-31 halftime edge.
NOTES: The Red Raiders entered Saturday committing the 19th-fewest turnovers nationally (10.8 per game). ... Press Virginia was forcing 21.8 turnovers per game, tops in Division I. ... Texas Tech dropped its ninth straight Big 12 road game dating to last February.
|Kansas State||64||vs.||61||Texas||Final Recap|
Kansas State knocks off Texas on late tip-in
Saturday, February 18 at 4:35 PM (EST)
D.J. Johnson's tip-in with 1.6 seconds to play and his ensuing free throw lifted Kansas State to a 64-61 victory over Texas on Saturday afternoon in Big 12 play at the Erwin Center in Austin, Texas.
Barry Brown's running one-hander with 39.1 to play gave the Wildcats a 61-59 lead but it was answered by Jarrett Allen's layup for Texas at the 19-second mark. With the game clock winding down, Kansas State's Kamau Stokes missed a jump shot, but Johnson, who had nine points in the game, tipped in the rebound while being fouled.
The Wildcats (17-10, 6-8 in Big 12) were led by Wesley Iwundu's 16 points, 12 of which came in the first half, and also got 15 points from Brown and 14 from Stokes.
Texas (10-17, 4-10 in Big 12) got 13 points from Kendal Yancy and 12 from Allen. The Longhorns have lost three straight games.
Eric Davis Jr.'s desperation 3-pointer at the end of the shot clock at the 10:28 mark of the first half pulled Texas to even for the first time in the game at 16.
Another 3-pointer, this time by Kerwin Roach II, gave the Longhorns their first lead of the game at 31-30 with 4:14 to play in the half and the two teams traded baskets throughout the rest of the half before Iwudu's three at the 1:13 mark granted Kansas State a 39-36 lead at intermission.
Iwudu led all scorers with 12 points in the half as the Wildcats shot a blistering 76.2 percent from the floor (16 of 21) that included a 7-of-8 showing from beyond the arc.
Yancy paced Texas with eight points in the first half as the Longhorns shot 50 percent from the floor.
Things became a bit contentious with 12:35 to play in the second half with the Wildcats ahead 48-39. Kansas State's Austin Budke committed a hard foul on Texas' Allen while Allen was shooting by swiping at the ball and connecting with Allen's head, knocking him to the floor in the process.
Allen shoved Budke when he got up and Budke was assessed a Flagrant 2 foul and disqualified from the game. Two Texas players were also disqualified for leaving the bench.
The short melee woke up the Longhorns, who scored the next seven points over the ensuing minute and a half to crawl within 48-46. But Stokes' 3-pointer halted the surge and put Kansas State back in control until the final four minutes.
Andrew Jones hit a 3-pointer to pull the Longhorns even at 57 and, after a Stokes jumper at the 3:06 mark, rattled the rim on a throw-down dunk to tie the game again, this time at 59.
|UT Arlington||68||vs.||67||Georgia State||Final|
Brooks scores 23, No. 7 Ducks wipe out Buffaloes
Saturday, February 18 at 6:15 PM (EST)
EUGENE, Ore. -- Oregon will carry the NCAA's longest home winning streak into next season.
Junior forward Dillon Brooks scored 23 points as No. 7 Oregon finished off a second straight unbeaten home schedule with a 101-73 victory over Colorado on Saturday at Matthew Knight Arena.
Senior guard Dylan Ennis added 20 points as the Ducks (24-4, 13-2 in the Pac-12) finished 17-0 at home to stretch the nation's longest active winning streak to 42 in a row.
"It was a great way to play our last game here," said Ennis, one of three seniors honored after their final home game. "I couldn't predict we would have a game like that. It was a great way to end."
Senior center Chris Boucher scored 18 points before fouling out, while junior guard Casey Benson added 14 points.
"It is definitely something I will remember forever," Boucher said. "I wasn't expecting a big game like that but it went our way. We are all happy about the win and going undefeated at home is a great feeling."
Oregon went on a 29-2 run that began late in the first half to turn a 35-32 lead into a 64-34 advantage a few minutes into the second half.
"That was a big stretch," Oregon coach Dana Altman said. "They went 0-for-5 from the field to finish the half and 1-for-7 to start the second half as we got the lead.
"The rebounds really changed it around, getting a plus-14 on the boards."
Junior forward George King scored 18 points to lead Colorado (16-12, 6-9). Guard Dominique Collier added 13 points as the Buffaloes shot 43.3 percent from the field.
"They shot it well tonight," Collier said. "In the second half, we came out flat and it showed. Their crowd got going and they fed off the energy."
Oregon shot 57.6 percent from the field, including 16-of-29 on 3-pointers. Boucher had seven rebounds to help the Ducks outrebound the Buffs 38-24.
Oregon scored the final 10 points of the first half to lead 45-32 at the break and then scored 19 of the first 21 points in the second half.
Ennis and Brooks each hit a 3-pointer to open the second half as Oregon went up 51-32.
Guard Derrick White scored for Colorado before Brooks made a jumper and forward Jordan Bell got a tip-in to put the Ducks ahead 55-34, and Boucher added a bucket for Oregon.
Brooks scored again and Boucher made a 3-pointer plus two free throws to put the Ducks ahead by 30
Colorado's Dominique Collier opened the game with a 3-pointer, but Oregon guards Payton Pritchard and Tyler Dorsey each made 3-pointers before Brooks hit a shot from behind the arc to put the Ducks up 9-5.
Forward George King followed with a 3-pointer for Colorado, but Bell got a steal and dunk to put the Ducks up 11-8.
Brooks made two 3-pointers and a jumper to put the Ducks ahead 19-11, but King made a 3-pointer and forward Tory Miller scored before guard Derrick White made a 3-pointer to tie the game 21-21.
Benson hit two free throws to put Oregon back into the lead, but forward Xavier Johnson scored and guard Deleon Brown made two free throws to put Colorado ahead.
Oregon center Chris Boucher sank a free throw and Ennis drove for a layup that put the Ducks ahead 26-25. Bell added a dunk before King scored for the Buffaloes.
Ennis added a 3-pointer and a layup followed by a short jumper as Oregon went ahead 35-27 before King scored forward Lucas Siewert hit a 3-pointer for the Buffaloes.
Dorsey made three free throws and Ennis scored to put Oregon ahead 40-32 before Brooks made a 3-pointer and Ennis closed the half with two free throws.
NOTES: Oregon had its seventh sellout of 12,364 fans on Saturday to finish the season with an average of 9,894 per game for the season. That is the most since the program averaged 9,984 in 1977-78. ... Oregon's 13-2 conference record matches its best start since going 14-2 in 1938-39, when it went on to win the national championship. ... Oregon played "O Canada" prior to the game in honor of its two seniors, Ennis and Boucher, who are from Canada. ... Colorado dropped to 3-4 against ranked teams this season.
|Robert Morris||74||vs.||64||Central Connecticut State||Final|
|Wright State||74||vs.||68||Cleveland State||Final|
Alabama coasts past LSU
Saturday, February 18 at 5:46 PM (EST)
Riley Norris led a first-half assault of 3-point shooting as Alabama rolled past LSU 90-72 in an SEC game on Saturday at Coleman Coliseum in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
The Crimson Tide (16-10, 9-5 in the SEC), play host to Georgia on Thursday. The Tigers (9-17, 1-13), who lost their 13th consecutive game, play host to Auburn on Tuesday.
Norris scored 17 points and made 4-of-8 3-point shots, including three in a row as Alabama took control early in the first half.
Ar'Mond Davis added 15 points off the bench and Braxton Key, Jimmie Taylor and Bola Olaniyan each scored 11 for the Crimson Tide.
Antonio Blakeney led LSU with 28 points, Duop Reath scored 12, Brandon Sampson had 11 and Wayde Sims added 10.
The Crimson Tide bench outscored the Tigers' bench 34-14.
Alabama led by 19 points at halftime and Key's jumper and Donta Hall's dunk pushed the lead to 55-32 just 40 seconds into the second half.
The Crimson Tide increased the lead to as many as 26 points before LSU cut it to 18 with eight minutes left, but that was the closest the Tigers would get.
Alabama led 10-9 before making a barrage of 3-pointers. Key made one, Norris made three and Davis made two as the Crimson Tide extended the lead to 33-17.
Davis' second 3-pointer ended a 17-4 run and made Alabama 7 of 12 on 3-pointers.
LSU twice cut the deficit to nine before the Crimson Tide rebuilt it to 15.
Davis made two free throws with four seconds left as Alabama took its biggest lead of the half at 51-32 heading into halftime.
The Crimson Tide outscored the Tigers 53-33 in the second half of their 81-66 victory Jan. 14 in Baton Rouge, La., so that gave them a combined 104-65 scoring edge in two halves against LSU.
|Sam Houston State||53||vs.||69||Incarnate Word||Final|
|Eastern Michigan||80||vs.||88||Western Michigan||Final|
|North Carolina Central||82||vs.||69||Maryland Eastern Shore||Final|
|Coppin State||79||vs.||84||South Carolina State||Final|
|Saint Joseph's||68||vs.||83||La Salle||Final|
|Sacramento State||59||vs.||62||Montana State||Final|
|Northern Arizona||68||vs.||84||Southern Utah||Final|
|Mount St. Mary's||79||vs.||74||Fairleigh Dickinson||Final|
|Rhode Island||77||vs.||74||George Mason||Final|
|Saint Francis U||75||vs.||79||Bryant||Final|
|Wagner||73||vs.||55||St. Francis Brooklyn||Final|
|Florida State||66||vs.||80||Pittsburgh||Final Recap|
Pitt notches upset of No. 17 Florida State
Saturday, February 18 at 7:34 PM (EST)
There's no sugar-coating it: Pittsburgh's 2016-17 season has been rough.
But the Panthers went a long way to smoothing things out Saturday at the Petersen Events Center in Pittsburgh.
Pittsburgh grabbed a first-half lead against No. 17 Florida State with 8:23 remaining and never looked back en route to an 80-66 upset of the Seminoles, who continue to struggle mightily on the road.
Pitt forward Sheldon Jeter, who came into the game averaging just 7.6 points per game, led the Panthers (15-12, 4-10 ACC) with 29 points on 12-of-14 shooting from the field as well as a team-high eight rebounds.
Guard Jamel Artis added 16 points for the Panthers, who also got 10 points from guard Cameron Johnson.
The victory made Pitt coach Kevin Stallings a happy man -- after we was very unhappy following Tuesday's loss against Virginia Tech.
"I honestly wouldn't have been surprised if we had gotten hammered today," said Stallings, who team led by 11 points at halftime against Virginia Tech but lost 66-63. "That's why my level of frustration was the way it was after that game (against Virginia Tech). We responded, we came back and we played with great urgency for all forty minutes."
Florida State (21-6, 9-5), which is 2-5 on the road in the ACC this season, was led by junior guard Xavier Rathan-Mayes, who scored 12 points to go along with six assists. All six of the Seminoles' losses this year have come on the road.
But the story for Florida State on Saturday was the struggles of star guard Dwayne Bacon.
For the first time in his Florida State career, Bacon was held scoreless, going 0 of 4 from the floor. It was also the first time in 35 games that Bacon did not score in double digits. He came into the game 11 points shy of 1,000 for his career -- and that's right where he stayed.
The win marked the Panthers' third in the last four games, which was preceded by an eight-game losing streak.
Florida State, after starting the season with a 16-1 record, is just 5-5 in its last 10 games. And all five of their ACC losses have come by double digits.
The Seminoles just couldn't stop Jeter on Saturday.
"We decided enough was enough,"Jeter said of the team's recent struggles. "Let's really fight for 40 minutes. And that's what we did."
Florida State is 1 1/2 games behind first-place North Carolina for the lead in the ACC. The Tar Heels played later Saturday night.
"I thought that Pittsburgh had a tremendous game plan of neutralizing our big guys by spreading the floor and a very good job of handling the ball, being very careful with their execution," Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton said. "I felt very fortunate we were only down five at halftime."
Even with the win, Pittsburgh remains in the bottom half of the standings, moving into a tie with Clemson for 12th in the conference.
With 6:19 remaining, Florida State went on a 14-3 run to cut Pittsburgh's lead to two points.
After Florida State started the second half with a basket, Pitt went on an 8-0 run for its first double-digit lead of the game. The Panthers went on to take a 58-43 lead with 14:13 remaining.
Pitt headed to the locker room with a slim 41-37 lead over Florida State after a competitive first half. Neither team had a lead larger than six points.
Florida State trailed despite shooting 60 percent from the field. Pitt, meanwhile, shot 48.3 percent in the opening half.
Both teams' leading scorers -- Bacon and ACC leading scorer Michael Young -- had minimal impacts early on. Bacon went into the half with no points, and Young had just two points for Pitt but finished with 11.
Jeter and Pitt guard Jamel Artis made up for Young's early struggles, scoring 11 and 10 points, respectively, in the first 20 minutes.
Center Michael Ojo and Rathan-Mayes both had eight points, leading the Seminoles at the half. Forward Jonathan Isaac added 11 points in the loss for Florida State, while guard Terance Mann chipped in 10 points.
Pitt improves to 2-5 this season against Top 25 opponents. The Panthers have a lopsided lead on the Seminoles in their all-time series at 12-3.
NOTES: Pitt players wore retro jerseys for the game. ... ESPN college basketball announcer Dick Vitale made a case recently for Florida State G Dwayne Bacon to win ACC Player of the Year, saying, "Florida State's Dwayne Bacon is certainly a contender for Player of the Year honors in the ACC. There are times on the floor when he is as good as anyone in the nation." ... Florida State entered Saturday's game ranked No. 11 in the latest NCAA Men's Basketball RPI Ranking. The Seminoles are 2-1 against their two top-10 opponents with a victory over No. 4 Louisville and a win over No. 8 Florida; 4-1 against their top 20 opponents with victories over No. 14 Virginia and No. 15 Duke; 5-2 against their top-25 with a victory over No. 25 Notre Dame.
|Michigan State||63||vs.||80||Purdue||Final Recap|
No. 16 Purdue mows down Michigan State
Saturday, February 18 at 7:47 PM (EST)
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- Purdue power forward Caleb Swanigan and 7-foot-2 center Isaac Haas continue to make a case for being the nation's most productive 1-2 interior punch.
In No. 16 Purdue's 80-63 victory over Michigan State in Mackey Arena on Saturday, Swanigan had 24 points and 15 rebounds, and Haas added 18 points and five rebounds. The pair combined to make 15 of 23 field-goal attempts and 11 of 12 free throws against the Spartans.
In Tuesday's victory against Rutgers, Haas had 24 points and 11 rebounds, and Swanigan added 12 points and 17 rebounds.
The Boilermakers (22-5, 11-3 in the Big Ten) took a half-game lead in the conference over Maryland and Wisconsin, each of whom is 10-3.
The double-double was Swanigan's 23rd this season. He had 25 points and 17 rebounds in Purdue's 84-73 victory at Michigan State (16-11, 8-6) on Jan. 24. He also set a school single-season rebounding record with 352.
"Obviously, our size has been a big factor," said Haas, who is 17 of 22 from the field in Purdue's two most recent games. "We're just keeping it simple and scoring when it's one-on-one in the post and passing when we are double teamed.
