NCAA

Melvin Johnson scores 24 to lead VCU past Radford, 92-74

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Melvin Johnson scores 24 to lead VCU past Radford, 92-74

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- Melvin Johnson and his VCU teammates saw enough on film to know Radford could be dangerous.

The Highlanders, after all, stunned Georgetown in double-overtime in their opener.

But what Radford had no answer for was Johnson, who hit six 3-pointers and scored 14 of his 24 points during a 19-2 run that broke open a close game as the Rams prevailed, 92-74, on Monday night.

Unlike their opener, when they played sloppily for long stretches against Prairie View A&M, the Rams "played pretty well for a pretty long stretch," first-year coach Will Wade said, building a lead as high as 27.

They will have to improve significantly again before their next game, against No. 5 Duke at Madison Square Garden on Friday night as part of the 2015 2K Classic benefiting the Wounded Warrior Project.

"We've got to be twice as good as we were on Friday to give ourselves a chance," Wade said, looking ahead to a few days of practice before the trip. "If we don't prepare we're going to get embarrassed on Friday night."

The Rams looked pretty sharp with the game on the line against the Highlanders.

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JeQuan Lewis broke a 30-all tie with a 3-pointer for the Rams (2-0) late in the first half, and Johnson scored eight of their next 10 points to finish off a half-ending 13-2 run. When the second half started, he hit two quick 3-pointers, expanding the VCU lead to 49-32 and they cruised.

"They handled themselves for the first 16, 17 minutes and then just a little bit of a crack in the armor at the end of the first half really hurt us," Radford coach Mike Jones said. "All of a sudden, they ran away."

The Highlanders (1-1) helped, turning the ball over without getting off a shot on their first four possessions after halftime, and when Justin Cousin connected on a 3-pointer with 15:58 remaining, it ended a scoreless drought of more than 7 minutes and made the score 49-35.

They never got any closer until the final 2 minutes.

Johnson was 6 of 10 on 3-pointers, and the Rams were 13 of 24. Korey Billbury added 15 points and Lewis had 13.

Rashun Davis led Radford with 18 points and Cameron Jones had 12. The Highlanders committed 20 turnovers.

The game marked a reunion of sorts for Wade, in his first season as VCU's coach, and the Highlanders' Mike Jones. Both were assistants under Shaka Smart when the Rams made their improbable run to the Final Four in 2011.

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HOME SWEET HOME

The Rams and Highlanders have met nine times with the home team winning every time. This meeting was their first since 1999.

TIP INS

Radford: The Highlanders made 10 3s in their 82-80, double-overtime victory at Georgetown to open the season. Rashun Davis hit the last one, with 1.5 seconds left, to give Radford the victory. They were 7 for 19 against VCU.

VCU: Six VCU players made 3-pointers, and 6-foot-10 sophomore Michael Gilmore made two. The second one banked in from the top of the key, and Gilmore celebrated like he'd planned it that way.

UP NEXT

Radford plays Catawba at home on Wednesday night.

VCU faces No. 5 Duke at Madison Square Garden in the 2K Classic to benefit Wounded Warriors Project.

MORE COLLEGE HOOPS: Terps recreate this old Lefty Driesell photo with Turgeon and players

Future NBA prospect Omer Yurtseven transfers to Georgetown from NC State

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USA TODAY Sports

Future NBA prospect Omer Yurtseven transfers to Georgetown from NC State

The pieces are starting to come together for Patrick Ewing.

On Monday the Georgetown Hoyas picked up perhaps the biggest (literally and figuratively) target of the transfer market, Omer Yurtseven.

From North Carolina State, the transfer from Istanbul Turkey will have two years remaining of eligibility. Due to NCAA transfer rules, he is not allowed to play for the 2018-19 season.

MORE NCAA: TOP BUZZER BEATERS IN NCAA TOURNAMENT HISTORY

Standing at 7-0, the center helped power the Wolfpack to an NCAA tournament bid this past season. Averaging 13.5 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks a contest, Yurstseven earned All-ACC Third Team honors in the 2017-18 season. He also touted a 58.3 shooting percentage and was not afraid to pull it up from deep either (22 made three-pointers).

NC State lost in the first round of the NCAA Tournament to No. 8 Seton Hall, but he was limited due to foul trouble with only two points and two rebounds in 14 minutes of play.

