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Campbell's 21 points lead Georgetown over No. 5 Xavier 81-72

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Campbell's 21 points lead Georgetown over No. 5 Xavier 81-72

CINCINNATI (AP) -- After so many close calls, Georgetown finally got that breakthrough win.

Tre Campbell scored a career-high 21 points -- 17 in the first half -- and Georgetown's front line held its own as the Hoyas built a double-digit lead in the second half and held on for an 81-72 victory over No. 5 Xavier on Tuesday night.

The Hoyas (12-7, 5-2 Big East) pulled ahead 39-33 at halftime behind Campbell's big game and led by as many as 11 in the second half while sending the Musketeers (16-2, 4-2) to their first home-court loss of the season. D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera had 20 points for Georgetown, 15 in the second half.

"It's really big," the senior guard said. "It's the first time we've won here and my last time playing here."

The Hoyas had wilted in the second half against top teams and wound up with close losses. This time, they kept their poise all the way.

"I told these guys before the game: `We've been close but here's another opportunity,'" coach John Thompson III said. "To come in here and win against this team -- they're playing at such a high level now -- feels good. We're now over a hump and we'll proceed from here."

Trevon Bluiett led Xavier with 18 points.

Xavier had won all three games against Georgetown last season, including a matchup in the semifinals of the Big East Tournament. The Hoyas' front line dug in and got a different result, outrebounding Xavier 39-35. Xavier and Purdue were the only teams that hadn't been outrebounded in a game this season, according to STATS. Xavier led the Big East in offensive and defensive rebounding.

"Honestly it was Georgetown being locked in and ready to play," said Myles Davis, who had 15 points. "They knew that last year in the games we played them we out-rebounded them and were tougher."

The Musketeers shot a season-low 35.8 percent from the field.

Freshman Edmond Sumner was back as Xavier's starting point guard and scored 10 points. He missed three games with a concussion and came off the bench to score 15 points during a 74-66 win at Marquette on Saturday.

Xavier had trouble stopping 7-foot center Bradley Hayes at the outset. He made his first three shots as the Hoyas kept it close. Hayes picked up his third foul with 7:42 left in the first half. He was their leading scorer with six points when he left because of the foul trouble.

Sumner hit his first two shots from beyond the arc and two free throws as Xavier pulled ahead 27-20. Georgetown went to a zone defense to slow the Musketeers, who are third in the Big East with 80.1 points per game.

Campbell picked it up after Hayes went out. He hit four 3-pointers in the final 6 minutes of the half, giving him a career-high 17 points, as the Hoyas pulled ahead 39-33. The sophomore guard hit five of six shots from beyond the arc.

"When I made my first shot, I knew it was going to be good," said Campbell, who finished 7 of 11 from the field and 5 of 7 from beyond the arc. "My teammates kept finding me. I just felt fine tonight. I had a rhythm."

Campbell's reverse layup gave the Hoyas their first double-digit lead at 46-36.

Bluiett struggled through an off-night, going only 6 of 16 from the field, but hit a baseline jumper and his first 3-pointer as Xavier cut the lead to 51-49. Smith-Rivera hit two 3s as Georgetown built the lead to 11 points.

Xavier never got closer than six points the rest of the way.

TIP-INS

Georgetown: The Hoyas are 2-3 against ranked teams this season.

Xavier: Sumner played 25 minutes against Marquette. He played 33 minutes on Tuesday.

UP NEXT

Georgetown: Hosts Connecticut on Saturday.

Xavier: Hosts Seton Hall on Saturday.

How Justin Fuente’s two gambles at quarterback may have saved Virginia Tech’s season

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How Justin Fuente’s two gambles at quarterback may have saved Virginia Tech’s season

Before the calendar turned from September to October, Virginia Tech was already left for dead. Coming off a bye week, the Hokies were handed a 45-10 blowout loss at home by Duke. That left Virginia Tech at 2-2, 0-2 in the ACC and their only wins coming against Old Dominion and FCS Furman. Needing seven wins to reach bowl eligibility this season due to having two FCS teams on the schedule, it was hard to look at the eight games remaining on the schedule and find where those five remaining wins could come from.

And then something happened. A Virginia Tech offense that could get nothing going against Duke the week beforehand somehow managed to put up 42 against Miami in a 42-35 upset on the road. That game proved to be a turning point for the offense and the Hokies have now won three straight including a six-overtime victory over North Carolina.

What changed? The answer is the coaching staff finally realized the missing ingredient the offense needed in order to work: a dual-threat quarterback. That realization just may have saved Virginia Tech’s season twice already.

Sophomore quarterback Hendon Hooker started the game against Miami, taking over for the incumbent Ryan Willis. Hooker added a running threat that the team did not have with Willis and, while he did not have the best performance through the air with 10 completions on 20 attempts, the threat of the run opened up the offense. Hooker threw for three touchdowns and ran for 76 yards and another touchdown.

Prior to Saturday’s win, it would have been easy to say the difference was the move to Hooker by itself. A new quarterback sparked the offense. As well as Hooker had played, however, it was the realization of the coaches that it was that running threat that made all the difference, not necessary Hooker himself. That realization proved critical against North Carolina as head coach Justin Fuente made a huge gamble and it paid off.

Just two games after the win over Miami, Virginia Tech hosted North Carolina and Hooker left the game with an injury in the second quarter. Willis came on in relief, initially, completing all three of his pass attempts for 55 yards and a touchdown.