"They weren't really doubling today, and me and Caleb had a great night in the low post. They've got to respect our shooters at some point, so they had to give up something."
It is the first time since the 1996-97 season that the Boilermakers swept a two-game, regular-season series from the Spartans.
"The reason our bigs are playing so well right now is their decision making," Purdue coach Matt Painter said. "With Swanigan, passing is his greatest asset other than his rebounding. And he is so good right now because he is keeping it simple.
"With Isaac, it's the same, just keeping it simple. He also is becoming more objective about his own game, realizing some of his mistakes. I love playing them together, but today, I also needed Vince Edwards in the game to guard Miles Bridges. It's a nice problem to have."
When Spartans big men Nick Ward and Kenny Goins got into foul trouble, Swanigan and Haas had easy paths to the basket.
"That's just the way we play," Swanigan said. "We always feed the ball inside. We look to score. In the post is the hardest place to play defense because we are close to the basket. We tried to take advantage of that."
Bridges led Michigan State with 14 points. He scored 33 against Purdue in the Jan. 24 game.
The Spartans lost senior guard Eron Harris because of a leg injury with 9:18 remaining, He was taken to the locker room on a stretcher. After the game, Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said the injury is believed to be a sprained right knee, but an MRI will reveal more details.
"He will be out for a while, yet we don't know how long," Izzo said. "It's so sad. That kid has been playing his tail off."
Consecutive three-point plays by Vince Edwards and Carsen Edwards -- no relation -- gave Purdue a 45-29 lead with 18:04 remaining, and the Boilermakers were not seriously threatened again.
"I told Matt before the game that they might be playing the most consistent basketball in not only the Big Ten but in the country," Izzo said. "Their defense is getting better. The last four or five games, they really have turned that up. We tried to double team them a little bit in the second half, but we were just giving up so many open shots."
Purdue closed the first half on a 15-6 run in the last 7:51 to lead 37-26 through 20 minutes, shooting 57.7 percent from the field (15 of 26) and outrebounding Michigan State 15-13.
Swanigan had 11 points, six rebounds and two assists in the first half, Haas had eight points and three rebounds and Vince Edwards added seven points in the half and finished with 12.
Alvin Ellis III had two 3-pointers for six points to lead the Spartans in the opening half, during which they shot 40.7 percent (11 of 27), including only 4 of 13 from beyond the arc.
Purdue outscored Michigan State 20-10 in points in the paint in the opening 20 minutes and 8-4 in points as the result of turnovers.
NOTES: In Big Ten Conference games only, Michigan State came in leading the league in field goal percentage (48.3) and was second in 3-point field goal percentage (40.0). ... During the last nine games, Spartan F Miles Bridges is averaging 18.3 points and 8.7 rebounds. ... Before Saturday's game, Michigan State had won two in a row and four of five. ... The Spartans came to Purdue having won three of their four most recent games in Mackey Arena. ... The Boilermakers now have won five consecutive Big Ten games for the first time since the 2010-2011 season. ... If Purdue defeats Indiana on Feb. 28 in Mackey Arena, it will finish 8-1 in Big Ten home games for a third consecutive season. ... Boilermakers coach Matt Painter improved to 9-13 all-time in matchups with Michigan State's Tom Izzo.
|Savannah State||75||vs.||83||Morgan State||Final|
Williams-Goss leads No. 1 Gonzaga over Pacific
Saturday, February 18 at 7:13 PM (EST)
Top-ranked Gonzaga had five scorers in double figures led by Nigel Williams-Goss' 18 points in the Bulldogs' 82-61 win over Pacific in a West Coast Conference game in Spokane, Wash., on Saturday.
Johnathan Williams added 12 points and 11 rebounds and Zach Collins had 14 points and nine rebounds as Gonzaga improved to 28-0 overall and 16-0 in the WCC. Przemek Karnowski had 13 points and eight rebounds and Jordan Mathews added 10 points.
"It's so much fun," said Williams-Goss, a transfer from Washington, said about being unbeaten. "This has been the funnest year of my life playing with my brothers."
Pacific (10-19, 4-12) was short-handed without leading scorer T.J. Wallace (who averages 12.5 points a game) and Jacob Lampkin, who scored 18 points for Pacific in the previous game with Gonzaga in Stockton, Calif. Wallace did not travel with the team because of a foot strain and Wallace is out for the rest of the season with a fractured left foot.
The Tigers were led by Jack Williams' 16 points and nine rebounds. Ray Bowles added 13 points and D.J. Ursery had 11.
"Gonzaga is a No. 1 team for a reason," said Pacific coach Damon Stoudamire, a former player and assistant coach at Arizona. "I've been on that side as a player and coach. I told our guys we didn't put enough pressure on them to think about what they had to do in the game."
Gonzaga led for most of the game, never trailing after the 15:59 mark of the first half.
The Bulldogs started to pull away with a 10-2 run that gave them a 31-20 lead with 6:31 left in the first half. They led at halftime 43-30 behind 14 points from Williams-Goss and 10 points and nine rebounds from Williams.
Stoudamire said he was frustrated by Pacific's free-throw shooting as the Tigers finished 10 of 18. They were 5 of 9 in the first half.
"If we make those free throws, we are under 10 points down going into the half," Stoudamire said. "We fought hard in the second half but it's difficult to sustain, especially playing a team that's playing on a high level."
Gonzaga started the second half outscoring Pacific 10-3 to take a 53-33 lead with 16:21 left in regulation. Pacific scored its first field goal of the second half after that, with 15:30 remaining, on a 3-pointer by Ursery.
The Bulldogs responded with seven unanswered points on two layups by Karnowski and a 3-pointer by Silas Melson to take a 60-36 lead with 13:22 left. Pacific did not come within 20 points after that.
"It's important we get a sweep next week and play for something bigger as we head into the postseason," said Gonzaga coach Mark Few, whose team plays at San Diego and hosts BYU next week to conclude the regular season.
"There's a lot on the line and I hope the guys respond with a great last week to give us the momentum we need."
Williams-Goss said the Bulldogs are fueled by critics who downplay their success against suspect competition in the WCC.
"That's what you got to do is keep trying to prove yourselves," Williams-Goss said. "You should not complain about it or whine about. Just try to keep getting better. Hopefully we can put all of that to rest in the NCAA tournament."
NOTES: Gonzaga F Johnathan Williams eclipsed the 600-rebound mark with 11 boards Thursday against San Francisco. He had another 11 against Pacific. He has 618 in his career. ... Pacific is 0-5 against ranked Gonzaga teams (all since the 2012-13 season). The Tigers' lone win in the series came in Stockton, Calif., on Dec. 23, 1976, a 70-60 final. ... This was the 15th time Pacific has faced the top-ranked team in the country and the first time it's happened since Feb. 21, 1991 when the Tigers played No. 1 UNLV at the Thomas & Mack Center and lost 80-59. Pacific is 0-15 when playing the top-ranked team in the nation. ... Entering the game, seven Gonzaga players were averaging at least 8.2 points per game. Those seven are averaging between 8.2 and 16.2 points. No player has led the Bulldogs solely in scoring in back-to-back games this season. ... Gonzaga ranks second in the country in field-goal percentage defense, holding opponents to 37.1 percent shooting from the field. On offense, the Zags are third in the nation, shooting 51.5 percent from the field.
|Auburn||62||vs.||81||Texas A&M||Final Recap|
Williams leads Texas A&M to easy win over Auburn
Saturday, February 18 at 6:20 PM (EST)
Freshman forward Robert Williams had 13 points, nine rebounds and six blocked shots to fuel Texas A&M's 81-62 rout of Auburn on Saturday at Reed Arena in College Station, Texas.
Sophomore guard Admon Gilder scored 17 points, and junior center Tonny Trocha-Morelos added 11 points for the Aggies (14-12, 6-8 SEC), who snapped a two-game slide.
Freshman guard Mustapha Heron scored 20 points to lead the Tigers (16-11, 5-9), who lost their third straight game.
Texas A&M got going early, using a 10-0 run to jump out to a 17-5 lead at the 13-minute mark of the first half. The Aggies' lead grew to 19 on a layup from Eric Villa with 3:43 left before halftime. Texas A&M shot 68.0 percent from the field and outrebounded Auburn 18-8 in the first half.
The Tigers found a flicker of momentum right before halftime, with Ronnie Johnson hitting a deep 3-pointer as time expired to cut the Aggies' lead to 41-27.
Texas A&M didn't let up in the second half and maintained a double-digit lead throughout the final 20 minutes. Trocha-Morelos' layup push the Aggies' lead to 61-42 with 9:20 to play. The Tigers never mounted a serious challenge.
Texas A&M shot 68.9 percent for the game, using its size advantage to dominate the smaller Tigers in the paint. The Aggies outrebounded Auburn 37-28.
With four regular-season games left, both teams need strong finishes and deep runs in the SEC tournament to have any chance at an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament.
|Oral Roberts||72||vs.||86||South Dakota||Final|
|Ball State||109||vs.||100||Central Michigan||Final|
|North Florida||68||vs.||85||Kennesaw State||Final|
|Central Arkansas||61||vs.||84||New Orleans||Final|
|Texas State||67||vs.||70||Georgia Southern||Final|
|East Tennessee State||65||vs.||51||Chattanooga||Final|
|Air Force||78||vs.||83||San Jose State||Final|
|Western Illinois||91||vs.||100||North Dakota State||Final|
|Florida Atlantic||94||vs.||82||Southern Miss||Final|
|Arizona State||71||vs.||86||Washington State||Final Recap|
Washington State roars past Arizona State
Saturday, February 18 at 7:26 PM (EST)
Washington State center Conor Clifford had 19 points and Josh Hawkinson notched his school-record 54th career double-double as the Cougars pulled away for a 86-71 Pac-12 victory over Arizona State on Saturday at Beasley Coliseum in Pullman, Wash.
Clifford had three layups and guard Malachi Flynn had two 3-pointers on a 16-0 run that gave the Cougars an 81-69 lead with 2:35 remaining. They finished on a 21-2 run.
Hawkinson had 14 points and 15 rebounds, guard Ike Iroegbu had 17 points, eight rebounds and seven assists and Flynn had 14 points and seven assists as the Cougars (12-15, 5-10) broke a five-game losing streak.
Guard Shannon Evans II had 21 points and Torian Graham had 18 points for the Sun Devils (13-15, 6-9), who had won three of four.
Graham's fourth 3-pointer game Arizona State a 69-65 lead, but the Sun Devils did not score again until Tra Holder made a layup with 1:48 remaining.
Washington State held a 42-22 rebounding advantage and shot 59 percent from the field.
Flynn had four 3-pointers and Iroegbu made three as the Cougars conclude their first Pac-12 series sweep since beating Oregon State twice in the 2011-12 season.
Hawkinson, who broke a tie with Steve Puidokas (1973-77) for most double-doubles in school history, had a career-high 31 points and 14 rebounds in a 91-83 victory over Arizona State on Jan. 29. They had not won since.
Obinna Oleka had 12 points and Holder had 10.
ASU made 8-of-29 3-pointers and has 275 3s this season, second in school history and well within reach of the school record of 288 in 2009.
Evans had 14 points and Oleka had 12 points in the first half and Arizona State made six 3-pointers for a 49-43 lead.
Evans had five points and Oleka made a 3-pointer in a 10-0 run in a 57-second span for 43-31 lead late in the half, the Sun Devils' largest of the game.
|High Point||75||vs.||76||Charleston Southern||Final|
|North Carolina A&T||53||vs.||84||Howard||Final|
|Nebraska||58||vs.||57||Ohio State||Final Recap|
Nebraska sinks Ohio State with late three-point play
Saturday, February 18 at 8:31 PM (EST)
A month ago, Ohio State won at Nebraska by one. On Saturday evening in Columbus, Ohio, the Cornhuskers returned the favor.
Glynn Watson Jr. converted a three-point play with seven seconds left to lift the Cornhuskers to a 58-57 win at Value City Arena.
After a Marc Loving 3-pointer gave the Buckeyes a five-point lead with 32 seconds left, the Cornhuskers' Jack McVeigh answered with a 3-pointer seven seconds later.
Nebraska (12-14, 6-8 Big Ten) forced a tie-up in the back court on the ensuing possession to get the ball back and set up Watson's heroics.
Tai Webster led Nebraska with a game-high 17 points. McVeigh scored all of his 11 points in the second half.
Ohio State (15-13, 5-10), which led by as many as 11 in the first half, saw second-half leads of 43-34 and 54-47 dissipate. Nebraska shot 60 percent from beyond the arc in the final 20 minutes.
Jae'Sean Tate had 14 points and 10 rebounds for Ohio State. Loving and 7-foot center Trevor Thompson added 13 points each.
Nebraska's Ed Morrow, who had 10 points and six rebounds, fouled out with 4:43 to go and Watson, the Cornhuskers' second-leading scorer, played most of the second half with four fouls. Ohio State committed just 10 fouls in the game.
Tate had seven early points and Nebraska made just five shots from the field in the first 13 minutes as the Buckeyes built a 22-11 lead.
Tate, Ohio State's leading scorer, had 11 first half points, and the Buckeyes led 30-24 at the break.
Webster scored 11 points on 5-for-6 shooting from the floor and the rest of the Cornhuskers made just 5 of 24 in the first half. Nebraska was outscored 9-2 from the free throw line in the opening 20 minutes.
Webster now has 27 straight games scoring in double figures.
The Cornhuskers, who are 2-10 against the Buckeyes since joining the Big Ten, won for the first time ever in Columbus.
Ohio State falls to 13th in the conference standings and likely will have to play in the first round of the Big Ten tournament.
Both teams play next on Thursday. Ohio State hosts No. 11 Wisconsin, and Nebraska travels to Michigan State.
|Mississippi Valley State||69||vs.||82||Prairie View A&M||Final|
|TCU||71||vs.||84||Iowa State||Final Recap|
Iowa State tops TCU for third straight win
Saturday, February 18 at 8:16 PM (EST)
Nazareth Mitrou-Long scored 25 points and Iowa State topped TCU 84-71 on Saturday evening at Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa.
It was the third consecutive win for the Cyclones (17-9, 9-5 Big 12), who again boosted their tournament resume with just 22 days until Selection Sunday.
TCU, meanwhile, committed 19 turnovers -- 14 of which came in the first half. Jamie Dixon's Horned Frogs (17-10, 6-8) are trending in the wrong direction with March looming. Saturday marked the team's third straight loss.
Iowa State led by 10 at halftime and maintained the lead for the entire second half. Mitrou-Long, a senior guard, had 15 points in the first half, went 8 of 13 from the floor and finished with seven rebounds.
Senior guards Monte Morris and Deonte Burton each scored 18 points for the Cyclones, who shot 50.9 percent from the floor. Morris posted a double-double with a team-high 11 rebounds.
Iowa State hit 12 of 25 3-point attempts and also got 11 points from Donovan Jackson off the bench.
TCU shot 52.7 percent from the floor but was hindered by turnovers.
Sophomore guard Alex Robinson led TCU in points with 16 and in rebounds with eight. Vladimir Brodziansky and Jaylen Fisher evenly split 22 points for the Horned Frogs.
