MOBILE, Ala. (AP) Bruce Massey turned in 12 points as Middle Tennessee held off South Alabama's late charge and escaped with a 60-56 victory in Sun Belt Conference action Saturday night.
The Blue Raiders (12-4, 4-1) led 29-28 at the intermission but opened the second half with an 11-2 run. Middle Tennessee built the lead all the way to 15, 50-35, when the Jaguars (7-7, 4-2) began to push back.
Javier Carter's tip-in cut the Blue Raiders' lead to 58-49 with 3:36 left. Augustine Rubit followed with two free throws, then Freddie Goldstein drained a 3 and Antoine Allen made a layup to pull South Alabama within 58-56 with 1:41 left. The Jaguars attempted three more shots and missed them all while Massey hit a pair of free throws for the final four-point lead.
Rubit led South Alabama with 14 rebounds and added 10 points, while Mychal Ammons added 15 points.
DALLAS—The Caps are “really close” to signing star defenseman John Carlson to a long-term extension, GM Brian MacLellan said Friday night.
“We’re getting closer,” MacLellan said following the first round of the NHL Draft. “Hopefully we can get it done here over the next few days. We’re really close.”
Earlier in the day, the Caps cleared significant space under the salary cap ceiling by trading Philipp Grubauer and Brooks Orpik to Colorado for a second round draft pick (47th overall).
That space will now be used to lock up Carlson, who could become the best defenseman on the open market if he were to reach it.
MacLellan met with Carlson’s agent, Rick Curran, here on Thursday night.
MacLellan did not divulge any figures, but it’s expected that Carlson’s new contract could come in at eight years and $8 million per—or perhaps a bit more.
He earned $4 million last season.
Carlson had a career year in 2017-18 and was critical during the Caps' run to the Stanley Cup. He led all defensemen in the regular season with 68 points (15 goals, 53 assists). The 28-year-old also skated a career-high 24:47 per game.
MacLellan has long said that re-signing Carlson was the Caps’ top priority this offseason. And now it looks like that could happen within days, assuming the talks do not hit any snags.
“We’re going to do our best to sign John,” MacLellan said. “We’ve said it all along. We waited until the end of the year. We’ve had discussions. We’re close and hopefully we can close the deal here over the next 24 hours.”
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The last time the Washington Capitals had a first-round draft pick, they selected a WHL defenseman. They did not go off script on Friday.
With the last pick of the first round, selecting for the first time as defending Stanley Cup champions, the Capitals selected Alexander Alexeyev, a left-shooting, two-way defenseman from St. Petersburg.
Alexeyev, 18, certainly boasts NHL size at 6' 4", 196 pounds. He currently plays for Red Deer in the WHL, a junior league that has become a major pipeline for the Capitals. In his second season with Red Deer, he tallied 37 points in 45 games.
The NHL Central Scouting's rankings list Alexeyev as the 22nd best North American skater of the draft. TSN projects him to be a top-four, two-way defenseman.
Analyst Craig Button described Alexeyev as a "Smart, effective defenceman who moves the puck, plays with a calm and doesn't make things complicated for himself."
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