Maryland thumps Georgia Southern

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Maryland thumps Georgia Southern

    COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) -- Freshman Charles Mitchell scored 13 points and fueled a second-half run that carried Maryland past Georgia Southern 70-53 Saturday night.

Mitchell, a 6-foot-8 forward, made 6 of 12 shots and collected 11 rebounds for his first career double-double. Logan Aronhalt scored 12 and Nick Faust added 11 for the Terrapins (4-1), who have won four straight at home following a narrow loss to Kentucky in the Barclays Center Classic.

Georgia Southern (2-3) led by eight points in the game's opening minutes and trailed only 29-26 at halftime before the Terrapins pulled away behind Mitchell, who scored six points in a 17-4 spree to begin the second half.

Aronhalt opened with a 3-pointer and Mitchell made Maryland's next three baskets -- a follow of his own miss, a dunk and another follow. Alex Len then scored on off an alley-oop pass, Faust connected from beyond the arc and Len concluded the run with a three-point play to make it 46-30 with 14:42 remaining.

The Terrapins made 17 of 29 shots from the floor in the second half and finished with a 49-25 rebounding advantage.

C.J. Reed scored 15 for Georgia Southern and Eric Ferguson had 13. The Eagles, of the Southern Conference, were coming off their first non-league road victory since December 2006, a 62-46 decision over Kennesaw State.

In the first half, the Terrapins went 10 for 26 from the field and committed 10 turnovers.

Maryland missed its first five shots, and after Tre Bussey's second 3-pointer put the Eagles up 9-1, Maryland coach Mark Turgeon called a timeout in an effort to re-center his team's focus.

Mitchell promptly made a layup, and provided six points in a 13-2 run that combined tight defense and precise passing on the offensive end.

But Georgia Southern bounced back. The Eagles led 19-18 before Aronhalt buried a 3 and Faust scored off an alley-oop pass from Pe'Shon Howard. 

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NBA trade deadline rumors: Sixers-Bulls talking Jahilil Okafor trade

NBA trade deadline rumors: Sixers-Bulls talking Jahilil Okafor trade

The rumors linking Sixers big man Jahlil Okafor and his hometown Chicago Bulls had died down in recent weeks, but with the trade deadline closing in on Thursday afternoon, things appear to be heating up once again.

A new report from Yahoo! Sports says the Bulls have shown increased interest in making a deal.

Okafor, 21, has been the subject of many trade discussions despite being in just his second year in the NBA. Philly has a surplus of frontcourt players and teammate Joel Embiid has passed him on the depth chart.

Chicago continues to be in rumors involving Jimmy Butler, but the two players have not been linked as part of the same potential deal. Forward Taj Gibson is also reportedly available.

Whatever the Bulls do will be pertinent for the Wizards, who could match up with them in the playoffs this year. The Wizards are the No. 3 seed currently while the Bulls are seventh.

[RELATED: Brooks: A Porter trade "wouldn't even be discussed"]

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The Cam Newton/Kirk Cousins debate is ridiculous

The Cam Newton/Kirk Cousins debate is ridiculous

In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king. In the land of the hot take, the more preposterous and outrageous suggestion gets the buzz. 

The latest fallacy of a sports debate started when Jordan Rodgers - best known for being Aaron Rodgers' brother and a winner on The Bachelorette  - said he would take Kirk Cousins over Cam Newton while talking on ESPN Radio. Rodgers laid out his reasons, mainly that Cousins is an accurate passer while Newton's game depends to much on athleticism. Rodgers: 

You know what gets figured out? Athleticism. What happened to Robert Griffin? Athleticism. Teams caught up to him. They figured how to scheme him. You know what never gets schemed or what never gets stymied? Going through your reads and completing balls. That is what Kirk Cousins does: completing the last two years 67 and nearly 70 percentage of his throws. Going through your reads, there is always an answer. And if you consistently, from a mental standpoint as a quarterback, go through your reads, you always give your team a chance to win. And I will take consistency, leadership and accuracy over athletic potential any day of the week.

So there's that. Then Tiki Barber decided to get involved. Some highlights from Barber's rant via his radio show:

  • Kirk Cousins will sit in the pocket and find his guy and read a defense and know pre-snap where he’s going to go with the ball, and if something breaks down, then he finds his checkdown back. Those two guys who they had in Washington were fantastic in giving him support in that role, so yeah, of course you take Kirk Cousins over Cam Newton, even though Cam Newton was the MVP.
  • With Cam Newton, you’re getting year-to-year volatility. With Kirk Cousins, you haven’t had that. It’s been pretty consistent.
  • If you’re choosing one and you’re building out for the next five or six years, who are you picking? I think it’s pretty easy to pick Kirk Cousins.

Looking at statistics, the claims of Rodgers and Barber can be validated in some capacity. In six seasons, Newton has only thrown for more than 4,000 yards once in his rookie year. Cousins has done it both years he's been the starter, and nearly went for 5,000 in 2016.

And Cousins completes way more of his passes. The Panthers QB's best completion percentage came in 2013, when he connected on 61.7 percent of his passes. Cousins completed nearly 70 percent of his throws in 2015, and 67 percent in 2016.

Dig a little deeper though, and some things are obvious.

The Panthers run a prehistoric offense, where running the ball is the focus. In 2016, Carolina ran the ball 28 times per game, the 7th most in the NFL. That was actually a significant decrease from 2015, where Carolina ran the ball 33 times per game, by far the most run heavy offense in the NFL. 

The Redskins were on the other end of the spectrum. Washington ran the ball less than 24 times per game in 2016, and ranked 27th out of 32 teams in the NFL in rush attempts. 

Consider that the 'Skins play a pass-first offense, and Carolina does the opposite, and that explains much of the yardage differences. Cousins had nearly 100 more throws in 2016 than Newton, 606 to 510, though the Panthers QB missed two starts. In 2015, when Newton won the MVP and the Panthers went to the Super Bowl, Cousins still threw nearly 50 passes more over the course of the year. 

Another consideration on the stats: Newton goes deep. All the time. Cousins and the Redskins move the ball well, but are not reliant on the vertical passing game like the Panthers. Remember, about halfway through the 2016 season, many stories questioned why the Washington offense was under utilizing DeSean Jackson. That changed as the year progressed, but anybody that watches football recognizes the difference.

Rodgers even provided the context. "Any time you talk about the completion percentage being as high as Kirk’s is, it means he’s consistently getting to his third and fourth read and check-downs. That’s how you have that high percentage."

Oh yeah, Newton is arguably the best running quarterback in NFL history. Deadly in short yardage situations, Cam has 48 rushing TDs in his six-year NFL career. Cousins has shown flashes of good wheels, the touchdown run in Detroit comes to mind, but is nowhere near the runner Newton is. Nobody is. 

All of this is not to talk down Cousins. The Redskins passer has proven to be a worthy NFL starting quarterback, and he could continue to improve over the next half decade. He is smart with the football and quick in his reads. In Washington or elsewhere, Cousins will make a ton of money, and deservedly. 

But ranking Cousins ahead of Newton, the 2015 NFL MVP, just seems silly. Rodgers and Barber laid out their reasoning, but in actuality, it's hard to believe. 

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