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College basketball freshman rankings: Ohio State’s Malaki Branham earns Freshman of the Week honors

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Ohio State desperately needed some offensive help Sunday as the No. 13 Buckeyes played at Nebraska in their first game since Dec. 11., and Malaki Branham provided plenty of it. The Buckeyes’ freshman guard poured in a career-high 35 points on 13 of 19 shooting, including a 6 of 10 mark from 3-point range, to propel OSU to an 87-79 overtime win against the Cornhuskers.

The breakout performance from the former No. 38 prospect in the 2021 247Sports Composite rankings was enough to earn him this week’s CBS Sports/USBWA Freshman of the Week honors. With Nebraska negating Ohio State’s post stars E.J. Liddell and Zed Key and the Buckeyes working through conditioning issues following a long layoff, Branham’s perimeter prowess came through at the right time.

“That’s a phenomenal effort by Malaki,” Ohio State coach Chris Holtmann said. “We knew there were going to be some opportunities for other guys because of how they were going to collapse on Zed and E.J. It created some opportunities for Malaki. He took full advantage of it.”

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Branham entered the game averaging 6.3 points, having hit 5 of 15 attempts from 3-point range for the season. Making his outburst even more unexpected was the fact that he was held scoreless for the first time this season in Ohio State’s previous game, a win against Wisconsin on Dec. 11. But the 6-foot-5 guard knocked down more 3-pointers against Nebraska than he had in the first 10 games of his college career and gave future opponents another dimension to consider when plotting how to defend the Buckeyes.

CBS Sports has once again teamed up with the United States Basketball Writers Association and its Wayman Tisdale Freshman of the Year Award to present this every-Tuesday feature. Each week we’ll start by announcing the national Freshman of the Week honoree. The cycle for FOTW runs Tuesday-Monday.

Previous FOTW winners

Frosh Watch

These are the top 10 freshman performers in college basketball this season.

1. Paolo Banchero | Duke

Stats: 17.1 PPG, 7.3 RPG, 2.2 APG

Banchero reclaimed the top spot in last week’s ranking after a stellar 23-point performance in Duke’s 76-65 win over Virginia Tech to begin ACC play on Dec. 22. The 6-10 forward is on his way to being one of the top selections in the 2022 NBA Draft, and he is proving to be an excellent college player in the mean time. The Blue Devils can deploy him at power forward or center depending on their opponent, and Banchero is versatile enough to be a matchup problem for everyone in the ACC in either slot.

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2. Jabari Smith | Auburn

Stats: 16.2 PPG, 6.9 RPG, 1.7 SPG, 42.9% 3PT

Smith is a 6-10 forward with positional versatility who is proving to be a quality volume shooter while leading the way for a No. 9 Auburn team that began SEC play with an impressive 70-55 win over LSU last week. He ceded the No. 1 spot in the season-long rankings to Banchero last week, but Smith is absolutely meeting the hype of his No. 7 overall prospect ranking. Thanks largely to his standout play, the Tigers are looking like one of the nation’s top bounce-back teams.

3. Chet Holmgren | Gonzaga 

Stats: 13.0 PPG, 8.4 RPG, 3.3 BPG, 2.3 APG, 35.1% 3PT

Holmgren ranks first nationally among freshmen in blocks per game, is leading Gonzaga in rebounding and his 3-point shot is coming along. The 7-footer’s best basketball is still ahead of him this season, and as he continues to improve, Gonzaga will start to look more and more like a national title contender. The sky is the limit for Holmgren, and he should wreak havoc on the Bulldogs’ WCC opponents.

4. Kendall Brown | Baylor

Stats: 12.3 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 1.5 APG, 1.2 SPG, 69.1% FG

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Brown had one of his quietest outings of the season in Baylor’s big win over Iowa State on Saturday as he finished with just four points. But his ability to seamlessly fit in with the nation’s No. 1 team is reminiscent of how Jalen Suggs slotted in with Gonzaga last season. They play different positions but are both human highlight reels unbothered by the unselfishness required to thrive on a Final Four-caliber team that features other stars.

5. TyTy Washington | Kentucky

Stats: 14.0 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 3.9 APG, 41.3% 3PT

Washington continued his impressive run of offensive consistency by going 12 of 22 from the field in UK’s wins over Missouri and High Point last week. That included a combined 5 of 9 mark from beyond the arc in the blowout wins. For good measure, he contributed six rebounds against Missouri and nine assists against High Point. Kentucky is playing excellent basketball, and Washington is a major reason why.

