NCAA

Hewitt readying Mason for his up-tempo designs

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Hewitt readying Mason for his up-tempo designs

The ball moving north and south with a quickened pace, the players creating an up-tempo scenario by taking fast break opportunities when obviously presented and sometimes when they are not.

This is Paul Hewitt basketball. Mason Nation caught a glimpse of the coach's rapid play designs last season, but not the full throated scheme.

Assuming the Patriots youthful backcourt breaks from their turnover-heavy habits, expect a more sustained look at Hewitt's push-the-ball approach during the 2012-13 campaign --now that half-courters Ryan Pearson and Mike Morrison have graduated.

It's blasphimous to suggest the Patriots are better off now that their two long-time interior stalwarts have used up all their eligibility. Nobody is doing that here. Clearly replacing Pearson, the burly CAA Player of the Year, and a defensive stalwart like the lengthy Morrison is a sizable task.

That's why going forward, for the growth of the program under the second-year coach, consider Pearson and Morrison's departure as necessary evils.

In his first season on the Fairfax campus, Hewitt gently imposed his hardwood ideals on a team coming off an NCAA Tournament appearance under his predecessor Jim Larranaga. Wisely, the former Georgia Tech coach played to his team's strengths. At George Mason that meant keeping Pearson and Morrison in their comfort zones which meant more half-court action - and less running than many of Hewitt's previous teams,.

With his second recruiting class now in the mix, with the benefit of having an entire off-season rather than the mini version he had following Larranaga's surprise departure, with another year of teaching his playbook, Hewitt moves closer to his desired style. 

"I wouldn't mind having Ryan and Mike back," Hewitt exclaimed at the CAA media day earlier this month before acknowledging the potential benefits of change. "We relied on those guys so much last year, we probably didn't play as fast as we could have or wanted too."

That's not to say the Patriots sat on the ball; George Mason led the CAA in scoring with 70.4 points per game.

The Patriots were also among the worst when it came to coughing up possession.

George Mason's 15.2 turnovers per game average ranked among the CAA's highest. Some games, Hewitt surely wished the team only committed 15 turnovers. In three of their four non-conference losses, including a 20-point defeat at Virginia, the Patriots turned the ball over at least 20 times. George Mason opens the upcoming season hosting Virginia on Nov. 9.

In a win or go home scenario against VCU in the CAA Tournament, Mason committed 17 turnovers, eight coming during an epic 22-0 first half run by the winning Rams.

"That's a big problem that we had last year," Hewitt said. "The offseason workouts will help us improve that, but we've been making it a point of emphasis through practice. We keep harping on the fact that we turned the ball over so much."

In his first season as a starter, point guard Bryon Allen matched Pearson with a team-high 89 turnovers. Over the Patriots final four games, the Largo native lost possession a whopping 4.5 per contest. Allen's freshman backup Corey Edwards committed 2.2 turnovers per game despite averaging 15 minutes.

With a year of experience now on their resume, the coach expects improvement from his primary ball handlers and decision makers. Even without his top two scorers from last season's 24-win team, Hewitt believes his current edition can score more. That is, if they come to value possession.

"Even with all of the turnovers we were the highest scoring team in the CAA," Hewitt said. "If we can hold onto the ball a little more, get more shots, hey, maybe we add another 5-10 points to our scoring average per game."

Wilmer Difo homers but Phillies top Nats

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Wilmer Difo homers but Phillies top Nats

WASHINGTON -- Rhys Hoskins hit a two-run homer, Vince Velasquez pitched five effective innings and the Philadelphia Phillies snapped Washington's six-game win streak with a 3-1 victory over the Nationals on Saturday.

Velasquez (2-4) allowed one run and one hit in his first win since April 7. He also struck out four, walked four and hit a batter.

Edubray Ramos, Tommy Hunter, Luis Garcia and Hector Neris then combined for four innings of one-hit relief. Neris earned his sixth save.

Trea Turner led off the Washington ninth with a walk and was running when Matt Wieters popped out to short right field. Turner, who slid into second, lost track of the ball and was easily doubled off first.

Wilmer Difo homered for Washington. Third baseman Anthony Rendon went 0 for 2 with two walks after missing 19 games with what the team called a contusion to his toe.

Nationals right-hander Tanner Roark (2-3) tied his season high with nine strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings. He was charged with three runs and six hits.

Andrew Stevenson accounted for Washington's other hit, a one-out single in the sixth. Pedro Severino followed with a walk, but Ramos induced a double-play grounder from Rafael Bautista.

Cesar Hernandez opened the game with a single off Roark and Hoskins homered to center on a 3-2 pitch. It was his fifth of the season.

Maikel Franco provided an insurance run when he followed Carlos Santana's one-out triple with a single in the sixth.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Phillies: RHP Ben Lively (lower back strain) threw 20 pitches in a bullpen session. Lively was placed on the disabled list April 27. ... Manager Gabe Kapler said RHP Pat Neshek (shoulder strain) will throw a bullpen session as the next step in his rehabilitation. Neshek has not appeared in a game this season.

Nationals: 1B Ryan Zimmerman was scratched from the lineup due to stiffness in his side, according to manager Dave Martinez. ... RHP Trevor Gott, who sprained an ankle in the sixth inning Friday night, is day to day.

UP NEXT

The winners of the last three NL Cy Young Awards square off when Philadelphia's Jake Arrieta (3-1, 3.49 ERA) opposes Max Scherzer (6-1, 1.79 ERA). Arrieta won the award in 2015 with the Cubs and Scherzer, the National League Pitcher of the Month for April, has claimed the honor each of the last two seasons.

Future NBA prospect Omer Yurtseven transfers to Georgetown from NC State

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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.