Nationals

No. 1 Indiana dominates C. Connecticut St. 100-69

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No. 1 Indiana dominates C. Connecticut St. 100-69

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) Central Connecticut State coach Howie Dickenman expected to endure a rough Saturday night in Bloomington.

He never dreamed it would go quite this way.

On a night that the nation's top scorer was held to just seven points, Matt Hunter finished with 40 - becoming the first player from outside the Big Ten to score 40 points in a game at Assembly Hall, albeit in a 100-69 loss to No. 1 Indiana.

``When you have the leading scorer coming in and you're Indiana, you're going to make sure he doesn't get anything, OK?'' Dickenman said, referring to sophomore guard Kyle Vinales. ``He really had some bad looks, got a little frustrated, took a couple of questionable shots. But his roommate from Detroit, Hunter, threw in 40. We never thought he'd get 40, we thought Kyle might get 40.''

The turnabout was a huge surprise.

Vinales had been more proficient, shooting 46 percent from the field and averaging 25.9 points - including at least 20 in six straight games. With Victor Oladipo defending him, Vinales went just 3 of 15 from the field and 0 for 4 on 3-pointers, finishing with seven points.

Hunter, meanwhile, came into the game shooting just 42 percent from the field and was just 2 of 18 from beyond the arc. Against the Hoosiers, he made 6 of 11 3-pointers, 13 of 25 from the field and joined Michigan State's Shawn Respert (1995) and Terry Furlow (1976) as the only visiting players to score 40 in Assembly Hall. It wasn't enough to prevent the Blue Devils (4-4) from losing their 12th in a row against the Big Ten.

``Quite frankly, it's Indiana, and it's in Assembly Hall and the tradition they had, we had some kids that we thought were a bit nervous coming in,'' Dickenman acknowledged, calling it a learning experience.

Indiana learned a few things, too, like what they must do better the next time they face dual scorer's.

But overall, the Hoosiers (9-0) were up to their old tricks.

Christian Watford scored 21 points, Cody Zeller dominated inside with 19 points and 19 rebounds, and Oladipo had another solid all-around game with 15 points and his defense on Vinales.

``I think we're playing well, but again I don't think we've even scratched the surface on how good we can be at both ends of the floor,'' Oladipo said. ``I think if we keep (getting better), we'll continue to play at a high level.''

Indiana is playing pretty well right now, opening with nine wins for the second straight season. The Hoosiers have won 13 straight at Assembly Hall and 27 in a row at home against non-conference foes. This was their third-most lopsided victory of the season, and they seem to be getting more dominant with each game.

Indiana shot 54.2 percent from the field while holding the Blue Devils to just 33.3 percent. Oladipo also had nine rebounds, five steals, three blocks, two assists and repeatedly whipped the crowd into a frenzy with highlight-reel dunks and big plays.

The matchup was supposed to be an intriguing shootout between two strong offensive teams.

Instead, Indiana took advantage of one full week to prepare for the game and took control during one six-minute stretch in the first half.

The Hoosiers had only two real concerns all night.

They lost sophomore forward Austin Etherington with a left knee injury that coach Tom Crean described as ``significant'' even before the official diagnosis was in.

Etherington was surrounded by his teammates and coaches as he was lifted onto a stretcher and then wheeled off the court late in the first half. It's another blow for a team that is still missing senior forward Derek Elston (knee surgery) and isn't sure how quickly freshmen Hanner Mosquera-Perea and Peter Jurkin will get up to speed after serving the last game of a nine-game suspension imposed by the NCAA.

``I know they were really concerned about their friend and teammate,'' Crean said, referring to Etherington's injury. ``It was important they continued to play well and they did.''

Central Connecticut State led only once - after the first basket - and hung around for about six minutes.

Then the Hoosiers dominated.

Ferrell started the decisive 22-2 run with a spinning 2-footer, Hulls followed with a 3, Zeller posted up for a layup, Maurice Creek hit another 3 and Zeller posted up for another layup. Oladipo closed the run three minutes later with a thunderous one-handed dunk that he turned into a three-point play, giving Indiana a 37-16 lead.

``Bottom line is there's a lot of room for improvement in our team, that will never go away,'' Crean said. ``We can get better, we will get better.''

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Max Scherzer set to start Game 1 of the World Series

Max Scherzer set to start Game 1 of the World Series

HOUSTON -- The simplest decision often rests as the correct one.

In this case, the Nationals selecting Max Scherzer to start Game 1 of the 2019 World Series qualified as the simplest decision.

Washington let the options publicly simmer until Monday afternoon when Davey Martinez said Scherzer would start Game 1. Stephen Strasburg will follow. The Game 3 starter is to be determined.

Scherzer has not pitched since Oct. 12. Monday, he was in left field throwing, the crack of a catcher’s mitt among the few sounds in Minute Maid Park before the Nationals’ evening workout began, prior to skulking around on the center field warning track by himself.

The six-day break between games prompted by an NLCS sweep was key for the Nationals’ biggest strength, their starting pitching. Strasburg is No. 1 in pitches thrown in the postseason. Scherzer is No. 2. They are the only two to throw more than 300 pitches in the postseason. No pitcher in the major leagues has thrown more pitches than Strasburg this season.

