NCAA

X-men apocalypse: Georgetown routed by No.8 Xavier

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X-men apocalypse: Georgetown routed by No.8 Xavier

Georgetown's biggest win of the season came last month over then No. 5 Xavier. Based on the rematch result, clearly the Musketeers didn't forget. 

Emerging from the halftime locker room with a slim two-point and ample rage, Xavier started the second half with a 13-0 run, shot 77.3 percent from the field after halftime and ran Georgetown off the court, downing the Hoyas 88-70 Saturday afternoon at Verizon Center. 

While Georgetown (14-14, 7-8 Big East) showed fight late in the first half, cutting an 11-point deficit to 35-33 at the break, it was ultimately more of the same in their third straight loss. Since handing the Musketeers their lone home loss this season, 81-72 on Jan. 19, the Hoyas have dropped seven of nine. 

Inability to stop penetration in half-court sets or fast break rushes allowed Xavier (24-3, 12-3) to open the second half hitting 12 of 13 field goal attempts after the teams played to a near first half stalemate at 35-33. The Musketeers sank 17 of 22 shots after halftime and finished 53.8 percent overall from the floor while hitting 29 of 31 free throws. Freshman Edmond Sumner scored a season-high 22 points. 

"A lot defensively, obviously," Georgetown coach John Thompson III on what went wrong against Xavier. "They executed. They're a very talented team. They play well together. They executed. That being said, they shot almost 80 percent in the second half. When someone shoots that well against you -- and it's not just like they were bombing away -- you have to go back and evaluate, re-evaluate every aspect."

Offensive inconsistency against a tricky 1-3-1 zone prevented the Hoyas from generating easy buckets or keeping up during the annual "Gray Out" game. Georgetown committed eight of its 12 turnovers in the first half. After missing eight of nine 3-pointers from the start, they finished 10 of 37 (27.0%). D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera scored 18 points, Isaac Copeland 13 and L.J. Peak 12. 

For those not keeping up with the postseason scenario, sit down before reading the gloomy details. Forget the NCAA Tournament. The Hoyas must win two of their final three games to clinch a record of .500 or better, the minimum record requirement for a spot in the NIT. Don't assume the gray skies are going to clear up with remaining games against Butler, at Marquette and the regular season finale at No. 1 Villanova. 

The Hoyas have never finished a season with a losing record under coach John Thompson III. With those games remaining, that distinction seems likely to fall outside of a Big East Tournament surge.

RELATED: VCU beats rival Richmond

Three who mattered

Jessie Govan: After scoring  a career-high 27 points in Wednesday's loss to Seton Hall, the freshman center had five points on 2 of 6 shooting. Govan only took two shots in the first half and was largely a non-factor. Certainly some onus falls on the player, whether that's lack of aggression or just an off night. However, the Hoyas rarely targeted the 270-pounder inside or set him for 3-pointers. Thompson credited Xavier's defensive plan with two defenders often around the 6-foot-10 Govan inside. Of course, When the plan involves reading-and-reacting to the defense, your desired option can get taken out.: 

D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera: The senior guard hit 7 of 14 shots from the field and finished with seven assists and only turnover. Finding help outside of Copeland proved difficult. 

Edmond Sumner: The 6-foot-6 wing labored in the first meeting, missing 10 of 12 attempts. In the rematch, Sumner continually attacked the lane. Once there, he made shots (6 of 9) or got to the free throw line (9 of 9). 

Observations

▪ For the ninth straight game, the Hoyas took fewer free throws than their opponent. Georgetown finished 10 of14. Xavier went 12 of 12 alone in the first half. The issues are two-fold: Too may fouls defensively not enough attacking offensively.

▪ Documenting Tre Campbell's scoring drought now a copy and paste situation. The good news is that the sophomore guard made multiple field goals for the first time since the Jan. 23 loss at Connecticut. However, he finished only 2 of 7 for five points. Since scoring 21 at Xavier on Jan. 19, Campbell has 18 points in nine games.

▪ More positive stats for Xavier: 40-18 points in the paint, 18-10 off turnovers, 16-5 fast breaks.

▪ Xavier played turnover-free basketball for much of the first half, helping to establish a 29-18 lead. Just when it looked like the game would turn into a rout, Georgetown fought back, closing the half with a 15-6 as the Musketeers led 35-33 at halftime. 

Worth mentioning

▪ Now comes a week off from game action for the Hoyas. Georgetown closes its home schedule Feb. 27 against Butler. The Bulldogs won the first meeting 87-76 in Indianapolis on Feb. 2.

▪ Former Georgetown standout Othella Harrington was among seven honored at halftime for their induction into the school's athletic Hall of Fame

They said it

"I knew last game we played hard the entire 40 minutes. I think the second half [today] we came out a little flat across the board. They came out ready to go." -- Copeland on the differences between the two games.

"With them, I think our offense goes out the window, meaning they play that 1-3-1. It's not your traditional 1-3-1. ...It's more so about the guys making reads and making plays than it is about a play." -- Thompson

"Xavier did a good job of making you think one thing was open and taking it away. As much as we picked it apart up there, we didn't today." -- Thompson

"They'll get there and when they are hopefully we'll join in the ACC at that point." Xavier coach Chris Mack on Georgetown's freshman slowly learning the offense.

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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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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."