The victory propelled Iowa State into a tie for second place in the Big 12 with West Virginia and Baylor.
The win also gave Iowa State a regular-season split with TCU. The Horned Frogs won 84-77 at home on Jan. 14.
|New Mexico||61||vs.||71||Fresno State||Final|
|Stephen F. Austin||60||vs.||52||Southeastern Louisiana||Final|
No. 19 SMU takes down Houston
Saturday, February 18 at 10:03 PM (EST)
Houston came in hot, but No. 19 SMU avoided getting burned in a 76-66 road win over the Cougars in Houston to hang on to first place in the American Athletic Conference.
SMU (24-4, 14-1 AAC) relied on the strength of forward Semi Ojeleye, who scored 22, and forward Ben Moore, who had 18 points and 13 rebounds, to hold off Houston (18-8, 9-5), which had won five games in a row.
Ojeleye and Moore helped to turn a game that was tied 51-51 with five minutes left into an eight-point SMU advantage. Moore hit a long jumper to put SMU up by five with 3:40 to play, then Ojeleye converted a three-point play for a 61-53 lead with 3:04 left.
"You talk about hearts of lions, I mean, this team are a bunch of lions," SMU coach Tim Jankovich said. "They just refuse to lose, no matter what the situation. No matter what the score. No matter how poorly things are going."
SMU did a lot of damage from the free-throw line, making 22 of 28 foul shots, while Houston was just 5 of 11 from the line.
"Their free throws bailed them out of a lot of possessions," Houston coach Kelvin Sampson said. "They kept being out on the free-throw line. They had a lot of possessions where I felt we guarded them really good, and the next thing you know they get two points from the free-throw line."
Houston guard Rob Gray, the leading scorer in the AAC with a 20.5 average, led the Cougars with 23 points despite playing just 28 minutes because of foul trouble.
After missing a large portion of the first half with two fouls, Gray picked up his fourth with 12:40 left in the second half while Houston was clinging to a 38-35 lead.
Gray went to the bench and did not return until 7:12 remained. SMU took advantage and built a 47-41 lead in Gray's absence.
"Obviously (Gray) was cooking," Sampson said. "He was getting in the lane and getting whatever he wanted. Next thing you know he's sitting beside me."
SMU had its own foul trouble, with point guard Shake Milton sitting after getting tagged for his fourth foul with 15:29 to play.
Guard Damyean Dotson added 19 points for Houston while SMU guard Sterling Brown finished with 16 points despite missing 10 of his first 11 shots.
"They were so sharp on the offensive end," Jankovich said of Houston. "I could see that they had really, really done a great job of dissecting our film from last time and taking advantage of some things."
SMU has won 10 in a row, and 20 of its last 21, to maintain a half-game lead over second-place Cincinnati.
Houston, a team looking to play its way into NCAA Tournament consideration, started hot and shot 60 percent in the first 10 minutes to take a 22-9 lead. And that was with Gray missing a seven-minute portion because of foul trouble.
SMU started 1 of 7 from the field but heated up during a 15-2 run to pull into a tie, 26-26, with a minute left in the first half. Houston recovered briefly to stake a 30-26 lead at halftime.
SMU was playing its third game in six days, a stretch that started with a win over nationally-ranked Cincinnati followed by a 15-point comeback against Tulane. Tired legs may have been a reason the Mustangs were just 4 of 14 from 3-point range.
"I love the fact that we out-rebounded them (40-33) on their floor, that makes me very happy," Jankovich said. "I love the fact we only turned the ball over seven times in a hostile environment. We just didn't shoot the ball well from 3, and if you can win when you do that, that's the best kind of win because you're going to win a lot of games when you shoot well."
NOTES: Houston was SMU's second opponent in a row that had a week's rest. Wednesday, SMU fell behind by 15 at halftime against Tulane, which also had a week off, before coming back to win, 80-75... Saturday's game was one of the last three at Houston's Hofheinz Pavilion. The onetime home of Phi Slama Jama will undergo a $60 million renovation and reopen for the 2018-19 season as the Fertitta Center... SMU won the previous meeting against Houston in Dallas 85-64 on Jan. 21.
|Ole Miss||80||vs.||98||Arkansas||Final Recap|
Arkansas rips Ole Miss behind Macon's career-high 30
Saturday, February 18 at 8:10 PM (EST)
Daryl Macon came off the bench to score a career-high 30 points, leading Arkansas to a 98-80 victory over Ole Miss on Saturday at Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville, Ark.
Macon made 10 of 13 field-goal attempts and 6 of 9 from 3-point range for Arkansas (20-7, 9-5 SEC). Jaylen Barford scored 15 points, Moses Kingsley posted 14 points, 13 rebounds and four blocks, and Anton Beard added 11 points for the Razorbacks, who won their third straight.
Deandre Burnett scored 27 points for Ole Miss (16-11, 7-7), which had won four of its last five. Terence Davis had 24.
The teams exchanged leads numerous times early in the opening period before Arkansas began to take control. The Razorbacks took an 11-10 lead on two free throws by Dustin Thomas, went up 23-16 on a 3-pointer by Macon and extended their lead to 10 on a jumper by Dusty Hannahs.
The Razorbacks led by as many as 12 following a basket by Macon. The Rebels cut the deficit to seven on a layup by Marcanvis Hymon in the final minute of the first half, but a layup by Macon with two seconds remaining gave the Razorbacks a 46-37 lead at the break.
Ole Miss got within six on a couple occasions early in the second half before Arkansas mounted a 19-0 run to pull away. The Razorbacks took a 66-51 lead on a 3-pointer by Macon, went up by 20 on a jumper by Trey Thompson and extended the lead to 24 on two free throws by Beard.
Arkansas shot 47 percent from the field and made 12 of 29 from 3-point range. The Razorbacks also converted 24 of 27 free-throw opportunities.
Ole Miss shot 37.1 percent and made only 8 of 27 from beyond the arc.
Northwestern beats Rutgers for 20th win
Saturday, February 18 at 8:21 PM (EST)
Bryant McIntosh scored 18 points and Dererk Pardon added 12 as Northwestern rallied for a landmark 20th victory with a 69-65 Big Ten decision over Rutgers on Saturday at Welsh-Ryan Arena in Evanston, Ill.
The Wildcats (20-7, 9-5) matched the record for most regular- season wins in school history that was set by the 2015-16 team.
Four players scored in double figures for Rutgers (13-15, 2-13), led by Corey Sanders' 17 points. Nigel Johnson had 16 while Eugene Omoruyi and C.J. Gettys each added 10 as the last-place Scarlett Knights suffered their fourth straight loss.
The Wildcats trailed much of the second half and twice got to within one point before finally going ahead at 65-63 on a McIntosh 3-pointer with 58 seconds showing.
McIntosh missed a 3 pointer with 16 seconds left but was fouled in a rebound battle and hit one of two free throws for a 66-63 Northwestern lead. Vic Law followed with a steal, and he was fouled with eight seconds left. He hit one shot to put the game out of reach at 67-62.
The game marked the return of Northwestern's leading scorer, Scottie Lindsey, who missed four games with mononucleosis. He played 24 minutes and collected six points and four fouls.
The lead changed hands six times in the first half before Northwestern went ahead 18-17 on Barret Benson's layup with 10:25 showing. The Wildcats led by as many as seven points on the way to a 39-36 halftime lead.
NOTES: Rutgers has just one Big Ten road victory after going winless on the road in 2015-16. ... The Scarlet Knights opened the season with 11 wins in 12 games before falling into a seven-game losing streak. ... Rutgers hosts Michigan on Wednesday, part of a three-game season-ending run at home. ... Northwestern set a school record and matched a Big 10 mark with 15 blocks in the season's first meeting against Rutgers on Jan. 12. ... The Wildcats' previous home win over the Scarlett Knights was a 98-59 decision on Feb. 27, 2016. The 39-point margin was Northwestern's largest in a Big Ten game since 1944. ... The Wildcats travel to Illinois on Tuesday.
No. 13 Kentucky rebuffs Georgia
Saturday, February 18 at 9:59 PM (EST)
ATHENS, Ga. -- Kentucky remained in a first-place tie with Florida in the SEC with a thrilling 82-77 victory at Georgia on Saturday that featured 13 ties and 15 lead changes.
"Anytime we win a road game in our league I'm ecstatic," Kentucky coach John Calipari said. "I'd rather learn from a close win than a loss."
The No. 13 Wildcats (22-5, 12-2 SEC) won the game in part by hitting 17 straight free throws down the stretch. Eight of those were by freshman point guard De'Aaron Fox, who scored 10 of Kentucky's final 13 points over the final 2:07.
"This game was knocking down free throws," Fox said. "I just want people to know I can step up in the big moments. Like I've said before, there's been different guys stepping up in those moments and today it was me."
The Wildcats were 23 for 28 from the foul line.
"I loved it. We made free throws, we attacked," Calipari said. "I like the fact that De'Aaron missed two free throws and then came back and made eight in a row."
Fox and freshman guard Malik Monk each scored 16 points. Freshman forward Bam Adebayo had 13 points, eight rebounds and a huge blocked shot that enabled Kentucky to take the lead for good in the closing minute.
But Kentucky also got a huge bump from its senior reserves. Dominque Hawkins and Mychal Mulder each scored nine points and Derek Willis had a team-high 12 rebounds to go with seven points.
"Dom was great and Mychal's playing as well as he's ever played in a Kentucky uniform right now," Calipari said. "Dom has saved us. He's saved us for a couple games now. You look at it and I think he deserves more minutes, and we're gonna have to cut some guys' minutes. Derek did some good stuff today. He's getting more minutes now which gives him more opportunities to rebound."
Junior guard J.J. Frazier scored a career-high 36 points for Georgia (15-12, 6-8).
"J.J. was ridiculous and controlled the whole game," Calipari said. "We had to trap him at the end just to make somebody else try to beat us. I had no choice because of what was going on. We just started sending people at him."
It took less than two minutes for the game to take a major momentum shift when Georgia leading scorer Yante Maten went down with a knee injury at the 18:25 mark.
Sophomore guard Isaiah Briscoe drove the lane to score Kentucky's first points. He was bumped and landed into Maten, who had his leg firmly planted. Maten, who averages 19.3 points, returned to the bench midway through the first half in a brace with an ice pack.
"Obviously, without Yante we had to play a little different at times, and quite frankly, we just didn't rebound the ball in the second half," Georgia coach Mark Fox said. "We had given them I think one or two offensive rebounds in the first half, but as the game wore on, our big guys just wore down. But our kids competed. I feel terrible for them and our fans."
Despite the absence of Maten, the Wildcats held only a 33-31 halftime lead. Monk had eight points and five assists. Adebayo had eight points on 4-of-5 shooting. Kentucky shot 46.2 percent but had nine turnovers.
Georgia got 14 points from Frazier and six from Parker. The Bulldogs shot 45.8 percent despite missing 7 of 8 from 3-point range. Georgia also had nine first-half turnovers.
NOTES: Kentucky leads the series 123-26, including 42-17 in Athens. ... Georgia's Yante Maten is the only player to move from one preseason player of the year watch list to another, from Karl Malone (power forward) to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (center). ... Kentucky G Malik Monk averages 21.4 points. No John Calipari-coached player ever averaged better than 21.2 points.
|Alabama A&M||64||vs.||77||Southern University||Final|
|Alabama State||67||vs.||75||Alcorn State||Final|
|Norfolk State||77||vs.||65||Florida A&M||Final|
|Sunday, February 19, 2017|
|National Hockey League|
|Maple Leafs||vs.||Hurricanes||7:00 (EST) Preview|
Skidding Hurricanes look for turnaround against Maple Leafs
Sunday, February 19 at 1:27 AM (EST)
RALEIGH, N.C. -- The Carolina Hurricanes couldn't have picked a worst time for their offense to hit the skids.
After battling back into playoff contention in the Eastern Conference last month, the Hurricanes have now lost three straight heading into Sunday night's game against Toronto -- one of a handful of teams Carolina is chasing for a final wild-card spot.
The Hurricanes, seven points out of a playoff spot with 28 games remaining, have scored just three total goals in the recent losing streak -- including losses to the two worst defensive teams in the league -- Dallas and Colorado. Carolina also got shut out at Washington.
Two players in particular who were producing earlier -- Victor Rask and Derek Ryan -- have gone stone cold, each without a point in the last 12 games. And while Jeff Skinner did register the team's lone goal in a 2-1 overtime loss Friday night to Colorado to start a five-game homestand, the team's leading scorer has just three points over that same 12-game span.
"Not starting with the puck very much," Peters said of Rask's slump. "That line is getting dominated on faceoffs a little bit and when that happens that means you are defending, and when you're defending it's tough. I would recommend starting with the puck.
"We'll look at it again to see if we need to make any line changes but eventually those guys aren't getting it done and aren't generating as much as they should," Peters added. "The guys need to step up. That would be the best solution with the problem we have with a lack of offense."
Peters expected the worst as far as his team's timing coming off the NHL's mandatory five-day break, and it unfolded in front of his eyes against the Avalanche -- the worst team in the league.
The Hurricanes have just a Saturday practice to try and get some rhythm back.
"It was rough. Lots of pucks in our feet, lots of turnovers," Peters said.
Skinner said the offensive problems cut deeper than rust from a few days off.
"Having four lines that can play is a must when you get into a situation like this so you share the work load," Skinner said. "We probably need to hang on to pucks more in the offensive end to create more zone time."
Carolina beat Toronto 2-1 in late November, but the Maple Leafs are a different team these days with three of their star rookies -- Mitchell Marner, Auston Matthews and William Nylander -- combing for 57 goals and 132 total points.
Still, the Maple Leafs have sputtered at times recently, holding a 3-4-2 record this month after Saturday night's 6-3 home lost to the Ottawa Senators.
Maybe the Hurricanes' offensive woes can receive a boost against a Toronto team that has allowed five or more goals in four of the last nine games.
"We're a work in progress," Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock said. "We'll try to get better and we'll keep working on that."
The Maple Leafs haven't strung much together recently, so consistency is something to be addressed.
"That's part of being a good pro is bringing it every night," Babcock said. "There isn't anything about tricks (for games on back-to-back nights). It's real simple, you've got to win on a nightly basis if you want to be in playoffs."
|Lightning||vs.||Avalanche||8:00 (EST) Preview|
Lightning seek valuable two points against struggling Avalanche
Saturday, February 18 at 11:25 PM (EST)
The Tampa Bay Lightning went to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2015 and were a game away from going back last season.
This year they're simply fighting for their playoff lives and the Lightning will try to get two valuable points when they visit the Colorado Avalanche Sunday night.
With 25 games left Tampa Bay (25-24-8) is 14th in the Eastern Conference standings but only five points behind Toronto, which is in the second and final playoff spot.
The Lightning gained a point in a 4-3 overtime loss to Dallas on Saturday night after six days off. Tampa Bay also got a boost Saturday with the return of Tyler Johnson, who had missed two games with a lower-body injury and had a goal and an assist against the Stars.
Jonathan Drouin played despite missing the morning skate with an illness.
