Nationals

Illinois State holds off Indiana State, wins 60-58

Illinois State holds off Indiana State, wins 60-58

NORMAL, Ill. (AP) Johnny Hill scored 18 points, Jackie Carmichael added 16 and Illinois State rode a late run to a 60-58 victory over Indiana State on Wednesday night.

Hill was 6 of 9 from the floor. Carmichael grabbed nine rebounds for the Redbirds (11-9, 2-6 Missouri Valley), who avenged a 77-75 loss to Indiana State in Terre Haute, Ind., on Dec. 30.

Manny Arop led the Sycamores (12-7, 5-3) with 13 points. R.J. Mahurin added nine points and eight rebounds but missed a game-winning 3-pointer at the buzzer.

Jake Odum put Indiana State ahead 53-51 on a jumper with 3:53 left, but that was the Sycamores' last lead. Illinois State scored the next seven points on a Hill layup, a John Wilkins tip-in and three free throws. Odum's two free throws with 6 seconds left pulled Indiana State within 59-58, but the Sycamores could get no closer.

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Stalled 2020 negotiations could hinder MLB's future, according to ESPN's Buster Olney

Stalled 2020 negotiations could hinder MLB's future, according to ESPN's Buster Olney

The feelings around a 2020 Major League Baseball season have slowly shifted from hopeful to cautiously optimistic to questionable as negotiations between the players and owners continue to hit road bumps.

Further salary cuts, player safety and the structure of the potential season are all factors that the two sides have different opinions on. Therefore, an agreement that would bring baseball back has continuously stalled. MLB Network's Jon Heyman explained that a "soft deadline" for a deal to be reached was June 1st. That now seems highly unlikely.

As players continue to voice their displeasure with the idea of losing a larger sum of their salary and owners stand pat, there is still a lot to be worked out if games are going to be played. Now, another concerning detail has emerged, as ESPN's Buster Olney wrote on Sunday that there is a faction of owners content with no baseball happening in 2020.

"Sources say there is a group of owners perfectly willing to shut down the season, to slash payroll costs and reduce losses, and the disparate views among the 30 teams have been reflected in the decisions to fire and furlough," he wrote.

Whether this mindset takes control or not, Major League Baseball is facing a major turning point both for the 2020 season and beyond. As Olney explains in his piece, the messy negotiations aren't just dangerous for the near future, but for years to come.

The focus has been on salvaging the current season, but what about losing next year? That's a reasonable thought according to Olney.

If the current season disappears, there's a reasonable expectation that tensions will carry over into the '21 season that will require a new Collect Bargaining Agreement. If the sides couldn't settle on an appropriate deal for a shortened season, things won't be any easier when the fate of their careers for years to come is now on the table. 

Olney explained that on the side of the players, the threat of a strike could be enacted if negotiations continue to sour. As for the owners, the thought of losing more money in the future on a new deal is enough for them to continue to not budge. 

The stalemate continuing on would completely shatter the league's ability to get things back to normal. That's bad for Major League Baseball internally, but the outside optics could be even worse. 

Olney notes that a lost season will obviously not go over well with supporters. Whether fans are supporting the player's request or believe pay cuts should be made, no one will be happy if they can't watch their team play in 2020. 

"If that doesn't happen -- if they can't agree on a deal to play in 2020 -- baseball will become a loathed presence on North America's sporting landscape, scorned by many fans," Olney wrote.

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But, the anger at the MLB may not end there. Even if 2021 does see baseball happen, drawn-out disputes to get to that point could push fans even further away.

"The labor fight could go on and on, and by the time it all plays out, it's impossible to know how many fans, feeling alienated or disgusted, will leave baseball behind once and for all," Olney added.

The frustration wouldn't just be at the owners, either. Though the players have reasons for their stances, it doesn't mean everyone is going to understand. Olney brought up former pitcher Tom Glavine's explanation to the Atlanta-Journal Constitution of how the current situation compared to the 1994-1995 strike. A largely economic-based stoppage, arguments over large sums of money didn't gain much support from the public, even if what the players wanted was fair.

"If it were to come down to an economic issue and that's the reason baseball didn't come back, you're looking at a situation similar to the strike of '94 and '95 as far as fans are concerned," Glavine said. "Even if the players were 100% justified in what they were complaining about, they're still going to look bad."

At this time, figuring out the 2020 MLB season is still of the utmost importance. Not all hope is lost, but a tough road lies ahead. Should things continue to sour, Olney notes that the future of baseball will face countless more problems.

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Ron Rivera explains that working with Terry McLaurin has been a 'treat' thus far

Ron Rivera explains that working with Terry McLaurin has been a 'treat' thus far

Ron Rivera took over as Redskins head coach in early January, tasked with the challenge of turning around a football team that has struggled plenty as of late.

After assembling his staff, one of the first things the new head coach did was have a meeting with them to identify which players on the roster would be a part of the team's "core" as they build for the future. As Rivera explained during an interview with the Redskins Talk podcast during Super Bowl week, it didn't take the head coach long to realize wide receiver Terry McLaurin completely fits the his vision for the future.

On Friday, Rivera was asked by Fox Sports 1's Jay Glazer about the team's wide receiver group heading into the 2020 season. The head coach took that opportunity to rave about his second-year pass-catcher.

"Terry McLaurin's been a treat," Rivera said. "He's been a treat to get to know."

As a rookie in 2019, McLaurin was one of the lone bright spots in an otherwise forgetful season for the Redskins. Then wideout finished with a team-high 919 receiving yards, just eight short of breaking Gary Clark's franchise rookie record. Additionally, his seven TD receptions accounted for nearly half of Washington's touchdowns in the passing game.

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Rivera told Glazer that McLaurin reminds the head coach of one of his former wideouts in Carolina: D.J. Moore.

"[McLaurin is] a guy that could be on the verge [of stardom], he really is," Rivera said. "He reminds me so much of a D.J. Moore that we had in Carolina. Just an outstanding young man."

Moore, the Panthers' first-round pick in 2018, had a promising rookie season, but truly emerged as one of the NFL's better wide receivers last season. Moore finished his breakout campaign in 2019 with 87 receptions for 1,175 yards and four touchdowns. The wideout's catch total was good for a top 15 finish, while only eight other receivers had more receiving yards than him last season.

Like McLaurin, Moore also played with three different starting quarterbacks in 2019. What both receivers were able to accomplish a year ago, given their respective quarterback situations, is nothing short of incredible.

The coronavirus pandemic has prevented all NFL teams from having offseason activities, but McLaurin has still found a way to build his connection with his quarterback Dwayne Haskins. McLaurin, along with a pair of other Redskins receivers -- Steven Sims and Kelvin Harmon -- has worked out with Haskins multiple times this offseason, even as recently as this weekend.

"I've got to say, I like the wide receivers," Rivera said.

If Haskins can build off his strong finish to the 2019 season, McLaurin could have an even bigger second-year than Moore did and really establish himself as one of the rising stars in the league.

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