Nationals

LSU beats Mississippi St 69-68

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LSU beats Mississippi St 69-68

STARKVILLE, Miss. (AP) Anthony Hickey hit a game-winning layup with 1.4 seconds remaining as LSU rallied to beat Mississippi State 69-68 on Saturday night.

It was the second of two terrific shots by Hickey, who also hit a 15-foot jumper to give LSU a 67-66 lead with 16 seconds left. Mississippi State came right back with Trivante Bloodman's acrobatic layup to push the Bulldogs ahead 68-67 lead with 7.9 seconds left, but that just set up some more Hickey heroics.

LSU (12-7, 3-5 Southeastern Conference) trailed for nearly the entire game, including a 40-26 deficit at halftime. But the Tigers methodically came back in the second half. Hickey and Johnny O'Bryant led the Tigers with 12 points each.

Hickey scored seven of his 12 points in the final 46.7 seconds. He drove the length of the court on his final shot, and the 5-foot-11 sophomore made the game winner over a pair of defenders.

Mississippi State (7-13, 2-6) has now lost six straight. Gavin Ware led the Bulldogs with 14 points while Bloodman added 12.

It's been a great week for LSU, which also had an impressive victory over No. 17 Missouri on Wednesday. The Tigers didn't play as well on Saturday against the Bulldogs, but escaped Humphrey Coliseum with a victory despite shooting just 4 of 25 (16 percent) from 3-point range.

Mississippi State put together a nearly flawless first half, shooting 16 of 28 (57.1 percent) from the field, outrebounding LSU 20-18 and forcing 10 turnovers.

Ware, the 6-foot-9, 270-pound freshman, led the Bulldogs with 10 first-half points, making all five of his field goal attempts.

Meanwhile, LSU struggled, making just 9 of 33 shots (27.4 percent) in the first half.

But LSU slowly cut into Mississippi State's advantage in the second half, getting to the basket with ease on fast break opportunities. Hickey hit a 3-pointer - just LSU's third of the game - with 5:21 left and then Shavon Coleman followed with a short jumper to cut Mississippi State's lead to 60-58.

Johnny O'Bryant hit a pair of free throws to tie the game at 60 with 3:13 left, but Mississippi State responded with six straight points to take a 66-60 lead with 1:38 remaining.

Mississippi State could have had a bigger lead, but struggled badly at the free throw line. The Bulldogs made just 13 of 27 (48.1 percent) attempts, including an ugly 8 of 20 mark (40 percent) in the second half.

That came back to bite the Bulldogs in the final minutes. Hickey's 3-pointer pulled LSU within 66-65 with 46.7 seconds remaining, which served as the appetizer for his clutch shooting in the final 20 seconds.

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Follow David Brandt on Twitter: www.twitter.com/davidbrandtAP

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Juan Soto isn't a HR hitter, the Mets broadcast said. Then he immediately went upper deck

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Juan Soto isn't a HR hitter, the Mets broadcast said. Then he immediately went upper deck

Juan Soto did something Tuesday night at Citi Field that made the whole broadcaster's jinx theory come to life. 

During Soto's 2nd inning at-bat, former MLB first baseman, five-time All-Star, 1979 co-NL MVP, two-time World Series champion, and current Mets broadcaster Keith Hernandez went out on a limb to describe the 20-year-old phenom. 

He is not a home run hitter even though he had nice power here last year.

So, in a rather timely fashion, the lefty launched a moonshot, 410-foot solo home run to right field for Washington's first run of the game. 

In fairness, Hernandez was just trying to explain that Soto isn't a home run hitter because of the type of swing he demonstrates, one that typically produces more line drives than long-balls. 

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Beats by Scherz: Why Scherzer chose Dr. Dre song as his walk-up music

Beats by Scherz: Why Scherzer chose Dr. Dre song as his walk-up music

NEW YORK – A few constants remain during this wayward Nationals season. One is Max Scherzer.

Scherzer comes into Tuesday leading the National League in innings pitched and strikeouts. He's second in strikeouts per nine innings and third in strikeout-to-walk ratio. Scherzer's 3.72 ERA is well above his average of 2.71 since arriving in Washington in 2015. However, his FIP (fielding-independent pitching) is a league-leading 2.45, showing he has been victimized by bad defense more than bad pitching.

He hopped on a pop-up edition of The Racing Presidents podcast Tuesday in New York. Sitting in the visitors dugout a day ahead of another matchup with 2018 Cy Young Award Jacob deGrom, Scherzer touched on lighter topics, like his selection of Dr. Dre's "Still Dre" as his walkup song, and addressed who is responsible for the Nationals being seven games under .500 the last year-plus.

We're all responsible," Scherzer said. "When you wear a hat and jersey that says Nationals on it, we're all in the same position. It's frustrating to not have a winning record. It's frustrating not to be winning as a team. [Since] I've been here, we've won a couple division titles and you know that feeling of what it's like to win. You know you have the core group of players who have won here in the past that can win here again. It's just a matter of figuring out what the right chemistry is and going out there and getting it done."

Scherzer is in his 12th major-league season. He's made at least 30 starts for 10 consecutive seasons. One of the reasons for his lack of injuries and durability is not because he goes through extensive recuperation during the offseason. Instead, Scherzer keeps pushing both his arm and body. 

"I try to find a way to continue to do more, to take more on my body even as I age," Scherzer said.

And, about that walkup song, which is part-protest, part-comeback song? He was out to dinner with reliever Aaron Barrett when it popped on and Barrett suggested it as this year's entrance music.

So, click below to listen to everything Scherzer had to say in our exclusive interview. Also, don't forget to download, rate and subscribe to The Racing Presidents podcast. We're with you after every game and with marquee interviews and insight you can't find elsewhere.

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