Tampa Bay won three of four before its break but it still has five teams ahead in the standings. It shows how tough it has been to gain ground in the competitive Eastern Conference.
"We're winning just to stay where we're at," center Brian Boyle told The Tampa Bay Times.
Boyle has played despite rumors that he could be dealt before the March 1 deadline. He has said he is happy living in Tampa but understands the NHL is a business.
"If teams want you, it means you're doing something right," Boyle told The Tampa Bay Times. "I want to add something to this team. I want to be an impact player, help us get to where we want to go. That's the way I've approached (the trade rumors). It's what's best for our team. Stuff like that, you have no control over."
The Avalanche (16-38-2) haven't done much winning since early in the season. Friday's 2-1 overtime win in Carolina salvaged the last game of a five-game road trip and also snapped a five-game losing streak.
Colorado is 7-29-2 since mid-November and has scored a league-low 111 goals.
The Avalanche are also last in goal differential at minus-76. The worst season since moving to Denver has made Colorado sellers as the trading deadline nears.
General manager Joe Sakic has already moved Cody McLeod but with 10 days left before the deadline there has been rumors surrounding Matt Duchene and Gabriel Landeskog but no deals made.
"There have been a lot of conversations about a lot of different things," Sakic told The Denver Post. "We're in this position, so we're certainly not going to be buyers at the deadline. We're going to listen to offers. That's where we're at."
Duchene has spoken openly about the rumors and has said he understands why his name is thrown around. But Sakic has said that he would not trade a player just to shake things up and reiterated that no deal is better than a bad deal.
"We want to start our rebuilding process and get younger," he told The Denver Post. "I'm not looking to do something big. If something happens, I will listen to get exactly what we want to help the team in the future, and we'll certainly listen and think about it. But if not, I'm continuing to go into the summer and see how we can improve in the summer. There's no real deadline that way. But we'll look at all options to get better."
For now the Avalanche roster remains intact but things could change before March 1. For the Lightning, getting Johnson back helps with the extended absence of Steven Stamkos, who hasn't played since hurting his knee against Detroit on Nov. 15, and his goal-scoring has been sorely missed.
They might not need him Sunday night against Colorado, which is just 7-19-1 at home and has struggled to score at Pepsi Center.
|Bruins||vs.||Sharks||8:30 (EST) Preview|
Bruins visit Sharks after taking break
Sunday, February 19 at 12:33 AM (EST)
Replacing Claude Julien with Bruce Cassidy behind the bench paid immediate dividends for the Boston Bruins. The real test begins Sunday night.
The Bruins, coming off an extended break, open the California portion of a four-game road trip against Brent Burns and the San Jose Sharks as the Pacific Division leaders look to get back on track at home.
Julien, the all-time wins leader of the Original Six club and a Stanley Cup winner, was fired by the Bruins on Feb. 7 and replaced with Cassidy, an assistant under Julien who previously spent five seasons coaching Boston's top farm team.
The early results are positive. Boston (29-23-6) improved to 3-0-0 under their new bench boss with a 4-0 victory Feb. 12 over the Montreal Canadiens, who fired coach Michel Therrien two days later and replace him with Julien for the second time.
Bruins defenseman Torey Krug said he appreciates Cassidy's cerebral approach to the game.
"He's so smart, and everything he does has a purpose, so I think whether it's practice plans or trying to get the attention of a guy in the locker room, he does it with a purpose, and that's going to be important for us moving forward," Krug told the league's official website upon Cassidy's promotion.
Three days before the win over the Canadiens, Boston defeated San Jose 6-3 in Cassidy's debut behind a season-high four points (goal, three assists) from Patrice Bergeron and two goals from David Pastrnak.
Bergeron and Pastrnak are two of five players to each record at least four points since the coaching change. Bergeron needs one assist to become the eighth player in team history with 400 assists.
However, the player who may have benefitted most from Cassidy's promotion is David Krejci. He's recorded a goal and four assists in the last three games after managing 34 points (13 goals, 21 assists) in his first 54 contests.
While the Bruins are perfect under Cassidy, they've managed only eight goals while dropping three of their last four at SAP Center.
Tuukka Rask is expected to start in goal and try to shake his recent struggles away from home. In his last four road games, Rask is 1-2-1 with a 4.18 goals-against average and .833 save percentage.
Playing in San Jose, he's lost twice and stopped only 61 of 71 shots after blanking the Sharks on Jan. 11, 2014.
Though San Jose is 18-7-3 at home, it will try to avoid its fourth loss in five games in northern California. Despite the home ice slump, the Sharks (35-18-6) have a four-point lead over the Edmonton Oilers and six points more than the Anaheim Ducks.
The Sharks return home after Saturday's 4-1 victory over the Arizona Coyotes thanks -- again -- to Burns as he recorded his 20th multi-point game of the season.
Burns scored twice, giving him 27 goals in 59 games to equal his career best set in 82 games in 2015-16. He will try to become the first defenseman with at least 28 goals since 2008-09 when Mike Green scored 31 with the Washington Capitals.
Burns also has 63 points -- good for third in the league in scoring behind Sidney Crosby (64) of the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Edmonton Oilers' Connor McDavid (67).
"He's having an MVP season," Sharks coach Peter DeBoer said of Burns. "He's been that good for us and it's every night. ... In my mind, he's the best player in the league and we're happy to have him on our team."
No defenseman has won the Hart Trophy since the St. Louis Blues' Chris Pronger in 1999-2000.
This may also be the final time that Joe Thornton gets to bedevil the franchise that selected him first overall in the 1997 draft.
Thronton registered at least one point in 10 of 14 career games versus the Bruins, with three goals and four assists during a five-game streak. With a helper Friday, Thornton has assists in four straight games as part of a six-game run.
The 37-year-old, who is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent this summer, needs two assists to become the 13th player to reach 1,000 for his career.
After rookie Aaron Dell stopped 36 shots Saturday, Martin Jones is expected to make his 50th start for San Jose.
Jones surrendered a career high-tying six goals in an overtime loss to the Florida Panthers on Wednesday. In the loss to Boston on Feb. 9, Jones was also lifted after allowing three first-period goals on 12 shots.
Jones never faced Boston in San Jose.
|Kings||vs.||Ducks||9:00 (EST) Preview|
Slumping rivals clash as Ducks host Kings
Sunday, February 19 at 1:32 AM (EST)
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Two Western Conference contenders and intense rivals -- both trending downward -- will face each other Sunday night when the Los Angeles Kings visit the Anaheim Ducks at the Honda Center.
The Ducks lost five of seven games after positioning themselves within one point of first place in the Pacific Division on Jan. 31. As a result, Anaheim enters Sunday night's game in third place, six points behind the division-leading San Jose Sharks and two behind the second-place Edmonton Oilers.
The Kings, two points behind the Nashville Predators and Calgary Flames in the race for the final wild-card berth, allowed 21 goals in their past five games and lost four of them.
Los Angeles goalie Peter Budaj conceded 20 of those goals and absorbed the four defeats. Before his current funk, Budaj won 25 games, seven of them by shutout to share the NHL lead in that category with the Washington Capitals' Braden Holtby.
Budaj, an 11-year veteran who spent the past two seasons in the AHL, replaced Jonathan Quick when the former winner of the Conn Smythe Trophy injured his groin during the season opener Oct. 12. Quick is scheduled to return next month.
"We need better goaltending to be a better team," Kings coach Darryl Sutter told the Los Angeles Times. "There are mistakes every shift. Goaltending takes care of all that."
Budaj's teammates, however, would not exculpate themselves so easily.
"The majority of them are coming off our mistakes, pretty significant mistakes," Kings center Anze Kopitar told the Times regarding the deluge of opposing goals. "That's what's killing us right now."
Left winger Dwight King elaborated.
"The majority of them are just coverage plays and basic reads that usually guys are sharp on," King told the Times. "Throughout the season most teams have little lulls with the intensity of the game and the attention to detail that needs to be in place -- and we've wavered there."
Anaheim has its own defensive problems to confront, especially during the second period. Opponents outscored the Ducks 63-51 during the middle period this season. The Florida Panthers continued that trend Friday night by scoring three goals in less than six minutes during a 4-1 rout in Anaheim.
"We turned the puck over too much," Ducks left winger Andrew Cogliano said. "That was the difference. If we want to be a good team as we start getting down to the stretch run, we've got to limit them. We need to start tightening things up."
During Saturday's practice, the Ducks concentrated on achieving that goal.
"When you go through rough stretches, usually what you resort back to is defensive-zone coverage, special teams and your forecheck," Anaheim coach Randy Carlyle said afterward. "If you're neat and tidy in the defensive zone, it usually leads to offense on the other side of the puck, at least to more offensive-zone time."
Center Antoine Vermette will practice with the team while appealing his 10-game suspension for slashing linesman Shandor Alphonso's legs while waiting for a faceoff in Tuesday night's 1-0 win against the Minnesota Wild. Vermette has won 62.4 percent of his face-offs to rank second in the league. The 34-year old had never been fined or suspended during his 13-year career before the incident.
|Flyers||vs.||Canucks||10:00 (EST) Preview|
Flyers aim to improve scoring in matchup with Canucks
Sunday, February 19 at 2:06 AM (EST)
VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- Philadelphia Flyers captain Claude Giroux has no doubt about why his team is struggling lately. The Flyers are 2-4-1 in their last seven games and have been outscored 17-10 in those games.
In today's tight-checking NHL, such a gap can be considered a canyon and Philadelphia will try to improve its offensive game Sunday against the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena.
"We have to find a way to produce (goals)," said Giroux referring to his line and the team after practice Saturday.
"If we knew (the cause of the struggles) we would have fixed it four of five games ago," Giroux. "We're getting a lot of shots on the net."
The Flyers' scoring troubles are reflected in Giroux's own output. He has only two goals in his last 23 games.
"I'm getting five shots every game, so I'm doing something right," Giroux said.
On the road though, things have not gone right for the Flyers. They are 2-10-2 in their last 14 games outside of Philadelphia. They have gone 0-6-2 in their past eight games in Western Canada.
"We've been playing good defensively," said Giroux. "We weren't good up in Edmonton (in a one-sided 6-3 loss to the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday), but the last six or seven games before, defensively, we were very strong."
The Flyers will attempt to boost their production while making a forced change to their second line. Journeyman winger Dale Weise, who has played sparingly of late, will replace injured rookie Jordan Weal (upper body) alongside top scorer Jakub Voracek and Sean Couturier on Philadelphia's second line.
"I?m glad to be back in the lineup," Weise said. "You never want to be out of the lineup. It's frustrating. I'm just trying to do my work here in practice and trying to be ready when I can, and I think this is a pretty good opportunity to come in and play with two good players, so I'm looking forward to it."
Weal, a 24-year-old North Vancouver native, had stood out in only three games since being called up from the minors and there is little doubt that he would have played Sunday if he were healthy.
Weise, a former Canuck, will get a chance to show his value after being healthy scratch in the past two games and seven of the last 12 overall.
"It's probably the most difficult season I've ever had," said Weise, 28. "I've never been scratched this much in my life. A couple games in a row, I've never been through that before."
He is grateful for the fresh start and aims to improve on a modest two goals and three assists in 46 appearances this season.
"I'm just really hoping to get in and just find a way to contribute and get a couple bounces and score a number of goals," Weise said.
He has only one point in his last 29 games and has not scored since Nov. 23.
"He's got a great opportunity to go in and to step in and to help our team," Flyers coach Dave Hakstol said.
The Flyers are battling to stay in playoff contention in the Eastern Conference. Meanwhile, the Canucks will try to improve their playoff hopes in the West while facing the possibility of considerable fatigue.
Sunday will be the second of back-to-back home games for the Canucks following a difficult six-game U.S. road trip.
"We have a challenge coming in," said Canucks coach Willie Desjardins, whose club beat Calgary 2-1 in overtime Saturday night. "They're a fresh team."
Sunday's game will be Vancouver's third in four nights but Alex Burrows isn't fretting about the quick turnaround.
"That's the NHL. That's the NHL schedule," Burrows said. "You have a World Cup at the beginning of the year and a bye week, too, so it's a compressed schedule, and there's nothing we can do. We moved across the U.S. there for a two-week period. It was a lot of traveling, but we just come back, try to make sure (we're) energized and put in our best effort."
The Canucks faced the Flames and Burrows is confident that they can excel against the Flyers.
"I don't think (the second game in two nights) will be that much harder," he said. "Sometimes you feel better when you play back-to-back, because you're still in game mode. The other team has been off for a few days, so they're not as sharp or as crisp as they want to be. Sometimes, that's an advantage, especially early on. And, if you can get the lead early, it's always tough for a team to come back."
The Canucks and Flyers rarely face each other. They will meet for the second and last time this season, but captain Henrik Sedin still feels they know enough about the Flyers, who posted a 5-4 shootout victory Jan. 12 in Philadelphia.
Teams are scouted so well," Sedin said. "When we came into the league, there (were) no videos. Now, you spend an hour looking at the (penalty kill), power play, five-on-five. There's not a whole lot of secrets out there."
|Capitals||vs.||Rangers||12:30 (EST) Preview|
Capitals, Rangers look to bounce back off losses
Saturday, February 18 at 8:32 PM (EST)
NEW YORK -- For the past two weeks, the Washington Capitals and New York Rangers are mirror images.
The Rangers won six in row until a 4-2 road loss to the New York Islanders on Thursday brought the streak to an end.
The Capitals won six straight before a 3-2 road shootout setback to the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday afternoon halted their run.
So either the Rangers or the Capitals start a new win streak Sunday afternoon as the teams meet at Madison Square Garden in New York. Washington is 19-2-2 in its last 23 games and leads the NHL with 85 points.
Washington's loss to Detroit was the result of a slow start following their five-day mandated break. It fell behind 2-0 before rallying to force overtime but much like many teams in the NHL this year dealing with the first game after a week off, they looked rusty and suffered a loss.
"In your head, you haven't played for a week, and you're getting used to thinking the game fast again," Capitals forward Lars Eller said to the Washington Post. "Everybody was thinking a little too slow, especially in the first period, we were playing slow because we were kind of moving the puck slow. It wasn't a lack of willingness. It was just too slow thinking, and then we looked slow. But it got better."
"In the first period, we were trying to catch the train a little bit," Capitals coach Barry Trotz said. "Coming off the break, you can try all you want, but you've got to play through it. We knew it going to be a little bit of a challenge, and it was."
It won't get any easier for the NHL's top team Sunday as New York had two days off while Washington takes the ice less than 24 hours after losing at Joe Louis Arena.
When the Rangers lost Thursday, it was the same reason they've dropped most of their games this season -- the defense. Henrik Lundqvist has been asked to do a lot this season but he couldn't cover his teammates' mistakes in Brooklyn. But while the defensemen have had problems all year, there hasn't been much help from the forwards, either.
"There's no doubt we have five guys standing around looking at two of their players making plays in front of our net," Rangers coach Alain Vigneault told the New York Post. "There's no doubt that one put us behind the eight ball early in the third."
"I feel like the third one is a killer," Lundqvist told the Post of the short-handed goal that put the Rangers behind 3-1 early in the third period. "Power play, sometimes when you're an extra man you might rely on someone else to do the job, and I think that's what happened. We didn't communicate enough in front of the net to sort it out, and that was difference."