Initially, he is the option to fill the void that Jessie Govan will leave, whether that is during this offseason or next. Already the team has lost power forward Marcus Derrickson

Yurtseven will just be another frontcourt talent for Ewing with the Hoyas.

It was widely reported that he was considering playing options, both in the United States and abroad before this announcement. Easily he has the talent to go in first round of the NBA Draft whichever year he declares.

On the same day, the Hoyas also announced the signing of four-star guard James Akinjo.

After historic season, Virginia's Tony Bennett named AP Coach of the Year

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USA TODAY Sports

After historic season, Virginia's Tony Bennett named AP Coach of the Year

SAN ANTONIO -- Virginia coach Tony Bennett isn't going to waver from his foundation, whether it's the philosophy that built the Cavaliers into a contender or the big-picture perspective that helps him handle the sting of a historically improbable loss.

Both ends of that approach are fully on display now as he is named The Associated Press men's college basketball coach of the year.

Bennett won the honor Thursday after his Cavaliers set a program single-season record for wins, dominated the Atlantic Coast Conference and reached No. 1 in the AP Top 25 for the first time since the Ralph Sampson era. Yet that wildly successful season ended abruptly in the most unexpected way: with the Cavaliers falling to UMBC to become the first No. 1 seed to lose to a 16-seed in NCAA Tournament history.

"They experienced things a lot of guys don't," Bennett said in an interview with the AP. "That kind of success? Oh my gosh. And then that kind of loss? ... But again, their body of work deserves to be celebrated.

"And then so much of what society looks at -- it begs the question -- is it just about how you do in March? Or is it about the whole thing? It's a fair debate (on) what matters. But I told them: I wouldn't trade this team for anything. Even the experiences, as hard as they are, this is part of the process."

Bennett was the runaway winner for the award, which is being presented at the Final Four. He earned 50 of 65 votes from AP Top 25 writers with ballots submitted before the start of the NCAA Tournament.

Tennessee's Rick Barnes was second with five votes after leading the Volunteers to 26 wins and an NCAA bid despite being picked to finish 13th in the 14-team Southeastern Conference. First-year Ohio State coach Chris Holtmann was third with four votes.

This marks the second time Bennett has won the award, the other coming in 2007 when he was at Washington State.

In Bennett's ninth season, the Cavaliers (31-3) went from being picked to finish sixth in the ACC to winning the regular-season race by four games -- the first to win the ACC by that wide a margin since 2000. It then won the ACC Tournament to complete a 20-1 run against league opponents.

MORE NCAA: BEST BUZZER BEATERS IN NCAA TOURNAMENT HISTORY

Virginia also reached No. 1 in the AP Top 25 for the first time since December 1982 and stayed there the final five weeks of the regular season, the last two unanimously.

And yet, the 48-year-old coach knows much of the focus will be on how things ended: that 74-54 loss to the Retrievers while playing without ACC sixth man of the year De'Andre Hunter.

Dealing with a roster of players in pained disbelief, Bennett said he has told them that they have "an unbelievable captive audience" waiting to see how they would handle it.

"I said how you respond to this will matter to your mom and dads, to your brothers, your sisters, your friends," Bennett said. "If they see that you're not fake about it, that yeah, of course you're going to be discouraged and down after a loss like that, but that you're OK. You can live with it.

"I said: you don't know the power that that's going to have in their life and in your life."

Bennett said he appreciated other coaches offering support, which included Syracuse Hall of Famer Jim Boeheim noting: "If I could hire a coach in this country and I could get Tony Bennett, there would be nobody in second place."

He said he's still reviewing what worked and what didn't, but "certainly you don't overreact" by changing everything that had brought the Cavaliers to this point.

This is, after all, a program that has been a 1-seed three times in the past five seasons with three ACC regular-season titles.

And Bennett won't be deterred from chasing more, even if it means stumbling a few more times on the way to reaching his goals.

"You better have something beyond the opinion of man or just how you feel, because this stuff is fleeting," Bennett said.

"So that's where obviously my faith is everything to me. You hear people talk about their faith in the lord and the relationship with the people that they care about, their family and their trusted friends. Those things stand the test of time. And that's what you have to draw from. And then you move on."