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Providence's dynamic duo downs Georgetown

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Providence's dynamic duo downs Georgetown

One night after Bruce Springsteen rocked the Verizon Center, Providence's Kris Dunn and Ben Bentil showed Georgetown who's boss.

Hoping for a second win over a highly ranked team in as many weeks, the Hoyas were in chase mode on the court and the scoreboard throughout the first meeting of the year with the No 10 Friars. Georgetown battled, but could never pull ahead in the game of runs. Providence's dynamic duo wouldn't let them.

Dunn, a National Player of the Year candidate, and Bentil, the Big East's leading scorer, each had 26 points as Georgetown fell 73-69 Saturday night.

L.J. Peak scored 17 of his 19 points in the second half and D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera had 18 points for the Hoyas (13-9, 6-3).

The momentum from Tuesday's thrilling 74-73 comeback win over Creighton didn't carry over, though Peak and Smith-Rivera nearly led a second straight comeback. Unlike the Blue Jays, the Friars (18-4, 6-3) didn't crack late, meaning the Hoyas couldn't erase the deficit or their previous ills, not to mention firm up their second place status in the conference.

"They have two players that are elite," Georgetown coach John Thompson III said. "They played like it."

Both teams committed 17 turnovers, but individual possessions were more precious for the Hoyas. Despite a size advantage, Georgetown was outrebounded 38-31 in its third straight loss to Providence.

Dunn started slow in each half, but surged with his stellar two-way play. He had four steals and made 8 of 10 free throws. The Big East leader in assists only had two, but one came on Kyron Cartwright's 3-pointer, capping an 8-2 spurt for a 65-56 lead with 2:12 remaining.

Georgetown twice pulled within three points in the last 30 seconds and Smith-Rivera's 3-pointer made the score 71-69 with four seconds left. The Hoyas fouled the Friars three times late, hoping for misses. Each time they fouled Bentil and each time he hit a pair of free throws including two with two seconds left.

The sophomore forward sank 9 of 10 at the line and hit 8 of 12 shots from the field, including his first six.  Providence finished 24 of 33 on free throws. Georgetown made 10 of 13.

Bradley Hayes finished with 13 points and 10 rebounds for the Hoyas. 

Providence entered 3-3 in its last six games, including a 75-86 home loss Tuesday against No. 7 Xavier, but now sits 6-0 in true road games on the season.

* Bentil scored Providence's first nine points as Georgetown trailed early before tying the game at 17-17 with a 10-1 run. That's when Dunn began taking over, starting with a spectacular layup while splitting two defenders. Providence closed the first half with a 19-9 run for a 38-28 halftime and led 42-30 after Georgetown opened the second half by committing four of its xx turnovers in the opening five possessions. 

* The Hoyas fell to 1-6 when trailing at halftime. Georgetown trailed 30-28 at home against DePaul on Jan. 9 before winning 74-63.

* Thompson said this week that avoiding stagnation is key to attacking Providence's zone defense. The ball must move, but soft, lazy passes would get picked by Dunn who entered the game second nationally with 3.2 steals. Georgetown frequently hindered it chances with miscues.

"How many steals did Dunn have? It felt like 12," Thompson said.

* As he does often, Thompson tweaked his starting lineup for the second half. Peak started for Tre Campbell, presumably to help defend Dunn, but he scored eight of Georgetown's first nine points after halftime.

* Georgetown won two straight Big East games including a victory at No. 5 Xavier last week.

* Dunn, who entered with 994 points, became the 48th 1,000-point scorer in Providence history. Another member of that list sat baseline. Former Georgetown coach John Thompson Jr. had 1,520 points with the Friars.

*Three of the next four games are on the road, starting with Butler (14-7, 3-6) on Tuesday. Other than a home matchup against St. John's, Georgetown's final nine games are against teams projected in the NCAA Tournament or on the bubble. Butler, ranked most of the season, owns the worst overall record among those teams other than the Red Storm.

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.

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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.

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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."