If the Rangers want to take advantage of a Capitals team that will either be rusty from a layoff or tired from playing the day before, they'll need a more complete effort than the one they had Thursday. The good news for the Rangers is they've won four straight at home after struggling at MSG for more than a month, while Washington has a hard time scoring on the road.
In their last five home games, the Capitals have 27 goals. In their last five road games, they scored 12.
If the Rangers find themselves chasing the Capitals, who have the NHL's best record (33-4-4) when scoring first, they probably won't catch them.
|Red Wings||vs.||Penguins||3:00 (EST) Preview|
Red Wings, Penguins bring best out in each other
Saturday, February 18 at 7:52 PM (EST)
PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Penguins and Detroit Red Wings had a decent rivalry going for a stretch of years, dating to the Red Wings' time in the Western Conference when the teams met in the 2008 and '09 Stanley Cup final - with each team winning once.
That has died back a lot now. There is a great disparity in the franchises' place in the NHL as they prepare to meet in a national network game Sunday afternoon at PPG Paints Arena.
The Penguins are still contenders, while Detroit is languishing at the bottom of the standings in the East.
The Red Wings (23-25-10) had to claw to get a 3-2 shootout win Saturday against Washington after blowing a two-goal lead. That ended a five-game losing streak.
Now Detroit goes on the road for the second of back-to-back games against another one of the East's powerhouses.
"We're going in and playing a good team (Sunday)," Red Wings leading scorer Henrik Zetterberg said. "If we have the same effort that we had (Saturday), we will have a good chance. We've just got to keep going."
The matchup might not have the same feel as in some recent seasons, but the Red Wings are finding motivation nonetheless.
"We have a lot of pride," center Dylan Larkin told the Detroit Free Press. "We want to close out this year and do everything we can to give us a good run."
Petr Mrazek (13-15-6) is expected to start in goal for the Red Wings for the second day in a row. The Penguins are expected to go with Matt Murray (21-6-3) in net.
"You can't ask any more from Petr, I would say the last four or five starts, but we haven't been able to get him the Ws," Zetterberg said. "We've just got to find a way to score goals."
Pittsburgh (36-13-8) is on a run of nine games with at least a point (6-0-3) and is in a tight race with Washington, Columbus and the Rangers for the top spot or two in the Metropolitan Division and the Eastern Conference.
The defending Stanley Cup champions can feel the stretch run bearing down on them.
"Regardless of who we play, we want to make sure we're building our game into a playoff identity," Penguins defenseman Brian Dumoulin told the Pittsburgh Tribune Review. "That obviously starts now."
The Penguins will honor center Sidney Crosby in a brief pregame ceremony for reaching 1,000 points on Thursday night. Their other all-world center, Evgeni Malkin, won't have anything special planned for reaching 500 assists on Friday night, but Pittsburgh is thrilled to have him healthy and on the ice.
Malkin, in three games back from a left leg injury, has two goals, three assists. He also has been physical and beyond, standing up for himself and teammates and three penalties.
"There's a fine line. We don't want him to be in the penalty box. He's too valuable for us on the ice. We want to keep him on the ice as best we can," Pittsburgh coach Mike Sullivan said. "But he's an emotional player, and he plays the game hard. That's a part of it.
"I think 'Geno' is playing extremely well right now. He's playing a hard game. As long as he's doing that and maintains a level of discipline when he can, then he's going to help us win."
While Malkin found being sidelined for seven games by his injury frustrating, he admits to benefiting from the time off.
"I'm a little bit fresh," he said. "I (hadn't) played in two weeks. That's a long time for me. I'm excited to be back. I'm having fun. I'm enjoying playing."
|Jets||vs.||Senators||5:00 (EST) Preview|
Jets aim to fly past Senators
Sunday, February 19 at 1:13 AM (EST)
OTTAWA -- The Ottawa Senators might want to ask their dads to hang around a little longer.
After being involved in 26 one-goal games, they won both stops on their annual "Father's Trip" by a combined score of 9-3, including a 6-3 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday.
That win pulled the Senators (31-19-6) to within two points of the Montreal Canadiens for first place in the Atlantic Division, while Ottawa has three games in hand.
The Senators return home Sunday to face the Winnipeg Jets (27-29-5), who lent them a helping hand by defeating the Canadiens 3-1 Saturday afternoon. The Jets have their noses pressed up against the glass as they look in at the Western Conference playoff picture.
The Senators (twice) and Jets scored empty-net goals on Saturday to alter the look of what had been close games in the final minutes.
"We've had three really, really strong games, and more of the same tonight," Jets coach Paul Maurice said after the victory in Montreal. "Really strong with our gap, not giving the other team a whole lot, and getting enough offense. This time of the year, you're probably not going to see the 7-6 games anymore and you're going to get the 2-1 games. We were comfortable with that and played well."
While Winnipeg is 10-9-5 in one goal games, the Senators are even better when the going gets close, compiling a 13-7-6 in games decided by just one score.
More significantly, the Senators are 5-1-1 in the second of back-to-back games this season. The Jets are 4-4-2 on the back half of two in a row.
"We've got a big game (Sunday) and then we've got four more on the road," winger Mark Stone said Saturday night, after leading the Senators with a goal and four assists. "We've got to take full advantage of these games in hand we have on the other teams."
The Senators almost let two points slip away on Saturday, when they blew a two-goal lead and fell behind 3-2 early in the third. But they were able to bounce back for their fourth victory in five games.
"That's just the maturity we're gaining over time," Senators coach Guy Boucher said. "Collectively, the team has grown dramatically in having poise, in executing under pressure. That's what mental toughness is."
The Jets have now grabbed five of a possible six points since ending a four-game losing streak earlier this week.
"We've been playing some good hockey," said winger Mathieu Perreault, who scored the winner in Montreal. "We've been a lot more physical as of late and it changes everything for us. It creates space on the ice and teams get rid of the puck a little bit sooner than they normally would, and it creates tons of room for us."
The Senators have not revealed their goaltending plans for Sunday. Craig Anderson made 34 saves in Toronto, but Mike Condon picked up his fifth shutout of the season against the Devils in New Jersey on Thursday.
Winnipeg's Connor Hellebuyck made 19 saves in Montreal, his sixth consecutive appearance.
|Blackhawks||vs.||Sabres||6:00 (EST) Preview|
Sabres host Blackhawks with playoff spot within reach
Saturday, February 18 at 11:49 PM (EST)
BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The Buffalo Sabres have a chance to head into their week off on a high note -- one that seemed close to impossible only a few weeks ago.
Buffalo rides a three-game winning streak into Sunday afternoon's game against the Chicago Blackhawks and a victory could move them into the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference.
"We're looking at stringing three together, being four of five here," Sabres coach Dan Bylsma said. "And when you're playing games that close together it adds up pretty quickly when you can win three in a row, you can get four of five and add eight points to the column ... and we've got one more chance at it before the break here."
The Sabres (26-23-10) are coming off a 3-2 victory over the St. Louis Blues on Saturday. Buffalo ended a six-game win streak for the Blues by jumping out to a 3-1 lead and holding off an aggressive attack in the third period.
One key for the Sabres in recent games has been the play of goaltender Robin Lehner. Ever since calling out his teammates following a loss to Vancouver one week ago, Lehner has been exceptional and his teammates responded in kind.
Lehner made 37 saves against St. Louis and made sure Buffalo remained on top despite being outshot 17-7 in the third period.
"As I said before, it's the small, minor details that's been hurting us," Lehner said. "It's not been many times this year where I felt we could complain about our effort. ... Slowly but surely we're starting to put them together but still, we've got a big game here (Sunday)."
Power forward Evander Kane is leading the way on offense for Buffalo with six goals in his past six games. Kane had a goal and an assist against St. Louis, reaching the 20-goal mark for the second season in a row.
"(Chicago has) a lot of talent up front, they're a puck possession team, and we're going to have to have a lot of what we had tonight," Kane said.
The Blackhawks (35-18-5) had a five-game win streak come to a close Saturday in a 3-1 home loss to the Edmonton Oilers. Chicago was playing for the first time in a week after defeating Edmonton 5-1 and Winnipeg 5-2.
The Blackhawks fell Saturday despite putting 39 shots on net.
"I didn't mind how we played," Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said. "I still thought we had generated enough throughout the game. Didn't give up much. I think we'd probably be happy with that effort or that game for most nights and generally would come out with something better than a loss."
Buffalo native Patrick Kane leads the Blackhawks in points with 58 (19 goals, 39 assists).
|Devils||vs.||Islanders||6:00 (EST) Preview|
Devils, Islanders look to gain ground in rematch
Sunday, February 19 at 1:36 AM (EST)
NEW YORK -- A pair of teams looking to gain valuable ground in the jumbled Eastern Conference wild card race will play for the second time in as many nights Sunday, when the New York Islanders host the New Jersey Devils at Barclays Center.
The Devils further complicated the wild card race on Saturday, when they held off a furious late comeback by the Islanders to earn a 3-2 victory at Prudential Center.
Devante Smith-Pelly, Travis Zajac and Pavel Zacha scored as the Devils carried a 3-0 lead into the final 17 minutes, but Andrew Ladd and Anthony Beauvillier scored for the Islanders, who missed a chance to tie the game in the final 90 seconds when Nick Leddy's shot at an open net bounced off a post.
With the win, the Devils (25-23-10) kept the Islanders (26-21-10) from moving into a tie for the second wild card. New York is two points behind the Boston Bruins, who have 64 points, while New Jersey trails the Bruins by four points.
The Islanders and Devils are among six teams within six points of the second wild card.
"Tonight was a playoff-type atmosphere and this is where you grow," Devils head coach John Hynes told The Bergen Record.?
The Islanders will be looking to grow off an impressive offensive effort Saturday, when they lost despite outshooting the Devils 42-21.
"I thought we deserved better," interim Islanders head coach Doug Weight told reporters afterward. "We were the better team tonight.
"We need to start better, start (Sunday) the way we finished this one."
The Islanders will be doubly focused Sunday, when they play their final home game before heading out on a nine-game three-week road trip -- the longest road trip in franchise history in terms of both games and days away from home. New York won't return to Brooklyn until it hosts the Carolina Hurricanes on March 13.
The Islanders are just 7-13-4 on the road and 8-0-2 at home since Weight took over for Jack Capuano on Jan. 17.
"There's nothing to say about this one," Weight told reporters Saturday night. "Except we have to win on the road if we're going anywhere."
The Devils anticipated late Saturday that the Islanders would be well-prepared for Sunday's rematch.
"Hopefully we come with that mindset and know it's going to be a grind," Devils center Travis Zajac told The Record. "We're going to have to do things that make them uncomfortable on the ice and that's how we win this time of the year."
Neither Weight nor Hynes said who would start in goal for their respective teams'on Sunday, which leaves open the possibility that the Islanders' Thomas Greiss and the Devils' Cory Schneider will again face each other in a battle of no. 1 netminders.
Schneider made 40 saves Saturday, the third time this season he's recorded at least 40 saves while Greiss' 18 saves marked the fewest he's made in a full game this year.
Islanders backup Jean-Francois Berube and Devils second-stringer Keith Kinkaid have combined to make just 19 starts this season.
|Predators||vs.||Blue Jackets||6:00 (EST) Preview|
Blue Jackets host Predators before taking a break
Sunday, February 19 at 1:00 AM (EST)
The Columbus Blue Jackets have started to do the right things again. The Nashville Predators would like the backsliding to stop.
Playing their final game before going on an extended break, the Blue Jackets hope to continue their latest surge when they meet the struggling Predators on Sunday evening.
The Blue Jackets are looking for a split of the season series with their former division rival after losing 4-3 in Nashville on Jan. 26. Columbus has won four of its last five at home over the Predators.
Columbus also goes for its fifth win in seven games after topping the Pittsburgh Penguins 2-1 in overtime on Brandon Dubinsky's game-winner on Friday. That moved the Blue Jackets one point behind the Penguins for second place in the Metropolitan Division and six points in back of the first-place Washington Capitals, who are visiting the New York Rangers Sunday afternoon.
After being blanked by the Vancouver Canucks on Feb. 9, Columbus has taken three of four, including a pair of one-goal decisions.
"We're starting to play the right way consistently," Dubinsky told the Blue Jackets' official website. "We talked about this all year. It's a long season, and we went through a period where we weren't playing our best hockey. I think we're back to playing the way we want to and we're getting results because of it."
Dubinsky has two goals and three assists as part of a season-high four-game points streak. He's also not the only one who's been surging recently. Seth Jones has four assists while Boone Jenner and Nick Foligno have each scored twice in four games.
Cam Atkinson needs one goal to set a new career high, but he's also faltered against the Predators with one goal in 12 career games. The sixth-year pro remains the team's leader with 27 goals and 50 points.
In goal, Sergei Bobrovsky is 2-2-0 in his last four starts despite stopping 114 of 122 shots in that span for a .934 save percentage. In his last home start against Nashville in November 2015, Bobrovsky stopped 39 shots in a 4-0 victory.
Following this contest, the Blue Jackets won't play again until Saturday when it wraps up a season-high seven-game homestand against the New York Islanders.
Nashville (27-22-8) is in the middle of a stretch of three games in four nights. The Predators returned from their bye week with their fourth loss in six games, 5-2 to the Minnesota Wild on Saturday.
"It's that time of the year where these points are important," Nashville center Vernon Fiddler told the team's official website. "If you get the two points, you have to put it in the bank and move on to the next one and get those two points. With the loss, you've got to do the same thing. You can't lose two in a row, and we lost this one, but we've got to get back on the horse and get back at it tomorrow."
Colin Wilson scored and assisted on P.K. Subban's marker while Pekka Rinne stopped 28 of 32 shots.
"We'll look at some stuff tomorrow morning, I'm sure, and things we can do better, but our guys, we competed hard," Nashville center Ryan Johansen told the team's website. That's the main thing, so as long as we lace them up again tomorrow and have the same work ethic, hopefully a couple bounces will go our way and stay out of the box a little more, and we'll be successful."
This game marks the return of Johansen to Ohio's capital after Nashville acquired him for Jones on Jan. 6, 2016.
In 99 games since the deal, Johansen leads the Preds with 74 points -- one more than Filip Forsberg. This season, Johansen is Nashville's top scorer with 40 points (nine goals, 31 assists).
Rinne, who has alternated losses and wins in his last seven starts, is 8-10-2 with a 2.71 goals-against average on the road. He is 5-7-0 in Columbus over his career.
Columbus is expected to have Scott Hartnell back in the lineup after missing two games with a lower-body injury. Hartnell, who played with Nashville from 2000 to 2007, has 13 goals and 17 assists 55 games but hasn't had a point in his last six contests.
|Saturday, February 18, 2017|
|National Hockey League|
Devils win front of end of pair against Islanders
Saturday, February 18 at 11:05 PM (EST)
NEWARK, N.J. -- In an important division battle pitting one team struggling mightily on home ice and another with a league-low seven victories on the road, the New Jersey Devils got the best of the visiting New York Islanders, skating to a 3-2 victory on Saturday night at the Prudential Center.
