Mitchell leads Maryland past Delaware State 79-50

Mitchell leads Maryland past Delaware State 79-50

By Chris Knoche

CSNWashington.com Contributor

It would be impossible to blame Maryland coach Mark Turgeon for being excited about what he’s seeing right now.

His team just finished off their eleventh consecutive win by drilling Delaware State 79-50 before 12,389 at Comcast Center. He had just witnessed season best performances from two key reserves as well as a solid showing from start to finish by the rest of his club.

That the Terps had just spanked Delaware State was not surprising. The Hornets entered the game at 5-7 and a rout was predictable. The way it unfolded was both methodical and precise and represented the best outing–from start to finish–of the Terps this season.

Midway through the first half Delaware had slowed the game to a crawl with a laudable offensive patience and owned a 16-15 lead after a pair of made free throws. Turgeon and his troops were clearly frustrated with the pace and flow of the game.

Enter Charles Mitchell.

The 6’8” freshman has been a man-child for much of the season, to be certain, but he played this game like the newest present under the Terp Nation Christmas tree.

With his team trailing by one at that point, Mitchell scored the first six points of a 17-0 Maryland run that didn’t just put the Terps in command, it effectively ended the contest. The Terps had started the game 3-8 from the field and missed some easy shots in the paint. When you don’t score it completely takes any pressure defense- the easiest way to speed up the tempo of the game- out of the equation. From the time Mitchell caught fire to the end of the first half, the Terps shot 16-18 from the field and led 40-22 at intermission.

While Mitchell had a big hand in changing the course of the game in that first half he had plenty of help. Fellow freshmen Seth Allen and Jake Layman each had six points and shot a combined 5-6 from the field. Allen has proven himself to be up to the task of basketball at this level. Layman has offered tantalizing size and talent but not the production. In terms of style and substance, this was his best half of the season.

The second half would end up being a mirror image of the first with Delaware State starting quickly before succumbing to Maryland’s size and depth. Turgeon continued to coach like it was hockey and kept sending wave after wave of fresh Terps over the boards for regular line changes.

Mitchell ended the game with gargantuan numbers–season high 19 points and 14 rebounds. Allen and sophomore Dez Wells each chipped in ten points but the team numbers dwarfed the individual ones.

Maryland continued a new-found offensive efficiency and shot 33-58 (57%). Their selflessness was on display once again as they totaled 19 assists versus just 10 turnovers. They harassed the Hornets into horrid shooting (18-56, 32%) and forced 19 turnovers.

Perhaps the only thing that Turgeon could find to complain about after the game came in the most unlikely statistical category. The Terps have been in the top five nationally in rebounding all year long and Delaware State didn’t have a starter over 6’7” yet the battle on the backboards was pretty much even all day long. Were it not for Mitchell’s efforts the Terps may have actually found themselves out-rebounded for the first time this season. The final Maryland advantage of 36-30 felt deceptive given the fact that the Hornets tallied 16 rebounds on their offensive end.

Maryland has one more opportunity for a “tune-up” prior to the beginning of ACC play one week from today. They will host IUPUI at home on New Year’s Day as they ramp up to their league home opener against Virginia Tech.

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Nationals' Joe Ross to start against team that drafted him

Nationals' Joe Ross to start against team that drafted him

WASHINGTON -- On Dec. 19, 2014, the San Diego Padres traded pitcher Joe Ross and a player to be named later -- it would be Trea Turner -- to the Washington Nationals in a three-team deal that included the Tampa Bay Rays.

Since that trade, the Padres have posted a record of 160-215 while the Nationals are 208-166 after they won 3-0 Saturday as Stephen Strasburg struck out a career-high 15 batters in seven innings and the Washington staff fanned 17.

As a reminder of what could have been, Ross (2-0, 5.32) makes the start Sunday against San Diego right-hander Jhoulys Chacin (4-4, 5.74) in the finale of the three-game series at Nationals Park.

First-place Washington is 30-18 while last-place San Diego is 18-33.