6. Aminu Mohammed | Georgetown

Stats: 14.6 PPG, 8.7 RPG, 1.9 APG, 1.5 SPG, 39.1% 3PT%

Mohammed is incredibly physical for a freshman wing, and that shows up in his rebounding numbers. The former five-star prospect’s shooting mechanics are a work in progress, but he’s been effective from deep on 2.1 attempts per game. He’s at his best off the dribble and can use either hand to attack and finish with an arsenal of crafty moves. 

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7. Kennedy Chandler | Tennessee 

Stats: 14.0 PPG, 5.3 APG, 2.0 SPG, 37.2% FG

Chandler missed Tennessee’s narrow loss at Alabama last week due to health and safety protocol. That hiccup aside, he’s been great this season for the No. 18 Volunteers. The former five-star prospect is adept at reaching the paint and forcing defenses to collapse, and when defenders sag off Chandler, he can knock down 3-pointers.

8. Ryan Nembhard | Creighton

Stats: 12.5 PPG, 4.6 APG, 3.5 RPG, 1.5 SPG, 37.8% 3PT

Nembhard has been thrust into a key role for a program that lost a ton of talent after a Sweet 16 appearance. So far, he’s handled it quite well. The former four-star prospect is facilitating the offense for a Creighton team in position to make a run at another NCAA Tournament appearance.

9. Terquavion Smith | NC State

Stats: 14.4 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 1.8 APG, 1.1 SPG, 36.7% 3PT

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It’s been a frustrating season for the Wolfpack, but Smith has been a bright spot. The 6-3 guard is averaging 19.1 points on 41.1% 3-point shooting over NC State’s last seven games. Smith had 23 points and hit 7 of 13 attempts from deep in an 83-81 loss to Florida State on Saturday.

10. Jalen Duren | Memphis

Stats: 11.1 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 2.6 BPG, 67.6% FG

Duren missed Memphis’ loss at Tulane last week but returned for a huge win at Wichita State in which he recorded 14 points on 7 of 10 shooting to go with six rebounds and a block. The 6-11 center’s overall offensive game is a work in progress. But he’s proving to be a great rim protector and rebounder who is a reliable finisher when he gets the ball next to the rim.



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Three Stars from Day 3 of WJC: Canada’s McTavish joins elite company – Sportsnet.ca

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Canada and the U.S. dominated in their second game of the tournament while Czechia and Finland went toe-to-toe and needed a shootout to determine a winner on Day 3 of the World Junior Hockey Championship.

The Canadian team rebounded from a sluggish performance with an 11-1 win over Slovakia, a game in which captain Mason McTavish added his name to the country’s record books.

Against Switzerland, the United States took their game to another gear that their opponent could not match as they cruised to a 7-1 victory to improve to 2-0 at the tournament.

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Finland dropped a crucial point as they had to overcome a 2-0 deficit but were able to pick up the shootout win over their rival Czechia.

Here is a look at the top performances from Day 3 of the world juniors.

3rd Star: Luke Hughes, USA

Coming from a great hockey family, Luke Hughes is making most of his opportunity as one of the top defencemen for the U.S. 

The younger brother of Quinn and Jack displayed his mobility and vision against Switzerland with a three-point effort. He now has five points in his first two games of the tournament — more than either of his brothers ever achieved at this event in fewer games.

Hughes leads all defenceman in scoring so far in the tournament and is tied for fourth overall.

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The 18-year-old played 21:18 against the Swiss to lead the U.S. in ice time playing on the top pairing with Brock Faber. His play from this point will be a crucial part of his team’s success given the creativity he displayed, especially on Matt Coronato’s goal in the second period.

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He made another top-notch set up on Thomas Bordeleau’s power-play goal in the third period as he delayed enough to get the defenders to pull towards his side of the ice.

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2nd Star: Carter Mazur, USA

Coming into the tournament, Carter Mazur is looking to build off an impressive season at the University of Denver. 

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While he was in a scoring slump in his first NCAA season, the Detroit Red Wings prospect made a call to his NHL team’s assistant director of player development, Daniel Cleary. After that, he would go on to finish with 14 goals and 38 points in 41 games.

