Almost not enough for Hoyas against Terps


Almost not enough for Hoyas against Terps

COLLEGE PARK -- So close.

Despite foul trouble, despite playing its first road game and doing so before a raucous crowd, despite the enormity of a rivalry renewed against No. 3 Maryland, Georgetown nearly did it. The Hoyas almost pulled off the perceived upset and simultaneously erase the nasty taste of the season opening loss to Radford.

Ultimately, almost wasn't good enough.

All five Georgetown starters scored in double figures, but Maryland All-American Melo Trimble had 24 points and the Terps overcame a late seven-point deficit to down the Hoyas 75-71 in the first scheduled game between the local programs since 1993.

The Hoyas fell to 0-2 for the first time since the 1998-99 season, which was the last with John Thompson Jr. on the bench. With games later this week in New York against Wisconsin and possibly Duke, starting the season with four straight losses is in play.

"There are a lot of things we know we have to go back and work on,"Georgetown coach John Thompson III said. "It's a long road."

Bradley Hayes had 16 points and D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera 14 for Georgetown. The Hoyas finished with more rebounds (36-28) than the Terps. They shot 42.1 percent (8 of 19) on 3-pointers and committed a survivable 12 turnovers.

They were also walloped at the free throw line. Maryland sank 23 of 32 compared to Georgetown's 9 of 12. 

Trimble made more free throws (13) than Georgetown attempted including four straight in the final 12 seconds to seal the win after Rasheed Sulimon's 3-pointer broke a 68-68 tie with 1:12 remaining.

"I just think coming down towards the end there, they hit some big threes," Thompson said, though he later added, "The free throw shooting was the difference."

Isaac Copeland and Marcus Derrickson each scored 13 points and Peak had 12 for the Hoyas. Jake Layman had 15 for the Terps (2-0), Robert Carter 12 and Sulaimon finished with 10 points.

Georgetown entered its highly anticipated matchup at Maryland nine point underdog according to the Vegas oddsmakers. Most in the DMV projected much worse for the Hoyas. The basic logic? The Big East school lost its season opener at home to Big South program Radford. Maryland, the Big Ten favorites, are NCAA Tournament title contenders. 

That story-line never played out. Instead, the Hoyas showed grit even when Smith-Rivera picked up his fourth foul with 14:06 remaining. His fellow senior Hayes picked up the scoring slack until he picked up his fourth foul. 

Combined with guard Tre Campbell unable to play in the second half with an undisclosed illness and Paul White (hip) missing his second straight game, Thompson used numerous unconventional lineups for chunks of the final 20 minutes. Often only one guard was on the court with L.J Peak serving as the de facto point guard.

"We didn't have a choice," the coach explained. 

Maryland coach Mark Turgeon did and yet bizarrely passed on pressuring Georgetown.

Using a big lineup by default, the still Hoyas found success inside. Despite those absences, the Hoyas pulled ahead 61-54 on Isaac Copeland's jumper with 5:48 remaining. Smith-Rivera and Hayes soon returned, but so did Maryland's offense. Trimble's 3-pointer with 3:55 remaining tied the game.

Then came the haymakers and counter punches with the sellout crowd oohing and aahing with each turn.

Hayes hook. Jared Nickens floater.

Layman 3-pointer. Smith-Rivera matches.

Carter drives. Derrickson free throws. Sulaimon splashes from beyond the arc.

That 3-pointer wasn't a knockout blow, but Georgetown didn't recover. Hayes' hook on the next possession rimmed out. Then came the final Trimble free throws, though the small guard put himself in position to get fouled by coming up with an offensive rebound off his own miss.

"We have to figure out how to stop people and finish out the game," Copeland said.

Thompson had not interest in discussing moral victories, but in some ways Georgetown can feel optimistic compared to the 82-80 loss in double overtime to Radford.

The Hoyas avoided another lethargic start by scoring the opening nine points starting with a Smith-Rivera 3-pointer. The lead didn't last long, but a field goal drought did. Georgetown went eight minutes and five seconds without a basket until Smith-Rivera's 3-pointer tied the game 14-14 with 9:45 remaining. Another seven-point advantage soon followed as did a Maryland rally before the teams left the court tied at 33-33.

