NCAA

Maryland looks strong in home-opening win

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Maryland looks strong in home-opening win

The Maryland Terrapins received an unexpected gift in their attempt to get beyond the post-Kentucky hangover they almost certainly felt after their nationally televised heartbreaker on Friday night. That gift came in the form of the Morehead State Eagles and had nothing to do with any inabilities or incompetence.

In fact, it was quite the opposite.

From the very first possession of the game, the Eagles double teamed, rebounded, and hustled their tails off against a young Maryland team playing its first home game of the season. Their efforts simply would not allow Maryland to mail in this game and coast to an easy victory.

That Maryland won this game handily, 67-45, doesn’t really speak to just how hard the Terps had to work for the win. They endured another terrible shooting first half (9-24) by using impressive depth and stifling defense in route to a 35-19 halftime lead. They were bolstered by a 16-22 performance from the free throw line and in that first half and a terrific all-around performance by sophomore center Alex Len who had 7 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 blocks and generally made life miserable around the Morehead basket.

In the end, the crowd of 8,724 left energized by the performance they had just witnessed by a Maryland team that had 10 players enjoy double figure minutes. While Nick Faust and Len led the scoring with 12 and 11 points respectively, fans were also able to get a quality sample of a handful of newcomers.

Sophomore Dez Wells was impressive in his home debut and shot 50 percent from the field and was in the middle of several scrums where he inevitably came up with possession of the ball. He finished the game with 8 points, 3 assists and 2 rebounds and also finished the game’s signature play when he caught a lob pass in transition in the first half right around the top of the white square and threw down a dunk that had the rim rattling for a good thirty seconds.

Freshmen Jake Layman and Charles Mitchell did what they are supposed to do. Layman hit spot up jumpers and Mitchell grabbed every rebound within the area code. Layman ended up with 7 points and appears to be a credible threat to take pressure off of Len down the road. Mitchell ended up with a team leading 9 rebounds and continues to impress with his both his hands and his motor.

But the biggest impression of the night probably belonged to freshman Shaquille Clear. He will always be compared to his classmate Mitchell and he has struggled in his first two outings as a Terp. In this game, however, he stepped up in a big way. He scored 8 points that included a sterling 5-6 performance from the free throw line. He also grabbed 5 rebounds and had 3 blocks. Except they weren’t just blocks.

Evidently the big fella never heard of the legend of Bill Russell and how he used to block shots to himself to start fast breaks. Instead, Cleare appears to be interested in seeing exactly which section of the Comcast Center he might be able to send the ball to. Each one of his shots actually landed in the lap of various fans in attendance. And each one was greeted with the same sort of “did you just see that?” look from the students sitting close to the floor.

Next up for the Terps are the Blackbirds from Long Island University. The first game of the season resulted in a three point loss to this same Morehead State team. They are a regular NCAA tournament team and love to play at pace. That, in and of itself, will offer Maryland another challenge.

Georgetown gets a boost with Jessie Govan returning to school

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Georgetown gets a boost with Jessie Govan returning to school

After testing the NBA Draft waters, Georgetown center Jessie Govan decided to return to the Hoyas for his senior season.

Govan announced his intention to return on Instagram a week before the final commitment deadline.

Returning to the Hoyas is definitely a boost to the program that will be in their second year under head coach Patrick Ewing.  At 6-10, Govan was the team’s leading scorer (17.9 ppg) and rebounder (10.0 rpg) averaging a double-double last season.

Paired alongside power forward Marcus Derrickson, the Hoyas were nearly unstoppable in the paint. Derrickson though decided to forgo his senior year and signed with an agent after the season.

Had Govan decided to leave that would have meant over 56 percent of the team’s scoring and rebounding would have departed (to graduation or professional pursuits) in a handful of months. Not the best outlook for a 15-win team that went 5-13 in the Big East.

Instead Ewing gets back his leading scorer that many believe he can mold as a young protégée. While in the draft process without an agent Govan had workouts with the Boston Celtics and the New York Knicks. Both are valuable experiences that he will bring to a relatively young Georgetown squad.

Having Govan for one more year will bridge Ewing’s second season to transfer big-man, Omer Yurtseven to his first year of eligibility in 2019. They were set up to having a walk-on and two sophomores being the only returning Hoyas over 6-6 for the upcoming season.

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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.

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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.