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Pitt crushes DePaul 93-55 to win 4th straight

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Pitt crushes DePaul 93-55 to win 4th straight

PITTSBURGH (AP) Trey Zeigler scored a season-high 18 points and Pittsburgh crushed DePaul 93-55 on Saturday night for its fourth straight victory.

Lamar Patterson added 15 points, Steven Adams added nine points and a season-high 14 rebounds for the Panthers (17-4, 5-3 Big East), who climbed into a tie for third in the muddled Big East after dominating the reeling Blue Demons.

The 38-point margin of victory was the highest ever by Pitt in a Big East game, eclipsing a 36-point romp over West Virginia in 2003.

Brandon Young led DePaul (10-9, 1-5) with 13 points and Moses Morgan chipped in 11, but the Blue Demons were never in it while losing for the sixth time in seven games. DePaul shot just 27 percent (18 of 65) and was outrebounded 58-34 while suffering its worst loss in nearly two years.

Pitt coach Jamie Dixon was concerned about how his team would handle DePaul's full-court pressure and early on the Blue Demons were able to rattle the Panthers into uncharacteristic mistakes. Pitt came in leading the country in assist/turnover ratio but threw it away six times in the first 10 minutes.

That allowed DePaul to hang around, but only for a bit. Once the Panthers settled down, they were able to get wherever they wanted, whenever they wanted. Woodall and Patterson led a 23-5 push midway through the first half to take control.

The Blue Demons simply couldn't keep up. If they weren't missing shots - DePaul went just 9 of 33 (27 percent) from the floor in the first half - then they were giving the ball away in transition or getting dominated on the glass.

Pitt's size and ability to stay under control once it got comfortable playing at the up-tempo pace the Blue Demons prefer eventually made DePaul's defense ineffective.

The result was a 53-30 halftime lead, the Panthers' highest scoring half of the season. The 23-point edge tied for the second-largest halftime advantage ever by the Panthers against a Big East rival, a record that would have been broken if Morgan hadn't hit a high arcing 3-pointer over the outstretched arms of the 7-foot Adams at the horn.

While Pitt has struggled at times putting two solid halves together this season, there were no such issues against the overmatched Blue Demons. Pitt scored three quick buckets to open the second half, allowing the Panthers to look ahead to the most pivotal week of the season.

Pitt plays at No. 5 Louisville on Monday and hosts No. 3 Syracuse next Saturday.

The mismatch allowed Dixon to experiment with his lineup in the second half. Pitt's bench actually outscored its starters 52-41, with Zeigler leading the way. The junior transfer from Central Michigan is starting to settle into his new role coming off the bench. He knocked down 7 of 12 shots and added five rebounds, including four on the offensive glass.

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Mystics' Kristi Toliver named WNBA All-Star reserve for a second straight year

Mystics' Kristi Toliver named WNBA All-Star reserve for a second straight year

Washington Mystics guard Kristi Toliver is a WNBA All-Star once again. 

Toliver was named an All-Star reserve on Monday as selected by the league's coaches. She joins Elena Delle Donne, who was named a captain of one of the two teams, and head coach Mike Thibault as representatives from the Mystics. 

This selection gives Toliver, 5-7, the third honor of her career and the second with Washington. Last year en route to the franchise's first WNBA Finals appearance Toliver was named an All-Star. She also got the nod in 2013 when she played with the Los Angeles Sparks. 

Through 15 games, Toliver is averaging 12.1 points and is second in the league with 5.7 assists per game, which is also on pace for a career-high.

She is shooting at a career-best .497 clip and is looking as explosive as ever at 32-years-old. With her and Delle Donne, the Mystics are 9-6 and second in the Eastern Conference.

In the offseason, Toliver is also an assistant coach for the Washington Wizards. Often she worked on the player development side of the staff and closely with Bradley Beal. 

Delle Donne will have the first choice of selection in the All-Star game draft. As a reserve, Toliver cannot be selected until after the starters are chosen. 

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Report: Brandon Scherff and Redskins 'far apart' on contract negotiations

Report: Brandon Scherff and Redskins 'far apart' on contract negotiations

Besides the quarterback competition between Case Keenum and rookie Dwayne Haskins, one of the biggest storylines from Redskins training camp will be whether the team and Pro Bowl right guard Brandon Scherff can agree on a contract extension before the start of the 2019 season.

On Monday, a report came out from 106.7 The Fan's Erin Hawksworth that Scherff has been offered multiple contract extensions from the Redskins, but "the two sides are far apart."

Scherff is entering the 2019 season on the last year of his rookie deal and set to be an unrestricted free agent at season's end. 

The fifth-year guard will make a base salary of $12.5 million in 2019 after the Redskins picked up his fifth-year option a year ago as part of his rookie deal.

Should Scherff hit the open market, he will be a hot commodity. 

He may not receive a contract as big as Cowboys' guard Zack Martin did, but expect him to command close to top-market money. Martin received a six-year, $84 million deal in 2018 with $40 million guaranteed. A contract extension for Scherff could look something like the five-year, $66.5 million deal Jaguars' guard Andrew Norwell signed in 2018. 

Besides tackle Trent Williams, Scherff is without a doubt the most important piece to the Redskins offensive line. With Williams currently holding out, Scherff's presence on the offensive line is even more important.

Scherff missed eight games a season ago with a torn pectoral muscle, and his absence was very visible.

One thing is for certain: if the Redskins are not willing to pay Scherff top-market money, barring something unexpected, he will certainly get it somewhere else. And no Redskins fan wants that.

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