Nationals

No. 4 Syracuse beats Eastern Michigan 84-48

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No. 4 Syracuse beats Eastern Michigan 84-48

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) Michael Carter-Williams had 11 points and 11 assists, freshman Jerami Grant had a season-high 11 points and two blocks, and No. 4 Syracuse beat Eastern Michigan 84-48 on Monday night.

Syracuse (6-0) has won 48 straight nonconference games and boosted its home winning streak to 26 games.

Eastern Michigan (5-2) and the Orange had met just twice before, the last time also an 84-48 Syracuse victory a year ago in the Carrier Dome. EMU coach Rob Murphy spent seven seasons as an assistant coach under Jim Boeheim at Syracuse before taking the job with the Eagles two years ago.

Carter-Williams, who led the nation in assists at 9.2 per game, had an erratic first half and finished with six of Syracuse's 18 turnovers. Eastern Michigan had 24 turnovers and was outscored 31-9 on the miscues.

Freshman Dajuan Coleman had a season-high 14 points and Brandon Triche finished with 12 for the Orange. James Southerland, who had a career-high 35 points and matched a school record with nine 3-pointers in Friday night's win at Arkansas, finished with four points.

Trevor Cooney, mired in an awful slump - he was 0 for 11 in the three previous games - missed his first five from beyond the arc against the Eagles before finally making one with 8:09 left. Still, he finished with a season-high 11 points.

Derek Thompson led Eastern Michigan with 18 points and Glenn Bryant had 16. Da'Shonte Riley, a 7-foot center who transferred from Syracuse to EMU after spending two seasons with the Orange, had a not-so-memorable homecoming in a game he was anticipating, finishing with three points on 1-of-8 shooting but collecting six blocks, one off his career high.

Defensively, the Eagles were holding opponents to 36.3 percent shooting, tied for 27th in the country, and the Orange had trouble coping at the outset.

Syracuse missed 10 of its first 12 shots, including three lobs, and committed five turnovers in the opening minutes. Fortunately for the Orange, the Eagles weren't much better, going 4 of 11 and losing the ball five times.

But after Bryant hit two free throws to give Eastern Michigan a 10-3 lead at 14:59, the Orange responded with a 13-2 spurt to gain its first lead and begin to take control.

C.J. Fair scored two straight baskets to start the rally and Southerland finished it with a one-handed baseline runner and a pullup jumper from the wing.

Thompson's layup at 7:04 was Eastern Michigan's final basket of the first half as Syracuse closed the period with a 19-3 run that erased any thoughts of an upset.

The Eagles had 17 turnovers that led to 18 points for the Orange and were 6 of 22 (27.3 percent) shooting in the first half, missing all six 3-pointers they attempted. Syracuse hit 9 of its final 19 shots to take a 35-17 halftime lead despite 1-for-10 shooting from beyond the arc.

A 3-pointer from the top of the key by Thompson cut the imposing lead to 37-20 in the first minute of the second half. That was the closest the Eagles came the rest of the game.

Syracuse entered the game averaging 80.2 points per game and was the epitome of consistency scoring inside in the first five games - the Orange registered 44, 44, 42, 42, and 40 points in the paint - and finished with a 48-22 edge there against EMU.

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Nationals win despite having to turn to little-known pitcher for pivotal start

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Nationals win despite having to turn to little-known pitcher for pivotal start

WASHINGTON -- If any bump was coming from a return home or Mike Rizzo’s public pregame words or simply being out of New York, it was not apparent Friday.

Three errors committed in the first four innings. The first reliever into the game, Joe Ross, allowed three earned runs before recording a second out. Starter Kyle McGowin barely made it through the fourth inning of an eventual and desperately needed 12-10 win.

The rally kept the Nationals from creeping toward of new level of dubiousness in this muck-filled season. They pushed 2 ½ games in front of the Marlins for the National League’s worst record. Juan Soto hit a three-run homer in the eighth. Matt Adams followed with a solo homer. Sean Doolittle had trouble, but closed the game. Those efforts kept this from being another story about the bullpen (five more runs allowed Friday).

So, here’s a different question to ponder (there are a million or none, depending on point of view) after Friday night: How did the Nationals end up with 27-year-old McGowin starting a surprisingly pivotal game?

The nuts-and-bolts version is because of injuries. Both Anibal Sanchez -- who threw a simulation game Friday -- and Jeremy Hellickson are on the injured list. The deeper answer comes from looking at the recent erosion of pitchers in Washington’s minor-league system.

McGowin made his second career start Friday because there is no one else. No hot minor-league prospect, no early-round pick who has been up and down and received another shot, no veteran stashed in the minor leagues for such situations.

Looming behind all of this is the 2016 trade of three pitching prospects to acquire Adam Eaton. Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez and Dane Dunning were all sent to Chicago for Eaton’s advanced-stats and cost-friendly contract. The departure of three starting pitchers in one shot reverberated Friday when the Nationals were forced to use McGowin in a spot start as the seventh starter of the season.

This is more a volume than quality issue. Neither Lopez or Giolito were effective in limited chances at the major-league level with Washington before being traded. Once in Chicago, Giolito became arguably the worst pitcher in baseball in 2018. No one allowed more earned runs or walks that season. Lopez had a quality season, finishing with 3.1 WAR.

The two have reversed outcomes in 2019. Giolito has rediscovered his velocity. After throwing 100 mph in the 2015 Futures Game, his velocity caved. Giolito was down to 92-93 mph with the Nationals and, initially, Chicago. Thursday, he hit 97 mph in the ninth inning of a shutout against Houston. The outing drove his ERA down to 2.77.

Lopez is struggling. His 5.14 ERA is venturing toward Giolito’s status of a year ago. His walk total -- always the concern -- is up, as are his homers allowed.

But what Giolito and Lopez have, at age 24 and 25, respectively, is potential. Giolito, who often fussed with his mechanics in Washington, has discovered a delivery to expedite his fastball and an approach to boost the effectiveness of his changeup. Lopez’s 2018 showed he can be a solid back-end rotation member. They were expected to follow behind Erick Fedde and Joe Ross in establishing a future rotation. But, those two are in Chicago, Ross is in the bullpen, where he gave up three runs Friday, and Fedde just returned to the rotation after being moved to the bullpen.

So, it was McGowin on the mound Friday. Four innings, six hits, five runs, one walk, two strikeouts, two home runs allowed. Why? No better choice is available.

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Make-A-Wish Mid-Atlantic and Nationals grant boys wish to be a player for a day

Make-A-Wish Mid-Atlantic and Nationals grant boys wish to be a player for a day

The Nationals welcomed 10-year-old cancer patient Parker Staples as the newest addition to their team on Friday, in conjunction with the Make-A-Wish Mid-Atlantic Foundation.

While battling lymphoma, Staples learned he would receive a wish and didn’t hesitate about what he wanted to choose. After being sidelined for two years during treatment, Parker couldn’t wait to celebrate his remission by becoming part of his favorite baseball team. 

Staples was introduced to his new teammates and got signed autographs from Matt Adams, Juan Soto, Anthony Rendon, and Yan Gomes. He also got to spend time hitting and playing catch with his new teammates, as well as being interviewed as the newest member of the team. It gets even better than that, Staples threw the ceremonial first pitch at Nationals Park leading up to the Marlins-Nationals game Staples 

"My favorite moment was throwing the first pitch. It was really cool," Staples said.

"Probably the biggest day of my life."

The Nationals are hosted the Miami Marlins in the series opener Friday.

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