Scherzer and Strasburg starting Games 1 and 2 in Houston means they are in line for Games 5 and 6, respectively. Patrick Corbin’s availability for Game 3 will be dependent on his bullpen role in Games 1 and 2. Corbin brewed a mess in his first relief outing of the postseason. He allowed six earned runs in ⅔ of an inning against Los Angeles in Game 3 of the National League Division Series before pitching more effectively in future relief appearances.

“I haven’t really thought about it because we’ve kept winning,” Corbin said. “That night stunk. The next day, after that series [I] was fine. Never really thought about it. Right now, I’ve had a lot of time off, about a week now, I’ll be fresh to come in and give what they want. I’ve felt fine. I’ve kind of developed a little routine down there to stay loose. If they need me, I’ll be available.”

The Nationals considered pitching Aníbal Sánchez in Game 1, which would bump Scherzer and Strasburg to Games 2 and 6, and 3 and 7, respectively. They opted to send out their biggest strength immediately in the series, then will figure out Game 7 (which would be the Game 3 starter on normal rest). Martinez will go step by step following the first two games. 

As for Scherzer, he opted to skip the canned answer and express his excitement about pitching the same game as Houston starter Gerrit Cole, who has dominated for more than a year. 

“Of course,” Scherzer said. “I mean, I've been in the situation, faced really good pitchers here in the National League over the years; [Clayton] Kershaw, [Jacob] deGrom, those guys. You just know you've got to come out there, you're going to be throwing up zeros. And you've got to try to match the intensity from your opponent.”

Taken away from Scherzer is his chance to hit. Howie Kendrick will be the designated hitter in the first two games. Scherzer said not being part of the offense alters the vibe of the game for him. 

“It's just a different feel to the game of not grabbing a bat,” Scherzer said. “I've definitely grown accustomed to doing that, it kind of keeps you in the game flow even more. It feels weird when you get to the DH and you're not in that flow of the game offensively.”

That will be his situation Tuesday night when he opens the World Series in Houston.

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How To Watch Nationals-Astros World Series Game 1: Date, time, TV channel, live stream

How To Watch Nationals-Astros World Series Game 1: Date, time, TV channel, live stream

With the Washington Nationals pulling off a clean sweep of the St. Louis Cardinals in the NLCS, there was a rather long break before the team could make its much anticipated World Series appearance. But, that wait has reached its end, as Tuesday marks the beginning of this year's fall classic.

On Saturday night, the Washington Nationals learned of their opponent: the Houston Astros. The AL West division winners took care of the New York Yankees in six games, clinching a berth in the World Series with a walk-off homerun by Jose Altuve. For Houston, this will be the second World Series appearance in three seasons, as the team took home the title in 2017.

But, this team maybe even better than that one. The core of Altuve and Carlos Correa now also features a rising superstar in Alex Bregman and a stellar bat in Michael Brantley to make the lineup one of the most potent. As for the pitching rotation, it's equally as dominant. One could make the case for either Justin Verlander or Gerrit Cole to take home the AL Cy Young, and the Astros have both. Oh, and they can also run out Zack Greinke for good measure. Cole hasn't lost a start since May (yes, you read that right) and while Verlander and Greinke have struggled at times in the postseason, they aren't exactly arms you want to face.

As impressive as Houston is, the Nationals pack their own punch as well. Anthony Rendon, Trea Turner, Juan Soto and NLCS MVP Howie Kendrick star in a lineup that has thrived on timely hitting in October. Add that to the four-headed monster of Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, Patrick Corbin and Anibal Sanchez that handled the Cardinals with ease, and you have the formula for an exciting World Series.

It will be Scherzer against Cole in Game 1, here's everything you need to know about the series opener.

2019 World Series Game 1: Washington Nationals @ Houston Astros

Date: Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Location: Minute Maid Park, Houston, TX.

Time: 8:08 p.m. ET

TV Channel: FOX

Broadcasters: Joe Buck and John Smoltz

Live Stream: FOX Sports

Radio: 106.7 The Fan (Washington DC Market), ESPN Radio (Nationally)

Weather: 70° F

World Series Schedule:

Tuesday, Oct. 22:
- World Series Game 1: Nationals @ Astros. Time: 8:08 p.m. TV Channel: FOX.

Wednesday, Oct. 23:
- World Series Game 2: Nationals @ Astros. Time: 8:07 p.m. TV Channel: FOX.

Friday, Oct. 25:
- World Series Game 3: Astros @ Nationals. Time: 8:07 p.m. TV Channel: FOX.

Saturday, Oct. 26: 
- World Series Game 4: Astros @ Nationals. Time: 8:07 p.m. TV Channel: FOX.

Sunday, Oct. 27: 
- World Series Game 5*: Astros @ Nationals. Time: 8:07 p.m. TV Channel: FOX.

Tuesday, Oct. 29: 
- World Series Game 6*: Nationals @ Astros. Time: 8:07 p.m. TV Channel: FOX.

Tuesday, Oct. 30:
- World Series Game 7*: Nationals @ Astros. Time: 8:08 p.m. TV Channel: FOX.

*If necessary 

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