Redskins

Young Hawkeyes face tough trip to Michigan

201212311648605178165-p2.jpeg

Young Hawkeyes face tough trip to Michigan

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) Iowa opened the Big Ten season on New Year's Eve with a close loss to No. 5 Indiana, which was ranked first for much of the season.

Next up for the young Hawkeyes?

A weekend trip to Michigan, which is currently ranked second.

The league's schedule makers certainly didn't do any favors for an Iowa team with three freshman starters. But Iowa coach Fran McCaffery says the only way to approach the tough week is to approach it like any other week.

The Hawkeyes (11-3, 0-1 Big Ten) and Wolverines (14-0, 1-0) - who routed Northwestern 94-66 Thursday - face off Sunday in Ann Arbor.

``We lock in to what we need to do to get better,'' McCaffery said. ``We lock in to what we think we need to do to beat that team. In my estimation, there's no other way to do it.''

The developing Hawkeyes are coming off their first exposure to an elite team. They fell to Indiana 69-65 at home on Monday before a sellout crowd that believed Iowa was primed to pull off the upset.

The Hawkeyes nearly did it. But then again, they also showed that - at least for now - they remain on the other side of that thin line that separates aspiring contenders from true ones.

``When you have a young team, confidence is important. And what effects confidence are mistakes. Fortunately, we have a pretty resilient group,'' McCaffery said.

Iowa held Hoosiers guard Jordan Hulls scoreless on 10 shots, forced Indiana into 15 turnovers and were within a 3 of tying the game in the final minute.

But the Hawkeyes shot also just 33 percent from the floor against one of the nation's best defenses, and leading scorer Devyn Marble was an abysmal 1 of 14 from the field.

Still, McCaffery was encouraged by the way the Hawkeyes hung around even though they committed a number of Indiana-induced miscues and hoisted brick after brick.

``I was really impressed with our ability to consistently stay in the game when we were struggling on offense in the first half,'' McCaffery said. ``It was frustrating because we had a number of opportunities to take the lead and would make a mistake. But when we were making mistakes, they were kind of aggressive mistakes. We were attacking, and I'm obviously more comfortable with those kinds of mistakes. But you've got to eliminate those if you're going to beat the fifth-ranked team in the country.''

The matchup Sunday in Ann Arbor will be the first trip outside of Iowa since late November for the Hawkeyes, who are leaning on many players with scant experience in the Big Ten.

Freshman guard Mike Gesell scored 13 points against Indiana to bump his average near 10 a game as he transitions from point to shooting guard because of the emergence of fellow freshman Anthony Clemmons.

For freshman Adam Woodbury, facing the Hoosiers meant facing Indiana center Cody Zeller - the player the Hawkeyes hope the 7-foot-1 Woodbury might resemble someday.

Woodbury helped keep Zeller in check in the first half, but he fouled out for the first time after 18 minutes with four points and eight rebounds.

The Indiana game should serve as a measuring stick for Woodbury, who has slowly improved since early December.

``You have to let experience take its course,'' McCaffery said. ``You can't rush that. You've just got to go through it. And that was his first Big Ten game. That was his first game going against a consensus first-team All-American.

``So, he'll learn from that. He'll benefit from that tremendously. Now we've got to go on the road and do it in an environment where it's not going to be easy.''

---

Follow Luke Meredith on Twitter: www.twitter.com/LukeMeredithAP

Quick Links

Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott handcuffed by police at Vegas music festival

elliott_face_usat.jpg
USA TODAY Sports Images

Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott handcuffed by police at Vegas music festival

LAS VEGAS -- Dallas Cowboys star Ezekiel Elliott was handcuffed by police, but not arrested, after a scuffle involving event staff at a Las Vegas music festival.

Police Officer Laura Meltzer said Monday that the 23-year-old running back was detained briefly early Saturday during the Electric Daisy Carnival at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Cellphone video posted by celebrity website TMZ appeared to show Elliott speaking with a woman and then with several security and event staff members, including one who falls backward over a metal parking area barricade.

Elliott's attorney, Frank Salzano in New York, told TMZ that event security misconstrued the situation and overreacted and that Elliott left Las Vegas for Dallas after the incident to be at his youth football camp Sunday.

Salzano didn't immediately respond to messages from The Associated Press.

MORE NFL NEWS:

 

Quick Links

Capitals hint at their plans for Shane Gersich next season with new contract

usatsi_10761046.jpg
USA TODAY Sports

Capitals hint at their plans for Shane Gersich next season with new contract

Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan began tackling the items on his very long to-do list with the signing of prospect forward Shane Gersich. The team announced Monday that Gersich was re-signed to a one-year, two-way contract that carries a cap hit of $700,000.

Gersich will remain a restricted free agent at the end of the deal but will still be one year away from becoming arbitration eligible.

Gersich, who will turn 23 in July, just finished his first full professional season with the Hershey Bears, recording eight goals and 16 assists in 66 games.

“I learned a ton,” Gersich told NBC Sports Washington about his first AHL season. “I think our staff here is unbelievable. They've taught me so much, whether it's [showing] me video or doing skills or whatever. Can't say enough good things about them. And just my overall game, playing 200 feet and being aware of little details in the game. I think my game's grown a ton.”

Gersich’s original contract was for two seasons, but the first year was burned at the end of the 2017-18 season when he signed out of college at the end of the season and joined the Caps’ roster.

That transition from Stanley Cup champion to AHL the following season was a tough one for Gersich initially.

“Obviously, you were making your NHL debut and stuff like that, then it's kind of back to work and square one,” Gersich said. “For me, I know [I'm] definitely not the kid that's going to shy away from working or anything like that. So obviously, you've got to earn everything you get, and then that's how it is at every level.”

The speedy forward played in five games for Washington, three in the regular season and two in the playoffs during the Stanley Cup run. His speed was evident and has led many fans to wonder if the future is now for the young forward. His first year in Hershey showed, however, he still has a lot to learn before he reaches the NHL.

Gersich is still very much learning the game at the professional level. There was a little too much reaction in his game as opposed to action, which mitigated his speed. That is something he knows he needs to refine.

“I think just always being aware out there,” he said when talking about aspects of his game he wants to improve on. “Keeping my head on a swivel and making little plays. Just using my strengths too, I think. I've got to realize that I can use my speed out there a lot.”

The Caps will have a few roster spots open next season and not much money under the cap to fill those spots. Using young prospects is always an intriguing option. Gersich’s new contract, however, seems to indicate the Caps anticipate him spending the season in the AHL.

Gersich’s new contract carries an NHL salary of $700,000, which is actually lower than his first contract with a $925,000 salary. His minor-league salary, however, went up from $70,000 to $115,000. It may look like Gerisch is getting a pay cut based on the NHL numbers, but he actually is getting a raise because, barring a dazzling training camp, he will be spending most if not all of next season in Hershey. And if he does surprise, well now he has a lower NHL cap hit which is very important for a Washington team that will likely be very close to the salary cap.

While the implications of the contract seem clear, Gersich is excited for the opportunity to show he belongs in the NHL at training camp in the fall.

“Obviously, I want to play in the NHL,” he said. “It's been my goal my whole life, and that's the reason I left North Dakota. I think I'm ready for it, but you've got to wait and see until the time comes.”

The Caps also announced Monday the re-signing of forward Brian Pinho to a one-year, two-way contract. His contract carries a $700,000 NHL salary and a $100,000 AHL salary.

MORE CAPITALS NEWS: