Nationals

McDermott's supporting cast key for 13-1 Creighton

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McDermott's supporting cast key for 13-1 Creighton

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) All-American Doug McDermott is the undisputed star for Creighton. He's not a one-man show, though.

The 16th-ranked Bluejays have used consummate team efforts to start 13-1 and win their first two Missouri Valley Conference games.

``Teams are going to take away different stuff,'' senior guard Grant Gibbs said. ``Luckily, we've got a lot of options.''

In Creighton's hard-earned 79-72 victory over Illinois State on Wednesday, the Redbirds did all they could to neutralize McDermott at the expense of leaving Gibbs unguarded. McDermott still scored 15 points, but he had only four at halftime.

Gibbs made the Redbirds pay, scoring 12 of his 16 points in the first half of one of his best games of the season. When Gibbs wasn't roaming free, Ethan Wragge was knocking down one of his six 3-pointers.

Indiana State (9-4), which has won its first two conference games for the first time in five seasons, visits the Bluejays on Saturday. Who knows how they'll defend McDermott?

The junior started the week as the nation's third-leading scorer (23.5 ppg). But if he has difficulty getting going, chances are that Gregory Echenique, Wragge, Gibbs or someone else will pick up any slack.

``You have to give us something,'' coach Greg McDermott said.

More often than not, Doug McDermott is going to get his share of points. The coach's son scored 27 points or more in six games and has seen his reputation grow as one of the nation's most dangerous inside-outside threats, shooting 50 percent from 3-point range and 55 percent overall. He has drawn double- and triple-teams all season, providing his teammates with ample opportunities.

The Bluejays have continued to respond after having their rotation disrupted by the December departure of sixth man Josh Jones because of a heart condition. Echenique, the Bluejays' 6-foot-9, 260-pound enforcer, has elevated his game since a 13-point November loss to Boise State. He's averaging 12.5 points and 8.8 rebounds the past seven games, up from 9.6 and 6.6 the first seven.

Avery Dingman, who has taken most of Jones' minutes, is a combined 9 for 13 from beyond the arc the past three games. And Gibbs, who scored a combined four points and was 2 for 9 from the field in the two games before Illinois State contest, was 6 of 12 against the Redbirds and had seven assists and six rebounds.

``I've kind of got to pick my spots and look for open shots,'' Gibbs said. ``I can make the open ones, no doubt about that. There are a lot of advantages when people are going to play like that.''

Wragge broke out of a 3-for-21 slump on 3s to score all 18 of his points from beyond the arc. The game ended a stretch of seven games in which he hadn't scored in double figures. He's still shooting 44 percent on 3s for the season.

``There are a lot of things that keep me awake at night,'' coach McDermott said. ``His shooting isn't one of them. I think he's one of the best shooters in the country.''

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Nationals place Stephen Strasburg on the injured list

Nationals place Stephen Strasburg on the injured list

The Nationals placed Stephen Strasburg on the 10-day injured list Saturday because of carpal tunnel neuritis of the right hand. Ryne Harper will take his place on the active roster.

Strasburg was pulled from his Friday start in Baltimore after recording just two outs in the first inning. He was consistently shaking and flexing his right hand after throwing pitches. Sixteen pitches into his start, Davey Martinez and trainer Paul Lessard went to the mound to talk to Strasburg.

“I told Paul, we’re going to go out, I told him then and there, ‘I don’t want you to continue right now,’” Martinez said Friday. “I talked to him after he came out. I appreciated him trying to gut it out. But I don’t want this to become a bigger issue, you know? Something else goes wrong...He’s going to get re-evaluated here [Saturday]. We’ll know more [Saturday]. But, he’s a big part of our future. I don’t see him getting hurt anymore right now until we figure out what’s really going on.”

RELATED: Stephen Strasburg’s latest setback sends a clear signal he should be shut down

Saturday’s assessment prompted the team to place Strasburg -- who signed a seven-year, $245 million contract in the offseason -- on the injured list. He’s made two starts this season. His first lasted five innings. The second didn’t make it past one inning.

    Strasburg’s nerve problem is causing his right thumb to go numb or tingle. It is produced by a wrist impingement that the Nationals have treated with multiple cortisone shots. The issue dates all the way back to mid-July when Strasburg was preparing for the season. Rest and treatment made Strasburg and the organization think he was ready to pitch after missing his first two scheduled starts. But, the problem persisted, then increased.

    The question now is if Strasburg will come back at all in 2020. The Nationals need to balance the risk-reward of using one of the premier pitchers in the league during a 60-game season filled with odd circumstances.

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    Reds-Pirates games postponed after Cincinnati player tests positive for coronavirus

    Reds-Pirates games postponed after Cincinnati player tests positive for coronavirus

    The two remaining games in the Cincinnati Reds-Pittsburgh Pirates series has been postponed after a Reds player tested positive for coronavirus. 

    While the player who tested positive has not been disclosed, the Reds have reportedly started the contact tracing process. 

    Cincinnati thwarted the Reds, 8-1, on Friday night and the two were scheduled to play two more games on Saturday and Sunday before the positive test. 

    Now with the Reds season put on pause, the club remains stuck in limbo until further widespread testing finds the scope of the issue. Cincinnati is five and a half games back behind the NL Central's leading Chicago Cubs. 

    Major League Baseball has had a difficult time controlling the spread of COVID-19 and this is yet another example of some of the shortcomings of not playing in a bubble like some of their professional league counterparts. 

    While the past two weeks have been otherwise quiet for the MLB in terms of additional positive tests, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported there was an 18th positive test yesterday before St. Louis traveled to Chicago as the Cardinals are still playing to Chicago to play the White Sox today. St. Louis has only played five games entering the day.

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