NCAA

Inside-outside job lifts Tar Heels to 83-66 win over Orange

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Inside-outside job lifts Tar Heels to 83-66 win over Orange

By EDDIE PELLS, AP National Writer

HOUSTON (AP) -- North Carolina's latest step on the way to a title was shaping up as strictly an inside job.

Out of nowhere, Marcus Paige figured out how to hit from 3-point land and the Tar Heels put an end to any hopes of another Syracuse comeback.

Using layups, floaters and putbacks -- then, finally, three very timely 3s from Paige -- the Tar Heels outmuscled Syracuse 83-66 on Saturday to move a win away from the program's sixth national title.

Paige finished with 13 points and Brice Johnson and Justin Jackson led North Carolina (33-6) with 16 apiece, as the Tar Heels, the lone No. 1 seed in the Final Four, beat Jim Boeheim's 10th-seeded Orange for the third time this season and advanced to Monday's title game against Villanova.

Earlier, the Wildcats made 11 of 18 shots from behind the 3-point line in a 95-51 win over Oklahoma, to debunk the theory that nobody could shoot in Houston's cavernous stadium.

Then, the Tar Heels, ranked 284th in the country this season from long range, reversed that one-game trend. They bricked up 3 after 3, going 0-for-10 in the first half and barely drawing iron on some of them. Paige opened the second half with North Carolina's 11th straight miss, and for the next 10 minutes, the Tar Heels basically ignored the 3-point line.

Only when Trevor Cooney and Malachi Richardson triggered a 10-0 Syracuse run to trim a 17-point deficit to seven did Carolina start thinking long range again. Paige made three 3s and Theo Pinson hit another to stifle the rally and make Carolina almost respectable from the 3-point line: 4 for 17 for the game.

"We had a brain lapse there for about three minutes in the second half, but other than that I thought we were really good defensively against a team that's hard to guard," said Carolina coach Roy Williams, in search of his third title.

Kennedy Meeks finished with 15 points and eight rebounds, including a paddy cake putback after batting a second offensive rebound to himself off glass. That gave the Heels a 67-53 lead.

Before Paige found his range, Carolina built its lead on the inside, with big-time help from an in-your-face defense that held Syracuse's leading scorer Michael Gbinije to 12 points on 5-for-18 shooting.

"We didn't have to play perfect, but we had to shoot better tonight," Boeheim said.

The Orange only went 8 for 25 from 3-point range.

In all, North Carolina offered a reminder of the days before the 3-point shot was invented, when the way to really beat a zone -- and Boeheim's 2-3 is the best in the game -- was to make blink-of-an-eye passes in and around the paint and crash the offensive glass to take advantage of a defense that doesn't put bodies on bodies when the ball goes up.

That plan still works.

Early in the second half, Jackson made a jump pass from the corner to the lane, where Paige was waiting and batted the ball with an open hand over to Meeks, who dunked.

A bit later, Joel Berry got an easy offensive rebound and a layup to put the Tar Heels ahead by 17.

North Carolina finished with 16 second-chance points on 16 offensive boards. Even more telling were points in the paint: Tar Heels 50, Orange 32.

Syracuse trailed by 16 in its crazy comeback victory over Virginia last week to make it here. But there was no full-court press that could beat the Heels, and no meltdown awaiting from them either.

Cooney led the Orange (23-14), the first No. 10 seed to make it to the Final Four, with 22 points. Richardson had 17, but after his 3 trimmed the deficit to seven with 9:48 left, Syracuse couldn't pull closer.

"I'm more proud of this team than ... of any team I've coached," Boeheim said. "This team battled through an awful lot of things."

Namely, it was Boeheim's nine-game suspension in the wake of NCAA troubles that made the early season a soap opera.

North Carolina is facing an NCAA investigation of its own, one that has taken a toll on Williams.

That can wait until after Monday, though, when Villanova will be the only thing on North Carolina's mind.

"Enjoy the Dickens out of it until midnight," Williams said, "and then worry about that other team."

TIP-INS

North Carolina: Meeks missed only two shots and tipped both of them back to himself. His line for the last two games: 11 for 13 from the field with 11 rebounds. ... Overall, Carolina outrebounded Syracuse 43-31.

Syracuse: Boeheim on whether he's considering retirement: "Why do you guys always ask me that? Make sure you ask Roy."

UP NEXT

North Carolina: Monday vs. Villanova for the program's sixth title.

Syracuse: Season over.

New AP Poll for Top 25: Ohio State drops to No. 11

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USA Today

New AP Poll for Top 25: Ohio State drops to No. 11

Clemson is back at No. 2 in The Associated Press college football poll behind top-ranked Alabama, moving up to where it started, after a convincing victory and Ohio State's first loss of the season.

The Crimson Tide are a unanimous No. 1, with all 61 first-place votes Sunday, for the first time this season.

The Tigers trailed only Alabama in the preseason rankings, but a couple of close wins in September -- combined with seemingly impressive performances by other highly ranked teams -- dragged Clemson to as low as No. 4.

Coming off a lopsided win against North Carolina State, Clemson rose a spot this week. Notre Dame is No. 3 and LSU is No. 4, setting the stage for a top-five matchup between the Tigers and Crimson Tide in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on Nov. 3. Both have an open date this week.

Michigan is No. 5 and Ohio State dropped to No. 11 after being upset by Purdue.