Ross was drafted by the Padres in the first round out of his California high school in 2011. Ross is 2-0 in his career against San Diego with a 2.25 ERA in two starts. Last year, he went six innings and allowed six hits and three earned runs in a win against the Padres.

"I was not around Joe at all," said Andy Green, in his second year as the San Diego manager. "We saw him last year; he is a sinkerballer."

The Padres did acquire All-Star first baseman Wil Myers in the trade.

The Nationals have scored a record 62 runs in the four starts made this year by Ross, more than any other pitcher has received in his first four starts of a season. That included a 23-5 victory at home April 30 against the New York Mets and a 10-1 win Tuesday against the Seattle Mariners.

Ross, who broke into the majors with the Nationals in 2015, was in the rotation last season and made 19 starts before going on the disabled list. He was in line to be the No. 5 starter, but began the season at Triple-A Syracuse.

Chacin is 3-2 in six starts against Washington and has a 3.09 ERA. He has made three career starts at Nationals Park and is 1-1 with a 0.45 ERA while allowing only one run in 20 innings.

The Nationals played their second game in a row Saturday without second baseman Daniel Murphy, who was ill.

Nationals bench coach Chris Speier, filling in for manager Dusty Baker, said before the game that Murphy was ill. Murphy entered the day hitting .316 with nine homers and 33 RBIs.

"He's available. This is Dusty's theory: Usually when somebody comes in and says, 'I'm ready,' then he usually gives him one more day. But he's available," Speier told reporters before the game.

Murphy entered Saturday seventh in the National League in hits with 56, just ahead of teammate Bryce Harper (55). Murphy was also among the league leaders in multi-hit games and road batting average.

Washington shortstop Turner, drafted by the Padres in the first round out of North Carolina State, had two hits, including a homer, Friday and was 1-for-4 Saturday.

Another hot hitter for Washington is center fielder Michael A. Taylor, who hit a homer for the second day in a row Saturday and has four homers in his last 14 games.

"I'm looking for my pitch and staying in my zone," Taylor said. "I'm not trying to do too much."

MORE NATIONALS: Stephen Strasburg has career-high 15 strikeouts in Nationals win over Padres

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Orioles drop sixth straight in loss to Astros

Orioles drop sixth straight in loss to Astros

HOUSTON -- Dallas Keuchel had a solid performance in his return from the disabled list, and George Springer hit a two-run homer to help the Houston Astros to a 5-2 victory over the Baltimore Orioles on Saturday night.

Keuchel (8-0), who missed one start with a pinched nerve in his neck, allowed four hits and one run while fanning eight in six innings. His eight wins this season lead the majors and he's just one win away from matching his total from last year, when he struggled in the follow-up to his stellar 2015 season during which he won 20 games and the American League Cy Young Award.

Will Harris struck out two in a perfect ninth for his second save.

Houston led by 1 in the fourth before Springer homered off Wade Miley (1-3) to make it 4-1.

Welington Castillo had an RBI single for the Orioles, whose season-high skid reached six games.

Jose Altuve had three hits and an RBI and Carlos Correa added two hits and drove in a run for the Astros, who won for the fifth time in six games.

Miley tied season highs by allowing eight hits and four runs in five innings to remain winless since April 14.

Springer put Houston up 1-0 in the first when he made a diving slide to evade the tag at home and score on a double by Altuve. Correa followed with a single to send Altuve home and push the lead to 2-0.

The Orioles got going in the third inning when Caleb Joseph walked with two outs. Joey Rickard singled before Joseph scored on a single by Castillo to cut the lead to 2-1.

Alex Bregman singled with one out in the fourth before Springer hit his 10th home run on a towering 447-foot shot to center field with two outs to extend Houston's lead to 4-1.

Chris Davis tripled off Tony Sipp to start the seventh and scored on a wild pitch by James Hoyt with one out to cut the lead to 4-2.

The Astros added a run in the seventh when Altuve scored on an error by Rickard.

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