The win was only the third in their past 12 home games for the Devils (25-23-10). The Islanders (26-21-10) lost their third straight road game.
The two teams will switch sides Sunday when the Islanders host the Devils at the Barclays Center in the back end of this weekend home-and-home set.
"We know we have to bounce back," Islanders defenseman Calvin de Haan said. "The good thing about the back to back is that we get right back at it (Sunday)."
Cory Schneider excelled in goal for the Devils, finishing with 40 saves, including 20 in the second period when New Jersey was outshot 20-8 yet managed to score the only goal of the period.
"He's our best player," New Jersey's Devante Smith-Pelly said of Schneider. "That's what we expect of him, and that's the way we know he can play. He was great tonight."
Schneider's most important save came at 8:10 of the first period when he denied Islanders captain John Tavares with his right pad on a penalty shot. The clutch stop came exactly one minute after the Devils had taken a 1-0 lead on Smith-Pelly's third goal of the season.
"(Tavares) likes to come in slow and maybe pick up a little speed and make a play in tight," said Schneider, who has now faced 16 penalty shots in his career, and stopped all but two. "I just tried to be patient, hold my ground, because he's got great hands and great patience; and I was able to get just enough of it."
New Jersey's Travis Zajac also played an important role in the victory, producing his seventh multiple-point game of the season by scoring his 11th goal and assisting on Smith-Pelly's goal.
In addition, a hard-hit by Zajac near the Devils net briefly sent the Islanders top goal scorer, Anders Lee, to the dressing room in the first period.
After being a healthy scratch in six straight games, and eight of 10, Smith-Pelly beat Islanders goalie Thomas Greiss between the pads on a breakaway 7:10 into the game for his first goal since Nov. 17, giving the Devils an early 1-0 lead.
"I don't know if you could see it on my face, but I was super relieved to contribute like that," Smith-Pelly said.
Zajac, who sprung Smith-Pelly with a perfect head-man bank pass off the right-wing boards, made it 2-0 New Jersey with a short-handed goal at 8:49 of the second period. The short-handed goal was the fifth for the Devils this season and came off a left-wing snipe after a two-on-one feed from Adam Henrique.
"Being able to score short-handed, I think it definitely took some wind out of their sails," Zajac said.
Devils rookie Pavel Zacha scored a power play goal at 6:21 of the third before Andrew Ladd snapped Schneider's shutout bid at 8:58. The goal was Ladd's 15th of the season, third in the past two games and seventh in the last 11.
The Islanders cut the Devils' lead to 3-2 with 6:12 remaining in regulation on Anthony Beauvillier's fifth goal, but could not finish the comeback despite a late power play during which Nick Leddy rang a shot off the post.
"How many games are you going to lose when you get 42 shots to 21?" Islanders coach Doug Weight said. "We played well enough to win, but we didn't. We had a strong finish and have to carry that momentum into (Sunday)."
NOTES: The Devils traded C Sergey Kalinin to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday afternoon in exchange for D Viktor Loov, who was then assigned to Albany (AHL). Loov, 24, has four games of NHL experience. ... Veteran Devils LW Michael Cammalleri was a healthy scratch for the first time this season. Cammalleri has not scored a goal in 18 consecutive games, and has only one in his last 33. ... New Jersey also scratched D Seth Helgeson. ... The Islanders were again without RW Cal Clutterbuck (lower body) and C Shane Prince (upper body). D Adam Pelech was a healthy scratch.
Oilers claim road win over Blackhawks
Saturday, February 18 at 10:42 PM (EST)
CHICAGO -- When the Edmonton Oilers finished the first period with four shots on goal and were still deadlocked in a scoreless tie with the Chicago Blackhawks Saturday night, Milan Lucic told his teammates to take heart.
Despite coming off a bye week, the Blackhawks came out firing and outplayed the Oilers in every facet, putting Edmonton in a fortunate spot despite its performance over the first 20 minutes.
That's where Cam Talbot entered the picture.
Talbot made 38 saves and Lucic, Matt Benning and Connor McDavid scored goals as the Oilers snapped the Blackhawks' five-game winning streak with a 3-1 victory.
The Oilers' third straight victory, came a week after they (32-19-8) were soundly defeated by the Blackhawks in their first game coming out of the bye week. Edmonton returned the favor Saturday night.
"We were just trying to get a big two points in a tough building to play in," Talbot said. "We let (the loss to the Blackhawks) go a while ago, we knew it wasn't our best game."
Neither was Saturday's, but Talbot made sure the Blackhawks (35-18-5) weren't able to capitalize on their fast start and extend their win streak.
"It might have been one of if not our worst first periods of the season the way we came out," Lucic said. "The way (Talbot) kept us in there was huge. The reason we won tonight was (because of) the way he played all game long, especially in the first period. I think guys were able to build off of that."
Talbot kept the Blackhawks off the board until the third period and until after Edmonton built a 2-0 lead. Lucic's unassisted goal midway through the third period provided the Oilers with the two-goal cushion when he slipped a shot between the legs of Corey Crawford, who kept the Blackhawks within a goal earlier in the period when he denied NHL point leader Connor McDavid on a point blank scoring chance.
McDavid appeared to have an angle after taking a cross-ice pass before Crawford, who finished with 19 saves, slid over and knocked the shot down. McDavid sealed the victory with an empty-net goal, his 20th of the season and his 67th point.
Talbot stopped 34 straight shots for the Oilers before Chicago finally got on the board when Richard Panik scored with just under five minutes to play.
Despite maintaining a large advantage on shots for most of the night, the Blackhawks weren't able to solve Talbot.
"I thought we had generated enough (scoring chances) throughout the game and didn't give up much," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "I think we would probably be happy with that effort most nights and generally would come out with something better than a loss."
Added Chicago captain Jonathan Toews: "We feel if we had a little bit more puck luck around the net, that game could have had a different outcome."
Edmonton took a 1-0 lead five minutes into the second period when Benning scored a power-play goal. Benning's shot skirted by Crawford after it grazed the skate of defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk.
The Oilers went to the power play after Blackhawks right wing Ryan Hartman was whistled for instigating and then given an additional five minutes for fighting and a 10-minute game misconduct. Hartman went after Eric Gryba, who planted Blackhawks center Tanner Kero into the boards.
The goal finally provided some support for Talbot, who then quickly had to rebound after Panik got the Blackhawks to within a goal in the third period.
Understanding how many offensive chances the Blackhawks had generated throughout the night, Talbot knew his work wasn't over.
"(I just told myself) just stop the next one," Talbot said. "I had been doing all game long and I knew they were going to make a push there. I just had to do my best to close it out."
NOTES: Oilers LW Benoit Pouliot missed his third straight game with an upper-body injury. ... D Kris Russell missed his fifth straight game (lower-body injury), but he is with the team and could return during the Oilers' six-game road trip, which continues Tuesday in Tampa. ... Captain Connor McDavid played his first game at the United Center after missing last year's game in Chicago with a broken clavicle. ... LW Jujhar Khaira and D Jordan Oesterle ere scratched. ... Blackhawks D Michal Rozsival did not play Saturday but could return from a foot injury on Sunday against Buffalo, coach Joel Quenneville said. Rozsival has been out since late January when he suffered the injury. "He gives us some depth on the back end. He's ready to play as soon as we put him in," Quenneville told reporters at the team's morning skate. ... Chicago RW Jordin Tootoo was scratched.
|Senators||6||vs.||3||Maple Leafs||Final Recap|
Brassard helps Senators rally past Maple Leafs
Sunday, February 19 at 12:02 AM (EST)
TORONTO -- The Ottawa Senators kept the faith.
When the Toronto Maple Leafs came back with three straight goals to take the lead, they did not panic and stayed with the plan.
It worked. The Senators rallied with four goals -- two into an empty net -- in the third period to defeat the Toronto Maple Leafs 6-3 on Saturday night.
The Senators scored twice in the first period, the Maple Leafs scored twice in the second and took a 3-2 lead early in the third period on a power-play goal by William Nylander.
"We expected a very tight game," Senators coach Guy Boucher said. "That's what it was. There was no panic, we even talked about it (after the second period). If they score it doesn't change our game. I really liked the way we handled it."
Derick Brassard scored what proved to be the winning goal on a power play at 6:26 of the third after Mike Hoffman had tied it for Ottawa at 5:32. Brassard had two goals, completing the scoring with an empty-net goal. Mark Stone also had an empty goal and added four assists.
"Stone was outstanding in all facets of the game," Boucher said.
Chris Wideman and Ryan Dzingel also scored goals and Kyle Turris added three assists for the Senators, who have won two in a row.
Morgan Rielly and Nazem Kadri also scored for the Maple Leafs, who have lost two in a row.
Auston Matthews had two assists for Toronto.
"We had ample, ample opportunity to win the game down the stretch," Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock said. "We had lots of push at the net and we didn't score and they did. In the end when you look at the score, 6-3, you don't think it was a very good hockey game but I think it was a pretty good hockey game."
Craig Anderson made 34 saves in the Ottawa net while Frederik Andersen stopped 36 shots in the Toronto goal.
Nylander scored his 16th goal of the season from the right faceoff circle at 2:04 of the third period on a power play to put the Maple Leafs into a 3-2 lead. Zack Smith was off for hooking.
Hoffman tied the score with his 19th goal of the season, a shot from the right circle.
The Senators (31-19-6) took the lead on a power-play goal at 6:26 of the third with Brassard putting in a rebound after a shot from the point by Erik Karlsson. Kadri was serving a holding penalty.
Andersen was removed for an extra attacker with 2:25 to play and Stone scored from the Ottawa end into the empty net for his 21st goal of the season at 18:10. Brassard added another empty-net goal his 11th marker of the season.
The Maple Leafs (26-20-11) failed to capitalize when they a two-man advantage for 22 seconds in the first period when Tom Pyatt took a hooking penalty at 12:21 and Turris went off for holding at 13:59.
Ottawa scored two quick goals late in the first. Wideman drilled his fourth of the season from the top of the right circle and off a Maple Leafs defender at 17:26.
Dzingel scored his 12th of the season 20 seconds later when he redirected a shot by defenseman Marc Methot.
The Senators could not take advantage of a two-advantage in the second period when Matt Martin was given an interference penalty at 9:29 followed by a holding penalty to Zach Hyman at 9:40.
"I think we got some good energy in the second on the penalty kill and we started playing well and got into the game," Andersen said. "It was pretty emotional. We couldn't keep it going, we did a good job battling back but it's a tough one to lose."
Rielly scored his third goal of the season on a shot from near the blue line at 14:38 of the second. Kadri's 24th goal of the season of the season tied the score at 17:52 when his pass from behind the net banked in off Dzingel.
"It was a funny game a little hit," Brassard said. "They missed their 5-on-3 and we missed ours. They came back. Obviously we were expecting a push after that first period and we got one. We stuck with it, we showed a lot of character."
"I didn't really notice to be honest with you," Stone said of his five-point game. "As a team we're embracing the defensive hockey, we got some big saves from (Anderson). It's hard not to get down (after failing two score with a two-man advantage). We had one, they had one, neither team had success on it. It's tough. Obviously you lose a little bit of momentum when you don't have success on it but we bounced back."
NOTES: Toronto C Mitch Marner (right shoulder) did not play Saturday and will also miss the game Sunday against the Carolina Hurricanes. He was injured during the 5-2 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Wednesday. ... Maple Leafs RW Nikita Soshnikov (upper-body injury) returned to the lineup Saturday after missing the previous four games. ... Ottawa D Marc Methot (flu) returned to the lineup Saturday after missing the 3-0 win over the New Jersey Devils on Thursday. ... Toronto acquired C Sergey Kalinin from New Jersey for D Viktor Loov, who has been playing with the Toronto Marlies of the AHL. Kalinin, who had two goals and two assists in 43 games with New Jersey, was assigned to the Marlies. ... The Maple Leafs will visit Carolina for a game tomorrow night. ... The Senators will be at home to the Winnipeg Jets on Sunday.
Roussel gets hat trick in Stars' OT win
Sunday, February 19 at 12:00 AM (EST)
DALLAS -- Antoine Roussel had a hat trick and Jamie Benn scored the game-winning goal in overtime as the Dallas Stars defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-3 at American Airlines Center on Saturday.
"He was in the right place, right time," Dallas center Tyler Seguin said. "Always works hard. Always goes to the net hard got rewarded for it tonight."
Benn picked the corner over goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy's shoulder to score the game-winner with 1:13 remaining in overtime.
"We did everything we could in overtime," Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper said. "They got their one chance, and it had to be on one of the best player in the league's stick."
Dallas ended a three-game losing streak and won for just the second time in February.
Victor Hedman had scored twice and had three points for Tampa Bay as his team lost its first game after a five-day break.
"Overall, I thought we played a good game. Having a two-goal lead and another one-goal lead, that's unacceptable, but it's all about turnovers. That's how they got their goals," Tampa Bay center Tyler Johnson said. "That's how we knew they were going to play coming into it that they would capitalize on that. They're an offense that scores a lot of goals. Frankly, turnovers killed us."
Hedman scored his ninth goal of the season and gave Tampa Bay a 1-0 lead 3:07 into the game on a rebound. Brian Boyle took the initial shot from the point, and Hedman was the only player to crash the net after the shot rebounded off Kari Lehtonen's pad.
Johnson scored on the power play at 11:59 of the opening period when he coasted through the defense and beat Lehtonen one-on-one. It was Johnson's first game back after he missed a pair of games with a lower-body injury. The goal was his 17th of the season.
Dallas countered when Roussel scored on a deft deflection at 12:50 of the period. Dan Hamhuis threw a pass to the front of the net and Roussel batted home his ninth goal of the season while battling with a defender in front of Vasilevskiy.
"Patrick Eaves showed us a couple goals like that, so I just tried to follow up," Roussel said. "And I heard he's getting a tryout with the (Texas) Rangers, so I'm trying too."
Roussel scored his second goal with 1:10 remaining in the opening period and tied the game at 2-2 after a sharp pass from Seguin.
Tampa Bay regained its lead at 9:46 of the second period when Hedman scored his second goal of the game on a point shot. Johnson and Ondrej Palat had the assists.
Roussel tied the game and completed his hat trick at 4:40 of the third period when he fired a wrist shot past Vasilevskiy.
"It was awesome," Benn said. "It's fun to watch. All that hard work pays off. He bought lunch today, so I think he's going to have to do that again."
Stars center Adam Cracknell left the game in the third period with an apparent leg injury. Johnson lost an edge and slid into Cracknell's right leg along the boards. Cracknell had to be helped to the locker room and wasn't putting any weight on his right skate.
"It looks fairly serious," Stars coach Lindy Ruff said. "He's got a lower-body injury that's probably anywhere from three to six weeks."
NOTES: Lightning C Tyler Johnson returned to the lineup after missing two games with a lower-body injury. ... Lightning LW Jonathan Drouin was a game-time decision after missing Saturday's morning skate with an illness, but he still played in his 49th game of the season. ... Stars D Stephen Johns missed his second straight game with an illness. ... F Jiri Hudler and F Curtis McKenzie were the healthy scratches for Dallas. ... Scouts from the Boston Bruins, Chicago Blackhawks, Carolina Hurricanes, Arizona Coyotes and New Jersey Devils were in attendance. ... Dallas Stars broadcaster Dave Strader called his first game of the season after being diagnosed with bile duct cancer on June 3, 2016.