POLL POINTS

No. 25 Appalachian State is ranked in the AP poll for the first time in school history. The Mountaineers (5-1) have not lost since opening the season with an overtime defeat at Penn State.

"It's awesome to be recognized," Appalachian State coach Scott Satterfield said Sunday. "We've had a lot of positive things happen to our program the last three to four years. The first time we go bowl eligible, which was awesome. Then we go win our first bowl game. That was really cool. And then to go win our first Sun Belt championship two years ago. That was awesome. So there's been a lot of first for us over the last three years. This is another first."

App State transitioned to the FBS, the highest level of Division I football, in 2014 after years as an FCS power. Under former coach Jerry Moore, the Mountaineers were a regular playoff participant. The program peaked in the mid-2000s, winning three straight FCS (Division I-AA) championships from 2005-07. And App State pulled off one of the most stunning upsets in college football history against Michigan in 2007.

Moore retired after the 2012 season and was replaced by Satterfield, a former App State quarterback and assistant coach. The move up in class and into the Sun Belt has been practically seamless. The Mountaineers are 46-23 under Satterfield, with two Sun Belt titles. The only other Sun Belt team to ever be ranked was Troy on Nov. 13, 2016.

"To be recognized in the FBS level football and for our program to be a team that just went through transition four years ago and now to be ranked is pretty remarkable," Satterfield said. "We have a lot of pride, a lot of tradition in our program."

This season's team was expected to contend for another conference championship. A case could be made it is exceeding even those high expectations after replacing four-year starting quarterback Taylor Lamb, two four-year starting offensive linemen, four defensive players that were four-year starters and veteran defensive coordinator Nate Woody, who left for Georgia Tech.

Satterfield said this is may be his fastest team at App State and credited senior safety Josh Thomas, senior defensive tackle MyQuon Stout and fourth-year junior offensive tackle Victor Johnson with providing leadership for one of the least experienced rosters in the FBS. Running back Jalin Moore, another senior who was lost for the season to a knee injury two weeks ago, has become a de facto assistant coach for App State.

Since falling to Penn State, the Mountaineers have outscored their opponents 231-49. Next up is a key game for first place in the Sun Belt East at Georgia Southern (6-1, 3-0) on Thursday night.

UP

  • No. 14 Washington State was the only big mover to rise in the rankings this week, jumping 11 spots after beating Oregon.

DOWN

  • Ohio State dropped out of the top 10 for the first this season, tumbling nine spots
  • No. 19 Oregon dropped seven spots after taking its second loss
  • No. 22 North Carolina State fell six spots after losing for the first time this season

IN

  • No. 23 Utah is ranked for the first time this season, making it five straight years the Utes started the season unranked but moved into the rankings at some point. From 2014-16, Utah started the season outside the Top 25 but finished it ranked. Utah has won three straight, scoring at least 40 points in each game
  • No. 24 Stanford is back in the rankings after falling out two weeks ago

OUT

  • Michigan State and Mississippi State fell out of the rankings again after losing for the third time this season
  • Cincinnati's first loss of the season, in overtime to Temple, cost the Bearcats their first ranking since 2012

CONFERENCE CALL

  • SEC -- 6 teams (1, 4, 7, 9, 12, 16).
  • Big Ten -- 5 (5, 11, 17, 18, 20).
  • Pac-12 -- 5 (14, 15, 19, 23, 24).
  • Big 12 -- 3 (6, 8, 13).
  • ACC -- 2 (2, 22).
  • American -- 2 (10, 21).
  • Sun Belt -- 1 (25).
  • Independent -- 1 (3).

RANKED vs. RANKED

No. 7 Georgia vs. No. 9 Florida in Jacksonville, Florida. The first of two games involving the Bulldogs that will decide the SEC East. Georgia faces Kentucky on Nov. 3.

  • No. 14 Washington State at No. 24 Stanford. Cougars try to grab control of the Pac-12 North.
  • No. 18 Iowa at No. 17 Penn State. The Nittany Lions will help decide the Big Ten West with home games against the Hawkeyes and No. 20 Wisconsin.

Former Hoya Marcus Derrickson signs a two-way contract with Golden State Warriors

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USA TODAY Sports

Former Hoya Marcus Derrickson signs a two-way contract with Golden State Warriors

Leaving the Georgetown Hoyas a season early is initially paying off for Marcus Derrickson. 

Less than a month before what would have been his senior season at Georgetown, the 6-7 forward has signed a two-way contract with the Golden State Warriors. 

Derrickson nabbed the second two-way position on the Warriors after an outstanding Summer League translated to a solid preseason.

Fitting right into the Warriors deep-ball oriented scheme, Derrickson was 6-16 from three point range during the five-game preseason. He's a versatile stretch-four that continues to develop and improve on his outside game. 

By signing a two-way contract, the former All-Big East Second teamer will have a chance to get called up to the two-time defending NBA champions at any point this season for up to 45 days. The remaining time will be with the Warriors' G-league affiliate the Santa Cruz Warriors

This arrangement will earn Derrickson a contract of $75,000 and a prorated amount for however much time he is practicing/ playing with Golden State. 

If he is called up to the NBA for more than the allotted 45 days, then the Warriors are obligated to give him a minimum rookie contract. 

Derrickson continues to prove himself as the list of aspiring players dwindles. As each contract begins to near its end, the Warriors time after time offer another opportunity.

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