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Zeller leads Indiana past Northwestern, 67-59

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Zeller leads Indiana past Northwestern, 67-59

EVANSTON, Ill. (AP) Cody Zeller scored 21 points and grabbed 13 rebounds, and No. 2 Indiana beat Northwestern 67-59 on Sunday.

Jordan Hulls added 15 points. Christian Watford scored 14, and the Hoosiers (16-2, 4-1 Big Ten) hung on after things got tense down the stretch.

They led by as much as 17 in the first half and were up 31-17 at intermission, but Northwestern (11-8, 2-4) rattled them with its trap in the second. The Wildcats pulled within five three times, but the Hoosiers prevailed after seeing a six-game win streak end with a loss to Wisconsin last week.

Zeller, the Big Ten Preseason Player of the Year, hit 9 of 10 free throws and dominated inside as Indiana pounded the Wildcats 36-24 on the glass.

Reggie Hearn scored 22 for Northwestern, which refused to go away quietly in this one after beating No. 23 Illinois on Thursday.

Overmatched in the early going, the Wildcats scored eight straight to pull within 47-42, a free throw by Hearn with 6:34 left in the game capping that run.

Indiana got the lead back up to double digits on a tip-in by Zeller and long 3 by Victor Oladipo to make it 54-43 with 4:52 left, but Northwestern wasn't finished.

Three free throws by Hearn and a 3-pointer from the corner by Jared Swopshire (13 points) cut it to 56-51. Swopshire's layup made it 58-53 with just over two minutes left, but the Hoosiers hung on from there.

With most of the crowd decked out in cream and crimson, the Hoosiers wasted no time taking control.

Watford scored 11 in the first half and had eight as Indiana grabbed a 13-4 lead, and when it looked as if Northwestern might claw its way back into this one, Indiana answered with nine straight.

They got two tip-ins from Zeller and a 3 from Watford in transition before Hulls drove for a layup that made it 26-9 with 4:33 left, crashing to the court as the ball fell through the net.

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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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Mallory Pugh, Rose Lavelle return to Spirit (but Lavelle may not play) Saturday

Mallory Pugh, Rose Lavelle return to Spirit (but Lavelle may not play) Saturday

Barely two weeks removed from their Women's World Cup Championship victory, U.S. Women's National Team youngsters Rose Lavelle and Malory Pugh will return for the Washington Spirits' matchup against the Houston Dash on Saturday, though Lavelle may not play according to the Washington Post's Steven Goff

Pugh scored once and had one assist in the World Cup, while Lavelle notched three goals, including the game-securing goal in the World Cup final. The pair, along with the rest of the USWNT, partied hard after their gold medal win, but now will rejoin their club team. 

Lavelle is still working back from a hamstring injury that almost kept the midfielder out of the World Cup. She is unlikely to play on Saturday, but will be in attendance to greet fans and sign autographs. 

Fans can watch the Spirit and the Dash face off Saturday at 7 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington. 

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