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No. 20 Notre Dame beats Monmouth 84-57

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No. 20 Notre Dame beats Monmouth 84-57

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) Monmouth came out tough and aggressive against No. 20 Notre Dame on Monday night. The Hawks were unable to keep it up, however, and lost 85-47.

The Monmouth players tried to establish themselves with a strong physical presence early, notching six fouls in the first 4:14 of the game.

Notre Dame forward Scott Martin said they just didn't have the size to maintain that style of play.

``They were trying to throw their weight around,'' Martin said. ``Unfortunately for them, we were a little bigger and stronger than them.''

Dion Nesmith led the Hawks with 13 points, followed by Andrew Nicholas with nine.

First-year Monmouth coach King Rice praised the Irish for their teamwork, something he wants his own team to emulate.

``They're a really good program, and hopefully someday we can get better and at least be able to give them a game,'' Rice said. ``They play the right way; they share the ball. You can just see they're a team, and that's what we're trying to build.''

Garrick Sherman had a career-high 22 points and seven rebounds to lead the Irish. Jack Cooley added 16 points for the Irish (2-0) and Pat Connaughton had 13.

``I take my hat off to Coach (Mike) Brey and the Notre Dame team,'' Rice said. ``I recruited a bunch of kids of the Notre Dame team when I was at Vanderbilt, and he does a great job, the type of kids he gets. I take my hat off to those kids, man, because they really know how to play basketball.''

As Sherman came off the court with the game well in hand, he said the same thing to everyone he high-fived on the bench: ``It's about time.''

The Michigan State transfer said he was ``embarrassed'' by his 3-point performance Saturday in the season opener against Evansville, and was determined to come out more aggressive against Monmouth.

``I think I was a little too passive in the first game, trying to find my role,'' the 6-foot-10 senior forward said. ``I owe it to Coach Brey and I owe it to this program to start playing better.''

Monmouth (1-1) scored the game's first four points, but Cooley's free throw 4 minutes into the game put the Irish ahead for good. Notre Dame stretched its lead to 17 points with 1:31 to go in the first half, before Monmouth's Andrew Nicholas cut the deficit to 12 with a 3-pointer at the buzzer.

Notre Dame, which outrebounded Monmouth 42-24, shot 61 percent from the free throw line.

Dion Nesmith led the Hawks with 13 points.

Brey said it was the first time he had been able to play Cooley and Sherman together for long stretches.

``That really helped us, just being able to pound away with two big guys,'' Brey said. ``This is so important for (Sherman) as we head to Brooklyn. That's a game that kind of makes him believe he's really part of it.''

Brey said Sherman has the footwork and agility to play very ``crafty,'' so it's been a challenge to slow down his game.

``We did a good job feeding him,'' Brey said. ``He has the best feel of our big guys to present himself as a receiver in a good spot. ``

The Irish travel this weekend to the $1 billion Barclay's Center in Brooklyn on for the championship rounds of the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic. Notre Dame will play Saint Joseph's on Saturday, then either Florida State or BYU on Sunday.

Monmouth was outscored 40-20 in the paint, and hit only 2 of 11 from 3-point range. The Irish were 6 of 21 on 3-pointers, with Connaughton hitting three.

The Irish again were lackluster from the free throw line, hitting just 16 of 26 -- a slight improvement from the 18-of-30 effort in their season opener Saturday against Evansville.

Monmouth shot just 39 percent from the field, compared to 53 percent by the Irish.

Monmouth turned the ball over 18 times to Notre Dame's 16, but the Irish turned those into 28 points, while Monmouth converted the Irish turnovers into just 10 points.

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Wizards Tipoff podcast: John Wall goes 1-on-1 to talk Bryce Harper's future, celebrity softball and the Summer League

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Wizards Tipoff podcast: John Wall goes 1-on-1 to talk Bryce Harper's future, celebrity softball and the Summer League

On the latest episode of the Wizards Tipoff podcast presented by Greenberg and Bederman, John Wall went 1-on-1 to talk Bryce Harper's future, the celebrity softball game and the Summer League.

Chase Hughes and Chris Miller broke down the parallels between Wall and Harper and why Wall has chosen to stay loyal to Washington in his own contract decisions. Plus, can the Wizards really tone down the talking this season?

You can listen to the episode right here:

You can download the podcast on Apple Podcasts right here and on Google Play. If you like the show please tell your friends!

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Redskins 2018 position outlook: Outside linebackers

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Redskins 2018 position outlook: Outside linebackers

Redskins Training camp opens next week, and we have a break here, giving us time to put the depth chart under the microscope.

Between now and the start of camp, we will look at every position, compare the group to the rest of the NFL, see if the position has been upgraded or downgraded from last year, and take out the crystal ball to see what might unfold.

OUTSIDE LINEBACKERS

Additions: Pernell McPhee (free agent)
Departures: Junior Galette (free agent)

Starters: Ryan Kerrigan, Preston Smith
Other roster locks: Ryan Anderson, McPhee
On the bubble: Pete Robertson

How the outside linebackers compare

To the rest of the NFL: By any measure, the Redskins had a top-10 pass rush last year. They were tied for seventh with 42 sacks and they got a sack on 7.3 percent of pass attempts, also seventh in the league. Looking forward to this year, Pro Football Focus has them ranked as the sixth-best pass rushing team for 2018. Ryan Kerrigan is showing no signs of slowing down as he approaches age 30 and Preston Smith is about to hit his prime. After the departure of Galette, the depth is questionable, and we’ll deal with that next. Even without Galette, it’s still one of the best units in the NFL. 

To the 2017 Redskins: Some downplay the decision to let Galette walk in free agency, saying he had just three sacks. But his value went beyond that. He had 9 QB hits and 25 hurries, both second-most on the team, in just 258 pass rush snaps. Someone will have to step up and replace that pressure. The spotlight will be on Anderson, who had no sacks after being a second-round pick. He will need to step up for this year’s Redskins pass rush to be as good as last year’s. 

2018 outside linebacker outlook

Biggest upside: Since the 2015 season, only one NFL player has at least 20 sacks, four forced fumbles, and three interceptions and it’s Preston Smith. His consistency is an issue but even when he is going for a few weeks between sacks he is getting pressure on the quarterback. Still, there is more ability there. Smith could set himself up for a big payday by breaking through with a double-digit sack season while continuing to make big plays in his contract year.

Most to prove: To be fair, Anderson did not get a whole lot of chances to rush the passer last year, playing just 81 pass rush snaps. Still, there are reasons to be concerned about how much he can produce after a zero-sack, one-hit, three-hurries 2017 debut season. Anderson was not expected to make a splash as a rookie, but more was anticipated. He was drafted where he was in part because of his work ethic. The Redskins hope he will work his way into a significant second-year leap. 

Rookie watch: There are no rookie outside linebackers on the roster. 

Bottom line: The main concern about the Redskins’ defense this year revolves around the cornerback spot following the departures of Kendall Fuller and Bashaud Breeland. The best way to manage problematic cornerbacks is by getting a strong pass rush. The Redskins need to Smith to have a true breakout season and for Anderson or McPhee to be a strong contributor off the bench. Along with the improved defensive line, the pass rush could transform the defensive line into a quality unit in 2018. 

2018 Redskins Position Outlook Series