Those tips have now turned Mazur into a scoring machine as he accounted for two of the team’s seven goals and was also named the player of the game as the top line of Mazur, Landon Slaggert, and Thomas Bordeleau had an impressive performance against Switzerland

After a scoreless first period, Mazur wasn’t going to make any mistake on a point-blank chance in front of the net with Mackie Samoskevich making a great pass from behind the net.

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With the Americans looking to add to their lead, Mazur was once again the beneficiary of a great pass from Slaggert as he made no mistake from the front of the net.

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He added another assist on Slaggert’s goal later in the period for his third point of the game. Through his first two games at the world juniors, Mazur has four points and is tied for sixth in scoring.

1st Star: Mason McTavish, Canada

On a night where Canada dominated from start to finish, Mason McTavish joined some elite company with a night he’ll certainly remember for a long time.

The 19-year-old joined Mario Lemieux, Simon Gagné, Brayden Schenn, Taylor Raddysh, Maxime Comtois and teammate Connor Bedard as the only players to score four goals in a single world junior game for Canada. The tournament record for goals in a single game is held by Sweden’s Ola Rosander who had six back in 1987.

With his performance against Slovakia in a dominant win for Canada, McTavish now sits atop the scoring lead with eight points in two games after registering six points in this game.

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McTavish scored his first goal of the game on a breakaway — with Canada already leading 5-0 midway through the second — making no mistake to beat Tomas Bolo, who came into the game after starter Simon Latkoczy was pulled going into the second period.

His second goal came off a great play by Joshua Roy who flipped the puck in the air to Brennan Othmann who then set up McTavish as he finished with a backhander to put Canada up 7-1. McTavish would complete the second-period hat trick, a day after Alexander Blank did the same for Germany, after a selfless pass from Roy on a 2-on-0 break.

Canada would capitalize on a turnover on McTavish’s fourth goal as Othmann set him up alone in front of the net and he made no mistake.

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There was some doubt about whether McTavish would suit up for Canada after playing a fair amount of hockey last season. Making his NHL debut with the Anaheim Ducks, the third overall pick from the 2021 NHL Draft played in a total of 72 games between the NHL, AHL, OHL, Memorial Cup and the Olympics.

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Instead, McTavish decided to join the team in Edmonton and take on the role as captain where he has excelled centring Canada’s top line with Bedard and and a rotation of Roy and Othmann.

Canada will now look forward to a matchup against Czechia with a chance to improve to 3-0.

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Field of Dreams Game 2022: A celebration of baseball memories in an Iowa cornfield

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The Field of Dreams is an opportunity for fans and players alike to reflect on the people and places that taught them to love baseball, Jake Mintz writes.



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Ravens extend NFL record for consecutive postseason wins following Thursday’s victory over the Titans

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USA Today

The No. 21 is now synonymous with the longest winning streaks in NFL regular and preseason history. the 2003-04 Patriots won 21 consecutive games, an NFL record. On Thursday night, the Ravens won their 21st consecutive preseason game after securing a 23-10 decision against the Tennessee Titans

Baltimore has not lost a preseason game since 2016. Joe Flacco was their starting quarterback when the streak began, while Steve Smith Jr., who this past year was eligible for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame for the first time, was heading into his final NFL season. Baltimore’s roster also included Terrell Suggs, who was entering his second-to-last season with the franchise. 

Along with not losing preseason games, another constant in Baltimore over the past six years has been kicker Justin Tucker, who is entering his 11th season with the Ravens. Tucker’s field goals of 47, 25 and 47 yards on Thursday night helped Baltimore pull out the win after falling behind midway through the second quarter. 

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The Ravens won Thursday’s game by winning the turnover margin while holding the Titans to 1 of 3 red zone efficiency. One of those turnovers was scooped up by Kyle Hamilton, the Ravens’ first-round pick in this past year’s draft. 

Baltimore won despite the efforts of Malik Willis, the Titans’ rookie quarterback who overcame a slow start to score his first NFL touchdown, a 7-yard run early in the second quarter. Speaking of quarterbacks, the Ravens received a strong night from Tyler Huntley, who completed all but two of his 18 pass attempts that included his game-winning touchdown pass to Shemar Bridges



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