But after a drive in which Willis was sacked twice including a 12-yard loss on an intentional grounding call that took Virginia Tech out of field goal range and forced a punt, Fuente made perhaps the most important call of his tenure in Blacksburg.

On the next drive, third-string, freshman quarterback Quincy Patterson was in at quarterback.

“Quincy hasn’t taken as many reps in the past couple of weeks as the top two guys - but we made the decision there pretty quicky to move along and bring Quincy in,” Fuente told the media after the game. “Obviously, it changed what we looked like a little bit. To me, he did a great job of running hard, taking care of the ball, and he made a few good plays in the passing game.”

Patterson had only one college completion in his career. Yet, he came into the game and was able to pass for 54 yards, rush for another 122 and score two total touchdowns. He also ran in the game-clinching two-point conversion in the sixth-overtime.

“Part of it is his threat of running the football, it can give you some advantageous looks to throw the ball,” Fuente said of the advantage Patterson brought to the offense.”

It takes guts to decide to replace your former starter, who had already thrown for a touchdown, with a freshman quarterback who has virtually no experience.

Ultimately the results speak for themselves.

With Willis as the starter, Virginia Tech went 2-2. They turned the ball over 11 times in those four games and the offense was getting progressively worse. The Hokies managed 442 total yards in the season opener against Boston College. That was down to 403 the week after, 350 in Week 3 and finally 259 against Duke.

With Hooker and Patterson as the primary starters, Virginia Tech has turned the ball over only twice. The total yards have climbed each week from 337 to 485 to 490. Perhaps most critically, a Virginia Tech team that was averaging only 148.8 rushing yards per game was has averaged 210.3 rushing yards in the past three wins. The Hokies are also average 39.7 points per game, up from 23.3.

Think those points were inflated by the overtime win? Not really. If you take away the 12 points Virginia Tech scored in those six overtimes, their scoring average would still be 35.7.

Even with three straight wins, Virginia Tech still has a tough hill to climb to get back to protect its treasured bowl streak and contend for the Coastal Division. The Hokies have five wins and must find two more in their schedule at Notre Dame, Wake Forest, at Georgia Tech, Pitt and at Virginia.

But you can’t count them out just yet. The offense has pulled the team back from the precipice after Fuente’s two gambles at quarterback paid off.

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Maryland, Virginia and VCU ranked in college basketball Preseason AP Top 25 Poll

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Maryland, Virginia and VCU ranked in college basketball Preseason AP Top 25 Poll

For the first time since the start of the 2015 season, the Maryland Terrapins men's basketball team is ranked in the Associated Press' Preseason Top 25 poll. 

Fresh off of a Second Round appearance in the NCAA Tournament last season, Mark Turgeon's squad will start the year ranked seventh in the country. 

Aside from losing Bruno Fernando to the NBA Draft, the team will be one of the most experienced in the NCAA. Everyone other notable player returns on the Terps roster. The team will be led by 2020 Cousy Award Watch Listee Anthony Cowan Jr. 

They'll be in a loaded Big Ten conference as they are one of four teams to make it into the Top 25. Michigan State, who made it to the 2019 Final Four is the top-ranked program. 

The defending National Champions, the Virginia Cavaliers, will start their title defense ranked No. 11 in the poll. They lost a huge crop of their championship team as DeAndre Hunter, Ty Jerome and Kyle Guy all were drafted into the NBA. Tony Bennett, however, still has several quality contributors that know how to run his style on the court.

One other Mid-Atlantic team was noted in the Preseason Poll. VCU from the Atlantic Ten nabbed the last spot at No. 25. Last year they returned to the NCAA Tournament for the first time under head coach Mike Rhoades. They welcome back their leading scorer from that campaign and Atlantic 10 First-Team selection Marcus Evans.

2019 AP Preseason Top 25 Poll

Team, 2018-19 record (first-place votes)

#1 Michigan State, 32-7 (60)
#2 Kentucky, 30-7 (2)
#3 Kansas, 26-10 (3)
#4 Duke, 32-6
#5 Louisville, 20-14
#6 Florida, 20-16
#7 Maryland, 23-11
#8 Gonzaga, 33-4
#9 North Carolina, 29-7
#10 Villanova, 26-10
#11 Virginia, 35-3
#12 Seton Hall, 20-14
#13 Texas Tech, 31-7
#14 Memphis, 22-14
#15 Oregon, 25-13
#16 Baylor, 20-14
#17 Utah State, 28-7
#18 Ohio State, 20-15
#19 Xavier, 19-16
#20 Saint Mary's (CA), 22-12
#21 Arizona, 17-15
#22 LSU, 28-7
#23 Purdue, 26-10
#24 Auburn, 30-10
#25 VCU, 25-8

Others receiving votes: Washington 164, Colorado 152, Tennessee 78, Marquette 68, Florida St. 36, Davidson 34, Harvard 24, Illinois 14, Missouri 13, Mississippi St. 12, Houston 11, Georgia 11, Cincinnati 8, Notre Dame 7, Creighton 4, Syracuse 3, NC State 3, Vermont 2, Alabama 2, Southern Cal 2, Liberty 2, Michigan 2, Dayton 1, Colgate 1, Providence 1.

The 2019-20 men's basketball season tips off on Tuesday, Nov. 5. Two of the opening night premiere matchups will be No. 3 Kansas vs. No. 4 Duke and No. 1 Michigan State vs. No. 2 Kentucky. 

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