Nationals

Southern U beats Mississippi Valley State 88-54

Southern U beats Mississippi Valley State 88-54

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) Malcolm Miller posted a double-double with 28 points and 10 rebounds as Southern University beat Mississippi Valley State 88-54 Monday night in Southwestern Athletic Conference play.

Javan Mitchell made 8 of 11 shots for 17 points, YonDarius Johnson came off the bench for 13, Brandon Moore added 11, and Derick Beltran 10 for the Jaguars (12-6), who have won eight straight games and improved to 6-0 in the SWAC.

Davon Usher had 17 points for Mississippi Valley State (1-14, 1-4) but was the lone Delta Devil in double figures. Usher's free throws 4 minutes into the second half made the score 39-36 but Southern used a 14-1 run to take the lead for good, 53-37.

Southern shot 61.1 percent (33 of 54), compared to 32.1 percent (33 of 54) for MVSU, and hit 10 3-pointers.

MVSU forced Southern into 17 turnovers but the Jaguars balanced those errors with 17 assists.

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Davey Martinez is unfazed by entering the third - and perhaps final - year of his contract

Davey Martinez is unfazed by entering the third - and perhaps final - year of his contract

SAN DIEGO -- Davey Martinez has been busy. His rural retreat, usually well-used by this stage of the offseason, has sat empty. He spent time with his kids in Tampa in between declining appearance requests. He tried to get his life back in order for the last five weeks. Time to himself has not been part of the process. Nor has anything but positive feelings.

“It’s been awesome,” Martinez said. “Really has. Something that I wake up in the morning and think about everything that transpired and how we got to where we got to and the final moment... That, to me, never gets old.”

Relaxed in a dress shirt and sport coat, Martinez started Monday with interviews by the reporters pool at the Winter Meetings. Two of his former players -- Stephen Strasburg and Anthony Rendon -- are among the prime focuses of the event. Future contracts are what the meetings become about. Martinez is now included in that topic.

He’s entering the third, and final, year of his three-year deal. The Nationals hold an option for a fourth year. Martinez said he is not thinking about it.

“No,” Martinez said. “I really haven’t. For me, I feel blessed I got an opportunity to do what I do. I know I’m coming back. Now, I’m just getting some time off and getting ready for spring training.”

Martinez entering his third year is notable. Managers of the Nationals rarely make it there. Manny Acta started a third season as manager. Davey Johnson handled two-plus seasons as manager. No one has made it through three full seasons since baseball returned to the District. And, who would have thought Martinez would?

Year One was a mess. The Nationals missed the playoffs, Martinez appeared off-kilter at times, and injuries doomed the season as much as under-performance. A mere 82 wins followed, the fewest since 2011. 

The pressure was high before the failed season. Washington’s ownership chose Martinez specifically over bringing back Dusty Baker. Why? Because advancing to the first round was not enough. Only the World Series was acceptable. Martinez, with vast major-league life experience and zero managerial experience, was charged with guiding the team to a spot its owners and payroll expected. The team barely won more than it lost.

Then May of 2019 hit. The 19-31 nadir following multiple embarrassments in New York, against the Mets of all teams, pushed Martinez’s employment status toward the edge. He said then it wasn’t on his mind, though at the time he was unsure how to fix expansive bullpen problems. Managing principal owner Mark Lerner said during the postseason he never considered firing Martinez. Both are difficult to believe as 100% truths. 

As the team turned, so did the view of Martinez. The postseason performed as a breakthrough for both. Washington finally made it out of the first round of the postseason. Martinez’s decision-making worked and worked again, all the way through Game 7 of the World Series. By the end, narratives flipped. The team which couldn’t play well when it mattered most completed a comeback-filled championship run. The manager so many wanted to push out, became a man of the people, drifting into the streets during the championship parade.

Another year is coming. Davey Martinez remains the manager of the Washington Nationals. He’s into his third year and, barring disaster, appears set to make it to the end, which would be more history for the organization.

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Hayden Hurst reached Ravens' top speed during his touchdown catch and run vs. Bills

Hayden Hurst reached Ravens' top speed during his touchdown catch and run vs. Bills

If you had Hayden Hurst registering the fastest speed of any Ravens player on a touchdown entering the season, come collect your prize.

The second-year tight end reached 20.5 miles-per-hour on his 61-yard touchdown against the Bills, the fastest any Baltimore player has been tracked this season.

The feat is especially impressive when you consider the speedster's Baltimore has on its roster. Quarterback Lamar Jackson ran a 4.3 40-yard dash at the scouting combine and is just 22 rushing yards away from breaking Michael Vick's single-season rushing yards record by a quarterback.

Jackson's top speed this season came on a 12-yard rushing touchdown in Week 12 against the Rams, hitting 20.33 mph, according to NFL's Next Gen Stats.

First-round pick Marquise "Hollywood" Brown has topped 20 mph three times this season, but never above 20.43 mph.

The 26-year-old tight end ran just a 4.67 40-yard dash at the combine, fast for a tight end but not overly impressive. But Hurst saw open grass in front of him and turned on the jets as fast as he could.

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