Zucker and linemates lead Wild past Predators
Sunday, February 19 at 12:23 AM (EST)
SAINT PAUL, Minn. -- Trying to find a line to complement the production Eric Staal was providing, Minnesota Wild coach Bruce Boudreau put Jason Zucker and Mikael Granlund on the wings between captain Mikko Koivu in late November.
Koivu's line could always be counted on to slow another team's top scoring unit. Granlund spent much of his NHL career at center and Zucker always tantalized with his speed.
Together, they've become one of the most dangerous lines in the NHL, offensively and defensively.
Zucker had two goals and an assist, while Koivu and Granlund each had a goal and assist in a 5-2 victory against the Nashville Predators on Saturday.
"It's every single game," Wild goaltender Devan Dubnyk said. "If they're not scoring, they're getting unbelievable chances and they're responsible at the same time, which is kind of what you get from Mikko ... He's so good all-around. I don't think he gets enough credit for how all-around of a player he really is."
Dubnyk stopped 37 shots, while Staal added an empty-net goal as Minnesota (39-13-6) surpassed its win total from last season and drew within one point of the Washington Capitals for the NHL's best record.
The Wild won for the fourth time in five games and have one game remaining before their league-mandated week off begins Wednesday.
Colin Wilson and P.K. Subban scored for Nashville. Pekka Rinne made 28 saves as the Predators lost for the third time in their past four games and playing for the first time since a 5-3 victory against Dallas on Feb. 12.
"I don't think the five-day break played into it," Nashville coach Peter Laviolette said. "I mean if we were flat or sluggish, that's not how I saw the game. Everybody sees the game different. We were competitive, we got on the wrong side of the scoreboard early in the game, tough bounces, their goalie played well."
The Predators were the latest team to lose coming out of their off week. NHL teams are 3-12-4 in such games this season, including 0-8-3 in February.
Koivu tallied his 600th career point with his game-winning, third-period goal for Minnesota.
Since they became linemates Nov. 25, Koivu, Zucker and Granlund combined for 110 points in 39 games. The Wild are 29-6-4 since.
"I think a perfect example is Zucker's second goal," Koivu said of his line. "He paid the price defensively to earn that chance and took it from there. If he doesn't block that shot and be in the lane and defend well, he's never going to get that breakaway. So I think as a line, I think we're trying to do that each and every night. We take a lot of pride in that, that we need to be good defensively to create offense. It's been working."
Granlund opened the scoring at 2:38 after Nashville forward Harry Zolnierczyk went to the penalty box for goaltender interference. Zolnierczyk collided with Dubnyk but also appeared to be pushed by Minnesota defenseman Marco Scandella.
The Wild capitalized when Granlund cleaned up a scrum in front of Rinne. Minnesota had several chances on a loose puck, before the puck found its way to Granlund for his career-high 17th goal.
Granlund has seven goals and 15 assists in the past 19 games, setting career highs across the board. He had 31 goals in his previous four NHL seasons.
Granlund set up Zucker's 17th goal in the second period. The two came in on a 2-on-1 break and Granlund skated to the side, drawing the defenseman before sliding a cross-crease pass to Zucker for an easy goal.
"I'll take those passes from Granny all day," Zucker said. "I think he slid it through Rinne's stick, through the triangle of Rinne. So, I mean, that's a pretty ridiculous pass...I just put my stick on the ice and I know he'll probably hit it."
Wilson finally broke through for the Predators at 8:16 in the third and Subban brought Nashville within one goal about two minutes later on a big slap shot. The goal was initially waved off as James Neal made contact with Dubnyk, but a video review showed the puck was in the net.
"Whenever you're down a couple goals, you need guys to step up and two big players for our hockey club made some plays," center Ryan Johansen said. "It was good to see. We felt like we had a chance there and they found a way to get a lucky break and put one in the net."
NOTES: Minnesota activated D Jonas Brodin from injured reserve before the game. Brodin missed 14 games with a fractured finger. Wild D Matt Dumba missed his fourth straight game with a lower-body injury. ... Nashville recalled F Kevin Fiala from Milwaukee of the American Hockey League, but Fiala wasn't in the lineup on Saturday. He has six goals and three assists in 32 games for the Predators this season. ... The Predators' website reported that Fs Cody McLeod (injured reserve, lower body) and Miikka Salomaki (injured reserve, lower body) were both on the ice before the team's morning skate on Saturday. ... The Iowa Wild of the AHL signed F Ryan Carter to a professional tryout agreement. Carter played the previous two seasons with Minnesota. ... Nashville began a stretch of 26 games in 50 days to end the regular season. The Predators travel to Columbus for the second game of a back-to-back Sunday. ... Minnesota hosts Chicago on Tuesday.
Burns scores twice as Sharks stop Coyotes
Saturday, February 18 at 11:47 PM (EST)
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The San Jose Sharks had a pair of objectives Saturday in Arizona: Solve goalie Mike Smith and the Coyotes, who had won three of the teams' prior four meetings this season, and go into their week off on a high note.
Brent Burns, the Sharks' fourth line and their backup goalie helped accomplish the first goal while pushing San Jose halfway to the other with a 4-1 victory over Arizona at Gila River Arena.
Burns had two goals to tie his own franchise record for goals in a season (27) by a defenseman, Melker Karlsson had a goal and two assists, and Micheal Haley scored his first goal of the season and added an assist as San Jose won for only the second time in its last seven games (2-1-4).
San Jose got a career-high 36 saves from backup goalie Aaron Dell and saw three of its first four goals scored with the fourth line on the ice. San Jose hosts Boston on Sunday before beginning its league-mandated rest period.
"One of the differences with tonight is we kind of weathered their storm early," Sharks captain Joe Pavelski said. "We got to Smitty in the first period which is great. When you get one or two in on him early on it kind of breaks him down a little bit."
Martin Hanzal scored the lone goal for Arizona, which had scored two goals or more in its previous 13 games. Smith made 29 saves but Arizona finished the season series 3-1-1 against San Jose.
Smith entered the game 12-7-3 with a 2.08 goals-against-average and .944 save percentage in 23 career games against the Sharks, but he allowed two goals on nine first-period shots.
"It wasn't my best," Smith said. "I thought our team did a pretty good job tonight to give ourselves a chance to win a game, but they were opportunistic in the first period and we couldn't quite capitalize on our chances."
Burns opened the scoring on a highlight reel goal at 9:01 of the first period when he took a touch pass from Karlsson along the near boards, looped to the high part of the offensive zone and sent a wrist shot across the grain, through a screen that beat Smith inside the far post.
"He's having an MVP season," Sharks coach Peter DeBoer said. "He's been that good for us and it's every night. I don't know what else to say. In my mind, he's the best player in the league and we're happy to have him on our team."
Karlsson widened the lead to 2-0 at 14:26 of the first period when Coyotes defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson got caught pinching in the Sharks' zone, setting up a 2-on-1 with Karlsson and center Chris Tierney. Karlsson beat Smith with a wrist shot inside the far post that defected off Coyotes defenseman Luke Schenn for Karlsson's eighth goal of the season.
Haley made it 3-0 when he ripped a one-timer past Smith from the top of the circles for his first goal of the season at 2:34 of the second period. Karlsson picked up an assist for his third point of the night. It was Haley's first goal in his last 43 NHL games.
Hanzal scored his team-leading 15th goal of the season 33 seconds into the third period when he corralled a rebound of Alex Goligoski's shot and swept a backhand past Dell. It was Hanzal's fifth goal in his last five games and moved him within one goal of his career high of 16 set in the 2009-2010 season.
"Just playing for my future," said Hanzal, who will be a free agent after this season and has been the subject of rampant trade rumors as the NHL's March 1 trade deadline approaches.
Burns scored his 27th goal of the season on a power play at 16:35 of the third period, when his wrist shot slipped through Smith's pads. It was Burns' third two-goal game of the season and second in his last three.
Burns is trying to become the first defenseman to reach 30 goals since Mike Green did it for Washington in 2008-09, and the ninth in NHL history.
"A lot of things have to go right to have goals go in," Burns said. "Playing with Paul Martin has been unbelievable for me."
NOTES: San Jose recalled LW Nikolay Goldobin, RW Marcus Sorensen and D Mirco Mueller this weekend from the San Jose Barracuda of the American Hockey League. Goldobin, the Sharks' first-round pick in 2014 (27th overall), skated on the third line with C Tomas Hertl and RW Joel Ward. Goldobin had not played an NHL game since Nov. 22, 2015. ... Backup G Aaron Dell started against the Coyotes. It was just his second start this month. Starter Martin Jones has started 49 of the team's 59 games. ... Coyotes G Louis Domingue (lower body) and LW Lawson Crouse (injured reserve, lower body) are day-to-day. G Marek Langhamer was recalledThursday?to back up Mike Smith. ... The Coyotes honored 12 players from the original 1996-97 team to celebrate the franchise's 20 years in Arizona, including current captain Shane Doan, former captains Keith Tkachuk and Teppo Numminen, and Dallas Drake, Mike Gartner, Cliff Ronning, Craig Janney, Kris King, Oleg Tverdovsky, Jim McKenzie and Mike Stapleton. The team wore the original, Kachina-styled jerseys against the Sharks. ... Coyotes LW Jamie McGinn and D Jakob Chychrun were back in the lineup after one- and four-game absences, respectively, as healthy scratches.
Tanev's OT goal lifts Canucks past Flames
Sunday, February 19 at 2:34 AM (EST)
VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- Goaltender Ryan Miller was satisfied with the victory, but wasn't happy the Vancouver Canucks needed overtime to defeat the Calgary Flames 2-1 on Saturday night.
Miller played brilliantly most of the night but gave up a goal with only six seconds left in the third period, forcing the overtime.
Canuck defenseman Chris Tanev won the game when he scored his first goal of the season with 34 seconds gone in the 3-on-3 overtime.
"You get that far and you do get frustrated about handing a point back," said Miller, who finished with 35 saves. "We stepped up in overtime and got it done.
"Right now, we needed the win. I try not to dwell too much on the last one."
The win kept Vancouver's slim playoff hopes alive. The Canucks (26-27-6) moved to within four points of Calgary (29-26-4) in the race for the final wild card spot in the Western Conference.
Tanev's goal came off a 2-on-1 breakaway. He took a pass from Daniel Sedin and beat Calgary goaltender Brian Elliott on the short side.
"It was good to get the win," said Tanev. "I got it (the puck) up to Danny then skated as fast as I could.
"I knew he would get the puck over if I could beat my guy."
Calgary outshot Vancouver 18-2 in the third period. Mark Giordano tied the game when he took a pass from Matthew Tkachuk and fired a shot from along the boards that beat Miller, who was partially screened on the play.
"I didn't get a look at the release," Miller said. "If I had seen the release I would have moved and gone with it.
"I waited that little bit and it just found a way."
Getting the win kept the Canucks in the playoff hunt. A regulation loss would have left Vancouver seven points behind Calgary.
"The win was big," said Miller, who earned his 356th career victory to move past Rogie Vachon for 19th on the NHL's all-time list among goaltenders. "We had to battle for it.
"The big thing was minimal odd-man rushes from a team that thrives on them. We pushed hard and we were battling."
Alex Edler scored Vancouver's other goal on a strange play in the first period.
The game was 7:16 old before Edler managed Vancouver's first shot on net. The Canuck defenseman barely stepped across the center line when he let go a fluttering shot that appeared to dip under Elliott's glove.
"There was nothing to it," said Edler, who scored his third goal of the season and second in 40 games. "I put it on net and it went in. It was lucky.
"That happens one out of 100 (times). I was surprised."
Elliott, who made 17 saves on the night, said Edler's shot was like a "five-foot sinker curveball."
"Not one that you want to give up but you can't really get hung up on it," he said.
"You move on and get that next opportunity to make as save. We got a point out of it. It's still frustrating."
The Flames' Troy Brouwer had a couple good scoring chances against Miller. In the second, Miller got a skate on a Brouwer shot off a 2-on-1 breakaway, then in the third made a pad save during a power play.
Considering how close the playoff race is, the Flames can't afford to give away points, Brouwer said, especially since Calgary controlled much of the game.
"At this point, there are no moral victories," he said. "We need points.
"The fact we were able to squeeze a point out with five seconds left is a huge plus. But throughout the entire game we had opportunities to even it up and put ourselves in a better position to get two points."
Vancouver looked to have taken a 2-0 lead when Bo Horvat scored off a scramble with 1:38 left in the first period. The goal was disallowed because the referee blew the play dead.
NOTES: LW Brendan Gaunce returned to the Canucks' lineup after being a healthy scratch in Thursday's 4-2 loss to St. Louis. ... RW Jayson Megna started the game on the top power-play unit, replacing C Brandon Sutter, who is playing with a wrist injury. ... Prior to the game, a statue of Pat Quinn, a former Canucks coach and general manager, was unveiled outside Rogers Arena. ... D Philip Larsen, D Alex Biega and C Reid Boucher were healthy scratches for Vancouver. ... D Matt Bartkowski, who played 80 games with Vancouver last year, dressed for his first game with the Flames since signing with Calgary on Thursday. ... C Alex Chiasson was a healthy scratch after receiving a major and game misconduct in Wednesday's victory over Philadelphia. ... C Freddie Hamilton, a healthy scratch for the last eight games, replaced Chiasson. ... RW Garnet Hathaway and D Jryki Jokipakka were healthy scratches. .... The Flames continue their five-game road trip Tuesday in Nashville, while the Canucks host Philadelphia on Sunday.
Barkov, Huberdeau help Panthers win fourth straight
Sunday, February 19 at 2:03 AM (EST)
LOS ANGELES --With Aleksander Barkov and Jonathan Huberdeau returning to a struggling lineup, the Florida Panthers could prove to be a very dangerous postseason opponent.
The young centers' performance against the Los Angeles Kings continued their late season run up the Eastern Conference standings.
Barkov scored the decisive goal in the third period and Roberto Luongo made 34 saves as the Florida Panthers defeated the Los Angeles Kings 3-2 on Saturday.
Florida (27-20-10) won its fourth straight game and seventh in its last eight to climb into third place in the Atlantic Division. Huberdeau and Jussi Jokinen added goals as the Panthers avenged a 6-3 loss Feb. 9 to split the season series. It was Florida's first win in Los Angeles since November 27. 2002.
Los Angeles (28-25-4) lost its second straight game after returning from its week off. Tanner Pearson and Dwight King registered goals while Peter Budaj stopped 22 shots.
Panthers coach Tom Rowe credited his squad's effort to break through in a building that the franchise has had no recent success.
"The guys did a good job tonight. If you told them coming into Los Angeles you'd have a chance to win the game in the third period with the score 2-2, we'd take that any day of the week," Rowe said. "The playoff race in the East is so darn close."
Luongo said he feels that it was a just a matter of time and good health for the Panthers to return to contention.
