Harris lead Virginia past No. 19 Wolfpack, 58-55

Harris lead Virginia past No. 19 Wolfpack, 58-55

Mark Gottfried acknowledged that North Carolina State's latest victory was a considerable step in his program's resurgence. To take another big stride, Gottfried's team will likely need to start winning consistently away from home.

In their next attempt to improve on the road, the 19th-ranked Wolfpack, the ACC's top scoring team, will try to get past the league's stingiest one, Virginia, on Tuesday night.

North Carolina State owns two NCAA titles and a combined 17 ACC regular-season and tournament championships. The Wolfpack, though, haven't won the league tournament since 1987 and last finished atop the conference standings in 1988-89.

Until Gottfried arrived last season, the program experienced a number of lackluster finishes in recent seasons, but the new coach got its fortunes heading quickly in the right direction by ending a six-year NCAA tournament drought last year.

NC State appeared to gain another meaningful bit of progress Saturday by ending a 13-game skid to rival North Carolina. Lorenzo Brown had 20 points and 11 assists in that 91-83 win, and freshman T.J. Warren contributed 19 points off the bench.

"It's a significant win for us," Gottfried said. "To get where you want to be as a program, you have to take certain steps to get there. This was a big one for us."

The Wolfpack (16-4, 5-2), who are undefeated at home, are also trying to get back on top of the conference but trail Miami by 1 1/2 games. Their two losses have come in each of their last two league road contests, and they might have a challenge in their next visit in trying to overcome a clash of styles.

Virginia's attempt to slow opponents down has worked well so far, evident by the 51.1 points per game its allowed on 36.8 percent shooting. The Cavaliers (14-5, 4-2) have held two of their past seven opponents under 40 points, including a 56-36 home win over Florida State on Jan. 19.

"They're very good at what they do, and we feel that we're pretty good at what we do too. We really like to get out and run," Gottfried said.

The Cavaliers have used their defense to overcome the league's least prolific offense (62.8 ppg). The Wolfpack, meanwhile, are averaging a league-best 79.8 points on 50.9 percent shooting but rank 11th in points allowed per game at 70.2.

"They've got experience. They know how to score," Virginia junior forward and North Carolina native Akil Mitchell told the school's website. "We've got to tighten down and be ready for a good one Tuesday. I'm excited about the competition."

The Cavaliers won their third straight and 11th in a row at home Saturday, 65-51 over Boston College, by limiting the Eagles to 36.2 percent shooting. Virginia converted at a 56.3 percent clip at its end, but Mitchell and Justin Anderson were the only two players in double figures with 16 points apiece.

Leading scorer Joe Harris (14.8 ppg) was held to seven points, ending a string of eight consecutive games in double figures.

Harris is one of the top 3-point shooters in the ACC at 46.7 percent but was 1 of 4 on Saturday. He's 8 for 16 from beyond the arc in three games against NC State and has averaged 16.3 points.

NC State snapped a four-game skid to Virginia with a 67-64 win in last season's conference tournament. The Wolfpack shot 54.0 percent in that game after being held under 41.0 in each matchup during the skid, and C.J. Leslie led the way with 19 points and 14 rebounds.

They've averaged 56.8 points on 40.4 percent shooting in four consecutive losses at Virginia.

Redskins intend to be cautious with Kendall Fuller

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Redskins intend to be cautious with Kendall Fuller

Kendall Fuller could be held out until training camp later this summer as he recovers from a knee injury that cut short his junior season, Jay Gruden said.

The Redskins selected the Virginia Tech cornerback in the third round (84th overall) on Friday night.

“We feel good about his progression from his injury,” Gruden said at Redskins Park. “We think he’s going to miss rookie minicamp [next month], but there’s a chance he could be back for the OTAs [in late May]."

Gruden added: “Worst-case scenario, we think he’ll be back for training camp [in late July].”

Fuller suffered a torn meniscus in his right knee last preseason. He attempted to play through the injury for three games before opting for surgery. As it turned out, though, he injury required a season-ending microfracture procedure.

The operation was performed by famed orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews, who is also a senior medical consultant to the Redskins.

Asked if the relationship with Andrews helped the team make its decision on Fuller, Gruden downplayed the connection.

“I think every team has that information on the kid, and we felt good about his recovery,” Gruden said. “We really do. We know he’s a hard worker. We know where he is in his rehab. We’ll get him down here and help him along the way. But he’s a hard worker and he’s going to get himself ready to go.”

Gruden added: “He was too talented of a player to pass up. He can play nickel, obviously, which is a big hope for him. He can play outside. He’s got great natural football instincts at the nickel or corner position. Obviously you got great bloodlines, and I think it’s a great pick."

Strasburg, long balls power Nationals past Cardinals

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Strasburg, long balls power Nationals past Cardinals

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Stephen Strasburg struck out nine including seven of eight in one stretch and the Washington Nationals got home runs from Michael Taylor and Danny Espinosa in a 5-4 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Friday night.

Taylor's second leadoff homer of the year ended a 22-inning scoreless drought for the Nationals. Espinosa's first of the season was a two-run shot that capped a four-run fourth against Mike Leake (0-3).

Strasburg (4-0) gave up two runs on eight hits in seven innings with one walk. He has 29 strikeouts in 22 1-3 innings his last three outings. Jonathan Papelbon earned his eighth save in nine chances for Washington, which is 5-0 in Strasburg's starts.

Matt Adams hit a two-run homer off Blake Treinen in the eighth for St. Louis, who are 18-9 against Washington the last five seasons.

Leake, who got a five-year, $80 million free agent deal, gave up five runs in seven innings and has a 5.83 ERA.

Daniel Murphy and Jayson Werth had an RBI apiece in the fourth.

TRAINER'S ROOM

C Wilson Ramos (bereavement list) could return this weekend after leaving following the death of his grandfather. Manager Dusty Baker said the team would be patient, adding "death has no season."

UP NEXT

Jaime Garcia (1-1, 3.24) is holding opponents to a .198 average, among the league's best. Joe Ross (2-0, 0.54) was among just five NL starters to not allow a homer, with a minimum of 20 innings.

RELATED: NATS SEE TOUGH ROAD TRIP AS GOOD TEST FOR WHERE THEY'RE AT

McCloughan bulks up secondary by drafting Fuller

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McCloughan bulks up secondary by drafting Fuller

After the Redskins signed Josh Norman, Scot McCloughan told everyone that he would not hesitate to draft another cornerback this week.

Nobody really believed him. But he made believers out of everybody in the third round tonight when he took Virginia Tech cornerback Kendall Fuller.

He immediately jumps into a cornerback depth chart that has gone from shaky to strong in the last week. Norman and Bashaud Breeland will be the starters. Fuller could come in for nickel situations. Chris Culliver is still on the mend from a knee injury he suffered last November and his status for training cap is very much up in the air. Second-year player Quinton Dunbar will work

Spinning it forward to 2017, Fuller should be able to fit in with Breeland and Norman to form a formidable starting group of cornerbacks.

Many had Fuller rated as a first-round talent before he suffered a knee injury last season. Even after that, some thought he might be talented enough to be worth a late second- or early third-round pick. Fuller is a solid value as a late third-round pick.

RELATED: REDSKINS DRAFT VIRGINIA TECH'S KENDALL FULLER IN THE THIRD ROUND