NCAA

Maryland survives rally against Michigan for first true road win

Maryland survives rally against Michigan for first true road win

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Justin Jackson and the Maryland Terrapins handled their first road test of the Big Ten season just fine.

With Michigan bidding for another comeback win, the young Terps maintained their poise.

Jackson scored 15 points, and Maryland beat Michigan 77-70 on Saturday despite 62-percent shooting in the second half by the Wolverines. The Terrapins went 10 of 15 from 3-point range on the day, and they had an answer every time Michigan got close.

"Our guys just kept responding," Maryland coach Mark Turgeon said. "Really proud of my team."

The Terrapins (14-2, 2-1 Big Ten) led by 11 in the first half, but Michigan (11-5, 1-2) had the deficit down to one early in the second. The Wolverines, however, could never pull even down the stretch.

It was 71-68 when Jackson fought his way inside for a basket with 48 seconds left. Michigan's Derrick Walton Jr. drove for a layup -- capping a streak of eight straight made field goals by the Wolverines -- but Anthony Cowan calmly made two free throws at the other end, and Maryland held on.

The Terrapins have three freshman starters -- Jackson, Cowan and Kevin Huerter. Maryland executed impressively throughout the second half, and the Terps made their final five shots from the field while Michigan was trying to rally.

"We're growing every single day, but other teams are too," Wolverines coach John Beilein said.

Jared Nickens made every shot he took for the Terps, going 4 for 4 -- all from 3-point range. His performance fit in well on a Maryland team that rebounded nicely from a loss to Nebraska the previous weekend.

"We went through it against Nebraska. They made a run and we couldn't respond," Maryland's Melo Trimble said. "Today was totally different. Every time they made a shot, we came down, stayed (calm) under pressure and scored."

Moritz Wagner led Michigan with 17 points, but Walton had only five points and one assist. Damonte Dodd scored 15 points for Maryland, and Trimble added 13.

Mac McClung is here to save Georgetown's season when the Hoyas need it most

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Mac McClung is here to save Georgetown's season when the Hoyas need it most

WASHINGTON - Short-handed and amid turmoil within the Georgetown program, Mac McClung has proven to be the savior of the Hoyas season. 

As soon as things went south for Georgetown, with three players facing legal problems and the starting point guard announcing his intent to transfer, McClung has risen to the occasion. The sophomore guard has emerged as the team’s leader and face of the team with a daunting half of the season remaining. He’s the must-see attraction and now it’s more than just for his impressive dunking abilities. 

Saturday against long-standing rival Syracuse he delivered again. On top of a lethal pull-up buzzer-beating 3-pointer to end the first half, he led all scorers with 26 points on 7-16 shooting. It was his third straight contest with 19 points or more – the first such stretch of his young career. 

The three games are also the first since the accusations against now-former Georgetown players were made public. First, it was losing James Akinjo and Josh LeBlanc, earlier this week they added Galen Alexander and Myron Gardner to that list. 

There's no question McClung has taken it upon himself to lead this team and his play has risen with it. Averaging 26 points in the three games when the team has needed him most, he has propelled Georgetown to three of their four biggest wins of the season. 

But this isn’t the first display that Mac McClung is different than just your average elite scorer. Within 12 games of his stay at the Hilltop, the Hoyas had broken from their tradition of freshman not speaking to the media. Last season he became the first to do so since 1981.

Quickly it was evident that McClung was more than the dunking sensation that rose his recruiting profile. He’s a bonafide scorer in the collegiate game and the rest of his play is just as electric as his dunks. 

This year he’s the leader Georgetown most certainly needs, now down to nine scholarship players. His first comment after his stellar performance in one of the biggest rivalries in the sport was shouting out the Hoyas’ men’s soccer team competing in the College Cup. 

The buzz around the 6-foot-2 guard is different too. Every time the ball hits his hands the crowd draws their breath in anticipation of what’s about to occur. It’s as if a change in the air would cause one to miss his greatness. 

There’s no missing what is in store for McClung in his Georgetown career. There are two and a half years remaining in his eligibility. Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim gave him a glowing endorsement and believes he will flourish with a new point guard who'll allow McClung to play the two spot in the line-up. 

But for now, it is McClung saving Georgetown’s season. The Hoyas are at 7-3 and ranked No. 44 in KenPom as of this writing. No one saw this three-game run coming for the Hoyas. It doesn’t sound like it’s going to stop any time soon. 

“That’s what happens when you face challenges, you either break apart or come together and I think we’ve came together,” McClung said.

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Jim Boeheim does not mince words on former Georgetown Hoya James Akinjo

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Jim Boeheim does not mince words on former Georgetown Hoya James Akinjo

WASHINGTON - Do not expect James Akinjo to transfer to Syracuse this season.  

Orange head coach Jim Boeheim had some harsh words for the former Georgetown guard. Critical of Akinjo's overall approach to the game, Boeheim attributed his removal from the team to Georgetown's three-game winning streak. 

"They got rid of a guy that wouldn't pass the ball to anybody and just shot every time. That's why they're good now," Boeheim said referring to Akinjo after his team's loss to Hoyas.

Akinjo is one of four players that has announced they are leaving the Georgetown program in the past four weeks. As a starter for the Hoyas, Akinjo's loss was the most notable. The rest were all bench players, two seeing action on the back-end of the rotation. 

There is some credence to Boeheim's points. Akinjo averaged 4.4 assists in the seven games he played to start the season. The team as a whole had 14.6 assists on 26 made baskets per game - a 56% assist rate. The three games without him have seen that rate drastically tick up to 69% (20.7 assists on 30 made shots). Against SMU, Georgetown's 26 assists were the most they've had in a single game in nine years. 

Boeheim would also go on to say that despite the loss of four scholarship players, the remaining team is one of the best Georgetown teams he's seen in recent memory. He was unwavering in his support for Georgetown coach Patrick Ewing and was pleased with how he handled the whole situation. 

“Two guys weren’t really contributing at all and another guy was throwing the ball up all the time. I know Patrick [Ewing] can’t say that, but I can. I watched [James Akinjo] play three games. He lost three games, two games by himself," Boeheim said. "(Now) they have a pass-first point guard who can also score and (Mac) McClung gets to play away from the ball... they're a completely different team. If we played them, the way they were playing earlier in the year, we would’ve won the game.”

Terrell Allen, a grad transfer out of UCF, has filled the point guard void in Akinjo's absence. In their big win over SMU, he had 10 of the team's 26 assists and no turnovers. The DeMatha product added six more against Syracuse.

Akinjo has already jumped into the transfer market, visiting Arizona earlier this week. It appears there is no reason for him to waste his time taking a visit to central New York.

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