"Everybody is healthy, so it is a big boost for our club as far as knowing everyone is in the lineup," Luongo said. "We are getting results and we want to keep it going right now."
The Kings continue to struggle offensively as their 24th-ranked offense hasn't consistently support their season-long solid defensive play. As a result, they are on the outside looking in for the playoffs with 25 games remaining in the regular season, an unaccustomed spot for Kings coach Darryl Sutter.
"We were chasing the game again, down 2-0," Sutter said. "We did a good job to rally to tie the game but (Florida's) third goal was a bad one."
With another big game Sunday against their arch-rival Anaheim Ducks, Tanner Pearson knows that each game looms large in the playoff race.
"Letting these points slip away is not good," Pearson said.
The Panthers regained the lead at 3-2 on Barkov's 14th goal of the season 15 seconds into the third period. Barkov fended off Los Angeles' Jeff Carter on a solo rush and slid a backhand shot under Budaj's right pad with Jaromir Jagr and Aaron Ekblad registering assists.
Los Angeles tied the game 2-2 on Pearson's 19th goal of the season at 11:56 of the middle frame. Pearson took a feed from Carter, turned Florida defenseman Jason Demers to create space and beat Luongo with a backhander as Tyler Toffoli drew the additional assist.
The Kings narrowed the lead to 2-1 on King's eighth goal of the season at 5:39 of the second period. King converted a rebound off a goalmouth scramble with Trevor Lewis and Nick Shore getting assists.
The goal was upheld after a Panthers challenge for goaltender interference, claiming Shore impeded Luongo from making a play on the puck.
Florida extended to a 2-0 on Jokinen's ninth goal of the season at 1:14 of the second period. Jokinen was left alone in the slot and took a feed from Reilly Smith to wire a wrist shot from 30 feet past Budaj with Alex Petrovic earning the secondary assist.
The Panthers opened the scoring on Huberdeau's goal at 15:05 of the first period. During a delayed penalty call on Los Angeles' Marian Gaborik, Huberdeau finished an odd man rush by beating Budaj with a wrist shot off a back pass from Barkov with Vincent Trocheck drawing the secondary assist.
Huberdeau has four goals and four assists in six games since making his season debut after returning from an Achilles injury.
NOTES: Florida did not dress D Jakub Kindl and C Michael Sgarbossa. ... The Panthers conclude their five game road trip Monday in St. Louis. They start a stretch of seven home games in eight contests Wednesday against Edmonton. ... Jaromir Jagr, the 45-year-old ageless wonder, is fourth in scoring on the Panthers (11 goals, 23 assists). His assist Saturday gives him 1,902 career points, trailing only Wayne Gretzky (2,857). ... Los Angeles scratched C Nic Dowd and D Kevin Gravel. ... Darryl Sutter coached his 400th game behind the Kings bench. ... Los Angeles RW Tyler Toffoli is struggling since returning from a knee injury that sidelined him for 20 games. The Kings leading goal scorer last season potted only one goal in his last eight games and registered only nine goals in 38 contests this season, far off the pace of the career-high 31 from 2015-16.
Sabres snap Blues' 6-game winning streak
Saturday, February 18 at 6:57 PM (EST)
BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Robin Lehner's pleas have been heard by the Buffalo Sabres, who find themselves in the thick of the wild-card race following a 3-2 victory over the St. Louis Blues on Saturday.
Lehner made 37 saves and Evander Kane had a goal and an assist as the Sabres (26-23-10) have won three in a row after Lehner went on a lengthy rant criticizing his teammates following a loss last Sunday.
"We've been a team that's been up and down and win one, lose one, and not any of us have been happy with that kind of result and Robin was one of those guys," Sabres coach Dan Bylsma said. "He's stepped up with his play in the last 6-7 games, stepped up with how he's been in the net for us and he's been a big reason why we are four (wins in) our last five."
The Sabres were one point out of the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference heading into Saturday night's games. Buffalo has played three more games than the final wild-card team, Toronto.
Nicholas Baptiste and Ryan O'Reilly also scored for the Sabres.
Buffalo jumped out to a 3-1 lead, but the Blues stormed back in the third and outshot the Sabres 17-7 in the third period.
Scottie Upshall cut the lead to 3-2 with 4:57 remaining on a shorthanded breakaway, but the Blues were unable to even the score despite a prime opportunity with 1:12 remaining after Lehner received a tripping penalty.
"They came at us pretty good," O'Reilly said. "It wasn't the perfect third, but when you can win the game that's all you can ask for."
Vladimir Tarasenko and Scottie Upshall scored for the Blues (31-23-5), who saw a six-game win streak come to a close. Jake Allen made 26
"Well, you know what, we were hoping to win the rest of the games the rest of the season, but not sure that was going to happen," Blues coach Mike Yeo said. "Same attitude that we've had when we've won games, we come back to the rink, we figure out what we need tomorrow and then get ready for our next challenge."
Tarasenko opened the scoring 1:31 into the game during a delayed penalty call against the Sabres. The Blues' sniper was left all alone in the right circle before unleashing a wrist shot to the short side for his 28th goal of the season.
After being promoted from the AHL Saturday morning, Baptiste evened the score midway through the period following a great feed by Jack Eichel.
Eichel sped down the right side before cutting to the middle and flipping a soft backhand pass to Baptiste, who was in all alone and beat Allen with a backhand shot through Allen's legs. It was Baptiste's third goal of the season.
"It was a great play," Baptiste said. "(Eichel) does it all the time."
Kane made it 2-1 with 8:02 remaining in the second on a deflection in front of the net. It was Kane's 20th goal of the season and his sixth in his last six games.
O'Reilly increased Buffalo's lead to 3-1 on a power-play goal with 31.3 seconds left in the second period. With the Sabres on a 5-on-3 advantage due to penalties on Kenny Agostino and Upshall, O'Reilly placed a shot into the far side of the net from the right circle.
St. Louis turned up the pressure as Upshall's breakaway cut Buffalo's lead with 4:57 remaining. With Kevin Shattenkirk in the box for holding, Upshall took it the other way and placed a backhand shot through Lehner's legs.
Lehner made a key save with 1:18 remaining from close range and the Sabres did a good job of clearing the puck over the final few minutes.
"We saw the desperation at the end of the game," Blues center Kyle Brodziak said. "Guys want to keep this thing rolling. It's a good sign. Hopefully we can jump back on it Monday night and start another
NOTES: C Sam Reinhart, D Taylor Fedun and D Justin Falk were scratched for the Sabres. Reinhart was a surprise scratch because of an illness. ... Fedun was placed on waivers earlier Saturday. ... Buffalo called up Nicholas Baptiste from the AHL's Rochester Americans before the game. Baptiste is tied for eighth in the AHL with 19 goals. ... RW Dmitrij Jaskin, D Robert Bortuzzo and RW Nail Yakupov were scratched for the Blues. ... This was the second of two meetings between the two teams this season. St. Louis won the first meeting, 4-1, at home on Nov. 15. ... The Sabres have a quick turnaround with the Chicago Blackhawks in town for a 6 p.m. game on Sunday.
|Capitals||2||vs.||3||Red Wings||Final Recap|
Red Wings end slide, Capitals' winning streak
Saturday, February 18 at 6:57 PM (EST)
DETROIT -- Tomas Tatar likes to say that the shootout is a coin flip, a 50-50 chance.
So how does he explain what's going on with the Detroit Red Wings this season?
"I think we are just catching up for the years before," Tatar said after Detroit's 3-2 shootout win over the Washington Capitals on Saturday afternoon.
Last season, the Wings were 2-5 in the shootout, 27th overall in the NHL. Over the past four seasons, Detroit went a dismal 13-29 in the skills competition that decides the outcome of tie games.
This season, though, when it comes to the shootout, the Wings are the picture of perfection. Henrik Zetterberg scored the winner in the fifth round as Detroit improved to 7-0 in the shootout.
"It's always fun to get a chance in the shootout so it was nice to see it went in," Zetterberg said.
Zetterberg cut across the front of the net and slid a backhander through the pads of Washington goalie Braden Holtby.
"Zetterberg made a nice move," Holtby said. "I thought I had him set up, but my leg cramped up a little. That happens."
After Zetterberg's goal, Detroit goalie Petr Mrazek made a sliding pad save to foil Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin to clinch the victory for the Red Wings. Mrazek, who made 34 saves, stopped four of the five shots he faced.
"It's always special when a player like that goes against you in the last one and you make the save," Mrazek said.
The Red Wings feel the addition of two proven shootout performers in forwards Thomas Vanek and Frans Nielsen has made the different in the extra format.
"Vanny and Nielsen helped us a lot," Tatar said. "They've been scoring in the shootouts."
Nielsen is 44-for-87 lifetime in the shootout. That's second to Arizona's Radim Vrbata (45) for the all-time lead in career shootout goals. Nielsen's 19 shootout-deciding goals are an NHL record.
Vanek, who also scored Saturday, is 5-for-5 and is the only NHL player this season to take at least five shots and still be 100 percent.
The victory ended a four-game losing streak and a five-game (0-4-1) winless slide for the Wings (23-25-10), who are last overall in the Eastern Conference. Playing for the first time since Feb. 11, the NHL-leading Capitals (39-11-7) saw their six-game winning streak come to an end.
Knowing Washington would be rusty after a week off, the Red Wings sought to get a jump on the Capitals and succeeded.
Detroit's much-maligned power play, last in the NHL at 12.2 percent, opened the scoring at 8:13 of the opening period. Nielsen accepted a cross-crease feed from Zetterberg. Nielsen's initial shot hit the post but he whacked the rebound past Holtby (21 saves).
The Red Wings increased their margin to 2-0 just 3:33 into the second period. Anthony Mantha intercepted a drop pass by Washington's Justin Williams and fed it to Zetterberg. He dished the puck across to Tatar, whose low shot got under Holtby's right pad.
"In the first period, we were trying to catch the train a little bit," Washington coach Barry Trotz said. "Coming off the break, you can try all you want, but you've got to play through it.
"We knew it going to be a little bit of a challenge, and it was. In the second period, we played with a little more pace and execution started to improve. Finally, we broke through."
The Capitals got on the board with 1:24 remaining in the second frame. Lars Eller's forecheck pressure forced a turnover by Vanek. Zach Sanford took Eller's pass and zipped a wrist shot by Mrazek on the stick side.
"I thought we were slow all game, but we kept working and we were able to tie it up and get a point," Eller said.
The Capitals forced overtime with 4:48 left in the third period. Going to the net, Washington forward Daniel Winnik got inside body position on Detroit defenseman Brendan Smith and swatted the rebound of a T.J. Oshie shot out of the air and into the net.
Winnik, who had gone 17 games without a goal, has now scored in consecutive games.
NOTES: Detroit D Mike Green was a late scratch due to illness. ... Detroit F Gus Nyquist sat out the second game of a six-game NHL suspension for high-sticking. ... The Wings have fallen behind by at least one goal in the first five minutes of a game 17 times this season ... Washington is 33-4-4 when scoring first in a game. ... Capitals Fs T.J. Oshie (23.7) and Marcus Johansson (22.9) are 1-2 in the NHL in shooting percentage. ... Washington D Brooks Orpik leads all Eastern Conference players with a plus-32 rating. ... Detroit's only healthy scratch was F Tomas Jurco. ... G Jimmy Howard (knee) and D Jonathan Ericsson (wrist) are on IRL. ... Capitals F Andre Burakovsky is out with a hand injury. ... Capitals healthy scratches were D Taylor Chorney and F Jakub Vrana.
Perreault lifts Jets past Canadiens
Saturday, February 18 at 6:07 PM (EST)
MONTREAL -- The Winnipeg Jets have their eyes on a playoff spot and put together another strong effort to inch just a tad closer to their goal.
Mathieu Perreault scored early in the third period to lift the Jets to a 3-1 win against the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday afternoon at the Bell Centre.
"We've had three really, really strong games, and more of the same tonight," Jets coach Paul Maurice said. "Really strong with our gap, not giving the other team a whole lot, and getting enough offense. This time of year, you're probably not going to see the 7-6 games anymore and you're going to get into the 2-1 games, and we were comfortable with that and played well."
Joel Armia and Patrik Laine also scored for Winnipeg, which earned points for a third straight game to keep pace in the race for a playoff spot in the Western Conference.
Andrei Markov replied for Montreal, which played its first game under Claude Julien after he was hired on Feb. 14.
"You could see there was a lot of nervousness in the group but also a little lack of confidence right now," Julien said. "I found we were in between in a lot of areas. That's not system, that's confidence.
"I think we need to find our confidence here in the next couple of days before we head out to New York. We need to be better without the puck so that we can play with the puck a little bit more."
Carey Price made 30 saves for the Canadiens (31-20-8), who kept up the trend of teams losing coming off their bye week.
"It's the battle between being fresh and being sharp," Max Pacioretty said. "The difference between the two is so slight so it's tough to feel perfect. Every team's had to deal with it. That's the luxury of having a bye week. I wish we showed up a little better and had better legs.
Connor Hellebuyck stopped 19 shots for Winnipeg (27-29-6), which earned just its second win in its last nine games in Montreal.
Both sides had chances early to get the scoring started but Hellebuyck denied Paul Byron with a shot from the slot while Price got his blocker on a Blake Wheeler shot from the circle. Price looked like his old self a little later in the period when he flashed the glove to deny Laine after the Canadiens struggled to clear the zone.
That proved to be a key save for Montreal, setting the stage for the home side to take the lead moments later.
The Canadiens intercepted Ben Chiarot's clearing attempt and, after Alex Galchenyuk fed an unattended Max Pacioretty in the right circle, Pacioretty sent it toward the net where Markov easily tapped in his fourth of the season at 11:04.
Armia tied it with his first career shorthanded goal at 4:52 of the second period. Nathan Beaulieu tried to make his way through the neutral zone but gave up the puck to Armia, who skated in alone before deking to beat Price.
"That was huge," Perreault said. "We were playing a great game until then and then he ties the game up, and from there we feel like we just took over."
Perreault put the Jets in front at 1:16 of the third. Dustin Byfuglien showed off his skills as he worked his way from the blue line down low, maintaining control of the puck with just one hand on his stick. The puck made its way to Perreault in front, where he lifted a backhander for his fifth of the season.
"You always celebrate goals, but when you've got 12 guys on the bench turned backwards to look at the TV monitor, that's pretty special," Maurice said of Byfuglien's work on the tally. "I haven't seen a lot of one-handed, inside toe drags to your back foot into the slot. He's the one guy that's capable of doing it."
Price came up big again in the final minutes of the third with another glove save on Laine, who later sealed the win with his 28th goal into an empty net.
NOTES: Montreal D Andrei Markov played in his 968th career game, tying Yvan Cournoyer for seventh place on the Canadiens' all-time list. ... Called up from the AHL's St. John's IceCaps on Friday, Canadiens C/W Michael McCarron was in the lineup, while C David Desharnais, RW Sven Andrighetto and D Greg Pateryn were healthy scratches. ... Winnipeg scratched RW Drew Stafford and D Julian Melchiori, while C Andrew Copp missed his second game because of an upper-body injury. ... The game was the second of a four-game trip for the Jets, who will go on to play the Ottawa Senators and Toronto Maple Leafs.