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Mississippi State beats Central Arkansas 79-72

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Mississippi State beats Central Arkansas 79-72

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) Freshman Gavin Ware scored a career-high 22 points and grabbed 13 rebounds to lead Mississippi State to a 79-72 win over Central Arkansas on Saturday.

The 6-foot-9 Ware was unstoppable in the paint, making 8 of 9 shots from the field, 6 of 8 free throws and grabbing four offensive rebounds. Trivante Bloodman scored 12, Colin Borchert 11 and walk-on Tyson Cunningham added 10 points, including two 3-pointers in the second half that helped the Bulldogs (4-6) pull away.

Mississippi State won for just the third time in eight games. The Bulldogs dominated on the glass, outrebounding the Bears 43-29. They also shot 48.1 percent (25 of 52) from the field.

Central Arkansas (4-5) has lost two in a row. The Bears were led by Robert Crawford's 26 points. Jordan Harks and Jarvis Garner added 11.

Mississippi State has had a rough start to the season thanks to a fairly difficult schedule and a roster that's down to six scholarship players after injuries to four - including starters Jalen Steele and Wendell Lewis.

So it was encouraging for the Bulldogs to see some of the remaining healthy players - like Ware - show some improvement before Southeastern Conference play begins in a few weeks. Ware could be one of the cornerstones of Ray's rebuilding project, with a wide body, soft hands and knack for finding good position and scoring at the rim.

The 270-pounder from Starkville, Miss., hit a few shots early and then the plan became obvious - feed him the ball whenever possible. The Bears didn't have anyone big enough to stop him.

While Ware was dominating inside, the Bulldogs got some surprising help on the perimeter from Cunningham, a junior walk-on who has been forced into the regular rotation because of the constant injures.

He came into the game averaging just 1.7 points per game, but nailed two crucial 3-pointers in the second half that helped Mississippi State push out to a 60-49 lead with nine minutes remaining.

Central Arkansas could never make a serious run after that point.

Crawford tried to keep the Bears in the game, making 8 of 18 shots from the field, including 7 of 14 from 3-point range. But outside of Crawford, Central Arkansas shot just 3 of 21 from 3-point range and shot just 11 free throws compared to Mississippi State's 36 attempts.

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

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Four factors that could prevent Brandon Scherff from signing a big deal with the Redskins

Four factors that could prevent Brandon Scherff from signing a big deal with the Redskins

With less than a week to go until their July 15 deadline, "there isn't much optimism" that the Redskins and Brandon Scherff will be able to nail down a long-term contract, per an ESPN report.

If the two sides can't come together, then Scherff will play out the 2020 season on the franchise tag.

On the surface, there's obvious reasons for both the team and the player to commit to a multi-year agreement.

For the former, the reason is that Scherff is a very useful asset on the offensive line, making him a very useful asset for another very useful asset, Dwayne Haskins.

For the latter, the reason is that Washington is where Scherff wants to spend the rest of his career, which is according to Scherff himself.

If things keep tracking the way they appear to be going, though, then that one-year pact will kick in and some drama will follow after that. 

Here are four factors that could be to blame, should that conclusion come to fruition.

A lack of familiarity 

Thanks to the pandemic, Scherff and Ron Rivera haven't had a chance to really get to know each other as well as they normally would. That matters. 

Rivera is clearly in control of the Burgundy and Gold now, meaning he has a very strong influence on how hard the organization is trying to lock up the 28-year-old. Perhaps there's some uncertainty on his end because he simply isn't that familiar with Scherff. The same could be said for Scherff, too.

The previous regime clearly valued Scherff from the day they selected him fifth overall in the draft. This new one, unfortunately, just hasn't had the opportunity yet to build up the same appreciation.

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Uncertainty about 2020

This is another pandemic-related one, and it's something that could be particularly affecting Scherff.

While the NFL clearly plans to go full-speed ahead with its schedule, there's tons of skepticism that they'll actually be able to pull off a season. Just look at how much trouble the other leagues are having, then think about how football — with its large swath of large men and constant contact — may have the most difficult time of all.

Does now seem like the most solid ground for Scherff to sign on the dotted line? When it's still so unclear what 2020 will look like? Not exactly.

Injury history

Factor No. 3 is one that surely is having some impact on the Redskins' viewpoint.

Scherff ended both 2018 and 2019 on injured reserve, due to a torn pec and then elbow and shoulder injuries, respectively. To take it a step further, he's missed 15 contests out of a possible 48 since 2017.

For the team to ink Scherff to a hefty contract, they're going to want to feel confident he'll be on the field to earn it. Right now, that confidence may not be there.

Money

People seem to care about this green stuff, right?

While Scherff would no doubt find security in a potential multi-year deal with the Redskins, he may simply have more interest in just accepting the franchise tag, which will pay him $15 million in 2020. That's a huge number that could be dissuading him from negotiating much.

As for the team, because of things like the staff's newness and the concern for Scherff's health, they may rather see Scherff for an (albeit expensive) season before deciding whether they want him on the roster for the rest of the rebuild.

These back-and-forths are always complicated, but this time around, there seems to be more variables than usual. The NFL is known as a "deadline league," but the above factors could prove to be too much to overcome before the July 15 buzzer.

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Eagles 'threatened to fire' DeSean Jackson over Instagram posts, per Stephen Jackson

Eagles 'threatened to fire' DeSean Jackson over Instagram posts, per Stephen Jackson

A part of a series of statements defending DeSean Jackson following the wide receiver's posting of anti-semitic comments falsely attributed to Adolf Hitler, Stephen Jackson revealed he received a call from the distressed veteran after the incident. 

According to Stephen, DeSean said the Eagles were threatening to release him without an apology. 

"My whole reason for supporting D-Jack was, before I got on Instagram, he called me on the phone and told me that they was threatening to fire him," Jackson said h/t NBCS Philadelphia's Adam Hermann. "But they didn't do that to [Riley] Cooper. And I was like, 'You're right, you shouldn't have to apologize if they didn't make him apologize."

Riley Cooper was caught on video saying the n-word at a concert in 2013, and after the now-retired receiver made his apology, the Eagles fined him an undisclosed amount. He was then re-signed to a five-year extension in 2014, though he'd eventually be released two years later. 

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DeSean ultimately apologized, saying his posts were, "definitely not intended for anybody of any race to feel any type of way, especially the Jewish community."

The Eagles then released a statement condemning their wide receiver's actions, calling the messages he shared, "offensive, harmful, and absolutely appalling." They were not clear on what Jackson's punishment would be in their statement. 

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This, of course, was not all Jackson said in defense of DeSean. The 14-year NBA veteran claimed Jackson was speaking the truth through the messages he shared.

"He was trying to educate himself, educate people, and he's speaking the truth. Right? He's speaking the truth,” Stephen Jackson said. “You know he don't hate nobody, but he's speaking the truth of the facts that he knows and trying to educate others."

Jackson played three seasons with the Redskins from 2014-16 Chip Kelly cut him following the 2013 campaign. He then returned to Philadelphia before the 2019 season by signing a three-year contract with the franchise who drafted him.

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