Every coach will tell you rebounding is about desire.  The Hoyas showed little against the smaller Highlanders. There were no signs of passivity against Maryland's big frontline of Robert Carter and freshman Diamond Stone. The Hoyas outrebounded Maryland 21-13 in the second half.

During one stretch in the second half, Copeland saved a loose ball with a head first slide. On the next defensive possession, Smith-Rivera took a charge from the power-packed Carter. Moments later, Copeland blocked Stone at the rim and then raced back for a putback dunk. Hayes soon added his own stuff for a 43-37 lead. 

Derrickson offered little help against Radford, but he found his range at Xfinity Center. The stretch-4 made three 3-pointers. 

With so many missing pieces, Thompson went deep into his bench when he turned to seldom-used forward Trey Mourning and walk-on Riyan Williams. Even with such randomness, the Hoyas nearly defied the naysayers, until they didn't.

Now Georgetown faces Wisconsin on Friday followed by either Duke or VCU.

"We have an unforgiving schedule coming up," Thompson said. "It doesn't get any easier. 

Terrapins get huge commitment from 7-foot-2 internet phenom Chol Marial

Screenshot: Courtside YouTube

Terrapins get huge commitment from 7-foot-2 internet phenom Chol Marial

The Maryland Terrapins just added a huge piece to their 2019 recruiting class. Literally. 

The Terps officially signed 7-foot-1 center Chol Marial (AZ Compass Prep, Chandler, Arizona), the team announced Monday. 

Depending on who you ask, Marial is either a three-star, 210-pound or a four-star, 220-pound recruit (247Sports, ESPN), but he's unquestionably taller than seven feet. He also has a 7-foot-11 wingspan that Maryland coach Mark Turgeon expects will make him "an excellent rim protector."

"I've watched Chol the last three years and I can't say enough about him as both a person and a basketball player," Turgeon said in a release from Maryland, which lists Marial at 7-foot-2 and 230 pounds. 

"One of the top players in his class when healthy, Chol's tremendous size and length make him an excellent rim protector. Chol possesses a humble demeanor and a strong work ethic that will fit well with our family. We can't wait to have him in College Park and look forward to helping him reach his dreams."

Originally from Rumbek, South Sudan, Marial moved to the U.S. as a middle-schooler in 2014. He also previously attended IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida. 

ESPN ranks Marial as the No. 2 center in Arizona and the No. 14 center nationally, while 247Sports says he's No. 6 and No. 26 in those two respective categories.

He visited Maryland on April 26, according to 247Sports, and also received offers from Georgetown, Florida State, Arizona State, Iowa, UConn and West Virginia.

"I want to thank Coach Turgeon for giving me this opportunity," Marial said in a release from the school. "Coach Turgeon and I have gotten along really well and I really enjoyed spending time with the rest of the coaching staff and players. Bruno Fernando and I have similar backgrounds and I saw how much he improved as a player at Maryland. I'm looking forward to getting better every day and playing for Terp Nation."


2019 NBA Draft Big Board 4.0: North Carolina's Coby White, Indiana's Romeo Langford heading in opposite directions

2019 NBA Draft Big Board 4.0: North Carolina's Coby White, Indiana's Romeo Langford heading in opposite directions

Ideally, the Washington Wizards get lottery lucky.

There is the basketball and business dream only Zion Williamson's supernatural gifts could fill.

Murray State’ Ja Morant would provide an electric charge with the injured John Wall idling.

Those fantastical visions, while tangible, do not reflect reality.

Targeting North Carolina scoring dynamo Coby White with their projected slot does.

The 6-foot-5’s rise up draft boards began during the college basketball season. It continues even weeks after the Tar Heels’ campaign concluded.

“I like White a lot,” is what an NBA scout told NBC Sports Washington this week. The sentiment reflects an overwhelmingly positive view on the freshman from league-wide sources.

The Wizards, who enter the May 14 NBA Draft lottery with the sixth-best overall odds of landing the first selection, need to jump up for those Williamson and Morant. There is a 37.2 percent chance of landing a top-four selection. Simply having stronger asset capital would help the yet-to-be-determined general manager.

Landing White seems more and more like a viable fallback.

The all-time leading scorer among boy’s high school players in the state of North Carolina, White averaged 16.1 points, 4.1 assists and 3.5 rebounds in 35 games for the Tar Heels while shooting 35 percent from beyond the arc.

With his lead guard skills and size to play on the wing, there is a positional case that White is a better fit for the Wizards long-term than Morant. White could play alongside Bradley Beal and John Wall whenever the five-time All-Star returns from his Achilles injury.

The 6-foot-3, 175-pound Morant is strictly a point guard, but also the higher-projected talent. Passing on him, even with Wall’s presence, would be the wrong approach.

Duke guard R.J. Barrett joins Williamson and Morant as the consensus top three selections more than a month out from the June 20 NBA Draft. There is little agreement with prospects 4-8, though the draft lottery will certainly help shape the order. Based on the new draft lottery rules, the Wizards could pick 1-4 or 6-10 depending on how the ping-pong balls bounce.

Texas Tech’s Jarrett Culver, Virginia’s De’Andre Hunter, Duke’s Cam Reddish, Vanderbilt’s Darius Garland and White typically make up the pool of players immediately outside the top three. White’s insurgent freshman campaign thrust him into the tier.

Maybe there becomes a point where White’s rising rank leads to some brush back. We’re not there yet.

Check out more discussion on White, Zion Williamson and the 2019 NBA Draft on the latest episode of the "Wizards Talk" podcast.

 *Texas’ Jaxson Hayes, Gonzaga’s Brandon Clarke, Oregon’s Bol Bol, and international prospect Sekou Doumbouya are the current best bets to enter the 4-8 discussion. Bol’s truncated freshman season factored into a diminished evaluation, but there’s a turnaround in play, a Western Conference scout told NBC Sports Washington even after out previous love-hate relationship article on the 7-foot-2 forward.

*Indiana shooting guard Romeo Langford entered the NBA Draft pool following his freshman season. The sense from scouts is he’s exiting lottery selection talk. One scout told NBA Sports Washington Langford is "dropping." Another said he would be flabbergasted if his organization considered the 6-foot-6 guard with a wonky jump shot in the top 10-14 selections. Langford averaged 16.5 points per game, but shot 28 percent on 3-pointers. Individual workouts and the upcoming NBA Combine offer chances to turn heads and momentum.

*Maryland sophomore Bruno Fernando officially kept his name in the NBA Draft pool this week. According to a source, the 6-foot-10 center signed with Priority Sports and Entertainment, the same agency that represents Wizards’ Bradley Beal and Jabari Parker. Fernando finished his Maryland career ranked second in program history in field goal percentage (.595) and 10th in rebounds per game (8.7).

1. Zion Williamson, PF, Duke

2. Ja Morant, PG, Murray State

3. RJ Barrett, SG, Duke

4. De'Andre Hunter, SF, Virginia

5.  Jarrett Culver, SG, Texas Tech

6. Cam Reddish, SF, Duke

7. Coby White, SG, UNC

8. Darius Garland, PG, Vanderbilt

 9. Brandon Clarke, PF, Gonzaga

10. Bol Bol, PF, Oregon

11. Sekou Doumbouya, PF, International

12. Jaxson Hayes, C, Texas

13. PJ Washington, PF, Kentucky

14. Kevin Porter Jr., SG, USC

15. Nassir Little, SF, UNC

16. Keldon Johnson, SF, Kentucky

17. Rui Hachimura, PF, Gonzaga

18. Tyler Herro, SG, Kentucky

19. Grant Williams, PF, Tennessee

20. Nickeil Alexander-Walker, SG, Va. Tech

21. Cameron Johnson, PF, UNC

22. Romeo Langford, SG, Indiana

23.  Goga Bitadze, C, International

24. KZ Okpala, SG. Stanford

25. Ty Jerome, SG, Virginia

26. Bruno Fernando, C, Maryland

27. Carsen Edwards, SG/PG, Purdue

28. Eric Paschall, PF, Villanova

29. Luguentz Dort, SG, Arizona State

30. Louis King, F, Oregon

Next up: Matisse Thybuille, SF, Washington; Talen Horton-Tucker, SF, Iowa State; Admiral Schofield, SF, Tennessee; Daniel Gafford, C; Arkansas; Shamorie Ponds, G, St. John’s